Frozen Watermelon Cooler

Summer in LA gets hot and what sounds as refreshing as ice cold slices of watermelon?  In my home, it’s my Frozen Watermelon Cooler!  Have you ever walked by the giant watermelons at Costco and pick the largest one you can find because they charge per watermelon not per pound?  I admit, I have plenty of times!  Of course then, I have more watermelon than we can eat so,  I cut those up into cubes, stick them in a freezer bag and freeze them.

The recipe is so quick and simple and your kids and their friends will be thrilled to slurp these down.  You will be the coolest mommy on the block!  Ok, at least in your household.

Want to be ‘mommy cool’ to your fellow mommies too?  Spike it with vodka or white wine.  But you didn’t hear it from me!  Shhh…

Frozen Watermelon Cooler
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Raw honey is optional as my kids like it a little sweeter but definitely not necessary. Mint is something extra I like to add to this cooler if I have it on hand.
Frozen Watermelon Cooler
Print Recipe
Raw honey is optional as my kids like it a little sweeter but definitely not necessary. Mint is something extra I like to add to this cooler if I have it on hand.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour into cups. That's it. I didn't have mint on hand, but if you do, blend a handful into the mix and you will take this cooler to another level!
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Fresh Grown-up Grape Slush Puppie

I have so much fun coming up with new drink recipes.  Is it tapping into my creativity or is it the literal buzz I get during the process?  Hmm, it’s both, but mostly the latter!  I had friends coming over for a BBQ and was trying to come up something different and nostalgic for them to try.  Something that reminded them of childhood in a grown-up kind of way.  I grabbed a handful of grapes, a bottle of vodka and went to work.

My original idea was having it on the rocks.  I finished the drink and it tasted like a naughty grape soda.  It was very good, but darn it, it’s summertime and it’s hot! I dumped my sample glass in the blender to turn it into a slushy!  Ahhh…that took it to a 80s childhood level!  This sparked 10 year old Ping walking into her Auntie Jane’s convenience store and pulling the lever to fill her extra large cup up with grape Slush Puppie, sucking it down so fast that a brain freeze was inevitable.  Yes, I just wrote in 3rd person!  Yes, I taste tested a lot today!

Hence, the creation of my Grown-up Grape Slush Puppie!  Of course, this version is free of corn syrup, dye and artificial flavors and replaced with fruit and vodka!  It’s just the perfectly sweet nostalgic adult concoction.slush_puppie

Fresh Grown-up Grape Slush Puppie
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On the rocks or blended, this grape cocktail will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Servings
2 drinks
Servings
2 drinks
Fresh Grown-up Grape Slush Puppie
Print Recipe
On the rocks or blended, this grape cocktail will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Servings
2 drinks
Servings
2 drinks
Ingredients
Servings: drinks
Instructions
  1. Put grapes and sugar in mixing glass.
  2. Muddle (smash) sugar and grapes.
  3. Add Ice and vodka.
  4. Cap glass with shaker and shake what your mama gave you.
  5. Pour your concoction evenly between 2 glasses.
  6. Fill both glasses to the rim with ice.
  7. Pour lemon club soda almost to the top.
  8. Float 1 tbsp of Chambord on top of each drink.
  9. You can stop there and have a fabulous drink.
  10. Or you can throw everything into the blender and make it into a slushy.
  11. Poke 3 grapes into each toothpick and garnish on top.
Recipe Notes

* Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur. If you can't find it or have grape juice handy, you can use that too.

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Mama’s Mule

In the past, the thought of gin brought back memories of that typical story of a  21 run where you drink way too many cheap gin and tonics that went down oh-so easy but came back up in a violent, stick-my-head-out-the-wind-like-a-drunk-dog in your boyfriend’s car kind of way.  Remember that?  No?  Was it just me?  I remember just the smell of gin would make me gag!  Well, we’re not in the 90’s anymore!  I’ve discovered a new gin!  Hendricks gin!  Traditional gin is infused with juniper berries whereas Hendricks also adds Bulgarian rose and cucumber in theirs.  The flavor is distinctive and a far cry from your mama’s gin..wait, that’s me…

In the last few years, the Moscow Mule has made a big comeback and the lemon, ginger beer and mint in a mule recipe are perfect accompaniments to this gin.  So, I’ve created a mule of my own with gin rather than the traditional vodka and added cucumber to bring out the essence of this spirit.

BTW, Hendrick’s gin did not sponsor or pay me for my rave reviews, however if anyone from there reads this, I’d gladly accept cases of it!!

