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Month: July 2019

CLASSIC EGGS BENEDICT

CLASSIC EGGS BENEDICT

This classic recipe for eggs benedict is the ultimate brunch dish.  A toasted, buttery English muffin topped with a slice of smokey, seared Canadian bacon, perfectly poached eggs, and a rich, creamy hollandaise sauce makes for a decadent treat usually reserved for Sunday brunch.  But,…

Making Mealtimes Fun: How to Turn Eating Into a Family Affair

Making Mealtimes Fun: How to Turn Eating Into a Family Affair

Most American families reportedly have just one meal together in less than 5 days a week, according to recent surveys. This is despite the scientific evidence of family mealtimes being good for your psychological well-being and physical health. How can you make mealtimes more fun for…

SPIKED FLORIDA SWAMP WATER

SPIKED FLORIDA SWAMP WATER

Cool, sweet, and refreshing with a lemony kick from lemonade vodka.  A quick and easy recipe, this is the quintessential summer adult beverage,  It’s the perfect cocktail for picnics, beach parties, or to enjoy on your patio.

Make the iced tea. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a full rolling boil. Stir in the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat. Add the tea bags to the pot. Using the back of a spoon, gently submerge the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep and cool to room temperature. In a gallon size, heat proof glass pitcher, sprinkle in the baking soda. Pour the tea concentrate into the pitcher. Next, add the cold water and stir. Chill for at least an hour. Make the lemonade. In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. In a medium pitcher, pour in the sweetened water, lemon juice and cold water. Stir to combine. Chill before serving. To make the Southern Swamp Water: Fill 8 highball or tall glasses with ice. Pour in one shot of the lemonade vodka into each glass. Add ½ cup iced sweet tea and ¼ cup lemonade to each glass. Stir and garnish with a lemon slice. Enjoy!

When I lived in Pittsburgh, my idea of iced tea was a cloudy, overly sweet, acidic brew that I bought in a cardboard container at the convenience store.  Sipping it, you could feel the acid wearing away the enamel on your teeth. And yet, I still loved and drank plenty of it.

Fast forward many years and I am now living in the South.  I was thrilled to discover “the house wine of the south” (bonus points if you know what movie I am referencing).  It was not bitter, not cloudy, and perfectly sweet. It was delicious and I was hooked!

I advanced my obsession into finding the perfect Arnold Palmer, which is half iced tea and half lemonade.  Again, absolutely delicious.

This love affair with sweet tea and lemonade morphed into adult libations with a shot of Kentucky bourbon.  Lovely, but a bit strong for my taste. I tried vodka, but it just tasted watered down. Even Citron vodka didn’t do the trick.

And then…..(cue the music)

I discovered a lemonade vodka!  Have you seen this stuff? From what I was told by the clerk at the liquor store, it is a seasonal thing, so go get some.  Now.

Spiked Florida Swamp Water cocktail. A refreshing mix of sweet iced tea, lemonade, and lemonade vodka. Cool and refreshing.

I had to give it a whirl in my iced tea.  It was amazing. Very lemony and sweet, but not too sweet.  The Pinnacle Lemonade Vodka gives it a strong lemon kick that is so refreshing, especially on a hot day.  Plus, it’s such a quick and easy recipe.

The slightly murky light brown color of the drink reminded me of the Florida swamps, thus the name.  Typically a swamp water cocktail is a syrupy sweet green concoction of a few different liqueurs. My Florida Swamp Water recipe is a more adult, less sweet cocktail.

You could use your favorite bottled iced tea and lemonade.  Nobody will judge. But if you have the time, making a Southern sweet tea and a fresh lemonade really adds to the freshness of this cocktail and both could not be easier to whip up.

Make the iced tea. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a full rolling boil. Stir in the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat. Add the tea bags to the pot. Using the back of a spoon, gently submerge the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep and cool to room temperature. In a gallon size, heat proof glass pitcher, sprinkle in the baking soda. Pour the tea concentrate into the pitcher. Next, add the cold water and stir. Chill for at least an hour. Make the lemonade. In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. In a medium pitcher, pour in the sweetened water, lemon juice and cold water. Stir to combine. Chill before serving. To make the Southern Swamp Water: Fill 8 highball or tall glasses with ice. Pour in one shot of the lemonade vodka into each glass. Add ½ cup iced sweet tea and ¼ cup lemonade to each glass. Stir and garnish with a lemon slice. Enjoy!

