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honeymoon-smoothie-recipe-02

Honeymoon Smoothie | عصير المتزوجين

How do you know it’s springtime in Yemen? So much of Yemen is dusty: sand overwhelms the northern stretches in an area called “Rub’ al Khali” or the “Empty Quarter”; even ancient skyscrapers are made of sun-baked mud, as can be found in the town of Shibam. But… like a mirage, there’s another, glimmering view of Yemen. Between the dusty cliffs of the Hadramout desert lies a valley of prickly trees and honey bees, where one of the world’s great aphrodisiacs accumulates in golden pools. This is Sidr Honey, a.k.a. jujube honey. Every year, semi-nomadic beekeepers flock to the Do’an Valley, where the sweet fragrance of the jujube tree sets the bees into motion. The resulting honey is said to be a tremendous aphrodisiac. And what do you do with an aphrodisiac? You drink it, of course. Honeymoon Smoothie عصير المتزوجين is a love potion of sorts – a honey-laced smoothie meant to sweeten marriage and to help single folks find true love. I call it a “honeymoon smoothie,” though I read that the literal translation is “married couples juice.” Inside you’ll find everything …

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Kir Impérial

In honor of Valentine’s Day – and being one month away from the release of my new memoir (Eeee!!) – I went to the “way back” machine and dug up what I consider to be the most romantic of all French drinks: a Kir Impérial. There are only two things you need to know about Kir Impérial. #1 It bubbles. #2. It tastes like love. But… since I’m a front row kind of gal… The Story Behind Kir Once upon a time the Kir was actually called “vin blanc cassis” – which just means “white wine currants.” According to Larousse Gastronomique, this was a specialty drink from Burgundy, France. It mixed two of the region’s best drinks: an Aligoté wine (dry white wine) and cassis (black currant liqueur). After World War II everything changed. A priest, who helped 5,000 people escape a prisoners of war camp, was knighted and elected as the mayor of Dijon. He always served vin blanc de cassis during official meetings and celebrations, in part because there was a red wine shortage. His name was – you guessed it – Felix …

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Venezuelan Fruit Punch | Tizana

Crack open just about any Venezuelan fridge and you just might find a pitcher of tizana. Tizana is as much a drink as it is a fruit salad. The fruity concoction keeps for nearly a week, which makes it perfect for impromptu scooping. Though perhaps not traditional, I’m guilty of digging into the pitcher at breakfast time, dessert time, and, of course, at midnight. I can see how having tizana in the fridge would be a great way to get my daily allotment of fruit, especially when in a hurry.   So how is it made? For starters, you’ll need about… an entire orchard. Chopped. The kinds of fruit varies, but most recipes seemed to include one or more kinds of melon, pineapple, grapes, bananas, and apples. More exotic fruit like papaya, passion fruit, persimmons, guava, and mango appear once in a while, too. The whole mixture is thinned with good ol’ fashioned OJ and a splash of grenadine. Some people like to add club soda or regular soda to the mix, too.   Seriously. If this doesn’t …

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Orange Blossom Juice

Orange juice is a hardworking breakfast drink. When everyone else in the house is still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, orange juice is waaaay perky. It contains enough joy to put coffee out of business. But what if you had something a little more fancy to offer your family (or guests) in the morning? Orange juice with a splash of orange blossom water is a direct inspiration from the United Arab Emirates (and all over the Gulf), where hosts offer guests orange blossom water & orange juice syrups to their guests.  The orange blossom water adds a floral note – a bit of  perfume-laden romance – something which is often sorely lacking in the early morning hours. If you’d like to get extra fancy, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice. That’ll brighten up the flavor even more. There’s really no recipe… start with a 1/4 tsp orange blossom water per cup of OJ, and add more to taste. I suggest you use the best orange juice you can find. If you …

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Coconut Watermelon Refresher | ‘Otai

Sun. Sweat. Waves. If lemonade is the go-to poolside drink in the United States, ‘Otai is the go-to ocean-side drink of Tonga. Our recipe for ‘Otai takes us way out into the southwest Pacific, where the tropical days lull a person into putting away their smartphone. Can you imagine? Oh, please, someone take my cellphone from me!! My heart is there already. I promise you won’t need your phone to enjoy this drink. What you do need? A watermelon, a can of coconut milk, and some shredded coconut. If you want to get fancy, you can add things like crushed pineapple or papaya, too. A squeeze of lime juice brightens up the flavors (and looks fancy schmancy) TIP: The watermelon and coconut milk should be very cold. Refrigerate them overnight.. or you could make the drink ahead, and refrigerate it for several hours, or overnight. While you wait, paint your toenails watermelon pink (or is it red?). Use three coats. No biggie. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts Ingredients: 1/2 seedless watermelon (about 5 cups mashed) …

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Thai Iced Tea

There’s nothing sweeter than a good love story; and there’s no love story more refreshing than Thai Iced Tea. This is the love story of extra strong Ceylon tea, brewed until deeply blushing. The rouge dissolves like a faint, as sweetened condensed milk swirls into the mix. If you think that’s all there is to Thai Iced Tea, you’d be half right. For many people, that’s all they desire. But every love story needs a little spice, so today we’re going the extra mile, by including one of the little optional additions that give each pitcher ultimate romance … like a few stars, to brighten the mood. Star Anise glitter as brightly as any in the sky…  don’t you think? This is a drink that will cool you after a bite of spicy Thai food. It will calm you after a stressful day. And, if you sweeten it as much as they do in Thailand, it just might make your eyes pop out. In a good way. Note: Some people like to add orange food …

