watermelon margarita

watermelon margarita 1325

This margarita was not supposed to be here today.

This margarita was supposed to be a different kind of margarita instead.

And then it was supposed to be a cake, but that’s another story for another day.

Today’s story is about my quest to make you a delightfully southwestern margarita full of prickly pear juice and limes and tequila.

Unfortunately, both prickly pears (also known as “cactus pears”) and limes were in short supply in my neighborhood.   Which is funny because I distinctly remember almost buying a bunch of them last week, but not knowing what I would do with them so deciding against it. As luck would have it, now that I wanted to use them, they were nowhere in sight.

I searched my store high and low for those same prickly pears that were piled high just last week and finally found two hiding underneath some mini bananas. I quickly grabbed them up and immediately regretted my decision.

To say they were “over-ripe” would be an understatement. They basically turned to mush in my hands. Those poor two prickly pears had probably been hiding under those bananas for weeks, months, or maybe even years… thinking they were safe… until I came along.

Ok, so maybe not years. But definitely for awhile. It probably doesn’t help that bananas tend to help things ripen. Did you know that? It’s a very helpful factoid when you are stuck with an underripe avocado and a craving for guacalmole.

Would you like to know another helpful factoid? Prickly pears are prickly, and not just in the way you might think.

Prickly_pear_cactus_beed

Stores often remove the fruit’s larger spines to help save their poor customers’ hands. What they do not always remove, however, are the super tiny, almost invisible, hairlike spines that grow on them as a secondary defense.

At least, my store doesn’t… So after I set down my prickly pear mush, I discovered that my hands were now covered in tiny, almost invisible, cactus needles.  My poor poor hands.

Have you ever tried grocery shopping or driving a car with thousands* of needles poking into your hand? It’s rather difficult.

*Ok, so maybe it was more like ten…

I grabbed the tweezers when I got home and immediately began my emergency surgery. Time spent holding prickly pears: approximately 6 seconds. Time spent looking for and removing tiny cacti needles out of my had: approximately 26 minutes.

Lesson learned – always wear gloves when touching cacti-related objects.  No matter how safe they look.

You know what’s not prickly? Watermelons.

watermelon margarita 3

Watermelons are quite smooth, actually.  In fact, watermelons may be one of the least prickly things on the planet.

I’m not sure if there have been scientific studies or not to back this up, but if there were I’m pretty sure they would uphold my hypothesis.

Unfortunately, watermelons are also not prickly pears.  They do, however, have a similar flavor profile. While I would say prickly pears are a bit sweeter than watermelons, Shannon aptly described them as, “A prickly pear is like if a watermelon and some bubble gum had a baby.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, this Cinco de Mayo, I give to you a not-prickly-pear margarita. No gloves or tweezers necessary. Limes, however, are necessary. You do not want to be out running around to four different stores at the last minute because you realize that you are a big dummy and you forgot to get limes.

If you need more ideas for you Cinco de Mayo fiesta, you can check out this roundup.

watermelon margarita

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 3 Margaritas

Serving Size: 8 oz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup tequila (I use Sauza blanco)
  • 2 Tablespoons simple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cointreau
  • 1 lime, sliced (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Process watermelon in a blender until liquified. Strain if necessary to remove any seeds.
  2. In a large cup or shaker, combine watermelon puree, tequila, cointreau, simple syrup, and juice of one lime. Shake or stir with ice to combine.
  3. Strain into ice-filled glass and garnish with lime slice to serve.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/03/watermelon-margarita/

watermelon margarita - wee-eats.com

 

green juice

green juice 1

After a weekend spent at the brim of uncomfortable fullness, the last thing I can think about today is the last piece of birthday cake sitting in the refrigerator.  Actually, it’s one of the only things I can think about, but I can’t imagine eating it.  Not even one bite.

The last thing I need in my life right now is another piece of cake.

My body is craving one thing: green.

I know, you totally think I’m crazy, but I promise you I’m not.  Not completely, at least.

green juice 2

So, before you turn your nose up at the thought of a green juice, listen to this.  This is not bitter, or sour, or savory, nor does it taste like “green” (think: wheatgrass. yuck!)

