This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Jamba Juice. All opinions are 100% mine.
Jamba Juice has always been known for delicious smoothies, and now it has launched a new line of Fresh Squeezed Juices that are jam-packed with fresh-pressed real fruits with absolutely no preservatives and that refresh the body with 100% juice.
This “on-the-go goodness” comes in a variety of flavors like:
Orange Carrot Twist
Orange Berry Antioxidant
Kale Orange Power
Every time I stroll up to the Jamba Juice counter, my senses get totally engaged. From the intoxicating smell of the fresh fruits to the sounds of the professional-grade mixers and the sights of fruits blending perfectly together.
There are so many enticing flavors that choosing just one fresh, cold-pressed juice was hard, but I had to try to the Tropical Kick-Start™ with fresh orange juice and mangos. Yum! I knew the fresh ingredients would be healthy, but I didn’t realize that they were also in line with a paleo diet. Good to know!
After all the fresh ingredients were assembled, they were put into the blender.
The blender works so fast that it’s done in a jiffy.
And then my Tropical Kick-Start™ fresh juice blend was ready to pour.
Food and drink is always better when it’s prepared in front of you. When I come back, I’m definitely going to try the Orange Berry Antioxidant flavor, with fresh orange juice, strawberries and blueberries. It sounds berry delicious.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rums of Puerto Rico . All opinions are 100% mine.
As a long-time travel enthusiast, I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to learn about a destination’s history and its people is through food and drink. Food and drink plays a deeply important role in every culture and its customs. Rum Times, a new web video series created in partnership with History.com and Rums of Puerto Rico, aims to leverage that deep connection to explore important events in world history through the eyes of Puerto Rican rum.
The island of Puerto Rico is arguably the Rum Capital of the World. Puerto Rico has been distilling rum for more than 450 years. That’s a lot of historical milestone celebrations!
With the Rum Times series, you’ll have a chance to go behind the scenes and inside celebrations of some of history’s most important achievements, like the quest for electric light, the invention of sports or the development of motion pictures.
Whenever you hear “It’s Rum Time!” you know you’ll be transported to one of Puerto Rico’s exciting local destinations or experience a historical event like never before. Take a look at the first episode, which explores the quest for electric light with Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla. You’ll be mesmerized and transported back in time to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
History in a way you’ve never experienced before: through the eyes of Puerto Rican rum, a local luxury that has been around for more than four centuries!
Personally, I love this innovative approach to telling historical stories. It humanizes historical figures by making them relatable. In a way that makes you want to have a drink with them, and get to know them better. Tesla seems like a rum and cola guy to me, heh!
For me, a rum and diet cola will never be the same again. The next time I take a sip, I’m going to close my eyes and travel to those gorgeous sandy beaches of Puerto Rico.
Be sure to check out It’s Rum Time and share your thoughts on this new series from the Rums of Puerto Rico and History.com. And tell me where your next Puerto Rican rum drink transports you. Cheers!
Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! Hot chocolate is one of my favorite beverages. When there’s a wintery blizzard outside, it’s perfect for keeping warm and toasty inside.
On this National Hot Chocolate Day, I wanted to share with you one of my go-to recipes that features my all-time favorite hot cocoa mix: Ghirardelli’s Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa Mix. I buy the 48 ounce canisters (weighing 3 pounds each) in bulk at the beginning of each winter to ensure I have enough on hand. Usually 3 canisters will get me through a normal winter season.
The cinnamon is a subtle, yet decadent, flavor that pairs so well with the sweet ground chocolate cocoa mix. And it’s not really hot chocolate in my book if you don’t have a handful of marshmallows to plop on top!
In a microwaveable mug (that holds at least 16 ounces), combine the Ghirardelli's Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa Mix, ground cinnamon, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix thoroughly until you're left with a thick syrup.
Pour in 1 cup of milk and heat for 90 seconds on high in microwave. Remove from microwave and give it a good stir until well blended. Heat on high for an additional 2 minutes. Give a final stir, then garnish with a cinnamon stick and mini marshmallows.
Chores are defined as unpleasant but necessary routine tasks. Well, my weekends are full of them! Chores, routines, and tasks. So I’m always looking for new ways to add sparkle to my weekend routine by removing the “bore” from the chore.
