Tag Archives: recipes

Today: Ginger and mint lemonade.

I’m one of those people whose feelings end up in their stomach.

If I’m feeling nervous, excited, anxious, worried, anxious, afraid, unsettled, or irritated, my stomach has its own corresponding dance.  Your feelings may turn into headaches or that weird eyelid twitch, but regardless, our emotional things almost always manifest themselves as physical things.

With so much to see and do and wrap and taste and smell and feel (so much exciiiiiitement!) during the holiday season, I start to notice a pattern of my stomach feeling off more days than it’s on.  Once I’ve spent at least an hour on WebMD ruling out a very rare and very deadly parasite, I find that a cup of tea and little quiet time often does the trick.

When that’s not enough, I hit up nature’s medicine cabinet.  

Side bar: That would be such a cute name for a store. I would sell flowers and tea and make people happy. Except… never mind… “nature’s medicine cabinet” might be the name of a medical marijuana dispensary I saw on 60 Minutes.  Who knows.  

Back on topic: A little ginger, some citrus, a bit of mint… et voila

Ginger and mint lemonade - a delicious and refreshing drink perfect for soothing upset stomachs

Ginger and mint lemonade

While this ginger and mint lemonade serves as a fantastic stomach soother (and it’s sort of the perfect antidote the entire bowl of M&Ms I ate last night), it’s just as delicious and refreshing on those days when all is right in your world and in your body.

Oh, and (you know this already): Numbers are not my strong suit, so don’t worry too much about measuring.  As with just about every recipe I share, you’ll get by with some good estimating and tasting along the way.

Recipe yields approximately 4 servings and will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup loose mint tea leaves (I used organic spearmint from David’s Tea)
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped ginger
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix tea leaves, agave nectar and grated ginger in a large bowl.
  2. Add boiling water and allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain tea mixture using a fine mesh strainer* into a large measuring cup (or bowl with a pouring spout thing) and press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Add lemon juice and cold water.
  5. Divide and store in covered glass jars.
  6. Refrigerate and shake well before serving.

*As you can see in the photo above, I used a fairly loose strainer and some errant tea leaves snuck in (all good in my book).  If you’d prefer to not have the feeling that something’s stuck between your two front teeth all day, I recommend a fine mesh strainer for Step 3.

Okay!  Back to the candy bowl excitement!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your home remedy of choice?

Today: Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips and snack prep.

A few years back, when eating small meals throughout the day came into vogue, I was like… Duh.  Been doing that for ages.  (I think that was the only time in my life I’ve been ahead of the curve and/or a tiny bit hipsterish.)  For better or for worse, I’d much rather graze than eat an entire meal of food.  Except at dinner time.  It’s nice (and, I think, important) to make time to sit down as a little family.

Meal planning and prep, for me, is really more snack planning and prep.  I whipped up a few especially good snacks this week, including the dill, lemon and garlic kale chips below.  One look at our fridge will tell you that kale is in season in New England.  And that I can’t resist a farm stand deal.

dill lemon and garlic kale chips recipe

Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 heaping teaspoons fresh dill
  • zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  3. Wash your kale and blot it dry with a paper towel.  Remove stems and cut or tear leaves into small pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil, garlic, dill and lemon zest.
  5. I hate when people say massage the kale, but um… massage the kale, and make sure it is evenly coated in oil and that your other ingredients are well distributed.
  6. Artfully (just kidding…) arrange kale on your baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until crispy, but not… burnt).  Let your kale chips cool before eating.

I love the combination of lemon and fresh herbs (and who can say no to garlic?), and while I will always have a thing for actual chips, these kale chips are a great way to green up my afternoon snacking.

snack prep

While the kale chips were baking, I chopped up some vegetables for salads and baby food purees and scrolled through the new fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for some snack prep inspiration.  I purchased the plan a few years ago, and love when new updates are released to members.  There are so many vegan recipes that I am looking forward to making from the fall edition. I started with their spicy roasted chickpeas, frozen yogurt blueberries and Heart Beet juice (pictured above). Each recipe only took a few minutes to prepare, as I (miraculously) had all the ingredients on hand.

