Sweet & Delicious Low-Calorie Valentine’s Day Cocktails

According to Nielsen, Americans alone will purchase around 58 million pounds of chocolate during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day – that’s A LOT of sugar. Some of you may not want to add even more sugar with the cocktails you will be enjoying, but there is hope. You are still able to enjoy a delicious, low-calorie Valentine’s Day cocktails to toast your sweetheart thanks to Cascade Ice Sparkling Water and these following Valentine’s Day-inspired recipes. Cascade Ice sparkling waters are free of unnecessary and unhealthy “extras” found in other flavored waters like calories, sodium, caffeine, gluten and sugar without losing its delicious flavor. Below are three delicious cocktails you are sure to enjoy for Valentine’s Day. Say goodbye to boring champagne and spend your romantic night enjoying these sexy and sweet drinks:

Love Potion Pizzazz

Cascade Ice Love Potion

To mix up the irresistible potion, mix 2oz of Cascade Ice’s Pomegranate Berry with 1oz of vodka. Add a garnish of fresh cherries and you’re ready to go!

Passion Pucker-Up Cocktail

Cascade Ice Passion Pucker-Up Cocktail

Mix up this tantalizing drink by pouring 1.5oz of tequila and 3oz of Cascade Ice Black Raspberry over crushed ice into your mixer. Next, add the juice of a lime wedge and a handful of raspberries. Garnish the cocktail with an orange wedge and you’re ready to serve!

Blushing Sparkler

Cascade Ice Blushing Sparkler

Mix 1oz of whipped vodka, 4oz of Cascade Ice Pink Grapefruit, the juice of a lemon wedge and a handful of ice in a mixer. Pour the cocktail into a chilled glass and garnish with lemon wedges.

What do you think of these low-calorie Valentine’s Day cocktails? Which of these three would you try?

Is Your New Year Resolution to Eat Healthier? Try the Ninja Ultima Blender w/ Dual Stage Blades

As with every year, New Year resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier are uttered across the globe every January but thanks to the amazing Ninja Ultima Blender, we can be truly on our way to creating healthier drinks and meals. There are five models in the Ninja Ultima range, most of which includes 16 oz. Single Serve Cups and lids for personal drinks on the go. The Ninja Ultima BL820 Kitchen System includes a food processing bowl and blade accessories. In this post, we’re concentrating on the Ninja Ultima BL810.

THE NINJA Ultima

The expansive speed range of the Ninja Ultima Blender offers everything from gentle blending to total crushing to Nutrient Complete Juicing™. This means you can do anything from juicing to making soup, grinding meat, crushing ice, grating cheese, etc. Thanks to Ninja Ultima’s Total Crushing™ Blades that rotate at 5,000 RPM (crushing whole fruits, vegetables, seeds and ice) and its bottom High Speed Cyclonic Blades that rotate independently at 24,000 RPM (liquefying ingredients into a silky smooth consistency in a matter of seconds), you can prepare healthy meals any time of the day, for any occasion.

That’s right, the Ninja Ultima lets you go beyond just juicing. Want to lose weight in a delicious way? Try some metabolism boosting recipes like Apple Almond Power Smoothie, Kale and Cabbage Slaw, or Blackberry Mint Italian Ice (recipe below).

Planning a get-together? Try a delicious Sweet Red Pepper SpreadButternut Squash Mac & Cheese, or Blender Salsa. Throw out those thoughts that you’d have to buy the $600 Vitamix Blender to create those awesome, chef-inspired recipes. For half the cost of the Vitamix, you get a blender that is more powerful. So far I have tried these two recipes featured below (once with a substitute of pineapple and ginger instead of the blackberry+mint) and I plan on whipping up some homemade guacamole and trying the Chillout Chai Smoothie recipe.

Blackberry Mint Italian Ice

Blackberry Mint Italian Ice



2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Using the Bottom Blades in the Pitcher, add the blackberries and water and PULSE 2 times.
Select Speed 1 and flip the switch to start. Slowly increase to Speed 6 and process until smooth.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan.
Add sugar and mint and slowly bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.
Cool completely and strain into a 9 x 9-inch glass dish. Freeze for 6 hours, stirring frozen crystals every 30 minutes.Serve or store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Cook Time: 25 min + Chill time: 6 hours

 

Super Ninja 9

Super Ninja 9

2 tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery cut into thirds
1 Granny Smith apple, quartered, unpeeled and uncored
1 small carrot, peeled and cut in half
1-inch piece of red onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper seeded
1/4 beet, peeled
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups ice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Place the Top Blades in the Pitcher and add all of the ingredients in the order listed.*
PULSE 3 times. Select Speed 10 and flip the switch to start.
Blend for 45 seconds.