Add Sparkle To Cooking For The Masses
Like most people, I find it challenging to find the time to cook every night of the week. So I spend Sunday afternoon cooking up two or three recipes in large batches…enough that I’ve got three or four lunches and as many dinners that I can quickly reheat as the week goes along. And as much pleasure as I get from cooking, when you cook in such large quantities it’s not really relaxing – and it’s easy to fall into a rut.
Spending so much time around the stove and kitchen island prepping and cooking food, I like to make sure I have some fresh cut flowers in my line of sight. They really do add something almost magically beautiful to the kitchen landscape.
Did you know that adding a 1/4 cup of seltzer water will help keep your flowers fresh? It works on plants, too. Carbonated water can provide macronutrients, such as potassium, phosphorous, sodium, hydrogen and oxygen. All are essential ingredients, absorbed by the roots of the plant, that will speed the plant’s overall growth.
Add Sparkle To Running Errands
Running around in the car on a hot summer day is tiring and dehydrating. I like to put a bottle of sparkling seltzer water in the freezer for 15 minutes before I head out the door. Then I grab my keys, seltzer and I’m ready to hit the road.
In between my errands to the dry cleaners, grocery store and pharmacy, I find that drinking ‘deep-chilled’ seltzer water keeps me hydrated, refreshed and less likely to be tempted for a fast food snack. It doesn’t weigh me down the way colas can in oppressive heat – and I’m able to stay focused (and safe) with my full attention on the road.
I’m a nerd for new products. So it’s easy to get me distracted at the grocery store or to lose track of time by going leisurely from aisle to aisle. To make sure I don’t waste time, I make a list BEFORE heading out to the store. I organize the items on my list in the order I’ll find the products INSIDE the store. That way as I go from Produce to Bakery to Meats to Frozen, I have everything grouped for easy access. And if I don’t have any items on my list for, say, the Bakery Department, I skip it altogether. Less temptation, more time for something else.
But I’m not totally inflexible. I do allow myself ONE purchase of an item not on my list. That way I can indulge in moderation, while still staying on track for time and budget.
Add Sparkle To The Never Ending Laundry Pile
With four dogs, it feels like the laundry is never done. And while I’ve successfully avoided using the washer and dryer for up to 10 days (my personal record – so far), letting the laundry pile up makes doing the laundry even worse when I finally face it head on.
So I’ve learned the best way is to keep at it throughout the week – just like doing dishes – so you never have more than 2 or 3 loads TOPS to wash, dry and fold. And as much as I’m tempted to drink while doing laundry, I don’t. You see my washer and dryer are in the basement of my 120-year old house. I have to go down very deep and crooked steps to get to the basement. If I had more than a small alcoholic drink, I’d surely tumble to a fate full of pain.
Instead, I opt for virgin mimosas. I can imagine I’m on a tropical vacation in my mind, while still folding sober.
I found Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water in the Flavored Water aisle at my local Walmart store on this #shop for #Collective Bias. Before you head to your Walmart store, click here to save $1.75 off when you share this page.
To celebrate National Rum Day (August 16), I’m participating in the Captain Morgan® #CaptainRumDay challenge. I was asked to create an original cocktail recipe using Captain Morgan White Rum with at least two of eight unconventional ingredients that would arrive in a special delivery.
When I opened the box, I found chocolate, bacon, sriracha, pistachios, BBQ sauce, red licorice, salsa, and potato chips. [If you don’t see the chocolate, your eyes aren’t failing you. The bar had melted in the heat, but luckily hadn’t leaked. So after it solidified at room temperature, I ate it.]
With so many flavor combination options, I didn’t know which direction I should take. I asked myself, “What would Pam like?” You see, my good friend Pam was celebrating her birthday this week, so I had been thinking about her.
Every August, she takes an extended family vacation with her daughter and grand kids at this cozy lakefront house in Michigan. Pam’s a vegetarian (mostly – except for bacon) and she really enjoys savory flavors. And while she likes dark chocolate, it’s salty and crunchy – with a little bit of spice – that is her absolute favorite.
So I selected to work with three unconventional ingredients in this Captain Morgan #CaptainRumDay original cocktail challenge: bacon, potato chips and sriracha hot sauce.
I took a slice of a Michigan peach, marinated it in some sriracha. Then I combined Captain Morgan white rum with light cran-raspberry juice and a splash of light orange juice over ice in a shaker.
After pouring the cocktail in a martini glass, I dredged the peach slice in crushed potato chips and wrapped it in a slice of bacon. The perfect savory, salty and spicy garnish for a summery smooth drink.
