June always has a beautiful ring to it. Not only because it signals the start of summer, but it is also my birthday month. It is hard to believe that I am going to be fifty for the 2nd year in a row! Though, seriously, even though I am not big on celebrations – I did enjoy turning fifty. It felt like a milestone and I got to check off some items from my bucket list. One of my favorites was getting to see the Aurora Borealis from Alaska in February.
I also stepped out of my comfort zone and became a vendor at the Skandia Farmers Market and sold fresh produce from my garden. I made sure to plant extra culinary herbs because I thought they would be wildly popular. However, what I found is that many expressed to me that they did not know how to incorporate fresh herbs into their meals. My advice is always to experiment. While fresh herbs are always great tossed into soup, they add great flavor when they are used raw as well. I love to add chopped herbs to a green salad, layer onto sandwiches and wraps, mix with olive oil and garlic to dip crusty bread into, toss into smoothies, and sprinkle over pastas and egg dishes to brighten the flavor.
The addition of basil to the cooler, or smoothie, that I am sharing gives the drink an unexpected jolt of flavor and it is the perfect refreshment for a hot summer day. It is easy to make and it would be marvelous with a splash of Prosecco or white wine. While I used mango, it would also be great with peaches or nectarines. However, make sure the fruit is frozen to give the drink its frozen texture. I do like to add greens to add a nutritional punch.
MANGO BASIL COOLER WITH COCONUT WATER
*1 ½ cups of frozen mango chunks
*8 ounces of coconut water (found in the juice aisle of the supermarket)
*Handful of baby kale (spinach would work too)
*Few leaves of basil (a little does go a long way in this drink so you may want to experiment)
Toss all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
This drink will really hit the spot on a hot summer night and would make an elegant contribution to a wedding shower or luncheon. It will send you to the farmers market in search of fresh basil and make you want to grow your own.
I hope June finds you full of energy and productivity. Make sure you enjoy the outdoors as much as you can in the next few months. Stay up late and spread a blanket out on the lawn to watch the stars, go for long walks, and make sure you catch the sunrise over Lake Superior a few times as well. Make sure you check out the tabs at the top of this page for an abundance of healthy, homemade recipes.
Take care of yourself – and each other!