I know this is such a simple recipe, but I’ve cut down on drinking pop for a while now, and wanted to share how excited I am about iced tea! I’m a tea lover, but I don’t like sweetened iced tea.
It started when H and I went on our first cruise last year. Oasis of the Seas served unsweetened iced tea in all their cafes and restaurants, and I couldn’t believe how addicted I became to the taste. H “liked it not.”
We also like the BPA-free double wall plastic tumblers. They keep our drinks cold, and they don’t sweat, no matter how much ice we put in them.
H jokes and calls it my “sippy cup,” because I always have it with me, all day long, filled with iced tea, iced water or Perrier mixed with POM.
Click here to see the tumblers.
You can make this with regular black or green tea bags. Since I’m drinking it during the day and evening, I use decaf so I’m not up all night long!
Makes about 4 – 6 cups
- 4 good quality decaffeinated green tea bags
- 2 cup glass/heat-proof measuring cup
- Add tea bags to measuring cup
- Add boiling hot water to measure 2 cups
- Let steep for 30 – 40 minutes, remove tea bags and discard
- Pour tea into a jug
- Add 2-4 cups cold filtered water (depending on your taste)
- Enjoy with ice and sliced lemons
A family member asked me to make carrot muffins that were less sweet. I googled for a suitable recipe, and came up with this one. Altering the ingredients can be challenging when baking, however, I have had success with reducing the sugar in nearly everything I bake!
Recipe adapted from Food Network
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (minus 3 tbsp)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners
- Sift together the first 7 ingredients
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Stir in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots
- Add the dry ingredients and fold until combined. Do not over-mix
- Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts or pecans
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups. I find an ice-cream scooper helps!
- Sprinkle with remaining nuts (I forgot!)
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. I checked at the 18 minute mark, and every minute or two afterwards
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
- If you’re not concerned with sweetness, use the full amount of brown sugar
- The muffins can be left at room temperature for 2-3 days. The tops will become sticky though
- They also freeze very well
H loves a good burger and fries, so we decided to try out 5 Guys. The place was very clean, and had an open kitchen. There were actually 5 guys working behind the counter!
H also liked the free salted/roasted peanuts.
The burgers are made with 100% fresh never frozen ground beef, and the standard burger comes with 2 patties.
The fries were very similar to New York Fries. What we didn’t like was the soggy buns, due to being wrapped in foil. It made for a huge and messy burger, and I don’t mean that in a good way. The meat was also very bland. I know some would prefer it this way; to taste the actual beef. Even though we limit our salt intake, I was tempted to sprinkle some on. I bit of seasoning would have been nice.
I would suggest asking for the burger to be kept open, and not wrapped. A steamed and soggy bun ruined an otherwise “okay” burger.
Hamburger – $6.69
Bacon Cheeseburger – $8.69
Fries (Regular) – $3.69
Fries (Large) – $4.99
Drinks (Regular) – $2.19
Drinks (Large) – $2.39
Toppings – Free
Peanuts – Free
Our bill for 2 burgers, fries and drinks with tax was approximately $30.00; a bit steep in our opinion. We weren’t impressed, and I’m not sure if we’d return.
Our favorite burger and fries is actually across the border, at Red Robin, but that’s quite a drive!
On to the next craving …………..
I’ve been posting a lot of lemon recipes lately. Since I love lemons so much, H offered to plant a lemon tree for me (along with a lime and cherry tree)!
I tried a new recipe for lemon macarons and despite overfolding (again), they came out well. I was quite surprised because I thought they were going to be disastrous. But then I thought back to the macarons with chocolate ganache I made in April. The batter was so runny that I couldn’t even pipe the batter, it came oozing out, yet, they were my best batch yet! Go figure.
I added lemon zest to the icing sugar and almond flour. I also incorporated homemade lemon curd into my standard buttercream to use as a filling. I didn’t wait long enough for the curd to thicken, thus the buttercream was a bit watery, and was not smooth. When making lemon curd, continue to cook until it coats the back of a spoon.
