Pink Limon

Pink Limon

My friends!  Behold, a delicious, maybe-a-little-too-easy-to-drink, tangy alcohol draaaank!

A long, long time ago when I first started drinking, I found this recipe and fell in love with it.  It might be one of the first things my little sister drank that she really liked.  And once in a while it makes an appearance at family get-togethers because it’s a people-pleaser.  Even the most pickiest of palates end up loving this drink.

And can I just say it does its job?  If your intent is to have a little buzz, drink on up.  If not, just sip it, and enjoy the tangy flavors dance across your tongue.

This drink recipe is easily doubled, tripled, or even made into a larger pitcher. Replace “ounces” with “cups” and you have a larger batch!

Pink Limon
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces Bacardi Limon
2 ounces sweet and sour mix
1/2 ounce (or more to taste) cranberry juice

Directions
Pour all ingredients into a glass over ice and stir well to combine.

To make a pitcher-sized portion, change “ounces” to “cups”, using the same numbers. Combine in a pitcher and stir well to combine. Serve in a glass over ice.

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#52NewEats :: Week 31 :: Watermelon Margaritas

Watermelon Margarita

We had a big BBQ over the 4th of July weekend and of course, abiding by American standards, I bought a big watermelon.  Well actually, I thought I bought a small watermelon, or at least a smallER watermelon, but it was still entirely too much for our party.  So, I served half of it in cut wedges, and cubed the other half and froze them on a baking sheet.  Once they were frozen, I stored them in plastic bags.

Figuring, surely, someday, I would find a use for frozen watermelon… right?  🙄

Well, magically, then I did!  Sometimes I swear it’s like Pinterest reads my mind.  Scrolling through just after our party, BOOM, up pops this recipe for //Watermelon Margaritas//.  The good news is, I had all the ingredients on hand, except for the simple syrup, which I could whip up real quick anyway (in case you don’t know: equal parts sugar + water simmered over low heat until the sugar has evaporated).  So, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I made these margaritas…. and then, I made more…. and then I made some more….

They were SO good.  SO.  GOOD.  And I still have frozen watermelon in my freezer, so I reckon I may go home and have another one tonight.  #drinkydrinkyfuntime  With a little bit of prep, you will have a bar-worthy drink to serve to your guests.  Or, to just yourself, if you’re like me.  And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

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Favorite Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

So it’s sort of time for me to come clean about something, and that something has directly lead to the development of this smoothie recipe, so here goes.

Back in May I woke up in the middle of the night one night with incredibly severe knee pain in my right knee.  I was laying in bed and thought maybe I was sleeping in a funny position and tried to roll over, but I couldn’t lift my leg.  I had to lift my leg with my hands to move it at all.  Pain shot from my knee up my thigh to my hip, blinding me, it was so bad.  I was near tears, and tried getting out of bed to walk it off.  I walked back and forth in my bedroom, kicking my foot out randomly, attempting to pop my kneecap back in place (I thought maybe it had popped out), but nothing helped.  Eventually, I got back into bed and didn’t sleep for the rest of the night because the pain was so terrible.

The next morning, I called my doctor first thing and got an appointment around lunchtime.  I went to work, my knee bothering me on the drive in, on the trek up the stairs, etc.  I really thought something bad had happened to my knee.  So I go to the doctor, and she’s doing her doctor thing, checking for swelling in my knee (there was), checking movement (she made me squat and was impressed with my form 💁), etc.  Then she moves on to the normal stuff, checking my blood pressure, listening to my heart…

She heard something through the stethoscope that sent her into a panic.  She began asking me all kinds of questions – do I ever have heart palpitations?  I don’t think so?  Do I take birth control?  Yes…  Have I ever fainted?  No…  Have I ever had a blood clot?

….a blood clot??

She says she is hearing “too many beats” with my heart, and they aren’t registering on that finger clip thing (pulse ox?), she can only hear them through the stethoscope.  So she sends me to another room where they quickly slap some electrodes on me and take an EKG where they find all these extra heart beats.  The whole time she’s asking me how I feel and I’m just like, “I feel fine, but uh, my knee hurts…?”