I have personally owned and used a Ninja Professional Blender for over two years so I’m very familiar with the brand and their products. It should come as no surprise that we’re raving about the powerful Ultima blender. It is still going strong with no indication of slowing down (I guess this is why my mother has been eyeing it for herself). I am sure two years from now, I will still be enjoying my Ninja Ultima and all the delicious and healthy recipes they recommend.

Wish You Were Beer | Home Brewing 101 w/ Vimbly at Bitter & Esters

No one will ever accuse me of being a beer lover or drinker but I love checking out new and different experiences, so when I was invited by Vimbly (the fastest way to book thousands of super cool activities, classes and date ideas such as cooking, glassblowing, pizza making, samurai sword fighting, and of course Home Brewing, etc) to take part in a class about home brewing your own beer, I jumped at the chance. As I said, I’m not a beer drinker but how many times do you have the opportunity to learn the secrets of brewing your own beer from an expert? Thanks to Vimbly, I walked into Bitter & Esters (the city’s first DIY Brewery) in Brooklyn to learn all there is to know about home brewing.
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Armed with a Dr. Feelgood beer, brewed on site at Bitter & Estes, and a manual, instructor and co-founder, John LaPolla gave us step-by-step instruction on homebrewing. Bitter & Esters offers the following classes: Brewshop 101, Brew Like a Pro, Brew on premises and Advanced classes. Tonight I would partake in Brewshop 101 – Home Brewing Essentials.

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John gave the last a detailed list of making the perfect batch of beer. We learned the necessities of general preparation such as sanitizing EVERYTHING, bottling, equipment needed, and avoiding common home brewing mistakes. We learned about the various types of Grains (did you know darker grains contribute to the color of the brewed beer?), different types of Malts (Base Malts, Kilned Malts, Caramel Malts and Roasted Malts), the facts that Hops come in three forms – Whole Leaf, Hop Plugs and Pellets (two of the three are pictured below) and measuring the bitterness of hops in beer (btw, this is called an IBU – International Bittering Unit).

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To get a more detailed view and knowledge of the class, I invite you to partake in the two-hour class offered via Vimbly – Brewshop 101: Home Beer Brewing Essentials – the class is really fun and interactive and John is quite hilarious . And don’t worry if you are a beer novice, you will walk out with a vast knowledge of proper home brewing. Check out a few more pictures from the class below:

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I would like to thank the wonderful people at Vimbly for inviting me to enjoy this wonderful class and the staff at Bitter & Esters for the amazing experience and for making me enjoy my first beer….actually I tried three, including one made with Perrier (which was quite amazing).

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Twisted Shotz

My favorite thing about being a Blogger continues to be discovering and sharing amazing new brands and products. I previously wrote about attending the 2013 Holiday Buying Show and discovering some delicious spirits. One of the most fun and innovative alcohol brands I discovered at the show was Twisted Shotz.
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What exactly are Twisted Shotz? They are delicious, bartender-quality mixed drinks that offer TWO great flavors in one Twisted Shot! The liqueurs are held separately in each divided shot glass ready for your enjoyment. Indulge in such delicious shots as Porn Stara Raspberry Vodka and Blue Curacao Liqueur, Sex on the Beacha Banana/Pear Liqueur and Cream Liqueur, Buttery NippleButterscotch Vodka and Vanilla Cream Vodka, etc. There are several delicious cocktail options to enjoy. These must-try shots are available in a 4-pack and part of a party pack. Get to know all the delicious twisted combinations from Twisted Shotz.
polar bear twisted shotz

Just in time for the holiday season, Twisted Shotz introduces Polar Bear – a sensational combination of Peppermint and White Chocolate Cream Liqueur. Want to get some for your next party? Just click on Find Twisted Shotz to see retailers near you.

