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SImple Clean and Homemade I Strawberry Margarita

Did you shop at Hills as a kid? We did. My parents took us there for back to school shopping. We went often to visit our layaway items. Normally I hated shopping as a kid, but Hills was my all time favorite. Every time we went there we got a kid’s size frozen coke and popcorn. I was such a sucker for a frozen drink even at a young age. It is no wonder that I love them today.

I blame Hills to this day for my love of margaritas. I like them frozen. I like salt on the rim, not sugar. I like them with Patron. I knew I needed to make a strawberry margarita recipe for this summer. I like strawberries so the combination is only natural.

SImple Clean and Homemade I Strawberry Margarita 3

These strawberry margaritas have a homemade strawberry sauce to give them flavor. We loved the flavor of the margarita, but probably the best part was the ghost pepper salt that my mom brought home from her trip to Sanibel Island. The salt’s spiciness gave the strawberry margarita a surprise finish. The salt was not overwhelmingly hot, but a nice heat in the back of our throats.

I wanted to share this with you just in time for the holiday weekend and all those fun cookouts out there.

Strawberry Margarita

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (2 servings)

    Roasted Strawberry Puree

    • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • Juice of 1 lime

    Margarita

    • 1/3-1/2 cup strawberry puree
    • 4 ounces Patron Silver Tequila
    • splash Gran Marnier
    • 1-2cups ice
    • juice 2-3 limes
    • simple syrup or agave to taste
    • Ghost salt

    Instructions

    Strawberry Puree

    In an 8×8 baker, roast the strawberries tossed with sugar at 400 until they are soft and juicy (15-30 minutes). Fresh tend to take longer than frozen. Allow to cool. Add to the blender with lime juice and blend into a puree. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

    Margarita

    In the blender, add strawberry puree, tequila, Gran Marnier, lime juice, and ice. Blend until smooth. Add sweetener if desired.

    Rub the rim of the class with the lime rinds. Dip in salt. Pour the liquid into the glasses and serve.

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    SImple Clean and Homemade I Mules 3

    The warmer weather has me craving fruit, salads, smoothies, and cocktails. Summer is by far my favorite season. I love the hot weather and all the fun outdoor activities that go along with it. I love to peruse the farm market and experiment with new, local, and fresh ingredients. I love taking leisurely walks with the pups and never wearing socks or jackets. My new favorite thing to do at our new home is sit by the river with a cocktail and relax (when we aren’t working on the kitchen). Pierre and LOVE Moscow Mules. If you remember, we made this one last year.

    SImple Clean and Homemade I Mules

    While I still like my original version, this new version is much faster so we can get to relaxing faster. The flavors are bright and fresh. The drink is not overwhelmingly strong (unless you make it that way). It is great for sipping on a quiet night by the river, lake, or ocean.

    SImple Clean and Homemade I Mules 2

    Everyone talks about the importance of the copper mug for a Moscow mule. I think it keeps the drink colder and makes it feel more special. Plus, there is something so sophisticated about those beautiful copper mugs.

    This cocktail is part of RedEnvelope’s #redbar favorite summertime cocktail project. Check it out on Twitter!

    Easy Moscow Mules

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 2 minutes

    Ingredients (1 drink)

    • juice half lime
    • ginger beer (half a bottle)
    • 1 ounce vodka (or more to taste)
    • ice

    Instructions

    Combine all ingredients in a glass or copper mug. Enjoy.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Cranberry Margarita 2

    Cranberry margaritas are my favorite flavor at Mad Mex. I wait all year to enjoy it. Last week, I had my first one of the season and man was it delicious. It actually inspired me to make my own version at home. It is actually quite easy. Basically, mix some cranberry juice, lime, and tequila and serve. If you prefer a drink that is less tart, add some simple syrup. Really it is about how you like it.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Cranberry Margarita

    I like tart drinks, so I add almost no simple syrup. You can serve this with salt or sugar on the rim. I think it makes it extra special to put a few frozen cranberries in the glass.

    Cranberry Margarita

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients (1 margarita)

    • 3/4 cups Cranberry Juice
    • 1 shot Tequila
    • juice 1/2 lime
    • simple syrup to taste (recipe follows)
    • ice
    • frozen cranberries for garnish

    For Simple Syrup

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water

    Instructions

    Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake until cold.

