Friday, May 29, 2009

Try This Super Easy Sweet and Tart Healthy Side Dish You Can Serve or Snack On

Do you need a dish to take to a potluck or cookout? Here's a healthy option to try that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Pair this salad with grilled pork, chicken or fish or eat a bit for a snack in the afternoon.

I needed a quick snack one day and thought of this side dish from what I had on-hand in the refrigerator and pantry. Dried cranberries and walnuts are ideal for salads and for your breakfast oatmeal.

This salad is refreshing with the sweet flavors of the apple and dried cranberry that complements the crisp taste of the celery. I use a tasty make-ahead all-purpose homemade creamy Poppy Seed Dressing, which is also perfect for coleslaw.

15-Minute Side Dish: Apple-Cranberry and Walnut Salad

  • 2 green apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. If you're making this dish ahead, sprinkle apples with lemon juice to prevent from turning brown. Add walnuts and dressing just before serving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Switching to Whole Wheat Pasta is Only the Half of It...How to Balance Pasta in Your Healthy Lifestyle

Pasta is one of the things in life that I really enjoy. Being in Italy for our honeymoon made me appreciate pasta even more because it's fresher there. And velvety, earthy red wine with a slightly spicy red sauce pasta is a symbiotic marriage of flavors that I could not, will not give up! If you throw in a bit of fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese, that's called heaven in our house! Sometimes, I make my own fresh pasta with my stand mixer roller attachment. But most times that we want to indulge, I turn to whole wheat pasta.

Comparing whole wheat pasta to white flour, you will boost the fiber and protein. By eating higher fiber, your body eat less and the meal will stay with you longer. Whole grains make better choices because they burn slower in your body and stick with you longer. Have you noticed that you can always eat more bread, pasta, pancakes or white flour anything??

Pay attention to your body to see how you react to different types the food that you eat. With white flour, I get a blood sugar spike, then crash. I know I can eat too much on white flour foods because it doesn't fill me up and I eat too much.

Tips on balancing pasta in your healthy lifestyle:

  • Keep portion sizes in check. Calorie counts are about the same (210 calories) in a typical serving size 2oz or 1 cup cooked pasta.
  • Eat pasta for dinner when you had salad for lunch. It's all about balance. If you had a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, that's a lot of carbohydrates! Salad for lunch is a good idea to keep your energy high and avoid the sleepy afternoon problem. Check out one of my favorite salad recipes.
  • Go crazy on the veggies. I boost the nutritional content by using more vegetables in the pasta. You can try, frozen spinach, peas, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, swiss chard, tomatoes, for example. Check out this pasta that I made and posted the recipe for last week. It's loaded with healthy veggies and 2 oz of pasta.

  • At a restaurant, ask the server to add extra veggies to your pasta meal. At my favorite Thai restaurant, they have an option for the pad see ewe with "extra veggies," which I always order because it's more nutritious. Or you could order an extra side of the steamed vegetables. Other could also request half the meal brought out in a to-go box, split the meal with a friend, or request a lunch/appetizer portion.
Life is about balance so just enjoy the pasta!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beauty Sleep: Fact or Myth?

Your mother told you to get to bed early….well turns out, once again, Mom was right. Beauty sleep can help keep you looking great but it has much more value than what you see in the mirror.

The Average American sleeps 2 hours less now than they did 40 years ago. Lack of consistent sleep can change delicate hormonal balances. With less than 8 hours, Cortisol increases and Human Growth Hormone decreases leading to poor muscle recovery and weight gain. Cortisol is especially important because in the later stages of sleep it increases aiding in muscle recovery and growth. Depriving your self in the later stages of sleep can actually hinder you from gaining muscle mass.

Sleep deprivation can decrease your ability to process glycogen (sugar) which a can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where normal amounts of insulin are not sufficient to process glucose to convert it to energy. Insulin resistance can lead to weight gain, sluggishness and inability to concentrate and even Type 2 Diabetes.

It as also shown to decrease aerobic endurance and increase your rated perceived exertion. So you will be less efficient in your aerobic activities and it will seem harder doing the same amount of work.

As a new mom, I understand how easy it is to put your sleeping schedule on the back burner but if you make it a priority, it will help you to be more effective in many aspects of your life. It’s your choice!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Easy Spring Meal that You Can Use for Entertaining

I was inspired by my Timber Creek Farms organic produce box and made this meal. Remember my mysterious root that I got the box that I discovered was celeraic? Turns out, I also got a butternut squash and I found a recipe on Cooking Light that was perfect - Curry Ginger Butternut Squash Soup. The soup was both spicy (from the ginger and hot sauce) and sweet (from the veggies). You can also add carrot to the mix. Only 1 cup of this soup has almost 5 grams of fiber! Just before serving you stir in plain yogurt and garnish with fresh parsley and chives.

