Strawberry Matcha Lattes

Crafting drinks is NOT my forte. I’m not even going to lie. Some people make gorgeous and unique drinks. I usually drool over my friend Marjorie’s drinks on Instagram. (FOLLOW HER! Homegirl is so adorable and so sweet!) Otherwise, I’ll pay half of my month’s rent for something pretty elsewhere, beit a gorgeously adorned drink from a hip cocktail bar that has Cuban cigar smoke erupting from it, or a CDB & collegen-infused turmeric latte with an activated charcoal palm tree stenciled on top.

Yet, I try. And practice makes perfect, I suppose.

I may not have the steady hand and skills of those that make gorgeous layered drinks at some of NYC’s top matcha spots, but nuts to a perfectly layered appearance. We’re all imperfect in some way, aren’t we? (Too philosophical? Ha!) What matters is that the taste of this drink is absolute perfection! Like…DAMN. The earthy matcha melds with the sun-dappled strawberries to make a drink that is refreshing and fulfilling.

While I try to go the dairy-free route as much as possible, I’ll just say this: This latte tastes the best with whole milk! (Insert an exponential amount of Drool emojis here.🤤)

Also, shout out to Tossware! I’ve been using their high quality BPA-free PET / rPET polymer tumblers for quite some time. (You’ve seen them in a previous recipe, Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails!) Believe me, they’ve come in handy when I’ve had quality over. They are easy to recycle, and I’ve even kept some and use them as regular glassware! Thank you – again! – for providing me this wonderful product for testing purposes. ✌️

Strawberry Matcha Lattes
(Adapted from the Cin, Cin, Let’s Eat! recipe for Strawberry Matcha Lattes)
(Makes 2 12-ounce cup servings)

Ingredients:

– 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
– 3 tablespoons water (for strawberry sauce)
– 1/2 cup boiling water (for matcha)
– 2 tsp matcha powder
– 1 cup milk of choice (Please see Before We Get Started…)
– Ice (optional)

Before We Get Started:

– I tested this recipe in two 12-ounce short glasses. I found that roughly 3 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce, 1/2 cup of milk, and 1/4 cup matcha tea filled up one 12-ounce glass. Depending on the type of glassware you are drinking this latte from, feel free to adjust these measurements as you see fit, e.g. adding more milk. I did test one of these cups with some ice…but I only had two ice cubes, so I had little to work with. Ha! Directions on adding optional ice cubes are in Step #3.

– Feel free to add sweetener of choice to this drink, but I prefer to keep it free of added sugars, as the strawberries are sweet enough. If trying to keep this as low-sugar as possible, opt for unsweetened non-dairy milks.

– If you want to make the strawberry sauce en masse for future use, double (or triple! Quadruple!) this recipe and store in an airtight container – in your fridge – for up to one week.

Directions:

1.) In a medium saucepan, combine strawberries and 3 tablespoons of water over medium-high heat. Allow strawberries to cook and break down for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then add to food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, or place in fridge to cool.

2.) When ready to assemble latte, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add matcha powder and whisk with bamboo matcha whisk – or a regular whisk – until dissolved.

3.) To assemble drink, add 3 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce to the bottom of the glass. If adding ice cubes, add to glass. Slowly pour milk over the strawberry sauce. Slowly top milk with matcha. Slowly consume! 😆

Advertisements

Hot Blood Orange Apple Cider

I sit here thinking to myself, “Is saying ‘hot blood’ in a recipe title appealing?

I sure you, this recipe is delicious AND it is blood-free. Ha!

I love hot mulled apple cider, and it definitely makes its way into my regular sipping rotation throughout the autumn and winter. Frankly, I look forward to my local farmers’ market every Saturday in the colder weather, because I can always get a nice hot cup of it from the Samascott Orchards while perusing their items. You can smell it a block away, I swear!

Funny, because this recipe for Yoga By Candace was almost going to be glühwein, but, as a former resident of Germany, she told me she couldn’t stand it. Quite the opposite, I LOVE glühwein. Ha! So I might have to make my own recipe for this blog at some point.

Until then, please visit YBC for my latest recipe on her site, Hot Blood Orange Apple Cider. The spices, the warmth, and the slight citrus kick will win you over on any cold morning. Trust. ✌️

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails

‘Tis the season for hosting holiday gatherings. The kitchen enthusiast in me loves it. The introvert in me that is wickedly Type A loathes it. Ha!

However, where there is a will, there is a way. My will? To serve an easy drink. The way? Keep it simple!

