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Cocktail: How to Make a Snake Bite

It’s full on summer here in the Cowichan Valley, and that means that it’s time to pour some refreshing summertime cocktails! So today I’ll be sharing with you how to make a Snake Bite.

How to make a Snake Bite

Snake Bite Ingredients:
(makes 2 drinks)

  • Light Beer (preferably a lager)
  • Apple Cider  (my go-to is Strongbow)
  • Fresh lime slices
  • Ice (optional
  • You will also need 2 pint glasses

A Snake Bite is ridiculously easy to make: Half beer, half cider, done!

I got a bit adventurous with my ingredients today and went with a local summer ale from the Vancouver Island Brewery in Victoria, Canada, the Beachcomber Summer Ale. And for the cider today, I went with Fat Chance Cider from Vancouver, Canada.

How To Make A Snake Bite:

Mariska's Snake Bite Cocktail

  • Pour half a beer into each pint glass
  • Top off each glass with cider
  • Garnish each glass with a lime slice
  • Add a few ice cubes if it’s super hot out (optional)

BOOM! You’ve got yourself a Snake Bite!

Now plant your bum in a sunny spot and ENJOY! (Don’t forget to lube up with sunscreen!)

Cheers!

What are some of your favourite sunny summertime cocktails? Please share in the comments.

 

Cocktail: Tropical White Sangria

With summer around the corner I’m finding any excuse to hit the sun deck to soak up some vitamin D. So earlier this week I invited my girls to come over for a BBQ to test out a new tropical white sangria recipe.

It turned out so delicious, that I wanted to share. So without further ado…

Pitcher of White SangriaTropical White Sangria Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of moscato – I used Barefoot Moscato, only $9.99 at your BC Liquor Store
  • 1 cup of white rum
  • 1 can of club soda – since moscato is a very sweet wine, it’s not necessary to add a sugary soda like 7-up or ginger ale
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • Tropical fruit chunks (bite-size) – I used fresh pineapple, fresh orange slices, fresh mango, and fresh watermelon
  • Top off the pitcher with ice

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, stir with a wooden spoon, pour, sit in the sun, and enjoy! Cheers!

Do you have a favourite sangria recipe? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below.

Cheers! White Sangria

Cheers!

11 Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut oil has become all the rage these days. There are so many benefits and uses for this natural oil, some of which I will cover in a future post. Today I’m going to focus on another wonderful nectar that this delicious fruit provides: Coconut Water!

I first discovered coconut water while traveling in Bali a few of years ago, and then I rediscovered it in Costa Rica last fall. Toward the end of my trip, I would hunt down “Señor Coconut” on the beach to indulge in this delicious nectar on a daily basis. My favourite time to drink it would be after my morning beach workout as a reward for my hard work.

What I didn’t know then was that coconut water has many benefits beyond its refreshing deliciousness!

Fresh Bali Coconut

My very first fresh coconut in Bali. This man climbed the tree to pick it for me, lobbed the top off and handed it to me with a straw. So delicious!

11 Health Benefits of Coconut Water

  1. Hydration – Coconut water is rich in potassium and natural sugars that your body needs to rehydrate after rigorous exercise.  Sport drinks only carry half the amount of potassium and twice the amount of sugar compared to coconut water. So stop buying sport drinks and try this natural and more effective (and healthier!) alternative.
  2. Energy Booster – Rich in essential nutrients, coconut water makes a wonderful energy drink. Coconut water has less sugar and sodium content than energy drinks, and a high content of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium which helps hydrate and rejuvenate the body.
  3. Hangover Remedy – Thanks to it’s hydration properties, coconut water is a great remedy if you had one too many the night before. It also helps settle your stomach and replaces essential electrolytes for those extra rough hangovers that result in vomiting and dehydration. So before you reach for that caesar or redeye, give your body a break and start with a glass of coconut water!
    Me and My Coconut
  4. Muscle Cramps – You know how they say you should eat bananas to avoid cramps? Well if you’re not a banana fan, this is a perfect alternative. The high potassium content in coconut water helps to reduce muscle cramps caused by potassium deficiency.
  5. Weight Loss – Regular consumption of coconut water increases the metabolism rate which helps burn sugar much faster. As a result, the level of insulin in the body burns faster, causing more energy and fat burning. It also helps you feel full and reduces cravings.
  6. Stronger Bones – Coconut water is high in calcium, which we all need for stronger, healthier bones, muscles and tissue.
  7. Regulates Blood Pressure – It helps improve blood circulation, lowers blood pressure and reduces the chances of a heart attack or other cardio problems. Drink up!
  8. Skin Benefits – If you have problem skin, or you simply want to retain your skin’s youthfulness (who doesn’t?), apply coconut water on your face and leave it on overnight. Coconut water has shown to be effective against acne and acts as a toner for the skin. It also moisturizes your skin from within if you drink it regularly.
  9. Hair Conditioner – You know all those hair products that contain coconut oils and extracts? Well it’s not just to make it smell nice! It actually conditions the hair from within by penetrating the hair shaft. You can get these benefits by either consuming coconut water, or by washing your hair with it. It also promotes hair growth by protecting the scalp against dandruff, lice and itchy scalp, all of which can impede hair growth. And an added bonus: it gives your hair a beautiful healthy shine!
    coconut palm tree
  10. During Pregnancy – Doctors often recommend coconut water during pregnancy to help fight constipation, heart burn and slow digestion.  It helps to improve immunity and boosts the levels of amniotic fluid and improves the overall health of the foetus (and the mother).
  11. All Natural – The BEST part about coconut water is that it’s ALL NATURAL! There are no added artificial sugars, preservatives, colouring or other chemical ingredients that you want to avoid.

