iced chai tea

hello my friends.

As usual, I’ve been missing in action.  There’s been so much going on and life seems crazy all of a sudden.

 

And here we are, summer 2016 😜

 

It it no secret that summer is my least favorite season of the year, but for all that annoys me about it, there are a few things I actually really like.

 

Like Iced Chai tea.

 

I’ll order it out now and then, but it’s kind of pricey for what it is.  Plus, so many of them that you order are actually just mixes that have chemicals in them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still drink them, but I went on a mission to make one at home that could rival one from a popular coffee shop.

I started with This recipe, then played around with it just a bit.

I played around with a few recipes and tweaked them until I came up with one that I am throughly enjoying.

Iced chai ingredients

 

iced chai tea

2.5 cups water

1 cup fat free milk

1 cinnamon stick

3 cardamom pods, pierced with a pairing knife

3 nobs candied ginger

a few gratings of fresh nutmeg

3 whole cloves

5 whole peppercorns

1/3 cup of organic sugar

3 black tea bags

 

start by adding everything except for the tea bags to a pot, and slowly heat up, making sure you don’t bring it to a boil

( or else the milk will boil over and you’ll have yourself a big ol mess.  Or so I’ve heard 😂😂😂)

 

ChaiLet simmer for 10 minutes on low

imageAdd tea bags’ cover and let brew for 5- 7 minutes, off heat.

 

  • I doubled this batch which is why there’s more than 3 tea bags, start with the original recipe, then if you like it, it doubles easily 😊*

imageThis is an excellent time to play fetch with your pup.  That little nugget in the background is my newest grand-puppy, Varly. More on her later 😉🐾💜

imageOnce it’s brewed to your liking, strain with a fine mesh sieve

image* I did not discard this, I have been saving it in a Baggie and reusing it for a second batch *

 

imageLet the mixture cool.

Now, I don’t have it pictured, but I froze some of this in ice cube trays in the freezer so that if you simply cannot wait for it to cool, you can use those cubes to have some immediately without having it water down from the hot chai melting the normal ice cubes.

 

 

I happened to to stumble across this at good old Target 🎯

image

This is a step that you can skip, but I was in a playful mood so I had fun with it 😁

image

Sprinkle some chai sugar on a plate

image

Dip the top of a glass, margarita-style into a bit of the cooled chai

then roll in the sugar

 

image

Fill glass with ice

image

 

Pour chilled chai over ice and enjoy!

 

I changed it up a bit with the batch I made yesterday.  I added a whole vanilla bean and agave syrup in place of syrup.

It also came out fantastic!

I’ve been making a double batch, storing in mason jars and I’m finding that it’ll last and still taste as good as fresh for about 4 days in the fridge.

I didn’t bother pricing out this recipe vs. buying one out, but I’d venture to guess that a large batch of this would cost  a fraction of even one large drink purchased out.

 

let me know if you try this! I’m at that point where I can’t seem to get enough of this drink!  And it’s making the heat and stickiness of summer *almost* bearable for me

 

ciao bellas!

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a perfect week night meal

hi friends.

how have you been?  tough week for me, but I’m rallying thanks to some awesome family & friends 🙂

 

Ya wants a recipe? cool beans… I have one for you 😉

 

A few weeks ago I posted THIS quiche recipe. And truly, it’s awesome. It’s decadent. It’s worthy of my Easter table.

 

Let’s face it .. ANYTHING with pie crust is worthy. Yes? yes.

Which is why the recipe that I have to share with you tonight ( although still worthy of my Easter table) is just a little bit  easier to fit into a week night dinner line-up…  there is no crust 😉 Really? Really.

 

this recipe is thanks to my mother-in- law. She shared this with me when we were first married, and 10,000 years later, I still make it.

 

MANY years ago( like 165) when Scott and I were first married we had almost no money. He was in school still and I was a hairdresser and I picked up a shift or two waitressing when I could. Our grocery money was whatever I had earned in tips that week.. good or bad.. It’s what we lived with. Most weeks our budget ( for the 3 of us) was in the $30 range.

 

Ramen was good…. Boxed Mac & cheese was good. store brand spaghetti and jarred sauce were our friends.

I remember once, we bought a huge jug of peach wine. That just lasted us almost a year… ( who WERE we?) oh yeah… young and poor 😉

 

Funny thing is, the jug of wine came in a box  and I still havet that box… Scott’s Dungeons and Dragons stuff is still in there.

 

You think I’m kidding?

I could make this up if I tried.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:6]

 

 

I did not use pepperoni in this quiche… I used broccoli & red pepper… and garlic gold in place of garlic salt

 

 

a sprinkle of salt and pepper 🙂

 

 

 

 

pour mixture, then top with a bit of extra cheese

 

cheese is good. I called it.

