It is now two weeks after New Years, and I think we can safely say the holidays are over. I tend to come up with an excuse every day in January that conveniently pushes back the end of the holidays and my resolution to eat healthy and get fit. But it is best to ease into things, right?
I figured it was time for a Halloween recipe. I wasn’t intending to make one today; I was actually just trying to make something healthy after my workout. Now that I live in Utah Valley again, I can go to Sweaty Chix, the fitness club my friend Wendy runs. Wendy is a fantastic instructor. She is caring and full of energy and accepting. Today she kicked my butt in an hour-and-a-half class, starting with Sculpt & Burn, and ending with Zumba. I had been putting off doing a Zumba class since she told me to come over two years ago—not because it didn’t look fun, but mostly because I didn’t want to look like an idiot. If there’s ever a chance I might look uncoordinated, ridiculous, unintelligent, or like a goofball, I generally opt for staying on the sidelines.
But I did it anyway, and I did okay.
And I had fun.
So, if you live near where I live, be sure to check out Sweaty Chix. You won’t be sorry. I’m only sorry I put off going for so long.
Wait . . . now, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Halloween.
When I made my smoothie, I just tried to use up some of what I had, and that resulted in something green and really thick. When I poured it into a glass, it was clearly something from “You Can’t Do that on Television” or “Double Dare,” so I called it a Green Slime Smoothie. Lucky for us it happens to be October, and we can say it’s for Halloween. And it’s healthy to boot.
Alright, alright. I’ve been talking about being healthy for awhile now, so I think it’s time I posted a healthy recipe, don’t you?
I’ve been seeing these Chia Seed Pudding recipes pop up all over the web. Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic has one, and I just found another in the January issue of Martha Stewart Living earlier this year. Most are made with some sort of vegan milk alternative, and since I had had success with making almond milk last year, I thought I’d make the pudding with almond milk.
School started last Wednesday. I bought my kids each a pair of Converse All-Stars, mostly as a bribe so my younger two wouldn’t complain about the uniforms this year, and also in a gesture of celebration. I loved going back to school when I was little, and I wanted the new shoes to help them get excited, too. The first day of school is, after all, the best day of the year, and they should get to be at least half as thrilled as I am.
After we had our breakfast of Peach and Raspberry French Toast (the recipe will be in the cookbook next year), took pictures on the front porch, and I dropped them off at school, I called my mom. I heaved a they’re-finally-back-in-school sigh. She gave me an empathetic cheer, and then reminded me she always used to spend the first day of school crying.
She back-tracked of course, telling me I have it harder (I’m a single mom), and I have a crazier life (I work), yadda, yadda, yadda. Whatever, she was just a better mom. I know it.
Despite my mom’s reluctance to have us back in school, she always made an effort to make the back to school time a happy transition, whether it was spending more money than she could afford on new clothes so we would fit in with our classmates, or setting up a homework table after school with mini Snickers and Milky Way bars as rewards for getting our work done.
Lavender lemonade seems to be all the rage lately. I’m finding it at my favorite pastry shop, all over the web, and even down at the local cafe run by favorite local hippies. And why shouldn’t it be the rage? A summertime drink kissed with floral scent? Heaven.
I made this particular batch of lavender lemonade when I was coming up with labels for Avery. I confess, though, that what’s in the picture was rather light on the lavender, since I made it at two in the morning and had run out of lavender buds. So when you make yours, you may discover it looks more, well . . . lavender.
Those cherry blossoms give it all away. I didn’t take that picture in the summer, but rather late spring. But it was hot. And now it’s feeling like summer all the time. The day I shot these, I wanted something cool and light, and regular lemonade just wouldn’t do. I wanted something a little more sophisticated than that.
I kept remembering back to when I was living in Montreal (when I was a missionary for my church). At this little convenience store, I found these amazing juices. They were combinations like cranberry orange blossom, or strawberry rose—and all sorts of dreamy flavors like that. After leaving that part of the city, though, I never found them again, and have always wanted to recreate them.
So I got to work in the kitchen. I found a little bottle of rose water I had purchased from our local Indian market ages ago, and added that to a simple syrup. Then I threw in a strawberry or two to give it a pinkish color. I think both just make the drink pretty, don’t you?
Apparently, my daughter and her friend thought so too. When they caught me photographing the pictures, they each took a glass and guzzled them down.
Awhile ago, I was at a Christmas party at church, and I gave a jar of homemade hot chocolate mix to one of my friends. After that night, she asked for the recipe. Then she asked for it again. And then again. Then she suggested I blog about it.
Well, it’s two years later, and she patiently suggested on facebook that I post the recipe for the 12 Days of Christmas. So, here it is.
Sorry for not putting this up yesterday, or the day before. I got sidetracked with my major award!
The orange zest in this cider hints at the orange glaze on the brioche doughnuts, making it the perfect complement. Enjoy!
Oh, and if you don’t have all the things like cardamom pods or whole anise florets, just toss in whatever you have. It will still taste good.
These are by far the easiest dessert and are perfect for a casual get-together.
We get these all natural Italian sodas at Super Target for about $2 a bottle. The flavors in the picture are Wildberry, Mango Peach (I think), and Blood Orange.
Some fizzy French lemonade would be good as well.