This is just a short list of the many benefits of this delicious natural nectar. Do your body a favour and try some coconut water today! You can drink it straight up or add it to a shake or smoothie. However you decide to ingest it, get it in ya!

Where to Buy Coconut Water

If you’re lucky enough to be living your dream (and mine) in the tropics, you will likely find a plethora of fresh coconut vendors around. If you are living your dream in a cooler, non-tropical place, bottled coconut water is available in most grocery stores and you can even have it delivered to your door by ordering online from Amazon. Many yoga studios stock it because of its health benefits and some gyms do as well. You may never have noticed it before, but it’s everywhere. Drink Up and Enjoy!

Do you drink coconut water? What benefits are you seeing? Please share in the comments below.

 

How To Make a Costa Rican Michelada

Costa Rican Michelada

When traveling to new places, I always make sure that I try the local beers and cocktails. In Russia it was vodka, in Bali it was Arak liquor, in Belize it was 1 Barrell Rum (mmm, tastes like maple syrup), and in Costa Rica it was the Costa Rican michelada!

I was introduced to the Costa Rican Michelada (as opposed to the Mexican michelada) during my stay in Tamarindo. I was a little skeptical at first (seriously, ICE and SALT in BEER???) but WOW was it ever refreshing! It’s a must-try if you’re in Costa Rica.

Ingredients:

Serves: 1

  • Sea salt
  • Ice
  • 1 Fresh Lime (or lime juice from concentrate, but fresh is always better)
  • 1 bottle of Imperial or Imperial Light beer (I prefer Imperial Light)

    Note: If you’re making this at home and you don’t have access to Imperial, you can make a “Mexi-Rican” variation using Corona.

  1. Use a slice of lime and to moisten the edge of the glass with lime juice
  2. Dip the glass in sea salt to rim the edge with salt (same way you would for a caesar)
  3. Fill the glass halfway with ice
  4. Squeeze the entire lime into the glass
  5. Serve with a full bottle of Imperial Light to be poured in at the drinker’s pace
  6. Sit, relax, enjoy and (if you’re not near a beach) watch this:

What cocktails ave you discovered while traveling?

Did you love your Costa Rican Michelada? Then like it and share it with the social buttons below.

Easy Thai Curry – Plus Bonus Leftover Recipe

One of my all-time favourite meals is Thai curry, mmm! 

I took these photos back in October and have been meaning to share this deliciousness since before I left Vancouver. I think it’s about time! This recipe is easy to make and you can use pretty much any vegetables you have in your fridge. I’ve made this with chicken and prawns, but you can use whatever type of meat you like.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Thai Curry Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of curry paste
    (I prefer red curry, but green or yellow is delicious too)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (400ml)
    (Note: I’ve found that organic coconut milk is less expensive than the regular one in Canadian grocery stores. )
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
    (tie it in a knot to avoid it falling apart while cooking)
  • 2 kefir lime leaves
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 2 cups of assorted chopped vegetables
    (I usually use garlic, onion, red pepper, carrots  and potatoes, plus any other veggies I have in the fridge.)
  • 1 lb of meat – prawns, chicken, beef, pork, whatever – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
  • Sambal oelek – hot sauce (optional)

Directions:Thail Curry Simmering

  1. Put the coconut oil into a skillet or saucepan on medium heat. Add the curry paste and stirfry that for about 2 minutes.
    (Note: Curry’s flavours are released through heat, so be sure not to skip or rush this step.)
  2. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, lemongrass and kefir lime leaves and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves.
  4. Stir in the meat and vegetables, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
    (Note: If using prawns, add vegetables first and add the prawns halfway through. Prawns don’t take long to cook and you want to avoid that rubbery texture from over-cooking.)
  5. Stir in the basil, if you have it and serve!

