Things have been quiet here at Zest & Zeal over the past several weeks. We decided to push back from the desk and close up the laptop in exchange for more quality time with our families. Writing and running a blog involves a lot of screen time. Now that it is summer and we have very active toddlers, we want to savor this precious time, get outside, and explore!
I recently returned from a Caribbean vacation with my husband in celebration of our five-year anniversary. While in vacation mode, I made it my job (my duty as an American tourist, really) to sample a rum punch during sunset from a different spot on the island each day - a taste test of sorts. :) When the "tea theme" for this month's Recipe Redux was announced, I knew I had to incorporate my recent journey and experience as a rum punch connoisseur into the recipe creation.I recently returned from a Caribbean vacation with my husband in celebration of our five-year anniversary. While in vacation mode, I made it my job (my duty as an American tourist, really) to sample a rum punch during sunset from a different spot on the island each day - a taste test of sorts. :) When the "tea theme" for this months Recipe Redux was announced, I knew I had to incorporate my recent journey and experience as a rum punch connoisseur into the recipe creation...
I have never been a huge fan of macaroni and cheese. Don't get me wrong, it is tasty but not something I crave. I definitely had my fair share of Velveeta Shells and Cheese when I was growing up. I have fond memories of eating Velveeta Shells and Cheese and tuna salad with my sister. There was nothing like a little neon yellow cheese! I will occasionally make my son Annie's Whole Wheat Shells & Cheddar in a pinch, but I prefer to make homemade when time allows so it can bw gluten-free (not a fan of Annie's gluten-free version).
Before cutting white sugar from my diet, I was a Sour Patch Kids junkie. I just love all things tart and sour! The kiwi, one of the highest fruit sources of vitamin C, makes this smoothie nice and tart. Some smoothies are a good substitute for a meal, but I recommend using this smoothie as an afternoon snack or pick-me-up since it contains just fruit and coconut milk. I prefer to enjoy a fruit smoothie between breakfast and lunch on the weekends.
We are proud to announce that Zest & Zeal now offers ZipList! Many of you may already use ZipList for other sites. For those of you who aren't familiar with the site, you can add the ingredients for any recipe from Zest & Zeal to your shopping list with just one click! You can also save recipes that you know you want to make to the ZipList recipe box. The site enables you to keep all your favorite recipes from all your favorite blogs and websites in one organized place and also allows you to easily print your recipes! Ziplist has a free mobile app, so you can even get organized while on the go.
You will see a Recipe Box tab in the navigation bar on the top of our site (see picture below), which is where you want to go to take advantage of all of the wonderful tools Ziplist offers to make your culinary endeavors organized and headache free. You can set-up an account and start saving recipes from all of your favorite sites! To learn more about the Ziplist site please visit their homepage. We look forward to your our partnership with Ziplist!
A couple of weeks ago I brought you a bit of spring with my Gluten-Free Lemon Muffins and my Rhubarb Bellini. This week, I have a spring-inspired side dish of sugar snap peas! You know I am all about simple recipe. If a recipe has too many ingredients, steps, or requires me to dirty more than a few dishes I won't be making that recipe. Nope, I don't have time for such nonsense. :) I cook so much that I want and need (for my own sanity) to keep everything as simple as possible.
I just love discovering new treats! I think it is so essential for our overall health to have something simple to indulge in each day - a scented bath at the end of a long Monday, a good glass of wine with dinner, a bit of dark chocolate at the end of a meal, or a delectable cup of hot tea as an afternoon pick-me-up or to awaken your senses in the morning.
I have been on a baking kick lately (my husband definitely approves) and since we had a candy-free Easter, I decided to make my son a dessert to enjoy instead of partaking in the bag of candy he brought home from his Easter party. Nothing is much better than a chewy, chocolaty brownie and this grain-free version will not disappoint! When my son is the mood for something sweet, he has started asking for one "pessert" (aka dessert). It is just too cute!
You know we love to experiment with homemade beauty products here at Zest & Zeal, but convenience is also essential - as is a little pampering! A lovely friend of mine told me about a natural skincare line called Pratima. I was instantly curious as it is based on natural ingredients, Ayurvedic principles, and the company shares our belief that what happens on the inside of the body is reflected outwardly on your skin...
Turmeric is the current darling in the spice and natural health word, and rightly so. Besides being vibrant in color and warming in taste, it is chock full of amazing health benefits!
Turmeric comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a leafy plant in the ginger family, that is boiled or steamed and then dried and ground. India is the world's main producer of turmeric and turmeric is used extensively in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Turmeric is a component of curry powder and is commonly added to mustard and relishes. With its intense yellow color (it does stain, so beware!), it is often used as a natural dye. I plan on making play-dough for my daughter using turmeric instead of artificial dye.
This month's Recipe Redux theme is Treasured Cookware - a recipe using a piece of cookware passed down to us from the kitchen of a relative. All of the things passed down to me are not cookware items, so I decided to create a cocktail and serve it in champagne coupe that was passed down to me from my grandmother.
My grandmother loved to entertain (and dance) in her younger years and she was never short on glasses or dishware. In fact, another fun gift from her was an old martini set--cocktail pitcher and all! I have a ton of different cocktail glasses (I am not sure what this says about me :) ) and when we build a bar in our bonus room (future project) my collection will be ready for any type of cocktail. I just adore these little coupe glasses and am glad the coupe is back in style. I much prefer it over the flute to sip my bubbly. My nose always hits the other side of the champagne flute and that annoys me (maybe my nose is just long) - bring me the coupe!
My husband and I love to travel and hope to explore all that we can of this amazing world in our lifetime. As much as I want to experience the rich history and culture of places like Asia and Europe, at this point in our lives a “real” vacation means relaxing, preferably somewhere tropical - truly getting away from it all! In a few weeks, we are headed out to a tropical destination to celebrate a special anniversary. I am counting down the days!
One of my favorite parts of traveling to the islands is the plethora of tropical fruits that seem to come with every meal - papaya with granola in the morning, mango salsa to top the fresh catch of the day, and some kind of pineapple or guava goodness for dessert.