She essentially freaks out and sends me to the hospital for blood tests (one to rule out a blood clot, another standard round of bloodwork minus cholesterol as I hadn’t fasted) and an x-ray (for my knee).  All the symptoms presented “could” point to a blood clot, and though it’s the worst case scenario and maybe the two events aren’t even related, she must do her due diligence and rule it out.  She left the room for a minute and I started crying.  A blood clot?  I am 37.  Stop it.  Old people get blood clots.  And wtf is going on with my heart?

So I pulled myself together, contacted my friend at work and tell her to please tell some people I wouldn’t be making a meeting I’d had scheduled for 1pm and that they should proceed without me, and contacted my manager to let him know I wouldn’t be back for the afternoon.  And off to the hospital I went.

The whole time this is going on, of course I can’t stop my brain from buzzing.  This is it, it’s finally caught up to me.  If I don’t have a blood clot, then something is wrong with my heart and I’m gonna have to eat buckets of lettuce for the rest of my life.  But that will totally be okay, because I will kick ass harder in the gym, and I will make myself healthy, and I will have more time with my family.

Later that day, I was sitting on my couch when I received the phone call that I did NOT have a blood clot (THANK YOU JESUS 🙏).  A little while after that, I received the phone call that said my x-ray revealed “arthritic damage” in my knee.  I was ordered to be seen by a cardiologist the next day (for a formal EKG and determination of whatever was going on with my heart), and to follow-up with an orthopedist for my knee problem.

When I woke up the next morning, magically, somehow, my knee pain was completely gone.  It was like it had never happened.  I mean, I couldn’t even make it happen again.  It had disappeared as quickly as it had shown up.

Suspecting my cardiologist may want to do a blood test for cholesterol, I made sure I didn’t eat before my appointment.  They hooked me up for another EKG and determined that what they were finding were PVC heartbeats – premature ventricular contractions.  PVCs are like little pre-heartbeats, kind of like a flutter.  If a normal heartbeat goes ba-BUM ba-BUM ba-BUM, my heart beats like baba-ba-BUM baba-ba-BUM baba-ba-BUM.  Some people say they feel them, but I don’t.  My cardiologist assured me that most of the time, PVCs are benign; but that sometimes, they can point to something else going on with the heart.  So, he ordered several more tests for the coming weeks, as well as a cholesterol blood test to be done that day.

Later that day, I was once again sitting on my couch when I received the phone call with my cholesterol blood test results.

(As a side note, I will just tell you that I almost feel like this is what I was dreading the most.  I have always had “perfect” blood pressure, but I have wondered about my cholesterol levels.  It can be a silent killer!, according to the interwebz and various documentaries I’ve seen.  I had actually scheduled a physical for the day after my birthday this year, with the specific intention of getting bloodwork to see what my cholesterol levels were, figuring it was probably high time that I change my diet (RIP SFB?), but I came down with strep throat and ended up cancelling it.)

So the nurse calls me and says, “The doctor says your cholesterol results are acceptable.”  And I went, “Oh!  Whew!  Oh my gosh, great news, thank you!!!”  And we hung up.

And then…. doubt.

Acceptable?  Why “acceptable”, why not “good”?

So I called her back and asked her for the specific numbers.   The breakdown:

  • Overall cholesterol:  205
  • Triglycerides:  104
  • HDL (“good” cholesterol):  64
  • LDL (“bad” cholesterol):  119

According to a chart I found published by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, my overall cholesterol should be under 200, so I fell into the “borderline high” category.  Triglycerides should be under 150, so I was good.  HDL should be higher than 60, so I was good (yay!).  And LDL should really be less than 100, but okay to be less than 129, so I was good there too.

Even though those results were “acceptable”, and by all means, I should feel blessed, considering my love for cheese and red meat, I felt like I had some work to do.  I wanted to focus on raising my “good” cholesterol and lowering my “bad” cholesterol, because even though they were good enough that I don’t need medicine, I don’t ever want to get to the point where I do need medicine.  So let’s nip this shit in the bud RIGHT NOW.

