Spring Break Time

I'm taking a little spring break from the blog, from work, from DC, from cooking, from cleaning, from Metro, from laundry, from grocery shopping, etc.

See you all soon! Follow along on instagram!
Enjoy the flowers ;)


Dairy Free Mango & Strawberry Smoothie

Have you read my Monday post about Fennel & Mango Slaw with Pickled Mustard Seeds? What are you waiting for?

The slaw used half of a mango, leaving another half sitting in my refrigerator. All of a sudden, I had a craving for a mango lassi. Unfortunately, I did not have yogurt or a desire to go to the grocery store to buy yogurt. What did I do? I used a can of coconut milk and a few strawberries to make a Dairy Free Mango & Strawberry Smoothie!

Dairy Free Mango & Strawberry Smoothie
Serves 2

1/2 mango, pealed and cubed
5 strawberries, tops removed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup ice
optional: sweetener {honey, agave, etc}

1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend till smooth.
2. Serve with a straw.

This was a refreshing and fruity beverage. Surprisingly it also tasted good after sitting a few days in the refrigerator.


What To Do With Fennel? Fennel Mango Slaw With Pickled Mustard Seeds

Do you ever have random ingredients in your fridge and wonder what to make with them? For example, what would you make with a fennel bulb? You can definitely slice and roast it or sauté it with onions and mix with potatoes to puree into a soup. This past weekend I decided to turn a lonely small fennel bulb into a slaw by adding mango, carrots and a lemony vinaigrette. I've come a long way from making coleslaw at KFC while working there during my high school years ;) This salad is bright, low in calories and tasted incredibly fresh!

I used pickled mustard seeds I received from a class at Blue Duck Tavern. If you don't have pickled mustard seeds, you can use capers or add whole grain mustard.

What To Do With Fennel? Fennel Mango Slaw With Pickled Mustard Seeds
Ingredients for 1
1 small fennel bulb, core removed, thinly sliced
1/2 mango, peeled, sliced
1 carrot, shaved {use a peeler}
for the dressing
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced {or use a microplane}
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons pickled mustard seeds
salt & pepper
chopped cilantro
fennel tops

1. Mix together fennel, mango and carrots.
2. Whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad. You don't have to use all of the dressing.
3. Garnish with cilantro and fennel tops.

What's your favorite way to use fennel?


What To Do With Cherry Juice: Cherry & Ginger Iced Tea

The winter weather is almost over. Soon it'll be time to switch from hot coffee to iced, from red wine to chilled rose and from hot tea to iced tea. This recipe for Cherry & Ginger Iced Tea can be made with your favorite iced tea and even spiked with a bit of sparkling wine or rum!

I love cherries: both sweet and tart. I love them fresh or made into jams and spread on toast. But this was the first time I tried cherry juice thanks to a few samples I received from Cheribundi, The Cherry People.

"We’re the Cherry People. Every 8 oz. bottle of our original cheribundi cherry juice has over 50 tart cherries in it.  Packed with phytonutrients, it’s commonly called “the tart cherry“ and is a true source of greatness for the body."

I've been drinking cherry juice daily as part of the 7 Day Challenge and although I haven't really noticed a huge change in how I feel, it's been a delicious part of my breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up.

Over the weekend I combined Cheribundy's cherry juice with ginger syrup, iced tea and a sprig of mint for a refreshing drink...and it's pretty too!
What To Do With Cherry Juice: Cherry & Ginger Iced Tea

Cherry & Ginger Iced Tea
Ingredients for 1
1 cup iced tea, whichever flavor you like
1/4 cup cherry juice
ginger syrup to taste {use a store bought one or make your own by simmering fresh ginger in equal amount of sugar and water}
mint sprig

1. Combined iced tea with cherry juice and sweeten with ginger syrup to taste.
2. Pour over ice and garnish with mint.

How pretty is this iced tea!?

Disclaimer: I received samples of cherry juice but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Super Quick Portobella Soba Noodle Soup: Almost Vegetarian

Do you have 25 minutes? Then you can make this Super Quick Portobella Soba Noodle Soup. And if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, you will turn this soup into a perfect Meatless Monday lunch or dinner.

I rarely do menu planning: I simply go to the store, see what they have, buy random ingredients and then put them together once I get home. Most often than not I'm quite successful using this strategy. Last week I picked up a package of soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles), a carton of chicken broth and some other things from my grocery store. Then Friday night I combined these ingredients with mushrooms, frozen peas and carrots to make a quick soba noodle soup. The flavors were great and the photo of the soup was quite popular on instagram and so I decided to make the soup again with a few additions: cilantro and lime! This time I did not use carrots, but you can!

Super Quick Portobella Soba Noodle Soup
Serves 2-3

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 portobella caps, sliced
red pepper flakes to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
3 ounces soba noodles
1 cup frozen peas
to taste: soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha
fresh cilantro

1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes.
2. Add ginger and garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes.
3. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil and add soba noodles. Simmer the noodles in the soup for 4 minutes.
4. Add frozen peas and the rest of the ingredients to taste (other than cilantro). Adjust for saltiness, heat and acidity.
5. Serve topped with cilantro.

How easy was that!?


Happy Purim: Recipe For Unorthodox Hamentashen With Fig Jam

Happy Purim! Whether you are a religious Jew, a cultural Jew, or just like sweets, you will love these Unorthodox Hamentashen With Fig Jam.

I've made proper hamentashen in the past, but this year I ended up doing something slightly different.

I was out of jam. I did not feel like making hamentashen dough. THEN I thought why not use the frozen rugelach dough I had from making one of Dorie Greenspan's recipes!? Sure rugelach dough and hamentashen dough aren't the same, but I'm not one to follow the rules all the time ;)

The dough issue was solved, but I was still out of jam. That's when I wondered whether you can make jam from dried figs. Turns out you can! Thank you TheKitchn for a great tutorial.

Click on the video below to hear my voice ;) Did you know I have an accent!?

I used dried black mission figs my parents sent me last year when I broke my arm. I followed the recipe from The Kitchn closely, but used half the sugar and roughly chopped the figs before cooking them. You guys! The aroma was unbelievable. This is such a lovely jam.

I then defrosted and rolled out the rugelach dough. Cut it into circles with an oxo cutter, added a spoon of jam, put a bit of water on the outside edge of the dough and formed each cookie into a triangle shape making sure to squeeze the seams well. To make sure the dough would not spread too much, I froze the cookies for 5 minutes prior to baking them.

I baked these cookies at 350F for 25 minutes. There was no need to oil or butter the cookie sheet because the dough was buttery enough.

How good do they look!?!

Happy Purim!