Drinks

174

Tahini Date Shake (V, GF)

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big tahini fan. It’s basically¬†grownup peanut butter and it just adds something a little more special¬†to recipes that call for nut butters. Now, I’m not quite ready to whip up any tahini and jelly sandwiches, but I’m very into adding spoonfuls of it to cookie dough, dressing, hot chocolate, and smoothies/shakes! Since it’s now officially summer, I think it’s high time to spend any free moments sitting outside and drinking cold drinks. And that often means cool and creamy tahini shakes. Basically a milkshake for breakfast everybody, get excited! I’ve made a pact with myself to take¬†fifteen minutes every morning to drink one of these (or these) and read a few pages of very important literature¬†and not think about anything else. And then those precious minutes are over and it’s back to writing cover letters and freelance article pitches and crying being excited by the challenge of not knowing what’s ahead.

In other news, Emily and I are currently up to our ears in blue¬†frosting and chocolate chili cupcakes because we got a catering gig! And I must admit, getting paid to chop cilantro and whip buttercream and marinate shrimp is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it kinda really rocks. So general announcement, if you ever are in the market for someone else to make your food for you, drop me a line here because we’re a bargain and the food is slammin, if I do say so myself. And now for some links that made me smile:

A breakfast sandwich crawl sounds like my kind of adventure.

Goals

Food52 featured my Minty Orange Gimlet in a cocktail roundup to toast summer hooraaaay~

Co-owner of Tartine Chad Robertson’s ideas for the future: eco-robotic bread baking. ‚ÄúYou can source your grain from a regional economy, you can fresh-mill it, and you can bake 20,000 loaves using robots.‚ÄĚ yes ok.

The other owner of Tartine (incidentally, Robertson’s wife) Liz Prueitt has some pretty fucking fantastic things to say about women who want to work and have a family and not be questioned about how they “do it all.” She does not mention robots.

I can’t stop watching this video idk idk idk.

O’Neill’s rant about red velvet cake on OITNB was probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the show.

Someone buy me tickets to the Saveur cookout for my birthday even though my birthday isn’t for five months plz?

ps- Happy Father’s Day to any dads out there! So glad mine was happy to take me back in after graduation (although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s mostly because I make dinner every night…)

Shake (serves 1)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted deglet noor dates
1/2 frozen banana
ice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, for added energy boost)
1 shot rum or kahlua (also optional, you might not want to have it for breakfast with this addition) 

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes and chia seeds in warm water for five. Combine everything in a blender and really let it rip for a while to break up the dates (unless you’re super lucky and own a Vitamix, in which case the whole thing will take about 20 seconds.) Consume solo or with your favorite breakfast cookies (pictured: Laura Wright‘s Ultimate Breakfast Cookies!)


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Drinks

157

Clementine Hot Chocolate (GF)

There’s a real-feel temperature of -9 today in Northampton, and it’s pretty much been like this for a while,¬†which obviously¬†means I have a strong(er than usual) craving for hot chocolate on a regular basis. In the summer months, that craving turns into chocolate ice cream, but for right now, I’m sticking with the cocoa. I’ve started making up different recipes, normal and dairy-free; with and without funky additional flavors, to try to find my favorite. The contenders¬†started out rich and heavy: tahini, Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter, coconut cream. While each pot of these spread-based cocoas came out unbelievably decadent, I really couldn’t handle more than half a mug’s worth before having to take a rest. And coming back to room temperature chocolate is not the dream. So I thought, how about extracts? They kick coffee up a notch for sure. And indeed, peppermint hot chocolate was seasonally appropriate in December, and anise cocoa went really well with sugar cookies, but both fell a little flat in terms of a “Go To Recipe”, y’know? Then I started remembering a million years ago, when I used to find those amazing chocolate oranges in my house’s chocolate drawer- yes, we have one of those, no joke. (Also I had no idea these chocolates were still being made until I found that link and am now struggling not to order all of them). The best thing about chocolate oranges was that both flavors complimented each other perfectly, neither canceling out the other. So I think at that moment, I knew orange was the route to take. But of course, I only had clementines in the house at that point and just couldn’t bring myself go to the grocery store to buy one¬†orange, so I figured what the hell; orange, clementine; potato, potahto, and such.

