Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies

Fresh orange juice & ginger smoothies

Summers in Phoenix are brutal, but I’m pretty sure Mother Nature tries to make up for it by giving us mild winters with trees teeming with citrus fruit. So what do you do when life gives you oranges in the middle of winter? You make Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies, of course!

Enjoy fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies

Out with friends recently, the topic of working in the mall as high schoolers came up. Our friend revealed that he was a toy soldier at a toy store. I was the Easter bunny for a season. Both entailed wearing hot, heavy, stinky costumes. The kind that made you lose 5 pounds wearing it for a shift. The kind that had one eye hole in the spot where, say, the Easter bunny’s mouth would be. The kind that were top heavy and made it hard for you to do anything without another human (sans costume) escorting you around by the elbow (or rabbit leg, as the case may be).

Fresh squeezed for Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies

Talking about these crazy jobs also brought up memories of Orange Julius and their famous sweet, orange shakes. From time to time I crave those frosty drinks made with who-knows-what. During our flashback conversation we talked about what you could put in a smoothie to make it taste like Orange Julius. My “toy soldier” friend suggested powdered sugar.

Since my husband and I had just picked a bunch of oranges from our tree, I thought it would be a good time to start juicing them for Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies. I wasn’t going to go the copycat-mall-smoothie route, but I did decide to add the powdered sugar to the mix. It didn’t make my version taste Orange Julius-y, so if you prefer, use honey instead.

Orange peels from making Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies

This recipe is super-simple and serves 4 – unless of course you trip and drop a full glass on the kitchen floor, spraying the cupboards and surrounding surfaces with sticky smoothie (luckily the glass fell on the little rug by my sink and didn’t break!). You can use oranges or orange juice from the store to whip up a batch of Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies, but if you’re enjoying the bounty of winter oranges like I am, you’ll want to use the ones straight from the backyard!

Recipe for Fresh Orange Juice & Ginger Smoothies
Serves 4

A cheesecake, right at my front door, via FoodyDirect


Who hasn’t dreamed of having cheesecake delivered straight to their front door? My ultimate dream is to think to myself, “I wish a fabulous cheesecake would appear at my doorstep, right now,” and then with a puff of smoke, voilà! A cheesecake at my doorstep!

Since that probably won’t happen in the foreseeable future, the next best thing might be FoodyDirect, an online market where you can order a variety of foods and baked goods for delivery to your home or office.

Convenient for your food needs

When a representative from the company contacted me to try their services, I was intrigued. Initially, we talked about having something sent during the New Year celebrations, but I was out of town. We talked about using FoodyDirect as a way to help plan and host a party without having to spend extra, precious time in the kitchen. No scrambling to make a dish or to pick something up. Simply order online for delivery. Great idea, especially during the holidays or special occasion (Valentine’s Day, anyone?), but the possibilities are endless.

Not only are there many meals to choose from on FoodyDirect, but there are also a variety of bakeries and restaurants they partner with, too.

Direct to your doorstep

FoodyDirect is a great resource when you want to send a meal to an out-of-town friend or family member. Or when you want to impress your sweetie with a romantic dinner for two, never mind the fact that you can’t cook. Or, like in my case, you wish for a cheesecake to appear!

My cherry cheesecake arrived from Eileen’s Special Cheesecake in New York City, which is widely known as one of the nation’s top sources for New York-style cheesecake. The cheesecake was amazing!

The FedEx box it arrived in was clearly marked as perishable. Inside the box, the cheesecake was kept cold with frozen inserts, and it was packaged so no harm in the form of crushing would come to the delightful dessert. I also received directions on how to store the cheesecake and when it would be best enjoyed by (as if I were going to wait). Although there was a slight bit of squashing that occurred to the cake, it still made a pretty presentation on a cake platter, and it was a treat to enjoy.

Check out the FoodyDirect website for the variety of food-delivery possibilities. FoodyDirect generously provide me with a complimentary cheesecake in order to sample its service and the food it delivers. I was under no obligation to write about the company.

Disclosure: These opinions are my own, and I cannot be liable for any dissatisfaction you may have with the product, service or sponsor or any injuries that may be caused by use of that product or service.


Lemon Meringue Tartlets

When life gives Phoenix freezing temperatures, pick the lemons from your tree and make these Lemon Meringue Tartlets!

A little sweet, a little tart, creamy and piled high with fluffy, dreamy meringue, these tartlets are easy to make. The filling requires the juice from just two lemons along with some zest, but it offers an amazing burst of sunshine!

Lemon juice by using my grandma’s juicer.