If this is your first time making macarons, I would highly recommend reading “Demystifying Macarons” by Helene Dujardin. You can also look at my previous posts on macarons. Just enter macarons in the top right search bar.
Adapted from Fine Cooking.com
Makes approximately 30 macarons
- 7-3/8 oz. (1-3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp) icing sugar
- 4-3/8 oz. (1-1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp) almond flour
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature (aged for a minimum of 3 days)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Make the batter:
- Line 3 flat baking sheets with parchment or non-stick baking liners and set aside
- In a food processor, pulse the icing sugar, almond flour and lemon zest several times. Using a medium-mesh sieve, sift the mixture into a large bowl and set aside
- In a clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and the wires of the beater leave a trail, 1 to 2 minutes
- Add 1 tbsp of the granulated sugar and continue to whip for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat 3 times with the remaining granulated sugar. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, continue whipping the whites until they turn glossy and stiff (when you lift the beater from the bowl, the whites should hold a straight peak that doesn’t curl at the tip), 4 to 8 minutes more
- With a large rubber spatula, fold in half of the flour mixture. Once most of it has been incorporated, fold in the remaining mixture until just combined. It’s important to not over-fold
Pipe the cookies:
- Using a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch round tip, pipe the batter onto the prepared sheets in rounds that are about 1 inch in diameter. As you pipe, hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and flick the tip of the bag as you finish each cookie to minimize the peaks
- Rap the sheet against the counter several times to flatten the mounds and pop any large air bubbles with a toothpick
- Let rest until the meringues no longer feel tacky, 30 – 40 minutes. Longer if it’s a humid day
- Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F
Bake the cookies:
- Put 2 of the cookie sheets in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 300°F (let the third sheet sit at room temperature)
- Bake, rotating the sheets and swapping their positions after 8 minutes, until the meringues are very pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Keep checking as oven temperatures vary
- Cool completely on the baking sheets on racks
- Meanwhile, return the oven temperature to 325°F and then bake the third sheet as above
- Remove the meringues from the parchment and pair them by size
Lemon Curd recipe – click here
Substitute lime zest/juice for lemon
Buttercream recipe – click here
Fold a small amount of lemon curd to the finished buttercream until you reach the desired flavor. Do not add more than ¼ cup, or your buttercream will be runny. If you’re pressed for time, just add 1 – 2 tsp lemon extract to your buttercream, and omit the lemon curd.
- Sesame Macarons: Using a spice grinder, grind 2 tbsp sesame seeds to a fine powder. Add the powder to the flour mixture while sifting; proceed as directed. Sprinkle the meringues with a few sesame seeds as soon as you pipe them
- Vanilla Macarons: Scrape and add the seeds from one-quarter of a vanilla bean to the egg whites after they’ve formed glossy, stiff peaks. Distribute the seeds evenly throughout the batter by pressing the clumps of seeds against the edge of the bowl with a spatula. Proceed as directed
- Chocolate Macarons: Reduce the amount of almond flour by 7/8 oz. (1/4 cup) and substitute 1/2 oz. (3 tbsp) cocoa powder; proceed as directed
Summertime brings an abundance of berries, and makes me think of healthier foods.
I like granola, but not store-bought since it normally contains ingredients I’d rather not know about. I searched for an easy homemade granola recipe with not a lot of oil. This one’s a keeper!
I like to layer granola with plain Greek yogurt and fresh berries. I also scooped some into small Ziploc bags to carry around for snacks. It’s great as a cereal too.
Makes 5 cups
- 3 cups large flake oats
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
- Place oats in a large mixing bowl and set aside
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth
- Pour over oats and stir to coat well
- Spread oat mixture on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes
- Cool on a rack and stir after the first 5 minutes
- Cool completely and add to large mixing bowl
Add 2 cups in total of the following:
- Your choice of toasted nuts (I used pecans)
- Dried cranberries or your choice of dried fruit (dice if using larger fruit)
- Sunflower seeds or pepitas (I chose pepitas)
- Store in a tight container for up to 2 weeks at room temperature (in a cool spot)