Pear Lime Kiwifruit Water

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I thought I’d try a flavored water with a green theme, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! But of course, this water is great any time of the year. You mostly taste the lime in this, but the kiwifruit and pear slices make the pitcher of water look so nice! :) I think this water tastes best the same day you make it, but you’ll want to refrigerate it a few hours before serving so the water has more flavor. Use organic produce if you can when making this.

PEAR, LIME, KIWIFRUIT WATER by NancyCreative

Makes a large pitcher (half gallon) of flavored water

  • 8 cups of water (I used 2 cups of sparkling water mixed in with 6 cups of regular water to give it a slight fizziness–see note below*)
  • 1 large organic pear, cut into thin slices
  • 2 limes, cut into thin slices
  • 2 kiwifruit, cut into thin slices

Fill pitcher with 8 cups of water. Add slices of pear, lime, and kiwifruit, and stir all ingredients together in the pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (the slices of kiwifruit tend to settle at the bottom, so you will need to stir before serving to mix all the fruit evenly). When ready to serve, add ice cubes to pitcher and stir or add ice to individual glasses and pour the flavored water over the ice.

*For a fizzy water drink, use Seltzer water or natural sparkling water (like Perrier) instead of regular water, or use some of each (do not use Club Soda or Tonic Water, as one is high in sodium and the other is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup).

Have you tried making any uniquely-flavored water lately?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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Corn and Blueberry Salad

ncCornBlubrySal2nm Sometimes you come across a recipe that sounds so different, you just have to try it! I love all the ingredients in this Corn and Blueberry Salad, but I never would have thought of putting them together myself! What a brilliant idea this salad is…a sweet and savory mix of lots of yummy, healthy ingredients. The sweetness of the corn complements the blueberries…and the red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro give this salad a nice savory punch. And I have to mention the cucumbers, too, that give this summery side dish a great crunchiness. All of these ingredients are marinated overnight in a slightly sweet and savory dressing, which I think would be good on a salad, too. I found this recipe at Better Homes and Gardens and I changed it slightly by adding extra blueberries–one cup just didn’t seem like enough, so I doubled it to 2 cups. I’m glad I did…I thought it was just the right amount! CORN AND BLUEBERRY SALAD slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 6 ears of fresh sweet corn, husked (or substitute 4 1/2 cups of frozen corn, unthawed)
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In Dutch oven, bring salted water to boiling. Add fresh corn (or frozen corn, if using). Cook, covered, 5 minutes, or until tender (if using frozen corn, just cook about 2 to 3 minutes). When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs. In a serving bowl, combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. For dressing, in screw-top jar, combine lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well to combine. Add to salad; toss. Cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 24 hours). This is such a unique way to use blueberries! What creative recipes have you used blueberries in?

7-UP Pound Cake with Lemon-Lime Glaze

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I’m really not a big soda-pop drinker; I usually drink iced tea instead. But every once in awhile I’ll l have some soda on hand, usually left over from a get-together or party. That’s how I ended up with some 7-UP recently. Instead of tossing it, I decided to see if there was anything I could make with it. After all, I had made a Coca-Cola Cake, which tasted great, so was there such a thing as a 7-UP cake?

It turns out there was–a 7-UP Pound Cake! In fact, it’s been around for awhile, since the 1960′s, when bundt cake pans became popular. I found about 8 or 9 different recipes (here’s one of them) when I searched on the web. They all had pretty much the same butter-sugar-egg-flour amounts, with variations on the amounts of flavorings and lemon juice used. So I came up with my own version and added a sweet and slightly tart lemon-lime glaze to top it off.

This a really good, moist pound cake! And the glaze has a lot of lemon-limey flavor. Some recipes called for 3/4 cup of 7-UP in the cake and some called for 1 cup; I used 3/4 cup when I made this cake and thought it had a great pound cake texture; next time I make this I will try 1 cup to see if there is much difference–I’m guessing the additional 7-UP will make the cake a little more moist, though it seemed moist enough with 3/4 cup.

