Watermelon Juice – A Tasty Way to Enjoy Summer’s Favorite Fruit

I love summer, absolutely love it!   With the warm weather comes my desire for a creative refreshment so I decided to create a new category on the blog called Sips.  This category will contain drinks for grownups, kids and some for both.   This post for Watermelon Juice will definitely please both adults and kids alike.  It is cool, refreshing, delicious and a welcome departure from the usual juice.

Watermelon.  When I think summer and warm weather I definitely think of this fresh, pink, refreshing fruit.  Everything about it screams summer.  It is the perfect picnic fruit since you can eat it with your hands and with its high water content it will cool you down on those hot summer days.  Since watermelon is so tasty I decided to turn this crisp melon into a refreshing drink.

The first step in creating this drink is to remove the watermelon from the rind and dice the fruit up into chunks.  I generally cut them into about one inch chunks but since this is all being blended, preciseness isn’t necessary.  Also, I do cheat sometimes and buy the prepackaged, cut watermelon that can be found in the refrigerator case to make life a bit easier.  Along with the watermelon I like to add fresh squeezed lime juice and my son likes the addition of a bit of simple syrup for a bit of sweetness.

This juice tastes amazing straight or with a touch of club soda for a little fizz.  On occasion I also enjoy this juice with a shot of liquor (vodka, tequila – use your imagination) for an extra kick.  The kids love this stuff straight and I know why.  My son loves helping me make this treat and especially loves drinking it.  Here’s to summer – Cheers!

Watermelon Juice
About 2 pounds cut watermelon (I usually find I get this from one medium size watermelon)
1/3 – 1/2 cup lime juice (this is to your taste – I enjoy a watermelon juice that is more tart so I use 1/2 cup)
Simple syrup, to taste (to make simple syrup place equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until melted – let cool!   You don’t want to use hot syrup in your watermelon juice)

Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.  Drink, enjoy, wow family & guests with your delicious drink.

Dry Shampoo Dupe – Cornstarch!

Yes, the title is true, I have found a dry shampoo dupe  – cornstarch!   I know, it’s weird…cornstarch?  This is the stuff that hangs out in my pantry and every so often I will bust it out when a recipe calls for it, but really that isn’t too often.   The thing that cornstarch is amazing at doing is absorbing oil.  Oil absorbing?  Sounds like something my dirty hair could use.  I also have to add that I in doing my fair share of research corn starch is one of the main ingredients in numerous dry shampoos on the market. Dry shampoos that are  wayyyyyyyyyyy more pricey.

Now let me back up on how this trick was first mentioned to me.  I was shoe shopping and the girl helping me was wearing this  amazing hat, which I quickly complimented her on.  She mentioned that she didn’t have time to wash her hair that day and she couldn’t find her cornstarch.  I must have given her an inquisitive look because she quickly followed up by telling me what a great alternative cornstarch was to dry shampoo.  I took note and decided to try it.  I have to say that I now almost exclusively use corn starch as my main dry shampoo source because it works crazy good.  Not to mention the price difference is an added bonus.  A container of corn starch usually runs anywhere from $3-$5 for a 16 oz container, while higher priced powder shampoos run anywhere from $20-$30 for 2-3 oz. of product.  Here are a couple of examples where corn starch is one of the primary ingredients, Alterna Cavier Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo and Bumble & Bumble Pret-a-Powder Dry Shampoo.

Here are some of my tips on how to use this stuff.  I keep a tub of Argo cornstarch in my vanity along with my other makeup essentials.  Whenever I use it, I simply dip three fingers into the powder, shake off any extra and dab it into the roots of my hair making sure to blend it in well so you don’t see any white powder.  I continue this process until I am happy with how it looks – sometimes this is a 30 second process and other times it takes a bit longer.  It all really depends on how dirty my hair is, but don’t judge – we have all been there. 🙂

I have to admit that I was hesitant to try this since I was so in love with mainstream dry shampoos, but I highly, highly recommend that you try it.  Remember to utilize the tips noted above and hopefully you will fall in love with the results as much as I have.

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PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad – Vegan and Delicious

We have been having our home remodeled which has been a massive pain.  Now that it has been completed I am thrilled with the end result, however the process was painful.  Since my ability to cook was sidelined I searched for delicious and healthy options to curb my hunger, which is how I stumbled across a salad at my local PCC store called, the Perfect Protein Salad.  I instantly became addicted and wanted to share my version, which tastes extremely similar to PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad.

