YAY!  The blog is back up and working!  To say I freaked out over the weekend would be a serious understatement…I mean I’m sure you could imagine my surprise when I received my first message from someone asking where my blog went only to look it up and find nothing but ads and ZERO recipes.  Yes total panic attack times 6756184756979.  Well luckily I was able to get everything figured out thanks to my amazing boyfriend and am soooo relieved I didn’t lose all my posts – whew!

With that said, I wanted to share a few of my favorite summer recipes you know with it being almost June and all.  I did spend the better part of my week by the ocean so it only seems appropriate to kick off this season with some bikini-friendly recipes!

Raspberry Mint Mojitos

6 or 7 fresh raspberries
4 fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 packet Stevia in the Raw
Ice cubes
3 Tbsp rum
2/3 cup club soda

Place raspberries, mint leaves, lime juice and sweetener in the bottom of your glass.  Muddle together so that all your raspberries and mint leaves are crushed, top with ice and pour in your rum and club soda.  Add a few additional mint leaves and raspberries if desired; garnish with a lime peel.  Enjoy!

Spicy Shrimp with Lime and Cilantro

3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.  To make the seasoning, mix together the salt, paprika, cumin, curry powder, cayenne and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over shrimp and toss to combine.

For grilling:  Preheat your grill on medium heat and spray with cooking spray to prevent shrimp from sticking.  Thread shrimp on skewers and place on grill for 1 to 2 minutes (until pink) then turn over and cook an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how you like them.  Squeeze lime juice over top and garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.

For pan frying:  In a large skillet, melt about a tablespoon of light butter over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Shrimp should be opaque throughout.  Squeeze lime juice over top and garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.  Enjoy!

Balsamic Caprese Skewers

30 cherry tomatoes
30 mozzarella balls, patted dry with a paper towel
Basil leaves
Pepper
Balsamic vinegar

Using 6-inch bamboo skewers, first place a cherry tomato, then a large basil leaf followed by a mozzarella ball.  Continue these steps until you have the amount of skewers you want, arrange them on a platter and sprinkle with a bit of pepper.  Serve with balsamic vinegar or drizzle over top, just remember to drizzle right before serving so that your basil leaves don’t wilt.  Enjoy!

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale (about 6 oz)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle of sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Wash and dry kale, remove center ribs and cut into 2 inch pieces (Kale shrinks up when you bake it so you want the pieces to be rather large).  Throw kale pieces in a bowl and toss with olive oil.  Lay out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake kale for about 20 minutes, or until crisp.  Enjoy!

Mojito Melon Salsa

1 cup chopped watermelon
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
1 cup chopped honeydew
1/2 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
10-12 mint leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and add lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly and serve with any chips you’d like.  Enjoy!

Chipotle Shrimp Cocktail

1 large red onion
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium yellow bell pepper
2 lb. peeled and deveined, large cooked shrimp with tails
1 cup sugar-free ketchup
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 to 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

Cut onion and bell peppers into thin strips and layer with shrimp in a large zip-lock bag.  Whisk together ketchup, cilantro, lime juice, zest, orange juice and chopped chipotle peppers and pour over shrimp in the bag.  Seal and chill, allowing to marinate for 12 to 24 hours.  Pour into a bowl when ready to serve, enjoy!

Kiwi, Pineapple and Chia Seed Smoothie

2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup sliced kiwi
1 banana, cut up
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp chia seeds

In a blender, combine spinach, kiwi, banana, yogurt, pineapple, orange juice and chia seeds.  Cover and blend until nearly smooth, scraping sides of blender if necessary.  Divide smoothie into two glasses and top with additional berries if desired.

Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad

2 lb. butternut squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cups arugula

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Peel and seed the butternut squash and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes.  Toss squash with olive oil and place in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake 20 minutes, turning squash about 10 minutes in.  Cook until tender and allow to cool completely, about another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile for the balsamic vinaigrette, whisk together balsamic vinegar, shallot, garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Gradually add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended.

Once squash has cooled, toss together with cannellini beans, corn, red onion, basil and balsamic vinaigrette in a large bowl and chill, covered, for 2 to 4 hours.  Toss with arugula just before serving, enjoy!

Southwest Flank Steak with Peach Salsa

3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. chili powder
4 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 beef flank steak (1 1/2 lbs.)

Peach Salsa:

3/4 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper and rub all over steak.  Lightly coat your grill rack with cooking oil and grill steak, covered, over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes on each side.  If you don’t have a grill, you can broil your steak in the oven about 4-inches away from heat, until desired doneness.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients used to make the peach salsa in a small bowl and mix well.  Allow flavors to marinate a bit while you cook the steak.  Once steak is done, thinly slice across the grain and serve, topped with peach salsa.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Almond Crostinis

1/4 cup light ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup blueberries
4 slices low-calorie whole grain bread, toasted
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, honey and lemon zest.  Slowly fold in blueberries.  Cut each toasted bread slice diagonally into four equal pieces.  Divide blueberry mixture among bread pieces.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds and enjoy!