Apple Mint Julep

The mint julep has been made for hundreds of years.  I know why; this is a delightful cocktail with the fresh mint and crushed ice making it a must during the hot summer months to come.

Apple Mint Julep Cocktail

The mint julep was originally prescribed and appears in literature as early as 1784 “sickness at the stomach, with frequent retching, and, at times, a difficulty of swallowing. I then prescribed her an emetic, some opening powders, and a mint julep.”

Many know the mint julep from being connected to the famous Kentucky Derby that happens every spring in the south. It has been promoted by Churchill Downs in association with the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Each year almost 120,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

Apple Mint Julep Cocktail

Recipe: Makes 1 8 oz Julep

  • 2 1/2 oz. Kentucky Bourbon ( or your favorite)
  • 6 Mint Leaves
  • 2 oz. Apple Cider
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz. Simple Syrup
  • Apple Slice ( for look or garnish)


Mix Bourbon, Lemon Juice, Apple Juice and Simple Syrup in a separate pint glass. Then using your Julep mug or cocktail glass add fresh mint in your glass, muddle a couple of times lightly, add crushed ice, then top with Bourbon juice mix. Garnish with a few mint sprigs and Enjoy!

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Apple Almond Galette

This is a wonderful healthier take on an apple galette with the almonds, whole wheat and only 1 tablespoon of beet sugar.  But don’t let that scare you away you won’t even know that it is wheat, especially with the ground almonds.  It makes a great breakfast treat as well.

Apple Almond Galette

It was Robby’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to make him something even though we really don’t eat sugar.  So I made this incredibly good galette that has 1 tablespoon of beet sugar and maple syrup. He was excited of course.  As I pulled it out of the oven with our oven mitt that has a hole in it I burnt my hand and dropped the galette on the floor. I was so bummed I rushed to make a whole new one and threw the stupid oven mitt in the trash finely : )

Homemade Apple Almond Galette

 It is amazing topped with mascarpone cheese mixed with maple syrup.  Check out our other Fresh Fig Almond Galette.

Slice of Apple Almond Galette

Recipe – 6 – 8 Servings

Almond Whole Wheat Crust 

  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or White)
  • 3/4 Cup Ground Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Beet Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Ice Water

Instructions for the crust:

 Grind the Almonds in a food processor in to small crumb size

Add flour, sugar & salt In a food processor, pulse to combine

And 1/4 inch piece of butter

Pulse a few times to evenly break up the butter then add ice water slowly as you pulse, until it resembles a coarse meal with tiny pieces of butter.  It will be crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers

 Do not over process

Form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk

Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or over night

Apple Filling

  • 4 Fuji Apples
  • 1/4 Cup Salted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon All Spice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

 Instructions for the apple filling

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples

In a large sauce pan add the butter, maple syrup, lemon juice and spices and stir on low heat until butter is melted then stir the flour and the apples, coat evenly

Set aside

Pre heat oven to 375

On a piece of parchment paper roll out the dough to a 12 in circle adding a tiny bit of flour on top so it wont stick and pinch together any cracks

Take out about a 1/4 of the apples to arrange on top (this is optional, you can just pour the whole filling in the middle and leave it natural)

Fill the center with the apple filling leaving  2 – 21/2 inches around and carefully fold over the crust edges.  I use a large knife to lift and fold the edges over

The dough will crack from the fold a little, just pinch it together

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until lightly golden

Health Benifits:

Apples are so incredibly healthy. They help reduce tooth decay. Apples fight the effects of aging on the brain, they contain the antioxidants therein which is helpful in protecting you from Parkinson’s.  Apples rich in flavonol could help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%.  Soluble fibre found in apples lowers cholesterol and apple skins also prevents the cholesterol from solidifying on your artery walls.  The fiber helps to prevent gallstones

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 Focus@will is one of our favorite tools on the internet.  We love to listen to it when we are working on our blog posts.  It’s also great to have on when your kids are studying as well.


This is from their website: “It is a new neuroscience based web tool that uses phase sequenced instrumental music to increase your attention span up to 400% when working, studying, writing and reading.”

You can listen for free you just have to press play every hour and it will be the same songs.  If you want no interruptions and the a whole library of music, you can pay $4.99 a month or $3.75 per month a year.  Here are the pro features.


Savory Blood Orange Vinaigrette

This is my type of salad dressing as it is savory and not sweet.  I personally can’t stand sweet dressings but that’s just me!  I just love the festive color and flavors of this vinaigrette, it is divine and beautiful at the same time!


I love to make up salad dressings, plus they are so easy without all the preservatives, soy bean oil and or canola oil.

Not to mention it’s a fraction of the cost.


