Wassail

Lusciously spicy Holiday Wassail is perfect for your Christmas party.

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Wassail may be a traditional holiday drink, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it all autumn long! This warmly spiced hot mulled cider comes together in minutes and can be heated on the stove or in the slow cooker.

Three mugs of hot wassail garnished with sliced apples and cinnamon sticks with a dutch oven full of wassail in the background

INTRO

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Simple Syrup Recipe

Have you ever made simple syrup at home? With this easy simple syrup recipe, you’ll never bother buying it at the store again! There are a lot of things that I’ll go to the store to buy. Not necessarily because I can’t make my own version at home, but because I have limited time to […]

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Have you ever made simple syrup at home? With this easy simple syrup recipe, you’ll never bother buying it at the store again!

A large and small bottle of simple syrup with a measuring cup of sugar in the background

There are a lot of things that I’ll go to the store to buy. Not necessarily because I can’t make my own version at home, but because I have limited time to spend on certain things.

Puff pastry? I could totally make it but I’d rather buy it.

Graham crackers? Sure, homemade ones are delicious but when I’m making graham cracker crust or eclair cake, store-bought is the way to go.

Other things are worth making at home, mostly stuff I can make in batches and store in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.

I’m talking about pumpkin pie spice, taco seasoning, salted caramel sauce, and simple syrup. 

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Raspberry Lemonade

This sweet and tart Raspberry Lemonade is the best way to beat the summer heat! Use fresh or frozen raspberries to make this easy homemade lemonade. Last week, I had an Instacart delivery that left me with an excessive amount of lemons. The shopper mistakingly confused the lemons in my order for pounds instead of […]

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This sweet and tart Raspberry Lemonade is the best way to beat the summer heat! Use fresh or frozen raspberries to make this easy homemade lemonade.

Glass of raspberry lemonade with a sprig of mint and a metal straw in the foreground, with 2 more glasses of lemonade in the background

Last week, I had an Instacart delivery that left me with an excessive amount of lemons. The shopper mistakingly confused the lemons in my order for pounds instead of the actual number of lemons.

But hey, when life gives you lemons…

You make lemonade, right? Or in this case, Raspberry Lemonade.

And chicken piccata and microwave lemon curd and Blueberry Doughnut Muffins with a lemon glaze.

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Sleepy Morning Blender Matcha

At long last I’m able to give you a bit of an update on my recent health struggles! If you’re catching up, read this post and this post (and the comments) first. Well, where did we leave off? To start, I’m so thankful to have found a great naturopath after not having an overly helpful […]

At long last I’m able to give you a bit of an update on my recent health struggles! If you’re catching up, read this post and this post (and the comments) first.

Well, where did we leave off? To start, I’m so thankful to have found a great naturopath after not having an overly helpful experience earlier in the year. I’ve been struggling with my symptoms on and off for years now, so it’s been a huge relief to finally get some answers! Slowly but surely I’m starting to feel like a new person. My recent tests showed that my hormones are a hot mess…estrogen is too high, my morning cortisol is way too low (hello, feeling like a zombie even after a decent night’s sleep), and one of my thyroid hormones is also too low. My doctor had suspected many of these results based on my symptoms, but it was interesting to see them on paper! I’m definitely no expert on this stuff, but I learned that when one hormone is off, it can impact another…and on and on the cycle goes, often throwing your entire system out of whack in the process. I felt such relief knowing that how I was feeling wasn’t just in my head all this time.

It’s so easy to push through feeling awful, blaming your symptoms on other things. I can’t even tell you how many times I told myself that I felt like crap because I was a new mom, or I was nursing and up in the middle of the night, or I was working out too hard (or not enough), or I wasn’t taking my vitamins, or my diet wasn’t balanced, or I was just feeling anxious about changes in my life. Some of those things may have been part of the issue, but I overlooked the real possibility that something beyond my immediate control was at work.

Dear self: it’s okay to ask for help.

