Jul 222014
 

Last summer I wrote about making some infused vodka. I didn’t make a ton because I ended up eating MOST of the blackberries that were ripe… Ooops! (One of my goals this summer is to go berry picking…which will be hard because I end up eating more than I pick…) Anyways, I made this blackberry vodka and let it sit for awhile.

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It was easy to make. I picked a ton of blackberries from our yard, combined them with vodka in a mason jar and stuck it in the fridge. About once a week I would turn the jar over to mix it. It sat in the fridge for about two months.

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It was time to take the blackberries out. I strained the blackberries (which weren’t black anymore) and then put the vodka in a clean (and smaller) mason jar.

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Of course I had to sample my creation! I had a teeny sip.  It was very potent. Michael asked, “What kind of Moonshine are you drinking?!” And yes, it was strong like Moonshine! It was sweet, too, which was interesting because I did not add any sugar to it. It wasn’t overly sweet, though.

I gave a small sample to a friend who absolutely LOVED IT and I rationed out some for myself throughout the winter. By spring it was all gone. I started writing this post months ago and then promptly forgot about it in my drafts folder. Now seems like a good time to share it. :)

I tried two different recipes to use the infused vodka and wanted to share them here. Here is the first:

Berryoska Blackberry

From: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/food/cocktails/vodka-drink-recipes-berryoska-blackberry#slide-6

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Russian Standard Vodka
  • 4 blackberries
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • Crushed ice

Instructions

  1. Muddle the lime juice, sugar, and blackberries in a glass.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
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It was potent! I took a sip and added a splash of lemon lime sparkling water and that lightened it up just a tad. It was great!

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The next night I tried a different recipe. When I was making it Michael asked me what kind of “hillbilly concoction” I was making. What is it with him and Moonshine?!?! What does he have against some good homemade stuff? ;) Here is the second recipe:

Blackberry and Basil

From: http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cocktails/stolichnaya-blakberi-vodka.asp

Ingredients

  • 1 part Stoli Blakberi
  • French or Italian sparkling lemonade (in bottles at specialty food stores) or San Pellegrino Sparkling Lemon Beverage (in cans).
  • Fresh basil to taste

Instructions

  1. Muddle basil with Stoli Blakberi.
  2. Serve on rocks and top off with Italian sparkling lemonade.
  3. Garnish with additional basil leaves.
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I liked this one because in my opinion there isn’t anything better than fresh basil. (In fact, I need to plant another basil plant this year. For some reason I didn’t do that this spring like I usually do…) I used some of the Newman’s Own lemonade — loved it! I need to buy this more often. I used just a splash of it in my drink.

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Of the two recipes, this second one was my absolute favorite. The flavors all balanced nicely and took some of the “bite” off the vodka. It tasted more like a refreshing summer drink than an alcoholic beverage. The minced basil was an excellent touch. I loved the flavor of the basil with the vodka. I am so sad now that it’s all gone. :( Perhaps I shouldn’t have chopped down all our blackberry bushes this year so I could make some more….Anyways, hope you enjoyed this post and give some of the recipes a try. They were really good! Cheers!

 

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Aug 152013
 

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you know that I love beer. I was never a fan of it until about 5 years ago or so. I was young, naive and thought beer meant Coors Light and Hamm’s. Yuck! Michael wasn’t a beer fan, either, but we kind of discovered craft brews together and realized that we didn’t hate beer, we just liked GOOD beer. In fact, if someone offers me a Bud Light, I decline and stick with water. Not worth it to me. I am fully aware that I’m a beer snob and I’m okay with that.

Liquid calories add up fast and if you’re trying to lose weight or are counting calories, the stark realization of how many calories are in drinks can be shocking. For the nearly two years I was trying to lose 100 pounds I chose not to drink alcoholic drinks. I just couldn’t justify “spending” 200 or more calories on a beverage when I only had 1800 calories allotted for the day. I would have that mental debate — “Do I want this glass of wine for 150 calories or do I want a piece of bread with dinner? Or dessert?” Having to choose one or the other made it easier to forgo the beverage in order to eat more food.

The alcoholic drinks aren’t the only culprit. I’ve said before that I Had a Drinking Problem – I loved soda, I drank sweetened iced tea by the gallons, I drank a glass of orange juice with breakfast every day and a glass of milk with dinner. I drank sugary coffee desserts and was probably adding thousands of calories onto my day with just drinking! I stopped drinking my calories!

I’ve maintained my weight loss for 5 years now and I have introduced liquid calories back into my diet. I have a glass of wine or two 2-3 nights a week. It just depends. Sometimes I don’t have any. I’m definitely mindful of how much I drink and I log my calories accordingly. With this recent injury that has limited a lot of my physical activity, I’ve cut back on drinking and stick to one drink instead of two. It makes a difference. Not only that, I’ve also cut back on the beer. Why? Because I love IPAs and they are usually 200-250 calories a bottle. That’s A LOT of calories for one drink! It’s just not worth it to me.

So this summer I’ve been drinking other things that are lower in calories. This post is a few of the creations I’ve made and have enjoyed so far.

Bloody Mary

This is my new favorite drink. I love it! I don’t feel guilty at all because a pint glass of V8 Juice is not that bad. V8 + 1 or 2 shots of vodka = 150 calories or so.

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I got the Bloody Mary mix from William Sonoma and it’s called “Little Devil.” It was so good! I really liked it. I also seem to be liking “sweet” drinks less and less. Too much sugar! But a Bloody Mary is spicy and not sweet. Perfection.

Poor-Man’s Pina Colada

My other favorite is reminiscent of a pina colada. It’s not blended but it tastes just as good to me.

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I use coconut flavored vodka, add half a small container of pineapple juice, a splash of coconut milk and some ice. It’s a really tasty drink without being too sweet. It’s around 160-175 calories depending on your pour.

Strawberry Spritzer

This one is fun. I had some strawberries that were on their last legs and I didn’t want to just waste them, but they were a little too soft to eat. So I ground them up in my Magic Bullet with a few ice cubes, mixed with some vodka, a splash of lemon lime sparkling water and a pinch of sugar. I put two small pinches of sugar in the drink because it was a little tart without it.

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The drink was a great summer drink! Almost like a daiquiri but not. This drink was about 125 calories total.

Blackberry Infused Vodka

One of my coworkers actually told me about this. He has tons of blackberries in his yard too and made upside down blackberry cobbler with his daughters. I had a bite (to die for) and then he said he also infuses his own vodka with blackberries.

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Sign me up! I love both of those things. :) He didn’t really have a recipe, he just said he through some cheap vodka in a jar with blackberries, gently mixed them a few times a week for about a month or two and then it was ready to drink.

Iced Coffee

I bought a bottle of coffee infused rum from a local Portland distillery that is fantastic. Love the coffee flavor of the rum–which is weird for me because I don’t usually like flavors to be mixed (like I don’t want my ice cream to taste like coffee, etc).

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This one is a shot of the rum, a splash of almond milk or coconut milk and ice. It’s so good! But there is caffeine in it, so one is definitely enough for me.

What are your favorite low calorie drink swaps?

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