By The Numbers: Soft Beverages

Egg cream, Arnold Palmer, Shirley Temple, hot chocolate, ginger tea, peanut milk, lemonade, switchel... The list goes on. While soft beverages, that is to say, non-alcoholic beverages, reign as indispensable staples of civilizations around the world, they do seem to lack the glamour and consideration bestowed on their boozy cousins. Carrot Lemonade, Limeade, Cold Brew Coffee

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes about 140 gallons of soft drinks per year, including milk, tea, coffee, bottled water, carbonated drinks and fruit juices.

The soft drink manufacturing industry plays an irreplaceable role in the American economy as well. In 2007, there were about 472 soft drink manufactures, employing around 53,654 people, with large portions of the industry operating out of Texas (home of Dr. Pepper/Snapple Company) and Georgia (home of Coca-Cola).

And while soft drinks seem like they can do no wrong, we should be considerate of our health and try not to overindulge in classic carbonated sodas.

Here is a solid, delicious and generally healthy list of some of our favorite non-alcoholic drinks:

Spring Cocktail Round-Up

With spring in full force and beautiful weather on the forecast, what better a time to round-up a few cocktails inspired by the season.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria: This recipe calls for the classic combination of strawberry and rhubarb mixed into a delicious and strong sangria.

St. Germain Spring Cocktail Recipes: Follow this link for many ways to use this elderflower liquor that is ever-so popular right now, and is versatile enough to pair with many traditional spirits.

Strawberry Basil Bourbon Spritzer: This cocktail is just as delicious as it is beautiful. Start taking full advantage of using fresh berries muddled in with your favorite liquor and mixer of choice.

The Aviation Cocktail: Gin, lemon, and creme de violette - this botanical cocktail is exactly what is right in this world.

Cool Cucumber Cocktail: Cucumber water, the base for this spring cocktail, is perhaps one of the most refreshing drinks out there and is incredibly simple to make.

The Rose Marie: Fresh rosemary syrup, gin, and a splash of grapefruit - nuff' said.

What are your favorite Spring Cocktails?

Back to Basics: Arugula

Name: Arugula, Eruca sativa, also known as rocket. Origins: Originally, in the Mediterranean in the era of the Roman Times, Arugula was grown as an herb amongst parsley and basil. Now it is regularly used as a salad green, like in this Zucchini, Asparagus, and Arugula Green Salad. Arugula, however, it is technically a member of the cabbage family and is related to kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. arugula

Peak Season: Arugula is a cool season green; spring and fall.

Nutritional Value: High in potassium and vitamin A, C, and K. Arugula also has a good amount of lutein, which is good for your eyes and skin. Read here for more about the best foods for your skin.

Prep: Arugula has a distinct, peppery flavor, and is a favorite of the spring greens available this time of year. The younger, smaller leaves tend to have a milder flavor. There are many creative ways to use arugula besides in your everyday salad. When cooked, it wilts similarly to spinach, so it's great in risotto and pasta dishes like Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair. It is also a great add-in for soups, or as the star like in this Arugula Soup recipe.  It's unique flavor is also great used to make to pesto, which is wonderful in spring when common herbs such as basil aren't quite in season yet.

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring arugula:

Arugula Salad with Watermelon Radish

Seared Duck Breast with Roasted Figs and Arugula

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula and String Beans

Penne with Brie, Mushrooms, and Arugula

arugula

7 Frozen Treats to Try This Weekend

Ice Cream_Gelato_Sorbet I like eating ice cream in the springtime, before the heat of summer turns my favorite dessert into a cooling means of survival. I use the term loosely when more than a number of cold, sweet and refreshing confections satisfy my craving.  Dairy-free? Bring it on. Double-churned? Even better.

These temperate and sunny days beg to be celebrated and I can’t think of a more celebratory snack than one of these frozen delights.

Ice Cream: (These classics do require an ice cream maker, but any model does the trick)

Frozen Yogurt and Sorbet: 

Coconut Milk Base:

Banana Base:

Back to Basics: Radishes

Radishes get a bad rap. You might think of them as a bitter root vegetable, but when radishes are at their peak season in spring, they are actually refreshing, sweet, and crisp. They can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, and are a true symbol of the season as they pair so nicely with asparagus, peas, spring onions, and spring greens. They add beautiful color and texture to an ordinary salad or crudites plate, and would be great with healthy cilantro, basil, and mint yogurt dip. And if you really aren't sold on radishes yet, try roasting them to mellow the bite that they are sometimes associated with - see the recipe below for roasted radishes garnished with their green leaves. radishes

Here are a few of our favorite radish recipes:

radish recipes

Name: Raphanus sativus

Origins: Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae family (mustard and cabbage family). They were first cultivated in China, were discovered in Europe in the 1500's, and made their way to America in the 1600's.

Peak Season: April - July

Nutritional Value: High in vitamin B, C, folic acid, and zinc. Radishes are low in calories and high in fiber, so they make a great healthy snack. Try them with cayenne pepper liptaur spread to help rev your metabolism from the heat of the cayenne.

Prep: Radishes are most often eaten raw, but are also delicious roasted, or even pickled. Don't throw away the leafy tops! They can be used as a "handle" to dip raw radishes in butter and salt, eaten as a salad green, or blended into green smoothies as a healthy add-in. The leaves contain more vitamin C and calcium than the root itself.

NEW Recipe: Roasted Radishes with Greens

roasted radishes

For more Back to Basics, click here.