cinnamon apple bourbon

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I’ve been infusing my alcohol for awhile now, as you may recall, but this is the first time I’ve ever chosen bourbon as my vessel. Partly because I never drink bourbon (personally, I’m not a fan) and… well no, that’s probably the only reason. Mr. Eats’ family on the other hand… well they ARE bourbon drinkers. Or whiskey. Or scotch. Or anything, really.

With the winter season around us, the weather just screams for something rich, warm, and comforting. So what better way to celebrate than with a spin on a hot toddy using none other than apple-infused bourbon. You want to start the infusion at least one week ahead of time, but you can keep it going longer if you please. For a more mellow infusion, remove the cinnamon sticks after the first couple days, or you can leave them in for a spicier experience (think, “Fireball” with a bit less burn).

apple bourbon

You can let it infuse in the refrigerator, giving it a shake every few days or so, until you’re ready to strain out the infusers. There will be some sediment after you strain the bourbon, but it can easily be removed with a quick trip through some cheesecloth.

Create your own toddy using 2 ounces of this bourbon with 6 ounces of warm apple cider, sweeten to taste and add a twist of lemon or cinnamon stick for garnish if you so please. Or, if you’re feeling sassy, shots for everyone! It’ll warm you up in no time at all.

(Drink responsibly, of course.)

cinnamon apple bourbon

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 500 mL

Ingredients

  • 1 (500 mL) bottle bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
  • 2 apples, preferably organic, washed, dried, and sliced
  • 2 to 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 large jar, washed and sanitized (a trip through the dishwasher will do)

Instructions

  1. Place apples, vanilla bean, and cinnamon in a large clean container. Place the cinnamon sticks in last so they will be at the top in case you want to remove them early for a smoother infusion.
  2. Secure lid and place in refrigerator for at least one week, shaking every few days, making sure that the apples stay submerged.
  3. When ready, pour through a fine mesh sieve and discard apples, cinnamon, and vanilla bean (or you can keep the vanilla bean if you have a use for it). If there is still sediment in your alcohol, run the liquid through some cheesecloth to remove the sediment and transfer to a smaller container for storage.
  4. The concoction should keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Notes

If you don't want to "waste" your apples, you can use just the skins (I would increase the amount to three or four apples in that case) and enjoy the apple insides as you like!

Enjoy mixed with warm cider or on its own!

http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/17/apple-pie-bourbon/

watermelon margarita

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watermelon margarita 1325

This margarita was not supposed to be here today.

This margarita was supposed to be a different kind of margarita instead.

And then it was supposed to be a cake, but that’s another story for another day.

Today’s story is about my quest to make you a delightfully southwestern margarita full of prickly pear juice and limes and tequila.

Unfortunately, both prickly pears (also known as “cactus pears”) and limes were in short supply in my neighborhood.   Which is funny because I distinctly remember almost buying a bunch of them last week, but not knowing what I would do with them so deciding against it. As luck would have it, now that I wanted to use them, they were nowhere in sight.

I searched my store high and low for those same prickly pears that were piled high just last week and finally found two hiding underneath some mini bananas. I quickly grabbed them up and immediately regretted my decision.

To say they were “over-ripe” would be an understatement. They basically turned to mush in my hands. Those poor two prickly pears had probably been hiding under those bananas for weeks, months, or maybe even years… thinking they were safe… until I came along.

Ok, so maybe not years. But definitely for awhile. It probably doesn’t help that bananas tend to help things ripen. Did you know that? It’s a very helpful factoid when you are stuck with an underripe avocado and a craving for guacalmole.

Would you like to know another helpful factoid? Prickly pears are prickly, and not just in the way you might think.

Prickly_pear_cactus_beed

Stores often remove the fruit’s larger spines to help save their poor customers’ hands. What they do not always remove, however, are the super tiny, almost invisible, hairlike spines that grow on them as a secondary defense.

At least, my store doesn’t… So after I set down my prickly pear mush, I discovered that my hands were now covered in tiny, almost invisible, cactus needles.  My poor poor hands.

