category: cooking ideas

Green Tea Frappe Recipe

June 14, 2011

Posted by in cooking ideas

One of my favorite frozen drinks is the green tea frappe. A very interesting taste experience, green tea frappes feature the slight bitterness of green tea, complimented by the sweetness of milk and cream. Blended with ice, this drink is a cool treat for warm weather.

In coffee houses, green tea frappes are almost always made with matcha green tea, which is a powdered form of green tea leaves. My recipe does not use matcha powder, but rather, a more traditional method for blending lattes into frappes. For this reason, this recipe will not produce the signature green color of matcha powder – the frozen drink will be tea-colored.

ingredients

brewed green tea

3 additional green tea bags

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup crushed ice cubes

1/2 cup milk*

optional whipped cream topping

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

* milk can be switched for any other milk substitute, such as soy or rice milk.

directions

Begin with the green tea-infused simple syrup. Heat sugar and water in small sauce pan, stirring often. Bring to a boil, and add vanilla. Let boil for about 30 seconds, and remove from heat. Immediately drop in 3 green tea bags, and let tea bags steep in syrup until syrup as cooled completely; remove tea bags.

Next, brew a cup of green tea – I made mine extra-strength, with two tea bags. Let tea cool completely.

Crush ice in a blender until it is fine enough to be consumed with a straw. Fill a cup with crushed ice. Pour in 1/2 cup green tea, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 cup of green tea syrup; stir. Experiment and adjust with more or less tea, milk, or syrup to get the flavor that you enjoy.

Directions for whipped cream

Combine whipping cream and sugar in a bowl; beat with a hand-mixer on high for 3 minutes or until cream is thick and fluffy. Spoon whipped cream on top of green tea frappe.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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Now that the weather is really getting warmer, it’s time to pull out my favorite weekend drink recipe: the mojito. Using fresh mint and limes, these refreshing drinks offer a unique combination of flavors that really hit the spot. Thanks to their rich ingredients, it is easy to omit the alcohol and drink one anytime.

ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

mint leaves

club soda

quartered limes

ice cubes

rum

lime slices and mint sprigs to garnish

directions

The first step to a delicious mojito is to make minty simple syrup.  Bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to boil together in a small pot. Once a boil is reached and the sugar has fully dissolved, remove pot from heat and add a handful of fresh mint leaves. Let steep in pot for 15 minutes or more.

Once the mint syrup has cooled, start on the drinks. Place about 6 mint leaves and a lime quarter in the bottom of a glass, and press the leaves with a muddler or spoon just enough so that the mint oil and lime juice are released. Top with one to two tablespoons of the minty simple syrup, and the juice from another lime quarter.

Fill the glass to the top with ice. Pour in a shot of rum, and top off with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig.

If you would like to enjoy the flavor of a mojito without alcohol, simply omit the rum, and add in some extra lime juice and club soda.

Tip: have extra minty simple syrup? You can save it in an air tight container for another day, or add it to your morning coffee or hot chocolate!

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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I really like scones as a little treat with coffee, or to serve when family stays overnight, as ours did last weekend. I made them on Friday and kept them air-tight until Sunday morning – they were perfect for breakfast! Scones are so easy to customize and there are so many variations. This recipe in particular is great for breakfast because there is almost as much oatmeal as flour, and not a lot of sugar. You can even substitute the dried cherries for another dried fruit or nut of your choice.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

ingredients

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp course salt

1 stick of butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup dried cherries, other dried fruit, or nuts

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup soy milk ( or skim milk, or even buttermilk, as Martha suggests – I preferred soy)

1 tsp vanilla extract

sanding sugar for sprinkling on top

directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or just line with parchment paper if you have it.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt; add butter pieces. Use your fingers to incorporate the butter into the dry mixer (or use a fork to mash the butter really well). At this point, the mixture should be very course; add the dried cherries.

