Fancy Jell-O Shots

With Memorial Day coming up, I thought I would share one of my favorite “drinks” to have at a summer party. I have made a few versions of these over the years and it’s a fun way to get creative in the kitchen. Change it up by pairing orange Jell-O with an orange with orange liqueur or use lemons! You can do whatever you want to with this! Prepare them ahead and pull them out when guests arrive and they will be so impressed! I haven’t tried the strawberry margarita version yet but they are on my list of treats to make this weekend.

Strawberry Margarita Jell-O Shot

Strawberry jello shot

Ingredients

24-30 large strawberries

1 box Strawberry Jell-O

1 cup tequila

3/4 cup cointreau

Sugar

1-2 limes

Special equipment
A melon baller or small measuring spoon with relatively sharp edges

Directions

Balancing the strawberry on its side, parallel to the cutting board at the point where it is widest, cut off the top.

Still holding it the same way, cut off a tiny part of the strawberry’s bottom tip so the berry can stand upright. Make sure not to cut off too much or you’ll create a hole at the bottom. Repeat with all remaining strawberries.

Using a melon baller or small measuring spoon, carefully scoop out the insides of the strawberries.

Put them all on a baking sheet and dry them a little with a paper towel.

Combine Jell-O mix with 3/4 cup boiling water and stir 2 minutes to completely dissolve.

Stir tequila and cointreau into the Jell-O mixture.

Using a container with a spout, pour Jell-O/booze mixture into strawberry cups. Fill them up as much as possible, because Jell-O shrinks when it solidifies.

Refrigerate four hours or until firm.

To finish
Zest lime into a plate of sugar.

Slice lime (you can use the same one if you don’t care about the aesthetics, or a new one if you do) into thin rounds, then cut into small wedges. You may also want to cut a small chunk through the center of each wedge’s flesh so they can balance on the tip of the strawberry.

 Wet the sides of the solidified Jell-O shot with lime or water, roll in your sugar-lime zest, and garnish with lime wedge.

Citron Vodka Jell-O Shot

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Ingredients

1 box of lime Jell-O

Limes (as many as you would like)

Your choice of liquor (Absolut Citron for a crisp and citrus flavor or Tequila for a quick interpretation of a “margarita” shot)

Directions

Cut the limes in half lengthwise and clear out the insides.

Prepare the Jell-O according to the instructions on the box. Reduce the water portion by ¼ cup and replace with your alcohol of choice.

You want to make sure that your limes are set onto a surface that will keep them up right.Try using a muffin pan.

Pour your Jell-O mix into the lime shells and then place them into the refrigerator to set over night or for however long the Jell-O box instructs.

When they are ready, cut each lime in half to make the perfect bight sized lime Jell-O shot!

*Photos: Macey J. Foronda/Buzzfeed (strawberry) and Frock Candy Blog (lime)

Kale and Pineapple Breakfast Smoothie

I haven’t been great lately. My weight has been creeping up since I started this blog. I have found myself venturing out and trying a lot of new, not-so-healthy restaurants and hot spots. I figured the best way to get myself back on track was to find a way to start my day by getting a few helpings of fruit and veggies right off the bat.

I spent some time searching for a breakfast smoothie that sounded good to me. I love the basic strawberry/banana combo but I wanted to step it up a notch and find a way to get some green veggies in there as well. Enter: Kale/Pineapple Smoothie. This smoothie incorporates kale, pineapple, banana and almond milk. I will say, the first thing that caught my eye was the fact that it used almond milk. I have cut out most dairy from my diet in the past 6 or so month for no other reason than I feel better when I consume less dairy and it’s an easy way to cut out points (I think twice before having cheese, a latte, ice cream, etc). So almond milk was a big plus. The recipe makes two servings so either cut it in half or share it with a significant other or roommate.

Kale and Pineapple Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla unsweetened)

1 dense cup of chopped kale

1/2 of diced pineapple

1 banana

1/2 cup pineapple juice

Directions

Put in a blend and blend until smooth.

WW Points: 4 per serving (8 for the whole recipe)

This post is also a great opportunity to talk about building recipes on WW. At first glance it appeared as if this smoothie would virtually be zero points because the only components with points values are the almond milk and pineapple juice. It’s important, though,  that you utilize the “Recipe Builder” tab to enter ANY recipe you might log because this recipe actually has a significant number of points when considering why goes into it. This is because WW calculates the points by taking the TOTAL fat, carbs, fiber and protein in a recipe to get the points value instead of just adding the individual point values together. Using the recipe builder will help you stay on track and be 100% honest and true to the points system. In the end, it will only benefit you!

Sunday Funday Round 3: Red Hook

Nick and I had to make a trip to the Ikea in Brooklyn on Sunday so we decided to make a day out of it by wandering around Red Hook afterwards. Red Hook is a little off the beaten path mostly because it’s not directly off any subway lines so we took advantage of having a car to get there!

Our first stop post-Ikea was a restaurant called The Good Fork. A few people from Haven’s Kitchen recommended I check it out and the fact that it was only a quarter-mile from Ikea made it a no brainer. We found a parking spot right out front (score!) and wandered in. It looked a little empty but then I noticed sunshine coming from the back of the restaurant outdoor seating! The backyard was packed but we were able to grab a table for two.