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Mama's Mule
Print Recipe
Have fun and serve them in traditional copper mugs if you have them!
Servings
2
Servings
2
Mama's Mule
Print Recipe
Have fun and serve them in traditional copper mugs if you have them!
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Cocktail
Garnish
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cut 1/2 the lime into 4 wedges. Put wedges of lime, mint and cucumber in a shaker glass
  2. Use a small wooden spoon or a muddler and smash the lime, mint and cucumber until the juice of the lime is squeezed out and the mint and cucumber are broken.
  3. Fill 3/4 of the shaker with ice and add gin.
  4. Shake it like a polaroid picture! Like you mean it and incorporate the gin, ice and mint mixture together well. This is how you make it delicious!
  5. Fill 2 low ball glasses with fresh ice.
  6. Strain drink evenly into both glasses.
  7. Pour ginger beer to the top of each glass. Garnish with cucumber slices and mint to make it look pretty.
  8. For me, I like to keep it simple and garnish it with just a sprig of mint. Keep the extra cucumbers to make more Mama's Mule!
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Best Ever Hummus

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Years ago, I was at this greek restaurant that had the most amazing hummus ever.  I kept haggling the owner for the recipe and he said jokingly that he’d have to kill me if he told me. However, I did manage to squeeze one secret from him which was to add a little water to the mix. That’s all I needed!  This hummus is light, fluffy, flavorful and perfect for dipping.  It is my go-to and most requested dish to bring to potlucks, BBQs and picnics.

 

Best Ever Hummus
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I love serving this with a variety of veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and whatever else is in season. Also great with tortilla chips and/or warm flatbread.
Best Ever Hummus
Print Recipe
I love serving this with a variety of veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and whatever else is in season. Also great with tortilla chips and/or warm flatbread.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place all your ingredients in a blender or food processor. I prefer a blender because it whips more air into the hummus which makes it lighter.
  2. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  3. Pour in serving bowl and sprinkle with smoked paprika and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil. Get fancy and sprinkle pine nuts on them!
  4. When I serve this at home, I use half and store the other half in a recycled wide mouthed glass jar. It makes it easy to transport or give away as a gift.
Recipe Notes

* I also like to use Himalayan sea salt because of the high mineral content.  Himalayan salt has over 26 minerals that feed the body.  However, if you do use it, add 1/2 tsp more as it tends to not be as salty as standard sea salts.

 To tahini or not to tahini?  It's a personal preference.  I do it either way, but tahini is not always available when I'm making this and it is really delicious with or without it.

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Wait, What? Pancakes are done?

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I finally bit the bullet one day and bought one of those fancy super-powered blenders.  I made my healthy smoothies and then asked myself, “What else can I do?”  I saw a generic pancake recipe in the booklet that came in the box and decided to make my own version that is super healthy and can be gluten-free. They are so easy and quick to make that my kids couldn’t believe pancakes can come out so fast to the table

They will love you even more if you can shape it like a bunny!

 

Wait, What? Pancakes are done?
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These are so good plain that maple syrup is not even necessary but if you must, I suggest grade B syrup as it is filled with more nutrients. I sometimes like to add my homemade blueberry compote, the link is below.
Wait, What? Pancakes are done?
Print Recipe
These are so good plain that maple syrup is not even necessary but if you must, I suggest grade B syrup as it is filled with more nutrients. I sometimes like to add my homemade blueberry compote, the link is below.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Throw all the ingredients into your fancy super blender until everything is smooth.
  2. Pour straight from you blender onto a skillet no bigger than 4-5 inches diameter. Flip when you see it bubble on the edges
  3. Mind you, this picture is the 3rd round because for some reason, your first round on the skillet never looks so pretty.
  4. Top with 100% pure maple syrup. I like Grade B as it has a lot nutritious minerals in it.
Recipe Notes

Here's the recipe to my Berry Compote that go great with these pancakes.

*Don't have GF flour? You can forgo the flour and replace it with another cup of oatmeal (GF)

**Egg-free?  You can replace eggs with 1/2 cup of flaxseeds

***You can use any fruit! In the fall, I use 1 cup of pumpkin puree, in the summer I use a pitted peach or a whole apple (cut the seeds out first).

Griddle the whole batch and freeze the leftovers.  They reheat quickly in the toaster oven.

They are also great pancakes to go in the car as they are sweet without syrup. Great for morning rushes to school

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Strawberry Fields

My husband and I are into a whiskey kick these days and I love making drinks with seasonal items.  We went strawberry picking with the kids this spring when the strawberries are so perfect, they taste like candy!  So I came up with this refreshing fresh strawberry and basil concoction to celebrate springtime!