In a season full of cocktails, many folks abstain from alcohol for a myriad of reasons. Ain’t nothing wrong with some flavorful effervescent mocktails! Apple cider mixed with champagne sure makes a killer cocktail – a nice Apple Cider Mimosa, if you will – but a top-notch ginger ale makes a wonderful substitute in this case, adding a lightly spicy kick to an already tangy cider.

These two drinks combine effortlessly make something festive that captures the late autumn / early winter holiday feeling in the air. The cider makes you think of the crisp chill, and the ginger and cinnamon-sugar add a nice warmth of flavor. Honestly, you’ll spend more time dipping the rims of your glasses in the cinnamon-sugar than mixing the cider and ginger ale together!

Speaking of glasses, it’s really nice to have good disposable glassware on hand for when I have friends over. I only have so many actual glasses in my cabinet – and goodness knows I don’t have a single champagne flute to my name. Ha! – but I certainly feel guilty buying too many cheap plastic cups when the total of my company exceeds the total of my glassware. (Sorry, Planet Earth!) However, with these wonderful Tossware Champagne Flutes, which are made from recyclable BPA-free PET / rPET polymer, I can rest a little easier knowing I won’t be adding another needless pile to a landfill at the end of the night. I can simply sit back and enjoy a drink or two or five. 😉

NOTE: The fine folks at Tossware generously furnished me with their eco-friendly champagne flutes for this post. Thank you! Please be sure to visit their site and learn more about this wonderful company.


Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktails
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons white sugar (optional)
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
– 1 cup apple cider
– 1 liter ginger ale (I used Q Ginger Ale)
– Whole rinsed cranberries, for garnish (optional)

Before We Get Started…

– The addition of cinnamon-sugar to the rims is optional, but it’s oh-so pretty!

Directions:

1.) If decorating rims: In a small shallow bowl or on a small plate, combine sugar and cinnamon. Wet the rims of the champagne flutes, then dip in cinnamon sugar mixture.

2.) Fill champagne flutes 1/4 full with apple cider, then top off with ginger ale.

3.) Garnish with cranberries, if desired. Serve immediately!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk cherries. Ground cherries. Husk tomatoes. Ground tomatoes. Cape gooseberries. There are too many names for these lil’ buggers – you can call ’em Physalis if you really want to get scientific about it – but husk cherries is the name I go for.

husk cherry scones

Last summer, I really noticed them for the first time at my local farmers’ market in Inwood – “Everything In Pint Boxes – $5!!!” a bright cardboard sign exclaimed as I looked at hundreds of little husky pods, unsure what the hell they were but eager to try them! I looked up recipes and settled upon a nice Husk Cherry Clafoutis!

That pint of fruit sat in the back of my fridge for many weeks, and I finally discovered it in October, promptly pitching them into the compost bag in my freezer.

Better luck in 2017, eh?

husk cherry scones

Sure enough, come mid-August, I started seeing husk cherries in my local farmers’ market; one day, while on a staycation from work, I took myself to the Union Square Farmers’ Market on a bright Wednesday morning and comparison-shopped pints of them, finally finding a $5 pint in one of the last vendors I looked at – side note, I balked at paying $6 for a pint, but then walked to MatchaBar and spent $6 on a iced matcha latte even though I had matcha and milk at home, because I’m THAT PERSON sometimes.

Moving on…

I attempted to make this Husk Cherry Clafoutis recipe I had saved from the previous August; it called for almond extract, which I didn’t have, but then I thought to myself, “Hey! Maybe I can just grind some almonds into the flour for the flavor!”

What erupted from my oven was an oddly delicious concoction that my roommate Kait and I loved – some sort of hybrid bread pudding with the consistency of a lemon bar – but it was definitely not a clafoutis by any means. Though we loved it, I didn’t think it would translate well to a universally – loved recipe by any means.

husk cherry scones

husk cherry scones

What can you always do a berry or berry-like fruit, though?

Scones! M’er f’in scones!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

The fruits, with a slightly pineapple flavor when yellow and a slightly green apple flavor when greener, are perfect for a buttery scone. Plus, I have a basic scone recipe that I’ve been using for a few years now that has served me right. Its base allows you to add to much to it, including – taaa daaa – husk cherries!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Don’t be afraid of or intimidated by these lil’ guys anymore! You now know at least one thing to do with them.