TIPS FOR MAKING SWEET TEA AND LEMONADE

  • Use really good quality water.  If your tap water smells like your pool or worse, you probably don’t want to taint your lovely tea and lemonade with it.  Use filtered water, spring water or let your tap water sit in your refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 12 hours to allow the chemicals to dissipate.
  • Always use the best tea that you can afford or find.  I like Luzianne the best, but Lipton will work in a pinch.
  • Don’t squeeze the tea bags.  Not only could they rip open and dump the tea leaves into your brew, but it also releases more of the tannins that bring a bitter taste.
  • Just a pinch of baking soda in the tea will smooth out the flavor and keep your tea from becoming cloudy.
  • Use fresh lemons for the lemonade.  Roll your lemons on the counter before juicing to release as much juice as possible.

I am able to rationalize enjoying this lovely cocktail because tea has many health benefits.  This article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains it perfectly.

Complete your Southern meal with this Spicy Southwest Quinoa Salad With Spicy Lime Vinaigrette, a spicy bowl of Florida Gumbo, and a side of Easy Sugar Snap Peas.

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Make the iced tea. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a full rolling boil. Stir in the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat. Add the tea bags to the pot. Using the back of a spoon, gently submerge the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep and cool to room temperature. In a gallon size, heat proof glass pitcher, sprinkle in the baking soda. Pour the tea concentrate into the pitcher. Next, add the cold water and stir. Chill for at least an hour. Make the lemonade. In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. In a medium pitcher, pour in the sweetened water, lemon juice and cold water. Stir to combine. Chill before serving. To make the Southern Swamp Water: Fill 8 highball or tall glasses with ice. Pour in one shot of the lemonade vodka into each glass. Add ½ cup iced sweet tea and ¼ cup lemonade to each glass. Stir and garnish with a lemon slice. Enjoy!

SPIKED FLORIDA SWAMP WATER


  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x

Description

A quick and easy recipe for a cool and refreshing sweet tea, lemonade, and lemonade vodka cocktail that is a breeze to whip up.


Scale

Ingredients

For the iced sweet tea:

  • 2 quarts good quality water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 regular sized or 1 gallon sized tea bags (I like Luzianne)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 quarts good quality water

For the lemonade:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 large lemons)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups good quality water, cold

For the Southern Swamp Water:

  • 8 shots Pinnacle Lemonade Vodka
  • 4 cups chilled iced sweet tea
  • 2 cups chilled lemonade
  • Lemon slices

Instructions

  1. Make the iced tea. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a full rolling boil.
  2. Stir in the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the tea bags to the pot. Using the back of a spoon, gently submerge the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep and cool to room temperature.
  4. In a gallon size, heat proof glass pitcher, sprinkle in the baking soda. Pour the tea concentrate into the pitcher. Next, add the cold water and stir. Chill for at least an hour.
  5. Make the lemonade. In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  6. In a medium pitcher, pour in the sweetened water, lemon juice and cold water. Stir to combine. Chill before serving.
  7. To make the Southern Swamp Water: Fill 8 highball or tall glasses with ice. Pour in one shot of the lemonade vodka into each glass.
  8. Add ½ cup iced sweet tea and ¼ cup lemonade to each glass. Stir and garnish with a lemon slice. Enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
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BETTER THAN TAKEOUT GYROS WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE

BETTER THAN TAKEOUT GYROS WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE

This is a better than take-out recipe that is sure to become one of your favorites.  A classic Greek sandwich of soft, pillowy pita bread stuffed with slices of garlicky, savory meat, fresh tomatoes, crunchy onion, and a cool, creamy Tzatziki sauce. This recipe only…

ITALIAN AMARETTI PEACHES

ITALIAN AMARETTI PEACHES

This is an easy dessert recipe for fresh baked, sweet peaches stuffed with a crunchy cookie crumble.  Delicious served alone or with a dollop of whipped cream.   I think all meals should end with something sweet.  Just a bite will do the trick. And…

CLASSIC STRAWBERRY JAM

CLASSIC STRAWBERRY JAM

Once you taste this easy recipe for classic strawberry jam, you won’t want the store bought jams anymore.  I think this jam is one of the tastiest and easiest you will ever make. It has only 4 ingredients, no pectin or canning involved.