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Nick ordered a bloody mary made with clam juice (pictured above) and I ordered a French 75 (gin, sparkling wine and lemon). Both were unbelievable. We had an egg white omelette for breakfast so we weren’t starving. We decided to go with the bibb lettuce salad with a soft boiled egg and lardon. It even came with a piece of crispy sourdough bread to get all the yummy goodness that is a runny egg yolk!

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We also ordered a side of their homemade kimchi that was super spicy and super delicious! It was the perfect amount of food to keep us going!

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Next we wandered towards to the water to check out the views. We stumbled upon a Fairway and a few other spots. What initially drew us that way was Sunny’s Bar. We are huge Anthony Bourdain fans and he visited Sunny’s on the last episode of No Reservations. Bourdain filmed his last episode- Brooklyn- before Sandy hit. Sunny’s, like a lot of places in that episode, was devastated by the hurricane. Sunny’s still hasn’t reopened. I was honestly shocked to see so many places in Red Hook, not only open, but thriving. I was happy we were there and able to help the local businesses a bit! Here’s a picture of me about a block from Sunny’s:

IMG_5715Our next stop was right around the corner- Brooklyn Crab. We weren’t hungry at all but we decided to stop in for a beer.

IMG_5679We sat down at the bar inside (outdoor seating was for diners only) and ordered two Peak IPAs. Nick saw oysters on the menu and couldn’t resist! Sitting there, eating oysters and drinking a beer that reminds me of being on the beach in Maine made me feel a million miles away from the city. I will definitely be visiting this place again when I am in need of some time on the water!

IMG_5681The view of the water from our bar stools

IMG_5682Beer and oysters- two of my favorite things!

Our final stops of the day were the Red Hook Winery and Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. Both are located on Pier 41 just a few minutes walk from Brooklyn Crab. I have seen Red Hook wines in a few places (and where I work) so I was really excited to see that they were open for tastings. They were almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy so to see them up and running (only their 3rd weekend open since Sandy) was amazing! We bought two bottles of wine before heading to Steve’s to pick up a small key lime pie to share. Another amazing Sunday Funday!

Columbia Wine Company

columbia wine

I discovered this wine store a few weeks ago. I had passed it many times before but never thought to stop in. I have mentioned that the neighborhood I live in is changing quickly and this find confirmed that for me.

I was so excited when I walked in for the first time because their wine (and small batch/local liquors) is extensive and impressive. I was even more excited when I learned the deliver. Yes, deliver. No minimum to ALL of Manhattan! If you are ever in Washington Heights or end up living in Washington Heights make sure you stop in to Columbia Wine Co. and register for delivery when make your first purchase. They store your information and keep a record of your purchases so they can help you find other things you might like.

I am so happy this place is only 6 blocks away! Oh the joys of NYC and your infinite possibility for deliveries…

Coffee Milkshake

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I came home from my run a few minutes ago and realized I had poured myself a cup of coffee and completely forgot about it. Needless to say, it was cold and bitter but I didn’t want to throw it down the drain. I thought I’d try to make a WW-friendly milkshake using some things from my fridge and freezer. I LOVE Trader Joe’s Soy Creamy Ice Cream Sandwiches so I figured I would use one in the shake. Here’s what I did:

IMG_5524Soy Creamy Coffee Milkshake

1 cup of old coffee

1 Soy Creamy

1 cup of ice

1/2 cup of almond milk (or regular milk if you prefer)

Directions

Put ice in the blender and top with the cold coffee. Add the Soy Creamy and pulse to combine. With the blender on a “smoothie” setting, blend while adding in the milk slowly. Blend until smooth!

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WW Points: 3 points/smoothie*

*Soy Creamy is 2 points per sandwich and 1/2 cup of almond milk is 1 point. This could change based on the type of milk you choose to use.

Breslin Cocktail

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Nick and I had brunch with some of his colleagues today at the Breslin. This has become one of our favorites brunch spots in recent months. The food is solid and the drink list is different (in the best way possible). Today, I opted for the “This is Happening”- a rye whiskey based drink.

Rye is a whiskey made with at least 51% rye instead of the traditional malted barley. It is very similar to traditional whiskey but has more of a spicy and fruity flavor. This cocktail was made with rye, Benedictine (a medicinal aromatic herbal beverage), Oloroso Sherry (oloroso means “scented” in Spanish), and aromatic bitters- very Manhattan/Old Fashinoed-esque.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

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I have noticed cold-brewed iced coffee all over Atlanta (and NYC) so I decided to try it earlier today at Star Provisions. Cold- brewed coffee is different than regular iced coffee where you essentially make a strong batch of regular hot coffee and dilute it using ice. Cold brewed is a much longer process which requires the coarse ground coffee to seep in cold or room temperature water for at least 12 hours.

At Star Provisions, they let their coffee brew for 24 hours which creates a coffee concentrate which they then dilute to your taste with cold water. The best part of their cold-brewed coffee? They make a simple syrup using their coffee concentrate. Probably one of the coolest ideas ever in coffee! It was definitely one of the best coffees I’ve ever had!