Sometimes, the kitchen gods smile and and give you a hot chocolate recipe that is satisfying enough for dessert, light enough for a mid-morning snack; completely chocolatey, but still exciting and different. Definitely a recipe I will make for years to come. So, with the snow blowing around¬†here for snowpocalypse2015¬†-the first act of which (last Tuesday) seemed to be a bit of a hoax in Northampton, while¬†today’s blizzard feels much more eerie–¬†I can’t think of a better time to make another cup for myself, pray the power doesn’t go out, and share this recipe.¬†Feel free to make it 100% vegan (or 100% not) according your personal preference!

Hot Chocolate (serves 4)

2 cups 2% milk
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
zest of one clementine (or orange)
4 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
water

In a medium saucepan, heat both milks over medium heat. While milk is heating, whisk together all other ingredients in a small bowl. Add tablespoons of water one at time to chocolate mixture until smooth. Add chocolate to milk and heat!

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Drinks

153

Almond Latté (V, GF)  

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This is the time of year where I find myself back in my hometown¬†for about a month: a stretch of time where¬†living out of a suitcase feels¬†ridiculous, but fully unpacking¬†seems unnecessary. So I’ve settled on a happy medium in which every morning I remove everything from the¬†duffle bag and pile it onto my bed. I wear whatever I need to wear, and promptly forget¬†all about it until midnight, when, too sleepy to care,¬†I shove my clothes back into the duffle and move the cat (who has recently claimed my bed as his throne) aside and pass out in whatever free corner I can find. The whole process repeats itself the following morning. I have only been home for two weeks- there’s still¬†time to unpack! I’ll no doubt be saying this until mid-January. Honestly though, who has time to unpack where there is food¬†to be made? More honestly, I have plenty of time, because quite literally, all I’ve been doing since I got here¬†is making cookies. And challah (stay tuned, those of you who have a desire¬†to learn to make or look at many pictures of Jewish honey egg bread).

My favorite part of being home is hands down my proximity to the espresso machine. For years, all we had was one of those shiny stovetop moka pots. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and made great coffee. But it also required lots of care concerning boiling hot steam and what is known as the “safety release valve”. In my book, this is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of baking tray burns and paring knife/finger lacerations, but those are business as usual if you spend the vast majority of your time in a kitchen. And they’re nothing a little Neosporin and band-aid can’t fix. Which brings me to my next point: have you ever had a steam burn? There is no escape. No amount of ice or crying or bourbon will fix that kind of pain. That is why I experienced true coffee-flavored, pain-free bliss when this bad boy arrived at our doorstep a while back, and I’ve used it religiously every chance I get ever since. The following latt√© is a truly perfect afternoon jolt, even more so when used as a vessel for dunking leftover Christmas cookies. It also makes a great dessert for caffiends like me.¬†Looking for others? Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

Latté

1 shot espresso
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. honey, agave syrup, or sugar (optional)

Heat the almond milk over the stove, in the microwave, or in a milk frother. While that’s happening, pull the espresso shot. Add¬†almond extract, and sweetener (if using) into a mug. Pour the coffee into the mug, then top with milk. Enjoy!

 

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Breakfasts, Drinks

151

Energizer Smoothie II [veggie edition]
(V, GF)

 

I used to hate to exercise. I’ve always been the person who picked the couch over the treadmill (and with fairly good reason, treadmills kinda suck); I was not a member of any sports teams following the age of nine, after an unfortunate season with the¬†town softball league. Throughout high school and most of college I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the gym: I tried cardio kickboxing, the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, Pilates, “boot camp”, even a treacherous yoga endeavor where I managed to accidentally give myself some kind of semi-serious wrist injury that still hurts four years later. Each of these activities ended somehow: I was¬†bored with staring at red numbers on a screen, it got too cold to walk to the gym, the list goes on.