Speaking of which, my biggest regret is that I didn’t get help for my symptoms sooner. It’s easy to put off, especially when Dr. Google is at your fingertips. Everyone would tell me how important it is to take care of myself while raising two young kids, but most days I just pushed it aside and tried to rely on the fact that I am a generally healthy person who eats well and exercises. My mom and Nicole were the ones who finally pushed me to get help…we all need those people in our lives who look out for us! Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, but I’m grateful for this lesson and wake-up call. I may have ignored my body’s messages for quite some time, but once I commit to something, I’m all-in, and I’ve been such a good “student” these past few months!

Taking the time to heal has set me back on some career goals this year, but sometimes there’s no better goal than good health. I actually can’t think of a better way to celebrate OSG’s upcoming 10-year milestone than circling back to my journey to health, which is the reason I started my blog! It’s just another reminder that our journey is always changing and evolving over time.

I’ll try to update you again as soon as I have more to share, but in the meantime if you have any questions, or would like to share your own experiences, I would LOVE to read them below.

Oh, and I should probably mention this recipe before I go! My naturopath recently encouraged me to add more green tea to my diet, and this has been my go-to mix. I had requests for the recipe after sharing it on Insta Stories last week, so I decided to put it up on both the app and blog! I hope you’ll find this warm, creamy matcha blend as calming and gently energizing as I have.

4.5 from 6 reviews
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Sleepy Morning Blender Matcha

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

You know when you wake up on a chilly morning and need a hot drink now? Well this is my go-to on fall and winter mornings (or afternoons!) when I want a change from coffee. The thought of this smooth, warm, creamy drink seriously lures me out of my cozy bed. I love how effortless this recipe is, especially on those half-awake, barely functioning mornings (just make sure you’re alert enough to operate a blender with hot liquid!). I love matcha green tea powder because it delivers calming, jitter-free energy as well as powerful antioxidants. Be sure to see my Deluxe Version in the Tips section below for a more decadent way to make this beverage—when I want an especially comforting treat, I’ll forgo the water and only use canned coconut milk.

Yield
1 1/3 cups (330 mL)
Prep time
5 Minutes
Cook time
0 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) canned light coconut milk, room temperature*
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder, or to taste**
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add the water to a kettle or pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water heats up, add the coconut milk and matcha powder to a high-speed blender.
  3. Once the water has boiled, remove it from the heat and let sit for 15 seconds. Carefully add it to the blender along with the maple syrup (if using).
  4. If your blender’s lid is vented, secure it on top. If you don’t have a vented lid, keep the lid slightly ajar so air can escape. Blend on the lowest speed, very slowly increasing to medium, for about 20 seconds until frothy and combined.
  5. Immediately pour into a mug and enjoy your cozy cup o’ green!

Tips:

* If using already chilled canned coconut milk, add an extra 1/3 cup (80 mL) hot water to ensure your blend is hot enough (nobody wants lukewarm tea, if you know what I mean!). Be sure to stir the coconut milk before measuring.

 

** My preferred brand of matcha powder is DoMatcha Organic Summer Harvest Matcha Powder.

 

Deluxe Version: Heat 1 cup (250 mL) canned light coconut milk on the stovetop over medium heat, watching closely to ensure it doesn’t boil over. Once it starts to simmer and froth, immediately remove it from the heat. Add this to the blender along with the matcha powder (and maple syrup, if using). Follow steps 4 and 5 above and enjoy your extra-creamy tea!

Cold Brew with Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer

 

This post is sponsored through a partnership with The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC. All thoughts …

  This post is sponsored through a partnership with    The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC  . A ll thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored through a partnership with The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

With warmer days approaching (and the end of the school year), my mind drifts towards the slower days of summer.  I've stuffed the sweaters into the back of the closet, bringing the t-shirts front and center.

A defining line between the cold and warm months, however, is my switch from hot coffee to cold brew. 

As a teacher, I drink my fair share of coffee. My favorite moments to enjoy a cup is relaxing after a long day at work, with my feet up on the couch, or on a slow-moving weekend morning.

