Pomegranate Cosmopolitan

1985domwboxWhile we all love a bottle of something bubbly on New Year’s Eve, I’m a girl who likes to start the evening’s festivities off with something fun.

It’s even better when I can make that something fun by the pitcher to share with my like minded girlfriends, so I don’t have to pause during the fun of the evening to play bartender!

The fun of this big batch Cosmopolitan / Martini is that it gets made in the blender (my Vitamix) and strained into the pitcher.  No messy cocktail shaker to deal with and no sticky counter from prying the shaker lid on and off for each individual drink!

Pomegranate Cosmopolitanpomegranatemartini

  • 1 Cup Vodka (I prefer Grey Goose L’Orange)
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier / Cointreau / Triple Sec)
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 2 limes, peel removed in strips and retained.  Fruit cut into quarters, seeds (if any) discarded.
  • 1/2 Cup Ice Cubes

Peeled lime, close-upScrape the lengths of lime peel so that no bitter white pith remains.  Slice into 1/2″ wide lengths and wrap around a straw to shape in a curl and put into the refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes.

Put everything, except the lime peels, into the blender (or Vitamix) container, and blend on High (10) for about 30 seconds.

Pour through a fine sieve into chilled martini glasses or into a chilled pitcher to serve later.  Recipe makes 3 large drinks and can easily be doubled to make a pitcher.

pomfruitsUse the lime strips to garnish the glasses and drop a few pomegranate arils, coated in sugar, into the bottom of the glass if desired.

**TIPTo coat the pomegranate arils, in sugar, put a tablespoon or two in a zip bag with a tablespoon of pomegranate juice and a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar.  Close the zipper on the bag and shake vigorously until the arils are well coated.

**TIPIf you like your martini sweeter, add a tablespoon of simple syrup (a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water – I make a cup at a time in the microwave to keep on hand).

**TIP If you like your martini with no evidence of the muddled lime in it, pour it through the sieve again when you pour it from the pitcher to the chilled glass.  #ThisGirlLovesHerCocktails

Adapted from the Vitamix Cookbook

Keto Friendly – Zoodles Alfredo

filetandZA

I was looking for a quick and tasty, but not boring, side dish to serve with the filet mignon steaks I grabbed from the butcher on the way home tonight and this recipe gave me a great excuse to try out the #ImpulsePurchase of the #SpiralifePro vegetable spiral slicer that I made on Amazon last month.  #WinWin

Zoodles Alfredo

  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • Freshly Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 2 TBLS Butter
  •  4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 oz Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

zuccalfredo.jpgUsing a spiralizer or hand held strip peeler, prepare your zucchini, pile onto a cutting board lined with paper towel or a hand towel and salt generously with the pink sea salt to help draw out as much water as possible.

In a small frying pan, heat about 1 TBLS of olive oil and add the zucchini to the pan.  Stir-fry until heated through then turn heat off.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter then add the garlic, the cream cheese and whipping cream.  Stir until the cream cheese has melted and is combined with the whipping cream.  Simmer for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching.  Sauce will be thick and very cheesy.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.  Adjust the seasonings.

Add as much sauce as desired to the zucchini in the frying pan and toss the zucchini until it’s well coated.  Super thick and satisfying.  Store extra sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing

indexyresolutions

For those who make them, the time to set your resolutions for 2019 is quickly approaching.  If you’re one of the many vowing to lose a few pounds, why wait until after the first of the year to start?  You can get a head start on your goals quite easily.

It’s not hard at all to cut carbs and sugar from your diet while still enjoying the things you like, and making just that small change can make a big impact on your scale quite quickly.  A great place to start, where even guests at your holiday parties won’t notice a difference: Dips & dressings for vegetables or salads.

Avocado Lime Ranch Dressingavcadodipdressing

  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBLS mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1+1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • juice from 1 medium lime (about 2 TBLS)
  • 1-2 TBLS shallot finely minced

Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, take a taste.  Adjust your seasonings then scrape all contents into a container with a tightly fitting lid and store in your refrigerator.  Use up within a week.

**TIP:  If the dressing is too thick, pour some into a smaller bowl or cup and add a TBLS or two of milk to thin it down to a better consistency.

This is great on salads, over steamed vegetables, as a dip for fresh vegetables or tortilla chips, and even with Mexican food.

Nutrition information:  Calories 80; Fat 9g; Protein 1g; Net Carbs 1g  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Chunky Bacon Creamed Spinach

SpinachThis is the recipe made famous by the Southern California prime rib institution, Gulliver’s, with the barest of modifications to take away the baby food consistency and make it meatier.  There is also a seamless modification to make this a perfect Keto side dish.

Chunky Bacon Creamed Spinach

  • 2 – 16 oz packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 12 pieces thick cut bacon (Usually a 12 oz pkg) I buy from the butcher so it may be more than 12 oz
  • 3 cups milk (I recommend whole milk)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (1 1/2 tsp if jarred minced garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour  (for Keto use 1/3 cup almond flour)

Thaw spinach and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.

Cut bacon into about 1″ pieces and cook in a large saucepan or medium dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat until it’s brown but not yet crispy.  You want as much fat to render as possible so it’s not too chewy. Using tongs, remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.

Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  While onions are cooking, microwave your milk on high for 4 minutes.  Stir in pepper and flour, stirring continuously for about 2 minutes.