Something changed this past summer. There was a consistent gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Something that made me feel wobbly and frustrated and disorganized. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this feeling and they combat it in various ways. I’ve heard driving can really help, but I while I do technically possess a driver’s license, I’m not what one would call “experienced” behind the wheel. I think the last time I parallel parked was my driving exam; I have yet to drive on a highway outside of rural Vermont. This is a long way of saying that this summer I started running. It was probably one of the best¬†things I’ve done in a while, amid a whole host of unhealthy choices I pretty much consistently make. In all honesty, running is hard.¬†Usually I forget how recently I’ve eaten and start the first ten minutes or so of the run with weird stomach cramps. I definitely broke my toe at one point in July (I honestly don’t know how, I should really wear shoes in my house) and didn’t realize, then ran on it for a while. But other than these tiny issues, running actually feels great. Maybe it’s the wind on my face or the music or the control I feel while speeding (a relative term) down the street.

On Thanksgiving morning¬†I ran an 8K (because apparently runners live in Canada and still use metric?) and I finished the race. It wasn’t about seeing how fast I could go, or to get a big “congratulations!!!” from anyone who heard what I’d done that morning. It was just a thing I did. To see if I could do it. It was exhilarating, and in that moment jumping over the finish line I felt really happy. A huge part of my world kind of crumbled after that day, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about feeling good from a healthy activity. Feeling good from something I do 100% for and with myself, which is actually a tall goddamn order. Can you count more than five things you do for and with yourself that are completely productive? I’m not sure I can. Regardless, every time I finish a run, I kick off my shoes, peel off the six shirts I have to wear to be outside without risking hypothermia -New England in December, anyone?- and make this green smoothie. Whether you’re a runner or a Netflix-watcher or a math major, I guarentee it will make your brain feel good. But¬†if you’re really not into green things, try my first energizer bunny smoothie¬†.

Smoothie (serves 1)

3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or whatever milk you like)

1/4 c pineapple coconut water (I use this)

1 medium frozen banana

1/2 c frozen chopped spinach or 3 spinach ice cubes*

2 tsp date cream, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey

1/2 tsp ground ginger

If using a normal blender, treat it gently by first blending milk, coconut water, and banana until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and liquify. If you have a Vitamix or Magic Bullet (lucky you) just throw everything in all at once!

* How to make spinach ice cubes: wash a large container of fresh spinach, roughly chop, then place in a blender and liquify. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Store in a freezer bag pretty much indefinitely.

 

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Breakfasts, Drinks, Snacks

139

Energizer Bunny Smoothie (V, GF)

This is a drink for those days that seem to go on forever. Y’know, those days where you have six hours of¬†class and three hours of work and 80 pages of reading? Yeah, this is a drink for those days. Everything in here is packed full of serious nutrients that keep your body alert and satisfied. Down one of these at noon and I can assure you you’ll be ready to go. You no longer have to worry about those¬†incredibly elegant 3pm stomach¬†grumbles that always seem to happen when the entire class is quiet. Also it’s probably the prettiest color I’ve ever seen. To fully convince you of this smoothie’s real potential, here’s the breakdown:

Almond milk: fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper, and calcium (BAM)

Blueberries: vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, low glycemic load, antioxidants, fucking beautiful color

Banana: vitamin B6, soluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium

Coconut oil: medium chain triglycerides (aka *good* fats), vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron

Flaxseed: protein, dietary fiber, omega-3, vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, vitamin C

Honey: obviously a sweetener, but does actually contain several compounds than can function as antioxidants including vitamin C, B2,3, 5, and 6! That’s sure better than Splenda, amirite?

Dates: calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Smoothie (serves 1-2)

1 1/2+ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 frozen banana

1/2 c frozen blueberries

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1-2 tsp honey OR 2 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes

banana chip (optional)

Place banana and almond milk in blender and blend well. Add remainder of ingredients and blend until well combined, pausing to stir and add more almond milk if the blender gets stuck! Garnish with a banana chip and feel incredibly heathy for the rest of the day!

