Tag Archives: lemon

Citrus Sunshine Cooler

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler - Pook's Pantry
I love tea.  Warm temperatures call for pitchers of iced tea or sun tea sitting on the porch letting Mother Nature do the work for you.  Cooler weather brings spicy teas infused with cinnamon and cardamom or my favorite English Breakfast.  Recently, I wrote a post for a new grocery store in town and I discovered they have a bulk tea section.  I zeroed in on this particular tea, full of dried citrus and hibiscus.  I brought it home and opened the bag.  The smell of that tea was absolutely intoxicating.  I knew it would be lovely as is, but that’s not really my style.  So I started poking around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had stashed away.

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There’s a New Store in Town


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.

You may have noticed that there is a new store in town.  Safeway has recently opened and I was asked by the company to go check it out!  Safeway is excited to provide the local community an unmatched experience in their new stores including savings programs, grocery delivery and many other new offerings.  Collage 1 

We went in with our list, but we also had the app on my phone, which helped because I was able to see the items I had saved that were on sale.

Upon entering the store, there was a nice young lady at a table with store flyers and materials to sign up for their “Just for U” program.    You can download the Safeway app to your smart phone and start saving.   The offers are based on the app users’ purchase history and organized in a way that works for you, so you can save more on what you actually buy and use.   You don’t need to present a card or clip coupons, once you have the app on your IOS/Android device, the Just for U savings tool provides access to hundreds of offers.  Shoppers have the chance to find over $300 in weekly savings with digital coupons and personalized deals that are available through the just for U savings tool available through the Safeway app and Safeway.com.

We hit the produce section first (and we hit it HARD) because we eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies in this house.  I was quite pleased to see the amount of organics available!produce 



Look at the size of that apple! (We bought two!)  

There were also fresh juices being made when we walked in. They looked fantastic. They were packaged nicely and there were many different options.#2

This morning, I had groceries delivered.  It was rather convenient, considering I was out of eggs and sugar. It’s also pretty easy to sign up and get it done. Click here to create a shopping cart for yourself.   New customers get FREE delivery on their first order and they may also qualify for free or discounted delivery fees on subsequent orders.   The delivery program offers one-hour delivery windows and a  “Shop By History” feature that saves all previously purchased items for easy repeat purchasing.  Their trucks are equipped with both refrigerated and frozen compartments, so frozen items stay frozen and refrigerated items are cool when delivered.  The only downside to this for me was having to allow someone else to choose my produce.  If you are picky about it, like I am, you might consider sticking to other items on your list and visiting the store in person to choose your fruits and vegetables.


My favorite thing about the new Safeway store is the bulk tea section.  They have about a dozen different varieties of loose tea.  I was partial to the Citrus Sunburst tea…  When brewed, it is a beautifully deep shade of pink from the dried hibiscus.  I’m working on a new recipe using this tea, so stay tuned!IMG_0841
I would be remiss if I failed to show you the wine aisle… Hello, Gorgeous!


There is also a beautiful flower section in the store.  I snapped a shot of this orchid as we were leaving.
Now We’re Cookin’ with Gas! 
Safeway has partnered up with Chevron to bring you even more savings!  Earn gas rewards every time you shop at your local Safeway store.  For every dollar spent,  you start earning rewards… you could save up to .20 a gallon on gas.  Enroll today at Safeway.com or download the Safeway app.  Using the rewards could not be easier!   I saved on gas yesterday, paying only $1.95/gal instead of $2.15/gal, thankyouverymuch…  You can either enter your card number, or as I did, phone number because I didn’t have that info with me.  The screen at the pump then asks if you would like to use your rewards & voila!  Easy Peasy.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette with Whole Grain Mustard

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Making your own vinaigrette is so easy, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it for years. It takes a few ingredients and five minutes to get “better than store bought” salad dressing at a fraction of the cost.

The three most dreaded words in my vocabulary “Bathing Suit Season”.   It’s not that I have an issue wearing one, I hate shopping for them.   Come on, Girls out there…  Please tell me you have my back.   It could nearly be classified as torture.  I have to psych myself up for the task, give myself a little pep talk and promise myself a reward if I get it accomplished in record time.

When life gives you lemons, make a vinaigrette ~ Me.

