Iced Chai Tea from “Handmade Winter”

DSC_6497 copy I mentioned last week that I was so thrilled to have some of my recipes be a part of the “Handmade Winter” eBook put together by the incredible #creativemamas!  Have you bought yours yet? As soon as I had my hands on a copy of the eBook, I KNEW I wanted to try Joya’s masala chai.  It’s legit!  She describes, in the book, the sweet memories of drinking this tea in India with her family.  Memories and food are bonded together in such a glorious way, aren’t they? I love the coziness of winter so much.  Cuddling up with the kids and our current piece of literature for school makes my heart happy.  Well, it just so happens to have been 82 degrees today so warm chai was definitely NOT the best option and there were certainly no blankets happening!  Not wanting to lose the season altogether, and wanting to make this recipe as SOON as possible, we opted for the flavors of Winter served over fresh over ice.  So refreshing.  So wintery. Thanks, Joya for the amazing recipe!  Get your copy on the eBook here so you can make this recipe and many other projects from the “Handmade Winter” eBook.  You’ll love it. Follow along the book tour by checking out the “Handmade Winter eBook Tour “ magazine on Flipboard! DSC_6410 copyDSC_6466 copyDSC_6487 copyDSC_6473 copyDSC_6499 copy

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Cinnamon Whiskey Sour

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The whiskey sour is my favorite drink right now.  I love the way the egg whites bring a touch of stability to the always battling sweet and sour elements of a cocktail.  Whiskey sours are also very fun to play around with as you can try so many different flavors in the simple syrup.  For this drink I went with cinnamon.  I had this combo at Craft & Commerce (our best restaurant/bar for cocktails in San Diego) and I fell in love immediately.  It brings a little bit of holiday spirit but can totally be served any time of the year.  Plus, cinnamon is a wonderful health aid…so…bonus points!!!

For those who are wondering about the raw egg white, don’t worry.  If you get your eggs from a local farm who is taking care of their chickens the way they should, raw egg whites are totally fine.  If you are super nervous about this idea and still want to try the drink, then you can buy pasteurized egg whites at whole foods if you have no other options and NEED to have whiskey sours in your life.  I would still recommend that you look into fresh eggs anyway, for the sake of your overall health.  Did you know that America is one of the few countries who refrigerate their eggs?  That’s kind of a scary thought when you beg the question why.  Something to ponder…

Local Hint: San Diego, you can find amazing pasture-raised chicken eggs from farms like Spur Valley Ranch.  Doesn’t get much better than them unless you are raising chickens yourself! ;)  Check here for market availability.

Cinnamon Whiskey Sour:

2 ounces rye whiskey (preferably Bulleit or your favorite small batch)

3/4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 ounce cinnamon simple syrup (recipe below)

1 egg white

a few dashes of bitters

For the syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon bark in a small pan. Cook over medium heat until boiling and the sugar is dissolved.  The cinnamon bark from Ceylon cinnamon, as opposed to Cassia, is what you’re looking for.  Ceylon is known as the “true” cinnamon that was bartered and traded so long ago in the days of Marco Polo and beyond.  Obviously, you can make a syrup with a cinnamon stick but I threw that little bit in there in case you are the type of person who wants to know such things and make the best cinnamon syrup possible. ;)

For the drink: Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and add all of the ingredients besides the bitters.  Shake for at least a minute so that the egg white can get a nice foam in the shaker.  Pour into a glass without ice and throw a few dashes of bitters on top.  If you find the drink to be too sweet, try substituting all or half of the lemon juice for lime juice.  Enjoy!

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Best way to separate the white from the yolk is with your hands!

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Fresh Eggnog with Almond Milk

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Cooking with kids can be a lot of work, but the memories and experience are worth it!  I have 3 kiddos.  When I cook with one of my kids, I love to engage with them one-on-one…if I can.  This is the most relaxing for me, the kiddo feels successful and important, and our recipe gets completed without any arguing…assuming the others stay out of the kitchen, which doesn’t usually happen!

The recipe in this post was made with almond milk but you could totally substitute regular milk. ;)  I made the complete switch to almond milk a year or so ago.  Before that, I drank raw milk for a while before it got too expensive and difficult to acquire without waiting out long periods of time where California was deciding how it felt about raw milk.

My littlest loves eggnog so we decided to make some together, using the most authentic eggnog style (recipe below).  I love his little hands in these pictures!  I hope I always have little hands in my kitchen on some level!