Have you ever tried grocery shopping or driving a car with thousands* of needles poking into your hand? It’s rather difficult.

*Ok, so maybe it was more like ten…

I grabbed the tweezers when I got home and immediately began my emergency surgery. Time spent holding prickly pears: approximately 6 seconds. Time spent looking for and removing tiny cacti needles out of my had: approximately 26 minutes.

Lesson learned – always wear gloves when touching cacti-related objects.  No matter how safe they look.

You know what’s not prickly? Watermelons.

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Watermelons are quite smooth, actually.  In fact, watermelons may be one of the least prickly things on the planet.

I’m not sure if there have been scientific studies or not to back this up, but if there were I’m pretty sure they would uphold my hypothesis.

Unfortunately, watermelons are also not prickly pears.  They do, however, have a similar flavor profile. While I would say prickly pears are a bit sweeter than watermelons, Shannon aptly described them as, “A prickly pear is like if a watermelon and some bubble gum had a baby.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, this Cinco de Mayo, I give to you a not-prickly-pear margarita. No gloves or tweezers necessary. Limes, however, are necessary. You do not want to be out running around to four different stores at the last minute because you realize that you are a big dummy and you forgot to get limes.

If you need more ideas for you Cinco de Mayo fiesta, you can check out this roundup.

watermelon margarita

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 3 Margaritas

Serving Size: 8 oz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup tequila (I use Sauza blanco)
  • 2 Tablespoons simple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cointreau
  • 1 lime, sliced (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Process watermelon in a blender until liquified. Strain if necessary to remove any seeds.
  2. In a large cup or shaker, combine watermelon puree, tequila, cointreau, simple syrup, and juice of one lime. Shake or stir with ice to combine.
  3. Strain into ice-filled glass and garnish with lime slice to serve.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/03/watermelon-margarita/

watermelon margarita - wee-eats.com

 

green juice

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After a weekend spent at the brim of uncomfortable fullness, the last thing I can think about today is the last piece of birthday cake sitting in the refrigerator.  Actually, it’s one of the only things I can think about, but I can’t imagine eating it.  Not even one bite.

The last thing I need in my life right now is another piece of cake.

My body is craving one thing: green.

I know, you totally think I’m crazy, but I promise you I’m not.  Not completely, at least.

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So, before you turn your nose up at the thought of a green juice, listen to this.  This is not bitter, or sour, or savory, nor does it taste like “green” (think: wheatgrass. yuck!)

This juice does not taste like green.  There is a tiny bit of pineapple in there, and that’s the magical ingredient with juice.  Whatever you are putting in your juice, I promise that if you put just like a cup of pineapple in there it will magically taste like fruity deliciousness.

True story.

I’m not an organic food snob, but when it comes to juicing I use organic whenever possible.  I don’t chop my fruit or veggies (unless they don’t fit into the opening in my juicer).  If you don’t have a juicer, I have also included directions for making the juice in your blender.

This isn’t baking, so you don’t need to be exact, and while I don’t think I’ve made this “recipe” the same way twice (for example, I’m out of spinach so yesterday I used only kale), it’s kinda a franken-juice from all of the green juice recipes I’ve perused online…  it goes a little something like this…

Green Juice

Makes about 16 ounces* of juice

*Your actual yield will vary depending on how juicy your produce is

Printable Recipe

  • 1 to 2 handfuls baby spinach (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 to 2 handfuls chopped tuscan kale ( 2 – 3 kale leaves, stems removed)
  • 2 stalks celery (Sometimes I leave the celery out if it smells salty.  That’s totally a thing.  Remember that thing I said about how I’m not crazy?)
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 3 medium (3-inch) green apples
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pineapple (about 1/4 to 1/3 of a pineapple, cored with skin removed)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

 

Since I’m not peeling them, I start with fresh, organic produce, wash it thoroughly, and cut it just so it’s small enough to fit into the mouth of my juicer.

