Ultimate Lemon Drop Martini with Fresh Raspberries

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(Becky, the Mama.)

There’s something so right about snow in the winter.  Chestnuts roasting, Jack Frost nipping, sleigh bells ringing… Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

But when it is mid-April and barely a daffodil has bloomed in my yard, there’s not a speck of green or a bud on the tree, and you look outside expecting to hear birds singing and instead you see snow blowing… it is just plain WRONG.

I adore Colorado ¾ of the year,  but I’ve got to find a way to get outta here in Spring when my native Texas eyes long to behold green, my skin aches for the warmth of the sun, and the cook in me is ready to  fire up the grill on the patio, and mix a refreshing cocktail as Greg and I visit on the porch swing.

Yesterday,  while we were experiencing this out the patio door…

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….I decided it was time to take the weather into our own hands.  We’d simply  have to make our own sunshine. Out came a bag of fragrant lemons and my handy juicer. Then, vodka and bottle of Italian lemoncello- a gift from my thoughtful friend Lucille, upon her return from Europe. Finally, just to show off, I pulled a fresh basket of raspberries out of the fridge and plopped them on the counter too.

Now then, wasn’t it pretty? Things were looking brighter already.

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I do not like to boast, but may I just say, I make the best Lemon Drop Cocktails around?  Not too sweet, not too tart.  Plenty of real lemon flavor.  And when you float a few brilliant red raspberries in this refreshing drink, and add a lovely twist of lemon peel, really, who cares if it’s April and there’s still stubborn case of  Winter lingering outside your window?

Inside, we stayed happy and cuddled by the hearth, toasting the (eventual) coming of Spring.


 In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer ~ Albert Camus

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Ultimate Lemon Drop Martini with Fresh Raspberries

1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 part lemoncello liqueure (It is found in most liquor stores on the liqueur aisle. It is made from vodka, sugar and the zest of lemon)

1 part vodka

twist of lemon peel slice,  and 3 fresh raspberries per glass

Ice for shaker

Sugar for rim, if desired

Pour first 3 ingredients over ice into a martini shaker.  (For a generous martini, I use about a 1/4 cup of each “part” per person.  For less Spring-deprived people, living in balmy southern climates, this will probably make  enough for two people. But if you are still living in places where you are  shoveling your driveway in mid-April, go for the generous pour.) Shake, shake, shake your winter blues out.  Rub a bit of fresh lemon juice  around the rim of a martini glass, then dip in a shallow plate of sugar to line the rim. Drop in 3 fresh raspberries and a twist of lemon peel.

* If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, add a little agave nectar or simple syrup.

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The Title:Ultimate Lemon Drop Martini with Fresh Raspberries
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Double Chocolate Berry Nut Muffins

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(Becky, the Mama.)

Food memoirist Alyssa Shelasky described her mother as being a strict health-nut (who’d never eat anything that would “tick off Michael Pollan”), before being green and organic was cool. Alyssa’s school lunches were healthy leftovers like chicken salad and fruit, with notes of hand-written inspiration tucked into the brown bag. Nary a Dorito or Slim Jim in site.  And yet, even this Whole Foods Mama had a daily vice.  Every morning alongside with her cup of milky white tea, she ate a chocolate packaged snack cake filled with goopy marshmallow cream. Yes, she ate a Devil Dog.

In her defense she ate one and only one.  Every single day.  For  sixty years.  Without guilt.

Later in the day, Alyssa’s mom would  walk to the Farmer’s Market, loaded down with fresh veggies, enjoying every antioxidant-filled bite.

Now that Hostess has gone out of business, a box of Devil Dogs can be found on the internet for about $35.00 a box.  “Freshness guaranteed.”   (Presumably because they are so rich in chemicals, they are guaranteed to last forever.)

Though I draw the line at Twinkies and Devil Dogs for breakfast (even if I could afford such luxuries), I’m all in favor of making Chocolate a breakfast food.

To that end, I offer you this recipe for  Double Chocolate Berry Nut Muffins.  If I’d had blueberries or dark cherries on hand, I would have used those in this muffin. What I did have on hand was strawberries and kiwis, so improviser that I am… into the bowl they went. I’ve never let lack of correct ingredients stop me from whipping up a recipe.  I once made a carrot cake without any carrots, subbing zucchini and crushed pineapple.  It was delicious.

The result of my experiment was a just-right sweet muffin made moist from the coconut oil, Greek yogurt and fruit, chocolaty from cocoa and chocolate chips, with a nice crunch from chopped pecans.  I used white whole wheat flour  (which has the same nutritional value as whole wheat flour, but is made from white instead of red wheat);  and organic unprocessed sugar to ease my conscience even more.

So, okay, I’m not ready to declare these chocolate muffins a “health food.”  But hey, they are no Devil Dogs.

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Double Chocolate Berry Muffins

Makes 2 dozen regular muffins, and one pan of miniature muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


2 ¼ c whole wheat white flour ( I used King Arthur brand)

1 ¼ c.  organic sugar

½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (if you like extra dark chocolate use dark chocolate cocoa)

2 t. baking power

1 t. baking soda

¾ t. salt

1 cup Greek Yogurt, plain

½ cup milk or almond milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted if it is solidified

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla or almond extract

1 cup berries (blueberries don’t need chopped, but strawberries, cherries, raspberries or blackberries will need to be diced into about ¼ inch pieces.)

1 cup chocolate chips

½ c. to 1 c. chopped nuts


Sift and stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate large bowl, and make a well in the center; set aside.

Whisk together the yogurt, milk, coconut oil, eggs, and almond or vanilla extract in a bowl until evenly blended. Pour the yogurt mixture into the well, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the berries, nuts, and chocolate chips. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling half full. (I used cupcake liners.)

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Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Try with a little smear of Nutella;  or a slice of banana and peanut butter, or a spoon of cherry or strawberry preserves.  Heaven….

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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title:Double Chocolate Berry Muffins
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-RT
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook