Happy (almost) New Years! I’m so excited to celebrate the end of 2015 and ring in the new year tonight. The new year promises to be a great one — full of family, friends, travel and, let’s not forget, new recipes.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been busy testing out new, healthy and tasty recipes. I’m even playing with some sugar-free (yet, completely delicious) dessert options, sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Be sure to check back in over the next few weeks for what I have in store.
Today, I want to share with you this healthy blackberry spritzer — just in time for your New Year’s Eve toast! It’s super refreshing and easy to make so you have no excuse but to whip a few up for you and your friends. For a slightly boozy twist, add a splash of vodka or swap out the sparkling water with champagne or sparkling white wine.
Cheers to the new year!
I’m not sure about you, but emerging from winter this year is going to be tough. I’m starting to get nervous about removing all of my layers and showing my hot new NYC bod…a body built from the accumulation of all of the wonderful treats NYC has to offer. In other words, I’m not exactly at my best right now.
As I’ve mentioned before, this was my first real winter. Never before have I had this problem, since in LA you can be in shorts all year round. But the sun is coming out, and now is the time to get in shape. (Sidenote- this is partially why I haven’t been posting as much on this blog, but it can also be attributed to laziness!). I will be quitting my job in the next 6 weeks and embarking on a 2 month summer trip before enrolling in a full-time MBA program in August. This means swimsuits—lots of swimsuits! From the Full Moon Party in Koh Samui to Santorini to Ultra Europe in Croatia, the pressure is on.
I will begin my journey with Cathy and some other college friends in Thailand. We will be leaving for Thailand on May 27th, and that is the timeline I’ve set for myself to eat super healthy and keep up my gym kick. This means the recipes I will post until then will be much more on the healthy side. My goal is to eliminate (but realistically minimize) carbs and refined sugar for at least the next month! Wish me luck…
This recipe was inspired by a smoothie I often get at Equinox after a workout. I love it because it has coffee and sort of reminds me of a frappaccino, but way healthier and without refined sugar. It makes the perfect breakfast after an early morning workout. Chocolate and cherry also happens to be one of my favorite combinations, so I hope you enjoy!
Chocolate Cherry Espresso Smoothie
3/4 Cup Chilled Coffee
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Frozen Banana
1/2 Cup Frozen Cherries
1 Tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter
1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
3-4 Ice Cubes
Optional: 1 Tsp Honey
It looks like Cathy and I think way too much alike. We’ve both gone a little crazy with pumpkin this month, and we have declared October to officially be Pumpkin Month. This year it’s especially important for me to have a lot of orange in my life, as it is, after all, an #OrangeOctober. For those of you who don’t follow sports, the SF Giants have made it to the World Series, and their tagline is Orange October. Last week I watched all the games, had some crazy nights cheering at Finnerty’s, the San Francisco bar here in New York, and they did it! And I’m actually GOING to the World Series next weekend in SF! So drink up friends, and brace yourself for this Orange October.
This smoothie is one of my favorite fall breakfast treats. It is deceivingly healthy even though it tastes deliciously like pumpkin pie. It is protein-packed and the pumpkin adds a healthy boost of carotenes. The key ingredient is definitely the pumpkin pie spice, which adds a blast of flavor. I will probably be drinking one every day of this World Series. Go Giants!
Guilt-Free Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
1 Frozen Banana
1 Heaping Cup Organic Pumpkin Purée
1/3 Cup Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Almond Milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
1 Tsp Agave or Maple Syrup (I used Trader Joe’s Agave-Maple)
1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Ice Cubes
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
This is my first time “cooking” in my NYC apartment! Yes, I’m using the term lightly. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I am embarrassed to say I have yet to use the oven. The convenience of dinner options is just way too crazy, but I am planning on forcing myself to cook once in awhile once things settle down. The good news about my NYC apartment is that I have an amazing outdoor patio space (see photo at the bottom!) which means the natural light and settings available for my photography are even better than I had in LA. Yes, I’m very lucky…such a patio is unheard of in this city.
This smoothie recipe is one of my favorites, and it’s packed full of protein and quite healthy. I’ve always loved a good chocolate-cinnamon combination, and this smoothie, or you may even call it a healthy milkshake, is good enough to eat for breakfast (or dinner?). It’s got pure cacao powder, greek yogurt, banana, peanut butter and almond milk–all guilt-free ingredients, so drink up!
Also, guess what?! A La Main will officially be reunited in precisely ONE WEEK! Yes, Cathy and the gang are coming to visit me in NYC for Labor Day Weekend. And you can bet there will be plenty of
cooking eating throughout the weekend! I can’t wait to take my friends to some awesome spots I’ve discovered in my neighborhood, as well as explore some new places. Stay tuned!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Inspired Smoothie
1 Banana, frozen
1/2 Cup of Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup of Almond Milk
1 1/2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp of Raw Cacao Powder
1 Tsp of Cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy.
In honor of National Lemonade Day (technically tomorrow, August 20th), we’ve decided to present to you, the boozier cousin of the Arnold Palmer. But before we get the the refreshing cocktail, I thought I would share some interesting tidbits I ran across while doing my recipe research.
- The drink’s named after the American golfer, Arnold Palmer. The drink supposedly got it’s name when Palmer ordered a tea/lemonade mocktail at the 1960s U.S. Open. A woman nearby saw the drink and told her waiter, “I’ll have the Palmer drink.”
- There’s no strict lemonade to tea ratio, though most restaurants use a half and half combination.
And some fun facts on lemons to make you day a little brighter.
- Since lemons are high in vitamin C, sailors used them as a way to prevent scurvy, a disease that causes achy joints, loose teeth and bleeding gums. According to Sunkist, to this day, the British Navy requires ships to carry enough lemons for sailors to have one ounce of juice a day.
- Lemons are multi-duty. Not only do they taste good, they act as pretty powerful natural cleaners. According to Cooking Light, the juice can brighten aluminum, the rind (dipped in salt) acts as an abrasive scrubber and the “leftovers” can be used as a sink disposal deodorizer. Now, that’s what I call your money’s worth.
- Lemon trees produce fruit all year, meaning any day can be a Palmer day.
One of my coworkers said the other day, “you know you’ve made it when they make a non-alcoholic drink after you.” I’ll counter, a little bit of vodka never hurt anybody…especially when it looks like this!
Spiked Arnold Palmer
3 Cups of Trader Joe’s Organic Lemonade
6-7 Black Tea Bags
3 Cups of Water
1 1/2 Cups of Vodka
Boil water and steep tea bags until tea is almost cool. Mix lemonade, tea and vodka. Add wedges of orange and lemon and garnish with mint.
Makes 6-8 servings.