It’s been a hot summer, and I think we all have felt a little more stress so far just 2 seasons into 2020 than the Earth usually sees in a decade. Anytime I can add a blissful splash of enjoyment, I try to make it happen.
Amidst the outside stress and chaos, turning to our own spaces inside to create somewhere we can relax is important. Creating a part of your home that is blissful and calming gives you an oasis to escape to when your only option anytime soon is a “stay-cation”; in the same home you have been working-from-home and home-schooling in for months already.
So here are a few relaxing and bliss educing recipes that are some of my summer faves. To make as a meal for the whole family, or just make the Mule and enjoy while listening to The We Spot Podcast for some self-care time.
First: Something Refreshing to Drink
The Mules, because they always help my bonus sister and I relax on a lazy summer afternoon. We have one set of copper mugs we only use for these special drinks and we try to come up with a new recipe each season. Last summer was pretty basic with fresh mint sprigs, in the winter this Cranberry Mule with a cinnamon stick was awesome. For this summer since we have a little extra stress, we have come up with a little relaxing blissful twist!
Lavender Blueberry Mule
- 4 pumps simple syrup
- 1 small lime – juice plus slices for garnish
- 1 drop Lavender culinary essential oil
- 4 oz vodka
- 1 Can Ginger beer or lavender soda water
- Small handful blueberries – gently crushed
- Extra lavender sprig and lime wedge – for garnish
- Recipe makes 2 servings
- In shaker, mix simple syrup, lavender, and lime juice.
- Add vodka, ginger beer to mix.
- Place ice in copper mugs and top with crushed blueberries.
- Pour cocktail mix over ice and top with garnish.
The Light Main Event
I love to grill as much as we can in the summer to keep the heat out of the house, but also cause I love the taste of just about anything cooked on the grill. However, when meat gets more expensive or our local grocers were low on our normal fare, we started adding 2 vegetarian-ish meals a week. Even though things have gotten back to normal with our food options at the store, these bean cakes will keep that blissful YUM! in the rotation. They are easy to make up a batch and reheat nicely. They are a lighter meal for the hot evenings.
The inspiration for these came from one of my favoite little restaurants in Atlanta, the Flying Biscuit. I had never had anything like them and when I made this knock-off recipe for the family they loved them too! No wonder Flying Biscuit debuted them on a Valentines Day menu and aptly named them Love Cakes. (The photo is actually from Flying Biscuit, mine aren’t as photogenic).
Flying Biscuit Black Bean Cakes
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 4 oz. diced yellow onion
- 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
- 1½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 1/3 (10 oz.) can black beans, drained
- ¼ cup maseca corn flour
- In large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin and salt; cook 5 minutes until translucent.
- Place drained beans in medium bowl. With hand mixer, mash beans to a thick paste. Add onion mixture; mix on low speed until just combined. Add corn flour at the very end; mix until combined.
- With hands, form mixture into balls the size of a golf ball. Place between two sheets of waxed paper; flatten ball into a pancake shape about 3/8-inch thick.
- To finish, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until hot. Add two black bean cakes; cook on both sides until browned and crispy. Transfer bean cakes to plate; top each with a tablespoon of green salsa and a tablespoon of sour cream. Sprinkle crumbled feta on top; garnish with red onion.
Saving The Best for Last…
And finally, what is a summer dinner with out dessert? This light and fluffy bundt cake recipe is also Gluten-Free. My mother in law is celiac, so she has spent years testing GF recipes, and this one is one of her favorites. The blueberries and lavender balance out the mule nicely, and lemon is always a solid choice for desserts. It’s cake, but its a refreshing kind of cake!
This can also be modified so if can be both gluten free and low carb. Here is a Blueberry Sour Cream Muffin recipe that explains some of the considerations when choosing alternative flours and sugars to sub into recipes.
GF Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake
- Gluten free nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- ¼ cup finely grated lemon zest from 3-4 lemons
- 1½ cup gluten free all-purpose flour blend
- A ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh blueberries (coat blueberries in a bit of flour so they don’t sink in your batter)
Lemon Lavender Icing Mix
- 2 drops culinary lavender
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2-3 Tbl
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your bundt pan.
- In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugars. Turn the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the lemon zest and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add in half the flour mix, then half the buttermilk mix and repeat. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan, then transfer to a serving platter.
- Mix glaze ingredients and set aside while cake is baking.
- Drizzle with the lemon icing mixture and serve!