Add ingredients to juicer in order listed.  Done! (That was easy right?)

If you’re using a blender instead of a juicer, go ahead and chop everything into roughly equal-sized pieces.  Add about a half of water to the ingredients (just enough to get everything moving around in there, add more if needed)  in your blender and whirring away until completely blended.  From there you can drink it as a smoothie, or strain out the solids and enjoy it as a juice.

 *A lot of green juice recipes tell you to use parsley, it has magical cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties.  I, however, despise the taste of parsley with the strength of 1,000 suns.  Don’t ask why, I just do.  And even though I’m sure a couple of sprigs wouldn’t kill me, for the sake of flavor (re: delicious vs herby), I left it out.  Feel free to add some if you like, it’s up to you. 

Adult Hot Chocolate

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I know that I’ve already warmed you up with hot chocolate on a stick and peanut butter hot chocolate, but given this weekend’s bout of dreary, rainy weather I found myself in need of  another warm chocolatey drink.

An “adult drink,” if you know what I mean.

And let’s class it up a little bit, as much as I love my penguin cups, it felt wrong to drink an alcoholic beverage out of something so cute.  The solution?  A martini glass, of course.  Even though this isn’t a martini in any way, shape, or form (well, aside from that it contains alcohol), I thought it was a nice touch.  (Last time I used them was for Easter, so I felt their time had come)

You know, the kind of classy touch that a girl needs when she’s drinking an adult beverage alone in her pajamas watching the rain (or snow) fall outside.

Don’t judge.

It’s not really a “recipe”, you can just grab some hot chocolate, and pour some “marshmallow fluff”-flavored alcohol in it until it’s to your liking.  You can make it as strong or as weak as you like (the recipe is easy enough that you can keep making them, even after you’ve had a few).

And, of course, it wouldn’t be hot chocolate without a marshmallow on top.

hot choc 1

Adult Hot Chocolate

Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 serving of your favorite hot cocoa
  • 1 – 2 oz Whipped Cream or Marshmallow flavored vodka
  • Desired topping (mashmallow or whipped cream)

1. Make hot cocoa, allow to cool a bit then stir in your vodka.

2. Top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.

3. Drink out of a fancy martini glass because, why not?

 

 

Looking for more drinks?  Try these:

 

Jellybean Martini  pb hot chocolate

peanut butter hot cocoa (aka "happiness in a cup")

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So, the joke’s on me, because our 80-degrees-and-sunny weather has already been replaced by cold and rainy.  Can you believe it?  RAIN!  It’s like a torrential downpour outside right now.  I’m not even kidding.  So, even though it’s 8:00 am, it’s not too early for a  nice, warm pick-me-up.

Last weekend, I posted hot chocolate on a stick to help warm you up, but what if you’re looking for a more instant solution?  That’s easy – turn your favorite hot cocoa mix into PEANUT BUTTER hot chocolate!

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My two favorite things, peanut butter and chocolate, get to shine again in this nice, warm beverage.  Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallow fluff to create the ultimate hot chocolate indulgence.  I seriously think my heart skipped a few beats when I drank this.  Honestly, I don’t know how I have drank hot chocolate for the last 20-some years without stirring a little peanut butter into it.  It’s almost like I’ve never truly lived until this day.

Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic.  But I think you get the point.  If you’re not the recipe-following type, feel free to just stir a tablespoon or two of peanut butter into your next cup of hot chocolate.  Just give it a try and see what happens.  My “recipe” uses your average hot cocoa mix, if you want to make your own hot cocoa from scratch, use your favorite hot cocoa recipe and add the extras into it.

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Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 serving of your favorite hot cocoa mix, prepared with 6 ounces hot milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of your favorite creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon marshmallow fluff, plus extra for serving

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to bubble at edges, about 2-3 minutes.

Add hot cocoa mix, peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon fluff, stirring until completely melted.

Pour into serving cup and top with heaping spoonful of fluff.  Drink and enjoy.