To pair with the soup, I made Mini Salmon Cakes and was again inspired by the fresh spinach from my box. I tossed the spinach leaves with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Like in my previous post about making meatballs under the broiler, I decided to try these salmon cakes under the broiler. It was a snap! They didn't fall apart and held their shape!

Mini Salmon Cakes over Spinach and Cherry Tomato Salad (serves 4-5)


  • 1 (7 1/2-ounce) can red salmon Trader Joe's
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 5 cupss fresh spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 5 wedges lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Drain salmon. In a mixing bowl, combine salmon with veggies and seasonings through panko. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray. Preheat broiler.
  • Form salmon cakes to about 10 cakes and place on the cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Spray cakes with cooking spray and cook under the broiler for 5 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl, toss spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss. Serve 1 1/4 cup on a plate and set aside.
  • Turn salmon cakes over and spray again with cooking spray. Return under the broiler for 2 minutes. Serve on top of spinach salad with a lemon wedge.

For information on Timber Creek Farms to get organic produce delivered to your front door, call Marilyn Dollar 773-279-9585. She will help you decide on what to order!

Eat 1, Pack 1: Cooking For One Time Savings Strategy

I hear over and over again, from people that live alone, that they do not cook meals for themselves because they'd rather cook for others. Seriously! On the occasions that I'm cooking for myself, I like to go all out like a restaurant meal because I like to treat myself to something tasty and I don't have to worry what my husband might like. He's a bit picky.

Here's a great time savings tip: make 2 servings of a meal and eat 1 serving and pack the other serving for a lunch or dinner during the week. I do this a lot when I make salads for work. I make two salads at once. It saves TONS of time.

Last Saturday night, I was cooking for 1 because Aaron was out of town. I was inspired by a bunch of Swiss Chard and decided to make pasta with heirloom cherry tomatoes, which gave the dish a bright flavor. I used the sprouted whole grain pasta from Trader Joe's. It was tasty with a glass of Chardonnay. The best thing is that it only took me 30 minutes to make this meal! Yep, that's right my own personal 30-minute meal!

Swiss Chard, Fresh Tomato, and Sausage Whole Wheat Pasta Serves 2 - Eat 1, Pack 1

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard stems removed, sliced in thin strips (see my post for tips on washing greens)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 chicken sausage (try Trader Joe's Chicken and Portabella Mushroom Sausage)
  • 4 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil sliced
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat medium pot for the chard and small skillet for the sausages. Bring water for pasta up to a boil. Chop onion and slice swiss chard. Drizzle olive oil in the pot. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add water to skillet and add sausages. Water should come up halfway to the top of the sausage. Bring water to a boil uncovered on medium, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • While sausage is cooking, add chard to pot with onion with a 2 tbs of cooking liquid from sausages. Cook swiss chard covered for 5 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes on the top of the chard to warm. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook per instructions.
  • Slice fresh basil. When pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and add to chard and tomato mixture. Toss with fresh basil. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Easy, Online Food Journal Can Help You Manage Your Nutrition

Recently, I went to the doctor and my blood work proved that I'm in optimal health. Don't be a procrastinator like I was and not go to the doctor because even healthy people should go for a check-up (see my recent post). But, there is one thing that I want to improve - reducing my body fat percentage. To help me, I got back to maintaining my daily food journal.

When you keep a food journal, you write down what you eat and drink for the day. And just that act alone helps you control your portions. Using a paper-based food journal can be tedious, especially when you're figuring out the nutritional values manually.

I prefer an online food journal tool so you can manage your nutrition anywhere! I use a FREE site, The Daily Plate, that is so well used that almost anything you can think of eating is already in their database. Last Aug through Dec, I used the Daily Plate to help me trim down and it worked. Then I lost interest and stopped using it. And guess what happened? Yep, now my clothes are tighter., I'm back on the wagon! I'm sure it's because my portion sizes slowly increased because I wasn't eating the ideal proportions of protein/carbs/fat.

An online tool, like Daily Plate helps people manage nutrition but doesn't emphasize the dangerous food pysho-language that goes with "Diets," which are can really do damage on your thinking and self esteem. Diets, by definition are temporary, which means you can't sustain them. That's why so many are following the trend for overall healthy lifestyle. The difference is following a philosphy of good health practices - exercise, nutrition, hydration, sleep, and then tweaking to find your balance.