The point is, we are eating A LOT of salads these days.  We always eat salad, but lately we are eating enough greens for a small village.   We have a few favorites, like this Butternut Arugula Salad, but I like to change it up fairly often.  One of the best ways to do that is with the dressing. Last year, we were at a family reunion and I was lucky enough to score 2 lbs of raw honey from a cousin who has bees.   That honey is incredible and makes the best vinaigrettes!   Making your own vinaigrette at home takes about 5 minutes and one of the advantages in doing it yourself is total control over the ingredients.  You know exactly what is in there.  No red dye #5,  no high-fructose corn syrup, no need for a PhD to decipher ingredients!   Just squeeze a few lemons, add in a little honey, blitz it & stir in whole grain mustard.  Easy Peasy, Lemony Squeezy.

This vinaigrette is good for more than just salad, I use it in a summer pasta salad (post coming soon) and it’s a great marinade for chicken!  This recipe makes about 3 cups of dressing and it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 – 7 days.   Five minutes of work for a vinaigrette you can use all week!  That’s a pretty good deal.

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette with Whole Grain Mustard
A light homemade salad dressing with honey, lemon and mustard
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 6 fl. oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 big lemons)
  2. 6 TB raw honey
  3. 1 TB whole grain mustard
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/4 tsp pepper
  6. 1/2 cup olive oil
  7. 1 1/2 cups canola or grapeseed oil
  1. Combine lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a deep bowl or container. I like to use quart containers (Tall deli containers or large soup containers from takeout)
  2. With an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine all ingredients for about 15 seconds and SLOWLY drizzle in olive oil, then canola oil.
  3. The texture and color will begin to lighten as it emulsifies.
  4. You will see oil on top and then suddenly, it will be a perfectly blended dressing that holds together instead of looking separated.
  5. When dressing is nice and thick, add in whole grain mustard and give it one last blast with the immersion blender to combine everything & Voila! Dressing, Done!
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/

Quinoa with Pistachios, Lemon and Mint

6 PP
Winter is on it’s way out, Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to change up the menu, moving from hearty stews and roasts to lighter fare and my clients are no exception.  Although we live in a warm climate year-round,  when the temperatures start climbing, no one wants a pot roast.  

In this installment of #Client Food Fridays, we will put together this quinoa salad in about 20 minutes!  How’s that for quick? Did it mention it’s delicious & healthy too?  Winner!

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Cold Remedy Tea -Kitchen Rx

Kitchen Rx - Cold Remedy Tea

The Kitchen Prescription.  This tea has been my “go-to” for years when I’m under the weather. Lemon, mint, ginger and honey tea soothes your throat and warms you up to get you get through even the worst colds.  Winter in most of the northern states is serious.  Temperatures hovering in the single digits for weeks on end, plummeting to -20 at night, leaving you so cold that you simply can not shake the chill no matter how many layers you pile on.    I hate winter,  let me rephrase:  I loathe winter.  I loathe the snow and ice, the freezing temperatures, the slipping and sliding down sidewalks that haven’t been cleaned, chipping an inch of ice from the windshield, car doors that are frozen shut…  You get the picture.

And then you get sick.   Watery eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat and a cough that rattles your insides like gunfire.   You have been taken down by the common cold.   Once it gets you,  it takes weeks until you start to feel human again.  

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Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs


chix thighsI don’t often think of blogging about food that I cook for clients because the truth of the matter is that I didn’t think people would be interested.   I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Every pic I’ve posted lately about “client food” has been met with a one-word response:  recipe?

Add to that the request from several friends asking for healthy, real food that gets on the table (soup to nuts) in roughly 30 minutes and here you have it.   Dinner in about the time it takes to watch a sitcom.   This recipe is hardly a “recipe” in that it has a handful of ingredients and it is minimal effort.  The most laborious part of it is taking the chicken from the sauté pan and putting it on a sheet pan…  whew, I think I broke a sweat just talking about it.   Actual hands-on time is roughly 10 minutes, so you can grab a glass of wine and chill out while the oven does all the work.

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Grilled Zucchini Salad with Sea Salt and Lemon


 Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of “Grill to Perfection” courtesy of  Page Street Publishing.  Any links to book are affiliate links.

 Zucchini Salad PP

It’s summertime and everyone is in their backyard.  Grills are lit and the smell of lightly charred meat and veggies fill the street.   You are out walking the dog and you can smell a steak on the grill somewhere…  You had dinner planned already, but that just went right out the window.  Now, you’re  on your way to buy a nice, fat steak or a basket full of veggies to throw on the grill.    It’s the smell…  it gets you every. single. time.

First, let me say that I love grilling.   I LOOOOVE IT.    I stand in front of my grill, tongs in hand, listening to the sizzle as meat or veggies hit the grates.  It’s one of the best sounds in the world!  I feel like puffing out my chest and grunting “fire”, but the urge passes and I’m back to reality.   Then…  the smell wafts up and smacks me right across the face with the intensity of an angry mistress in a soap opera.    I just breathe deep and inhale until my lungs are full.   