The number one factor in your cholesterol levels is your diet, closely followed by the amount of exercise you do.  Now listen.  You’re talking to the girl that has a blog and an Instagram account focused on food.  And not just any food, SLUTTY food.  Food that is not good for you!  Food that is bad for you.  On the one hand, I am eternally grateful that my eating habits so far have not lead to an early heart attack, BUT, I AM getting older, and I believe it is time for me to start being more mindful of the food I’m putting into my mouth.

So, off to the interwebz I go, looking for foods that raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol. The number one food that lowers bad cholesterol is: OATS!  Ok, I like oats.  We can figure out how to incorporate these into my diet.  It means I need to shuck the grain free thing, or at least count it in the 20 of my 80/20 grain free rule.  Also: whole grains!  Beans!  And some of my favorite fruits!  Awesome, I’ve got this.  One of the top foods that raise your good cholesterol is: AVOCADOS!  Sweet!  I love avocados.  If I put half an avocado on a slice of Ezekiel toast every morning for breakfast, then I will be simultaneously raising my good cholesterol AND lowering my bad cholesterol!

So naturally the NEXT place I go to is Pinterest, looking for oatmeal recipes.  I actually kind of hate oatmeal itself, but don’t hate oats.  Oatmeal is mushy and sticky and sooo filling, so I thought about finding oatmeal smoothie recipes that I could drink with my cholesterol-kicking powerhouse avocado toast.  I found several banana oatmeal smoothie recipes with similar ingredients, that were all very delicious, but somehow over the last two months, in the fog and rush of early morning sleepiness, I ended up combining my favorite things from each smoothie recipe into its very own SFB version.  And now, voila, we have my favorite banana oatmeal smoothie recipe.

And so, over the last two months, I have:

  • Been eating avocado toast + banana oatmeal smoothie almost every morning;
  • Passed my ECG with flying colors;
  • Passed my stress test with flying colors;
  • Found out, as a result of wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours, that the reason I sometimes feel faint, dizzy, or nauseous during the day is because my PVCs are occurring at a higher frequency (NOT low blood sugar or dehydration like I always attributed it to);
  • Found out that there actually wasn’t “arthritic damage” in my knee; but that I AM predisposed to knee problems due to a history playing basketball in my youth, and therefore am forbidden from running (especially on a treadmill), jumping, and lunging (aw, shucks!).

Last week I had a checkup with my cardiologist to go over the results of all the tests, and he says if anything popped up in any of the other tests, that he would be concerned and look deeper into what could be going on.  He assured me that one of the top indicators of these PVCs being benign is the fact that they literally disappeared during the stress test (exercise).  If they were still present or got worse during the stress test, it would be a high indicator of a deeper problem.  But he feels confident in saying to me that these are benign and currently nothing to worry about.  HOWEVER.  I will see him again in 6 months for a follow-up, and probably get another ECG after that, just to make sure something isn’t developing.  It’s something we keep an eye on, even though right now they are benign.  What a relief!!

If you’ve read this far, I reckon you deserve a treat.  So here it is, my favorite, very filling, very nutritious, banana oatmeal smoothie.  🙂  Stay healthy, y’all.

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Serves: 1

Ingredients
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup rolled / old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice), optional
1 tablespoon syrup (you can use maple, or I use coconut palm syrup)
1-2 tablespoons nut butter (I like almond butter or cashew butter)
1 banana, sliced and frozen

Directions
1. Pour almond milk into the blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Let the oats soak in the almond milk for a little bit to soften them up and make them easier to blend. I usually let them sit for about 10-15 minutes while I’m doing other stuff in the kitchen. Then, flip your blender onto “puree” and blend until nice and smooth. Pro tip: freeze your smoothie cup for 10-15 minutes and it will keep your smoothie extra cold for your ride to work.  😉

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CINCO DE MAYO !! Sangria & Margaritas

I know what you’re thinkin’.

