Hi friends! Well, I’ve been just slightly busy lately with the new little person in our home and haven’t had much time for baking, unfortunately. Sigh. So I decided to go online and find some fabulous camping recipes that would be perfect for Memorial Day festivities. Love all these…the skillet brownies and cherry cheesecake both look AMAZING. Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend and eats some delicious food!
Memorial Day weekend is coming, bringing with it lots and lots and LOTS of food. And I don’t know what it’s like where you’re at, but here it’s in the 90s already! And you know what that means…pools. And lakes. And…bikinis. Yes, it’s already swimsuit season! Yikes! Are you ready?!? It kinda snuck up on me, I gotta admit, but I am trying to incorporate more and more natural sweets (as in honey, fruits, etc) into our diet so we don’t look like the michelin man when we bare it all at the first water-type event this year. Of course, can’t do anything about the whiteness (trying to avoid that pesky skin caner) but we CAN do something about the shape of our bodies and our overall health!
(Sorry, little peptalk for myself there. Ahem. Ok, back to the recipe…)
If you are watching what goes in your mouth this weekend (like me and my husband) and are kinda scared about the next 72 hours of festivities and merriment, may I suggest these Honey Almond Date Balls as a sweet and healthy alternative? You might want to double or triple the batch because once people taste them, they will want more. Seriously. Jeremy doesn’t even like coconut and he LOVES these things. I left the recipe alone for the most part except instead of rolling the balls in more almonds, I rolled them in unsweetened coconut.
1 c. Raw Almonds (do 2 cups if you plan on rolling the balls in almonds)
2 c. Pitted Dates, preferably Medjool
¼ c. Raw Honey
⅓ c. Dried, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker.
Roughly chop dates and add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and dates form a ball. Remove from processor to a bowl. And the almonds and honey to the dates. Mix together until evenly incorporated.
Using a damp washcloth to dampen your hands periodically, for the mixture into 1" balls and roll in the coconut.
Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days or transfer to the fridge and they will keep for a couple of weeks.
This past Friday night we had our once-a-month Gourmet Cooking Club that my friend, Shawna, hosts at her house. It was a pizza themed event this time (yum!) and while everything was delicious, my favorite thing was actually a drink that Shawna made. When we walked into her kitchen there was a beautiful glass punch bowl with what looked like lemonade but with something additional floating on top…basil leaves and sliced jalapenos! Yes, somewhat uncommon for a sweet punch but trust me on this, it is AMAZING. The lemonade is sweet and tart and bubbly and the basil is the perfect, refreshing addition. And then there is just the slightest kick and spice from the jalapeno…it’s barely there but definitely noticeable and honestly, delicious!!
Put this one on your list for your Memorial Day party–I guarantee it will end up in your regular drink rotation for the summer!
For basil syrup, in a large saucepan combine water, sugar, and basil. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain syrup and discard leaves. Cover and chill syrup for 2 to 24 hours.
For lemonade, in a very large punch bowl combine chilled syrup, club soda, and lemon juice. Serve over ice and garnish with jalapeno slices and fresh basil leaves.
Makes 16, 8 oz. Servings
*Tip:Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If bare hands touch the peppers, wash hands and nails well with soap and warm water.