So far, 2013 has been the year of the bug. Save for a few days last week, one of us has been sick since day one. We both have our own way of dealing when we’re under the weather. My other half refuses any sort of drug therapy, opting to suck on cloves of garlic (forcing me swiftly to the other side of the house). I’m a little less puritan about these things and will happily down a dose of Sudafed or anything that will rockabye baby. We both, however, honor and respect the power of nutrition in both prevention and healing. So today, on day five of this lousy cold, I’m waging war. My weapon – the biggest hunk of ginger I could find.
I’ve been researching homemade ginger ale recipes and decided to mashup a few of those that look best. Most call for a traditional simple syrup made by simmering ginger into sugar and water. I wanted to keep things as clean as possible so I opted for honey instead of refined sugars. I also added cardamom seeds to amp up the flavor. And of course, lots of fresh squeezed lemon.
[Slice 1 1/2 cup of raw ginger.]
[Combine the ginger + 1/4 cup cardamom seeds + 1 cup honey with 1 1/2 cups water.
Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 min.]
[Strain the syrup and allow to cool.]
[Collect 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice - roughly 1 1/2 lemons.]
[Add 2 tbsp of syrup and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to a glass of ice. Top with 1 cup of sparkling water.]
This really is the perfect concoction. Sparkling and spicy with a bit of tang and not too sweet.
Maybe I’m just desperate to feel less lousy but I’m pretty sure I can feel it working.
Bye bye, bug!
xo – Heather
You must laugh
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY
What is it called when a thing that defines a thing actually is that thing? Put another way, if I were to say that The Sound of Music is one of my favorite things, what would you call that? I mean, besides incredibly predictable.
I’m also loving:
- Slipping back into bed after an early morning run.
- My makeshift fireplace: lighting the fire pit outside and opening the curtains.
- Date night with a man who doesn’t mind watching Love Actually and enjoys a box of Ghiradelli double chocolate brownies more than I do.
- Strategizing a vacation packing plan. Five weeks out.
- A Harry Potter marathon.
- The fact that we can’t find anywhere to volunteer on Thanksgiving because every organization in need has filled their open positions.
- A glass of syrah and a bowl of Sevillano olives.
- The nostalgia of holiday tradition.
- And the waft of warm butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Specifically, before noon. Specifically, during months November and December. And specifically, enjoyed while still in pajamas.
A tradition for your consideration:
CINNAMON, BLUEBERRY, BAKED FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread
8 whole eggs
2 + 1/4 cups whole milk
¾ cups sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoons salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
fresh blueberries (apples would also be fantastic here)
Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.
Mix together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and combine with the dry mixture until it resembles fine pebbles. I use clean hands for this. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove from fridge and layer the blueberries and then the crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firm, more cake-like texture.
Top each warm portion with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.
Have a great week!
I was feeling seriously nostalgic this weekend. I mean, seriously. Maybe it was the rain or maybe it’s that we’re nearing the end of September. I was just really missing a good, old-fashioned, Fall weekend. Like the ones that used to have me gallivanting around New England. Strolling through Russell Orchards with a bag of cider donuts in hand, on a blanket at the Head of the Charles and scooting off to New Hampshire to camp and hike in the leaves. California has a ton going for it but from September to November I want to wear cable knit and harvest things that go into pie.
Speaking of autumnal eats, one of my favorite fall meals was, and will forever be, a big bowl of soup with a loaf of crusty bread (insert glass of wine, here). During my early years in Boston a friend introduced me to the most delicious, pureed soup I’d ever had the pleasure of thoroughly enjoying. It was a very special Curried Butternut Squash Soup.
It was creamy but yet not. Complex but so simple. Hearty but not at all heavy. I quickly began making it for myself and for nearly everyone I knew. A rough eight years later it has been used to manipulate the hearts of boyfriends, fill my lunchbox and entertain on girl’s nights. Many girl’s nights. This soup is now firmly planted in my repertoire as one of my go to’s, a signature even. I’ve added a few personal touches such as the fried apple strips in this version. Occasionally I’ll add cinnamon or ginger or I’ll swap the apple for pear.
Another thing to be said is that this dish couldn’t be much better for you. Many pureed soups call for cream making them slightly heavy but the profile of this soup would be diluted with dairy as a base ingredient. Aside from my garnish this variety is pretty much all vegetables and fruit keeping the fat content low and flavor clean.
I’ve had a long love affair with this soup and can say that it’s best enjoyed with with a rustic loaf of bread, a cheese plate, your favorite bottle of wine and something chocolate to top it all off.
Today, I am LOVING…
1. Alexa Chung’s fashion sensibility. Classic and modern. Super chic.
2. That figs are back in season! I am going to wrap them in bacon and drizzle them in honey atop a mound of humboldt fog and crusty bread.
3. Yogaglo.com – unlimitted, on-demand yoga in your living room. Choose your class by teacher, style or level. Personally, I love that these are real classes filmed in real studios. There’s no size two, celebrity instructor in a perfectly lit studio surrounded by dronee clonees staring you down. The camera is positioned from the perspective of an actual student, on a mat, in a for realz classroom. Yay for getting REAL!
4. Gender reveal cakes! Are you a hot mama-to-be? If so, ask the doc to tightly seal away the baby’s gender inside of an envelope. Take your very special note to your favorite bakery and ask them to prepare a cake with either pink or blue center (either the cake or the frosting layer inside). Invite friends to your reveal party, dive into the cake together and then, woo HOO – surprise! My sweet friend Karine is doing this on Sunday and I can hardly wait!!! We love you Baby K. (photo credit: cake junkie at Flickr )
5. The Blue Print Cleanse – I know, when will we stop talking about cleanses? They aren’t for everyone but if you’ve been here before you know I’m a fan. Specifically, a fan of this program. It’s all about fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices full of live enzymes, protein and vitamins. You ease your way in and out so it’s not too hard on your system and the juices deliver enough calories to actually fill tha belleh. P.S. – they say Hilary Swank and Jay Z are Blue Printers. I’m just sayin’ (“…concrete jungle where dreams are MAAADE of….”).
6. Miss Lilian recently gushed about a romantic getaway to one of my all-time favorite spots! The Viceroy in Palm Springs. Funny, I was just thinking I needed to pay those happy, pool-side, loungers a visit. Insert nostalgic sigh as I recollect my big birthday weekend last year! Ahhhhh.
7. And last but not least, the foodie-ness and photography of Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites is something I aspire to. Here he serves up this dreamy Summer Sangria recipe and this lovely photo from Everyday Food magazine. I’ve gotta think this one tastes as good as it looks.