One shortcut (I’m all about the shortcuts, ’bout the shortcuts, no longcuts) I’m willing to pay a bit extra for these days are packaged, cooked organic beets.  Same goes for butternut squash (for safety reasons alone, it’s worth the price — you do not want to be see me wrestle a squash while wielding a sharp knife) and other tough produce that Grace seems to love.  I’m finding that so many of the snacks and meals I’m planning for the week can be seasoned and then pureed or mashed for her to enjoy, too.

Speaking of that lovely baby, we have had a rough couple of weeks sleep-wise.  I suppose we needed to make progress in order to regress (some good ol’ parent spin zone talk for you), but we’ve been firmly in the grips of a sleep regression lately.  As much as I want to reach for the Diet Coke (like, a hundred of them) in times like these, I know that more caffeine is probably not the answer.

I’m making good on my October goals by getting out of my own way, and ensuring I have better choices on hand: lots of iced green tea (I brew a pitcher and divide it up once it has cooled), fresh juice, and plenty of water to pair with all those meals snacks.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you a snacker or a full meal type of person?

Today: Watermelon agua fresca on the deck.

When we moved into our condo last year, the weather was just starting to turn cool.  I’d slip out onto the deck in the morning with a hot cup of tea, grateful to have a little outdoor space of our own.  On winter days when I was feeling especially brave, I’d take my coffee out there, watching the snow fall along the water.  Now that warmer days have (finally) arrived, it’s time to switch up our deck drinks.

Watermelon agua fresca

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Optional: agave nectar, tacky purple string lights

Super obvious directions:

  1. Add watermelon, water and lime juice to the blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Sweeten with agave, if desired (I prefer it without, but… different strokes for different folks).
  4. Garnish with a lime slice and your favorite straw.
  5. Hit the deck.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your weekend?

 

Today: Organic patio gardening and can’t-wait-for-summer gazpacho.

This post brought to you by Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

When Nick and I started looking for a new condo (we were expecting Grace and I imagine she was expecting… to not share a room with her parents and dog), outdoor space was at the top of our wish list.  With spring in sight (sort of… right?), I can’t wait to make the most of our new patio, which is conveniently located just off the kitchen.  While bundled up in sweaters, layered with other sweaters, I’ve been day dreaming about growing our own herbs, vegetables and flowers.

Nothing says “Adios, polar vortex!” quite like homegrown produce.

I recently learned about Organic Choice, Scotts’ line of fully organic gardening products, and look forward to incorporating their products into my plans.  Better for the environment than conventional products, Organic Choice is perfect for edible gardening and is available at major retailers.

Organic Soil photo 72859510_22_zps758b34b4.jpg

 I can barely contain my excitement (it spilled over onto Pinterest, where I’ve started a board with all kinds of ideas for planting and potting) at the thought of fresh basil, ripe tomatoes, and fragrant salad greens growing just outside our door.  In little containers (we’re city folks, after all).

We’ve always taken advantage of my parents’ garden, making spicy gazpacho, salsa, polenta pizzas topped with fresh herbs, summer rolls and crisp salads with their tomatoes, greens, and vegetables.  I am hoping I can convince my dad to help keep our patio plants alive… perhaps in exchange for some of that gazpacho?

Can’t-wait-for-summer gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor or blender and pulse until nearly smooth.
  2. Add cucumber, onion, garlic, cilantro, and a drizzle each of olive oil and red wine vinegar and blend until you reach desired consistency.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Be thankful winter is nearly over.

Time to peel off a layer of sweaters, finish off a bowl of gazpacho, and start putting those gardening plans into action.

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Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have spring planting plans?  Or tips for city gardening?

Today: A taste of fall.

If I had my way, we’d skip from summer to winter, mostly so that I’d have reason to decorate for Christmas in early September.  Since moving to our new place, though, I’ve had a chance to crunch through the fallen leaves with Clark each day and I am beginning to think that fall isn’t so bad after all.

While I am still counting down the days until I pull our twinkle lights, glittery wreaths and sparkling ornaments out of storage, I am passing the time by embracing a taste of fall.

