Showing posts with label beverages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beverages. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crab Apple Liqueur

Several years ago, a good friend gave me a bottle of her father's crab apple liqueur for Christmas. I loved it!

When we moved into the new house, there were two trees that, in the spring flowered and smelled amazing... one was a May Day tree and the other, you guessed -- a crab apple tree. I spent all fall researching exactly what to do with the little crab apples. I had to do something! They were so beautiful!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mango Strawberry SPARKee (icee)

What's the best energy drink of all time? SPARK! I used to be a coffee fiend... and to be fair, I still love coffee and the flavor, but I don't need it to function any more! That said, this girl still loves a good old pumpkin spice latte! MMMM YUM!

Spark is awesome because I don't crash around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and it comes in super awesome flavors. Super awesome... like what? Super awesome like Mango Strawberry and Pink Lemonade. I've used it in smoothies and sprinkled on frozen grapes. YUM. Who would have thought that frozen grapes could be such an amazing treat? Not this girl.

I've been playing around with a variety of drinks, and I've come up with one that's so simple, yet so delicious -- a healthy version of an Icee or Slurpee... a SPARKee! Now all I need is a blender that can actually crush ice. If I put anything with a tougher consistency than a tomato in my blender, it whines and cries and half-heartedly shuffles the ice cubes around. I may go shopping soon!

Mango Strawberry SPARKee!
1 scoop/packet of Mango Strawberry SPARK
4 oz water
1 1/2 cups ice cubes
Optional: 1/2 cup fresh/frozen strawberries.

Whisk together Spark and water until well blended. Add with ice and fruit into blender and process until you achieve the consistency you're looking for.

Pour into glass and slurp away.

Note: I am an independent distributor for AdvoCare, but share this recipe because it's simply supa dupa awesome. This  wasn't intended to be a product review, just a recipe... and it's oh! so good. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tomb Raider Martinis

When I was in Cambodia earlier this year, we got to check out the temple where Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider. It was way super duper cool.
The Jungle Temple
Trees were growing on top of the old temple walls and the root systems cascaded all over. Truly spectacular the way the jungle had reclaimed the land.

We all know that Angelina love Cambodia -- she adopted her first son there.  I love Cambodia too; the people were so warm and friendly... and if any group of people has the right to be angry at outside (and inside) interests, it would be Cambodia... but instead I fell in love with the people and the land. I'd love to bring K back one of these days.

Our week in Cambodia came after 3 weeks of travel in China, and we were getting a little weary of being on the road... and found Cambodia a refreshing change from the chaos of China. We also had the most free time in Cambodia, specifically in Siem Riep. So we did lots of shopping (great shopping!) and went out for dinner that night.

Where did we end up? At a little restaurant called the Red Piano, where, yes, Angelina had frequented during her time in the country. And, sure enough, they had an Angelina-themed drink called... the Tomb Raider!

How could I not try it?

And I'm so glad I did. It's absolutely delicious, a great mix of sweet and tangy.

Tomb Raider Martinis
(a cocktail a la the Red Piano in Cambodia)

1-2 shots of Cointreau
1 tablespoon of lime juice (or a healthy squirt), if no fresh limes
tonic water to top off

Pour the Cointreau and lime juice over ice in a low ball glass. Top off with tonic water. Garnish with lime wedge.

Enjoy! A great party drink.

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mango Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe

Last weekend we had a party - a DIY pizza party, and I thought that it was high time to bring out the blender (or food processor as the case may be), and fix up a batch of fabulous mango daiquiris.

I learned how to make these real fruit treats from a friend earlier this year. Thank goodness for her wonderful lesson! These whole fruit daiquiris are always a huge hit.

Mango Daiquiris*

3-4 cups frozen mangoes
5-8 oz vodka
1 can frozen limeade
whipped cream to garnish (optional)

Add the vodka to the blender first (so you don't over or under pour), then add the mangoes and limeade. Fill the blender up the rest of the way with ice. Blend until smooth and pour into glasses... martini glasses, champagne glasses, margarita glasses... you name it. To start, this may be too thick to pour in, so spooning and ladling works well.

I also recommend using a straw! Everything is better with a straw.

Then of course, top off with whipped cream (which is conspicuously missing from the photo.)