One of my favorite parts of cooking is the ability to customize recipes.  In this case the recipe calls for lemon, dill and garlic.  Since I am crazy about these three flavors I upped the amounts to make them more pronounced.   The base for this salad is garbanzo beans and spelt berries which provide both a creamy texture and a chewy texture.  Since I am huge on texture the crunch of numerous veggies, including cucumbers, celery, peppers and onions are also a complete bonus.

In a nutshell, this has become one of my go to salads.  I love enjoying it for a quick lunch, enjoying it at dinner with a grilled piece of chicken or fish and it also makes a great salad to take to a friends house.  In the event you have someone in your life that is vegan, this version is made with vegan mayonnaise* which is an added bonus.   I hope that if you live in the Northwest you stop by PCC and try their Perfect Protein Salad or make it at home for yourself.

Perfect Protein Salad (inspired by PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad)
(serves 2 for a main dish or 4 as a side dish)

1 – 15 ounce can of Garbanzo Beans
2 stalks cucumber, diced
1 cup cooked spelt berries
1/3 c. Vegenaise
2 carrots, diced
1/4 c. green onion, thinly sliced
2 T. red onion, small dice
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. italian parsley, thinly sliced
1 T. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
2 T. fresh dill weed or 1 t. dried dill weed
2 T. fresh basil or 1 t. dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Put in refrigerator and let flavors meld together for a couple of hours if possible.  More often than not I am rushed and not able to do this, but if you can, definitely do this.  This salad is very easy to make and lasts for a day or two in the fridge so you can make it ahead and enjoy leftovers later.

* Side note, vegenaise tastes great! If you have never tried it, I would recommend doing so. I was extremely hesitant at first, but now I really love it.)

PCC's Perfect Protein Salad Recipe

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie – Healthy & Dairy Free

It is the New Year and like many people I indulged and enjoyed in glutenous baked goods and enjoyed many, many, many savory appetizers at holiday parties.  I didn’t want to be rude and not eat.  So I am feeling a little bloated and am looking to lighten up my diet up a bit so feel healthier and more energetic.

In an effort to try and feel less bloated I decided to try this smoothie I saw featured on YouTube and wow – it is really, really good.  The original recipe was featured on Miss Glamorazzi’s channel where cookbook author and blogger Claire Thomas shared several recipes that were quick and healthy.  You can see the video featured here that also has other delicious recipes.  In the meantime, here is the recipe for the Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie that is amazing!  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Ingredients
Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Ingredients

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. chia seeds
2 T. agave nectar (I didn’t have this so I used brown sugar – YUM! (perhaps why I have gained some weight…))
1 pinch of salt
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. flax meal
1/3 c. gluten free oatmeal
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice

Put all ingredients in your blender for about a minute and enjoy!

Banana smoothie and fresh banana on wooden background.

Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey and White Bean Chili

I have mentioned several times that I love one pot meals and one of my favorite one pot meals is Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey and White Bean Chili.  It is amazing!  I actually can’t believe that it has taken me so long to blog about this dynamite dish since it is my all time favorite chili recipe.  I have made this for football parties, for lunch on a rainy day and when I need a weeknight meal on a busy evening.     The other plus to this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and the longer it sits the better this chili gets.

So let’s talk about the ingredients.  I love that the main protein in this chili is turkey, you could use ground beef, however I absolutely love the clean, lean taste of turkey.   The addition of white beans is another clean flavor that really makes this chili recipe different from other chili recipes.  Then there are the spices, from chili powder to red pepper and many flavors in between there is some serious flavor going on.   One of the last ingredients I was very surprised to see is the addition of corn meal that acts as a binder to thicken the chili up.  I think this is a genius addition since corn naturally complements chili so well.

I hope I have sold you on making this chili.  It is delicious, healthy and the perfect chili to serve your friends and family.

4 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons Emeril’s Southwest Essence, recipe follows
1 2/3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10-ounce) cans Ro’tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (original), undrained
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, undrained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, for serving
Tortillas (optional)

Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano


In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion and jalapeno until soft and beginning to caramelize, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey, Southwest Essence, chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is browned and cooked through, 6 minutes. Add the cornmeal and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, canned chiles, and cilantro stems and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After it has cooked for 30 minutes, add the cannellini beans. Add the heavy cream and cilantro leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer.

Serve the chili in deep bowls, garnished with cheese and cilantro.