Friday, July 22, 2011

A Thirst Quencher: Lavender Lemonade

On hot days like we've been having nothing is as refreshing as a cold glass of lemonade.  Fresh lemonade is quick and easy to make and tastes so much better than the powder lemonade mix.

This recipe has a hint of lavender. The lavender adds a subtle floral taste to the tangy citrus of the lemons.
You start with  lavender syrup,  (you can make it ahead of time, put in in the fridge and it is ready to use)   add  freshly squeezed lemon juice, some water, stir, and you have your lemonade.  Pour it over a tall glass of ice and you have a cool refreshing beverage that is hard to beat.

                              Lavender Lemonade


4 cups water
1-cup sugar
1-tablespoon culinary lavender
1-cup fresh lemon juice - 4 large lemons


  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir in the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Add the lavender to the syrup. Boil for two minutes.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.  Cool for one hour.*  
  5. In a 1-1/2 quart pitcher add the lemon juice and remaining two cups of water.  Strain the lavender syrup before adding it to the lemon juice and water.
  6. Stir the lemonade and serve over ice. 

*Note:  You can make the syrup ahead of time and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Makes a little over 1 quart

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Avocado Hummus: So Versatile and Soo Good

I love making this recipe because it is easy, quick, and versatile.  You can use it to make  stuffed cherry tomatoes, use it as a dip served with pita chips, or a sandwich spread (it goes great with turkey) to name a few uses.

The taste is a little Southwestern with a little Middle Eastern.  No matter how you use it the result is simply delicious.

                                         Avocado Hummus

1 cup canned garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
3 Haas avocados
1 lime
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1-teaspoon onion powder
1 ½ tablespoon tahini

1.   Put the garbanzo beans in a food processor and process until       coarsely pureed.
 2.  Cut avocados in half, remove the seed and scoop out the flesh into a medium size-mixing bowl.
3. Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado flesh.  Toss to coat well.        Drain any excess lime juice.
4. Mash the avocados with a potato masher.
  1. To the mashed avocados add the garbanzo beans, garlic salt, ground cumin, chipotle chili powder, onion powder, and tahini.
  2. Mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  3. Serve at room temperature with Pita chips.

Makes 2 cups 

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Summer Favorite: Banana Split Dessert

My favorite summertime desserts  are light, cool, and refreshing.   Banana Split Dessert fits the bill.  It has a tasty vanilla wafer crust topped with pudding, bananas, strawberries, whipped topping, nuts, and cherries.
The taste is creamy goodness and lusciously fruity.  This dessert is deliciously easy to make and best of all requires no baking  (a big plus during the summer).  Just pop it in the refrigerator.   Being that this dessert requires no baking and very little cooking(melting the butter)  it is easy for kids to make with little adult supervision.

I make this dessert for most of our summertime activities - barbecues, family get togethers, potlucks, picnics, holiday parties, etc.   It is simply amazing.

                                     Banana Split Dessert


2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
6 tablespoons butter melted
1- 3.5 ounce box if vanilla instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
3 medium ripe bananas
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup crushed pineapple drained
1- 8-ounce cartoon whipped topping
¼ cup coarsely ground nuts
10 maraschino cherries


  1. In a small mixing bowl combine the vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter.
  2. Press the crumbs in the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish.  Set aside
  3.  In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread the pudding mixture over the vanilla crust.
  5.  Slice the bananas and place banana slices over the pudding. 
  6. Next layer the strawberries over the bananas.
  7. Spread the crushed pineapple over the layers followed by the whipped topping. 
  8. Sprinkle the nuts on the whipped topping.
  9. Drain and cut the maraschino cherries in half.   Dot the dessert with the cherries.  Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours. 

Makes 12 servings