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Eggnog is made several different ways.  The most traditional way blends the egg yolks in with the milk and sugar mixture, then is combined at the end with whipped egg whites.  The eggs need to be fresh because they are consumed raw in this and most homemade eggnog.  Don’t worry too much about the warnings for raw eggs if you are getting your eggs from a local organic, free-range farm that operates properly or even above that or use eggs from your backyard chickens like we did!  You also have the choice to make this raw, cooked and cooled, or just cooked and consumed warm.  For the health fans, eggnog is supposed to be a treat so don’t be put off by the amount of maple syrup.  At least it’s a more pure sweetener, right?!

Eggnog with Almond Milk

1/2 gallon almond milk or regular whole milk

1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup

2 teaspoons fresh nutmeg, grated plus more for garnish

1 Tablespoon vanilla paste (my favorite option!) or 1 Tablespoon regular vanilla

6 super fresh eggs, yolks and whites separated

1/4-1/2 cup Bourbon (note the times in each option for when to add bourbon)

For raw eggnog:  Combine all ingredients but the egg whites and bourbon with a whisk.  Bourbon can be added at any time.  It really is an important flavor component so if you don’t desire alcohol, I suggest using the cooked method below and adding it at the beginning so the alcohol can cook off but leave the flavor.  Now, whip the egg white until stiff peaks form.  We use a hand blender around here so that the kids can whip things more easily instead of just watching a mixer!  Slowly add the whipped egg whites to the milk mixture. Serve in a punch bowl or individual cups then garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

For cooked eggnog:  Combine the milk, nutmeg, and vanilla paste in a saucepan.  Bourbon can be added at any time.  It really is an important flavor component so if you don’t desire alcohol, add it at the beginning so the alcohol can cook off but leave the flavor.  If you desire a spiked eggnog, add the bourbon after the end product is removed from the heat or just go for the raw option above.  Cook the mixture until it’s hot to the touch.  Almond milk doesn’t burn like regular milk and doesn’t need to be stirred as often.  So, stir the regular milk more often if you’re using it.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the maple syrup and yolks until they are light in color. Combine the egg yolk mixture with 1 cup of the milk mixture to “temper” the eggs or neutralize the heat so the yolks don’t cook in the super hot mixture, then add the rest of the milk mixture.  If for some reason you find yolk, just strain before you serve it and try again next time.  Heat the milk/yolk mixture until it’s hot.  Remove from the heat.  While it’s cooling, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed (we use a hand blender for easy whipping), then add them to the milk/yolk mixture.  Serve in a punch bowl or individual cups, then garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Does anyone else collect these vintage santa mugs?!  Love them!

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Herbed Fennel and Leek Chicken Stock

 

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I posted a picture on Instagram this week about some stock I was making and apparently there was quite a bit of interest in what I put in it.  Like most of my food posts, there’s usually a story…

Homemade stock and I do NOT go way back.  Gasps here wouldn’t be inappropriate.  I had made plenty of stocks, yes, but when I was looking to make a soup at home, I had often purchased store-bought organic chicken or vegetable stock because it kept on the shelf and I could just grab and go.  No biggie, right?

WRONG!

It was my sister’s boyfriend, Erik, who first inspired me to never buy stock again.  Basically, Erik would ask to take home the carcasses from our turkey, chicken, or goose dinner (last years Christmas dinner!) so he could make stock.  It had never really occurred to me to make stock on a regular basis, but seeing his habit and process made my see the possibilities.  Now, time has past and he has made me wiser.  My freezer currently has 10 quarts of stock.  I make and use it pretty much every week with our leftover chicken bones, the ends of my onions I don’t need, herbs from the garden and anything else I have in my fridge that I can throw in the pot!  Stock has become my favorite things to make because it is so easy to throw together, it leaves an amazingly awesome scent in my kitchen, and I can drink it on it’s own.  Call me weird, but try drinking it yourself and we’ll see if you feel the same way.

If you like, remove the chicken bones for a straight up veggie stock.  The measurements below are only for those who need them.  The beauty of stock is that you can really use whatever you want.  As long as you have onion, garlic, salt & pepper, and some sort of herb, you can’t go wrong. The addition of leeks and fennel are just related to what the soup will become.  This stock could be the base of a soup or gravy and therefore need to be at the top of its game.  Try the stuff from the store and tell me if it doesn’t taste like the distant relative of water. Blech.  I learned my lesson.  Homemade stock is the only way for me. I’m just doing you a favor and converting you now so you don’t lose any time like I did!

Herbed Fennel and Leek Chicken Stock:

1 whole chicken carcass (sorry, there just isn’t really a better word!)

2 leeks, end and green tops removed and slice down the middle

1 large fennel bulb or 2 small

the ends and skins of several onions, maybe 5

1 head of garlic, broken into cloves

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

1/4 cup of salt

3 sprigs of rosemary

2 sprigs of dill

2 sprigs of thyme

7 quarts of water or enough to fill up a 8 quart stock pot after all the ingredients are added

Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for at least 1 hour.  Although, I prefer at least an hour and a half so I can get the richest stock possible. Strain and you’re ready to go!