Most people don’t think about the cold weather in Phoenix. Our winters do, in fact, bring on cold weather (relatively speaking) but it’s pretty rare when the temps dip below freezing for several nights in a row. When it does, you cover your plants and hope for the best. You also take the time to pick the fruit that grows beautifully from your citrus trees.

Fresh lemons

That’s what we did during my mom’s recent visit. Needless to say she was surprised by the weather, but she was thrilled we could make these luscious Lemon Meringue Tartlets with lemons straight from the tree. This dessert definitely appeals to your senses, from the sweet smell of the lemons as you juice and zest them to the beauty of these small, fluffy packages, and finally, the amazing fresh flavor as you dig in.

Out of the tin and ready to enjoy

This recipe makes five, 5-inch tartlets, or one, 9-inch pie.

Kale and White Bean Soup: Perfect for a Night In

Kale and White Bean Soup

Kale and White Bean Soup is such an easy and tasty dish to make. It only takes a few minutes at the stove before you can sit down with a loaf of crunchy bread and some good company for a great meal. It’s an ideal dish when time is limited but your hunger isn’t!

Saturday Chores Left Behind

I had such a fun Saturday last weekend! Usually, Saturday morning rolls around and all I can think about (after coffee, of course) are things that need attention: right now I’m thinking about cookies that should be baked, cards that should be written and mailed, and the tree that should be put up and decorated.

But this weekend, my husband and I banished the “shoulds.” Instead of tending to the holiday chores, we decided to live dangerously and put off most of those things for one more weekend and just do what we felt like doing.

At this time of year, most people in other pars of the country aren’t getting ready to go to the farmers market, but that’s where we were headed –- we’re so lucky for our mild winter weather (if you’re jealous, call me in July when it’s 118 degrees out).

We reached the Phoenix Public Market, milled around and shopped, picking up some great produce, fresh baked bread, a dozen tamales to freeze and eat on Christmas, and our favorite goat cheese from Lauren at the Crow’s Dairy stand. With all of this delicious food around us we worked up an appetite and decided to grab some lunch downtown.

It Really is the Holiday Season!

On our way to the restaurant we ran across an outdoor, holiday-season ice rink. What a sight! The rink was decorated with sparkling, colored lights for the evening, and the trees were decorated with ribbons, bows and packages wrapped in shiny colors. Kids and adults wobbled by on their skates, moving round and round the chilly rink wearing mittens, not feeling the 70-degree temperature surrounding it. If I squinted my eyes and stood on the ice, it was sort of like being at Rockefeller Center…sort of. Nonetheless, it was festive enough to get us in the mood for Christmas!

We made it to lunch and enjoyed our time lingering over our plates and a few cocktails. To make matters more festive, my Prosecco was served in a short coupe champagne glass – the kind that makes you feel like you’re ringing in the New Year with the likes of Don Draper.

By this point we were definitely in the holiday spirit and set out for a little more shopping. Once we made it home we were exhausted! Saturday night is usually reserved as a going-out-to-dinner night, and earlier in the day we picked a place to go. No reservation, of course, because that’s how most restaurants in Phoenix roll. But the inevitable happened. Once we sat down at home we were too tired to get up to head back out.

Saturday Night Soup Special

What about dinner? Too tired to make anything that was time-consuming and too hungry to wait around any longer, my husband jumped up and started something in the kitchen: Kale and white bean soup.

This soup is easy to put together, healthy and filling (and kale is such the “it” vegetable these days). Our trip to the farmers market helped inspire our meal. You can add whatever vegetables you like, or even sausage for extra flavor. About 25 minutes later, we were enjoying our soup with fresh baked bread topped with goat cheese quark spread. A great meal to end a great day!

Recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup:

Serves 4-6 people

Jalapeño Deviled Eggs recipe

Want to make your deviled eggs stand out? Discover the difference with this Jalapeño Deviled Eggs recipe.

Deviled eggs final

Celebrate the flavor

Here in the Southwest you can count on eating spicy foods – or not, but at least you know you can get your hands on taste-bud-burning dishes. I love the options, but I’d rather eat food enhanced by ingredients rather than being overpowered by them. I don’t want to cry through dinner! Jalapeño Deviled Eggs are great for a picnic, a potluck, or any celebration.

I have a friend who makes really great deviled eggs. Her recipe is fairly traditional with her own added touches to make it a real treat. This recipe is fairly traditional, too, and you can heat things up or keep them more chill, based on whether or not you include the seeds from the jalapeños. I also like the added crunch from the jalapeño and celery. As they say, the devil is in the details!

Deviled eggs ingredients

Recipe for Jalapeño Deviled Eggs:

Serves 6-8 people