TIP: Pre-packaged bacon tends to be fattier, so you’ll have more grease and a better roux.  You may need to add a little butter (olive oil if you used almond flour) to the pan to give your mixture a better consistency if it’s too dry, if you used bacon with less visible fat.  If your bacon gave off more grease than whichever flour you used could absorb, add more a teaspoon at a time, thoroughly stirring in between additions until your roux is holding together and not too wet or dry.

Add milk and whip until smooth. TIP: If you don’t like the consistency of your almond flour, at this point you can use your immersion blender to smooth everything out, including the onions and garlic.

Stir and cook another 2 minutes, or until a slow boil starts.  Add bacon back in, then add spinach  Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  TIP: I like the creaminess of adding an additional 1/4 cup of heavy cream when it’s done cooking, but before the next. step, especially if you are doing the Keto version.  Cover top with 1/2 cup melted butter and lid until ready to serve.  If you can make this the day before, it is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator.  Just warm it up slowly in the oven.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Friendly, Low Carb Baked Cauliflower Au Gratin

Tomorrow’s all about talkin’ turkey, but tonight I wanted to look at an alternative to the usual sides and came across this recipe for baked cauliflower au gratin.  Anyone who is doing Keto or trying to avoid the bread and potatoes will definitely appreciate your (very limited) effort on this comforting side dish.

Baked Cauliflower Au Gratinlow-carb-baked-cauliflower-au-gratin-photo

  • 1 pound cauliflower cut into florets (or precut/bagged florets) 4 cups +/-
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp almond flour
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp coconut flour
  • 1+1/2 cups 2% or almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Preheat oven to 375° F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook 5 to 7 minutes until just tender.  Drain well and spread out on paper towels.  Using another layer of paper towel on top, gently press out as much moisture as you can.

While the cauliflower cooks, melt the butter in a medium pan over medium/high heat. Once melted, add in the almond and coconut flours and whisk, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown, about 1 minute.

Whisk in the milk, salt, garlic and onion powder and pepper until smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, until VERY thick, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheese until smooth.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan. Pack the cauliflower into the pan on top and then spoon the rest of the sauce over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. OPTIONAL: broil for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Friendly Appetizers That’ll Please the Whole Crowd

Spinach-Stuffed-MushroomsTo serve appetizers or not on Thanksgiving is always one of my biggest questions.  I don’t want to have people be so stuffed they don’t eat the main meal, but I don’t want to have people complaining if things get delayed, as always seems to happen.

The problem with appetizers is twofold: if someone else brings them they bring way too many, and if I do them it’s something else I have to do while also cooking the meal.  Then there is the dietary debate…who eats how, etc.  The beauty of these Keto appetizers is that they will appeal to everyone (give or take) in the crowd when a couple of them are paired with a simple cheese and/or veggie tray and that should be just enough to keep the troops happy until the main event.

These could also be great side dish options.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 – 30 white mushrooms or baby bellas

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and mix well. Stir in spinach.  Spoon filling into the mushrooms and place in a buttered baking dish.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.

Parmesan Crusted Crushed TurnipsParmesan-Crusted-Smashed-Turnips

  • 12 small to medium turnips, peeled
  • 3 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1+1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
  • finely chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place peeled turnips in pot of cold salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and cool slightly.

Place the turnips on a clean, lint-free, dish towel on your work surface.  Using a spatula or other large utensil, press down on each turnip until they are all about 1/2″ thick.  Let them drain for 10-15 minutes then flip over to a dry part of the towel and let the other side dry.

Combine olive oil, garlic, and salt & pepper in a small bowl.  Brush both sides of each turnip with the oil mixture, press each side of each turnip into the Parmesan cheese, and place each turnip on a baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes then flip each turnip over and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes until they’re nice and golden brown.  Garnish with fresh chives.  Serve with sour cream if desired. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Zinful Cranberries

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This is a recipe I shared yesterday to my wine lifestyle blog #GirlsGoneWine that I love pulling out for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s one that I have been making for a few years. It’s fast, easy, and tastes so good!  If you’re serving a #KetoCrowd, there’s an adaptation at the bottom of the recipe.

Growing up, my family never ate any cranberry sauce that was homemade.  In the preparations for cannedcranberriesThanksgiving, someone was always assigned the task of bringing two cans of jellied and one of whole berry cranberry sauce.  You couldn’t try and pull a fast one by buying store brand.  It had to be Ocean Spray on Grandma’s Thanksgiving table!

When I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my own family I automatically followed the same routine until I became obsessed with the Food Network a few years back and made my first foray into making cranberry sauce from scratch.

For the first few years, I stuck with the basic “back of the package” recipe:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 – 12 oz bag of whole fresh cranberries

Boil sugar and water, add cranberries and cook 10 minutes over a slow boil until berries have popped, refrigerate until time to serve.  *If you wanted it jellied you strained out the berry solids and skins using a mesh strainer before refrigerating.  BORING!

This year I put some time and creativity into the preparation and came up with a winner:

Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 & 1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.

Keto Conversion:  Substitute 1/2 Cup+1 TBLS Granulated Swerve (Stevia) for the Sugar

Don’t worry, for the holdouts who just can’t stand not seeing the canned Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce, I still have the obligatory dish with the slices in the shape of the can. 😉  #CAGirlsGoneWine