Happy Hour with Vim Vitae

Cocktails that are good for you? Oxymoron? Not in this case. I have three killer (in my opinion) cocktail recipes coming your way today. Each recipe is made with fresh vibrant ingredients thanks to Vim Vitae

Vim Vitae, formally know as Vim + Vigor, is an organic, raw, cold-pressed juice company based out of Dallas, but can be found all over Texas, Oklahoma City, and Little Rock. Vim Vitae's mission is to feel amazing about yourself and your choices, every single day. With delicious and nutritious juices, they make it easy to incorporate healthy choices into your day. Their line of juices ranges in flavors and products, all developed by nutrition experts and food lovers.

I've been a Vim Vitae fan from the early days. Fun fact, the founders Annie & Liz are cousins originally from Oklahoma City. Annie's dad and my dad were fraternity brothers and her dad was also my landlord my senior year of college. Home Sweet Lahoma! Annie and Liz also lived in that house while they were in college. 

It's fun to have seen them grow and evolve while continuing to develop new products. From cold-press juices, adding in exotic flavors, savory soups and their newest line of limeades. V V's new limeades are just perfect. They are exactly what I want to grab for in the afternoon when water won't make the cut. I have no problem downing one knowing they are made with few and real ingredients. Things like ginger, basil, agave, acai berry, cardamom and more. 

Despite them being my afternoon pick me up, today we are talking happy hour. Ramping up the deliciousness of limeades by turning them into cocktails. Vim Vitae's limeades come in five flavors. Since I couldn't pick just one, I chose three, creating a Lavender Cardamom Gin Lemonade, Basil Agave Mint Mojito and Hibiscus Berry Vodka Smash.  I can't wait to sip on these drinks all spring and summer long.

First up is the Lavender Cardamom Gin Lemonade. Simply inspired by the colored label I knew I wanted to add lavender. Lemon, gin, and lavender simple syrup get shaken with gin and garnished with a lavender sugar rim. Disclosure I hate gin. But in this cocktail, I love gin. 

Lavender & Cardamom Gin Lemonade
serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup Vim Vitae Cardamom Limeade
1.5 oz or 3 Tbsp. lavender simple syrup (recipe to follow below)*
2 shots or 3 oz gin
1/2 lemon
ice
lavender sugar for garnish*

Directions:
*Using a tablespoon of lavender and two tablespoons of sugar, blitz in a single serving blender or crush the lavender buds into the sugar using a mortar and pestle or end of a wooden spoon. Spread sugar in a thin layer on a plate. Run a lemon wedge along the edge of your martini glasses. Dip into the sugar and set aside. 

In a cocktail shaker, combine Cardamom Limeade, simple syrup, gin, squeeze of lemon and a big handful of ice. Shake until combined then pour into martini glasses. Sprinkle a little lavender sugar into the glass and enjoy!

Lavender Simple Syrup:
Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tablespoon lavender buds in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Strain out the lavender buds then place in a mason jar and cool in the refrigerator. 

Mojitos are my favorite cocktail. When I tried the Basil Agave limeade I knew it would be turning into a mojito!

Basil Agave Mint Mojito
serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup Vim Vitae Basil Agave Limeade
6-8 large leaves of basil and mint
2 shots or 3 oz white rum
1 lime
sparkling water or club soda
ice

Directions:
Tear your basil and mint up and divide evenly amongst 2 glasses. To get the most flavor from your basil leaves, one leaf at a time, place in the palm of your hand then smash with your other hand, then proceed to tear up. Cut your lime into fourths. Squeeze 1/4 lime into each glass with the mint and basil. Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, muddle the herbs and lime juice together. Pour 1 shot of rum and 1/2 cup Basil Agave Limeade into each glass. Fill with ice and top with sparkling water. Stir to combine. Garnish with a basil leaf and lime wedge. 

This last drink is so easy and even easier to drink...oops! I used the Hibiscus Flower Limeade combined with mixed berries. The hibiscus adds a suspicious taste to the drink that you'll love but wouldn't guess if you didn't know what it was.

Berry Vodka Smash
serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup Vim Vitae Hibiscus Flower Limeade
1/4 cup mixed berries (I used a package of frozen berries I let thaw out)
2 shots or 3 oz vodka
1 oz or 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
sparkling water or club soda
ice

Directions:
Divide mixed berries among two glasses. I used raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Using a muddler or end of a wooden spoon smash the berries together in the bottom of the glass. Add a shot, 1/2 cup Hibiscus Flower Limeade, and 1 tbsp. lemon juice to each glass. Fill the glasses with ice and top with sparkling water. Stir to combine. Garnish with a few berries and lemon wheel. 

Can I get a #takeasip? Vim Vitae Limeades can be found locally at Native Roots Market. The originals can be found locally at Whole Foods. All retailers listed here. Thank you Vim Vitae for the delicious limeades and opportunity for this post!

Annie

*All photos by KGC Photography

Matcha Mint Smoothie

When biggest sis Claire was home back in April, we tried to balance our huge dinners with lots of smoothies and morning workouts. I made her my Perfect Green Smoothie, because, well it's perfect. She agreed. Ww also made a stop at Organic Squeeze for CB&J smoothies. You can find my recreation here

A few weeks later I got this snapchat from sis insisting that I needed to recreate a smoothie she had. I go weak for green smoothies, so I was game. Claire mentioned how the lady making her smoothie suggested she add matcha next time. Matcha is easily my favorite flavor right now, so that was a given addition when I was to recreate. 

