The Real Housewife of Santa Monica
Best of 2012

Archive of ‘Sips’ category

Best of 2012

Phew! The holidays kicked my butt this year. How did my parents do this? Better yet, WHY did they do it??

Although I try to post only the best of my kitchen attempts, here are some of my absolute favorites from last year. I mean the ones I crave & want to make again & again.

Happy New Year to you!!

1. Gardener’s Pie (vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie): This is always a huge hit. I took it to a Christmas pot luck this year and got so many compliments from vegetarian & non vegetarians alike. 

2. Best Coffee Cake in the World There are no surprising ingredients in this but it’s simply delicious. Perfect for a special brunch or to warm up a chilly Sunday morning.

3. Kermit Smoothie (green smoothie) Want to sneak a handful of spinach into your family’s gullets? Try this! So yummy, easy & fun.

4. Blueberry Lara Bars. A healthy, yummy & portable snack. Perfect for hiking or just to carry in your purse (or man purse) to keep the munchies at bay.

5. No Knead Bread. If you’ve never made bread before I strongly encourage you try this one! It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and is so rewarding! There’s something wonderful about the smell of bread baking in your home.

6. Glory Bowl. After the holidays many people (ahem, THIS person) feel compelled to eat a little, shall we say, “lighter?” Although this dish contains many light elements the rice & dressing make it so satisfying. I had serious doubts about it when my dear friend Kinga recommended it but now it’s one of my favorites. Try it!! I mean it, really! I wouldn’t put it up here if it weren’t super yummy.

7. Red Velvet Cupcakes. Make these for Valentine’s Day! Or use green food coloring and make them for St. Patrick’s Day.

8. Simple Caesar Salad. This is a cheater’s version of caesar salad. Oh garsh sometimes I crave caesar salad so much but don’t want to get involved with raw eggs & anchovies etc. This is a satisfying remedy when you’re short on time. Now that I make this I find most restaurant salads disappointing. Totally reminds me of an ex boyfriend’s mom (who happened to be an excellent cook) answering the waiter’s “How is everything?” with a tragic look followed by her New York accented, “Mine’s bettah.”

9. Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookies. After trying many recipes, I have to say that these are my favorites for both simplicity & results. Because of the cornstarch they end up a bit pale and can trick you into thinking they aren’t done but they are soooooo sooooooo sooooooo (sooooo) good. Every time I make them I have to double the recipe b/c of all the greedy hands snitching them off the cooling racks (G!!!).

10. Vegetable Pot Pie. I just realized I have a few “best _____ in the WORLD” recipes. Do I exaggerate? Or am I just hungry? Anyway, this pot pie was a sleeper hit! I always loved pot pies. From the nastiest to the high end restaurant ones. But I was tired of paying $5.00 for a tiny Amy’s vegetable pot pie, plus I thought I could feed more than 1 person with a lot less packaging. This recipe takes almost 3 hours to make but is TOTALLY worth it! YUM.

11. Broccoli Gribiche. Last year I started making some dishes from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” and this was one of the hits. I seriously didn’t make ONE bad dish from that cookbook and still use it every week. This is a surprisingly hearty, satisfying yet tasty meal that can be a main or side. The simple ingredients make it a no-brainer!

12. Moscow Mule. Alcohol is a good way to end a list/night/year so here is a simple, tasty drink that we enjoyed time & again mostly during the summer. Our friend Trish introduced us to them last June when we stayed at her house in Denver. We drank them all summer. Not all day but you know what I mean.

I hope you enjoy these recipes & for all the best to you in 2013!

Iced Green Tea with Mango Nectar


Who’s hot?  Seems heat waves have been rolling across the country all summer. I’m BURNING UP!!

Actually, it’s a cool 73 degrees here. Sorry to mess with you East coasters. We don’t call ours the BEST Coast for nothing.

Watch: now we’ll have an earthquake or something.

Anyway, during our 2 hot days last week. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) I got sicka drinking tepid water out of my battered old Camelbak. And it was way before 5 so I had to think fast.


How about a refreshing iced tea?

People, this is so easy. So yummy. So refreshing & with just a touch of caffeine to get you over that late afternoon hump.

You can get all you need at Trader Joe’s (or any old grocery store.)

You need:

- green tea
- mango nectar (juice)
- fresh mint (OPTIONAL)
- ice cubes (not pictured – but I know you’ve seen them before)

I use a large saucepan to boil my tea water. When it’s JUST ABOUT boiling, turn off the heat. Dunk in the tea bags & steep for 3 minutes MAXIMUM.

This is something I just learned – green tea will tend toward bitter if you steep it too long.

Then I just let it cool on the countertop. I usually make it the night before. When it’s cool, I put the whole saucepan in the fridge overnight. In the morning I pour it into my glass Pyrex pitcher & keep it chilled.

Measurements are by eye. I add mango nectar to that pitcher until it’s almost full. I then pour myself a glass over ice and taste it. Then stir the rest with a spoon, adding more nectar if it needs it.

I don’t like it too sweet – just a hint of sweetness. I think I add 2-3 cups of juice to the tea.

You can also crush some mint leaves & drop them in if they don’t bug you when you’re drinking.

Refreshing & a little more special than water or a bottled drink.




Iced Green Tea with Mango Nectar
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6

A refreshing iced tea – just a little bit special!
  • iced green tea (3 teabags?)
  • 2-3 c mango nectar
  • mint leaves (OPTIONAL)
  • ice cubes

  1. Bring water almost to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add 3 green teabags & steep for 3 minutes maximum.
  4. Cool and chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Add 2-3 c mango nectar.
  6. Taste adding more mango nectar if needed.
  7. Pour over ice with crushed mint leaves!


Creamy Kermit Smoothie

Here’s a variation on the Kermit smoothie I posted a week or so ago.

I tried a strawberry banana smoothie. Kids did not like it. I tried a creamy pineapple smoothie with coconut milk & honey. FAIL.

So I changed up the Green (Kermit) smoothie a bit and the kids loved it! They want GREEN and I’m happy to oblige…

I don’t really measure ingredients when I make smoothies but here’s a list of the ingredients with the amounts roughly estimated:
1 c frozen pineapple
1 c frozen mango
1-2 c apple juice (I used Santa Cruz Organic which is supposedly made only of apples & water.)
1 large handful spinach
3 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt (I used Greek non-fat)

ground flax seed
chia seed

Blend & blend! I use just as much juice as I need to get the thickness that will flow through a wide straw.


Serve with a little granola. I made the granola the day prior after a roasted artichokes with lemon thyme butter sauce FAIL. I am going to work on that artichoke recipe & post when it works out because the butter sauce is excellent!! Anyway, the granola is really easy but I did another dunderhead move with that which I’ll share in the next post.

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