    Rub the rim of the glass with a piece of cut lime. Set in salt. Pour the margarita into the glass and enjoy.

    For the Simple Syrup

    Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool and store in the refrigerator.

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    Simple Clean and Homemade I Rose Sangria

    We have had one crazy month. Wow! I thought I should take a few minutes to get you caught up and explain why I have been missing on here and social media.

    When we bought our house about five and a half years ago, it was in a great location for us. Both of us had about a 30 minute commute, it was in a good school district, the house was big, and we could easily visit my parents in about an hour. It continued to meet our needs until almost two years ago when my husband was laid off from his company. He worked in the education sector and with reduced funding to schools, less purchases were made with his product line. So, we found ourselves searching for a job. Thankfully, he had a job offer a week later, well two. He chose a job that was over an hour away from our house. He stayed there almost a year and last summer, he changed jobs to one that was slightly closer to where we lived.

    In January, we decided to put our house on the market to move somewhere that was older with more character, potentially closer to where he worked and my parents’ home. We showed the house numerous times, frantically cleaning on a few occasions. During that time, the company that he left last summer contacted him and he subsequently went back to work there.

    Photo Jun 14 9 57 41 AM

    So, on June 14th, we moved out of our home of five years. We still do not have a house and are with my parents for the summer. Needless to say, we have been surprisingly busy. My mom opened a small hosta business. During the last month, we had a family reunion and on Saturday, we hosted 60 people on a bus tour for dinner in the garden.

    Joans Country Garden I Garden Hostas 22

    We built the plant displays for under the pergola as well as labeled and organized the plants. This left very little relaxation or blog time. The bus tour turned out really well on Saturday after 14 hours of cooking.

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    So, yesterday was our first real day to relax. We used it to head back to Pittsburgh and visit the I Made It Market as well as to enjoy a few tacos. If you live in or around Pittsburgh, and have not tried Las Palmas, I highly recommend it.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Rose Sangria 3

    After all of our busy days and nights, I wanted to share with you a delicious, refreshing cocktail made out of my favorite wine, rose. I like dry rose wine. Plus, I love sangria. When I was in college, I studied at La universidad de Salamanca in Spain and fell deeper in love with Spanish culture. I wanted to try a new twist on an old favorite, so combined rosado with sangria for a fresh, bright summer cocktail.

    Simple Clean and Homemade I Rose Sangria 2

    I like to make a pitcher of this the day before. I recommend choosing a rose that you would be happy to drink alone, as well as higher quality alcohol in order to enjoy a smoother flavor. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the summer with this light cocktail.

    Rose Sangria

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Keywords: beverage

    Ingredients (6 glasses sangria)

    • 1 bottle rose
    • 3 ounces Gran Marnier
    • 3 ounces Brandy
    • Juice of 2 grapefruit
    • 1 orange, diced
    • 1/2 honeydew, diced

    Instructions

    Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Serve over ice.

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    I was so excited last week when I made my first margarita, I decided that it was necessary to try another flavor. Fruity is good. Add some spice for a little kick at the end. Even better.

    DSC 0306

    This margarita is packed with freshly cut pineapple. I was a little nervous about adding simple syrup because of the sweetness of fresh pineapple, but the habanero really balances out the sugar, making this a refreshing drink with a slight kick. I didn’t add any actual habanero to the drink. It is only steeped in the simple syrup. The heat is rather mild.

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    I can imagine drinking these in a cool summer breeze while reading a good book.

    Pineapple Habanero Margarita

    by Jessica

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: blender beverage

    Ingredients (2 margaritas)

      For the Simple Syrup

      • 1/2 cup sugar
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 1 habanero cut into 4 pieces

      For the Margarita

      • 1 ounce habanero simple syrup
      • 2 shots tequila
      • 1 cup fresh pineapple
      • 2-3 cups crushed ice
      • Juice 1 lime
      • kosher salt

      Instructions

      For the Simple Syrup

      Combine the sugar, water, and habanero in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Allow to cool. Strain. Store in the refrigerator.

      For the Margarita

      Combine ingredients in the blender. You may need to use the tamper to get it to blend evenly.

      Rub the rim of the glass with a piece of lime. Put some Kosher salt on a small plate. Turn the glass on the salt. Pour the margarita in the glass and enjoy.