Nespresso Spiced Apple Coffee

This festive fall drink is perfect for warming up family and friends.  And for keeping small children awake for six days.  Just kidding.  Don’t serve this to children.  And pretend I didn’t suggest that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 capsule of Linizio Lungo Grand Cru (or Decaffeinato Lungo)
  • 1 caffeine free cinnamon apple spice tea bag (the original recipe calls for apple and ginger tea, but this was what I had on hand — so delicious!)
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  •  3 tablespoons of milk froth
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Place the herbal tea bag in a Cappuccino cup and prepare your Grand Cru directly over it
  2. Allow the tea to infuse for 4 minutes, then remove the bag
  3. Add the maple syrup to the coffee and set aside
  4. Prepare the milk froth using the steam nozzle of your Nespresso machine or the Aeroccino milk frother
  5. Place 3 tablespoons of frothed milk on top of the coffee and sprinkle with ground cinnamon

Recipe provided by Nespresso

Boots and tall socks

Finding normal-ish maternity clothing should be an Olympic sport.  I am not sure who decided that pregnant women want to look weird for nine or ten months, but I’d prefer to look like… myself.  I don’t like wearing wool, which eliminates 98.4% of all cozy, fall sweaters on the maternity market.  Fortunately, my tall socks and boots still fit (knock on wood, but the feet swelling thing hasn’t happened yet).  So there’s that.

Seasonal scents

Fearing it might be too soon to break out the Christmas Yankee Candles (they are like a gateway drug for overzealous holiday decorators like myself… light one candle and the next thing you know, you’ve chopped down your neighbor’s decorative fir tree and have hauled up to your condo to adorn with lights and garland), I borrowed this idea from BuzzFeed’s list of holiday party hacks.  Citrus, rosemary and vanilla seems to strike a balance between fall and winter.

All things apple

Apple crisp (easily made gluten free with the use of these oats), apples with nut butter, the limited edition apple cider Chapstick I hoarded from Target last year… I can’t get enough apple.

This post was just a ploy to distract you all while I download a few new Christmas jams and start tacking up the Advent calendar.

Also On Tap for Today:

Fall or winter? (And you can’t say summer, that’s cheating.)

 

 

 

Today: National Candy Corn Day… minus the cavities… and a Smari smoothie.

My fear of the dentist and avoidance of most Halloween candy are not unrelated (which is to say… they are related… like, blood related).  While I enjoy dessert every once in a while, I think I either broke my sweet tooth in the pool when I was ten (I will spare you the details), or it got extracted along with my other wisdom teeth when I was eighteen (that procedure resulted in lots of the aforementioned blood, two black eyes, and the discovery that Elizabeth + laughing gas = no laughing, just crying).

I think I probably enjoyed candy corn as a kid, but I also clearly took some sort of PSA about Halloween and dental health to heart.  These days I am grateful to work in a small office devoid of candy dishes and thankful to live in a neighborhood where trick-or-treaters are few and far between.  In fact, we have yet to buy any candy at all… perhaps we can give out bananas?  Or kitchen utensils?

In an effort to get in the holiday spirit while minding my canines, I whipped up a candy corn-esque parfait for breakfast this morning, using the Smari Icelandic yogurt that Designer Whey recently sent my… well, way.

This protein-packed cup was a fantastic breakfast.  I was running out the door in a tizzy this morning– nothing new– and wished the parfait was a bit more portable, though.  And less likely to spill all over my car.  And me.  So when I got home, I did a little experimenting with the blender and whipped up a commuter-friendly version.  While it lost its candy corn appeal, the smoothie tastes amazing and would be a great post-workout treat, too.

Happy Halloween… smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving Smari pure yogurt
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey vanilla almond protein powder
  • 1/2 cup Clementine pieces (or oranges)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed
  • A splash of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 handful of ice cubes

(Super obvious) directions:

  1. Add ingredients to blender, beginning with liquid and ending with dry ingredients (powder).
  2. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency, and additional ice or almond milk as needed.
  3. Slurp through your favorite straw.

