Cucumber Basil Sparkler {Recipe Redux}

Guys, I’m pretty excited. This is my very first Recipe Redux and I think it’s a perfect fit for me.

From plain Jane vanilla extract to fancy-pants elderflower liqueur, we like to keep a little liquor in the kitchen. Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols. A splash of vodka makes summer sauces shine – and liqueurs brighten desserts: What’s your healthy recipe with spirit?

Ok, that made me sound a little too excited about alcohol. But for real, Nathan and I have been getting more into cocktails lately and this was the perfect excuse to experiment. So I give you the tasty outcome:

Cucumber Basil Sparkler

Serves 2

Cucumber Basil Sparkler

Ingredients
– 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
– 1 tsp raw sugar
– 4 oz cucumber vodka
– 1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
– ~11 oz sparkling water
– Ice

Directions
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the basil with the raw sugar. In a large glass or a cocktail shaker, add the crushed basil and sugar to the cucumber vodka and St. Germain. Mix and pour evenly into 2 glasses. Add your ice and top off with sparkling water.

Put your feet up and enjoy!

Cucumber Vodka St Germain Basil Sparkler

And in case you missed my other dabblings in spirit-filled recipes, check em out!

Check out the rest of the Recipe Redux!

Don’t forget to enter my Swanson Vitamins giveaway!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

What is your favorite type of liquor?
Not a liquor fan? What’s your favorite drink?print

Foodie Friday: Bourbon Banana Cheesecake

Planning a Valentine’s Day dessert is always a struggle for me. Everything I see is always chocolate, understandably, but Nathan is more of a fruit dessert kinda guy. I don’t discriminate. Any kind of sweet is good by me! I played with a few different ideas over the past few years; chocolate raspberry truffles, blackberry cobbler, chocolate strawberry cups.. they were all good, but I wanted to do something different this year. I’m also a fan of doing something a little healthier. That way I don’t feel so bad when I eat all of it 😉

I’d seen a few cheesecake recipes floating around the interwebs and thought that might be fun, but I wanted to make it a little more special than just a regular cheesecake. One of Nathan’s favorite recipes is bananas foster [if you recall our wedding cake] so I played around and had a little fun [read: broke out the alcohol!].

Bourbon Banana Cheesecake

Serves 9
Adapted from Skinnytaste Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Bourbon Banana Cheesecake Bourbon Coconut CreamIngredients
– 2 medium bananas; mashed
– 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp raw sugar; divided
– 1-2 oz. bourbon
– 2/3 cup crushed cinnamon graham crackers
– 1 tbsp coconut oil
– 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese; softened
– 6 oz. fat free Greek yogurt
– 2 large egg whites
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbsp all purpose flour

Optional Toppings
– 1 can full fat coconut milk; refrigerated
– 1-2 oz. bourbon
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– Dark chocolate bar [for shavings]

Directions
Place a small pot over medium heat and add the mashed bananas and 1 tbsp raw sugar. When the sugar has dissolved and the bananas are smooth, take the pot off of the heat and add in the bourbon. I say 1-2 oz. so you can do to your taste. Let cool completely.

While the bananas are cooling, preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick spray.

Crush the graham crackers [I used my food processor to make sure they were really crushed!] and mix with coconut oil. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup raw sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add in the Greek yogurt, egg whites, and flour. Finally, mix in the bananas until just thoroughly combined. You don’t want to overmix. Pour the mixture over the crust.

Bake 30-40 minutes until the center is just set. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours before slicing. When you’re ready to serve, slice into 9 equal squares and top however you like!

I served ours with bourbon coconut cream.. it was really supposed to be whipped cream, but the coconut milk just didn’t want to whip.. whoops! That didn’t make it any less tasty though. I also used my zester and to add some dark chocolate shavings over top.

Nutritional Information
Per square, without toppings

183 Calories  /  7g Fat  /  21g Carbs  /  14g Sugar  /  1g Fiber  /  7g Protein

Not too shabby for a rather decadent dessert, huh? 😉

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

What is your favorite dessert?

What I Ate Wednesday #74: Our Valentine’s Feast

One of the reasons I love Valentine’s Day is because everyone loves showing off their “best meal ever.” Certainly I’m no different and I can guarantee you our dinner and dessert.. and drinks.. were all fabulous! We always make an effort to come up with a menu together, Nathan takes over the protein, we work together on the sides, and I’m in charge of dessert. It’s my favorite. And when everything comes out perfectly, it’s that much better!

I got dressed up.. right down to the shoes 😉

Cherry Dress

Nice angle, yes? Haha

Appetizer

We cheers-ed to our 10th Valentine’s Day together with Lagranja sparkles.

Lagranja Sparkling Wine

Don’t be fooled by the small pour. We smashed that bottle!

I love their red wines and figured I couldn’t go wrong trying this. We also demolished an awesomely tasty plate.

Truffle Gouda Grapes Balsamic Jam Almonds Nut Thins

Truffle gouda, grapes, balsamic jam from Italy, smoked almonds, & nut thins.

The chunks of truffle in the cheese took us right back to Italy. That cheese is really something special!

Entree

To make the crust, we threw pistachios, rosemary, and garlic into the food processor. I think we both could have polished off a plate of the crust by itself. That’s always a good sign!

Pistachio Crusted Lamb

We hit the pan.

Pistachio Crusted Lamb

The flip. Check out that crust!

Pistachio Crusted Lamb Cherry Port Sauce Moroccan Wheat Berries Butternut Squash Carrots

The final product! Pistachio-crusted lamb with cherry port sauce, Moroccan wheat berry salad, and roasted carrots & butternut squash.

The flavors of each pieces blended so well. I love the bite that the wheat berries have, the carrots and squash were roasted just right, and the lamb. Ooooh the lamb. Nathan couldn’t have cooked it more perfectly. It was medium rare and the crust had such a nice crunch. The cherry port sauce was flavorful and not sweet at all. I could have eaten more!

Dessert

More to drink? Beer goes well with dessert, right?

Goose Island Matilda

One of our faves.

What wouldn’t go with bourbon banana cheesecake?

Bourbon Banana Cheesecake Bourbon Coconut Cream

Bourbon banana cheesecake with bourbon coconut cream, cinnamon,
and dark chocolate shavings.

I thought that amount of chocolate looked nice for my picture but I immediately added more before I actually sat down to eat it. It was so creamy and I’m happy to report that it’s actually not so bad for you either! I’ll be sharing the recipe this week 😉

Valentines

My valentine.

After just a few drinks [ha!] and with full bellies, we cozied up on the couch to watch the first episode of House of Cards [holy moly!] I hope you had as great of a day as we did. Perfect way to kick off the weekend!

Food for Thought

What were your plans for Valentine’s Day?
Do you stay in or go out to celebrate?