Sangria

March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

When I think Sangria, I conjure images of vegging-out in the grass in the hazy, late-afternoon sun.  Enter: Tucson, Arizona.  Enter: Lazy Regina.  Fellas, it was 85 degrees today and it’s supposed to be 87 tomorrow!  After a full day in the toasty kitchen where I roasted rutabagas for an orzo + citrus salad, sliced the last of the butternut squash to mix with my favorite tahini dressing and bubbled rice for a few portable lunches this week, I leaned back against a pile of clean dishes with a cold glass in hand.  In a room filled with good smells, I sipped this bubbly drink while a batch of espresso chocolate chips spread out in the oven.

This sangria is sweetened with agave nectar – a natural, unprocessed sweetener like honey and maple syrup made from sap extracted from the agave plant.  But unlike honey and maple syrup, agave nectar has a mild, neutral flavor and dissolves immediately in liquids, making it an ideal sweetener in mixed drinks.  You can purchase agave nectar at many grocery chains (like Whole Foods).  I purchased mine from Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit in Tucson that conserves and distributes native borderland seeds and seeks to preserve the agricultural and culinary knowledge of their uses.

This drink is best consumed a few hours after it’s prepared because the bubbly water will go flat in time.  However, let me reassure you that the leftovers, while not quite as perky, are still pleasantly palatable!  (Although you may want to remove the cinnamon sticks if you plan to keep leftovers for more than a day.)

Ingredients:
1 bottle inexpensive red wine of your preference
1 cup sparkling water
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

Methods:

Three hours before serving, combine all liquids in a pitcher.  Stir in agave nectar.  Slice orange and lemon; add to liquids along with cinnamon sticks.  Refrigerate and serve over ice cubes when ready to drink.

Diet Notes: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free

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Pumpkin Smoothie

November 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

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A few hours ago I took a cool-morning jog around the neighborhood (I even saw a javalina!) and when I got back to the house and kicked off my shoes, I bee-lined to the freezer.  I yanked out baggies and tubs of various frozen fruits, Tupperware containers of fruity leftovers and a jug of soy milk to jump-start November with re-hydration and good flavor!

I am a die-hard (not to mention a fuss-pot) smoothie fan.  I make a couple of different types of smoothies each week.  But guys – this blended mess of brown spices and orange puree is the tastiest, most addictive, thirst-quenching, savory smoothie I’ve ever slurped!

Ingredients:
1 large frozen banana
3/4 cup plain pumpkin puree
1 cup vanilla soymilk
3 ice cubes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Methods: Combine ingredients into the blender and blend until thick and creamy.  If the blender blades stop turning, you may need to add a little more liquid to loosen up the frozen banana chunks.  Enjoy right away.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free

Crockpot Hot Chocolate (Vegan-style!)

January 9, 2009 § 1 Comment

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Here is a delicious recipe for creamy, homemade hot chocolate.  I tried making it in a crock pot because I was having some friends over and didn’t want to be hovering over the stove.  It worked wonderfully!

Ingredients:
4 cups almond milk
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa, high quality
1/3 cup turbinado sugar*
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Turbinado sugar is a natural byproduct of sugar processing.  Turbinado crystals are larger and more golden/brown than typical table sugar because they’re formed at an earlier period in cane sugar processing.  Sugar is sugar; but Turbinado is slightly less processed and has a slight molasses-y flavor.

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Directions:

Combine ingredients into the crockpot and whisk.  Turn crockpot on low 4 hours before serving.

Diet Notes: Vegan, gluten-free

A creamy minus-the-cream SMOOTHIE (for one!)

October 12, 2008 § 1 Comment

I’ve been on a smoothie-making kick!  Lately, I’ve dabbled with blending different fruits in raw and frozen form.  Freezing all the fruit (and adding ice cubes) makes this drink smooth and cold without adding sherbet, yogurt, or ice cream.  Frozen bananas, in particular, impart the creamy texture.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup blueberries, frozen
4 strawberries, frozen
1 banana, frozen
few slices pear, frozen
3 ice cubes
3/4 cup orange juice

Method:  Blend and drink!

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free, SCD-safe, vegan

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