Mint tea and graduating

I can’t believe how late this post is–it’s already mid June and so much has happened this summer! I graduated from highschool, my grandparents from India visited and I got a job (yes, I know it’s out of character). 

 
So long West High! 
  
Well, what with preparations for my grad party, a housefull of guests, yardwork to be done and working, I’ve sometimes been in dire need of a de-stressor. So I thought, why not try herbal tea?

We have no shortage of mint in our garden (actually, it’s quite invasive) so mint tea it was. I picked two stalks of mint (taking only the top half so each stalk would grow back) and rinsed them. Then I poured a mug-full of water into a pot over the stove and brought it to a boil. Next I added the mint leaves, reduced the water to a simmer, and covered the pot. After three minutes I poured the tea over a strainer and into my mug.

  
Mint tea doesn’t have a very strong flavor, but it’s calming and comforting and supposedly eases stomach pain! Plus, it makes your breath minty fresh. Enjoy!

  

Advertisements

Strawberry Oatmeal

My mom is a doctor, so I’ve grown up being lectured as to the importance of a healthy, hardy breakfast.  And you know what? She’s right. If my breakfast is less than ideal I fall asleep during physics, which is bad because I am currently walking the line between a B+ and an A-, and I still can’t wrap my mind around rotational motion. So I need to stay awake, meaning I need to start my day right, which brings me to oatmeal.

It’s delicious, cheap, simple and filling, not to mention healthy (speaking of health, I went for a run! You should all be proud of me). Especially when mixed with seasonal fruit, oatmeal is a fantastic way to start your day right.
You will need…

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/3 cup liquid of choice (water, milk or a combination of the two)
  • 1/4 cup chopped strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

Place a pot over medium heat and add the liquid and oats. This will need to cook for a few minutes; keep an eye on it and stir once in a while. When the oats start to bubble and come together, reduce heat and add sugar. Cook a while longer, until oats have reached a nice thick consistency. Add the berries and stir well. Enjoy!

  
  

    Oatmeal Cookies

       

    Behold oats: one of the most miraculous foods on earth. It has given us granola, oatcakes, my favorite breakfast, and best of all….oatmeal cookies!

    The beautiful thing about oatmeal cookies is that they contain several “healthy” ingredients (oats, walnuts, raisins and…um…an egg?) so as you reach surrepticiously for that fifth cookie, you can tell yourself that you are just getting your daily dose of fiber.  It’s not technically a lie!

      

    Cookie + bathrobe + coffee on the stove = happiness 🍪💁🏾

    Needless to say, I have exceeded my fiber requirement for the day. Now you can too!
    You will need…

    • 1 1/4 cups flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup butter, melted
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla
    • 1 egg
    • 2 1/2 cups oats
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • If you’re not a raisins and walnuts sort of person, substitute 1/2 cup chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

    Beat the butter and sugars till well-combined. Add the honey, vanilla and egg.

    Stir in the flour mixture, then add the oats. Add the raisins and walnuts and mix. 

    Plop tablespoon-sized chunks of dough on a cookie pan and bake 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

     

    Berry Muffins

    Nothing beats fresh baked goods in the morning (or at any time, really).  It’s a tradition in my house that we bake something for breakfast on weekends, and these muffins are a regular.  They’re quick to assemble and don’t take too long to bake, so they’re perfect if you like to sleep in.

    img_3117-1

     

    These muffins can be made using any combination of berries, fresh or frozen. Typically we use blueberries or a mixture of blueberries and strawberries.  Be generous with the berries; they should turn the batter a nice purple color (seeing the batter go purple always gives me a very satisfied feeling, because in my opinion the more things that are purple, the better).

    You will need….

    • 1 stick butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup white sugar plus a spoonful of sugar in the raw or brown sugar for dusting
    • 4 teaspoons of grated lemon or orange zest (what this means is that you take your citrus fruit and use a zest tool thingy (not sure what the name is, but it looks like a long, thin cheese grater) to gently scrape of the edge of the peel into your batter).
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups of your berries of choice
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup sour cream

     

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (350 if you have a convection oven).  In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and zest.  Add the eggs and vanilla.

    In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add half the flour mixture and half the sour cream to the butter mixture.  It is important that you not over-mix muffin batter; stir until just incorporated.  Add the remaining sour cream and flour, then fold in the berries.

    Place paper muffin liners in a muffin pan. Using a spoon, fill each liner until all the batter has been used up (you want each liner to be filled almost to the top). Sprinkle the tops with the dusting sugar, then place the muffins in the oven and allow them to bake for 25-ish minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffin comes out dry.  Enjoy!

     

    Blueberry Walk-Away

    This morning I woke up to this lovely surprise…thank you Mom!  I can’t wait to try this recipe myself (and share it with you, of course) but for now I couldn’t resist posting these pictures.

       
     

    Apple Bread

     

    This bread tastes like autumn. Made from the apples we picked at our local orchard, its warm, homey flavor perfectly exemplifies the season. It’s a wonderful breakfast to wake up to, but also makes an excellent dessert.  Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 stick butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar plus 1 teaspoon for dusting
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
    • 2 cups chopped apple
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    Directions

    Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth.  Add apples and nuts.  Pour into a greased and floured pan.  In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, then dust over the top of the bread.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing.


      

    IMG_0706

    IMG_0707-0

    Granola

    DSCN2998

    This easy granola makes an excellent breakfast or healthy snack.  I just love to eat it with my family’s homemade yogurt, but it’s equally delicious in bars, ice-cream or just plain.  This recipe is very basic, so feel free to add whatever you like to the mix: raisins, nuts, etc.

    Ingredients

    3 cups oats

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup honey

    1/4 cup maple syrup

    1/4 cup oil

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in bowl and combine.  Add honey, oil and vanilla to bowl and stir.  Pour over oat mixture and mix till coated.  Spread in a thick layer on baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes then stir and continue to bake till light brown, 5 to 15 minutes more.  This can be stored for up to two weeks.  Enjoy!