This Week's 7

This Week’s 7 – Sip on Summer

Each Monday on the Pure Purpose blog, I feature This Week’s 7, a simple list about an everyday topic, giving you ideas and encouragement. Last month I shared warm recipes to sip through the cold months. Someone commented how she appreciated the recipes even though she lives in a tropical location, because she could at least imagine winter as she sipped the warm drinks!

As the winter days drift by and spring looms on the horizon, I wonder if sipping a refreshing, tropical drink or biting into a fruity treat might remind those of us in colder climates to imagine the warmer days ahead. So today I’m sharing a few ideas for you to anticipate the warmth of spring. Put on those flip-flops (even if over your fuzzy socks) and enjoy!

Hawaiian Lemonade

  • 1/2 of a 12 ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 12 ounce can apricot nectar, chilled
  • 12 ounce can unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
  • 1 1/4 cups of ginger ale (chilled)
  • In a large punch bowl, combine all juices with 3/4 cup of cold water. Slowly add the ginger ale down the side of the bowl. Stir gently to mix. Add ice cubes. Decorate with slices of lime, oranges, cherries or grapes. Makes 6 servings.

Iced Mint Green Tea

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 3 green tea bags
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 stalks lemongras for garnish

Combine mint leaves, tea bags, honey and boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes; remove tea bags. Refrigerate until chilled. Divide among 4 large ice-filled glasses. Garnish with a stalk of lemongrass.

Kiwi-Mint Julep

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups ice
  • 3 kiwis, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons frozen limeade
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

Dissolve sugar in hot water in a 1-cup measure; let cool slightly. Combine ice, kiwis, limeade, mint, and the sugar mixture in a blender; blend until smooth.

Rosemary Cucumber Lemonade

  • 3 large cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup

Peel and chop the rest of the cucumber; transfer to a food processor, add rosemary and puree. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. Add water, lemon juice and agave syrup to the cucumber juice; stir until the agave is dissolved. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with thin cucumber slices and rosemary sprigs.

Raspberry Bars

Crust

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raspberry Filling

  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.

Place flour, pecans, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add ice water and vanilla and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Transfer to the prepared pan. Press evenly and firmly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Bake the crust until it looks set, but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

To prepare raspberry filling: Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you prepare the rest of the filling.

Reserve 16 raspberries. Puree the remaining raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and stir in 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in the gelatin mixture and cook, stirring, until the gelatin is melted, about 1 minute.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Pour the raspberry mixture into a medium bowl and set it in the bowl of ice water. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of loose jam and is beginning to set around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, milk and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

Spread the thickened raspberry filling evenly over the crust. Dollop the cream cheese mixture over the filling. Draw the tip of a sharp knife or skewer through the two fillings to create a swirled effect. Nestle the reserved berries into the filling, evenly spacing them so each bar will be topped with a berry when cut. Refrigerate until the bars are completely set, about 3 hours. Cut into 16 bars, one raspberry per bar.

Pineapple Empanaditas

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese,  (Neufchâtel), cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup pineapple or apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting  (optional)

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and oil and blend with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture with milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together; the mixture will still be a little crumbly. Knead a few times in the bowl, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times until the dough comes together. Divide in half and shape into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Combine pineapple and preserves in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until syrupy, 12 to 15 minutes. Mash the pineapple into smaller chunks with a potato masher or fork. Remove from the heat; stir in breadcrumbs and cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

On a well-floured surface, roll out one disc of dough at a time into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Cut circles of dough using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary, to make 24 circles.

Place 1 teaspoon pineapple filling in the center of each circle. Fold in half, press edges together and crimp with a fork. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the empanaditas until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Tropical Fruit Salad

  • 1 medium mango, seeded peeled and cubed
  • 11 ounces mandarin orange sections, drained
  • 2 kiwis peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup tiny marshmallows
  • 8 ounces carton vanilla yogurt
  • 3 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut
Combine all the fruit in a bowl, together with the marshmallows and the yogurt. Cover and chill for 2-4 hours. When ready to serve, cut each banana half crosswise into 2 pieces. For each banana half, cut lengthwise again to split the banana. Place 2 banana pieces on a dessert plate. Stir half of the coconut into the fruit mixture. Then spoon on top of the bananas. Sprinkle the remaining coconut on top. Drizzle with honey on top. Makes 6 servings.