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30 Favorite Things Giveaway!!

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It’s finally Giveaway day!  I’m so excited to start celebrating my 30th birthday with all of you!

Turning 30 just got a little easier with your help, so thanks for being here and supporting me!

*Disclaimer: You’ve seen posts before that look like big advertisements and a “sell out”.  You should know I’m not getting paid or getting commissions from anything I mention. Everything included in this giveaway is TRULY one of my favorite things and I wouldn’t include anything that wasn’t.  Any donated items were out of the generosity of the donor. I want this to be fun!*

Here’s how the giveaway works:

1.  The giveaway lasts from October 17th until my birthday on October 31st at midnight.

2. You can choose several ways to enter, using the form below.

3. Every few days, on this page, I will reveal 5 more of the items in the giveaway until all 30 are unveiled! So, be sure to go sign up below using the giveaway form to hear about the fun new items you can win!

4. Winner announced November 5, 2013 and the prize is mailed the following week! Eek!

I give you a HUGE prize option, right off the bat…

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Amazing, right?

I am thrilled Tea Collection was kind enough to give $100 to somebody!

1. $100 Tea Collection Gift Card! (My favorite kids clothes.  Softest.  Best quality. The have women’s clothes too!)

2. A set of 3 Rifle Paper Company Notebooks (who doesn’t love Rifle?)

3. Tortoise Onion Goggles (I use these pretty much every day.  Sadly, I can’t cut an onion without them or I cry…literally)

4. Birch print paper straws (Best straws ever.  I can hardly drink anything without one)

5. My own handmade organic lip balm (blood, sweat, and tears went into this, people)

6. A special jar of my own blood orange marmalade made with vanilla and rum! Yum! (Made with the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook)

7. 1 lb. of local Cafe Moto coffee.  (My favorite roastery here in town! This one is my fave…I can only drink decaf and they have the BEST!)

8. Roasted garlic salt from The Salt Farm here in San Diego. (Great salt. Great packaging.  Found in my fave local store Pigment)

9. A jar of locally made Fleur De Sel Caramel from Praline Patisserie (caramel is on the top of my sweets list!)

10. A set of 6 floral-cut mason jar lids in an adorable cloth bag, along with a sweet set of floral paper straws from my friend, Ana of We Love Citrus.  Coupon Code “WELOVEBIRTHDAYS” for everyone to save 20% off anything in Ana’s shop until 10/31.

11. 2 GORGEOUS cards from the fabulous Small Adventure artist, Keiko!  (She’s a favorite of mine from Renegade Craft Fairs of the past.  My favorites also include her print of North American Butterflies and Flowers)

12. Starbucks Venti Tumbler.  (Can’t beat a good tumbler and I use my metal one every day)

13. Medusae Airplant.  (Had to find a way to bring some garden into this box.  Got this one at Pigment)

14. Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Caramels (I’m a lover of all things caramel.  I can’t help myself with these!)

15. My current favorite dress pattern for little girls: “Sally” dress from Very Shannon! (Can’t wait to make this? Buy it here now with 10% off with code “GOLDEN10″)

16. Handmade Charlotte stencils for your organizing needs!  (Love the lady who created these. ;))

17.  Rifle Paper Company botanicals label and sticker set. (I use these ALL THE TIME.  They don’t print this one anymore.  They also make amazing holiday labels!)

18. A vintage Bing Crosby “Merry Christmas” vinyl.  (My very favorite Christmas album!)

19. St. Helena Olive Oil Company’s Balsamic Method Tradizionale.  (Best balsamic you will every have in your whole life. No competition)

20. West Elm’s mason jar cocktail shaker. (I got mine at our San Diego store here.  The capacity of this thing is amazing)

21. Gweneth Paltrow’s Cookbook “It’s All Good” (I’m in love with this cookbook and I’m not a great cookbook user)

22. A set of 6 blue vintage remake mason jars (who doesn’t love a good mason jar, plus…BLUE!)

23. & 24. My favorite shampoo and conditioner from Acure ( finally a great smelling shampoo that is organic and ACTUALLY works)

25. to 28. 4 bottles of Scrappy’s Bitters for all of your cocktail needs!

29. $5 gift card to Target (Favorite.Duh.)

30. $25 to TARGET because they are that amazing!!!! (Right?)

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WINNER IS…

AMY SEEGERS!!!

Took my a while to get a hold of Amy. I was just about to pick a new winner when I heard back from her!  Yay, Amy!

Enter the giveaway below and PLEASE share a little birthday love for me and spread the word about my giveaway! Thanks, friends!
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