Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Hot Summer Calls For An Icy Drink!

Today isn't bad, at least in our neck of the woods, but this has been a ridiculously. hot. summer.  And when I relax with an adult beverage in the evening, a warm red wine doesn't do a thing to mellow me when it's so uncomfortably toasty!  Usually, I make myself some variation of Hungry Girl's Magical Low Calorie Margarita.  I'll swap out the tequila for vodka or rum, and change the Crystal Light Lemonade to Crystal Light Peach Mango or Hawaiian Punch Berry Blue Typhoon (available at WalMart), which reminds me a lot of a "grown-up" Icee.  Recently, though, we had house guests who left behind an almost-full bottle of Beringer White Merlot.  Not my favorite (at all), but it seemed a shame to let all that (okay) wine go to waste.  So I decided to try something.  I call it the...

Skinny Raspberry Merlot Cooler

1/2 c. Sprite Zero
1/2 c. White merlot
1 on-the-go package Crystal Light Raspberry
3-4 c. ice cubes

Place all the ingredients in a blender.  Pulse 20 times, then blend on high for up to 1 minute.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Calories:  About 90.  Yay!   

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If You Can't Stand The Heat, Get Out And GRILL!

Lately it's just been too hot to heat up the kitchen, so our grill has been working almost every night.  We usually just sprinkle our favorite Penzey's herbs on our meat, but then I remembered a tried and true favorite, Magical Mediterranean Marinade, from Weber's Big Book of Grilling.  We've used it time and time again with great results.  If you have fresh herbs, they're always the best (provided pests like Japanese Beetles haven't decimated your itty-bitty container garden, but that's a story for another day).  Dried herbs will work fine, too.  Either way, this is a great way to liven up steak, chicken, and even veggies on the grill so you can keep your kitchen...and your!

Magical Mediterranean Marinade
Adapted from Weber's Big Book of Grilling by Jamie Purviance and Sandra S. McRae
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon minced shallots (or 1 teaspoon freeze-dried minced shallots)
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Place steak (or other desired meat) in a Ziploc bag, pour marinade over the meat and seal the bag.  Place bag into the refrigerator and allow to marinate at least one hour, or up to 12.  Pork and chicken can marinate for one to four hours, fish for 15 to 30 minutes, and veggies for no more than 15 minutes.  Makes about 1/2 cup.