Hello Breakfast Smoothie

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Most of the time I opt for a breakfast smoothie. It’s always something simple, not too sweet and filling – just perfect for early in the morning (I am an early riser if you haven’t noticed).

Here is my go to breakfast smoothie of late, the Hello Breakfast Smoothie. You can vary the fruit choices, but I always like a nice nutty butter and coconut almond milk.

Hello Breakfast Smoothie

You will need:

– 1 frozen banana ( I always have them in the freezer)
– 1 cup coconut almond milk
– 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural peanut butter ( I grind my own)
– 1 dash of cinnamon

To prepare:

In a Nutribullet (or other blender of choice), combine all the ingredients and pulse for 30 seconds, until will combined.

Sometimes I toss in a few blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or kiwi slices.

and enjoy…

 

 

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Juice January 2018 :: 6 years of a healthy start to the new year.

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I cannot believe it’s been 6 years. Juice January has been something my readers have waited for every year…for 6 years. It’s incredible. When I started this New Year ritual, I could never have imagined the impact. People have reached out every year, shared their journey, tips and even recipes.

For Juice January 2018, I will have a few surprises. The biggest one is that along with juice recipes, I will be sharing my favorite healthy, easy-to-make dishes our family enjoys year round. This year there’s no fasting, just healthy eating. Of course you are welcome to follow the 21 day regimen we have been following for the last 5 years (link here), but this year will be the idea that moderating, listening to your body, and tuning into when you are full will be the focus.

This year will be much more engaged, so hashtag your #healthystart18 recipes, so we can all share on instagram, and make sure to follow me in January (and all year long), so you don’t miss a thing.

Only one rule: Everything in moderation: cocktails, sweets, and no junk food!

I love hearing from you and sharing healthy recipe tips and tricks, so don’t be shy!

See you in a couple days with the jump start to your new year and new healthy you.

I cannot wait to get started. Don’t forget to hashtag #healthystart18

You can find the above pic and recipe for Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls on How Sweet Eats.

 

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The Best Cocktail for Christmas Brunch

This is the best cocktail for Christmas brunch, but it's also perfect for any party this season. It's great for a crowd too!

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I am thrilled to be guest posting today to bring you a festive holiday cocktail: pear prosecco punch.

In my house, I always make a huge Christmas brunch to enjoy after opening presents. The feast starts with sausage balls & pigs-in-a-blanket (oldies but goodies) and coffee for breakfast while we all tear through gifts. Late morning, I pop everything in the oven, and we sit down to a huge brunch complete with berry French toast, quiche, fruit, and of course, a festive cocktail.

This is the best cocktail for Christmas brunch, but it’s also perfect for any party this season. It’s great for a crowd because it’s just a few simple ingredients. You can place everything on a bar cart, or designated bar area, with framed instructions and let guests mix their own.

One trick: freeze a bag of cranberries and keep them on hand in your freezer. Warm prosecco (or wine or holiday punch) isn’t tasty. Frozen cranberries can be used in place of ice to keep your cocktails cold. They won’t water-down your beverage, and they’ll look festive, too!

Pear Prosecco Holiday Cocktail

Let me know if you give this a try! I’d love to hear what you think. Happy holidays!

xo, Nicole

Pear Prosecco Punch
serves 1

You will need:

– 2 oz Pear concentrate (I use Looza)
– 4 oz Prosecco
– Rosemary sprigs & frozen cranberries for garnish

To prepare:

Pour pear concentrate into a champagne or wine glass. Top with prosecco. Add a rosemary sprig and frozen cranberries for garnish.

photos by Nicole Letts

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Holiday Entertaining: Italian Fruit Cake Recipe

While perusing through my archives, I rediscovered this Italian fruit cake recipe and felt like with the holidays in full swing, I should share it again.

A few years ago, I asked my friend Skye McAlpine to put together a little holiday cheer in the form of a post for my blog, and she delivered in a big way! She put together this absolutely stunning (and delicious) Italian fruit cake recipe. While perusing through my archives, I rediscovered it and felt like with the holidays in full swing, I should share it again.

On Skye’s recommendation, this cake is lovely with a sweet red wine, like Port. If you have a local wine merchant, picking up a Port to finish a holiday dinner party. It’s such a fun ending to a fun evening.

While perusing through my archives, I rediscovered this Italian fruit cake recipe and felt like with the holidays in full swing, I should share it again.
Certosino di Natale: Honey, Pinenut and Almond Fruitcake
Serves: 8-10

For the cake, you will need:

– 40g raisins
– 40g mixed candied peel
– 30ml dry red wine or Marsala
– 320g flour
– 30g cocoa powder
– 2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
– 300g honey
– 40g butter
– 70g sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 3 tbsps water
– 60g pinenuts
– 200g blanched almonds
– 60g dark chocolate

For the decoration, you will need:

– 2 (heaped) tbsp apricot jam
– 2 tsp water
– 10-12 slices of glacé orange
– 3 glacé pears
– 10-12 glacé cherries
– handful of blanched almonds

To prepare:

Add the raisins and candied peel to a medium sized bowl and pour in the wine, then leave to soak overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, grease and line a 25cm cake tin. Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarb into a large mixing bowl and set to one side.

Add the butter to a small saucepan along with the sugar, honey, fennel seeds and cinnamon, then set over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir now and then to make sure that nothing burns on the bottom of the pan.

Add the raisins (with all their juices) and pine nuts to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, stir well.

Roughly chop the chocolate and the almonds, then add them too. Stir again.

Now pour in the melted butter and honey, and stir until well combined. The batter will be quite stiff, so stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. If needs be, add another splash of red wine.

Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 45 mins to 1 hr, until it’s golden on top, and when you press a skewer into the cake, it comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

To decorate, spoon the jam into a small saucepan with the water; set over a low to medium heat until the jam becomes syrupy and begins to bubble. Take it off the heat and use a pastry brush to glaze the cake, then lightly press the glacé fruits and nuts on to the top of the cake leaving no gaps. Brush the remaining glaze over the nuts so that it is all shiny.

For those of you that need measurements in cups see the conversion chart here

Photos by: Skye McAlpine

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Limoncello Party Punch, a Festive Sangria

This Limoncello Sangria is zippy, festive, and most of all, fun. Prepare the punch ahead of time, pour it in a gorgeous pitcher and set it in the bar.

The holiday season typically means loads of soirees, parties, and swaps, and I for one, love it. There are so many festive gatherings to attend and of course, to host.

One of the best things you can do as a hostess is prepare a signature cocktail. It gets everyone talking. Plus, it’s a stress free way to host, especially if you serve a punch like this one. This Limoncello Sangria is zippy, festive, and most of all, fun. Prepare the punch ahead of time, pour it in a gorgeous pitcher and set it in a designated bar area complete with coupes and fun holiday napkins.

This cocktail, along with many others, is available in my book, Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY. Grab a copy here or add it to your Christmas wish list! While you’re there, don’t forget to pre-order my next book, Cocktail Italiano. It would make the perfect gift for any cocktail connoisseurs. Cin cin!

Limoncello Party Punch (aka. Festive Sangria)
Serves 8

You will need:

– 2 cups of Limoncello
– 1 pint of sliced strawberries hulled and sliced
– 1 small blood orange thinly sliced and quartered
– 1 cup seedless white grapes, halved
– 8 cups Sauvignon Blanc
– 3.5 cups club soda

To prepare:

In a pitcher, macerate the fruit in the limoncello overnight in the refrigerator.

Pour the wine and club soda into the fruit-filled pitcher and serve in champagne coupes.

Happy holidays, and cheers to a happy & healthy 2018!

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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