* Variations:
This is good with any fruit I've tried, fresh or frozen - blackberries, strawberries, and of course mangoes. Though it's not limited to either. Frozen tends to work best because you get a more even blend, but fresh is tasty too! Also, if you prefer rum to vodka, by all means.

Also, these can be made with or without alcohol, but I adore them with the real stuff in it. However, if not adding liquor, I recommend a fruit juice of some kind to add more liquid in.

 Proudly linking this up to

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Monday, August 23, 2010

the Irish red

This weekend, we bottled beer! What a process!! Bottles had to be sanitized and rinsed before they can be filled with our yummy 6% Irish Red. I had no idea bottling beer would be so extensive!!

Fortunately Klark had previously peeled the labels, so we could start right in with the sanitizing.

He also bought this neat little bottle washer doo-hickey that attaches to the host spigot and works by pressing the bottles down. It's awesome for rinsing the sudsy sanitizer from inside the bottles.

After all 50-odd bottles were sanitized, rinsed, and placed in the sanitized cooler for safe-keeping, it was time to do the next round of magic on the beer.  

and yes... those are soda bottles, they can be used for beer! who knew?

The first week Klark brewed and then placed in the first carboy with yeast for fermentation; then we transferred to the second carboy for secondary fermentation. Saturday, he added some sort of sugar mixture which will turn into carbonation in the bottles and then transferred everything into a bucket.

Finally ready for bottling. I chose to sit and manage the auto-siphon while Klark directed the beer flow into the bottles. 

Finally, after all of the bottles were filled, the time came for capping.

Capping took a few tries... note the frustration and determination on Klark's brow in the upper left hand corner of the image...

... and the way the bottle is suspended in mid-air by the capper.

But no beer was spilled! I didn't take any pictures of the finished, and capped bottles, as the process was significantly longer than the 15 minutes I anticipated. 

Go Figure.

At least we know now... that next time we may want to consider filling soda kegs and placing in the brand new kegerator.

Klark has been telling everyone how awesome I am because I bought him a kegerator.

I'm glad he's so easy to please.

In a week or two, we will be able to try the fully carbonated beer --- come on little sugars, do your work!!!!

It would have been wonderful to relax after all that hard work with a nice beer, but instead we took a cue from Lucy the WonderDog...

... and just relaxed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jalapenos! (and beer update)

I still adore the Farmer's Market. We loaded up again last week, but didn't do as much cooking this week; we've both just been exhausted lately... and some sad news from Alaska left us craving comfort food. M&C fit the bill a few nights - once out of the box and last night from scratch. I can't believe how much M&C we've been eating lately!!! So we've been trying lots of add-ins to our favorite white cheddar recipe; current favorites are bacon and diced, seeded jalapenos. Still we only used three jalapenos... and we've got at least a dozen more. We made salsa again, and I'm planning to make pico soon... but I am running low on time, and high on ingredients --- tomatoes, onions, cilantro, bell peppers, jalapenos... and more!

I'm not sure what possessed me to buy a basket of jalapenos, except that it was $2.50 for the basket, and they're usually about that much each at Safeway... which left me with a big giant hole -- I don't know what to do with that many. A friend sent me to Jalapeno Madness, a site filled with jalapeno tips, recipes, history, and general adulation. Most importantly, ideas for preserving them -- I plan to freeze some, saving them for future experimentation and yummy meals, and then buy more... for more of the same.

Jalapeño Pepper on FoodistaJalapeño Pepper

I'm open to any new idea from anyone on jalapeno recipes -- email me at [email protected], I'll be sure to give credit where credit's due! Would love to create a jalapeno chicken sandwich, and will soon start experimenting to perfect.

In other news, I reported on Klark's brewing experiment -- this weekend is step #2 in the process, and then next week we bottle! We also learned after checking out Rocky Mountain Brewery (the home brew store and bar!) that we can make wine with Klark's brewing set. I've ordered Rioja and Amarone kits and will begin as soon as I can. More on that, coming soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the great alaskan beer experiment

Ok, there's not much Alaska in the beer experiment, except that we both strongly identify with AK. And miss it. However, it's a kitschy title and I like it. So there.

