Virgin Watermelon Mojito

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A couple days back my girlfriends and I went to a gorgeous rooftop lounge and enjoyed a delicious dinner.  The one thing that really stood out was the watermelon mojito (virgin ofcourse) that I tried.  It was so refreshing and just what I needed on a hot summer night.  It’s not surprising that I was craving another one the moment I got home.  Following this recipe I found on pinterest, I was able to recreate the same invigorating concoction that I had that night and now enjoy it in the comfort of my own home. 😉  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. =)

Ingredients: 

Small Seedless Watermelon
1 liter Lemon Lime Soda
12 oz Concentrated Limeade
3-5 fresh Mint leaves

Directions:
Juice 1/2 watermelon (24 oz) in a juicer, remove rind before juicing.
Add limeade concentrate and soda.
Mix well until concentrate is dissolved.
Add mint leaves and let chill for at least 1 hr. (24 hours is even better)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – No Butter & No Flour! What?!!

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Like many of my girlfriends, I have a weakness for peanut butter.  Combine that with chocolate and you’ve got a match made in heaven.  Last week, my peanut butter and chocolate cravings were getting a little out of control.  I bought a bag of six from Whole Foods and wolfed them all down within two days.  Now I know I’m pregnant and I did pass my glucose test but I felt like I needed to make a healthier option.  I came across this recipe as I was browsing online.  I was skeptical as to how they would taste seeing that it was flourless and made without butter.  I gave it a go anyways and I’m so glad I did.  It was one of the most delicious and satisfying peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies I have ever had!  Not only were these a ‘healthier’ option, but they seriously took little to no time to bake!  That’s a huge bonus for me as patience is not exactly my best virtue. Since these were such a huge hit when I shared it with family and friends, I figured I’d share the recipe here on the blog as well. =)  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  nom nom nom!!!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (not natural)
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In small bowl mix together the oats and baking soda; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, then gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll cookies into 2 inch dough balls and place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart, then BARELY flatten the top of the cookie with your hand. The dough should be pretty sticky so if you find this method annoying, simply use a cookie scoop to drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. The cookies may not be as round in shape and perhaps a bit thicker, but that’s okay, they will still be delicious.
  5. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. The cookies may look a little underdone, but they will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Makes 16-20 cookies.

Chocolate Macarons

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I’ve been a macaron enthusiast for quite a long time as evident in my Instagram pictures.  I still remember the first time I tried them.  My friend had just come back from Paris and brought back a beautiful box of Laduree macarons for me. They were so good I think I wolfed them down within seconds!  The year after, I went to Paris with my husband and we indulged ourselves with macarons everywhere!  Laduree was delicious but we also discovered Pierre Herme’s macarons and it became our top favourite!  The flavours were so unique and the packaging was so gorgeous.  I must’ve had over 30 macarons in a week and a half in Paris that summer.  When I came back from Paris, my friend and I were determined to make these little bites of heaven.  I signed us up for a macaron baking class and we made our first batch together.  Here are a few pictures and the recipe that we followed.  It turned out really well for us.  I hope it does for you too!  Nothing is more frustrating than baking macarons that don’t turn out.  Trust me, I’ve been there.

Recipe:  Chocolate Macarons (adapted from here)

INGREDIENTS

For the macarons:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the ganache filling:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), at room temperature and cut into cubes
INSTRUCTIONS

For the macarons:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip; set aside.
  2. Place the powdered sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse several times to aerate. Process until fine and combined, about 30 seconds. Sift through a flour sifter into a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Make a meringue by placing the egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until opaque and foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the egg whites are white in color and hold the line of the whisk, about 1 minute. Continue to beat, slowly adding the granulated sugar, until the sugar is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny, about 1 minute more. (Do not overwhip.) Transfer the meringue to a large bowl.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites in four batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. (The meringue will deflate.)With the final addition, stop folding when there are no traces of egg whites, the mixture runs like slow-moving lava, and it looks like cake batter. (Do not overmix.)
  5. Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Pipe out 1-1/4-inch rounds about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheets, about 25 per sheet. Pick up the baking sheets and bang them against the work surface to help create the macaron base, or foot. Let the rounds sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry the tops and ensure even cooking.
  6. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheet and cook for 7 minutes more. Transfer the sheet to a rack to cool completely.

For the ganache filling (mmm…my favourite part):

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to boil. Stir it into the chocolate without creating bubbles. Let sit for 1 minute. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until thickened but still spreadable, about 30 minutes.

To assemble:

  1. Pair macarons of similar size. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. If you choose to pipe the ganache, transfer it to a resealable plastic bag and snip about a 1/2 inch off a bottom corner. Squeeze or scoop the ganache to about the size of a cherry (about 1 teaspoon) onto the center of a macaron half.Top with another half and press gently so that it looks like a mini hamburger. The filling should not ooze out the edges. Refrigerate, covered, at least 24 hours before serving.  Enjoy!!