Here are some reasons that I like The Daily Plate to manage my food journal and nutrition.
  • No guesswork! They calculate the numbers for you - Enter in your current weight, your future goal, physical activity category, and speed you want to lose/gain weight and the tool calculates how many calories you should take in for the day. When you do an activity, you log that in and those calories are added back like a financial balance sheet.
  • Save your food and activity favorites to log them quickly - I save my "lunch spin class" and my frequently eaten foods are automatically saved on the first page for easy logging.
  • Nutrition breakdown decoded - I try to eat based on my protein metabolic type, which is 45% protein, 35% carbohydrates, and 20% fats, but realistically, it would be impossible to do without the pie chart graph on this site. Check out the book How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy for metabolic typing information. Each time you enter a food or drink, it shows the nutritional breakdown, showing you the contribution to the whole day.
  • Mindless nutritional calculation - it's highly likely the food you ate is already in the database because there are tons of users entering in the nutritional information. You enter in the servings you had and it calculates the nutritional totals for the day. When your weight changes and you're moving towards your goal, the calorie count automatically adjusts for you!
  • Reminds you to stay hydrated - a water tracker helps you remember to drink water throughout the day.

What are your food journal tips? Please share them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mystery Veggie from My Produce Box

I order a biweekly shipment of produce from Timber Creek Farms. This time, I was stumped at something in my box. I knew it was a root vegetable of some kind. That's the fun about getting produce boxes because you don't know what will be in there.

After using Google Images, I identified that funny looking root vegetable was in my produce box. It turns out that it was Celeriac (celery root), which is in season is Autumn and Winter (strange that I got it in the spring!). The search led me to website for a Mennonite cookbook Simply In Season, which incidentally I have on-hand. They recommend shredding for coleslaw or boiling to puree in mashed potatoes.

I'll give it a try and report back!

Update May 18, 2009 - I made Curry Ginger Butternut Squash Soup with the celeriac, carrots, and butternut squash - all from my produce box. I served it with Mini Salmon Cakes over fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Check out my post for the info.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be a Road Warrior - Say "No" to Jet Lag!

I love to travel and used to do it a lot more for my job before I got married. Now, with all those trips under my belt, I learned how to adjust to time zones quickly to enjoy my vacation or if I'm on a business trip, stay focused on work. I've had my share of jet lag. I distinctly remember sleeping in a conference room in Mexico City for 20 minutes because I couldn't keep my eyes open!

This picture from 2002 from a business trip in Tokyo, in Shibuya, with my coworker. Working at McAfee, I went on a 5 country road trip to Asia in 2 weeks launching our new products! I went to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, and Sydney. I didn't realized how spread out the region is until I had to fly all those legs. We visited each new office training sales reps, partners, and hosting customers. There was no time to have jet lag!

We've all had jet lag before! It's when you can't sleep, can't stay awake, and most likely have a headache. Your body is out of sync!

This week, I'm away at a software tradeshow in Los Angeles. I'm going to work on the booth, talk to customers, soak in the industry news, and in the off hours work on my product launch. It's going to be a crazy week. So time of jet lag! When you're traveling, that's the time to seize the moment. Staying awake and energetic is so important, but it can be hard, especially when your body clock is disrupted!

Here are tips that have worked for me when I travel to minimize the effects of jet lag.

  • Fake the new time zone - when you arrive, live in that time. If it's morning, stay awake, evening go to sleep. It starts with the plane ride. If you arrive in the morning, you need to sleep on your flight so you can stay awake all day (see last tip). I bring Tyelonol PM with me to help me fall asleep on overnight flights.

  • Hydrate - drink water before, throughout, and after your flight and try to avoid alcohol or caffeine, which dehydrate you. I often wait to buy a coffee until I land for my morning flights.

  • Healthy snacks on flight - eat light and at the right meal time as your trip. You don't need a lot of energy to sit on a plane for hours anyway.

  • Sleep well before your trip - getting a full night's sleep the night before your trip, helps because you're not working with a sleep deficit.

  • Stock up on the goodies - sleep mask, ear plugs, inflatable pillow are great for overnight flights to help you sleep on the flight or in your hotel at night. For women, I like to bring my pashmina scarf to keep warm on the flights so I don't have to use the airline provided blankets. Airlines are cutting back on that anyway, so it's good to have your own.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Important Egg Storage Safety Guidelines

Eggs are an affordable food staple because they are so versatile. You can eat them any time of the day and they provide high-quality protein. I always have 2 dozen eggs in the fridge for making egg salad, omelets in the morning, baking, or even just hard boiled for snacks. Check out my post about eggs.