Though I feel that this should be Klark's blog, I don't know that he'll actually write about it, so I'm writing for him. For now. Our neighbor here is a great guy and he and Klark get along really well... and they've bonded over... you guessed it, Beer (with a capital B). When we first met, Matt was in several local bands, but his latest hobby is home-brewing. The other night, he was telling us about a great microbrewery and home brew store in east Colorado Springs. I want to go to check out the beers, but Klark is just as interested in the home brewing aspect.

Last night marked the very first of, what I'm sure will be many, home brew experiments. I came home to a house smelling wonderfully of brewing and steeping hops and oats (though I didn't know what exactly brewing hops or oats smelled like before). I was instantly hungry! Boiling away on the stove in a new 4 gallon pot were the makings of an Irish Red (told you it wasn't very "Alaskan"). The guys at the home brew store had set Klark up with a whole kit with everything he needed to make beer (we need to start collecting glass bottles, any of you COS-area peeps that are saving them) including a bottle capper, all the ingredients for a recipe, and a great how-to book.

Now the bottle is sitting in our mudroom, contentedly bubbling away until Klark transfers everything to the other bottle and does his next magic step in a week. I'm not mentioning what that step is, not because I'm trying to keep Klark's trade secrets (not that he has any just yet), but rather because I have no clue what that step might be.

In a month, we'll get to sample the beer of his labor, and I'll happily take a picture and post it! I can't wait!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

lentils madras...

Ok. Lots of lentil posts today — no, strike that. Lots of posts today in general. But, lots of catching up to be done, and lots of recipes to include that have been great! Lentils madras have long been one of my favorites and I usually buy the Tasty Bite boxed meal, but lots of sodium there, and they get pricey. I decided to make my own, this dish from The Daily Green turned out really well, and I served it with basmati rice cooked with a TBSP of unsalted butter. Really tasty, although not much like Tasty Bite's creation, this is a keeper and I'll definitely add it to the repertoire. Their four servings are more like 6-8 and this could be easily halved; I froze about 1/3 and divided the rest into three containers with what I've deemed to be two servings each. YUMMY.

Madras Lentils
The word "Madras" in this recipe refers to the type of curry powder used to create a unique spice blend of curry leaves, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, chile pepper, bay leaves, fenugreek, allspice, and black pepper.


2 tablespoons olive oil 

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger 

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 

1 small cauliflower (2 pounds) cut into florets 

3/4 pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons curry powder, preferably Madras 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon ground coriander 

2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped, with their juice

3/4 teaspoon salt 
(I just ground a little bit of sea salt in, not 3/4 tsp though)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt, for serving (optional)

1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed


  1. In 5-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan with lid, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute or until garlic is tender. Stir in bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently 5 minutes or until tender.
  2. Stir in cauliflower, potatoes, lentils, curry powder, cumin, coriander, and cook 2 minutes or until well coated.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and 1 3/4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 30 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through and vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in peas and cook 1 minute, or until heated through. Divide curry evenly among plates and top each serving with yogurt if desired.

Read more:
Lentils on FoodistaLentils

lentil soup...

So... another lentil recipe, also from This was awesome, but it made so much that I couldn't finish it all and had to toss it. I hate leftovers and I should have frozen half, but I didn't. Surprise! My lack of foresight is not a first.

2 cups dry lentils
2 quarts chicken broth
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin

In a large saucepan combine lentils, broth, onion, tomato paste, garlic and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Lentils on FoodistaLentils

lentil quiche...

ok. So, I'm playing catch-up. I tried this recipe while my mom was in town last month -- found it on It was so good that I have tried it once more and have recommended it to tons of people. It's easy, fast, healthy, and delicious.

I found "Italian seasoning" to be a little generic, so I tried Mrs. Dash — and it came out a little bland the first time. The second time I took "Italian seasoning" to heart and added garlic powder, basil, oregano, and parsley and went over my two teaspoons — and found it to be too flavorful. Third time will be the charm. See, I promised lentils... two more recipes coming!

1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 cups water
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place the onion and olive oil into a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until onion is tender.
  2. Place the lentils and water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain most of the water off, then place the broccoli florets on top of the lentils. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. This will dry the lentils, and cook the broccoli.
  3. Transfer the lentils, broccoli and tomatoes to the pie plate with the onions, and stir to evenly distribute each item. Stir in cheese at this time if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Pour over the ingredients in the pie plate.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is firm when the quiche is jiggled. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Lentils on FoodistaLentils


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