Celebrating all things Christmas, the magic and terror of Elf on a Shelf, and possibly the best nog ever. Continue reading
A little peppermint hot cocoa treat to warm you up on cold winter nights. Continue reading
Love peanut butter cups and craving a little after-dinner treat? I’ve got you covered with this peanut butter cup cocktail! Continue reading
Do you love a good White Russian cocktail with a holiday spin that even The Dude would appreciate? Read on! Continue reading
Get ready to celebrate the holiday and get on either the Nice or Naughty List with two tasty cocktails! Continue reading
There are few foods that I love more than those that are sweet, tangy and a little bit funky – fermentations fit that bill! You give me any fermented food and chances are I am eating it straight out of the container with a fork. My fermented garlic in honey is an easy to make ferment, requiring very little prep time, very little ferment time and has a ton of pay off.
The result is garlic that is sweeter, more mellow and less sharp, softened by time and patience, while the honey is thinner, pungent and begging to be eaten. I hear you, hesitant and wondering, what the heck are you going to do with a jar of tasty, funky garlic and tangy, sweet honey? Drizzle the honey on soba noodles with green onions, slice up the garlic for your stir-fry, or add to beef stew – anywhere you need a subtle hit of flavor that’s unexpected. Even better, take a spoonful of the honey at the sign of a sore throat. Ready to give it a try?
10-15 heads of garlic, cloves peeled – I don’t recommend using pre-peeled garlic.
16 ounces of honey
1 tablespoon of chili pepper flakes (optional)
1 pint mason jar, sterilized (see note below)
Note: To sanitize your jar, wash your jar with hot soapy water and boil your jar for 5 mins, washing the lid and ring in as hot and soapy water as you can handle.
If you haven’t peeled your garlic already, go ahead and do that. I like to take the flat part of the knife blade and press the cloves until they crush, and the peel comes loose.
Next, smash your garlic, so it’s flat and splits up, you can also run a knife through it into chunks. I found that smashing my garlic to peel and giving it another smash broke them up enough for me. You’re looking for surface area, and if you want to slice or chop the garlic down even more, you’re welcome to. I am all about easy!
Next, fill your sanitized jar with the smashed garlic cloves, leaving about 1.5 inches from the top. If you want to add chili pepper flakes, now is the time. Give everything a good tap, or gently press down with clean hands, to make sure everything is settled and to remove any extra space.
Next, cover with honey. A heads up, this part takes a good amount of time as you let the honey fill every nook and cranny and sink to the bottom of your jar, which means pouring and waiting. This may be a good time to grab a drink or watch a show and keep coming back to it! When your honey completely covers your garlic, and no additional bubbles are popping up, add just a little more honey – you want it to be about an 3/4 inch from the top. Wipe the lid of the jar with a damp paper towel and close your jar. Place the jars on a plate or in a glass dish to catch any honey that escapes or from when you burb it! Yep, you’ll burp those jars like a tiny, well-fed baby my friend.
Why and how do you burp your jars?? As your garlic ferments and starts to break down, it will product carbon dioxide, so burping, or opening the jar to let that out is needed. I’ll warn you now, it’ll be a little stinky, but it’s all part of the delicious process! You’ll do this every day or two for 4-6 weeks, but you can let it go longer if you like. When you’re happy with the taste and texture, you can keep it in your fridge for up to a year.
A couple of notes – you may see your garlic turn blue. This is perfectly safe and a common occurrence! It’s a pH change and your ferment is still safe. While honey is a great fermenting tool and botulism is low risk, you should keep an eye out for mold, which can be the result of not using a clean jar, or not handling with clean hands or utensils when burping or tasting your ferment.
I really hope you try this and enjoy it! Please let me know what you think!
Yours in tasty treats,
Hello dear reader!
I know it’s been quite some time since my last post – I’ll update on that after Christmas! Speaking of, the holidays can be a magical time, but they sure can be hard too! It can seem like finding that balance is an insurmountable task, but does it have to be? The pandemic got me thinking about how I spend my emotional and physical energy and I am bringing that into this holiday season this year. While I wrote this piece originally for work, there’s value in sharing it far and wide! Here is how I am keeping myself organized and a little more sane this year – I hope it helps you!
- Make a list of must do’s to prioritize the things that matter most to you…and share that with others! Your Aunt and her kids want to see you, but the in-laws also want you to come over, and you should probably stop by to see your brother, but the idea of hitting all the homes in one day sounds awful. Offer to host or choose which events to take part in. Setting boundaries and expectations early on can help ensure you don’t overcommit or feel bad if you can’t (or don’t want to) do something. Which leads to the next one…
- Say no! It is a simple one, but sometimes being ok with not committing or not doing something is the best gift of all. It is ok to hold time for yourself and allow yourself to be recharged! If it does not feel great to say no, try offering an alternative and find time to connect after the holidays. No can also be, “Not right now.”
- Find quiet moments in the craziness. I am not always good at this but scheduling time to take a break is necessary to keep my energy up and my happiness in the green. Need 10 minutes of yoga in the morning or an hour of reading at night, or a hot bath to unwind? Schedule it like you would any other important meeting or activity and tell those around you!
- Do something different! This year, instead of the normal gift giving, I will be giving experiences for most of my presents; not your normal “gift coupon books,” I will be prepaying for gymnastics class for kiddo; wine tasting for my friends; and cooking classes for the in laws that they can do with my daughter. Less waste and clutter AND more fun? Yes, please! It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. This year, instead of standing in line to see Santa, we planned to feed Alpacas and take a holiday picture there – no lines AND it is fun! Plus, the cost is a donation of canned food to help local families. It is a win all around.
