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. ✌️

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Coconut Avocado Lime Smoothie

Coconut Avocado Lime Smoothie

It is rare for me to go to the grocery store and be happy to find unripened avocados. I usually pitch an internal temper tantrum on nights when I’m picking up ingredients for dinner on my way home from work; there go my plans for avocados with my chicken / fried eggs / spiralized vegetable noodles / other hip Millennial dinner offerings.

That being said, an unripened avocado is your best friend when it comes to making this smoothie all it can be. We are all used to that tangy buttery flavor an avocado can have when we slice it on top of our salads, or when we make a big bowl of guacamole. However, the first time I made this smoothie a year ago, I was shocked at the subtly sweet flavor profile it carried, complete a slight melon note to it.

Coconut Avocado Lime Smoothie

This smoothie is so thick, you’ll forget that it’s vegan and dairy-free! Full-fat canned coconut milk is a godsend when it comes to making creamy smoothies.

Be prepared for a unique flavor, in my opinion. It’s buttery, almost a little tangy, with a critic kick. The first sip may throw you off, but keep on drinking! You’ll be happy you finished it.

Coconut Avocado Lime Smoothie

Coconut Avocado Lime Smoothie
(Serves Two)

Ingredients:

– 1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk, shaken
– 1/2 to one whole avocado, unripened (See note in Before We Get Started…)
– Zest and juice of one lime
– 1 – 2 tablespoons sweetener of choice
– 4 ice cubes
– Coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)

Before We Get Started…

– I’ve made this recipe with 1/2 an avocado and a whole avocado. The whole avocado yields a thicker smoothie, while half still gives it a bulk. If a super creamy smoothie is not up your alley, reduce the amount of avocado to 1/2 and increase the amount of ice cubes until a desired consistency is achieved.

Directions:

1.) Add coconut milk, avocado, lime juice, lime zest, sweetener, and ice cubes to a blender. Blend for 30 seconds or until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately, topping with coconut flakes, if desired.

A Night with Cocktail Courier

I’m not a huge drinker. I never have been. I prefer quality over quantity. Give me a good hard cider or a uniquely crafted cocktail once a month over numerous Happy Hours with subpar wine or another pink frozen margarita made with cheap tequila. Like the development of a memorable recipe, the craft of creating a stand-out cocktail is a true art. Could I do it? Hell no. Can I appreciate what others do? Absolutely.

A few weeks ago, the Instagram fiend in me came across a contest on Cocktail Courier’s photo feed: Like the photo they just posted, tag a friend, and be entered to win two boxes of Daisy de Elqui, a pisco-based drink by mixologist Roberto Rosa of The Plaza Hotel. What is Cocktail Courier, exactly? Think Blue Apron, but for drinks. Top bartenders have crafted amazing cocktail recipes. You, the future home bartender and imbiber, scan through their website for drink options choose which one(s) you want to make. Cocktail Courier will deliver all of the pre-portioned ingredients to your door. How wonderful! Well, a few days after I liked that photo, I got an Instagram notification alerting me that I had won, as well as the friend I had tagged. (Hey, Adam!) NICE! We didn’t order our boxes right away, but after an exceedingly long work month, topped off by an excruciatingly painful work week, I decided, “Yeeeah. We’re ordering both boxes to be delivered for Friday.” Cheers to that decision!

On said Friday night, Adam, his brother James, my roommate Vedika, and my college friend Lauren gathered in my cozy living room, surrounded by charcuterie, brie, liquor, and the ethereal sounds of Erykah Badu Radio on iTunes. We cracked open the boxes to find a very neat and tidy set-up. All portions of liquor were sealed in separate padded cardboard sections. The jalapeño-honey mix and fresh-squeezed lemon juice came in a sealed bag with a cold pack to keep them at a perfect temperature. Even the grapes that came for the cocktails were green and plump. One has the option to buy mixing tools and glasses from the web site. Luckily for me, Vedika bartends on the side and provided me with all of my tools. (Roommate perks.)