 

“Fall” in Love With These Delicious Snacks

We love the fall season for so many reasons but our favorite are the yummy fall-themed flavors like sweet potato, pumpkin, savory spicy flavors and a few surprises.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries are not new, I’ve been enjoying this savory treat for decades but Boulder Canyon brings a new experience with its Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, Potassium and Beta-Carotene, a vital antioxidant that promotes overall health. This completely natural snack mirrors the shape, taste and texture of the popular side dish and is made from natural ingredients, with no trans fats, zero cholesterol and only one gram of saturated fat. They are gluten free, Kosher certified and contain no genetically modified organisms (Non-GMO). Grab a 7.5-ounce bag for $2.99-3.29.

late july multigrain-sweet-potato
Want a touch of sweet to your multi-grain tortilla chip? You must try this How Sweet Potato It Is from Late July. They’re certified organic, whole grain, gluten free, non-GMO, peanut/tree nut free & delicious. I especially love pairing them with hot red beans; something about the flavor combinations are sublime. Get a 12-pack of the 5.5-Ounce bag for $37.53 at Amazon.com or grab them at Whole Foods.
farm rich ravioli

Farm Rich continues to keep you happy with their latest delicious launch. Put aside the fork and get hands-on when these delicious toasted ravioli treats are put in front of you. The Farm Rich Toasted Ravioli are lightly breaded treats that surround a small pocket of mouth-watering four-cheese ravioli. You won’t be able to stop eating them. Run, don’t walk to your local supermarket to get your hands…(mouth?) on these.

lifeway kefir frozen

Lifeway’s Frozen Kefir in Tart and Tangy Pumpkin is a creamy, delicious dessert that packs 10 live and active probiotic cultures in a delicious pumpkin flavor. This tart and tangy treat is high in protein and calcium, and it’s made from all natural ingredients. Fair warning, do not eat directly from the pint….you’ll soon find the entire thing empty. Are you ready for a low-calorie, frozen dessert on the go? Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars are gluten-free and contain no artificial flavors or colors. With only 60 calories in each bar, Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars are a tart ‘n’ tangy treat you will love…..especially in the creamy Pear. I know you’re probably thinking Pear is more of a summer fruit but this light, refreshing flavor makes a perfect snack anytime.

What do you think of our new favorite snacks?

VH1’s Carrie Keagan Launches Magnifico Giornata Sparkling Wines

I love a good glass of wine and you guys already know I love discovering new and exciting products – which is exactly what I did a few nights ago. Magnifico Giornata, Italian for “Magnificent Day”, launched their new trio of essence-infused, European Blend sparkling wines.

Hosted by VH1’s Carrie Keagan (a partner in the brand along with CEO, Bob Manfredonia), guests were able to sample each of the essences, passed hors d’oeuvres, a pairing table of small bites created specially to compliment each of the essences and music by renowned New York DJ, Jeffrey Tonnesen.

The delicious sparkling wines are infused with subtle essences of Lavender Honey, Ginger Pêche and Grapefruit Blanc (the last being my favorite) and blows every other sparkling cocktail out of the water (if you’re a fan of Absolut’s Tune – you will die over Magnifico Giornata).

Guests also enjoyed three performances by burlesque troop Nuit Blanche, known for their provocative performances (see below for a snippet of one of the performances)

Notable attendees at the celebration included: Carrie Keagan (Host, VH1’s Big Morning Buzz with Carrie Keagan), Phillip Bloch (Celebrity Stylist), Janell Snowden (VH1), Trey Morgan (Radio Host, Z100), Kristen Ruhlin (Actress), J Smith Cameron (Actress), Cara Castronuova (Fitness Personality/Trainer, The Biggest Loser, Season 11).

The Magnifico Giornata Sparkling Wine Collection is available now for $24.99 per bottle in finer liquor stores and lounges throughout NYC, and will roll-out to other key markets in the U.S. later this year. For more information about Magnifico Giornata, check out www.magnificobrands.com and follow them on Twitter @MagnificoGio.

Tasting Panel Magazine Presents the 2012 Tour of Double Gold Winners – Part 1

I got the chance to enjoy an amazing and unique experience thanks to the wonderful people at Cockspur Rum. The the historic Bajan Rum won a Double Gold Medal in the rum category at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and it, along with the other winners, are on a tasting tour to fourteen U.S. markets. I had the pleasure of attending the New York tasting at Beacon Restaurant & Bar. The event was separated into two rooms, one for wines and champagne and the other for spirits (hard liquor). I wish I could post everything I enjoyed but this would be way too long. I’ll begin with the hard stuff since I tasted fewer (most winners were Tequilas, Gins, Scotch Malts and Mezcals, which I stay away from)

Double Gold Winner – 2 Nite Sicilian Blood Orange Vodka $22.00

A deliciously sweet and smooth vodka that’s perfect on the rocks or in a mixed drink. I’d happily give up bottles of any other orange flavored vodka for a glass of this.