 

 

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Drinks

136

Coconut Dirty Chai Smoothie (V)

I don’t know if I’m technically allowed to call this drink a smoothie. It is¬†cold and you do make it in the blender, but there’s no fruit. So then I thought maybe it’s supposed to be called a frapp√©- technically a Greek style iced coffee, but American bastardization has since¬†changed the word to “frap” and the definition¬†to “blended coffee drink”. And¬†yes,¬†this drink is blended and it does in fact have coffee in it. But it doesn’t work¬†because¬†“frap” is, in my opinion, a truly gross word. Don’t ask me why, but I cringe when I hear someone order one. I don’t care if you’re trying to sound like an old pro at Starbucks (plz just say frappucino, somehow that’s better), if you don’t know how to pronounce words with the acute accent,¬†or if the menu actually says frap; it’s just always terrible. I’d say it’s somewhere in between¬†“fro yo” or “ho cho” on the list of cutesy food words that make me gag. So I think I’m just going with smoothie, semantics be damned. You can, of course, call it whatever you like in the privacy of your own kitchen- I’m not here to yell at you! Anyway, I figured there’s probably only a few weeks¬†in the blended drink season, so I might as well share this recipe¬†now! Although come to think of it, weeks may be pushing my luck now that I’m about to be back in New England where summer = 75 degrees, so odds are if I make this again I’m also going to need an overcoat. Eh, I think it’s worth it. You’ll see when you try it! Also this is a fully vegan smoothie, even though the cup I used says “dairy”…oops?

Smoothie (serves 2)

5 oz light culinary coconut milk

6 oz coconut almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened)

2 tbsp. vegan chai latte powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1+ tbsp. maple syrup, honey, or agave (your choice)

1 shot espresso

ice

Add everything to a blender. Adjust sweetness to your liking and ice according to your desired thickness.¬†OR if you don’t have a blender/prefer your drink stronger: combine all ingredients except ice in a mason jar, close the lid tightly, then shake well. Pour over ice!

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Drinks

120

Coconut Honey Latté

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Coconut oil is magic, did you know that? It’s chock full of¬†medium chain triglycerides, which is science for healthy fats that help the body efficiently burn energy! Coconut oil also can help fight off yeasts, fungi, and bacteria. It helps increase metabolism and can improve insulin use within the body. Not to mention it’s an excellent moisturizer for skin and hair. Superfood, amirite? It can easily replace butter in many baked recipes, but it’s not hard at all¬†to sneak a teaspoon or two for an added boost into smoothies, milkshakes, and, you guessed it- even coffee! Hence this post. Another one of coconut oil’s magic properties is that when you blend it up with coffee and milk it creates an INSANE foam. Like, super thick and pretty caf√©-quality foam*. Believe it. Such a great way to boost energy in the morning or (if you’re me) at 4 pm, when the morning coffee has faded. Enjoy! Also I am aware that honey isn’t technically vegan, as many bees are essentially¬†exploited and uncompensated for their work. I’m not technically a vegan, so I do eat honey. ¬†And obviously there are vegans who abstain from animal byproducts for other reason, and do in fact eat honey.¬†And then there are carnivores who just don’t like honey. So whatever your feelings on the substance,¬†you can go for it or sub agave/maple syrup!

*A note on the photos/general life lessons learned: the first time I made this latt√© it came out incredibly. The foam was foamy, but it also managed to hang on to that lovely golden color that happens when coffee is mixed with milk (see above photo). Then I made it again because I wanted to share even more pictures of my coconut flavored success and it still came out appropriately foamy, but just, not AS good as it did the first time. So I made another. And another. No dice. And you know what I learned? Some things just aren’t worth it. Did it taste good? Absolutely. Did it still look nice in the pictures? Sure! Just not as nice as it did, but so what! Lesson = stop caring so much about whether the foam is perfect and start caring about actual things (like what is happening in Iraq/Ukraine or how I’m going to pay off my student loans when I graduate next year with a BA in¬†theatre design or how I continue to eat salmon when apparently it’s destroying the environment even if it’s wild-caught). Let’s just breathe deep and blend¬†some coconut oil.

Latté

1 shot espresso

1/4-1/2 c. almond milk (or whatever milk you like)

1 tbsp. solid coconut oil

1 tsp. honey (or agave or maple syrup)

Pull the espresso shot. Place in a blender along with milk, oil, and honey. Blend until frothy, about 30 seconds. Yum!

