Honey Mint & Lime Popsicles

Honey Mint & Lime Popsicles

Happy summer to you all! 

There is a deep rooted disbelief in my mind, that when I plant a little seed it will sprout (and if it doesn’t sprout in a few days, that disbelief is only confirmed, at least until finally, two weeks later, like baby plants start popping up on the surface of the garden). 

Age old wisdom is that in fact, this is how the world works. Still, Mother Nature never ceases to amaze. Every year, it’s like she has to teach me anew the wonder that is life and it’s circle. (Ehem... most recent lesson was last weeks hail, which completed the circle of life for many of those little plants 🙄).

My wonder and disbelief cause me to spend more hours than needed coddling each vine: peering at new growth, cheering on a new leaf here and there, gawking at each flower. The sun is hot and when I stand from I crouch, my head spins: How long have I been out here? How hot is it? Where is my sun hat? 

Honey Mint & Lime Popsicles

Sometimes (ok, a lot of times,) I will run to Oliver and exclaim, “the corn stalks are ten and a half inches tall today!” Or “the squash has five leaves right now!” But how can one not be awed by the power of plants in action? They are our livelihood, as humans, after all. 

I made these popsicles because when it is hot and I have spent too much time under the sun, I crave something tart, cold, and hydrating. The perfect solution for this craving came to me when a friend brought over a pack of lime popsicles, which we devoured. These Honey Lime Mint popsicles are my own rendition, using real lime juice, naturally sweetened with honey, and a touch of plant power (mint!). Each pop tastes like a mojito on a stick, minus the booze, which is just fine by me.

I have learned recently that lime is not everyone’s favorite flavor, but I still don’t really understand. I love lime, I always will. 

Honey Mint & Lime Popsicles

Notes:

  • I use this popsicle mold, though sometimes we find the popsicles hard to get out of the mold (affiliate link).
  • You might try a silicon popsicle mold which would allow you to more easily get the popsicles out (affiliate link). 
  • I also have a set of tube-style molds which are good if you don't want to deal with a popsicle stick or drips! (Affiliate link). 

Looking for something boozy? Try these sangria pops! 

Honey Mint & Lime Popsicles

Published June 21, 2018 by
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Yields: 7   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons honey, depending on your sweet tooth
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 cups water
  • Tiny pinch of salt 
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint, sliced into thin pieces

  • Directions:

    1. Pour honey, lime juice, water, and pinch of salt into a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the honey is dissolved.
    2. Pour limeade mixture into popsicle molds, and sprinkle mint leaves over top. Place popsicle sticks in molds, and place in freezer overnight or until frozen through.

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Quinoa salads have been a staple lately. I make a big batch of quinoa, roast up some veggies (it's been extra hot here, so I quite literally carry our toaster oven into the garage and roast them in there so that the house doesn't take all that extra heat), allow everything to cool, and then toss it all with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, feta, toasted pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.

    The combo is light but satisfying, summery and fresh. And just look at that rainbow of colors:  

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad
    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Another perk when it comes to quinoa salads is that you can very easily adapt them. Recently I added chickpeas in place of feta (a good vegan option, if you're into that), made a red wine, garlic and herb vinaigrette lemon, and served it all over butterhead lettuce instead of baby greens. Voila! A totally different experience, but the same exact method. 

    The point is, you can swap whatever the heck is in season into this recipe. This particular recipe uses peak-of-summer crops. Some other combos to tantalize your tastebuds with:

    • Cherry tomatoes, bite-sized fresh mozzarella pieces, and basil with balsamic vinaigrette
    • Fresh tomato, cucumber, parsley, kalamata olives and chickpeas for a greek version 
    • Bell peppers, broccoli florets, cilantro, bean sprouts, and a sesame soy dressing
    • Sugar snap peas, roasted asparagus, radishes, and sprouts for a cheery spring edition 
    • Roasted butternut squash cubes, goat cheese, black beans, and walnuts for a late summer or fall version 

    But for now, onward to this summery rainbow of a recipe! 

