When it’s Summer, all I want is something refreshing to cool down the temperature… be it at home, at the beach or at a friend’s.
When someone asks you to BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage), it doesn’t need to be something alcoholic… but it doesn’t need to be something boring either. You can bring a punch, make sangria or take advantage of all the refreshing mint that evokes the freshness of summer.
Just a few ingredients and you’ll have a great non-alcoholic alternative that will make any pregnant mom or young kid feel like they’re not missing anything at all.
½ cup of Simply Limeade
The juice of 2-3 limes
½ cup of lemon/lime sparkling water or natural lemon/lime soda
2 tbs of brown sugar simple syrup or 2 tbs of turbinado sugar
4-5 mint leaves, sliced thinly or chopped
½ a lime, sliced thinly
- Add the lime slices, sugar and mint leaves to an old fashioned glass. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, smash together all the ingredients.
- Add the limeade juice, fresh lime juice and sparkling water or natural soda. Mix well with a stirrer and enjoy!!!
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico… but I am Cuban at heart.
To my friends in Puerto Rico… I am almost Cuban. To my family in Miami, I am 100% Puertorra. I live in both worlds simultaneously and to me, it’s all just part of being the daughter of a Puerto Rican mom and a Cuban Dad Kinda like “café con leche”.
Many of the flavors and foods I love so much, I learned from my Dad. He taught me to eat guava paste with cream cheese, croquetas, Medianoches and Cuban Sandwiches, rice with black beans, tamales en hoja and in cazuela, guava pastelillos, patelillitos de carne, frutabomba and mamey milkshakes… and yuca with Cuban mojo, amongst many other things.
Whenever I boil some viandas, the local way we refer to root vegetables and tubers, I like to eat them with a side of onions that taste like Cuban mojo. The reason I don’t go out and make mojo from scratch is because it takes a lot of olive oil for just me in one serving. So I came up with this simplified version that hits all the flavor notes of Cuban mojo in a simple, perfect for one person’s serving.
Cuban Mojo Onions
1 medium sized onion, it could be white or yellow, sliced to your desired preference
About 2tbs Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic
The juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and the sliced onions. I like to slice them thick, as if you were making onion rings. Sauté them to soften them more than for them to acquire some color. So when the pan starts to sizzle, I usually turn down the heat level to medium. Add some salt and pepper to season and draw out the moisture and soften the onions.
- Peel the garlic cloves and mash them a bit with the side of your knife. Add them to the pan like that. The purpose is for the onions to get the garlicky flavor without having to do a lot of work. Stir everything together to continue to soften the onions and garlic together.
- When the onions have become soft, add the juice of the lime directly in the pan. It’ll sizzle… at this time, you can turn the heat off and leave in the pan. The onions will not brown after you add the lime juice and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Serve over boiled potatoes, yuca, malanga, yautía, taro root, or anything else you want to give some Cuban flair to. This is a very easy side dish that will leave you wanting more…
You know I am not a cilantro fan… When a recipe calls for cilantro I usually substitute with flat-leaf parsley or I just omit it at all.
But there is something I have learned about cilantro in the last few years… I can tolerate it, even enjoy it, when I use only the leaves and not the stems of the cilantro plant. The stems remind me too much of the taste of recao. It’s too strong for me and gives me acid reflux. I know… not pretty. I noticed this once when I was cooking the now-famous veggie sancocho recipe after a retreat. I did like Ina Garten and shaved the leaves off the stems of the cilantro and used only that to “season” the sancocho. The other “more experienced” cooks were appalled at my “waste” of perfectly good cilantro stems. But many of the soup eaters thanked me afterwards because the cilantro flavor was subtle and not over powering at all after a few days of fasting.
Fast forward to the other day when I wanted to make something to bring to a party and I had an over abundance of avocados in my hands. I decided to make an avocado without tomatoes so it would stay as creamy as possible without the watery residue tomatoes sometimes leave atop guacamole. At the store there was no flat-leaf parsley so I went with the traditional and very much cheaper cilantro.
This guacamole was an absolute hit… People were asking me for the recipe all night. I wished I had posted this recipe already so I would not have to repeat myself so many times that night.
1 large avocado, cut into small pieces
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
The juice of 1 green lime
A generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
A drizzle of olive oil – about 1 tbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Mash everything together in a medium sized bowl.
- Let it stand in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors meld together.
You can make this with fresh avocados, but it also works with frozen avocados. Just defrost them and get rid of any water that separates from the pulp when the avocado is thawing.
I’ve mentioned to you already how I like to use a produce cleaner like Fit to clean my fruits and vegetables from the chemicals, pesticides and wax companies throw over produce to make them look particularly pretty for display at the supermarkets. They might look pretty, but those chemicals are definitely no good for our health.
But what do you do if you don’t have Fit or any other commercially available produce wash with you??
There are indeed natural ways to clean your fruits and vegetables… using lemon juice, vinegar or a combination of the two.
Grapes are fruits we enjoy a lot – we love to welcome in the New Year by eating 12 grapes to ask for 12 wishes for the new year. And after 10 days of fasting and cleansing your system, the last thing you want is to intoxicate your body with the pesticides and wax non-organic grapes are coated with.
All you need to do is soak the grapes in water and add the juice of 2-3 lemons or limes to the water the grapes are soaked in. Try for the grapes to be submerged as much as possible in the acidic solution. If not possible, then be vigilant and rotate the grapes so at some point they’re all soaked with the acidulated water. If using vinegar, try 2 tsps per gallon of water. Soak the grapes for only 20 minutes to 30 minutes tops. After that, the grapes start to soak the acidic water and they start to become mealy… not a good thing.
The acidic nature of lemon juice or vinegar dissolves and breaks down the wax covering the grapes… Check out this side by side pic of grapes washed in just water and grapes washed in the lemon water.
Knowing this method, we were able to thoroughly wash grapes we purchased right on the streets of Allahabad. Lemons are very common in India and unfortunately, waxed grapes are too.
After the grapes, or any other fruits you wish to enjoy, are cleaned… just dry them off and store as you would usually do – in the fridge or countertop. Or just go ahead and eat them immediately!!!
I prefer to cure myself using home remedies than using a bunch of chemical medications…… I haven’t even taken a Tylenol to relieve a headache in over 15 years.
And I have mentioned you how I mix together honey, lime juice and aloe to create a syrup to help me relieve my cold symptoms.
So, if you develop a cough, just add a ¼ piece of small onion to the mix. The taste is more pungent, but juts drink it like you drink a medicine. According to some internet research I did recently, onions are effective against many bacteria and early American settlers used them to treat colds, coughs, and asthma. Also, the Chinese used them to treat coughs and breathing problems. Even the World Health Organization recognized onions for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis.
All those people together can’t be all wrong… so have your onion “jarabe” the next time you’re feeling under the weather.
COUGH HOME REMEDY
1/2 cup honey
the inside clear gel of an aloe vera leaf
the juice of 2 limes
¼ piece of a small onion
1. Mix all the ingredients in a blender.
2. Drink about a 2 tablespoon measure every hour or so… or as often as you want.
It tastes good, so I would not blame you if you want to drink it for the taste as much as your desire to feel better.