You’re thinkin’ HEY CRISTIN.  WTF AM I SUPPOSED TO WASH DOWN ALL THIS DELICIOUS MEXICAN FOOD WITH.

Amirite?

You have to have sangria and margaritas mis amigos.  No Cinco de Mayo fiesta is complete without a proper drink!

(I would also argue that no warm summer evening spent outdoors is complete without a tangy margarita.)

Sangria is what I turn to when I want to get a slow buzz on.  This sangria is loaded with liquor and you barely know it, so sip it carefully.  Our margaritas are the result of years of perfecting – which tequila works best with which sour mix and which mix-ins?  Don’t worry, the answers are below.

Margarita

Sangria

Ingredients
1 bottle Merlot
1 cup sugar
1 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
3/4 cup brandy
3 cups 7-UP
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 medium lemon, sliced
1 medium orange, sliced

Directions
In a large pitcher, stir the wine, sugar, Cointreau/Grand Marnier, and brandy until the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate 8-12 hours or overnight. Before serving, remove some of the fruit, and pour in the 7-UP. Stir to combine, and serve over ice.

 

Margaritas

Ingredients
3 parts margarita mix (I like Master of Mixes)
3/4 part reposado tequila
1/4 part Cointreau or Grand Marnier
Fresh squeezed lime or orange juice

Directions
Fill a glass with ice and pour all ingredients except fresh juice over the ice. Stir with a straw to combine well. Top with fresh squeezed lime or orange juice to taste. (Go with orange juice for a sweeter margarita!)

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Fresh Juice

WHO IS READY FOR SPRING?

I know I am.  This is like the winter that is never going to end.  I’m currently sitting on my couch covered in a heavy chenille blanket, with a heating pad wedged between my upper back and the back of the couch, freezing.

I am so ready for spring.

Old Man Winter needs to know when his time is up and give up and move on.

A couple years ago, my mom got me a juicer for my birthday.  I had all these grand ideas about juicing green things and drinking them so I wouldn’t have to eat them.

It really only took one sip of one green juice to ensure that I wouldn’t make that mistake ever again.

(It might not help that I juiced broccoli, celery, spinach, and a green apple, thinking Hey those are all green things I like well enough, they should taste good all juiced together right?!  WRONG.)

At least I can say I tried though.

So I turned my attention to juicing fruit because what tastes better than fresh fruit juice?

I had recently tried a fresh orange, carrot, and pineapple juice from a juice bar downtown and it was so good.  I hate carrots, but I actually loved the flavor of the juiced carrot with the orange and pineapple.  It kept it from being overly sweet.  So I tried my hand at that and it turned out so well that I kept going with all kinds of combinations.

And since I had a kiddo that absolutely loved helping with the juicer, she also loved the end result.  And that got me to thinking about all the other things I could make with fresh juice.

Like popsicles.

Popsicles

And ice cubes.

Ice cubes

And the awesomest thing is that you’re making the juice yourself, so you know what’s in it (and what’s not!!).  My daughter loves homemade popsicles and I love that it’s healthier for her than most of the things I can buy in a grocery store.

And think about all the fun things you could do with ice cubes.  Make strawberry juice, freeze into ice cubes, and drop into glasses of lemonade.  Make lemon juice, freeze into ice cubes, and drop into glasses of iced tea.  Make cherry juice, freeze into ice cubes, and drop into glasses of Coke.  Orange juice ice cubes into glasses of sangria.  Any flavor ice cube into a glass of Sprite or water!  The possibilities are endless.  Let your imagination run wild!

Fresh Juice

Ingredients
Orange-Carrot-Pineapple Juice:
2 oranges, peeled
3 large carrots, peeled
1 cup diced pinapple

Orange-Pineapple-Strawberry Juice
2 oranges, peeled
1 cup diced pineapple
1 cup strawberries, hulled

Directions
This is easy: Put all your ingredients into the juicer and let it do its thing.

Then: Do what you want with the juice! Drink fresh, turn into popsicles, turn into ice cubes, use it as a base for mixed drinks… Have fun!

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