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Drinks

102

Dirty Ginger Chai Latté

That title sure is a mouthful, isn’t it? Well, I can assure you the adjectives are worth it. This is a loaded beverage. You’re getting spice from the Chai, a little kick from the ginger, and a strong wake up call from the espresso. This is a drink for the dreary Monday¬†mornings where getting out of bed actually seems harder than running a 10k in stilettos (hey Massachusetts- feel like actually letting it be¬†Spring already? It is almost April..) It’s also perfectly acceptable to make this drink and then get back into said bed. I don’t judge, I just cook.

Latté (serves 1)

– 1 cup¬†Spiced Chai Tea¬†(that recipe makes 3-4 servings, so just hang on to the extras for tomorrow!), but if you don’t feel like making your own, chai from concentrate works too

– 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground ginger (or 1/2 shot ginger syrup if you’re looking for something sweeter)

– 1 shot espresso

-1/2 cup steamed milk

Heat your tea on medium low and with a whisk dissolve the ginger. Pull your espresso shot and heat the milk. Pour the coffee into a mug, then add the tea and top with milk. Yum. If you’re not in the mood for a hot drink, this is also amazing poured over ice!

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Desserts, Drinks

ninety six

Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

I made several dairy-free recipes this winter for reasons I’m positive don’t really matter to Spices and Spatulas readers (once again, I’m trying not to treat my blog like a diary and spare you all from #feelings). So I’ll just move on. Considering this, and that it’s freezing outside I decided this would be a good chance to explore some milk-free/vegan hot chocolate recipes. Lactose-free milk isn’t my favorite taste-wise, so I go back and forth between preferring vanilla almond milk and vanilla soy milk when selecting my dairy-free beverages. Feel free to use whichever you prefer (you can even go nuts and use real milk if that’s what makes you happy!) But honestly, for any naysayers: this came out so delicious I’ve started making it for myself every time I crave hot chocolate- it’s much lighter than your standard cocoa, so you can drink twice (or three+ times) as much and I think that’s great!

Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

– 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

– 4 oz. unsweetened chopped chocolate or 1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated or raw sugar

– sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

If using chopped chocolate: Melt chocolate with sugar in microwave or over a double boiler. Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium low, whisking constantly. After about a minute, add the chocolate/sugar mixture. Whisk until combined and heated to your liking. Top with cinnamon if desired.

If using cocoa powder: Stir cocoa powder together with sugar. Add 2-3 tbsp. water into the mixture until a thin paste forms. Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium low, whisking constantly. After about a minute, add the chocolate/sugar/water mixture. Whisk until combined and heated to your liking. Top with cinnamon if desired.

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Drinks

eighty five

Spiced Chai Tea

Happy New Year everyone! I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are today, but here in New Jersey it is 5¬į, with a real feel of -12¬į. So we’re all a little chilly right now. On a day where even penguins need a coat I figure there’s nothing better than a freshly brewed cup of spiced chai tea. Chai is easily my favorite non-coffee hot beverage. Spicy and just a little sweet, I love it in latte form or simply as a cup of tea. At school, I make a lot of instant chai lattes using this mixed with warm milk, but I’ve always wanted to try to make it from scratch. It was actually really simple (I guarantee you have most, if not all of the ingredients in your spice cabinet) and very very good, much less sweet than your average chai. Of course, there are millions of chai tea bags available at every grocery store, but I think there’s just something really freaking awesome about having one’s kitchen smell like fresh ginger and cinnamon. Try it for yourself, you’ll get it!

Tea, makes 3-4 servings (adapted from naturallyella.com)

– 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 10 whole cloves
– 2 tsp. ground cardamon
– 2 quarter sized pieces of fresh, peeled ginger (or 1 tsp. ground)
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1 pinch ground)
– 3 cups water
– 2 black tea bags
– 1 tablespoon raw sugar
– 1 cup milk

In a saucepan, combine the first six ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

Once the spices have steeped, return pot to the stove and bring to a boil. Add in tea bags, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Pour through a sieve, discarding the spices and tea bags. Return the liquid to the stove top, adding in the milk and sugar. Bring back to a warm temperature and serve sitting next to a fire/outside in a snowstorm for added festiveness. If you’re feeling ambitious a splash of rum or brandy in here never hurt anyone..

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