Strawberry-Pepper Shrub


Strawberry Shrub

If you haven’t had a shrub before, it’s basically a fruity vinegar concentrate that can be mixed with water / sparkling water / alcohol to make a super refreshing drink.  I have also used this strawberry shrub to make a light vinaigrette dressing for a strawberry-baby spinach-candied pecan salad.  I’m sure there is a proper way of making it, but I like the method below because it is easy. You can let it sit longer or shorter in the fridge prior to straining depending on how strong you want the flavors to be. I wait until the strawberries look washed out and have lost some of their color.

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Tiger nut milk


tiger-nuts
Tiger nuts, tiger nut milk, and tiger nut flour- YUM!  Years ago, when I was visiting Spain, I tried these tiny little snacks called tiger nuts.  They were sweet and nutty, and so addictive!  Many of the places I visited also sold tiger nut milk, which tasted like dessert.  I was so surprised when I learned that they are actually root vegetables, and not nuts!   Anyhow, I saw some in the store and had to pick them up.   I started munching on them the minute I checked out at the cashier.  In addition to just snacking on them, I made tiger nut milk (soooo good when chilled). Since I couldn’t bear to waste any of the tiger nuts, I turned the fibrous pulp into “flour” and now have a new flour to play with in the kitchen.  I’ll post recipes using the flour as I work on them.

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Fennel Vodka


Fennel vodka

A few weeks ago, I made this Apple, Fennel, Manchego Salad.  I used the fennel bulb in the salad, but was left with a whole cup of fronds.  I couldn’t bear the idea of throwing them away, so I thought I’d stick them in vodka and see what happens.  It’s delicious!  It has a light, fresh taste and the pale green is so summery- it’s perfect for this weather!  Today, I added a spoonful to sparkling water and it was really refreshing.  Next, I plan on playing with a fennel-cucumber drink… stay tuned!

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Hazelnut Milk


Hazelnut Milk

We were talking about non-dairy milks at dinner last night, and hazelnut milk came up.  I don’t know how I never thought of making this before!  I made three small batches today to test different proportions and additions, and loved the recipe below.  Toasting it really brings out a different flavor, which felt richer to me.  I also added a small bit of chocolate to one batch and it tasted like a Nutella drink.  You can also add sugar if you want, but I prefer it unsweetened.  However, the recipe below is more versatile, so I’m posting the plain version.

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Almond Milk


Almond Milk

YUM!  Forget cereal, this has become my go-to snack and dessert when I am home!  Until I started making almond milk routinely, I never realized how easy and delicious this is.  I started making this at home because I noticed that almond milk from the store has different gums and flavoring additives.  The most basic recipe is to blend the soaked almonds with water and strain it, but I really enjoy a jazzed up version.  I add oatmeal for a little thickness and texture, dates for sweetness, and cinnamon/vanilla/salt for flavor. It requires a bit of pre-planning since you have to soak the almonds, but other than that, it’s quick.  I also decided to buy a mesh bag to make it easier, but cheesecloth works fine if that is what you have.

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Homemade Pumpkin Pulp


Pumpkin Pulp 2

Until last year, I always used to buy pumpkin pulp from the store, and I’ll admit, I still do if I’m craving pumpkin dishes and don’t have a real pumpkin on-hand.  However, now, if I plan ahead, I prefer to buy my own pumpkin and cook it.  It feels like the epitome of fall to go to a farmer’s market and pick out a pumpkin to bring home.  I like using pie pumpkins because I find that they have less seeds and less stringy flesh.  Don’t be intimidated- the toughest part is cutting the pumpkin in half… =)

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Roasted Veggie Soup


I was in the mood for soup one day, so I picked up a few veggies that looked healthy.  This soup is relatively simple, low-fat, and tastes really good because the veggies are roasted!  It’s also pretty forgiving in terms of which veggies you put in, and how much- so it’s great for using up leftover veggies!  If you want to make it creamy, you can add a spoon of sour cream or cream cheese when you serve it.

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Pumpkin Feast (Vegetarian)


A few weeks ago my sister and her fiance threw a surprise birthday party for me- and the second best part (first best being everyone coming of course!) was that it was pumpkin themed!!!  The really amazing thing was that there was such a wide variety of dishes, appetizers, main dishes, desserts, drinks, etc.- and all vegetarian!  I was completely blown away by the variety- hence calling the post “Pumpkin Feast.”  

Sadly, in the shock of being surprised, I forgot to take pictures, but take my word for it- every single thing was delicious and I highly highly recommend them.  The menu is below and as I get the links from people, I’ll connect them.

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Summer Picnic


This is an extremely belated post since it is from the picnic we had for Mother’s Day.  So, although Mother’s Day is gone, the dishes we made for the picnic are great summer foods.  We decided to have a variety of salads and dips instead of one main dish, and we were definitely stuffed when it was over!  Some of the things we picked up from Trader Joe’s, but the rest we made at home.

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Mint Limeade


A couple years ago we went to visit our friends in Egypt.  While we were there, they made this really refreshing mint limeade drink.  Although we’ve tried to make it a few times, it never tasted quite the same- it always had a slightly bitter taste.  Anyhow, I was grocery shopping yesterday and key limes were on sale, so I picked up a bag. This was the first time I tried key limes with this drink, and it worked!  I think the main difference is that the small key limes have really thin skin, whereas the regular limes have thicker skins.  We didn’t have mint at home, so I didn’t add any today, but I included it in the recipe since it tastes good blended into the drink.

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Bubble Tea


And the snow day experiments continue… sometimes I really get a craving for bubble tea.  If you’ve never had bubble tea, it’s basically a tea or smoothie that has chewy tapioca pearls in it.  I personally love them, but I have friends who definitely are not fans.  The only way to find out is to try it!  I bought the tapioca pearls from the local Asian food store.  The recipe for preparing the tapioca pearls in syrup is described below.  To make the drink, add the pearls and syrup to your favorite hot or cold tea/smoothie.

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Pumpkin Spice Coffee


I’m not a huge Starbucks fan, but the one thing I really love there is the pumpkin spice latte.  This is my version of it so that I can have it year round =)

Note:  Since I like drinking this at work, where I don’t have access to a stove, I made a microwavable version.  I kept the measurements the same below for simplicity, but when I make it for work, I make a large batch by mixing the pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin pulp, vanilla, and sugar.  I store this mix in a bottle in the fridge and add 3 tbsp of it to 1 tbsp of instant coffee and 1 cup of milk.

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Mulled Wine


I had a sip of mulled wine years and years ago, and it obviously left an impression because I spent hours on the internet today trying to find a recipe that would come close to what I tasted.  I ended up just mixing my own combination of spices and it turned out yum!!!  I hope people enjoy it tomorrow at the New Year’s party.  There’s something very comforting about drinking a warm spiced wine on a cold day…

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