And I’ve named it Pam’s Summer Escape in honor of my friend, Pam. Cheers!
Disclosure: I was given a free sample of Captain Morgan® White Rum and eight unconventional ingredients for use in this challenge. I get no additional benefits for talking about this product or company. All opinions about this product are 100% my own.
I’ve never been much of a morning person, so a smooth, rich cup of coffee (or three!) helps me to get ready for a day of caring for 4 mischievous pugs, a household full of chores and client meetings. My morning ritual starts with a coffee while reading the newspaper, followed by another cup over email and a final cup to enjoy while thinking about the day before me. It’s my calm before heading into that day’s storm.
I’ve been drinking coffee since I first moved to Chicago after college. Never black; always with heavy creamer and sweetener. Coffee-mate has several flavors with a range of sweetness — from Original, to Italian Sweet Cream, to its newest offering — Extra Sweet & Creamy. I think I’ve tried virtually every flavor of Coffee-mate over the years, and the new Coffee-mate Extra Sweet & Creamy is by far the creamiest of their flavors. And it’s sweet enough on its own…no need to add any other sweetener.
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a coffee snob; if I can’t have a good cup of coffee I’d rather have none. After years of taste testing, I’ve learned that I like best a medium roast coffee with a bold flavor – and that’s because I like a lot of creamer in my coffee. Coffee-mate Extra Sweet & Creamy gives even a very bold cup of coffee an incredibly creamy texture.
Where can Coffee-mate Extra Sweet & Creamy take you?
Coffee isn’t just for the morning. It’s part of special moments, destinations and adventures anytime of the day or night. For me, enjoying a cup of coffee celebrates those little moments that I want to savor, like catching up with an old friend I haven’t seen in way too long or my first trip to Europe. While a great cup of coffee with Coffee-mate Extra Sweet & Creamy has the ability to transform me into a polite human being in the morning, it also has the ability to transport me to some of my favorite destination memories any time of the day or night.
A sweet and creamy cup of coffee can remind me of my first trips to Paris, Amsterdam and the Amalfi Coast of Italy. In Paris, I watched the people walk by a sidewalk cafe while sipping on a cafe au lait. And though it rained during my entire trip to Amsterdam, my fun wasn’t dampened because my cup was always filled with great coffee. And for those days when I want to escape back to my memories of the Island of Capri, I’ll close my eyes and enjoy a cup of coffee with Coffee-mate Italian Sweet Cream.
I’ve always found coffee and the culture around coffee to be fascinating and inspiring. As a baker, I like to use coffee as an ingredient in my recipes. Nothing pairs with a hot cup of coffee like something warm from the oven. You’d be surprised what you can whip up in your microwave oven. After trying Coffee-mate’s newest flavors, I was inspired to create a Mug Cinnamon Coffee Cake recipe featuring Coffee-mate Extra Creamy & Sweet creamer. It cooks in under 90 seconds and is a sweet, creamy treat to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee – any time of the day!
Mug Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Coffee-mate Extra Sweet & Creamy
To commemorate the newest Coffee-mate flavors, Baked Chicago is giving away 5 full-value product coupons ($20 value) to one reader. Share your favorite coffee-related destination memory below for a chance to win. You can also follow Baked Chicago on Twitter for more creative recipes, and follow Coffee-mate on Twitter for more delicious fun and giveaway opportunities.
The ballots are in and the results will be announced tonight. Who are you rooting for to win an Oscar this year? When it comes to drinking games, simple is better like having a drink every time an Oscar winner is announced!
Honestly, I just saw “Gravity” yesterday and “Dallas Buyers Club” a few hours ago. And those are the only Best Picture-nominated films that I’ve seen this year. OMG! But I’ve got “Nebraska” on the ROKU ready to view (most likely tomorrow – is that too late?).
While I’m not up-to-speed on all the nominated films as I usually am, I’m ready to enjoy a great program and hopefully the speeches will be funny AND BRIEF, please!