To be healthy is also to know food safety guidelines. For a full list of guidelines and egg safety info, check out this PDF.
  • When purchasing, check eggs to make sure they are clean and not cracked. If cracked at home, transfer to a clean container and cook within 2-days. Check the sell-by date to see if they are not expired.
  • Refrigerate after purchase because egg quality and safety is at risk if you leave them out at room temperature.
  • Don't leave out of the refrigerator for more than 2-hours. Eggs should have a stable cold temperature to maintain freshness or stave off bacteria.
  • Store egg in the inside shelf and not the door. Storing dairy on the door is risky because the temperature is less stable because of opening/closing. Storing the eggs in the cold part (suggested - 41 degrees) of the refrigerator is the best idea. Uncooked eggs should not be frozen in the shell, but you can freeze egg whites in a container and store for up to 12 months.
  • Keep eggs no longer than 4-5 weeks. Cooked hard-boiled eggs can be stored safely for 1 week.
  • After handling raw eggs, wash hands and cooking utensils with soapy warm water.
  • If using raw eggs for recipe (such as poppy seed dressing), you could use fresh pasteurized eggs and store in the cold part of the refrigerator.

Buying organic eggs is worth the money to benefit your health. I love this Aug. 2008 article about healthy foods for $1 from Dr. Mercola. The first on the list is eating 2 organic eggs for $.84! I spend $3.80 a dozen of organic eggs, but that is only $.31 per egg! People complain about the price of organic eggs, but it's much healthier for you because of the quality of the feed that the hens get, which are passed on to the nutrients in the eggs - that YOU are eating.

If you live in an area with more land, you can raise your own hens and have fresh eggs. Our friends raise their own hens and the kids love it. When the hens stop producing eggs, they eat the chickens. You could probably use a butcher to process the chicken if you didn't want to do it yourself. Or find a local supplier who sells farm fresh eggs directly. My husband's family live in Amish country Indiana and you can buy eggs for about $1-2 a dozen!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don't Panic....Last Minute Mother's Day Ideas

Mother's Day is Sunday May 10! If you don't have it covered, don't worry...Read this.

I just came back from visiting my mom and family back home in California a few weeks ago. Here's a picture of me and my mom on the super fun day we spent with my aunt Liberty. I'm lucky to have 3 moms in my life. I have a step-mom and a mother-in-law, too. So mother's day celebrations and gift giving takes a bit of preparation.

First off, you have to call your mom, if you're not planning to see her on Mother's Day. Unless you're in coma in the hospital, there is no excuse!

Last minute gift ideas...

  • Cook her a special meal: Moms just want to relax on Mother's Day. Bring over the ingredients and make something simple. She will appreciate the effort. Here's some meals ideas from my low-key Valentine's Day dates.
  • Gift certificate to spa or mani/pedi: This is perfect for any mom, especially the mom's that are hard to buy for. I have one of those! Who doesn't enjoy a massage or spa mani/pedicure? You can drop by a spa near her house on your way to see her. Or check out Spa Finder for locations that she can pick from. Drop a quick note in her card that she has a gift cerficate coming.
  • Magazine subscription for her favorite interest/hobby: It is the gift that keeps on giving. You can pick up that mag and bring it with you to see your mom or make a little certificate in Word and drop it in her card. Check out these deals from Time Warner to get the employee discount on mags including Cooking Light, Southern Living, Real Simple, People and others. The deal is valid through June 26 - good for Father's Day too!
  • Try an experience gift: This is very popular in the Berkey family. Many times the kids pool together for tickets to a concert, musical, play and lunch/dinner spending money. You can think of a sneak way to find out if your mom is free that day and show her the printout of the tickets.

Tell me your last minute gift ideas. Leave a comment or email me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dreading the Doctor's Visit? Just Book It!

I have to admit, I was dreading going to the doctor because of a bad experience with my former doctor a year and a half ago. I was putting it off because I didn't like my doctor. Finally I asked a good friend for a referral and I'm so happy that I did because it was such a great experience! The doctor was experienced and very reassuring. Going to the doctor on a regular basis is a good practice even if you're healthy for overall wellness.

With our crazy schedules, it's hard to fit everything in like going to the dentist or doctor for check-ups. If you're fortunate enough to have health insurance, it's really a no brainer.

Top reasons not to put off your doctor's visit...(by a former procrastinator!)

