Beat the Heat with Healthy Sparkling Fruit Water

It’s been so hot here, and every day my kids and I are trying to come up with new ways to keep cool. I decided to freeze some pomegranate juice and blueberries and combine it in sparkling lime-flavored water to create this super refreshing and healthy Sparkling Fruit Water. It’s so easy!

Blueberry Spritzer

Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. Recently Tufts University conducted a study of 60 various fruits and vegetables and found that blueberries rated the highest for their antioxidant capabilities. They have been linked to great health benefits and are said to help prevent alzheimer’s, prevent urinary tractions, improve aging and eyesight and more. This refreshing summery beverage is a cinch to make with only 4 ingredients. It’s a hit with adults as well as the kids.

Coconut Water: Superstar Fitness Drink?

Is Coconut Water the new “Power Superstar” fitness water? There has been a lot of buzz about the health benefits of coconut water with mixed research. E Online wrote an article last year entitled, “Why is Every Celebrity drinking Coconut water?” Coconut water is the juice found in young, green coconuts. Unlike coconut milk, which has fat, coconut water is about 95% water, low in carbohydrates and sugar and has no fat. It is a great way to hydrate without calories, and it contains electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphate as well as small amounts of many essential amino acids. In the book “Coconut Water for Health and Healing“, Bruce Fife states that coconut water is a nutritional powerhouse with remarkable healing powers such as in dissolving kidney stones, enhancing the immune function, reducing of swelling in hands and feet, aiding in athletic performance and others. When comparing Gatorade with the Zico brand of coconut water, here are the differences, per ounce:

Gatorade: 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams sugar, 3.75 mg potassium, 13.75 mg sodium

Zico: 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 mg potassium, 5.45 mg sodium

Coconut Water has been called “nature’s” sports drink, and my opinion is that if you’re looking for something new and different, give it a try. Also it’s a lower sugar option for kids who drink a lot of sports drinks. The downside is that it tends to be a little bit more expensive. Let me know if you have tried it and what your thoughts are.

Holiday and Christmas Morning Cranberry Punch

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Who doesn’t love a hot beverage this time of year to beat the winter chill? This mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves spice up cranberry and pineapple juice to comfort you this time of year. My sister, Natalie, makes this punch every year during the wintertime holidays, so I thought I would share it among friends. It is very similar to a recipe I developed when I was a Food Editor with Southern Living magazine. It’s perfect to serve Christmas morning to set off the festivities in a warm cheerful tone. Cheers! 

 

Spiced Cranberry Punch

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup water

11/2 quart cranberry juice

1 (48-ounce) container pineapple juice

Preparation

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large 5-quart pan; bring to a boil. Add pineapple juice and bring back to a boil. Serve warm.

Easy Christmas Gift Ideas-Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

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We love hot chocolate at my house! My kids consider it a real treat when I say, “Who wants hot chocolate?” They love it in the morning, after school, and sometimes, instead of dessert, after dinner. And my non-coffee friends will stop at Starbucks for hot chocolate as fast as I will get my latte (and for those who know me, that’s a lot). So, I thought what would be a simpler and better holiday gift than the gift of hot chocolate? This recipe is a breeze and tastes great. Feel free to give a large 1-quart container or several small 4-ounce jars. Whichever you choose, I know you and your friends will love this recipe. The only thing that is missing is the milk.

 

Hot Chocolate Mix

Prep: 5 minutes

Ingredients

13/4 cups powdered sugar

11/2 cups nonfat dry milk

11/4 cups unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s)

4 cups miniature marshmallows

Preparation

1. Stir together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place in a large or small airtight jars and store at room temperature.

Gift Card Enclosure and instructions: Stir 1/2 cup  Hot Chocolate Mix into 1 cup warm milk, stirring well. Serve immediately.

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Pomegranate Margarita

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My friend, Steven, called last night and said he was having relatives in Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  He asked me for a food favor. He said they were preparing a Mexican-themed menu, and asked me to help him with a recipe for a Pomegranate Margarita which was highly requested by his wife, Bridget. I thought this sounded like a really nice idea since many of us will be entertaining family and friends next week. This recipe has the right mix of tequila, Triple Sec and pomegranate juice. I just recommend using my ultimately favorite “Patron Silver” for the tequila.


Pomegranate Margarita

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

Lime wedges 

Salt or sugar for the rim

Ice

8 ounces white tequila

4 ounces Triple Sec

1 cup pomegranate juice

2 limes, juiced (optional)

1/2 cup club soda

Directions

1. Pour salt or sugar onto a plate or shallow dish. With a lime wedge rub along the rim of a glass and dip glasses upside down to salt the rim. Fill glasses with ice. In a cocktail shaker with ice place the tequila, triple sec, pomegranate juice, and lime juice. Pour into the salt-rimmed glasses and top off with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedges, if desired.

For tequila, see www.patronspirits.com