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Friday, February 12, 2010

Fresh Ginger Tea

I recently noticed a post on a blog praising fresh, homemade Ginger Tea. So then I did a Google search with the words 'fresh ginger, tea, & Blog'. Apparently, a lot of people brew ginger tea at home from fresh ginger, which frankly makes me a little embarrassed. I mean, I should be doing this as a self proclaimed kitchen witch and all.

Now, I have heard of brewing fresh ginger to make tea or ginger beer, but, for some odd reason, I never did it myself or even thought much about it. I always bought little bags of organic, dry ginger at my local health food store. Well, not tonight! I brewed some fresh ginger root in boiling water and then strained it into our mugs, which were awaiting the brew with some turbinado sugar and a hefty pinch of cinnamon. The result was an absolutely delightful and fragrant tea.

In the realm of herbal medicine, ginger is known to help with nausea, digestion, and headaches amongst other ailments. I always particularly appreciate its ability to relieve nausea and stomach ailments. So I hope you will consider a pot of fresh ginger tea next time you brew up something nice and hot for yourself.

Instructions: Boil about 3/4 tablespoon of sliced or crushed ginger for every 1 cup of water for about 5-7 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to steep for another five to ten minutes. Add cinnamon and sugar or whatever you like.

*Photo by Huimin @ PhotoXpress

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Post

If you are like me, Valentine's day isn't necessarily too high on your list of priorities. For me, this isn't due to not having a Valentine or anything of that nature, because I certainly do and he expects something on this coming day of love. He says he doesn't think much of Valentine's day either, but I know that if I did nothing his feelings would be hurt. I suppose that might be a vice versa situation too!

Being though that I want to celebrate Valentine's Day without spending a lot on dining out, expensive candies, or other items that can quickly empty my pockets (though I do love these things), I usually make some nice creations for my Valentine along with sending loving messages to his e-mail throughout the day. This way, he can anticipate an evening of coming home to an extra clean house with the fire going, candles lit, and a few items like these:

Easy Cheesecake Brownies (My Valentine's Favorite)
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp. Cocoa
1/3 Cup Oil
1 Tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Fresh Eggs
1 Tbsp. Strong Coffee (optional)

Cheesecake Topping:
1 Package Cream Cheese (softened)
4 Tbsp. Confectioner's Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
(whip sugar & cheese, then add egg & vanilla-whip till smooth)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & butter a glass baking dish.

Make cream cheese topping as instructed above and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt thoroughly. In another bowl, mix the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coffee till smooth. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix in a gentle fashion. Pour into prepared glass pan (mine is 8 in. by 8 in.) or any pan that you know won't burn cake/brownies. Whack it against the surface to release any air. Pour your cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie mixture, and use a fork to mix and make designs if you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Enjoy the praises that only cream cheese brownies can bring!

Or instead of eating out----:

A night at home by the fire with homemade tomato soup & grilled cheese! What? It's red and everyone loves it! I drew the heart on with Photoshop if your'e wondering.

Tomato Soup for 2:
1 15 oz. Can Organic, Diced Tomatoes
2 small carrots-peeled & diced
1/2 onion-minced
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 Tbsp butter or earth balance
1 bay leaf
pinch of dry rosemary sprigs
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
salt and black pepper to taste
Whip Cream (optional but good)

In a soup pot, bring the butter to medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and allow to sweat for about 4-5 min. Add the can of tomatoes, broth, rosemary, bay and about 1/8 tsp of black pepper with a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir, cover and lower the heat to a low simmer. Allow to cook for about 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit. Use an immersion blender to puree or leave chunky. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Make your favorite style of grilled cheese. We are making jalapeno jack on whole grain pita this year....

*And I leave you with a cute valentine for your blog or to send out in e-mails to friends. I love this one. It is one of Old Dame Penniwig's works. You can find more of her stuff here: http://penniwigs.blogspot.com/

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Buttery Pineapple Cake

I have sat here for quite a while trying to figure out what approach to take in order to describe the deliciousness of this cake. At this point, I'm sure that I don't have the words, so I am just going to say that this is one of those recipes you keep in your arsenal for life. This is for two major reasons:

1. Deliciousness!
2. Ease

There are other reasons too like this being one of the greatest cakes I've had with my ginger tea or the fact that there is not a lot a cleanup, since it is a one bowl and no mixer required cake. This cake is also so moist and fragrant that it would work great for a layered cake with something like butter cream icing. However, I feel the top two suffice for firing up the oven and trying it. Be sure to brew a nice pot of tea or coffee and have some whipped cream handy.

Here is the recipe:
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (Arrowhead Mills is excellent)
3/4 Cup of Light Brown Sugar (no substitutions, please!)
1/8 Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2/3 Cup Milk
1 Fresh Egg
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Drained Pineapple Chunks (tossed in a bit of flour)
*Recipe makes one layer cake*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & prepare a glass or no burn baking dish with butter or Pam.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, & baking soda thoroughly. Create a well in the center, and add the egg, oil, milk, and vanilla. Mix gently till homogeneous. Add the wet, floured pineapple and mix. Pour into dish and bake for 27-30 minutes. Did you notice there isn't really any butter?

Oh, and please vote for me!