Double Gold Winner & Best Rum – Cockspur Fine Rum

Perfectly aged, beautiful amber color, smooth as silk. It’s a rum my family grew up with and I remember my grandfather sipping this fine rum when I was younger.


Double Gold Winner & Best Aquavit – Krogstad Aquavit $25.00

Aquavit is a spirit I am not familiar with but upon tasting, it was very smooth and dry. Krogstad Aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit that gets its distinctive flavor from caraway, anise seed and other herbs and spices. It makes a great substitute for vodka in Bloody Marys.

Double Gold Winner – Dictador 20 Rum $60.00

Though new to me, this is a great, dark Colombian rum; very sexy, very bold in flavor and taste which makes this a great sipping rum.

Best Moscato – Cameron Hughes 2010 Moscato d’Asti Lot 319 $14.00

The most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. It was so fresh, so crisp and absolutely delicious. It’s no surprise why it won both Double Gold and Best Moscato. Definitely adding this to the bar.

Double Gold Winner & Best in Show: Sparkling – Champagne Nicolas Feuillate 2004 Vintage Brut $46.00

A full bodied tasting champagne. It might just be my palette but I tasted warmth and more than just grape (pear maybe…something exotic?) I’m not sure but its definitely a delicious champagne.

Double Gold Winner & Best in Show: Dessert Wine – Barboursville 2007 Malvaxia Reserve Passito $30.00

If you love dessert wines or even just very sweet wine, this one is perfect for you.  I can also see enjoying fresh fruit soaking in this uber-sweet treat. Keep an eye out for part two of this tasting.

New Delicious Treats from Lifeway Kefir

Lifeway Kefir, makers of the creamy blend of rich flavorful, drinkable, yogurt-like beverages packed with probiotics and rich health benefits. Lifeway Kefir is great for everyone – Kids, infants, seniors, pregnant or nursing women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with digestive disorders. Last year they launched their delicious Lifeway Frozen Kefir, an extra-healthy, probiotic, 90-calories-per-serving frozen yogurt alternative that provides the amazing benefits of kefir’s 10 live and active probiotic cultures (up to three times more than yogurt with roughly half the calories) that help stimulate digestion and support the immune system but in a deliciously frozen form. This addictive, delicious frozen treat came in four fun flavors: Mango, Pomegranate, Original, and Strawberry – allowing you to give up the guilt from eating a whole pint of ice cream by substituting it with this tasty, healthy treat.

 Frozen Kefir-Dulce de Leche

Now Lifeway has introduced three new decadent flavors to their Frozen Kefir line – Pumpkin, Chocolate, and Dulce de Leche (pictured above). These three new decadent flavors make enjoying dessert deliciously guilt-free. Lifeway Frozen Kefir is always 99% lactose-free and gluten-free. These new flavors, which are available now, retails for $4.59-$4.99 for 1 pint /473 ml.
Another great new product from Lifeway Kefir and my new addiction is the Greek Style Fro-Yo – a delectably creamy, tangy and good for you pint of heaven

Greek Style Fro-Yo Blood Orange

This protein packed creamy treat can curb your hunger while satisfying your sweet tooth with its three delectable low-cal flavors – Blood Orange Swirl, Chocolate Swirl, and Honey Swirl. Blending in a velvety swirl of flavor, Greek Style Fro-Yo kefir is gluten-free, 99% lactose-free, 110 calories per serving, and packed with 10 strains of probiotics. These retail for $4.59-$4.99 for 1 pint /473 ml. I fell in love with the Blood Orange Swirl at first spoonful and it was quite a challenge not to enjoy the entire pint in one sitting.

Lifeway has joined Christy Turlington Burns and Every Mother Counts to improve the health and lives of mothers and children everywhere. Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods, Inc. CEO ran in the ING New York Marathon to increase awareness and support for the non-profit organization Every Mother Counts (EMC). Lifeway is sponsoring a private screening of Christy’s documentary, No Woman, No Cry in Chicago on April 16th. Lifeway is currently running a sweepstakes and fundraising campaign to support maternal health. The Grand Prize for the sweepstakes includes an all-expense paid trip for two to Chicago on April 16 to meet global maternal health advocate and founder of EMC, Christy Turlington Burns.