Homemade Ginger Ale

The unfortunate circumstance of being a twenty-something (and trying to avoid becoming a budding alcoholic) is that almost every social occasion is supplemented with alcohol.  If you also happen to be a foodie, it’s hard to resist partnering a killer cocktail with a delicious dinner or relaxing into a long-prepped dinner with the perfectly partnered bottle of wine.

In an attempt to reduce my alcohol consumption significantly, I’ve started to think about making non-alcoholic drinks that are equally delicious and satisfying to partner with my meals. Happily, it has worked splendidly and has eliminated that wine-buzz, food coma, I-don’t-have-any-energy-left-to-do-the-dishes feeling.

Though in the case that I am ready for a yummy cocktail, I will certainly consider putting a little whiskey, vodka or rum in one of these to ‘wow’ a guest, or myself. 🙂

DSC_0861

Homemade Ginger Ale
yields: 1 drink
needs:
6 oz. club soda or seltzer water
1 oz. ginger simple syrup
1/2 lime, cut into 3 wedges
6-8 sprigs of mint
ice

In a glass, start to build the drink with the ginger syrup. Squeeze limes and drop into glass. Add mint leaves and muddle. Add enough ice to fill the glass. Top with soda. Either stir with a long spoon or pour into another glass & back to the original glass to mix. Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.

DSC_0867

Ginger Simple Syrup

We are a mere two days away from the summer solstice! This means that, unfortunately, the days will be getting shorter but we are now into the season that (especially in the midwest) has incredible sunsets & awe-worthy rainstorms and thunderstorms. Yesterday was one such occasion where thunder was roaring and lighting crackling in the sky. Rain came down like sheets, blowing like fabric in the wind. It was a much needed break from the stifling humidity, providing a slight chill to the ever-increasing warmth of the summertime air.

I always thought it would be fun to make dark & stormys when a storm like that blew in and to just sit & sip with someone you love. However, I don’t have anyone like that so in the spirit of the idea, I made ginger simple syrup instead for when the time comes, perhaps I’ll be ready.

Image

Ginger Simple Syrup

needs:
1.5 c. water
1 c. sugar
about two inches of ginger root

With a knife or peeler, peel the skin from the ginger and roughly chop. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the peels, chopped ginger root, water, and sugar. Heat to a boil and let boil for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure no crystals form. Transfer to a glass jar or container to cool, leaving the gingers pieces in the syrup for 2-4 hours. Strain the ginger out before using and refrigerate.

Image

 

Naturally Sweet Maple Iced Coffee

I’m back! It’s almost summer time and I haven’t written in many moons. My deepest apologies. I have excuses but you are not here for my excuses! You are here for inspiring recipes and pretty photography, so I shall give you those instead.

One thing that I especially loathe about American food culture is how frequently fake/cheap ingredients are used. I strive to make everything I can from scratch 1) because it’s easy 2) because it’s fun and 3) because it’s infinitely more delicious than it’s faux-substitute. It’s iced & frozen coffee season which means the high fructose corn syrup is abound in those $4 plastic cups. I shall give you a cheap & delicious alternative.


DSC_0846

Iced Coffee

needs:
8 oz. cold brewed, or cooled coffee
1-2 T. real maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
2 t. half & half
ice

Fill a mason jar with ice. Pour in the half & half, vanilla, and maple syrup (1-2 T. depending on how sweet you like your drinks!). Add the coffee and stir with a spoon. Enjoy your natural, delicious, and cheap alternative naked or indulge with a little bit of whipped cream.

DSC_0848
DSC_0849

Hot Toddy

Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a witch. I used to think up spells to make the water hotter in the shower and would make ‘stews’ in old pickle buckets consisting of lake water & whatever my grubby child hands found interesting that day. These kinds of childhood fascinations don’t just disappear with age but instead find new ways to manifest in a more socially accepted form. I still dream of having all my cooking spices lined up apothecary style – alphabetically in identical glass jars. I can see bright rows of homemade jams & jellies & pickles & vinegars sitting in the rustic cupboard of my future.

Part of being a witch in the contemporary age is knowing a variety of homemade concoctions, herbs, or potions to heal the sick. The winter blues are pretty brutal mid-February as are head colds & flus. So I am making a magical little drink known as the hot toddy. There is no better cure for a sore throat and a tired body.

DSC_9817
Hot Toddy

8 oz. hot water
1 bag of black tea
1 T. (or 1/2 oz) honey
1 oz. whiskey
1 lemon twist
cinnamon stick (optional)

Let the teabag steep in the hot water for 3-4 minutes. Add the honey & whiskey stir to combine. With a vegetable peeler or a zester, peel a long section from a lemon. Twirl and place on rim. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Feel warm & happy 🙂

French Toast Logs

Happy Sunday! Sundays are great days for breakfast posts! My boyfriend and I were deliberating what to make this morning. I had a bit of a sweet tooth and he was leaning towards biscuits. We finally decided on an old favorite – french toast sticks. When he was just a little one (he says 3rd grade but I suspect he was a bit younger), he complained to his momma in typical little boy fashion “I don’t want just cereal and poptarts for breakfast!” As a result, he began his cooking career alongside his mum preparing a similar recipe to this one. Suffice to say, he is an old expert on the matter of french toast sticks.

We were debating on what to use for our bread. I had some stale country bread that I thought would be perfect, but we picked up a french baguette instead.

To begin, with a bread knife, cut the baguette in half longwise. Place the cut side face down, and cut the crust lengthwise again on both halves. You should have four long equal sections. Cut them horizontally to the length you would like. (We cut them into fours again). You should have 16 little logs ready to french toastify!

French Toast Batter

4 free range eggs
1/4 c. organic milk
2 T. organic cream
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Whisk all ingredients together in a shallow bowl. I always use a glass pie dish. Allow the logs to soak up the mixture on each side and transfer to hot skillet. Butter or spray your skillet just before adding the logs. Cook until brown on each side. I like to put the sticks in a warm oven until the bread supply has been exhausted so that everyone can eat together. You can feed your hungry wolves whenever you please.

After each stick has experienced the warmth of the skillet, stack your logs and serve!