Pina-Mango Coladas

Just in time for what is promising to be a very warm weekend, I have just the cool, refreshing drink you may be looking for.  Lately I have been experimenting with putting together various combinations of fruits plus an alcoholic ingredient of some sort to make a cocktail that we can enjoy in the late afternoon out on our deck. Some have been very Yummy, others only Eeh……  This one, I think, is one of the successful ones.  Try it, and see if you agree.

It contains pineapple, mango, and orange juice, plus dark rum.  I freeze the pineapple in chunks, also the mango, and make orange juice ice cubes.  When it is all blended together you get a thick, cold, frosty beverage that pretty much stays that way all the way to the bottom of the glass.  Then you will want to pour yourself another one!  🙂     The riper the pineapple is, the more pronounced it’s flavor will be.

My advice:  If you do not have the ingredients on hand there is still time to go to the market and get them.  Cut up and freeze the fruits, so when a hot day arrives in your neck of the woods, you will be able to zip up this drink in a jiffy.


Servings:  about 8 @ 2/3 cups each

  • 1 (13.5 0z.) can Lite Coconut Milk
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 fresh mango, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, frozen into cubes
  • 1/4 cup orange juice-not frozen
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup gold rum ( such as Bacardi Gold)
  • 8 fresh pineapple slices

1.  Arrange pineapple and mango pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet;  freeze at least an hour or overnight.  Freeze the orange juice in an ice cube tray.

2.  Combine pineapple, mango, orange juice cubes,  ice cubes, agave nectar and rum in a blender;  Process mixture until smooth.  Add coconut milk slowly thru top “feed opening” while blending.  Process just to incorporate.

3.  Serve with a pineapple slice to garnish.

Some further thoughts:  You may choose to omit the rum, and this would still be a cool, delicious drink.  I chose to use “lite” coconut milk to avoid the saturated fat in the heavy, sugary cream of coconut.  This also cuts the calories way down.  I used a darker variety of rum because it’s what I had on hand.   With its underlying hints of molasses and caramel it  compliments the coconut and pineapple but you could use any kind of rum.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake

The heat of summer has arrived !  In winter I wish for the warmth of summer, and in summer I’m looking for some relief from the heat.  One day last week when I was out doing a few errands I noted on the  time and temperature clock at the bank that the temperature was 106.  Yikes!!!  What am I doing out in this heat?   Let me get home quickly to some air-conditioning and a cold drink.

There is nothing so satisfying as unwinding with a frosty cold milkshake.  However most of the milk shakes I’ve ever known carry a lot of calories–hidden way down there at the bottom of the glass.  So,  I decided to put my milkshake on a diet by seeing if I could cut some of the calories and still maintain its cold, satisfying goodness.  Here’s what I did:  for half of the ice-cream I substituted vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt, which still made it creamy and thick.  For the milk I used non-fat milk and added  2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, and then I also added 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.  All the flavors of a peanut-butter cup candy.  HMmmm!  How about if I add one or two. My first instinct was to throw them in the blender with the other ingredients, but I restrained myself and settled for garnishing the glass with one candy and biting off little pieces in between refreshing sips.   Pretty darn good if I do say so.


1/2 cup cold non-fat milk  (plain or chocolate)

1/2 cup low-fat vanilla or chocolate ice-cream

1 6oz. cup vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1-2 mini peanut butter cups

Chill a tall glass.  Place milk, ice-cream, yogurt, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter in a blender container.  Process until its thick and creamy.  Pour into chilled glass and sprinkle with crushed candy or slide one over the edge of the glass to garnish.

Make one—-you won’t be sorry!

Rhubarb Liqueur

While browsing through an old books store several years back, I came across a book called Infused,  100 Recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails.  The very first sentence caught my attention:  “Making your own infused liqueurs is simple, and the results are delicious.”  I was suddenly caught up with the idea of being able to capture the flavors and beautiful colors of fresh fruits ( and herbs and vegetables, too) in a liqueur that could be enjoyed year-round.  These make wonderful gifts as well,  particularly at Holiday time.

All infused liqueurs are created using the same basic principle.  A flavor is steeped in an alcohol base for a period of time.  The solids are filtered out, and a sweetening is added.  The liqueur is aged which allows the flavors to mellow, then it is bottled and ready to serve.  Vodka–clear and neutral tasting–is an ideal blank canvas for infusions and this is what I use.  However, other spirits work beautifully as well:  rum, tequila, bourbon, brandy and gin, so long as they are clear or have minimal color of their own to contribute.  By making your own infusions you are not limited by what you find in the liquor store,  the flavor combinations seem endless.


Makes about 3 1/2 – 4 cups

Bring 6 Tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring just until sugar dissolves;  remove from heat and allow to cool.   This is called a simple syrup.

Place 1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped rhubarb in a large  wide-mouth jar.  Add 3 cups vodka, 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur, and cooled syrup;  stir.  Screw lid on tightly;  let stand at room temperature in a dark place for 2 to 3 weeks.  Give it a shake every now and then.  During this time the color will leach out of the rhubarb, giving the liqueur a rosy color.  Strain mixture through a sieve over a large bowl. (One with a pouring lip is ideal).  Discard solids.  Pour the liqueur into a bottle.  Now the HARD part:  Wait 1-2 weeks for flavors to mellow.  OK, you can have a small taste.   YUM!

This is how I made my first batch, and it was very good,  but I’m going to make more while rhubarb is still available, and this time I am going to put in a few thin strips of orange peel (no white pith) instead of the Grand Marnier because I didn’t taste quite enough orange flavor the first time around.  No, wait, I think I’ll use both.  Wonder what that will do to the color????  I feel a little like a mad scientist as I continue to come up with flavor concoctions.   Most have been HITS, but a couple have been MISSES.  I”ll be sharing more flavors with you as time goes on.

This is what rhubarb flavor looks like!    Top photo shows a variety of flavors including cranberry, peach, orange, and lemon.