Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shrubhattan

22 May

With summer right around the corner, it’s time for more than just wine and beer! I love a good cocktail, but have realized that’s just not my preference during the colder months (which makes up the majority of the year in Wisconsin). So when The Recipe Redux challenged us to post a creative cocktail concoction this month, I was right on board!

This cocktail has all sorts of flavors going on. First, you must make the shrub. In its most basic form, a shrub is an acidulated beverage. According to Wikipedia, “the word “shrub” [refers] to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.”

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shrubhattan | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In the case of this recipe, we’ll be using the latter definition of “shrub,” as we’ll mix our homemade shrub with a spirit, flavoring, and soda water to create a refreshing and complex cocktail.

If a “vinegar-based syrup” makes you pucker up in disgust, hear me out! The syrup is made from equal parts of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. It’s slightly tangy, but retains a sweetness that makes for a wonderfully balanced drink. It’s a great way to make a cocktail that’s not too sweet (like an Old Fashioned), and not too bitter (like a gin & tonic).

The twist in this shrub comes from the chocolate-balsamic vinegar! My mom found this vinegar on a trip to Door County, WI and thought I’d like it. What better way to use a special vinegar than in a special cocktail? 🙂

Speaking of special, this cocktail is great for celebrations of all types. Simply make the shrub ahead of time, and with a bottle each of bourbon and chocolate bitters, you’ll have an easy cocktail ready to make for an entire gathering!

Chocolate-Balsamic Strawberry Shrub

Makes 2 cups shrub

  • 1 C quartered strawberries
  • 1 C cane sugar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C chocolate-balsamic vinegar

Wash, de-stem and quarter the strawberries. Place the berries in a bowl or wide-mouthed mason jar and pour the sugar on top. You can muddle the berries a bit with a wooden spoon. Cover and let sit in the fridge 24-48 hours.

Next, stir in the vinegars, cover and shake/stir. Let this refrigerate for two to ten days! Shake/stir this mixture a few times per day to ensure the sugar dissolves. The flavor mellows over time, so the longer you let it sit, the more mellow it will taste.

Finally, strain out the fruit into a bowl using a fine-mesh strainer. Use a large spoon to press down on the fruit to ensure all the syrup is expelled. Transfer the shrub to a clean bottle or mason jar and make some cocktails! The shrub can be refrigerated until you drink it all.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shrubhattan

Makes 1 cocktail

  • 2 oz bourbon, my favorite is Eagle Rare, but Buffalo Trace or another smooth bourbon would work
  • 3/4 oz chocolate-balsamic strawberry shrub
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters, I used Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • Soda water, to fill

Stir together the bourbon, shrub, and bitters over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and top off with soda water.

For a non-alcoholic drink, mix one ounce of the shrub into a glass of soda water for a refreshing, yet complex beverage.

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Strawberry Banana Beet Juice Protein Smoothie

16 May

Disclaimer: I received free product from Nuzest USA to create recipes with. All opinions are my own; I was not compensated for my time.

Nothing says springtime like fresh berries! That’s why, when I saw beautifully ripe strawberries at the store for stupid cheap, I knew I’d be a fool if I didn’t stock up. But the problem with buying ripe-at-the-moment fruit is that it’s going to go bad soon. And no one can eat four containers of strawberries in a few days (ok, maybe you can, but that’ll be about all you eat!).

Instead, I took the freezer route. Just like when I buy a huge bag of overripe bananas, I washed, hulled and halved these lovely strawberries and laid them out on parchment-lined baking sheets to freeze. Just a few hours in the freezer and they were rock-solid, after which I transferred them to freezer-safe zipper-top bags.

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Now THAT is how to prep for the ultimate protein smoothie! This concoction is a simple one, made of frozen bananas and berries, prepared beet juice, Nuzest Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein powder, hemp seeds, coconut, and pepitas for a fat boost.

The result? A dreamy, creamy, dark pink smoothie that’s bursting with fresh fruit flavor, lots of protein, stamina-improving beet juice, and the right ratio of carbs:fat:protein:fiber to get you through the day.

Don’t forget that you can take 15% off your next order of Nuzest USA products using my code “behealthy” at checkout! These protein powders really are clean and lean – they’re vegan, too, and taste amazing on their own, or blended into smoothies and baked goods!

Strawberry Banana Beet Protein Smoothie

Makes 1 big smoothie, or two smaller servings

  • 1/2 C prepared beet juice
  • 1 C cold water
  • 1 serving Nuzest Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein powder
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp pepitas
  • 2 tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 diced, frozen banana
  • 4 halved, frozen strawberries

Blend together all ingredients until completely smooth. I find it helps to use the “ice crush” setting first, to break down the frozen fruit. Add more cold water as necessary, until desired smoothie consistency is reached.

If you prefer to eat your smoothie with a spoon, omit the water and add just a splash of non-dairy milk to blend it up.

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Hummus Phyllo Dough Turnovers

12 May

I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Happy Friday! As you prep for the weekend, don’t forget that May 13 is National Hummus Day. Celebrate by bringing a few varieties of hummus to Mother’s day brunch, or by making any of the delicious recipes using hummus that The Recipe Redux has been posting all week long.

Hummus Phyllo Dough Turnovers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

My appetizer recipe today is another simple one. Thin phyllo dough envelops savory Classic Hummus and umami-rich sun-dried tomatoes. A little time in the oven, and you’ll have an easy, hand-held snack that’s perfect for gatherings, picnics, potlucks, or just to enjoy at home!

It’s a delicious way to get in your serving of beans for the day, add a little protein to your meal, and put some flavor on the snack tray! Switch it up with any flavor of hummus and filling you like. Perhaps Basil Pesto hummus plus fresh basil leaves, or Jalapeno hummus with fresh cilantro, or even Rosemary with Sea Salt hummus and roasted red bell peppers. The combinations are endless, and sure to please everyone.

Hummus Phyllo Dough Turnovers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Hummus Phyllo Dough Turnovers

Makes 9 turnovers

  • 6 sheets #4 vegan phyllo dough
  • 9 tbsp Sabra Classic Hummus
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and minced
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil – I used a butter-flavored coconut oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place two sheets of phyllo dough on a clean work surface. Slice three strips lengthwise, using a sharp knife.

Brush melted coconut oil on top of the strips.

In the corner of each strip of layered dough, place a tablespoon of hummus and top with about a teaspoon of minced sun-dried tomato.

Carefully fold the phyllo dough turnover-style, creating a triangle of dough wrapped around the hummus center. Before the final fold of each strip, brush a little more coconut oil on the end and the top of the triangle. Turn over one last time and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat this process two more times, with using two sheets of dough for each set.

Brush the remaining melted coconut oil on top of each turnover. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, or until the turnovers are golden brown.

Remove and let cool 10 minutes before enjoying warm. You can also refrigerate these and eat them cold!

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