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Lemongrass Dawet

Lemongrass. Coconut milk. Slushie. Pink. Pink. Pink. Hello. The weather’s been heating up lately, so when I happened up this Dawet recipe so beloved in Suriname, I knew we had to try it. When I discovered it was also enjoyed in slushie form? I did a little dance. Slushies are always a good idea. The refreshing, tropical drink is made with an easy, homemade lemongrass syrup, a swirl of coconut milk, and a splash of water (or ice, if making a slushie). Dawet originates from Asia, and is especially popular in Indonesia. The drink was brought to Suriname and popularized as a result of colonization and immigration. In my research, I found several photos of the dawet in Suriname, and it seems the slushie is popular among street vendors. Ava and her friend were fans. There’s so many ways to make this drink. I suggest making the syrup and then toying with how much coconut milk you’d like, versus how much ice. The quantities given are what worked for me, but there really are no …

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Sangria

About five years ago Sangria was my go-to drink. A sweet, chilled glass served as my weekend wind-down and my mid-week pick-me-up. I sipped the ruby red goodness with friends… and it brought us joy, whether we were laughing or crying. Sangria became such a standby, I even served it at our engagement party in 2007. P.S. Look how glamorous (and eerie) our engagement photo was (Thanks to my amazing friend Rebekah Shannon!) … this feels like a lifetime ago… and I suppose it is, because it’s pre-Ava’s lifetime. But, back to the Sangria. Despite my initial flush of excitement with this Spanish drink, I eventually fell out of love with Sangria; the flavor grew to seem one-dimensional and way too sweet. I suppose the drink felt rather like dating a pretty boy. The fling was nice for a while, but without mutual interests – something deeper – the romance fizzled all too quickly. Then I made a batch of Sangria from scratch. That changed everything. Let’s just say I fell back in love. I made one major change: …

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Killer Bee Cocktail with Black Pepper & Nutmeg

I can’t even begin to take credit for this drink. My dear friend Marina wanted to contribute something to our potluck-style dinner but even after I gave her the easy out by suggesting our Caribbean Rum Punch, she insisted on creating something new and unique to Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her research and uncovered this gem of a sipper… the Killer Bee Cocktail. With a name like that, it has to be good. According to her research: The Killer Bee cocktail is by far the most popular beverage on the island of Nevis.  Sunshine’s [Beach Bar] is so secretive about the drink that I’ve read he mixes the cocktail under the bar to hide the mix from curious eyes. So while this is not exact, it is the closest thing you will find…after a few you won’t notice anyway, right?   (Caribbean Escape Blog) Any kind of drink that is made under the table to preserve it’s secret? Count me in! Now for a few notes on the nitty gritty. Marina made the cocktail with …

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Tapioca & Jello Sipper | Sago at Gulaman

It’s Friday. We all need a little love. A quick fix to carry us into the weekend, Filipino-style. Also, we’re on our way to October, which means we’re on our way to Halloween… The answer? <gulp> Sago at Gulaman, a.k.a. Tapioca and Jello Sipper. This drink hardly even needs a recipe. First step, make some jello. For brownie points, make agar agar “jelly.” Agar agar is seaweed based and sets up at room temperature. Very cool. You can find it on the international aisle of Whole Foods, or at your local Asian market. I used pandan flavored jelly from Nam Hai, one of our local Asian markets. They also had mango, lychee, and many other fun, tropical flavors. (Note: You might find it easier for dicing to make your jello in a 9×9 container – but Ava and I had a blast using these molds) Next, up, the tapioca. Drop the dusty white pearls into a large pot of boiling water. Give several stirs and cook like pasta until completely transparent. My small pearls took almost …

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Rose Water Lemonade

For some, the season of flip flops is over, now replaced by the steady clickety-clack of school shoes on polished linoleum. For others, school is nothing more than a faint memory, farther yet than the setting sun’s shimmering rays upon which our dreams cling. Either way, Rosewater Lemonade will put a smile where you need it most. For the back-to-schoolers, this drink represents everything easy-breezy; a way to go global, even in the midst of lost backpacks, homework, and forgotten lunches. Each sip will take you to the middle east and Oman, where Rosewater Lemonade is a cherished treat. For those who cling to the distant memory of schoolyard days, this is your ticket to the lost joys of youth. Each sip tastes like a thousand roses bathing in fresh squeezed sunlight. Literally. Now, here’s the deal. This time of year I have too many paper cuts to squeeze my own lemonade. If you find yourself in the same position, I have a sneaky trick for you. Add several slices of fresh lemon to each cup of store-bought lemonade …

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Nigerian Chapman Cocktail

There are four things I love to do in the summer. 1. Flit around pools, lakes, and oceans until my fingers wrinkle and warp. 2. Make mud pies and bake them in the Oklahoma sun. 3. Kiss my husband at the drive-in movie theater. 4. Dance like no one is watching. When that’s all done, I like a good, sweet sipper and a shady spot to drink it down. Thankfully, I just learned about Chapman – a bright, bubbly festival for your mouth. This is a Nigerian drink made for parties – supposedly invented by a Nigerian bartender named Chapman and, although I wasn’t able to find any solid facts on the history, I like the idea that there is a real live person behind the drink. There are as many variations as there are bubbles in Chapman. The general idea is to mix orange soda (traditional would be fanta) with a lemon/lime soda (like sprite). I went with natural izze sodas and later made a version with san pelligrino. Both tasted bright and zesty. Perhaps the most …

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