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      My brain thinks it is summer. I blame it on the tub of coconut body butter that I bought at The Body Shop. I put it on each day and am instantly whisked away to the beach. The smell of coconut paired with the warmer weather has me believing it is basically summer. Plus, I just bought my Buffet tickets and am living the island life while listening to my music. Oh, and I listen to it as loud as the radio goes. It is actually pretty embarrassing to be in the car with me. Anyway, since Cinco de Mayo is upon us, I made some margaritas this weekend. Just making me feel even more like it is summer.

      DSC 0112

      I am fairly certain that most people don’t even know what cinch de mayo is. In fact, I am fairly certain that people believe that it is Mexican Independence Day. Oh, and it is a day where we are supposed to eat “Mexican” food and drink margaritas. It seems like it is similar to our notion that St. Patrick’s Day is a day for drinking green beer.

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      I spent most of my adult life drinking really crappy margaritas. Mostly because it seems like the thing to do at “Mexican” restaurants in western Pennsylvania. When I made them myself, I must have thought there was a mystical ingredient involved, because I always bought the bottles of mix (or the bucket). I always thought it was too sweet. Recently, it occurred to me that margaritas are actually basic, inexpensive ingredients. So, I did it. No mix involved. Just a few simple ingredients. I like mine blended, especially in the Vitamix. It makes it the texture of Italian ice. It actually reminds me of an iced for adults. This will make an appearance a lot this summer. So, it is almost Friday and almost cinco de mayo. Give it a try.

      Lime Mint Margaritas

      by Jessica

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Keywords: blender beverage

      Ingredients (2 margaritas)

        For Mint Simple Syrup

        • 1/2 cup sugar
        • 1/2 cup water
        • 3-4 sprigs mint

        For the Margarita

        • 1 shot simple syrup
        • 2 shots tequila
        • juice 3 limes
        • 3-4 cups crushed ice

        For the Rim

        • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
        • 2 tablespoons sugar
        • zest 1 lime

        Instructions

        For Mint Simple Syrup

        Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add the mint. Allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.

        For the Margarita

        Combine ingredients in a blender. Blend until all ice is crushed (almost an Italian ice consistency). You really needs to be done using a high-performance blender.

        For the Rim

        Combine salt, sugar, and lime in a bowl.

        Rub a lime on the rim of the glasses. Rub the glasses in the salt, sugar, and lime mixture. Pour the margaritas in the glasses.

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        Mules

        Happy Friday! I thought, since it’s Friday, I would share a delicious beverage with all of you. It is refreshing and fresh tasting.

        DSC 0179

        I think I might talk about brunch too much. Last time we went to Eleven, we ordered the Eleven Mules. It was the most refreshing cocktail that I ever tasted. So, when we were talking about making a cocktail, we decided to recreate the delicious brunch cocktail.

        DSC 0187

        The Moscow mule was invented in 1940 and was a very popular drink in the 1950′s. The drink is comprised of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. This drink is also infused with cucumber which adds freshness to the drink. Our tiny local grocery store does not carry ginger beer, so I decided that the best solution was to make a ginger and cucumber infused simple syrup. Then, we could adjust the amounts in our drinks to our own preferences.

        DSC 0176

        Once you make the simple syrup, strain it and store it in the refrigerator. It can be made a few days in advance. This drink is delicious with or without the alcohol. The freshness makes it a great brunch cocktail.

        Mules

        by Jessica

        Prep Time: 15 minutes

        Cook Time: 10 minutes

        Ingredients (8-12 servings of syrup, 1 drin)

          For the Simple Syrup

          • 1 cup sugar
          • 1 cup water
          • 3 inch piece of ginger, chunked
          • 1/2 seedless cucumber, chunked

          For the Drink

          • Seltzer water
          • 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger, cucumber infused simple syrup
          • crushed ice
          • lime juice
          • cucumber slices

          Instructions

          For the Simple Syrup

          In a small sauce pan, simmer the water, sugar, ginger, and cucumber until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and allow the ginger and cucumber to steep in the syrup until cool.

          For the drink

          In a glass, add ice, simple syrup, a squirt of lime, vodka, and seltzer water. Stir to combine. Garnish with cucumber.