My Oscars viewing party is going to be intimate: just me and the pugs. I’m planning on nachos for a red carpet appetizer and heating up some spaghetti bolognese for dinner. But what should I have to drink? Diet Coke is delicious, but potentially uninspiring for the occasion. Champagne would be perfect, except I’m all out. I need something new, fun and worthy of this event so I was pleased as punch to see that one of my favorite Chicago restaurants is featuring some fun, film-inspired drinks at a special Oscars Viewing Party for the charity Vital Bridges tonight:
Gravity Defying Pear Apple Martini: Grey Goose la poire vodka, Dioso apple tequila, fresh apple juice, St. Germaine liqueur, fresh lime juice, and agave
HER Favorite French 56: Oxley gin, St. Germaine liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice, agave nectar, and a Chandon split
Whiskey Wolf of Wall Street: single-barrel Evan Williams whiskey, ruby port syrup, and creole bitters
Strawberry Hustle: Belvedere vodka, St. Germaine liqueur, muddled strawberries, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice
Red Carpet Raspberry Mule: Effen dutch raspberry vodka, fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar, and dashes of bitters
Don’t want to watch alone? Join the Vital Bridges Junior Networking Committee for their biggest event of the year – the Vital Nights 2014 Oscars party at The Underground! You can wear your red carpet best and enjoy the live broadcast with drinks, appetizers, contests, and raffles. All proceeds benefit Vital Bridges Center on Chronic Care, a program of Heartland Health Outreach.
My friends over at The Underground in Chicago’s River North neighborhood have kindly shared the recipe for one of their special margaritas: the Salted Caramel Margarita. The Underground was named “Hottest Club” by Entertainment Weekly and “Best in the U.S.” by Nightclub and Bar Magazine, in part because it attracts red-hot performers like Katy Perry, John Mayer, and Kanye West.
Salted Caramel Margarita
• 1.5 oz avion reposado
• 1 oz mariposa
• 1 oz lime
• 2 caps vanilla
• 1.5 oz salted caramel
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Serve in a Pilsner glass and garnish with caramel salt.
Click here for more unique margarita recipes from The Underground’s sister restaurant ¡AY CHIWOWA!.
If like much of the United States right now, you’re experiencing bitter cold and negative wind chills then this drink is what Santa ordered! Here in Chicago, we started this morning at 0 degrees and negative wind chills. Warm drinks in this kind of a weather (without alcohol!) are great to both hydrate the body and comfort the spirit. But it’s the holidays so we’re going to brew up a batch of spiced hot apple cider and give you the option to spike it as well.
This drink is very smooth on the tongue and pleasing to the palate. Drinking spiced (and spiked!) hot apple cider is kind of like giving yourself a hug from the inside. It’s a perfect night cap to prepare you for an evening of holiday dreams. And remember if you want to make a batch for the entire family including the kids, just do so without the peppercorns and the brandy!
This time of year, you’ll find all sorts of seasonal coffee creamers at the grocery store. It’s one of the signs that the Thanksgiving holiday is not far away. But as my luck usually has it, my favorite fall coffee creamer flavors are in either in a very limited stock or not available at all. So rather than run around to multiple stores in hopes that you’ll find what you want, I’ve found it’s much easier to make it myself. And that way I can control the quality of ingredients used and – more importantly – when I want to enjoy a fall flavored coffee.
This recipe is a DYI for pumpkin spice coffee creamer, which is perfect for welcoming fall or for entertaining family, friends at Thanksgiving. And if you don’t happen to have pumpkin pie spice in your pantry, no worries. Use this simple recipe for a DIY pumpkin pie spice blend that you can use throughout the season.
Happy National Irish Coffee Day! Who should we thank for the invention of Irish coffee? A quick-thinking chef at what is now the Shannon International Airport in Ireland and a group of weary American travelers. The story goes that a group of Americans had just arrived on a miserable winter night and chef Joe Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee to warm them up. The Americans asked if they had been served Brazilian coffee (as in coffee bean) and Sheridan told them it was “Irish coffee.”
Irish coffee has since become quite popular in America thanks to a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle who first enjoyed it at the Shannon International Airport. The basic recipe has evolved over the years, but I’m going to share with you my take (which adds a pinch of cinnamon) on the original recipe.
In a large mug, pour the black coffee about two-thirds full. Stir in the brown sugar until fully dissolved. Add the Irish whiskey, and give it a quick stir.
Using a teaspoon, carefully pour the thick cream over the back of the spoon held just above the surface of the coffee. You want the layer of cream to float on the coffee without mixing in it. Top it with a pinch of cinnamon.
Drink the coffee through the layer of cream. Sláinte!
4 ounces freshly brewed black coffee
1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
splash of thick, heavy cream
pinch of ground cinnamon