Next time you have some extra 7-UP, give this a try!

7–UP POUND CAKE WITH LEMON-LIME GLAZE by NancyCreative

Makes one 10″ Bundt cake 

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon extract or flavoring
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup 7–UP

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease or spray a 10″ bundt or tube pan; set aside (you can grease and flour the pan if you want it to come out super-easy).

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar, blending well. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract and blend well.

Add flour to the butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add 7–UP, about a half or third at a time, blending well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325˚F for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Note: My cake was done in 65 minutes, using 3/4 cup of 7–UP. If you use 1 cup of 7-UP your baking time may be a little longer, but be careful not to over bake, or it may be dry).

nc7uppdck3Remove cake from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (the cake will be cracked on the bottom–see photo, left–which is fine). Invert pan to remove cake and cool completely on wire rack. While cake is cooling, make the glaze…

(A note on the glaze: this makes a lot of glaze! Enough to glaze the cake twice, which is what I did…I generously drizzled a first glaze on, let it set, then put a second glaze over that, for an extra lemon-limey taste. If you just want one layer of glaze, you can halve this recipe.)

LEMON–LIME GLAZE:

  • 3 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons 7-UP (start with 3 and if you want a thinner glaze, add another 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon)

In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar with lemon and lime juices and 7–UP, blending everything well. Drizzle half the glaze over the cake when it is completely cooled; let glaze set. Then, if desired, drizzle a second glaze over the cake and let set. Cut into slices and serve.

Note: If you are doing a double glaze, you can also try this: put the first glaze on while the cake is still warm–some of the glaze will soak into the cake, giving it a sweeter taste. Then let the cake completely cool, and put on the second glaze.

This batter also works for cupcakes…one of my readers, Amy, told me she baked hers at 325˚F for 25 minutes. Not sure how many she made with the batter, but I’m guessing probably about 24.

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Have you made any good recipes using soda pop as an ingredient?

Strawberry Honey Agua Fresca

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Agua Fresca, Spanish for “fresh water,” is a type of fruit drink that is served all over Mexico. Made from a combination of fruits, sugar, and water blended together, it’s a refreshing drink for spring and summer. I decided to try this Strawberry Agua Fresca that I found at myrecipes–but instead of using sugar, I made it with honey. You can use sugar if you want, but I thought honey would be a little healthier. My version is a little sweeter than the original, but it’s not super-sweet–I think it’s just right!

STRAWBERRY HONEY AGUA-FRESCA by NancyCreative, adapted from myrecipes.com

Makes 4 cups

  • 2 cups water, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 cups hulled strawberries, cut in half
  • 1/8 cup fresh lime juice (or juice from 1 lime), or to taste
  • additional lime slices for garnish (optional)

Combine water and honey in a medium bowl or other container, stirring until honey dissolves. Place strawberries in blender and process until smooth. Add honey-water mixture and lime juice to blender and process all ingredients together until well-blended. Pour into glasses right from the blender or put in a pitcher (you can add ice if you like) and serve.

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I think I’ll be enjoying this fruity drink a lot this summer! Do you have a favorite warm-weather beverage?

Southwestern Black Bean Soup

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Winter seems to be trying to hang on in some areas! Have you had a lot of cool spring days where you live? Well, next time the temperature drops, this is a great soup to make if you like black beans. I found this recipe at Eating Well, and thought it sounded good. And after tasting it, I thought it was great!  It has a little chili powder, cumin, and even some salsa to give it a little zippy Southwestern taste. Since you puree half of this soup, it has a nice creaminess with a little chunky texture. And it tastes great with some sour cream (or greek yogurt), shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro on top. I added less water than the original recipe calls for, which was a good thing, because the soup would have been too watery for my liking if I had followed the recipe exactly. I really like the way it turned out–it’s great for lunch or a lighter dinner.