I like to eat it as a soup, but it can also be served over rice.
If you like a bit more heat to your curry, add a dash of sambal oelek to your bowl.

Oh SO delicious! Enjoy!

Bonus Leftover Recipe!

If you have leftovers, I have a super easy, quick and tasty breakfast recipe for the next morning.

  1. Reheat the leftovers in a skillet
  2. Crack a couple of eggs into a bowl, beat lightly to break the yolks and add them to the skillet.
  3. Stir / scramble until the egg is fully cooked.
  4. Serve in a bowl or on a plate with toast and fresh fruit.

Nomnomnom!

Quails’ Gate Winery

Last weekend I took a little road trip to Kelowna in BC’s Okanagan to support my friends as they competed in the Ironman Challenge in Penticton. I took this opportunity to do a wine tour at Quails Gate Estate Winery (cuz it’s wrong to visit the Okanagan in the summer without stopping in at at least one winery…)

I headed to the winery with my friend Bruce around lunch time. I had heard that their food was incredible and their patio was amazing, so I wanted to see for myself.

QuailsGate-1
We started with the Wild Coast Mussels and Clams (shallots, garlic, parsley, tomato broth, grilled crostini), and then I moved on to the delicious Albacore Tuna “Tartine” (confit tomato, egg, potato salad, pickles & olive house made focaccia, anchovy vinaigrette), and Bruce had the Yarrow Meadows Duck Leg Confit (quinoa and cabbage salad, sprouted beans, carrot, cilantro, cucumber, mirin dressing). We paired our meals with a bottle of the 2012 Chenin Blanc, and it was a party in my mouth! See more of the menu here.

Mussels at Quails Gate Winery    Tuna Tartine at Quails Gate Winery

 

After lunch we took a walk around the vineyard and took a little afternoon break to take in this gorgeous view:

Mariska at Quails Gate Winery

QuailsGate-13QuailsGate-9

From there (after dreaming of never leaving), we headed into the tasting room and tasted their delicious wines. Having had the Chinin Blanc with lunch, we tasted the Dry Riesling, the Rose, and the Quails’ Gate Old Vines Foch. I have to say that I enjoyed the whites and the rose more than the red, but all were excellent!

QuailsGate-16

Then, of course, we couldn’t leave without doing a little shopping! (I might have left with half a dozen bottles of fermented goodness…)

If you’re a lover of food and you appreciate good wine, I would highly recommend visiting the Quails’ Gate Estate Winery in Kelowna. I can’t wait to get back to the Okanagan to sample some of the other wonderful wineries! Who’s coming with me?? : )

Which Okanagan wineries have you visited? Please share your experience and recommendations in the comments below.

Getting Creative With Cake

I had an amazing Canada Day long weekend with my family, complete with two birthday celebrations, for which I was on cake duty. Being more of a pie baker, the cake thing was new to me, but I think I pulled it off nicely.

My nephew is a huge Spider-Man fan. It’s all he can talk about. He has a ton of action figures, and has seen all the movies and gets very excited when talking about anything Spider-Man. So naturally, I had to come up with a cake for his 5th birthday that would have him equally excited.

After collecting a bunch of supplies, I baked the cake the night before, and I spent last Thursday evening in cake creation/decorating mode. (Thank goodness for friends who pour drinks!)

Here’s how it turned out.

Spider-Man Cake

I created the second cake for my dad. I had no idea what I was going to do before I started and here is what happened:

Dad's Cake

Both cakes were a hit with family and friends. The Spider-Man cake was a family celebration, while my dad’s cake was shared one of many desserts at his big 70th birthday celebration.

I haven’t had that much creative fun since my high school and university fine arts days. I guess I won those fine arts awards for a reason! I’d forgotten how much I love working with my hands, and I’m  inspired to keep that creativity flowing.