In another bowl, stir together the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add this to the flour mixture and stir well. The resulting dough will be a lot like cookie dough. I sandwich the ball of dough between two pieces of floured wax paper. I found that this reduces the dough sticking to the rolling pin, as you roll the dough out about an inch thick. You can roll it into a rectangle, cutting out eight equal pieces, or roll it into a circle, cutting out eight wedges, like a pizza. Brush each slice with a little milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Place your cut dough pieces on the greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on top. After removing, sprinkle with sanding sugar again. These are best served if they’re a little warm – but I love them room temperature as well!

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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DIY: Easy-As-Pie Crust

March 28, 2011

Posted by in cooking ideas

Making homemade pie crust is a daunting task to a lot of people – I know, because I was one of those people. It wasn’t something that I thought much about, until I received this little quote in an email forward about aprons:

“Remember: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.  Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.”

Ouch! True? Probably, but unnecessary? I think so. The modern generation of women are capable of anything, and that includes making our own pie crust. The fact is that I have never made my own pie crust before, but honestly, I don’t make pies. Still, it would nice to know how to make it when the occasion calls for pie, so here is my first attempt at pie crust making. Spoiler: it just might have turned out better than my own grandma’s!

Adapted from Martha Stewart, Food.com and Hillbilly Housewife.

ingredients:

2 sticks of unsalted butter*

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

4 tablespoons of ice water

* If you are looking for vegan alternatives, try these recipes from SavvyVegetarian.com and  About.com, (which use vegan margarine in place of butter) and use the same production and assembly techniques outlined here.

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut sticks of butter into chunks and add to dry ingredients, squeezing butter into the mixture by hand. Continue to mix thoroughly until a crumbly mix has formed.

Add three to four tablespoons of ice water to dough. Three tablespoons was enough for me – you can use more than four if your dough is especially dry. Continue to knead dough until fully soft. Roll dough into a ball, cut in half, and press into two flat discs.

Wrap discs in plastic wrap to prevent sticking, and refrigerate for one hour. In the meantime, prepare your filling mixture – I used a homemade blueberry pie filling. After one hour, remove dough from refrigerator and roll flat (1/8″ or so thin) between two sheets of floured wax paper. This trick allowed me roll the dough very flat without the dough sticking to my rolling pin and tearing.

When dough is flattened nicely, lay the dough over your pie pan, gently pressing it into the sides and bottom. Cut excess dough of the edges of the pie with kitchen shears, leaving about an inch to fold over and pinch into the outer crust.

Since this recipe is for two pie crusts, you can use the second for the top crust of the pie. I decided to give the lattice effect a try, and it was so fun! You just cut the second rolled crust into strips about 3/4″ thick. If it looks confusing, check out this photo tutorial on About.com.

For my first time baking a pie, I was pretty pleased with the end results – I believe my grandma would have approved, too.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

 

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homemade baby food

Even the youngest members of the family can eat well, simply. I have two toddler girls, and with the first, we used store-bought purées, but the expense really added up, not to mention all of the single-serving containers it comes in. For my second daughter, I decided to give homemade baby purées a go.

For those worried that the process is too time-consuming for someone with an infant (and I get that), just know that it really only takes about half an hour for a week’s worth of baby food. Not only will this save you money, but it will reduce waste, and you’ll know exactly what your baby is eating.

you will need:

  • fresh or frozen fruits and veggies
  • a microwave-safe bowl or medium sauce pan
  • a blender (or food processor if your baby is old enough for chunkier purées)
  • ice cube trays
  • freezer bags for storing purée cubes
  • small, air-tight containers for storing food in the fridge that will be eaten in 1-3 days
  • utensils (knives for slicing & chopping; a spatula for scraping the blender)

In this tutorial, I’m making puréed peas and apples.

homemade baby food

Steam or microwave your veggies until they’re they’re soft. Fruits, such as apples, do not need to be pre-cooked, but it does help to microwave them with a couple of tablespoons of water for a minute or two. Place about 16 ounces of fruits or veggies in a blender or food processor, blending until as smooth as possible.