SOUTHWESTERN BLACK BEAN SOUP by NancyCreative, adapted from EatingWell.com

Makes about 6 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 small or medium onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream (about a Tablespoon), shredded cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin, and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add beans, water, salsa, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids)–you may have to puree half the soup in two batches. Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve soup garnished with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or chopped cilantro, if desired.

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Do you like black beans? What’s your favorite way to prepare them?

Sweet and Smooth Citrus Smoothie from What Color is Your Smoothie?

ncCitSmthienm If you like smoothies, you’ll have to check out a new book, What Color is Your Smoothie? It’s filled with 300 recipes that can help you get the recommended daily five servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet, in addition to important vitamins and minerals your body needs. As I was reviewing the book, I learned that each color group of fruits and veggies offer different health benefits, so it’s important to include a variety of different colored fruits and veggies in your diet. The first chapter,  Nature’s Formula for Better Health, includes information on vitamins and minerals that are important for good health and the different foods you’ll find them in. The second chapter, Blending for a Better Life, gives you helpful tips on how to prepare fruits, veggies, and herbs for blending. The other seven chapters are filled with smoothie recipes organized by color: White (Vanilla Chiller, Crazy for Coconuts), Red (Red Berry Roundup, Creamy, Dreamy Watermelon), Orange (Sweet Potato Surprise, Papaya Powerhouse), Yellow (Pumped Up Pineapple, Luscious Lemon Mango Melon), Green (Cucumber Zing, Green Ginger Apple), Blue (Amazing Blueberry Almond, Blueberry Oatmeal Delight), and Purple (Sweet Spiced Blackberries, Purple Plum Thunder). As you can see, there’s quite a variety! I decided to try the Sweet and Smooth Citrus Smoothie…I’m a citrus-lover, and this smoothie is packed with lots of Vitamin C from the oranges, lemon, and lime that are in it!  Bananas and coconut milk are also in the recipe, giving the smoothie a thick, creamy consistency. And it’s really good for you…as the book points out, “Vitamin C, limonin, and potassium combine for an all-out attack against sickness and disease.” Here’s the recipe if you want to try it out!

SWEET AND SMOOTH CITRUS SMOOTHIE from What Color is Your Smoothie?

 Makes 3 cups, 360 calories per cup

  • 3 oranges, peeled and deseeded
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled and deseeded
  • 1/2 lime, peeled and deseeded
  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup ice

In a blender, combine the oranges, lemon, lime, bananas, and 1 cup coconut milk with 1/2 cup ice, and blend until thoroughly combined. While blending, add remaining coconut milk and ice until desired consistency is achieved (I actually just used the 1 cup of coconut milk and 1/2 cup ice, because I like my smoothies thicker).

I really want to try to get more fruits and veggies in my diet–how about you?

Raspberry-Lime Freeze

This is a great treat on a hot day! Today the high was 96 degrees, so I was really ready to have something nice and cool. I adapted this from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living. The raspberry and lime flavors go so well together…it’s really refreshing! If you want this freeze to be really thick, use frozen raspberries that are just slightly thawed (that’s how I made it–it will be harder to blend, though). For a thinner consistency, use fresh or completely thawed raspberries as the recipe indicates. This makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 pints fresh raspberries (about 7 cups) or the same amount of frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1 pint  (2 cups) raspberry sorbet, softened
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt, softened

Place 5 1/2 cups of the raspberries, the raspberry sorbet, and lime juice in blender. Pulse a few times, then puree until smooth (if you’re making this with slightly thawed frozen raspberries, you’ll need to alternately blend and stir mixture with a spatula because of the thickness). Then add the softened frozen yogurt and puree, stopping and stirring with spatula as needed. Stir 1 cup of raspberries into the mixture.

Pour or spoon into glasses, and garnish with remaining raspberries. Serve immediately. If you have time, it’s a nice touch to chill your serving glasses in the freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes before filling them with the freeze–it helps keep this treat extra cool while you’re enjoying it!

Linked to Rednesday, Strut Your Stuff, Show off Your Stuff, Favorite Things Friday, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Foodie Friday.