This juice does not taste like green.  There is a tiny bit of pineapple in there, and that’s the magical ingredient with juice.  Whatever you are putting in your juice, I promise that if you put just like a cup of pineapple in there it will magically taste like fruity deliciousness.

True story.

I’m not an organic food snob, but when it comes to juicing I use organic whenever possible.  I don’t chop my fruit or veggies (unless they don’t fit into the opening in my juicer).  If you don’t have a juicer, I have also included directions for making the juice in your blender.

This isn’t baking, so you don’t need to be exact, and while I don’t think I’ve made this “recipe” the same way twice (for example, I’m out of spinach so yesterday I used only kale), it’s kinda a franken-juice from all of the green juice recipes I’ve perused online…  it goes a little something like this…

Green Juice

Makes about 16 ounces* of juice

*Your actual yield will vary depending on how juicy your produce is

Printable Recipe

  • 1 to 2 handfuls baby spinach (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 to 2 handfuls chopped tuscan kale ( 2 – 3 kale leaves, stems removed)
  • 2 stalks celery (Sometimes I leave the celery out if it smells salty.  That’s totally a thing.  Remember that thing I said about how I’m not crazy?)
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 3 medium (3-inch) green apples
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pineapple (about 1/4 to 1/3 of a pineapple, cored with skin removed)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

 

Since I’m not peeling them, I start with fresh, organic produce, wash it thoroughly, and cut it just so it’s small enough to fit into the mouth of my juicer.

Add ingredients to juicer in order listed.  Done! (That was easy right?)

If you’re using a blender instead of a juicer, go ahead and chop everything into roughly equal-sized pieces.  Add about a half of water to the ingredients (just enough to get everything moving around in there, add more if needed)  in your blender and whirring away until completely blended.  From there you can drink it as a smoothie, or strain out the solids and enjoy it as a juice.

 *A lot of green juice recipes tell you to use parsley, it has magical cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties.  I, however, despise the taste of parsley with the strength of 1,000 suns.  Don’t ask why, I just do.  And even though I’m sure a couple of sprigs wouldn’t kill me, for the sake of flavor (re: delicious vs herby), I left it out.  Feel free to add some if you like, it’s up to you. 

Adult Hot Chocolate

HOT COCOA 3

I know that I’ve already warmed you up with hot chocolate on a stick and peanut butter hot chocolate, but given this weekend’s bout of dreary, rainy weather I found myself in need of  another warm chocolatey drink.

An “adult drink,” if you know what I mean.

And let’s class it up a little bit, as much as I love my penguin cups, it felt wrong to drink an alcoholic beverage out of something so cute.  The solution?  A martini glass, of course.  Even though this isn’t a martini in any way, shape, or form (well, aside from that it contains alcohol), I thought it was a nice touch.  (Last time I used them was for Easter, so I felt their time had come)

You know, the kind of classy touch that a girl needs when she’s drinking an adult beverage alone in her pajamas watching the rain (or snow) fall outside.

Don’t judge.

It’s not really a “recipe”, you can just grab some hot chocolate, and pour some “marshmallow fluff”-flavored alcohol in it until it’s to your liking.  You can make it as strong or as weak as you like (the recipe is easy enough that you can keep making them, even after you’ve had a few).

And, of course, it wouldn’t be hot chocolate without a marshmallow on top.

hot choc 1

Adult Hot Chocolate

Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 serving of your favorite hot cocoa
  • 1 – 2 oz Whipped Cream or Marshmallow flavored vodka
  • Desired topping (mashmallow or whipped cream)

1. Make hot cocoa, allow to cool a bit then stir in your vodka.

2. Top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.

3. Drink out of a fancy martini glass because, why not?

 

 

Looking for more drinks?  Try these:

 

Jellybean Martini  pb hot chocolate

peanut butter hot cocoa (aka "happiness in a cup")

DSC_7976sm

So, the joke’s on me, because our 80-degrees-and-sunny weather has already been replaced by cold and rainy.  Can you believe it?  RAIN!  It’s like a torrential downpour outside right now.  I’m not even kidding.  So, even though it’s 8:00 am, it’s not too early for a  nice, warm pick-me-up.