  • Know your numbers for cholesterol. A quick blood sample will capture your cholestorol levels, which is a key factor in preventing heart disease. Check out the American Heart Disease site for more information. Preventing heart disease can be generally managed by a healthy lifestyle (read Mayo Clinic medicine free tips).
  • Ask questions. Before your appointment, you can think of a couple health advice questions that you might have for your doctor. Make the most of your short visit.
  • People understand, block your calendar. Employers are happy when their employees are at work, right? Just block it into your calender and stick to it. People will understand. You can ask for an email of the new patient paperwork to expedite your visit. Have your insurance card and ID ready for the visit.
  • Maintaining your health is priceless to your finacial wellbeing. When I was a financial planner, I calculated the risk to your financial well-being if you were not able to work. For those of us that aren't independently wealthy, working to earn an living is the only way! If your health prevents you from working and you're depending on disability income, most people are in deep trouble. Odds are that even with disability income and self- insured plans, you will still not be able to fund all of your financial goals. Your health is your own most valuable resource!
  • Get a referral. If you're not sure who to go to, ask a trusted source like a chiropractor, personal trainer, or family member. Referrals are valuable! If you feel uncomfortable with your doctor, like I was, try another one. Even in small towns, there are other options! I recommend confirming that your insurance is accepted at the practice when you book your appointment. Chicago Magazine publishes the top physicians every year. Check out the publications in your area for something similar.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stephanie's Tips on Stretching your Fitness Dollar

Is your health important to you? People often list the most important things in life as health and family but do not live accordingly. Do you let things get in the way of your goals? Are you making excuses? Where is your health on your priority list and what are you doing to improve the quality of life?

The actions that we take now are directly affecting the quality of our lives in 10, 15, and 20 years. Missing yet another workout and continuing with bad eating habits are grounds for a gut check. A fitness professional might be just the thing you need to help you to reprioritize and get a game plan to help you to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. A fitness professional can also give you a personalized workout that helps you meet your needs and goals as well as keeps you motivated and exercising safely. Sometimes this can get pricey so if your pockets aren’t as deep as they used to be, there are some ways that you can stretch your fitness dollar:
  1. Come in with goals so that your time with your trainer is efficient
  2. Ask for discounts or promotions
  3. Ask for at home workouts and exercises you can do on your own
  4. Bring a friend in to workout with you and split the cost
  5. Spread out your sessions by doing less frequently
  6. Take classes that are free at your gym
  7. Make sure you are doing your homework so that you get the most out of each session
  8. Give your trainer referrals in exchange for free sessions

Remember that your exercise program is ultimately your responsibility, you can get assistance from the most expensive, most experienced trainer but if it is not a priority, you will not get the most out of it!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Treat: Hibiscus Margarita

Looking for a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Try this tasty, refreshing Hibiscus Margarita. You will impress your friends with the presentation and its balanced taste.
Aaron and I went to a tequila-tasting dinner at Salud with our friends last week and we got inspired by Manny Hinojosa, the award-winning mixologist from Cazadores. Last night, we went to a fun Cinco de Mayo party with a margarita contest. Being competitive, we decided to get advice from Manny since he's a master bartender. I didn't get the complete recipe in time so I did a bit of experimentation from looking at other recipes. Our margarita came in 2nd place out of 8 different drinks, including a watermelon margarita lined with crushed watermelon nerds! We were disappointed that we didn't win, but the group that won had an outstanding margarita.

I sent this picture to Manny and he said that I need to add more hibiscus in the water to make the syrup a deep pink-red. My recipe below accounts for that and I doubled the amount for you. Here's how to make it....

  • Hibiscus Syrup: 6 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 4 cups dried hibiscus flowers (found at Latin markets - maybe called Jamaican or at Trader Joe's).
  • Drink Proportions: 4 parts tequila, 1 part Cointreau, 1 1/2 parts hibiscus syrup, 1/2 part fresh lime juice.
  • Glass Rim: 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers - ground in spice mill, then add 1 cup course sea salt (pictured above).
  • Garnishes: 2 sprigs basil chopped, limes sliced (need about 12 for the juice and garnishes), dried hibiscus flower sliced in smaller pieces to fit on the rim of the glass.
Notes: I used less sugar for the simple syrup since the dried hibiscus flowers are sweet. If you don't like salt, you can also use sugar for the rim.

  • Place blossoms in a strainer; rinse under cold water. Combine blossoms, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Strain; discard blossoms. Cover and chill hibiscus mixture.
  • In a spice mill or food processor, grind dried hibiscus blossoms. Mix in coarse sea salt and the bottom of a measuring cup to continue to break apart the hibiscus. Chop basil.
  • Combine hibiscus-syrup mixture, tequila, juice, and Cointreau. Serve over ice. Using a slice of lime, wet the rim of the glass and dip in the hibiscus-salt. Pour margarita and garnish with basil, hibiscus blossom and lime slices.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup margarita, 1/2 blossom, sprinkle of basil, and 1 lime slice)

Leftover rim salt? I think I'll use this as an accent for cooked fish or green salads. If you make this, send me a picture!