homemade baby food

Next, scoop the purée into the compartments of an ice cube tray for freezing. When frozen, you can pop the cubes out, and keep in a large freezer bag. Simply remove a couple of cubes from the freezer about 12 hours before the baby’s meal, and let thaw in air-tight containers in the fridge; alternatively, you can take a few cubes out right before a meal, and thaw them in the microwave. This allows you to make a large batch of baby food a week or two ahead of time, and not risk the purée going bad.

homemade baby food

There is a great guide to freezing, storing, and thawing baby food on WholesomeBabyFoods.com. They are a great authority on puréeing, freezing, and thawing baby foods, with guidelines such as:

  • Baby food can be stored in the freezer for 3 months, maximum
  • Baby food can be stored in the fridge for 48 hours, although some argue that 72 hours is okay
  • Baby food thaws best in the fridge overnight
  • Some baby foods don’t freeze as well as others

They also have lots of baby food recipes, purée guides, and menu planners – highly recommended!

 

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

 

 

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As a vegetarian, veggie burgers have been a staple in my diet because of their high protein and convenience for lunchtime; however the high price tag for frozen veggie burgers has been stinging lately – usually $3.49 – $3.99 for a pack of 4. So, I decided to give a bulk veggie burger recipe a try – and I love them!

These are great because not only do you know exactly what is in your veggie burger, but these only cost me roughly $0.27 each when made via this recipe, and they can be easily frozen and stored for later.

The recipe is adapted from The New York Times:

ingredients

  • 1 can black beans – drain and rinse
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with chili or onions – drain and rinse
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 cups quick rolled oats
  • salt and pepper, to taste

directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Blend all ingredients except the oatmeal in a food processor until smooth. Stir mixture into a large bowl with the oatmeal; stir. Scoop mixture onto lightly oiled trays, flattening and shaping them into patties. Bake for 8 minutes; flip, and broil for 2 minutes until tops are crispy brown.

This recipe gave me 12 veggie burger patties, and took about half an hour to complete. These burgers are great on wheat buns with toppings like onion, tomato, lettuce, and avocado. If you freeze them, microwaving them straight from the freezer for 1 minute, 20 seconds, should could heat them thoroughly.

If you’re not into the Tex-Mex style of veggie burger, there are many other recipe out there – Cooking Light has a veggie burger recipe slide show that is worth a peek!

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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a note from bonnie! happy monday, lovelies! since ashley pahl’s drink recipes have been such a huge hit, i’m very excited to share with you today that she’s coming on board as a weekly contributor- this time for a weekly diy project! to learn more about her (and just how adorably-sweet she is) make sure to head on over to her blog, indie pretty projects and check out her lovely etsy shop as well. now, won’t you join me in a big warm welcome for her?

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lemon poppy seeds

I’ve been cooking a lot more lately, and I’ve just started to realize how expensive real vanilla extract is – almost $4.00 for one ounce! Long ago I saw a recipe for DIY vanilla extract, and it’s amazing how easy and cost effective it is – it came out to $1.01 per ounce! This would be even cheaper if you bought ingredients in bulk.

ingredients

1 vanilla bean

3 ounces of vodka

air-tight container

directions

Starting 1/2″ from top of vanilla bean, slice length-wise down the bean, and stop 1/2″ from bottom of bean. fold bean in half, and place in air-tight container. Fill the container to the top with vodka. Store in a dark place for two months, when it is ready to use. Shake occasionally.

Glass containers with corks would work perfectly – I used a plastic, screw-top bottle I picked up at Hobby Lobby. Handmade vanilla extract makes a fantastic gift – even after the extract is used up, the bottle with the bean still in it can be re-filled with vodka to make extract again.

My extract started out clear as vodka, but within two days it has already darkened some – I can’t wait to try it out in a couple of months.

Have you tried making your own vanilla extract before? How did it turn out? Have you tried making any other kinds of extract for cooking?

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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