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk Cherry Scones
(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

Scones:

– 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed or shredded while frozen (see Before We Get Started…)
– 3/4 cup heavy cream
– 1 cup husk cherries, removed from husks and halved

Glaze (Optional):

– 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 2 tablespoons heavy cream or liquid of choice
– 1 teaspoon vanilla

Before We Get Started…

Refer to this recipe on why shredding frozen butter for scones is pretty much the best idea EVER. (Thanks, Dad!)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

3.) Add butter to dry ingredients; mix with hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and add heavy cream. Use hands to combine mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. Add husk cherries and gently combine into the mixture, taking care not to overly squeeze or press the fruit.

4.) Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for roughly 30 seconds. Form dough into a flat rough circle, approximately 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 triangular slices.

5.) Place scones on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and slightly cracked.

6.) Place on wire rack to cool slightly before eating.

6a.) If glazing scones, allow scones to cool completely before adding glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl, then drizzle glaze on scones with a large spoon.

7.) Store remaining scones in an airtight container.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Oh, SNAP. Is that Allison, back with a new recipe?

Time has allowed. So has my sanity. Haaa.

Shall we?

Admittedly, over the last few months, while cooking at home, my meals have been a lot more plant-based, or at least without any sort of meat. One, it’s summer, so it’s too damn hot to even pan-fry chicken some nights. Two, I’ve just been cravings vegetables, eggs, and cheeses, so I’m giving my body what it wants. I’ve been making panzanella (sans the bread) a lot, as well as a lot of vegetable and bean-based salads. After writing another food post over at Yoga By Candace for Bean & Sauerkraut Salad, I’ve been really trying to keep my gut health in check with methods I never really considered as much of, such as by eating lacto-fermented vegetables and taking at least one scoop of collagen peptides per day in my morning oats.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

In go the collagen peptides in quite a dramatic fashion…

I’ve lost a bit of weight; not that I was ever too heavily over, but after taking Paxil for a year between mid-2014 to mid-2015 for my GAD and shooting up to almost 160 (!!!) on my 5’6″ frame, I had a hard time losing those final few pounds over the past few years, leaving me in the 145 – 150 range. I’m back down to my “normal” 135 – 140 pound range with these diet (and exercise!) adjustments, which has me feeling better in a lot of ways. (I know, numbers on a scale shouldn’t matter…but… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

I’ve been trying to sneak as many veggies into odd places in my diet as possible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen the cauliflower smoothie trend blow up all over my Instagram feed. That pre-steamed riced bag of cauliflower from Whole Foods was sitting in my freezer for months, getting harder and harder by the day, silently taunting me from afar. I knew I’d use it one day.

Well…I did today.

At first, I was experimenting with making a good base cauliflower smoothie recipe: just the cauliflower, a plant-based milk, and a few spices and vanilla. I was having a hard time finding just that on Google, surprisingly. Also, I wanted to see if it was good enough to drink in just that form. In my mind, I thought I could create the ultimate healthy vanilla smoothie that would change the world.

Oh HELL no.

The base recipe I created definitely worked, but if you’re looking for a low-sugar alternative to drink immediately, screw it. Add something flavorful to that cauliflower smoothie base! Add something fruity! Add some damn sugar to it! I took a sip and almost spit it out like a spiteful toddler that didn’t want to eat her cauliflower. I tried. It’s just not good enough alone.

I started to query everyone’s love for the cauliflower smoothie trend, but then I found a combination that works.

I went for cocoa. I’m not made of stone.

Still, the cocoa itself made it better, but not something I’d want to drink.

I hoard blueberries in my freezer like a chipmunk saves nuts for winter, and they were, thankfully, that final ingredient that this smoothie needed.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

I’m not going to lie and say I’m totally on board with this trend yet…but…would I drink this smoothie again? Absolutely. I wouldn’t share this if I hated it.

Or…would I?

Nah, nah. It’s great. Ha!

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie; please note how I could not get my frozen blueberries to defrost, no matter how hard I tried. The struggle is real, y’all.

Chocolate Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie
(Makes One Serving)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup pre-steamed frozen cauliflower, preferably riced (Look for it at Whole Foods)
– 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used Malk Organics Maple Pecan)
– 2 teaspoons cocoa or cacao powder
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup blueberries, preferably frozen
– 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)

Notes:

– If preparing your own cauliflower for this recipe, be sure to steam and freeze it first. Leaving it raw will lead to a strong cruciferous flavor. It may also lead to some of the side effects that eating a heavy cruciferous meal stirs up. Haaa.

– The cauliflower will have a slightly grainy, though not unappealing texture. In other words, it will not be silky smooth. Just be aware!

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to your blender and blend for 1 – 2 minutes or until as smooth as possible. Pour into a glass and drink that bad boy immediately!