Recipe - Approx. 2 Cups
  • 3/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Blood Orange Zest
  • 2 or 1/4 Cup Shallots
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Dash Black Pepper


Mince the garlic and shallots and add to a bowl or jar

Squeeze the juice from the blood oranges, with a lemon juicer, measure and add to the bowl or jar

Measure the rest of the ingredients and whisk together or shake then put in to a jar if made in bowl

You will need to shake well before each use

Blood oranges red pigment contains anthocyanins, a “Super Antioxidant” which is what gives the color to fruits, plants and vegetables like berries and red wine.  They are as good for you as other citrus but with the added anthocyanins.

They have anti-inflammatory properties which helps in preventing cancer, diabetes and bacterial infections. It also helps reduce the risk of heart disease and LDL cholesterol accumulation, they help to defend blood vessels from oxidative damage.  They are loaded with vitamin C stimulating collagen production.   An over all help for the body to heal itself.

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Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro & Manchego Pesto

This is one of my favorite pestos, I could just sit and eat it by the spoonful : ) It is delightfully spicy and incredible on sandwiches and of course anything else you would use pesto in or on.

Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro and Manchego Pesto

This is relatively spicy, but it does depend on the jalapenos hotness

Roasted Jalapeno Cilantro  Manchego Pesto

Recipe - Approx 3 Cups

  • 8 Jalapenos
  • 3 Cups Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 Cup Manchego Cheese
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt


First roast the jalopeno peppers, remove the stems and seeds and combine with everything else in a food processor or blender and puree. Yum

Health Benifits:

Jalapeno are a rich source of vitamin C, 1 pepper provides 18 % of the daily value for men and 23 % for women. They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which helps skin and eye health and bioflavinoids (powerful antioxidants).  They contain more vitamin B6 (aids the immune system), E (protect cells) and K (increases bone mass) than any other pepper.

Cilantro is an immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins (one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K), and dietary fiber.

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Laili Restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA

Today my mom and I went to lunch at Laili in downtown Santa Cruz.  I have wanted to try it out for a long time now so I was really excited.  It was phenomenal, exceeding my expectations!


Laili’s restaurant serves a Mediterranean Afghan cuisine that uses fine organic products with traditional Afghan recipes.


The inside is nice with the kitchen open for viewing


It is very open and breezy



The patio is tucked away between buildings with plants growing on all the walls, it’s truly beautiful!




I’m not really sure if this came with the Mediterranean plate or if this is just something they serve but the flavors were amazing!


We shared the Mediterranean plate: hummus, tabbouleh, babaghanoush, cucumber yogurt


Mom had the Moroccan beet salad: turmeric, coriander, marinated beets, wild arugula, goat cheese.  I don’t really like beets but after I tasted this I am going to get it next time, it was out of this world!


I had the Greek salad: romaine, feta, kalamata, tomato, cucumber, onion, lemon vinaigrette.  I enjoyed this salad and the dressing was really good!

Laili Restaurant  101 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

(831) 423-4545



Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Potato Salad

With summer approaching, I love to make up different potato salads that don’t have mayonnaise or sour cream, but still have tuns of flavor.  I mean how can you go wrong with sun-dried tomatoes and basil?

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil   Potato Salad

 It’s the perfect side dish to make for a picnic, pot luck or when friends come to visit.  I sometimes add it to some mixed greens and make a meal out of it.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Potato Salad

Recipe: Approx. 10 -12 Servings

  • 1 Recipe Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
  • 2 1/2 Pound Red Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1/2 Packed Cup Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste


 Make the sun-dried tomato basil vinaigrette and set aside (you can make the day before)

Bring water to a boil for the potatoes, while your waiting for the water cut the potatoes in to small, bite-size chunks.  When the water is boiling drop in the potatoes and boil for 12 – 20  minutes.  Make sure and check on them in about 10 minutes, you don’t want mushy potatoes or to hard.  When they are done pour in to a colander and rinse with cold water or put in the refrigerator to cool

Roast the red bell pepper, remove the burnt skin, stem and seeds

Dice the bell peppers, dice red onion, chop the basil, and finely shred the asiago then put in to a large bowl with the vinaigrette, salt and pepper, stir well and add the potatoes and mix carefully

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Hello Vino

Hello Vino is one of our favorite app’s for selecting a wine.  We love how it makes it so simple by asking you what you are cooking/eating.


 You can also select your geographical location to find deals on wine as well.


 The app will give you a list of a few wines to choose from based on highly rated wines, wines specifically recommended for you and value wines $10 & under.


This is our favorite feature!  Check out this app on your smart phone or tablet and                   happy drinking!