Smari is organic, gluten free and Kosher.  It’s low in sugar and high and protein (with more protein per serving than any other yogurt available in the US), and is available in four flavors (pure–not plain, vanilla, blueberry and strawberry) — all of which I found at my local Whole Foods Market (on sale for $1.69 per carton last week).  Icelandic yogurt is a bit thicker and creamier than its Greek counterpart, with a nice tang.  I’m looking forward to using it in a few more recipes and baking projects this week.

If you’d like to score your own free Icelandic yogurt (while wearing a paper Viking hat), check out Designer Whey’s current Facebook promotion.  To find Smari in your ‘hood, check here.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary cartons of Smari, courtesy of Designer Whey.  Opinions (and horror stories from the dentist) shared in this post are my own.  Duh.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite (portable or not) breakfast?

 

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XIX.

We had quite the lovely weekend.  We started with an exciting doctor’s appointment, followed with lots of time spent with family and friends, and ended with paying attention to football a nap on the sofa.

The weekend according to Instagram XIX

  1. You likely already saw the news (mostly because I can’t keep anything good and exciting to myself), but Nick and I found out Friday afternoon that we are expecting a girl.  And I am expecting her to have her father wrapped around her little finger.  Clark is excited because (among other reasons) they’ll be able to share clothes.  He loves ruffles.
  2. I found this little guy beneath our stoop early Saturday, just as the rain was clearing.  I like when nature visits the city.  And isn’t that shell gorgeous?
  3. I whipped up two batches of this easy, football-friendly black bean dip this weekend.  You can find the vegan, gluten-free recipe (along with a tour of our new kitchen) here.  (And thank you, Emily, for catching the #2 pun…)
  4. We spent Friday night laughing, eating, and more laughing with friends.  Our new place is really feeling like home, especially with friends and family there to share the space.  Matt and Pam brought us this cheery pink begonia plant.  I have a feeling there’s going to be more and more pink coming our way.
  5. I don’t know if I should tell you this or not… so naturally, I am going to tell you.  Clark got peed on by another dog this weekend.  He was standing on one side of a chain link fence, and the perp was on the other, attempting to mark the fence post (presumably).  Instead, he decorated my dog (who seemed oddly oblivious to the whole thing).  Next stop: the longest, most thorough bath of Clark’s life.
  6. We enjoyed this gorgeous view of the city from my sister and brother-in-law’s new apartment on Saturday night.  I love having our family just minutes away.  The next day, we had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law and niece.  We’re spoiled.
  7. Who ever said you don’t win friends with salad has never eaten salad with me.  I love making a big salad to enjoy on Sunday night, with enough to pack for lunch on Monday.  Because I am both lazy and a forward thinker.
  8. It wouldn’t be the end of the weekend without a polish change.  I went from dark (essie no more film) to light (essie pilates hottie).
  9. Meanwhile, at the other end of the sofa, Clark was down for the count.  That’s what a weekend of fun with do to a Frenchie.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Kitchen tour and an easy, gluten-free and vegan black bean dip.

Whew.  We are all moved in (unpacking is another story… but we’re getting there) and settling back into normal life.  One that doesn’t involve Comcast coming over for tea to break and fix things three days in a row.  We were excited to share our new home– and dinner and drinks– with a few friends last night.  I’ve got a super easy, football-friendly recipe to share, but first… a little tour.

Kitchen tour

I am tempted to say the kitchen is my favorite part of our new condo, but I’ve pretty much fallen in love with it all.  Perhaps I will quit my job and start filming a cooking show from our new kitchen.  My target audience would be people who like lettuce and Cheez-Its (but not together).  It would soon be canceled for one of two reasons:

  1. No one would watch it (highly likely)
  2. I would start a fire while cutting off a finger (equally likely)

I still can’t believe we found such a perfectly us home.

