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updated: 5/4/2011 8:56 AM

Enjoy nearly guilt-free margaritas

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  • This year, whip up nearly guilt-free margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.

    This year, whip up nearly guilt-free margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.


Yes, swimsuit season is quickly approaching, but Cinco de Mayo arrives even quicker. You want to look good in your new tankini when the pools open next month, but don't want to forgo a celebratory margarita.

Don't tuck that cactus-stemmed glassware back in the cabinet just yet. A couple of options do exist so you can salute the Mexican Army's victory with a nearly guilt-free margarita.

First, let's remember that a typical bar margarita (8 ounces) packs some 360 calories. Go for a frozen version served in a taller glass and you're looking at upward of 600 carb-filled calories.

I recently received samples of Zilch Sugar-Free Margarita Mixer. It comes in a packet that can mix up enough for a whole party, or in individual packets. In either amount, you dissolve the packet in a mix of tequila and water.

The resulting drink couldn't hold a candle to the margs on the rocks my husband makes with fresh lime juice and Cointreau (not that I really expected it to). Still, the Zilch margarita was fine, especially frozen.

For another lower-carb option, try the Partida Margarita from San Francisco-based mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout.

In a shaker filled with ice, blend 1 ounce fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime), ounce organic agave nectar, ounce spring water and 1 ounces tequila (Partida brand preferred). Pour into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice.

I shook one up the other evening, and then for my second one made a few adjustments. I dialed back the agave syrup a tad and used water right from the tap (I detected no difference). I also put a bit of lime zest in the salt for rimming. Not bad at all.

Bring on the mariache band. I'll be ready for Cinco de Mayo and swimsuit season.

Intimate dinner with Mom: If you plan on eating out on Mother's Day you're won't be alone. The National Restaurant estimates 75 million Americans will dine out on Sunday, hanging onto the designation as the most popular holiday for dining out.

According to research by the restaurant group, more than half of mothers say they enjoy celebrating Mother's Day with a restaurant meal because it gives them a break from cooking at home.

Despite the number of ads you see for Mother's Day brunch, it turns out dinner is the most popular meal on Mother's Day. Fifty-eight percent of Mother's Day diners say they will go to a restaurant for dinner on Sunday; 32 percent will go out for lunch, 24 percent for brunch and 10 percent for breakfast.

In addition, one in five Mother's Day diners say they will go out for more than one meal that day. Kids are also an important part of the mix when dining out on Mother's Day. Two-thirds of those dining out on Mother's Day this year say children under age 18 will join their dining party.

Meatless Monday: It's been a few weeks since I've set aside space in this column to highlight a meatless recipe because I've run meatless recipes on other pages. Since today's Page 1 story is very meat-centric, I thought I'd provide another way to mark Cinco de Mayo. This recipe for Grilled Mushroom Quesadillas comes from the Mushroom Council.

If what you see inspires you, the council invites you to enter the Every Day, Every Way recipe contest it's holding with Taste of Home magazine. The top recipe writer gets a trip to the Culinary Institute of America and a new Weber grill. Find details online at; click the contest tab.

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at Be her friend on; Deb Pankey Daily Herald