The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Karen's Kitchen

June 29, 2011

Cool Drinks for a long, hot summer

PRINCEVILLE — Cool Summer Drinks

As the weather gets hotter and hotter, we look for various ways to cool off. One of those ways is with what we drink. No matter how hot it is outside, we feel better once we get cold liquids into us.

The southern standard is a tall glass of iced tea. Sometimes we substitute that for the second standard, which are soft drinks, usually dark ones. It really should be water, but in real life, we don’t drink nearly enough water. It’s no fun.

The recipes for this week deal with those wonderful drinks that we could have all year long but tend to think of only during the summer. You could build an entire menu and event around the colorful, tasty smoothies and shakes that can be made easily in the kitchen with nothing fancier than a blender.

If you are trying to watch you waistline this summer, as I always am, you can make these drinks healthy and lean as well as tasty.  I am including several quick and easily recipes for frozen or frosty drinks. Most of them could be made into cocktails with the addition of a jigger of white rum or vodka. They can also be made healthy by using low-fat milk or even skim milk instead of whole milk.

Our first drink is a banana shake. It calls for skim milk. Even if you don’t like to drink skim, you won’t be able to tell the difference with the added banana and vanilla so give it a try.

The next three recipes are smoothies. I don’t think we drink enough smoothies. I know that I don’t. I don’t want to take the time to cut up the fruit and put them together. The advantage is that they taste wonderful but since you use all of the fruit for most of them, you get the benefit of the fiber and the anti-oxidants. It’s worth the effort. You can add a little oatmeal and make it a replacement meal and it will also help your waistline.

The fifth recipe is another shake but this one incorporates yogurt for the creamy effect. Use non-fat or low-fat to make it healthy. It also has a sprig of mint, so when you create this one, put the mint in it and also a sprig on top for looks. It’s beautiful.

The last recipe is a power smoothie because it has both fruits and veggies. It will give you a lift and give you servings of fruit and veggies for health. You will enjoy this one.

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Karen's Kitchen
  • t-bone.jpg Reductions add zip to flavor

    When I cook, I often don't have a lot of time to spend making exotic meals, so I decided that I want to get more for less. In cooking that often means reductions. It’s amazing how the taste of something can change just by cooking it down until most of the liquid is gone. Reductions are so ridiculously easy that I often ask myself why I don’t use them more often. They also keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
    When creating reductions, it’s important that the ingredients be good quality. Concentrating a flavor that was mediocre to begin with changes it from mediocre to terrible. That particularly applies to wines, oils and vinegars. Buy the best that you can afford and don’t use anything that you wouldn’t want to taste alone.
    It’s also important to cook the reduction sauce moderately and until it reduces to a thick, syrupy consistency. It doesn’t take very long, but don’t be in a hurry or it will burn.

    March 6, 2013 1 Photo

  • Cheese-Fondue-Bread-2.jpg Great Fondues

    My husband and I love to entertain. We also love fondue. There is no more fun way to surprise guests with a great meal than to fondue. I have 4 or 5 fondue pots. I use them regularly.
    There are several ways to fondue. You can make the dessert fondue and I have a great chocolate fondue recipe below. Another fondue option is to have a cheese fondue for a starter before the meal or at a party.
    The last fondue option is to make the main course the fondue. With this option you can use either wine, a broth or oil for the fondue. I alternate usually between the broth and the oil. Sometimes I use peanut oil and sometimes I use canola oil. I don’t generally use vegetable oil because it has a lower smoke point.
    The first recipe is my wine fondue. The important thing to remember is to use a good white wine. Never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t serve to guests. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to be a table wine. You can play with the spices to find the taste that you like.

    February 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • Cafe-Mocha.jpg How to Make Knock off Latte's and more...

    One of my weaknesses is Starbuck's Grande latté with 3 packets of Splenda. However, I live in a small town, like Tarboro, that doesn't have a Starbucks and I'm a cheapskate and don't want to spend that kind of money on a regular basis.  The answer to that is to learn to make your own. Obviously I am not the only one who has that I idea as I found recipes all over the internet. Many of the called for buying expensive equipment. If I have to do that, I might as well drive to Starbucks. So, these recipes don't require anything except blenders and pots. In a few cases they require a little patience. Find me on Facebook and let me know what you think!

    February 6, 2013 3 Photos

  • french onion.jpg Soup's On

    Even though the weather has been very warm lately, it will be cold again soon. When the cold comes back, it will be soup time. Of course, any time can be soup time! We love soup around our house.
    Our first recipe is ham and potato soup. It's a simple soup but will smell good and taste even better.
    The second soup is my all-time favorite - French Onion. I love it with a good gooey cheese on top. It's not a hard soup to make, so give it a try.
    The third is potato and cheddar. That's a hardy soup but will become one of your favorites. It also has ham so it's almost the same as the first soup but with cheddar cheese.
    The last soup is a leftover or potluck soup with pasta in it. This recipe makes 20 servings so you will have some to freeze or share!
    When winter rolls back around, enjoy the cold with one of these soups.

    January 16, 2013 2 Photos

  • 11240_aPO.jpg Craving Comfort

    Comfort food is different for everybody, but the deep satisfaction each mouthful brings is the same. To warm the body and the soul on a chilly day, give your favorite comfort foods a delicious makeover with recipes that use Wisconsin-made Grand Cru Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a great melting cheese with lots of flavor, which means you get more flavor in every bite.

    October 3, 2012 3 Photos

  • crockpot zucchini.jpg Crockpot Sweet Things

    If you stay busy, your crockpot can be your best friend.  Even for dessert. These recipes take 2-3 hours to cook in your crockpot, so they can be cooking away while you are enjoying little league games or t-ball.

    September 26, 2012 2 Photos

  • rum ribs.JPG Cooking with Rum

    A few weeks ago, a colleague went to Jamaica. He came back with bottles of Rum for our team. A very nice gesture and of course that made me start looking for rum recipes! There are a lot of them out there. Here are a few that I really liked and that I think you will enjoy too.

    September 5, 2012 2 Photos

  • grilled-salmon.jpg Bounty of the Sear

    I'm currently working in Charleston. Probably until about the end of November. Of course that means great seafood. I can go down and buy it within a few hours of it coming off the boats. I love it! There is absolutely nothing that I love more than good seafood. Besides, I need the Omega 3's that come from eating seafood. So do you!

    August 22, 2012 2 Photos

  • butternut squash puree.jpg Butternut Squash is easy and delish!

    My garden is beginning to fade away! It's hard to believe that summer is so close to being a memory. I'm not ready! But, one of the things that I love about the end of summer is harvesting my winter squash. This season we planted butternut squash. We vary what we plant each season.

    August 15, 2012 2 Photos

  • Cool Summer Drinks

    It has been sooo hot! I guess that we are paying for the mild winter that we had. I know I felt that heat here in Charleston, where I'm working right now. So, when it feels like 110 in the shade, it's a great time to cool down with icy cold and delicious summer drinks. Especially since you can find fresh fruit to go in them right now!

    August 1, 2012

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