Category Archives: food & drink

Quenching my thirst

What’s your drink? Mine is wine, and oh do I love it. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve drank a few too many bottles over the last few years, but I’ll chalk it up to being in my twenties (and I only get to say that for another month and a half).

When life gives you lemons, you know what you have to do…

Due to some recent health issues in my family, my hubby and I have both cut back on the alcohol, but now there seems to be a big empty hole in those sunny Saturday afternoons which used to be filled nicely with a cold six-pack. And so, I need an alternative.

Rosemary lemonade, from the Weekly Greens blog.

I’ve started coming up with tasty mixes for flavoured water or tea. You’ve already read about my recipe for rhubarb iced tea, and I’m sitting here now, enjoying a tarty little glass of rosemary lemonade (pictured above), a recipe I found on the Weekly Greens blog.

Mint and orange green tea.

There are tons of great ways to spruce up plain old iced tea, like adding just mint and oranges, as pictured above. I added about five bags of green tea and let it steep/chill for a few hours for a great afternoon thirst quencher.

In addition to tea, flavoured waters have been a real treat. Just add your ingredients to a pitcher, top with water (I prefer tap myself, but bottled or mineral would be great too), and let sit overnight in the fridge. The longer you leave it, the more the different flavours will mix and mingle, creating a little party just for you. As pictured, I’ve tried mixing cucumber/mint/lemon and strawberry/basil/orange. Both turned out quite tasty.

Cucumber, mint and lemon water.

Strawberry, basil and orange water.

Here’s where you come in, Internet. Do you have favorite non-alcoholic bevvie recipes you’ve created or found on your online travels? Leave a comment and share if you don’t mind! Cheers to your health!

Where has pesto been all my life?

Cooking (and eating, for that matter) is a constant journey of discovery. It should be, anyway. How I’ve never before explored pesto is a mystery to me, but thank goodness I have finally found it. I saw a basic recipe somewhere on my internet travels and then did some research and put together my first ever pesto, which I swear has renewed any craving I ever had to visit Italy, but with an intense vigor.

Here, for you, is…

Discovery Pesto

Combine the following in your food processor:

  • Two handfuls of fresh basil (a large portion of a plant — I have planted several plants this summer just for this purpose)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pine nuts
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (please please please don’t use the stuff from a container. Fresh = amazing)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • A couple good turns of your grinder of sea salt
  • 2-3 large splashes of olive oil (may need more)

The most delicious ingredients imaginable.

Blend until smooth. Prepare to be blown away by the amazing aromas wafting around you. Add more olive oil as needed in order to get a smooth consistency. Pour over your choice of cooked pasta. I used bowtie pasta below. This was enough for a good-sized side for about 2-3 people.

Mmmm… Discovery pesto…

I served this pesto with salmon. And let me share with you this amazing little trick that I picked up from a blog called The Mother Huddle via Pinterest: grill your salmon on top a layer of lemons!! Not only will you not have to worry about a giant mess to scrape off your grill (fish sticks something awful, doesn’t it), but the fish will come off the grill easily and it will pick up some of that delicious citrus flavor as it cooks. And it looks pretty in the photo, doesn’t it? I slathered my salmon with melted butter and garlic while it cooked too.

Grill fish on a bed of lemons to prevent a mess!

Rhubarb iced tea (with easy conversion to mojito!)

Every Spring, my garden explodes with rhubarb, and it gets bigger every year. I’ve made the pies, the rhubarb crisp and have given a lot of the stalks away, and I still always seem to end up with a freezer full of chopped rhubarb. It’s time to be more creative.

I came up with a rhubarb tea drink, that can be drank hot or iced, and with a couple quick changes, even makes a great mojito, for those lazy Saturday afternoons in the back yard.

Rhubarb iced tea (or mojito)

(Makes about 4 short or 2 tall iced tea bevvies.)

Cut enough rhubarb stalks to make 2 c. chopped rhubarb. Clean and chop, and place the fruit in a pot with:

  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. water
  • The zest and juice of half a lemon or orange
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

Allow this mixture to come to a boil and then simmer it for 15 minutes. Strain it and put the lovely pink juice in the fridge to cool down. (Or if you want it as hot tea, add some mint leaves and drink now! A bit of extra hot water can be added if it’s too sweet.)

Grab your fun summery glasses, and add to each and muddle together:

  • A few mint leaves
  • Lime zest and juice
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg

Fill the glasses halfway with the rhubarb juice. For the non-alcoholic version, fill the rest with ginger ale or sparkling water (mmm bubbles!), add ice and a sprig of mint for garnish and serve (pictured below). For the cocktail version, add an oz. of white rum, fill the rest of the glass with club soda, add ice and a sprig of mint and enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate peanut butter oat stacks

When I was a kid, my mom and I would make cookies together. I would ask for cookies and before I knew it, there would be delicious smells wafting from the oven and I’d be licking out the bowl, usually with my fingers or directly with my tongue, but never with a spoon. My mom always made baking seem so effortless, never done with a recipe, just created. That’s how it seemed at the time.

Now as an adult, baking is definitely not one of my strengths. I have to study the recipe, measure things carefully, and still usually end of burning the final product.

So what’s a girl to do when she has a sudden attack of chocolate cravings and there’s not a chocolate bar in sight? Well, just for you, I created possibly the world’s easiest and fastest, no-bake chocolately cookie recipe specifically for these desperate times.

Chocolate peanut butter oat stacks (or, Quick ‘n easy chocolate fix cookies)

(makes about 12)

  • 1 c. chocolate chips*
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 c. rolled oats

Melt the first four ingredients together in the microwave on in a pot on the stove. Resist the urge to eat this with a spoon (ok, try one bite). Add the oats and mix. Allow to cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, then place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet by the spoonful and put back in the fridge until set.

Voila! Chocolate craving satisfied.

(*If this is still too much, yes, you could just eat the chocolate chips by the handful, but seriously, have some self-control!)

Recipe: Slow cooker enchiladas

When I first met my now husband, I had an addiction. To nachos. My friends can attest that I ate them for dinner or lunch at least five days a week. And when I wasn’t eating nachos, I was eating burritos. Or tacos. Mexican food has been a long-time favorite food of mine (luckily for my husband – and my waistline – my tastes and skills in the kitchen have evolved a bit from the “bachelor” type food I used to constantly consume).

Now, the usual nachos or tacos do get a little boring on occasion, so I found the basis for an enchilada recipe and adapted it for the slow cooker, and added a bunch of delicious ingredients to make it a full, well-rounded meal.

Slow cooker enchiladas

Bean, cheese and spinach mixture.

Mix together the following ingredients (and besides these, you’ll need tortillas and salsa):

  • 1 regular can of mixed or black beans, slightly mashed
  • 1/2 cup spinach (I use the frozen kind, thawed and wrung out to remove excess moisture)
  • 1 c. corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • a handful of cilantro, optional
  • red pepper flakes (amount depending on how much heat you want)

    Place the mixture in a tortilla.

Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with salsa. Wrap several tbsp. of this mixture in the tortillas and place in the slow cooker, seam down. The amount you can fit depends on the size of your pot, and keep in mind you can only have one layer, or they will get soggy and fall apart (enchilada stew?!).

Place the rolled tortillas in the slow cooker

Cover with more cheese and salsa and fill in the gaps with the remaining mixture. Cook on low for 3-3.5 hours.

Cover with extra cheese, salsa and bean mixture.

Tip!  Serve with tortilla chips to clean up the extra mix that might fall out or that is left in the pot. Extra tip: serve with delicious lime margaritas for a true Mexican evening. You could even break out a piñata for a really good time.

Serve with chips and margaritas!