Bourbon or rye you ask?  Bourbon is made over half with corn and tends to be sweeter and have hints of vanilla.  Rye is made over half with rye and tends to be dryer and have a spice to it.  I prefer bourbon myself but these days, the popularity of rye whiskey has risen and is the hipster choice.

Strawberry Fields
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Strawberry Fields
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Put strawberries and basil in a shaker tin. Crush them together with a muddler or a wooden spoon. Fill the shaker with ice and pour the rest of the ingredients in. Cap the shaker and shake hard like you're in a heavy metal mariachi band. Take two rocks (low-wide) glasses and pour them evenly into them or you can fill the glasses with fresh ice and strain the liquid into the glasses. You can rim the glass with sugar or keep it plain and either garnish them with a sprig of basil or a whole strawberry.
Recipe Notes

*You can make simple syrup at home by boiling down 1 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Let it cool and pour it into a reusable glass bottle/jar.

Bourbon or rye you ask?  Bourbon is made over half with corn and tends to be sweeter and have hints of vanilla.  Rye is made over half with rye and tends to be dryer and have a spice to it.  I prefer bourbon myself but these days, the popularity of rye whiskey has risen and is the hipster choice.

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Ping’s Crunchy Super Granola

I love granola but could never find one that had all my favorites in one package.  i decided to come up with my own that was nutrient dense, packed with flavor and gave you energy for those in-between meal hunger pains. Since my recipe has not nuts in them, they are a fantastic snack to pack in your child’s lunchbox  too.   Also, these are fabulous in a bowl swimming in coconut milk!  You will save money and have so much more flavor and nutrients than anything you can get at the market.

Ping's Crunchy Super Granola
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Quinoa packs in protein. Chia seeds give you so much energy that marathon runners drink a mix of it with lemon water the day of the race. Also flaxseeds are high in omega 3 as well grade B maple syrup has nutritious minerals in it. These ingredients puts the super in my granola!
Ping's Crunchy Super Granola
Print Recipe
Quinoa packs in protein. Chia seeds give you so much energy that marathon runners drink a mix of it with lemon water the day of the race. Also flaxseeds are high in omega 3 as well grade B maple syrup has nutritious minerals in it. These ingredients puts the super in my granola!
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a big bowl.
  2. Mix the liquid separately and then combine with the dry ingredients.
  3. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Allow it to cool and then mix in the chocolate chips. Viola! Yummy granola!
Recipe Notes

You can add any dry ingredient in addition or in replacement of dried cherries.

If nuts aren't a factor, feel free to add your favorite nuts to them.  About 1/2 cup would be fine without changing any part of the recipe.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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Easy GF-Vegan Double Chocolate Brownie

My kids go to an amazing progressive school and one teacher is gluten-free and the other is gluten-free vegan.  Having so many dietary restrictions makes it hard to treat yourself to dessert.  So, I wanted to make them brownies that are just as good as the real thing and just as  rich, chocolatey and decadent. What I came up with so happen to be somewhat healthy too!  One bite and you can barely tell the difference from my brownie and the standard brownie in taste but you will feel much better eating this one!  It was a hit with the teachers, my kids and even, my hard to please (I like the real stuff) husband!

 

Ping's Easy GF-Vegan Double Chocolate Brownies
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This brownie recipe taste so decadent that you will forget that it's almost healthy!  Super easy if you have a good blender because you just throw everything in the blender. This recipe can be easily doubled and placed in a 9x12 casserole dish without changing the baking time. Feel free to add nuts if you like too. 
Ping's Easy GF-Vegan Double Chocolate Brownies
Print Recipe
This brownie recipe taste so decadent that you will forget that it's almost healthy!  Super easy if you have a good blender because you just throw everything in the blender. This recipe can be easily doubled and placed in a 9x12 casserole dish without changing the baking time. Feel free to add nuts if you like too. 
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor or I used my Blendtech (like vitamix) where I blended until smooth - which i had to mix with a wooden spoon and blend a couple of times.
  3. After blended I mixed in the chocolate chips except for a handful.
  4. Grease a 8 x 8 glass pan with coconut oil and then pour and spread the mix evenly in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining chips on top and then bake for 25 - 30 minutes. I baked mine for 25 and let it sit for 10 minutes since we like it a bit gooey.
Recipe Notes

*    Non vegans can substitute flaxseed for 1 egg.  The results make a richer brownie and adds more protein.

 

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