Well, it looks like we are going to have at least one more week of glorious summer here in the Puget Sound area!
Sunshine makes me happy. I love that I can keep my windows open for fresh air. All the plants outside are still growing and with the rain we had over the weekend they have a new burst of energy.
With all this warm weather a girl can get mighty thirsty! I drink a lot of water, but sometimes I want a little flavor. I also want to take advantage of the bounty of herbs and flowers I have growing in my yard. I have lemon balm, mint, oregano, lavender, roses, sage, catnip and many others to play with.
Enter: The Water Infusion… It’s so simple, anyone can make it. The hardest part is deciding what herbs and/or flowers you want to use. Just get a mason jar, or any other glass container you have. Place your herbs inside, fill with filtered water and let it sit. I like to let mine steep over night. Then strain and refrigerate. I like it cold, but if you like your drinks at room temp, you can drink it right away. Only make as much as you will drink in a day or 2. Fresh is best, if it sits too long it starts to taste not so yummy…
Pictured:(from left to right) lemon balm and lavender, lemon balm, and lemon balm and red rose petals.
I used 5 stems of lemon balm per jar. In the lavender blend I used 4-5 stems of lavender and for the rose blend, just a small sprinkling of petals. I think my favorite was the lavender blend, but all of them were great. You could add sweetener if you want, but I like to keep mine unsweetened. I feel that adding sugar takes away from the thirst quenching properties and the delicate flavor of the herbs. Adding a bit of stevia(the actual stevia leaves, not the crystals or liquid) would give you sweetness without adding calories and detracting from the flavor.
I used fresh herbs straight from the garden, but you could use dried herbs if that is all you have on hand. Just remember that dried herbs have more potent flavor so you won’t need to use as much as you do of the fresh stuff.
Use different herbs for different effects. Lemon balm is great because it has a cooling effect on the body. The same thing goes for mint since they are in the same plant family. Lavender and catnip would be nice for a relaxing blend. You could add some dried hibiscus or rosehips for vitamin C and a kick of tartness. Choose any herb you like and experiment with different flavor combinations. Use potent things like lavender sparingly. Trust me, you don’t want it to end up tasting like soap. Have fun creating new blends. If you come up with something super delicious- you better share!
Enjoy your refreshing beverages!
Who loves cookies?? I know I do! I got a craving for sweet goodies yesterday and decided to whip up a batch of cookies. And since we’ve been having a lot of makeup talk here lately, I figured it would be a nice break to share my yummy cookie recipe with you.
If you don’t already know this about me… I just can’t follow a recipe. It’s not that I am unable, it’s just that I feel like I can make it better, and most of the time- I do! I have been wanting to try using coconut oil instead of butter in my cookies for a while and my friend gave me some really great unsweetened shredded coconut so I figured I would make up a recipe to include these ingredients.They turned out so good! A little bit chewy and crispy around the edges, perfectly sweet and oh so coconut-ty…. YUM!!
Ingredients: As always, I recommend using as many organic ingredients as you can.
1 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown, but you could use light if you prefer)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oats
optional: this is where you can have some fun, you can add 2-3 cups of extras so be creative! If you like nuts- throw some in. Dates, raisins or other dried fruit would be good, too. OOhhhh- how about some dried pineapple for a pina colada cookie!! Don’t like chocolate chips? Leave them out. Next time I make these, I am going to use 2 cups of the shredded coconut and leave out the chips.
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chocolate chips (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 semi-sweet)
Beat the coconut oil and sugars together. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined. Add the salt, baking soda and flour and mix well. Stir in oats, coconut, chips or whatever other additions you like. Drop by a tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
I like to make just one sheet and store the rest of the dough in the refrigerator, otherwise my hubby and I will eat them all in one day and that’s just not healthy! If you are going to store any dough in the fridge, I highly recommend that you take your tablespoon and make cookie size balls out of the dough. Coconut oil gets extremely hard when you put it in the fridge. If you stick a big pile of dough in there, it will be rock hard and you will have to wait for a couple hours after taking it out of the fridge before it’s soft enough to deal with.
Now, if you make these and come up with a delicious combo of optional ingredients- I want to know about it!
Enjoy and have fun baking!
I always love spinach-artichoke dip, but I had a really hard time choosing a recipe, so I made my own. (minus the spinach) I whipped up this delicious concoction for a Christmas Eve party and it was a huge success! It’s super easy to make and everyone loved it. Next time you need something for a potluck, give it a try!
You will need:
1 12oz package frozen artichokes
2 8oz packages cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 8oz package smoked fresh mozzarella
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt, pepper to taste
shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook the artichokes according to package directions, drain well and chop into small pieces. Set aside. Heat cream cheese in the microwave until you can stir it. Chop the mozzarella into small pieces and add to the cream cheese. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Put in a baking dish (I used a disposable 11-inch pie plate) Top with shredded parmesan if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until it’s nice and bubbly. I like to serve it with a sliced baguette, but you can serve it with any type of chip, cracker or bread you like. You could even serve it with carrot sticks, celery or other veggies.
Hope you like it!!
Ah, fruit crisp, you are so good… for dessert or on top of my morning oatmeal! This recipe is easy to make and super yummy. It’s normally made with apples, but I have made it with all different kinds of fruit, like pear and rhubarb, (pictured above) cherry and pear, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry rhubarb is great, too! Basically whatever you have on hand can make a really delicious dessert. I first made this recipe when I had an abundance of pears in my fridge and I knew there was no way I could eat all of them before they went bad. You can make it in a 8″ x 8″ pan or I like to make it in my Pampered chef prep cups- they make perfect individual servings!
about 4 cups of fruit (more or less depending on your pan size)
2 heaping tbsp flour
2 heaping tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1-2 tsp cinnamon (optional, depends on the fruit you are using)
For the topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter, cubed and chilled (if you use unsalted butter add a pinch of salt)
Combine all ingredients for the fruit mixture and put in your pan or individual ramekins. Combine dry topping ingredients and then cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs. Spread the topping evenly over the fruit mixture and press it down a bit. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Let it cool a little while before eating it. I always serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Caramel ice cream would be good, too. Enjoy!
I order curry chicken salad sandwiches for lunch at restaurants all the time. I like it so much that I decided I would develop my own recipe and it is the best ever, even if I do say so myself! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Here is what you need:
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped up
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1-2 small apples cored and chopped (I like a lot of apple, but if you like less, use less!)
1 rounded tbsp curry powder
3 tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup mayo (start with a 1/2 cup and add more until everything gets coated well)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. If you want to change it up, you can use grapes instead of apples or add some chopped walnuts or pecans. I normally let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or so to let the flavors come together, but if you get too impatient, just eat it right away! Makes great sandwiches and lettuce wraps. I like to butter one side of each slice of bread (or the inside of a hoagie roll) and toss it on a griddle till it’s nice and golden brown, kind of like when you make grilled cheese. Put the grilled sides on the inside of the sandwich and throw in some lettuce. (trust me, it is DE-licious!) Enjoy!