 

 

I. KNOW!  RIGHT???  yum!!!!

 

so there ya have it folks…. inexpensive, quick and easy….

 

as the kids got older, I found myself throughout the week chopping up extra veggies each night ans saving them so that whatever night I made the quiche, I would pull out all of the veggies & they could ‘ make their own’ pie.

 

 

one last note.. since I brought up the D& D stuff I have to share that he actually took me on a date once to play D&D.

 

who was  I??

 

much love, friends…

 

oh one last thing.. if you follow me on Fb then you already know that Celia is the winner of the dryer balls.   I’m loving rafflecopter.  IT keeps track of all entries and is completely auto mated when it picks a winner….  That will make it easier for me to give ya’ll more stuff 🙂

 

 

xoxooxox

field trip friday

back in THIS POST I explained how I shop at many different stores for different things.  These day , most of us have options, and to make the most of your money by utilizing these options just makes plain ol’ sense.   One of my favorite stores is none other than 

none other than Trader Joe’s..   Now some of you may be thinking… really a post about Trader Joe’s?

 

yes.

 

because I happen to know that some of you who read this have the luxury of living not to far from one and still have not yet been.

 

in contrast, I know many of you who do not live near one and would give anything to be able to go.

so yes, folks…  On Friday I went to Trader Joe’s… and this is my story ❤

~it all started one dreary Friday morning…  Lol.. jut kidding * giggle*

 

Tj’s is not your typical grocery store. In fact it is hard to describe. For those of you who think it is a high-end store, such as Whole Foods, you would be wrong. Tj’s is not a big store, but what is packed into each location is soe wonderful things.

They have tons of cheeses…  a food near and dear to my heart. I actually decided this past halloween that trick or treating would be MUCH more fun if it were trick or cheesing.

 

I’m serious. a different cheese at every house? how brilliant would that be?

but really.. it’s true.  they have a whole wall of cheese and it is the best price that you will find around… They have cheeses for all over the world! and often times some seasonal specials…see what I mean?  If you are lucky then you will go on a day that the cheese lady is making the rounds.. ( what a great job that must be 😉  This was a lucky day for me 🙂 cheese snack while shopping?

 

yes. please.

 

Next is the NUTS..  you will not find a better price on nuts anywhere.  And next to the nuts are the dried fruits.  if you are into making your own GRANOLA then tis is your haven….

 

and again…  you wont beat the prices.

 

They have a little counter where an employee is always cooking something to sample.. and a coffe urn for coffe samples. ( the free food samples is a great way to entice kids to go with you 😉

 

the frozen fruits and veggies are also a great deal here ( no pic… I’m sorry)  You wont find any name brands in here.. it is all their own brand … but trust me, the quality is second to none.  On the shelves above the frozen items are all sorts of snacks…  from mini sugar cookies shaped like cats to Ryan’s favorite, chocolate covered orange candies, seasonal crackers, etc….

 

you will find all sorts of canned items at fabulous prices… and lots of ‘meal starters’

 

you will find the friendliest of employees here. .. They truly love their job… love to talk food and recipes.  If you bring your own recyclable bag ( which y’all should be..) then you can enter a ticket into a drawing for a weekly Tj’s Gc!

let’s see.. have I forgotten anything….. probably… I’ll think of it at 3am…

 

so here’s my haul from Friday

 

* please forgive the carpy pics.. I’m currently having camera issues.. hopefully it will be fixed soon…*

 

I wont go over everything… but will talk a bit about what I bought..  The tube of tomato paste? 99 cents.  In the regular grocery store it is around 4 bucks. I bought parsnips… beacause Ry and i had parsnip puree somewhere and it was soo good! I need to work on a solid recipe so that when he comes home for Christmas, we can have it again:)

 

The chocolate bar… to die for!

Dark coconut caramel! yum!  and only 1 points plus per square for those who may be following weight watchers…

 

I bought 2 bags of the inner peas..  and I’m so glad that I did… they are a great snack!

Tjs almond butter is the best. I love this stuff.  Banana and almond butter on toast? yuminess.

 

and B12.. just because 🙂

 

 

the rosemary raisin crisps are one of my favorite things here! so. dang. good.  I think they are only available this time of year.. but I could be wrong.

pomegranate Kefir? yes. please.

 

the cheeses? both brie rounds and goat cheese rounds… each 2 pp and perfectly portioned.  Cute little mushrooms to stuff…  snow peas to steam right in the bag..

 

here is something else that you will find here…  great spice blends… with built in grinders…  all 2 bucks. beat that!