I am a sucker for fresh strawberries.  When they are fully red, ripe, and juicy, I want to put them in everything from salads to barbecue sauce.

An easy recipe homemade classic strawberry jam, made without pectin and only 4 ingredients. Best part is no canning required. #eatsbythebeach #homemadejams #strawberries

The only one who may love strawberries more is my sweet little great-nephew.  I love cooking for him – all of his favorite foods. He is my biggest critic and also my biggest cheerleader.  When he came to visit, I made him this easy recipe for strawberry jam but used lime juice instead of lemon juice.  He was less than thrilled and thought the lime taste was too strong.  

When I tasted a batch of the jam with lime alongside a batch with lemon, I knew he was right.  The lime, for my tastes (and his too), is too strong of a flavor against the sweetness of the strawberry.  Out of the mouths of babes, right?

For this classic strawberry jam, each ingredient plays an important part.  The berries are obvious. The sugar and lemon juice help to preserve the fruit and allow it to keep in your refrigerator for about a month.  The lemon also adds a brightness to the flavor. The vanilla rounds out the flavors, marries them together, and enhances the flavor of the berries.

HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC STRAWBERRY JAM

This easy recipe will become your new ‘go-to’ jam recipe.  It has 4 ingredients, no pectin, and doesn’t require canning.

The steps are just slicing the berries; mixing berries with sugar; boiling both until it becomes thick and syrupy; then finally stirring in the lemon juice and vanilla.

This jam is thinner in consistency than store bought jam or jam made with pectin.  It should look like a thicker syrup.

An easy recipe homemade classic strawberry jam, made without pectin and only 4 ingredients. Best part is no canning required. #eatsbythebeach #homemadejams #strawberries

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR JAM

  • This is delicious as a spread on homemade biscuits, toast, or bagels
  • Use the jam as a filling between cake layers, thumbprint cookies, or donuts
  • Drizzle it over pancakes or waffles
  • Spoon it over vanilla yogurt or ice cream

HOW TO SCALE THE RECIPE FOR THE AMOUNT OF BERRIES ON HAND

The best part of this easy recipe is that it is easily scalable to meet the amount of berries you have on hand. The rule of thumb is that for each cup of sliced berries you add:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla

If you enjoyed this recipe, take a look at a few other breakfast recipes:


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An easy recipe homemade classic strawberry jam, made without pectin and only 4 ingredients. Best part is no canning required. #eatsbythebeach #homemadejams #strawberries

CLASSIC STRAWBERRY JAM


  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 pints 1x

Description

This easy recipe for a fresh strawberry jam could not be quicker or tastier. Fresh berries, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla are all that’s needed for this delicious jam. No pectin or canning required!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries (about 1 quart of berries)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 medium size lemons)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Place a small plate into your freezer.
  2. Combine the sliced berries and sugar in a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring often until the berries break down and the sugar liquifies.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about one hour until the mixture thickens and reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  4. Alternately, you can test the thickness of the jam by taking a tablespoon of jam and placing it onto the frozen plate. Run your finger down the center of the jam. If the line does not run back together, the jam is thickened. If it does run together, continue to simmer for another 3 – 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.
  6. Carefully ladle the jam into sterilized glass jars leaving a ½-inch of space from the top, screw on lids, and set aside to cool.
  7. When cool, store in your refrigerator for up to one month or in your freezer for a year.

Notes

To prevent mold and to lengthen the shelf life of your jam, be sure to sterilize the jars and the lids in boiling water. Place them upside down onto a clean kitchen towel. Be sure not to touch the inside of the jar or the part of the lid that will touch the jam. Once you place the lid on the jar, turn it upside down for 10 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1

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Need more help with picking the best strawberries?  The Produce Guy has a quick and informative video.  Check it out here:

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SOUTHWEST QUINOA SALAD WITH SPICY LIME VINAIGRETTE

SOUTHWEST QUINOA SALAD WITH SPICY LIME VINAIGRETTE

This cold quinoa salad is bursting with bright, fresh flavors and a hint of citrus and spice.  The salad can be made in advance, making it a healthy, quick and easy recipe. Eating a dish of quinoa feels so healthy.  I mean, I feel virtuous…

