Tag Archives: homemade

homemade mango lassi

We are smoothie junkies around here, so I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner that we could make mango lassis at home. It also didn’t occur to me that they are healthier than they taste. Instead of yogurt and milk, I like to replace some of the dairy with light coconut milk.

mango lassi
Makes a 1-3/4 cup serving.

Per person blend:

1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup lowfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons light coconut milk
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
a generous pinch of salt
a dash of cardamom

Optional: sprinkle with pistachios and drink through a colorful straw.

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GTL: Green Tea Latte

It’s finally cold in the Pacific Northwest, which means I have become very fixated on hot beverages. My latest obsession is the matcha green tea latte. You can get this beverage at many coffee shops, including Starbucks. The Starbucks version costs about as much as a day’s worth of food, so I’ve been making them at home. We are nothing if not frugal. Bonus: This is simpler than my coffee rituals, so my morning routine is faster.


Matcha powder is a finely milled, high-quality, powdered green tea from Japan. You can buy cakes, pastries, noodles, ice cream, candy, and smoothies flavored with matcha. It’s purported to have all kinds of health benefits, but I just like the flavor and energizing effect. We sourced this locally from the Tea Lady. You can also find it at high-end grocery stores, food co-ops, and health food stores. You cannot find it at Trader Joe’s. I checked.


I don’t use a lot of matcha in my lattes – about 1/4 tsp. I add the matcha powder to 8oz. of homemade soy milk (measured to fit my favorite cup) in a small sauce pan on the stove. I whirl it with my immersion blender to eliminate clumps. The milk gets very foamy if you use an immersion blender, so I recommend that you blend first, then heat it. The bubbles can mellow out while the milk warms. I greatly prefer the immersion blender, despite the foam. I cannot eradicate the matcha clumps with whisks, forks and sifting. Heat the milk and matcha, but don’t boil it.


Matcha can taste bitter, so I add sweetness to taste. Some coffee shops don’t sweeten them at all, but Starbucks sweetens their GTLs with melon syrup. It’s a little weird. I use plain sugar usually, but sometimes I take advantage of the exciting syrups we keep around. For example, this Ikea elderflower syrup.


That’s my GTL. Pour into your favorite vessel, and enjoy your Kermit-colored beverage.

xoxo,
Jess

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under the bed storage drawers

Awhile back we got a new bed. Headboard, frame, mattress – the works. It was (and still is) pretty luxurious after a long time with a falling apart frame that was the wrong size for our room. The leftover pieces of pine from the old bed frame were so much prettier than the stuff from the hardware store, I couldn’t throw them away. Instead I turned them into something we needed: storage drawers to go under the bed. These simple wooden boxes on casters have proven to be very useful in our little house in need of places to tuck things away.

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food swap scores

When we posted about the stuff we brought to the Oly Food Swap, a lot of you wanted to know what we brought home. I finally got around to photographing a lot of the goods.

This lemon curd was at the top of our swap wish list. We recognized those gorgeous tags immediately! You can get them online here. And if you’re looking for a recipe for canning lemon curd, there happens to be one in Put ’em Up.

Two ounces of dried porcini mushrooms. What a score!

If you haven’t ever tried porcinis, allow me to recommend this recipe for potato gnocchi with tomato porcini sauce.

We have nearly polished off the big hunk of Irish cream fudge we got.

Mmm, salsa verde.

And two jars of this green tomato salsa. I am drawn to all things gingham, but I sampled this stuff and it is amazing.

Almond roca, made by hand.

This nectarine honey is some sort of syrup. Not sure how we’re going to use it, but I’m pretty sure it will be delicious. How can those ingredients go wrong?

I believe the information on this table said this strawberry jam was cooked with bay leaf.

Assorted canned goods. I can’t wait to try that canary melon vanilla syrup!

I know a certain teenager who is going to be eating a lot of applesauce – in smooth and chunky varieties. These giant quart jars are just some of the applesauce we brought home. I know we’ll be swapping again! Go here to find a food swap near you.

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Oly Food Swap

Have you heard about the food trend sweeping the nation, FOOD SWAPS?

Contemporary swappers can thank Kate Payne for this trend. Kate’s book, the Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, encourages people to host these parties and trade homemade food. We went to the second Olympia Food Swap last night. I attended the first one a few months ago, but we took a lot more stuff to swap this time. The swap itself is a bit overwhelming at first. Everyone’s running around, trading blackberry jam for fudge and beer salsa for homebrew, and it can make you a little dizzy. Once you relax into the chaos, though, it is an organic process and a lot of fun.

We took some preserves from our pantry to trade, but we also made some extra treats just for the swap. Krista made a compound butter with organic butter, honey, orange zest and lavender. And whoa, this stuff is delicious. If butter is your favorite food (you know who you are), you should consider making this. And then eating all of it.

We also packed up the brown butter crispy treats that were such a hit when we made them recently. This time around, Krista dipped half in white chocolate with espresso salt, and half in bittersweet chocolate with sea salt.

We’ve been in love with Martha’s southern pralines since we made them as holiday gifts last year. Everyone seems to appreciate their delicious, bourbon-y charm.

We also made my favorite granola of all time. I make this granola every other week or so. We usually make this recipe with honey, but we made organic cane syrup for this batch and it turned out extra delicious. I hope the granola lovers who took it home appreciate it.

We also took some homemade cola syrup, too. That went fast.

I was impressed and excited by so many things that our fellow swappers brought. It’s certainly nice to diversify our jam and salsa collection, but it’s also exciting to get ideas and inspiration. I really like seeing the food other people can make at home. One of the swappers had homemade rainbow sprinkes for goodness sake. I can say with 100% certainty that the idea of making homemade sprinkles has never crossed my mind before. We’re going to try to feature some of our swapped food in upcoming blog posts to keep the inspiration going.

So, have you gone to a food swap? What was the best thing you brought home? If they are happening in the little town of Olympia, there’s probably one near you. If not, you could organize one. Go forth and swap, and report back!

xoxo,
Jess

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homemade organic cane syrup

Oh, the sugar dilemma. I don’t want to use the stuff made of genetically-modified corn, but I also kind of resent recipes that use a cup of maple syrup for sweetener. Who can afford a cup of maple syrup? Agave, honey, and brown rice syrup are also pretty spendy, and often change the flavor of what you’re making. The solution? Make your own organic cane syrup at home.

I tested out this cane syrup recipe from The Kitchn. The organic cane sugar we buy in bulk has a little color to it, so our results were a gorgeous golden. There is a very subtle flavor. Upon first taste I immediately thought of cotton candy.

Ours turned out a little too thick, which I am certain was the result of me needing to calibrate my candy thermometer. Click here for a good set of instructions on how to calibrate yours.

We might just own two identical thermometers. Time to finally calibrate and mark which one is which. And yet still I’m dreaming of a perfect digital candy thermometer with a large display that you can set to beep when it reaches the temperature you need. I might still need to calibrate it, but perhaps I wouldn’t have to bend over and squint to read it so much.

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DIY holiday gift round-up

It’s that time of year. Time to bust out some of those precious canned goods for holiday gifts, or better yet, make some homemade goods especially for gift giving. As we prepare for a food swap next week and plan for the holidays, I have DIY gifts on the mind. Here are some of the links I’ve been looking at:

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