This was my first time crafting an  honest – to – goodness cocktail since, and correct me if I’m wrong, mixing Brugal with some ginger ale in a red Solo cup at a house party doesn’t really count. I’m so delightfully Type A in so many aspects of my life, so I followed the directions to a T and made the first four glasses individually. Adam made the second four glasses, and he just put it all of the ingredients into the cocktail shaker at once. (So, we differ in our techniques a little…) Regardless, each glass turned out delicious! Those that know me well know my aversion to anything spicy; case in point, when Vedika was making dinner the other night with onions and Indian spices, my entire face started to burn as I was idly sitting in our living room watching Hulu. Yeah. It’s that bad. I knew there was jalapeño in this cocktail, but the bite of it was offset by the tang of the lemon, the slightly citric taste of the muddled green grapes, and the sweetness of the orange liqueur and honey. This cocktail was absolutely perfect for a summery Friday night!

To check out the cocktail recipe that we crafted, the Daisy de Elqui, click on this pretty little link.

I’m definitely digging Cocktail Courier. As a sporadic drinker, I doubt I’d sign up for a subscription anytime soon, but with the option of à la carte ordering, I could definitely see myself ordering another box of cocktail fixins in the future. It certainly makes for a unique, fun, and interactive evening with a few good friends.

Just a few photos of the evening…

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NOTE: The post is not an ad for Cocktail Courier, nor have I been asked to speak about it. I merely wanted to share my wonderful experience!

Iced Lemon Green Tea

As the summer approaches and the temps get warmer, I’m consuming iced tea en masse. I try to go the homemade route as often as possible, because I prefer my teas to be unsweetened. I do find I have my favorite bottled kinds that have little to no sugar added (such as Harney & Sons Iced Tea, SOUND Sparkling Tea, and Teas’ Tea), but the majority of typical bottled iced teas are loaded with sugar. Even my favorite well-known organic iced tea brand recently changed their peach white iced tea formula, increasing its sugar by 6 grams per serving; I just feel physically awful after drinking something with even 25 grams of sugar in it.

There is something satisfying about making homemade drinks such as iced tea. I feel better drinking something in which have complete control of the ingredient input. Plus, it’s fun! It takes roughly 15 minutes to put a good iced tea together. Instead of spending $2 dollars or more for a bottle at the store, or spending $3 dollars or more for whatever Starbucks considers “iced tea”, brewing your own from tea bags saves you money in the long run! I prefer to make my green iced tea from Harney’s Organic Green Tea with Citrus & Gingko. A tin may cost $8 dollars for six packets of tea, but one bag yields 8 cups. One tin yields 48 cups. Therefore, you’re paying about 17 cents per cup. And just imagine how much cheaper it’d be if you used less expensive tea… 😉

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Iced Lemon Green Tea
(Makes 8 8oz. servings)

Ingredients:
-1 Packet green iced tea or 3 – 6 bags green tea
-2 cups boiling water
-6 cups cold water
-1/2 lemon, sliced

Before We Get Started…

-As mentioned in the introduction and ingredients, I usually use the specific iced tea packet. This equates to about 3 – 6 bags worth of your regular-sized tea bag. Three tea bags creates a strong yet palatable green tea flavor. I personally find four bags is a good number to brew, otherwise the batch may become a little bitter. If brewing regular teabags, be sure to remove any tags before adding to water to steep.

-While I use lemon, other great (and welcomed) additions to this recipe would be about 1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped, or about 3 tablespoons worth fresh sliced ginger. These can be added separately or in conjunction with the lemon. Experiment!

-Feel free to sweeten as needed, but I find the lemon flavor to be so strong, no sweeteners are necessary.

-Make sure you have a pitcher able to hold at least 8 cups of liquid ready to go. This recipe makes 8 cups on the nose, so you may have to dump a little out if it doesn’t all fit in the pitcher.

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Directions:

1.) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add teabag(s) to water and turn off heat, allowing tea to steep for 15 minutes.

2.) Remove teabag(s) from water; if cool enough to the touch, squeeze out any remaining liquid from the bags into the water.

3.) Add tea to pitcher. Add cold water to pitcher. Add sliced lemons. Refrigerate.

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