I love a good divided recycling and trash center. Thank you, Jesus. And the Container Store. #nerdalert

Unpacking our kitchen boxes was surprisingly fun.  There is the perfect place for everything, including our entire wedding registry.  We had put many of our gifts in storage, as space was at a premium in our first condo.  Opening everything for the second time reminded me how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends and family.  I wish we could get everyone together again, eat some cake pops and dance to DJ Sheldon’s jams until we get kicked out th’ building.

Just off the kitchen is our deck.  We have great sunset views and Clark has plenty of people to creep on.  He is a one man dog neighborhood patrol.  We’ll likely wait until next spring to um… spring for new deck furniture, but for now, we’re making do with a pair of old camp chairs and a gas grill (which Nick has used every night since we moved in).

We had a shared roof deck at our first condo, which was lovely, but being able to step out onto the deck each morning with a cup of decaf tea (for me) or Nespresso (for Nick) has been such a great change.  Clearly, the Frenchie approves.

The new kitchen (and the disappearance of morning sickness, hallelujah) has motivated me to spend a bit more time cooking, baking and creating.  Last night, I whipped up a really easy black bean dip to share with Matt, Pam, Tina and Mal, who joined us for dinner.  I grabbed a few ingredients we always seem to have on hand, sort of measured, and threw everything in the food processor.  The result? A really tasty appetizer and the perfect tailgate snack.  It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and can be refrigerated for a day or two in advance.

Easy, gluten-free and vegan black bean dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or carton organic black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, to your food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. This is a really important step: Pretend that the blended mixture doesn’t look like poop.
  3. Taste, and season with additional spices, plus salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and serve with vegetables and tortilla chips.

Time to head back out on the deck.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your go-to game time snack?

 

Today: S’more s’mores.

According to the Internet, today is National S’mores Day… the perfect made-up summer holiday, if you ask me.  Here are three tasty ways to celebrate.

S’mores on a stick

 

Gluten free graham crackers with Peeps s’mores

 

Lazy (and very tasty) s’mores

No campfire nearby?  S’mores ice cream is the way to go.

Aaaand s’more s’mores ideas:

P.S. You know you’re about to move when the only thing in your freezer is a half-consumed pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a favorite summer treat?

Today: Vegan roasted sweet potato salad and secret Pinterest boards.

Some things you want to keep secret.  Like, say… surprise party plans.  Or the fact that you have owned a home for nearly four years and still don’t know how to clean an oven.  Other things, like a fail-proof recipe for a delicious roasted sweet potato salad, are too good to be kept under wraps.

Vegan roasted sweet potato salad (gluten free)

Serves: 10 – 12 people

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped across the rib
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or currants
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your (recently cleaned?) oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Cook sweet potatoes until they are fork tender and slightly brown (stir occasionally) – approximately 35 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix celery, cranberries (or your choice of dried fruit – I’ve used both raisins and currants), and red onion in a large serving bowl.
  5. Once sweet potatoes are sufficiently cooked, mix them with other ingredients and top with green onions.

Notes:  This dish can be served warm or cold, and keeps well for up to three days in an air tight container, refrigerated (obvi).  Feel free to play around with other spices and seasonings.  I personally live to season everything with Old Bay, but am not certain everyone shares my love for the OB.  Got leftover sweet potatoes?  Why not whip up Alex’s spicy sweet potato lentil burgers?

While putting together the menu for Andrea’s shower, I found a few great ideas on the time vortex that is Pinterest, but didn’t want my sister to know what I was planning.  Ever the schemer, I created a secret board for keeping my ideas organized (and secret).  One secret board turned into two, two into three… and well, you get the picture.

How to create secret Pinterest boards

Secret  Pinterest boards come in handy when planning holiday gifts, gathering ideas for blog posts, or pinning chores that — as a 31 year old — you should know how to do without the guidance of the Internet.  They are only visible to you (unless you invite friends to collaborate — perfect for fellow bridesmaids and other co-conspirators), and appear at the bottom of your screen of boards.

 

To add your own secret board, simply click on “create a board,” as you normally would.

… and be sure to select “secret” before saving changes.

Two easy steps and you’re officially a secret (…Pinterest board) agent.  All I ask is that you don’t keep any tasty recipes to yourself.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you find the best recipes?