After some trial and error, I give you this tasty matcha mint smoothie recipe! New to matcha? Jump on board. It's the purest form of green tea leaves, giving you so many more nutrients. It has magical energy, detox, and calming powers. Great for weight management,  your skin, combating aging and helps to build immunity. It has a crazy amount of antioxidants and just 1 cup of matcha is the equivalent to 10 cups of green tea. Combine it with warm or cold almond milk for a latte, use it in baking, turn it into ice cream, shake it up with ice water, or mix it into a smoothie!

Matcha Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients:
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 avocado (if you aren't into the avocado thing, use a full banana)
a huge handful or two of spinach
a few mint leaves
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp. matcha powder (I use this brand, you can find it at Whole Foods or online)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. almond butter

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until thick and smooth. Slurp up every last drop and thank me later. 
 

Annie

CB&J Smoothie

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The taste is similar to the childhood classic, but with cashew butter and blueberries this smoothie is brought up to age and multiplied in health benefits. It is a recreation of my current fav from our local smoothie place, Organic Squeeze.  The menu may allege it to be "kid friendly" but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy it too. 

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I took oldest sis to Organic Squeeze after a spin class while she was in town last week. I insisted she try the CB&J. She loved it. One of my roommates and I are hooked on this flavor too, so I've been set on recreating it. With a few rounds of testing I think I got it to taste to be just like the original. 

P.S. the pink himalayan sea salt is key! It gives it that little salty bite you find in a PB&J sandwich! And I find no problem with having pink salt around the house. 

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CB&J Smoothie
yields 1 smoothie, inspired by Organic Squeeze

Ingredients:
1/2 - 3/4 cup almond milk, depending how thick you like it
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
1 Tbsp. cashew butter
2 Tbsp. oats
1 tsp. flax seeds
pinch of pink himalayan sea salt

Directions:
Throw all your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Start with the lower amount of almond milk and adjust to your preferred level of thickness. 

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Annie

Strawberry Fig and Almond Butter Smoothie

So that fig frenzy I mentioned the other day, here is exhibit A. Figs are in peak season right now so get them while they are hot. When I set out to make this smoothie I was using this recipe as a guide. Not being a big banana girl, I replaced them for strawberries...win!

Not that I know what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tastes like, but I kind of feel like this smoothie resembles the flavor of one. My homemade almond butter is really roasty tasting similar to peanut butter, or so my roommate tells me. Then the combination of the figs and strawberries sets off the jelly flavor. Call it what you want, but this smoothie is superb. A fun change from my regular morning green smoothie!

Like I said figs are at their peak right now, so they are typically very ripe when you find them in the store. Before they go bad, slice up a couple and keep them in your freezer! This recipe calls for 3 fresh frozen figs, I just freeze them cut in half!

Strawberry Fig and Almond Butter smoothie
yields 1 smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. almond butter
3 figs, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon

Directions:
In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy! Top with more cinnamon, some figs and granola if you choose!

Annie

Green Not With Envy

I've done it. By golly I've done it. I have finally mastered the perfect green smoothie. Creamy, green and filled with layers of flavor. I used to think you could just throw anything into a blender and turn it into a delicious smoothie. Not quite the case. I have unfortunately drinken down a few too many sub par smoothies. Too watery, no flavor, and worst of all brown. Berries and spinach don't make for an appealing smoothie.

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I know a lot of people put bananas in their smoothies to make them smooth and creamy, but I'm not a big fan. I don't really favor bananas to begin with and although they are high in potassium they are also high in sugar. Instead I sub bananas for avocado to get that extra creaminess. If you've never put avocado in your smoothie oooooh oh buddy! 

To get a super green smoothie, stick with yellow or citrus fruits. The colors won't clash and you'll end up with a bright green drink! I use pineapple and mango then counteract the tartness with some almond butter and cinnamon. Chia seeds, avocado and the most important, spinach. Blended up with coconut water and booyah---perfect green smoothie. 

My Perfected Green Smoothie
yields 1 smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 -1 cup coconut water, my favorite brand
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 avocado*
1 tsp. chia seeds
1 spoonful almond butter
a few shakes of cinnamon

*I like to freeze my avocado. Avocados go bad so fast so once I cut one open I freeze the rest for smoothies. Just make sure you cut it up before you freeze, you don't want to end up with a huge hunk of frozen avocado.

Directions:
Throw everything in your blender and blend baby blend till thick and smooth. Pour into a glass and slurp it down. If you're like me, sprinkle with some granola and eat with a spoon! It's my favorite way to enjoy a smoothie and makes it a little more filling.

I used to always use almond milk in my smoothies but recently switched to coconut water. It keeps you hydrated and adds potassium. I mainly switched because I fell in love with Harvest Bay brand. It has a sort of vanilla taste to it and is without a doubt the best coconut water I've found on the shelf! I made this for my sisters this weekend and they loved. I promise it really is the perfect green smoothie!

Annie

p.s. totally crushing on how my new white kitchen sets the perfect backdrop for food photography!