Last weekend, I posted hot chocolate on a stick to help warm you up, but what if you’re looking for a more instant solution?  That’s easy – turn your favorite hot cocoa mix into PEANUT BUTTER hot chocolate!

4d98400a53b111e2b9d422000a1fa429_7

My two favorite things, peanut butter and chocolate, get to shine again in this nice, warm beverage.  Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallow fluff to create the ultimate hot chocolate indulgence.  I seriously think my heart skipped a few beats when I drank this.  Honestly, I don’t know how I have drank hot chocolate for the last 20-some years without stirring a little peanut butter into it.  It’s almost like I’ve never truly lived until this day.

Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic.  But I think you get the point.  If you’re not the recipe-following type, feel free to just stir a tablespoon or two of peanut butter into your next cup of hot chocolate.  Just give it a try and see what happens.  My “recipe” uses your average hot cocoa mix, if you want to make your own hot cocoa from scratch, use your favorite hot cocoa recipe and add the extras into it.

DSC_7978sm

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 serving of your favorite hot cocoa mix, prepared with 6 ounces hot milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of your favorite creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon marshmallow fluff, plus extra for serving

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to bubble at edges, about 2-3 minutes.

Add hot cocoa mix, peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon fluff, stirring until completely melted.

Pour into serving cup and top with heaping spoonful of fluff.  Drink and enjoy.

hot chocolate on a stick

DSC_7795edit

We recently had a cold snap here, which I hear is in store for the rest of the country as well.  (I don’t know what that means, because I’m pretty sure it’s actually “winter” for the rest of you, but that’s what the weather man said.)  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to warm up than a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Not just any hot chocolate, but THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE IN ALL THE LAND!

I know this because I was told so by my co-worker when she had some.  And also from those who received it in their Christmas baskets.

Oh, and it’s way more fun than regular hot chocolate, because it’s on a stick!  How fun is that?  Just stir it into hot milk (note: really hot milk, unless you want to eat the fudgey leftovers like I some people do).

It’s so good it’ll warm you right up.  It will warm your tummy and your heart.  Especially when served in an adorable, heart-warming penguin cup.  (BF took this pic with his iPad)


penger

This is nice to enjoy while warming your toes with your loved one, or as quietly as possible standing in front of the fridge.  I store mine in the fridge because I think it stands to reason they should last longer that way.  In the event that they hang around long enough that their shelf-life becomes a concern.

Did I mention that it’s also delicious on its own as a fudge-pop?  Like a lollipop made of fudge.  Fudge on a lollipop stick.  Whatever.  Or, ya know, as a cube of not-hot chocolate.

You should always taste for quality-control.  You wouldn’t want to gift a sub-par product, would you?

DSC_7789edit

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or extract of your choice)
  • Marshmallows
  • Lollipop sticks

1. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.  Set aside for 10 minutes while the chocolate melts.

3. After your 10 minutes have passed, return the pan to the burner and whisk over low heat until the chocolate has completely melted.  Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny.  This is where you can add extract, if you wish.   I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, you could make peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint extract, or hazelnut with hazelnut extract… you get the picture.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan and shake the pan to level.  Set aside overnight (I stored mine in the microwave… with the microwave off, of course).

5. Remove your chocolate from the pan by pulling your foil handles (if you covered the pan in foil), or you can turn it upside down if you like.  If you didn’t line your pan (aka – didn’t follow step #1), gently go around the edges of the pan with a butter knife to loosen the chocolate, then remove it from the pan.

6.  Slice into 1″ to 1-1/2″ cubes (I actually tried to size mine to the diameter of my marshmallows).  Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts.  Stick a lollipop stick into the center of the marshmallow, then the center of each chocolate block.  I wrapped mine in cellophane bags that were made for “cake pops” (the bags and sticks actually came together as a cake pop kit, but the sticks were a little shorter than I’d have liked.)

7. When you are ready to consume your hot chocolate, just stir it into 8 ounces of hot milk -plus or minus a couple ounces, depending on how chocolatey you want your hot chocolate.

m4s0n501