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Published June 19, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 60 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2-3 cups baby greens (such as baby kale or spinach) 

  • For the dressing:
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Dice eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Slice summer squash into half moons, and slice red onion into medium-large wedges. Spread all of them out on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil, tossing them in the oil to coat. Roast veggies for 30-40 minutes, until onions are brown on the edges and eggplant is very soft the whole way through, and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
    2. In a large salad bowl, combine: cooled quinoa and cooled roasted veggies, sliced grape tomatoes, minced parsley, feta, pine nuts, and baby greens.
    3. In a small jar, combine ingredients for dressing. Close jar and shake to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss until everything is combined. Serve.

    Citrus Cumin Mojo Chicken with Peppers

     It’s like a trip back in time. Old roads, old cars, and old buildings. The walls of the Cuban houses in Viñales crumble but no one seems to notice. Or they do, but it’s all they know. It’s a part of this country, a part of life. The adobe on churches—which haven’t hosted a mass since the Cuban Revolution- has been chipping off for more then a decade, and they continue to go un-repaired. In town, the good roads have cobblestone laid down from before the war, and the big interstate is a two-lane paved road. The other roads are just dirt. Regardless, people smile and dance and enjoy life.

               When the sun shines in Viñales, Cuba it hits the crops of the local farms and the animals bathe in its warmth. The farmers that tend these small chunks of land still use classic horsepower (that is, horses and oxen) to turn the land and pull the hoes. Barns are full of drying tobacco, which is regulated through the government, along with anything else produced in the country. Wage is rations. 

                Despite the heavy regulations, there is plenty of tobacco enjoyed on the streets. In the evenings, especially during a feriado (holiday), the air is think with it: smokey, sweet, unmistakable. I don’t much enjoy it, but for how very Cuban it is. 

    Citrus Cumin Mojo Chicken with Peppers

                I’d like to tell you Cuban food was just as distinct: full of Caribbean flavor, fresh from the sea. I’d like to tell you that tables were covered in a cornucopia, as a continuation of the beautiful scene laid out above, but that isn’t always the case. Tourists may get that experience: I myself was treated to some mighty fine and generous meals, but it was hospitality and should not be mistaken for habit. Lunch was the hardest thing to track down— I remember lunching on personal sized pizzas, if you could even call it that (the cheese was off, the sauce not quite right, and they were served folded in half, like a plump taco). There was also a rather memorable ice cream cone, filled with the best scoop of chocolate ice cream I have had (fifteen years later and I haven’t found one that comes close). And here were two feasts, on one Christmas Eve and one on New Years Eve. But in between, we knew we were eating like tourists.

             I say all of this to explain that while Citrus Cumin Mojo Sauce is considered something of a Cuban classic, it’s is not a dish I experienced while in the country. Rather, it’s a marinade I started experimenting with years later. I say all of this to keep it real, and also to remember. It’s far to easy to day dream about beaches and pine coladas made with local rum; it’s far to easy to forget how things were as time moves on. 

               This marinade is bright and cheery, sunny and fresh. This recipe calls for chicken, but you could use the sauce with shrimp too. 

    Want more from the Caribbean? Try this 30-minute ropa vieja.


    Citrus Cumin Mojo Chicken with Peppers

    Published June 12, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast cutlets
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

  • For marinade:
  • Juice 1 orange
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon high mineral sea salt

  • For serving:
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • Optional: lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. In a 8-ounce jar, combine orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, oil, and salt. Place lid on jar and shake to combine.
    2. Place chicken in an air-tight container and pour marinade over chicken. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for 8-12 hours.
    3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 450°F. Slice red onion and bell pepper into strips, and dice sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread out on a baking sheet (optionally, line baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. (affiliate link!)). Drizzle oil over veggies. Now, using tongs, pull each piece of chicken from the marinade, letting access drip off. Place chicken on sheet pan with veggies.
    4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, brushing extra marinade over chicken every 5 minutes or so, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and potatoes are cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot with a lime wedge.