Lately, I've been drinking Dunkin' Donuts Cold Brew. It's easy to prepare and has a smooth finish, with no acidity or bitter taste.

On Sunday nights, I prep the cold brew by placing two coffee pouches into a two-quart pitcher with four cups of water and leave it to steep in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I remove the pouches, add a few cups of water to dilute it to my taste, and it is ready to enjoy. Best of all, the pitcher lasts the rest of the week so the work is complete in two simple steps.

One of my favorite cold brew tricks is to freeze some of the cold brew into ice cubes after it has finished brewing. Then, when it's time to enjoy the coffee, I add a few cold brew cubes. The drink stays cold longer, and the coffee cubes prevent the drink from becoming watered down as the ice melts. 

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I prefer my cold brew with creamer to add a hint of flavor and sweetness. After finding disappointment with dairy-free brands, I set out to create my own. As I often do for a dairy-free alternative, I reached for the can of full-fat coconut milk. While homemade coconut milk creamer works well in hot beverages, the fat separates to the top when it hits a cold beverage, rendering it undrinkable.

Almonds, however, do the job and do it well.

This homemade almond milk creamer holds together well in a cold drink and lends itself to customization. To give the creamer its creaminess, I follow a similar approach as I do with my recipe for homemade almond milk. The difference is that I add less water when blending so the almond milk is concentrated. 

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With pure vanilla extract for flavor and maple syrup to sweeten to taste, this homemade almond milk creamer is complete. I adore this creamer because it mimics the coffee house experience with simple, wholesome ingredients.

The coffee creamer may appear to separate if it is left to rest, but a quick swirl of the glass will bring it back to a uniform appearance. Use as much or as little as you like in your next glass of cold brew.

   

This cold brew with homemade vanilla almond milk creamer works as a great afternoon pick-me-up. Brewed with Dunkin' Donuts Cold Brew Coffee Packs, the coffee has a smooth, rich finish. I prefer to enjoy it with homemade creamer flavored with vanilla and sweetened with maple syrup, but you can customize the drink to your taste. Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Strawberry Scones
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls
Three Years Ago: Blueberry Oat Bars (GF)  & Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF)
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes
Five Years Ago:  Sunflower Seed Bread, Blackberry Fool, Lime Curd Tart, & Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Six Years Ago: Tiramisu Cake, Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies, Honey Wheat Cake, & Chocolate Almond Ice Cream
Seven Years Ago:  Chocolate-Filled Buns, Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies, & Parmesan Poppy Seed Crackers

Cold Brew with Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer

Yields 6 servings

1 pouch Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Coffee Packs
1 cup (120 grams) raw almonds
3 1/2 cups (830 mL) filtered water, divided
3-5 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

The cold brew and almond milk creamer need to be started the evening before serving.

To prepare the cold brew coffee, follow the directions according to the package.

To prepare the almond milk creamer, place almonds in a container and cover with 2 cups filtered water. Seal container and allow to soak overnight, for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

Strain almonds and rinse with fresh water. (The almonds release phytic acid while soaking, which prevents the body from absorbing nutrients; rinsing the almonds removes this acid.) Place almonds and 1 1/2 cups filtered water in a blender. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes. Using a nut bag, layered cheesecloth, or fine mesh strainer, strain the almond milk to remove the pulp. If using the fine mesh strainer, run the milk through several times to eliminate pulp. The leftover pulp can be used in smoothies, muffins, or bread, or it can be dehydrated and used in the same manner as almond flour. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract to the almond milk.

Keep the almond milk creamer refrigerated. It should stay fresh for 5 to 7 days. The creamer may undergo separation in the refrigerator. Give the creamer a good shake and it will come back together quickly.

To prepare the cold brew coffee drink, place prepared cold brew in a glass with ice and add almond milk creamer to taste. For best results, freeze some of the cold brew into ice cubes in advance. This method keeps the cold brew chilled and prevents it from getting watered down as the ice melts.


©The J.M. Smucker Company © 2017. DD IP Holder LLC