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          IMG 4896

          Last year, we got a tin of Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate as a gift. It was rich, thick, and the perfect grown up hot chocolate. When the tin was empty, I went to Trader Joe’s to buy a new tin, but they didn’t have it. It was a tragedy. It was the first hot chocolate that I loved as an adult. It was a decadent dessert in the winter. 

          IMG 4897

          This year, when the cold weather started to come and I was left with some halloween candy, I decided to try making hot cocoa again. I knew that I wanted it to be a decadent, rich treat. I got to work. 

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          I took some of my mini chocolate bars, and chopped then in to tiny pieces. 

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          And I got out the rest of the Halloween marshmallows that I bought. 

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          I mixed my ingredients together in a small sauce pan and brought it to a boil until it got slightly thick. I think the cornstarch is where I went wrong all the other times I tried to make hot chocolate. The mixes all get slightly thick and mine never did, until now. I add the chocolate to the boiling hot chocolate and whisk to incorporate it. 

          IMG 4906

          I add the marshmallows to the cup and then pour the cocoa over top of them. To make the marshmallows extra sticky. I put the cup in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Enjoy this on a cool night under a warm blanket. 

          Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

          by Jessica

          Prep Time: 5 minutes

          Cook Time: 10 minutes

           


          Ingredients (2 servings)

          • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
          • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
          • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
          • pinch salt
          • pinch cinnamon
          • pinch nutmeg
          • 2 tablespoons cold coconut milk
          • 1 1/2 cups milk
          • 25 grams chocolate, chopped
          • splash vanilla
          • marshmallows

          Instructions

          In a small sauce pan, combine cocoa powder, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk in milk and coconut milk.

          Heat on medium until boiling. Add chopped chocolate and stir whisk for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.

          Remove from the heat. Add a splash of vanilla. Add marshmallows to the cup. Pour the hot chocolate over the marshmallows and serve.

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          green mocha frap

          If you are like me, you love a frap. However, I always pass them by because I don’t want to drink all of those unhealthy calories. I had to recreate my own at home that incorporated my favorite mocha frap and green smoothies. It turned out delicious. It has the same texture but offers more flexibility in my coffee and milk options and allows me to add spinach. I do love drinking my greens. You can add other greens, too.

          This recipe requires coffee ice cubes. We make these any time we have left over coffee. Simply pour your cool coffee into ice cube trays and freeze for at least 4 hours. Then, store them in a zip-top bag.

          Coffee ice cubes

          We keep a big bag of coffee ice cubes in our freezer basically all the time. I prefer decaf because caffeinated coffee makes me jittery. Then I can’t sleep. So I talk. Pierre doesn’t like that.

          smoothie ingredients

          I take out all of my ingredients except the coffee ice cubes. I wait until I am ready for them so they don’t defrost. I use So Delicious Coconut Milk, Vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, Hershey’s Lite syrup, and spinach.

           

          Photo Jul 12 12 08 28 PM

          For two servings, add 1 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of Hershey’s Lite Syrup. Then, I add 3-4 large handfuls of spinach.

          smoothie

          I start it on low.

           

          smoothie

          Then crank it the whole way up. After the spinach is incorporated, I stop the machine and add the coffee ice cubes. I use 11 ice cubes for 2 servings.

          Turn the machine back on and blend it for another 1-2 minutes.

          smoothie

           

          Then, pour into a glass and enjoy!green mocha frap

          smoothie

          Green mocha frap

          frap

          You can even add Kahluaor Baily’s to your smoothie to make it a boozy smoothie.

          boozy green mocha frap

          Approzimate Nutrition Information without whipped cream, Baily’s, or chocolate drizzle per serving:

          Calories: 82

          Carbs: 13 g

          Fat: 3 g

          Protein 2 g

           

          Green Mocha Frap

          by Jessica

          Prep Time: 5 minutes

          Keywords: blender appetizer beverage snack breakfast Spinach Coffee

           

          Ingredients (2 servings)

          • 1 cup milk
          • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
          • 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Lite Chocolate Syrup
          • pinch salt
          • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
          • 11 coffee ice cubes

          Instructions

          Put all ingredients except the coffee ice cubes in the blender. Blend until smooth.

          Add the coffee ice cubes and blend an additional 1-2 minutes.

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