Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quick Iced Tea (To-Go)

This was the sunrise yesterday. Beautiful!
Homemade iced tea is kind of a grass-roots thing we can do to make a smaller footprint AND drink more water. Win-win! Go you! Go us! :) A "coffee-shop rebellion?" If only they didn't sell those lovely breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and have such nice atmosphere!
On my way to work. In the parking lot.
This method of iced tea is super easy and calls for a reusable travel mug (no paper cup sent to the landfill), tap water and a bag of your favorite tea (which I believe is biodegradable: plant matter+paper). You don't have to drive anywhere to get it (no additional carbon emissions from your car per-serving). Most travel mugs seem to hold about 16-20 ounces of fluid/water.
One of the last roses of summer? Looked like a watercolor painting to me.
When we make our own tea at home we can choose to go herbal or caffeinated and we know what flavor we're getting. (There's no weirdness like the "cutting-edge" flavors at the coffee shops. The last time I ordered an iced tea from a coffee shop I ordered blueberry tea and it had a nasty sage(?) flavor as well. The tea wasn't even drinkable. I dumped it out thinking "What a waste of money! I've got to be able to make this better myself, at home.") Making tea to-go at home is a snap and we get to enjoy the "fruits" of our labor (fruit tea... ha!) Oye! It's too early for puns! Enjoy!

Iced Tea (To-Go)
1 Tea bag (your flavor of choice)
16 oz.+ cold tap water
Sweetner (2-3 packets of Splenda, optional)
1 Travel mug

Get your favorite travel mug and fill it with cold tap water (or drinking water). Add 1 tea bag of your  choice. I tend to use fruit flavors like blueberry or strawberry. Add sweetener if needed and add the lid to the container. Allow to steep approximately 15-30 minutes before drinking. (Just leave the tea bag in. There's less fuss, and with the blueberry and strawberry, it doesn't seem to affect the flavor and the tea bag seems to stay out of the way while drinking.) I make this before I leave for work and by the time I get to the office, it's ready to drink. (Option: Try 2 tea bags with different flavors like white tea and peach and see what you think.)

Suz

P.S. About the spotted tea pot...


I created this little pot of tea for The Cupcake Tree a book of silly poems I wrote for my daughter. You can see some of my other art at the Fabled Garden Press blog. I'm in the process laying out the book to publish to the Kindle and the Nook.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"B" is for Banana Bread (and Bigfoot)

My daughter's friend stayed over, so I made some banana bread for breakfast. When I went to look for the recipe on Cookbook Bites I realized I hadn't actually posted my favorite recipe to the blog so I grabbed my camera to remedy this. (Recipe below)


While the banana bread was baking, I went to work on the cover art for an ABC book I've been working on with Matt Smith. The book is called "B" is for Bigfoot, an ABC Book of Wonderful Creatures that will be available to preorder in November as an eBook. I've been busting a move getting the art finished and have love, love, loved working on this project! We have an editorial review coming in about a week for final changes.

Early cover sketch
My drawing teacher in college suggested I create something like a children's book... so, I've been working on this since last winter creating letters to go with my favorite legendary monsters as a fun way to introduce the storybook of world myth (so-to-speak) to kids as they're learning their letters. It's fun to watch shows like Finding Bigfoot and Destination Truth---and years ago In Search of with Leonard Nimoy. I'm guessing there are other cryptozoology fans out there because they're still making these shows. ???

Cover drawing ready to finalize in ink and add color.

Banana Bread
1 C walnuts (optional, I didn't have any)
1 3/4 C (Plus 1 heaping T, high altitude) all-purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 C Sugar
1 t Baking powder
1/2 t Baking soda
1/2 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1/2 C Butter, melted (Cooled)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 t Vanilla

Combine the walnuts, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Next melt the butter and cool. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, butter, mashed bananas and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry and combine. Prepare 1 loaf pan. Pour batter into the pan and bake at 350 for 55 minutes (or until a toothpick test comes out clean). Let the loaf of banana bread cool a few minutes then slice to serve.