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Glazed Lemon Ricotta Cookies


Lemon Ricotta Cookies are one of my all-time favorite treats.  They are perfectly lemony, soft and fluffy cookies with a lemon glaze on top.  If you are a fan of lemon treats, these cookies are for you!

Yeah, I know…  It’s pumpkin this and pumpkin that and here I am talking about lemon.  I’ve never really been one to conform.   Let’s just call it exceptionally early for Christmas.  These are also known as Italian Christmas cookies, although I’m not really sure why one would wait until the holidays to make these. 

The search for this cookie became a bit like the “Holy Grail”.  I had never tasted one before (hard to believe, I know) and someone I knew long ago was describing them to me.  She made them sound so incredibly divine that I needed to find them.  Her family was Italian and her Aunt would make them every Christmas.  Apparently, her Aunt was not a fan of sharing recipes so no one knew what exactly was in her cookies, only that they were the best.   That Aunt never shared the recipe with anyone and eventually moved away.  This was a cause for concern because I desperately wanted to duplicate that cookie.   Whether or not this cookie was anything like hers, I’ll never know…  But, since I had never tried it, there was no pressure…  I just needed a jumping off point.

So, I put out a call on Facebook and my friends came through!  I ended up with a few different recipes, all similar but with slight variations.  Some had baking soda, some baking powder.  I made them both ways and the difference was barely noticeable.


My insatiable sweet tooth has been discussed on many occasions.  There are times when it demands something deep, dark & gooey, other times I need a little crunch…  like breaking the blistered sugar crust of a crème brulee.  And then there’s lemon.   While I am most definitely a lover of chocolate,  lemon on occasion has usurped the crown.  

There is something about the light, floral sweet & tartness of lemony desserts that I honestly can’t get enough of. If you are not a fan of heavy desserts, these are the cookies for you.  They are the antithesis of a dark, dense, chocolatey treat.  They are light and cakey, lemony without making you pucker and just barely sweet.  The frosting on top is reminiscent of a frosting my brother and I used to put on our Dutch Pancakes.

Here’s the thing… these cookies are good.  I mean, seriously good.  As in, you may find yourself hoarding them and lying to family members about their disappearance kind of good.  It’s ok, I’ve got your back…  We’ve all been there. 

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Yields 30
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For the Cookies
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 1 lemon, zested
  5. 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  6. 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
  7. 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  8. 2 cups sugar
  9. 2 tsp vanilla
  10. 15 oz ricotta cheese
For the Glaze
  1. 2 cups powdered sugar
  2. 1/4 cup butter
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. zest of 1 lemon
  5. 3 - 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest.
  4. Beat to combine.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated, but do not overmix.
  6. Line baking sheets with nonstick silicone liners or parchment paper. Using a 2 ounce scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 -15 minutes, until edges begin to brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.
  8. Once cookies have completely cooled, glaze...
  9. Mix all ingredients for glaze together and gently spread on top of cookie. Let glaze harden for at least 2 hours.
  1. Thank you to KJ for sharing her recipe! Gave me a great jumping off point! <3
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/

My Tomatoes Runneth Over…

If you are a tomato person, you will want to check back here from time to time and here’s why:  I have an exploding tomato population.  As someone said to me a few days ago, this is not a bad problem to have! 
So let me just tell you now that for the next few months, there will likely be a number of recipes here using tomatoes…  Salsas, tomato tarts, tomato jam, tomato soup, etc.

Sometimes I am hesitant to put recipes here that I think will be too simple or maybe you just won’t find that interesting.  Recently, there was a discussion amongst a few of my foodie friends regarding the subject of “overdoing” food. 
Example: a cookie inside of a brownie inside of a cupcake inside of a pie, then deep fried and topped with caramel and chocolate sauces, whipped cream and sprinkles.
Obviously this is a gross exaggeration, but you catch my drift. Continue reading

On the Go…

It’s finally summer and you know what that means…  picnics, barbecues and long days at the beach.
This pasta salad is perfect for taking on the go.  It is light, yet substantial and dressed in a light vinaigrette, so no worries over gloppy mayo sitting out in the sun.

I love this particular pasta salad because of all the veggies in it and you can even add more…  broccoli, julienned zucchini, summer squash, cauliflower, red bell pepper, summer beans, etc. would all be great in this salad.  The beauty of summer is that so much fresh, gorgeous produce is available! 

One of my goals in summer is to avoid turning on the stove most days…  The black tar roof of the building I live in is my ceiling, need I explain further how I have come to understand what a roast chicken must feel like in the oven?!

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