- Give yourself grace. While the above are great, sometimes you may still feel overwhelmed and just need to let it out. That is ok, and if a good cry is what gets you through the holidays, then let yourself have it, shame free. Bacon knows I have had my share of meltdowns and overwhelm the past few weeks.
Here is to a holiday that is fun, relaxing, and more of what you would like it to be! If you have other ideas for self-care during busy times, please let me know! I’d love to share them!
Yours in taking care,
A few years ago, I wrote a fun post on boozy shots and Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting For St Patrick’s Day and wanted to revisit the recipe to see what I could improve. For the most part, the recipe held up, needing just a touch more sugar, but the directions needed a little clean up. I’m revisiting that recipe, with a couple of tweaks for St Patrick’s Day. These cupcakes aren’t your kids’ overly sweet sugar bombs – they are dark, dense, almost savory and filled with sharp chocolate and bitterness of a good stout beer, made just a touch sweet with the addition of Irish cream liquor in the frosting. Sound good? Read on! If you’d like a fun jello shot to pair with it, you can check out the original post, here.
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup Guinness, or stout beer
2 TB of Irish cream
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 stick of butter
1 cup AP flour
3/4 tspn of baking soda
1/4 tspn salt
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 cupcake tin and 12 liners
In a small pot combine your stout, Irish cream, dark cocoa powder and butter, and place over medium heat. Let the mixture warm up, stirring until the butter is melted and the chocolate is combined – do not boil, just warm it slowly. A tip: slowly adding the cocoa powder versus plopping it all in, makes for a smooth texture. While that is heating up, combine your flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer stand and set aside. Once your stout/chocolate butter mixture is ready, add to your flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Finally, add your egg and your sour cream and mix until it’s incorporated too. Note – the mixture will look loose. That is ok!!
Bake at 325 for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Irish Cream Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese-softened
1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Irish cream
A note: I don’t like sickeningly sweet frosting, so there’s not a ton of sugar in here. Taste as you go, and add more sugar to your liking.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar and cream cheese blending until all is incorporated, slowly add your Irish cream until you have consistency that you want. Apply to a cooled off cupcake and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy!
Yours in chocolatey goodness,
What a year. Covid, murder hornets, wild fires and don’t get me started on all the sourdough bread I ate. What a dumpster fire 2020 was – but you know what pairs well with a dumpster fire? A Cocktail.
Specifically, Mezcal cocktails. With it’s smoky goodness it’s a pretty great ingredient to help send out the year. Mezcal can range from floral to heavy smoke and for these cocktails, I went with one lower on the smoke scale. While I partnered a few months ago with El Silencio, Yuu Baal is another good option.
So, ready to put 2020 behind you with a couple cocktails?
Smoke and Fire
1 part Mezcal
3 parts pineapple juice
1 splash key lime juice
Tajin or a spicy lime salt for dusting (I also like Kinders’ Tequila Lime)
Pineapple slices for garnish
Directions: Coat the rim of your glass with line and coat with your Tajin. Combine juice, Mezcal and ice, shake, strain and pour into your glass. (1 part = 1 ounce, but you can mix it up to taste).
Since one cocktail is delicious, why not add in another? This one combines the herbaceous flavor of rosemary, the tartness of grapefruit and the slight smoke of the Mezcal.
1 part Mezcal
1 part rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part fizzy water or tonic
Directions: Combine all ingredients with ice, shake, strain and pour into a glass.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
A tip: Simple syrup is always 1 part sugar to 1 part water.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 large sprigs of rosemary
Directions: combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring until combines and just starting to simmer. Take off of heat and add your rosemary and let it steep for 20 minutes while it cools off. Remove the rosemary and chill your syrup. A note: When I added my rosemary at the start, the flavor was a little too bitter for me.
So there you go – 2 easy drinks to wrap up the year and bring in more of the good! I’ll be back soon to update you on all that’s been going on and to showcase more of what you can expect to see in 2021!
How are you spending your New Years, dear reader?
Yours in looking forward to better days!
****As always, I disclose when I have partnered with a company. I did receive both product and compensation for an Instagram post with El Silencio, but this post is all me. 🙂
Lately my sleep has been all over the place. Blame it on the craziness of 2020 or any of the other things that a normal year may bring. Up late? Yep. Asleep at 7 pm? That too. I’ve been working on other relaxation techniques, but came to the realization that I needed to cut down on coffee and not have it after noon if I wanted to get any sleep. It’s cold here in Seattle, and I still want something warm – enter my winter tisane.
Wait…I can hear you asking, “what’s a tisane”? Think tea, but without the true tea leaves – various plant components (like roots, stems, flowers, leaves of plants) steeped in hot water.
This tasty combo is earthy, chocolaty and has just a hint of orange. 3 easy to find ingredients that I now keep in my rotation to keep me warm and happy.
Relaxing Winter Tisane
Makes 3 cups
2 Tablespoons cacao husks, like the ones from the Cacao Tea Co.*
1 Tablespoon organic roasted dandelion root (it should come chopped, if not, run a sharp knife over it until it’s in small pieces)
1/8 Teaspoon dried orange peel (optional)
Cream and honey to taste
Add the cacao husks, dandelion root and orange peel to a heatproof container or coffee press, pour hot (but not boiling) water over the mixtures and let steep for 5-7 mins. Strain out the solids and pour into a cup. Add cream and honey to taste.
Easy, right? It’s easy to make it your own by add other herbs or flavors that make you happy. Enjoy!
Yours in getting a good nights sleep,
*As always, I will only recommend products I have tested and feel good about the quality of those products. The nice folks at The Cacao Tea Co were kind enough to send me a bag of their cacao husks to try out.