Recipe Source: Banana Bread Recipe & Video by Stephanie Jaworski, Joy of Baking.com

Copyright notice: "B" is for Bigfoot was created by Suzanne Nikolaisen and Matthew Smith as a Fabled Garden Press book. All rights reserved. Copyright 2014.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mini-Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies


I was looking for a healthier oatmeal cookie recipe and found one on Earth Balance's website. I had to make a few edits--I didn't have gluten free oat flour on hand for example, but I think they turned out to be a good, solid oatmeal cookie--made without butter. They are soft and a little dry, but have the perfect texture to go with a small cup of milk. (I may try adding chopped walnuts next time.) If you make them, please let me know what you think.

Mini-Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
2/3 C Unbleached Flour (+1-2 T if batter is too moist)
1/3 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 C Rolled Oats
1/2 C Shredded Coconut
1 T Cornstarch
1/2 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Kosher Salt
1/8 t Cinnamon
1/3 C Sugar
1/4 C Brown Sugar (unpacked)
1 t Vanilla (maybe add another 1/2 t)
1/4 C Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (softened/melted)
1/4 C applesauce
2 Egg Whites
2 T Mini Chocolate Chips (This is really all you need. The chips divide and conquer and are well-represented in all of the cookies.)

Mix the flour, oats, coconut, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl blend together the sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, applesauce and egg whites. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. The batter will be very soft. Use a cookie scoop to portion out the 24 (small) cookies. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Weight Watchers: 2 points a piece for 24 cookies

Recipe Source: Earth Balance: Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oyster Stew

During the last year or so Campbell's stopped making Oyster soup. My husband wrote to them to find out where it had gone. Yesterday he made oyster stew from scratch using a recipe he found at AllRecipes.com. You can find the original recipe below. We're landlocked so he did it a little differently, using canned oysters. To get the oysters ready he strained them using a fine mesh strainer, saving the juice. He did this to check for any shell remnants to ensure they didn't end up in the soup. He cut the oysters into bite sizes and then added them back to the liquid he had strained off and added them to the soup as directed by the original recipe.

AllRecipes.com: Oyster Stew
Submitted By: Buddy Sizemore
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 35 Minutes
Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup minced celery
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 quart half-and-half cream
2 (12 ounce) containers fresh shucked oysters, undrained
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the celery and shallots until shallots are tender.
2. Pour half-and-half into a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in the butter, celery, and shallot mixture. Stir continuously. When the mixture is almost boiling, pour the oysters and their liquid into the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir continuously until the oysters curl at the ends. When the oysters curl the stew is finished cooking; turn off the heat and serve.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2013 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 12/15/2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Almond Granola

I know it's been a while since my last post. I've been taking some classes at the local community college, so thanks for bearing with me. I should actually be working on my final for my drawing class, but instead I'm saving the recipe so you and I will both have it going forward! :) So, it's pics from my phone and a quick post!

Almond Granola
4 C old fashioned oats
1 1/3 C sliced almonds
1/2 C (heaping - probably + 3T) sweetened shredded coconut
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t kosher salt
3 T butter
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C honey
1/2 C brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 T butter
1/4 t almond flavor

Adjust your rack to be in the middle of your oven. Oven should be preheated to 325 degrees. Butter a jelly roll pan to prepare the pan. In a large bowl add oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and salt and stir to combine.

Take a middle size pan and add butter, oil, honey and brown sugar (wait on the vanilla and almond flavor).  Whisk gently to combine and stir regularly as you bring it to a gentle boil. Add in the vanilla bean paste and stir to combine.

Next pour the mixture over the oat/almond/coconut combo and stir/toss to combine. Get everything coated with the sauce.

Melt the 2 T butter and add the almond flavoring to it and drizzle over the oat combo and stir to combine.

Pour and then spread the oatmeal mixture onto the jelly roll pan. Bake 30 minutes. (Stir/turn over mixture at 10 and 20 minutes. This ensures everything toasts and turns golden.) Remove from oven and let it cool. While it's still warm, you might want to ensure it comes off the pan easily with a spatula. Try to leave some in big chunks they will probably break apart in storage.

Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker who got it from Martha Stewart

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