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM BARS

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM BARS

Step back into your childhood with this nostalgic recipe for homemade strawberry shortcake ice cream bars.  Fresh fruit and cream will bring a bright flavor to the bars and the strawberry/cookie crumb will transport you back in time to a happy summertime place. I saw…

SPICY ROASTED RED PEPPER AND FETA DIP

SPICY ROASTED RED PEPPER AND FETA DIP

This spicy, smoky, garlicky roasted red pepper and feta dip may be a party in a bowl.  Ready in less than 10 minutes using simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand, this flavorful dip is sure to be your new easy ‘go-to’ recipe for when you ‘entertain on the fly’.

Spicy roasted red pepper and feta dip in bowl with pita triangles on the side

Do you enjoy making a meal out of 3 or 4 simple appetizers?  It’s one of my favorite things to enjoy with friends and family.  A few ‘small plates’, a great glass of wine, and time to slowly nosh – mindfully savoring each bite, some with a sip of wine and some without.  It feels so decadent and self-indulgent.

grill tray of roasted red peppers

I will admit that this dip may not be the most beautiful dish to serve, but it is so satisfying, rich, spicy, and irresistible.  I like to serve it with warm, fresh pita triangles, fresh vegetables, or tortilla chips. It’s even good on grilled chicken or as a sandwich spread.

Closeup of bowl of spicy roasted red pepper and feta dip with pita triangles

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SPICY ROASTED RED PEPPER AND FETA DIP

  • Use really good quality feta cheese.  This is the star of the show and you want to maximize its briny flavor.  Really good feta should be white with a few small holes on the top. Pass by any yellowish feta or feta with lots of large holes.  The cheese should be pleasantly pungent in both aroma and flavor. It should taste tangy and beautifully salty, crumbly and yet finishes creamy.  
  • You also want to use a premium extra virgin olive oil.  Buy the highest quality that you can afford. Look for a variety that is robust in flavor and golden in color.  Olive oil is like wine. Each has a different flavor with differing nuances. Olive oil also comes in a mild, medium, or robust flavor.  For this recipe, you want a medium flavored oil. Also, olive oil retains its freshness best in a cool, dark place. Therefore, never pick an olive oil that is bottled in clear glass.  Pick one in dark glass or even tin.
  • If you are short on time, indulge in the convenience of jarred roasted red peppers.  They are an easy and delicious time saver. Trust me. No one will know you took the shortcut.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH YOUR SPICY ROASTED RED PEPPER AND FETA DIP

Make a delicious Tapas meal with a few of my favorite appetizers.

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Bowl of spicy roasted red pepper and feta dip with pita triangles

SPICY ROASTED RED PEPPER AND FETA DIP


  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Yields 3 1/2 cups 1x

Description

This appetizer is a ‘go-to’ recipe for when you need a quick appetizer. Smoky roasted red pepper, briny, creamy feta cheese, and just a bit of a vinegar tang rounds out this easy and delicious dip. Serve with pita chips, naan bread, or tortilla chips.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. First, roast the red peppers. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for about 2-3 minutes. Using long tongs, turn the pepper and continue broiling on the remaining sides until the pepper is charred all the way around. Remove the pan from the oven and place the peppers in a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Allow the peppers to steam for at least 10 minutes. Peel the blackened skin from the pepper. You may want to keep a few charred bits, if you like the smoky flavor. Remove the seeds and roughly chop the peppers.
  2. Place the roasted peppers and all of the other ingredients into a bowl of a food processor. Process until desired smoothness is achieved.
  3. Taste and adjust for seasonings. Is it salty enough? Spicy enough? Does it have enough tang?
  4. Spoon the dip into a bowl and cover tightly.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to marry.
  6. Serve with pita bread, crudite, naan bread, or tortilla chips.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1

Get inspired with this lovely video on roasting red peppers:

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SPICY SHRIMP TACOS WITH SWEET AND CRUNCHY SLAW

SPICY SHRIMP TACOS WITH SWEET AND CRUNCHY SLAW

These spicy shrimp tacos are healthy, delicious, and ready in about 30 minutes.  Plus, they’re just fun to eat. They are served on a sweet and crunchy slaw and drizzled with a cool, creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce to balance out the heat of the shrimp’s…