Drinks & Smoothies · Grow Your Own Way · Recipes

Mojito Mocktail

First off: here’s a real Mojito recipe if that’s what you’re about! My friend Terri brought this to Mark’s birthday BBQ this year and they were outstanding. If you just want the refreshing, minty, limey, sugary taste without the booze, though, here’s how I do: 

In a large glass, like this mason jar, muddle (crush) 10 fresh mint leaves,  1 tsp sweetener (regular sugar, or stevia, etc.), and half a lime, cut into wedges. Add a large handful of ice cubes and pour ginger ale, seltzer water (plain or flavored) or club soda into the glass, topping with more lime wedges and sweetener to taste. You can also cut the fizz by using half plain water, half sparkling water. Stir to combine — don’t strain! — and enjoy without the hangover 🙂

Reasons I Love Mint

It grows easily. Ask anyone who’s put it in their garden outside a container!!

It’s a great digestive aid. Caffeine-free peppermint tea is fabulous for soothing an upset stomach, especially around the holidays when heavy food may be dragging you down.

It may relieve nausea. I did not find it helpful while pregnant (and some doctors caution that mint can cause contractions or discomfort, especially during your third trimester)… but at other times, it does seem to do the trick.

Mint can help inflamed, aggravated skin to calm down — especially if you tend to get hormonal breakouts. A few sprigs of mint in your water can soothe you inside and out! And some people swear by masks made of crushed mint. You can DIY, or try Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful Clay Mask with Mint and Lemon.

Have a great week everyone!

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Pineapple Mint Smoothie

New obsession alert: this is currently my most favorite smoothie in the world, which is saying a lot because I make a lot of smoothies (in fact, Georgia now asks me every night, “are we going to make smoothies with the Vitamix together?!”) This one stands out because it is so refreshing and hydrating. I’ve been battling the worst allergies this spring, and the fruit and coconut water in this drink do wonders for my raw throat. On a couple of those hot nights we just had, I swear I could’ve just had this smoothie for dinner. Enjoy! 

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Pineapple Mint Smoothie  

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1.5 cup cold unsweetened coconut water (~one 11.8 oz. can)
  • 1/2 cup cold filtered water
  • 2 apples, cored and quartered (green or red)
  • 2 kiwi, peeled
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks (I used one bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 20 fresh mint leaves

DIRECTIONS

Adding the liquids first and the frozen ingredients last, blend on high until smooth. Enjoy cold!

This made enough for two large smoothies so I set one aside and just gave it a good vigorous shake the next morning to re-mix it together. Or, you could freeze any extra, or halve the recipe and it will turn out the same.You can also adjust the coconut to regular water ratio: I happened to buy about a 12-ounce can, so I needed a half cup of regular water to give me 2 cups total. You could divide the water any way you’d like, as long as you end up with two cups of liquid for the full recipe or one cup for half.

Adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s blog.

Baby & Toddler · Restaurant Reviews

Baby Shower Tea @ The Four Seasons Boston

My friend Chelsea had her baby shower last weekend at the Four Seasons. It was about 90 degrees out in Boston — kind of a harsh transition from all that cold and rain last week! — so I totally melted on the walk there, but once inside I had a Kir Royale in my hand within 5 minutes and all was right with the world.

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Here’s the best part. Five days later, Chelsea had her baby! It was definitely a surprise, but little Eloise decided 33 weeks inside mum was just long enough, and she made her entrance on Friday the 13th in the wee hours of the morning. My kind of kiddo! She’s also the second baby named Eloise that we know of this month alone, so we may have a sleeper hit on our hands for baby girl names in Boston! Our next door neighbors also chose Eloise, but they’re going to call her “Louie,” which I just love 🙂

Eloise the book: baby name inspiration for well-read parents?
Eloise, the book: baby name inspiration for well-read parents?

Before the drama of baby’s early entrance, we feted Chelsea with a classy afternoon tea, complete with fresh fruit, scones, clotted cream, miniature cupcakes, tiny sandwiches, cakes and more:

Gotta love fresh fruit served in a martini glass.
Gotta love fresh fruit served in a martini glass.
Delightful scones!
Delightful scones!
Mint and hydrangeas on every table. I got to take one home!
Mint and hydrangeas on every table. I got to take one home!

She got some great gifts for her little one (which, at the time, was a mystery gender) including a few of Georgia’s favorites: these blankets, these soft blocks, a Sophie the Giraffe teether, and all kinds of accessories for her stroller. Miss Eloise is going to be traveling in style!

We got her a starter set from the Honest Company, including newborn and size 1 diapers, baby wash, the all-essential stain remover (critical for getting diaper blowouts, throw-up and nose bleeds out of cute fabrics), along with wipes and diaper cream. I was nervous about gifting such small diapers, even though she specifically requested them, but obviously I needn’t have worried, since she ended up having a 4 1/2-pound preemie:)

I thought I wrapped this up good, no?
I thought I wrapped this up good, no?

We can’t wait to meet the little gal. Georgia is so excited to have a new playmate! As for the tea, I still think my trip to the Boston Harbor Hotel tea time wins out for experience and deliciousness (plus, that view!) but this was a really festive shower idea and I’d definitely go back. Next up: afternoon tea at The Langham; the French Room at the Taj Boston (formerly the Ritz), where they also do a Teddy Bear Tea and a traditional Holiday Tea at Christmas time; and finally The Courtyard at the Boston Public Library, which hosts a weekday afternoon tea that is supposed to be excellent. Then, I’ll have hit all the tea times Boston has to offer!

How about you — do you like afternoon tea? It’s definitely not for those short on time or money, as a typical afternoon tea costs between $35 and $55 per person before gratuity, and can last two hours or more. But I think it’s an elegant diversion from regular life, and you’ll leave surprisingly satisfied despite the daintiness of the menu. I know my mom is dying to take Georgia for tea when she gets big enough. Sounds like something really special for them to enjoy together!

As we head into that season of summer babies and the baby showers that precede them, here’s to health and happiness for all the new little ones coming into the world, and rest for their parents. I can’t believe how fast a year goes by, and that I’m soon to have a 10-month-old on my hands! Time really does fly with these babes 🙂 seems like just yesterday …

Looking for gifts for a shower this summer? Check out my list of newborn essentials, plus my guide to eco-friendly baby gifts and the wish list of things I would have bought myself just after having Georgia.

Pregnancy · Uncategorized

The most addictive snack ever

Granted I’m pregnant, but I can’t stop munching on this snack that a co-worker got me hooked on: pretzel chips + cookie butter from Trader Joe’s.

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Not familiar? Well, not only does cookie butter have its own Facebook page (see link above), the product has such a cult following that a month-long shortage of the stuff caused a national outcry earlier this year. Essentially, it’s the consistency of peanut butter with the taste of puréed cookies. (!)

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I pair it with my other latest obsession, which is mint lemonade from a cafe near my office. I was expecting a few floating mint leaves the first time I ordered it, but instead they pulverize the mint in an industrial blender before adding to the lemonade, creating a smooth flavor that’s very refreshing. And, it has the added bonus of looking healthier than lemonade, which helps me to feel like less of a blimp walking around 9 months pregnant with a sugary beverage 🙂

What about you — what’s your go-to snack? Did you combine any weird things when you were pregnant (or not?)