Saturday, March 8, 2014
When time and ingredients allow, my first preference is to make my own chai concentrate. It's cheaper and frequently easier. But when life and work get busy, I fall back on buying the concentrate in the store. Typically my steady Eddie is Tazo's Chai tea concentrate. I like the balance of spice to sweetness just a little more than the Oregon chai.
Lately when I have gone to pick up my standby, there have been other concentrate choices. Chocolate chai, which I tried first and is pretty gross. Pumpkin spice chai in the fall, which I have not had the courage to try because of the chocolate chai incident. Then a couple weeks ago, I saw green tea concentrate. It had been some time since trying the chocolate chai, so I decided I was up for broadening my horizons. I was glad I did.
The way these concentrates work is you just pour some amount into your mug, top it off with milk (I usually do a ration of 1/2 and 1/2 but my sister prefers less concentrate, more milk) and microwave until hot or add a few ice cubes to drink it cold. Easy. Makes my morning routine just a tad bit quicker and feels like something special.
The green tea concentrate tastes a lot like sweetened matcha tea. It's light and summery. The milk adds creaminess. It is softer and more subtle in flavor than the chai and also has a little less caffeine for those of us watching our caffeine intake. Overall, it's a nice alternative to the chai.
*Tazo has no clue who I am. I bought the concentrate with my own money and this review is all my own opinion. This is just a new product I found in the grocery store that I thought my readers might enjoy.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
I don't know about you, but this winter is starting to bog me down. I typically love the winter, nature getting all dressed up in her white coat. But this winter has been long and bitter. After 2 head colds, the flu, and countless hours shoveling snow, I am ready for some spring. But looking at the forecast, I don't think that is going to be anytime soon.
Enter: citrus water. Sounds silly I know, but cutting up a few oranges and tossing them in a pitcher of water makes it feel a little like summer. And in the winter, you can find all kinds of citrus to try. From blood oranges and Meyer lemons to pomelos, and of course the old stand-by naval oranges and grapefruit.
- 1-2 citrus fruit
- pitcher of water
Cut up fruit. Use a combination or just one kind, the choice is yours. Toss into pitcher of water. Store in fridge. Enjoy and daydream about grilling out.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
David and I are on somewhat of a spring cleaning rampage. We are trying to shed excess belongings that have gradually taken over our home in the last six years. It's been strange, because for a long time we didn't have much stuff, college, just being married, etc. But now that we have lived in our house for several years we have accumulated a ridiculous amount of "just in case" stuff that is simply bogging us down.
One of the places that needs a good once over is the pantry. I have a wicked habit of picking up various specialty ingredients for one recipe or another and then not having a plan for the rest of the bag. We have nori, brown rice syrup, and maybe 6-7 kinds of flour. In an effort to eliminate some of the excess flour, Dave had a brilliant idea to add in some of the masa or tamale corn flour to our pancakes. The result: delicious, hearty, and wholesome. Especially with a thick pat of butter and a generous glug of maple syrup.
Whole Wheat Masa Flour Pancakes
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup Masa flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 2 cups water
- 8 tablespoons powdered buttermilk (if you have regular buttermilk, just se 2 cups buttermilk and eliminate the water)
In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, Masa flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, stir together eggs, melted butter, vanilla, water, and powdered buttermilk. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Rub a little oil or butter on the inside bottom of the pan. Dave has taken to using clarified butter for pancake making because it doesn't smoke but still gives you a buttery flavor. When the skillet is hot, spoon a few tablespoons of batter for each pancake. When the pancakes bubble, flip and cook the other side.
Enjoy with a pat of butter and maple syrup.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
There is this spot on my counter where I leave my butter to warm when I have it intended for a baking project. My husband knows not to use that butter. But sometimes (many times) I will have an itch to bake something without previous planning. The trouble with that is that my butter is cold. Can you cream cold butter? No. In fact, I actually broke a beater blade on cold butter.
So what is a gal to do? Take the stick of butter straight from the fridge and put it into the microwave for 12 seconds. Softens the butter without melting it. Perfect.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
So...Valentine's Day is next week. Trying to think of something to make your honey? Consider these. They are your basic chocolate chip cookie with a ton of extra yumminess packed in. No Valentine's plans, no problem. This cookie dough is extremely delicious eaten straight out of the bowl. I may actually venture to say the dough is better than the actual cookie, but that's how I like to roll.
Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup rye flour (whole wheat flour can be used if you don't have rye flour)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1-12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Allow to cool.