Coconut Coladas

Happy Summer! (insert emoticon of sun) I’ve been going kinda emoticon crazy on Instagram lately. I’m so excited for these warm nights, eating dinner outside, drinking cocktails with friends, and sharing some of my favorite summer recipes.
My friends at Veev sent me a bottle of their new Vita Frute cocktail to try out. This coconut colada flavor is made with coconut water and pineapple juice already mixed in with their Veev Acai spirit, and it’s under 125 calories per serving. Basically you can just add ice and enjoy! But you must know me by now. I like to “shake things up,” so I made a couple summer cocktails to pair with their coconut colada.
I love pina coladas so when I got this bottle I immediately started thinking of relaxing on the beach and cocktails that I would like to enjoy while on vacation. I created a Lime & Kiwi cocktail and a Lava Flow (which is pina colada with strawberry sauce). I also tried to keep the calories low by using real fruits and a coconut milk beverage instead of coconut cream which is typically used in pina coladas.  You can find the coconut milk beverage next to the soy milk and almond milk in your grocery store.
Lime & Kiwi Coconut Colada
4 oz Veev Coconut Colada
1 kiwi, scooped 
juice of 1 lime
3 Tbs simple syrup 
ice
 
Blend the lime juice, kiwi fruit and simple syrup in a blender. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Top off with Veev Coconut Colada and stir.
 
Strawberry & Coconut Colada (or Lava Flow Colada)
4 oz Veev Coconut Colada
4 oz coconut milk beverage
strawberries with tops removed
3 Tbs simple syrup
ice
 
Blend the strawberries with 4 oz of coconut milk beverage and simple syrup. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Top off with Veev Coconut Colada and stir.
 
Simple Syrup
4 Tbs white sugar
4 Tbs hot water
 
Dissolve the sugar in the hot water. There is a little extra so you can add more syrup to your drinks to taste.
 
How are you spending your summer? This was not a paid sponsorship so you can trust that all these ideas are my own =) Show me your coconut colada creations by tagging #crazy4coconutcolada

Recipe: Strawberry Jam

I had to throw The Legend in there, I just had to =)

Now go put on the track, and make this recipe before strawberries are out of season!

Ingredients:
3 pints of strawberries
1 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
2 Tbs cornstarch
4 8oz. canning jars

Wash the jars and lids with hot, soapy water.  In a large pot, place the glass portion of the jars in the pot then fill the pot (not the jars) half-way with water.  Do not get water inside the jars. We are preparing them for the hot jam because as we all remember from grade school, if you put hot water in cold glass what happens?  Bring the water to a boil then turn off the heat.  Let the jars stand in hot water until they are ready to use.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, rinse the strawberries.  Cut off the stems. Put the strawberries in another large pot under medium heat.  Add sugar.  Let it simmer down for 20-25 minutes, or until the strawberries have broken down.  The strawberries will release their juices.  Then take a potato masher and mash the strawberries down to break them even more.

Did you turn off the boiling water with the jars?

 While your strawberries are simmering, zest and juice 1 large lemon into a small bowl.  Add the cornstarch to the juice and whisk with a fork.  The cornstarch will help thicken the jam.  This recipe will not make the jam into jelly consistency, but it gets to medium consistency.  Add the cornstarch/lemon juice mixture to the strawberries and bring the pot to a boil.  The cornstarch will activate after it has been boiled.  After it has come to a boil, bring it back down to a simmer.  Taste it (careful! it’s extremely hot!) to see if it needs more sugar.  The riper the strawberries are, the less sugar you will need.  

Now you are ready to jar.  Carefully take out the jars from the warm water.  Fill them with the jam leaving 1/4 inch at the top of the jar.  Clean up any spillage.  Seal the jar not screwing the lid on too tight so extra air can escape.  Return the jars to the water bath and boil for 12-15 minutes.  

Take the jars out and let cool.  The top of the lid should not flex when you press down on it.  You know how jars say, “Reject if button is up.”  If it’s up, refrigerate and use that one first.  It should be good for 7-10 days.  If your buttons are down they are good for up to a year.  To open jars for use, screw the lid belly off and take a jar opener and pry the lid open.

Here is a full guide to canning if you are interested in more information: http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started.aspx

I added a tag and a spoon to my jars and gave them away as gifts.  Hope you get to can other fun things to take advantage of the summer produce… and I hope you like jammin’ too.