 

*do you see what I see?*

 

* the sugar, coffee bean and chocolate blend is amazing on hot chocolate! *

 

so there you have it… I hope that if you have not been to this store yet, you will find time in your future to do so. it really is like a little field trip;)

 

on lastly.. on my fb page ( like much of the free world) I have been posting what I am thankful for during this month of gratitude.  Today, I am thankful not only fo the extra hour of sleep this morning, but also that my pup, Fenway, is thankful for it as well..

happy Sunday friends 🙂

simple addition

hiya!

4 things~

THIS

plus

THIS

plus

THIS

 

equals

 

happy birthday, Ali  I love you very much & am very proud of you!

it’s here!!!

FALL is here!!  finally 🙂  For this sweater lovin’, apple picking, boot addicted, hayride & PUMPKIN fanatic…. my time of year has arrived!!!

and what better way than with soup.  That was last years’ recipe.( click on the word soup to get to that recipe)  And although very tasty.. I was in the mood for something a little sweeter… A little bit of research & I found Williams-Sonoma cream of butternut and apple soup! a perfect recipe for me to start with

  • Ingredients….from Williams-Sonoma website
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Bermuda onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lb.,
    peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and
    chopped
  • 4 pinches of Spanish saffron threads, about
    1 tsp.
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
( yes, chef, i know that i did not use Granny Smith apples…. I didn’t have them 😦

Directions:

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the squash and stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
I basically followed the recipe , the only change that I made was that didn’t have heavy cream ( I had used it when I made parsnip puree the night before & forgot to grab more) ( yum, BTW!) .. so I made the soup up until that point, then swirled a bit of milk at the end right in the bowl & garnished with some rubbed sage….
it’s as warm and fuzzy as my favorite boots 🙂
sianara summer!  it’s been real 🙂

ricotta.

I can’t seem to get Dexy’s midnight runners’ out of my head today. Anyone else??

 

I know that the song is about  EILEEN  but in my head I’ve been singing IRENE. I know, I can be twisted.

Kay.. enough of that. who likes Cheesecake?

Lasagna?

Cheese ravioli?

yeah. me too. and three.

Ok.. guilty, when it comes to cheese I eat one and a half my portion of a serving. Sometimes more.

I must have som kind of mis guided genetic mutation. Yeah, that sounds good. It couldn’t POSSIBLY be my lack of self control??

nah.. didn’t think so.

 

I like super-dee-duperly love cheese

 

It is the sole reason that I could never become vegan.

Cheese. I love ricotta cheese. I used to be able to buy an imported one that I just LOVED. Then the store stopped carrying it. That one cheese ruined me for any other ricotta. Ruined. I swear I could always taste the careseaguem gum ( or whatever it was called) in most grocery store brands.

I’ve seen fresh ricotta in the gourmet cheese section, but just could not stomach the price.

Imagine my surprise when I came across a recipe for freshly made home made ricotta. made at home! (hmm. probably why it is called home made?)

If you are ready to walk away right now, thinking ” no way. she might be able to do it, but I never will.” then STOP. right in your tracks. You CAN do this, you  SHOULD do this & you will not believe the results! ( and never ever need to recycle a plastic ricotta container that the ricotta had started sucking the plastic container taste into.)

adapted from epicurious

you will need.

1 quart ( 32 ounces) of milk ( I used 1 %)

1 Cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

juice of 2 lemons.

cheesecloth-lind strainer over a bowl

In a large pot over high heat, bring milk, cream & salt to a rolling boil, stirring often so that it doesn’t scorch.

Then add the lemon juice, again stirring often until it curdles. ( don’t be grossed out, we WANT it to curdle) Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Slowly pur mixture ( be careful. it’s hot *sizzle*) into cheese cloth lined strainer

*FULL disclosure*

Ryan came up while I was making this today just as I was pouring it into the strainer. I SWEAR to you.. It hit me at that moment why it is called cheesecloth!  HE said, “mom, you are kidding me!!” sadly. no.

 

and let it drain. Once curd is separated from the whey, place in the refrigerator to chill (keep a bowl underneath because it will continue to drain) .

Now when I made it yesterday, I through out the whey. But I have been reading about ways to use it AND got to thinking about how much we pay for whey protein in the store.  HMMM???

 

so today I drained it into a mason jar. I will find a use for it.

Muhawww!

so here is the final product

what? you want a closer look?

cool. buckets. I’m yer girl 🙂

this was amazing on our pizza last night.. and will somehow be a part on tonights’ dinner. Please try to make this. I can only compare it to….

jarred store- bought sauce vs. home made marinara

 

chocolate flavored candy disks vs. Godvia Chocolate.

giant jug of wine to Vintage cabernet.

Easter peeps to.. well, really?… anything……

ok.. one last bit of news .. My half-sister gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl today!

welcome to the world, Kalli Grace… I will embroider your quilt & send it on you way!

I made it for you with much love 🙂

~aunty shel 🙂

 

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