Mary Helen Leonard, author of The Natural Beauty Solution and professionally trained culinary instructor, shares recipes, projects, tips, and stories about living a more natural, handmade, and creative life with her family in Austin, Texas.
I shared a tasty recipe for slow cooked apple butter on Sofab Foods. This super simple recipe infuses classic apple pie spices into one of my very favorite homemade preserves. Visit Sofab Food for the recipe!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #NewWayToSparkle #CollectiveBias
There is something special about kicking up one's heals with a glass full of something sweet and bubbly. For those who choose to forego the typical fizzy libations the holiday season can present somewhat of a challenge. Creative soft drinks, like the recipe I'm sharing today, are a great way to include guests of all ages and all beverage preferences to participate in the revelry of holiday parties, social gatherings, and simple celebrations.
It's a new way to sparkle.
This recipe combines Lime flavored DASANI® Sparkling with a sweet and tart homemade cranberry lime sorbetto. DASANI® Sparkling has a mild natural flavor, plenty of peppy carbonation, and most importantly for this recipe, no added sugar. That gives you the ability to modify the drink to your own taste as far as sweetness goes. Add as much or as little sorbetto as you please to craft a quick custom mocktail that is light, refreshing, and completely party-worthy.
I've included a recipe for handmade sorbetto but store bought sorbetto or sorbet will work nicely too. Try making this recipe your own by using a different flavor of sorbetto or another flavor of DASANI® Sparkling.
Cranberry Lime Sorbetto Makes about 3 cups
1 10-oz (284g) bag frozen whole cranberries
4 cups water, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup sugar
Combine cranberries with 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove cranberries and cooking liquid from saucepan and set aside to cool.
Add remaining 1 cup water and sugar to saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, stir, and cook for 5 minutes.
Let ingredients cool for about 15 minutes. Place cranberries with cooking liquid in blender and puree for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
Push pureed cranberries through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds and solid portions. Discard solids and combine liquid with water and sugar mixture (simple syrup).
Chill mixture in refrigerator for at least one hour before pouring into ice cream maker. Churn 45 minutes, or according to machine directions.
Freeze churned sorbetto for at least 4 hours before using/serving.
Cranberry Lime Sorbetto Fizz Makes two small servings
2-4 scoops cranberry lime sorbetto
1 12-ounce can DASANI® Sparkling Lime
2 slices lime, for garnish (optional)
6 fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
Scoop 1 or 2 scoops cranberry lime sorbetto into highball glasses. 1 scoop will lend mild sweetness. Add 2 for a sweeter drink.
Pour 6 ounces DASANI® Sparkling Lime into each glass.
Garnish with lime and cranberries. Serve immediately.
I purchased the ingredients for this recipe at my local Target. You can find plenty of flavors of DASANI® Sparkling in their soft drink section. Dasani recently added a 20-ounce can of DASANI® Sparkling to their line which you'll find over near the checkout. That's the perfect size for grabbing on your way out the door.
C and I spend quite a lot of time at Target these days. Being able to make one stop to pick up groceries, go clothes shopping, or even scope out art supplies is pretty key to our existence right now. It helps that C loves exploring the store too - so it isn't a battle to get him to come with me.
Getting him to leave the toy section? That's another story.
Have fun with your mocktails! I hope this recipe will help make your celebrations a little sweeter! You can find even more fun recipes using DASANI® Sparkling here.
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FarFromOrdinaryMilk #CollectiveBias
Apples Day is coming.
At least that's what my 2-year old tells me. At first I thought my little one invented his own holiday, but after a little investigation I found out that Apples Day is a real thing! Or, to be more exact, Johnny Appleseed Day is a real thing. September 26 is celebrated as Johnny Appleseed's birthday and his preschool class has been learning about apples all month.
CC has demanded an Apples Day party to honor the occasion. Being the overly-indulgent parent that I am, I quickly agreed and have had apples on my mind ever since. We're planning to host a family potluck for Apples Day later this month. I can't wait to see what apple-themed recipes our friends and family bring to the table.
To tell you the truth, I haven't thought about Johnny Appleseed much since I was a kid. He was a famous pioneer during the early 1800's and was known for his generosity, dedication to conservation, and of course, his love of apples.
I love apples too, so old Mr. Appleseed and I have that in common. Apple-flavored dairy products were something I fell in love with while living in Beijing. Apple yogurt, smoothies, and ice creams had an unexpected, but extraordinary taste that I quickly fell in love with. I've been meaning to work on an apple ice cream ever since. Our Apples Day celebration inspired me to finally make it happen!
Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream is sort of like taking the best flavors from pie ala mode and concentrating them into one rich and creamy dessert. This ice cream has a dense texture that works wonderfully with crispy cones, crunchy granola, and salty caramel sauce. Don't forget to include a nice dollop of whipped cream too. That's an Apples Day sundae you won't forget.
I used homemade apple butter in this recipe but you can save some time by using store-bought apple butter instead. Look for something with a little cinnamon to give your ice cream plenty of warm spicy flavor.
The other key ingredient in this ice cream is, of course, the milk! I used Promised Land Dairy's Homogenized Milk to make my Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream. This unique brand of milk gets it's extra rich and creamy flavor from Jersey cows, a breed that hails from the British Isle of Jersey. (Not the state of New Jersey!) According to Promised Land, extraordinary flavor comes from extraordinary cows. I couldn't agree more!
These special brown cows only make up about 10% of the milk produced in the United States. The majority of our milk comes from the classic black and white Holstein breed. I was surprised to discover a noticeable difference in the texture and flavor of Promised Land's milk. Not only does it have an exceptional flavor, it is actually higher in protein and calcium than other varieties of milk.
When it comes to making ice cream, the flavor of the milk used can make a huge difference in the final product. Promised Land has turned out to be an excellent choice. I noticed a thicker and creamier ice cream custard as soon as I started experimenting with it.
Try using Promised Land milk in creamy cheese sauces, chowders, bisques, and custards to showcase it's extraordinary flavor. I've also found it to be an ideal drinking milk - if you should find yourself with some cookies to nibble. My hubby, Scott Bobleo, who is pretty much a chocolate milk expert is a huge fan of Promised Land's Midnight Chocolate flavored milk.
Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream Makes about 2 pints
This dense and creamy ice cream tastes delicious over granola, graham crackers, or coffee cake. Serve with fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce to make a delicious apple cinnamon sundae!
In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of milk with cornstarch and set aside.
Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, then whisk in the cornstarch and milk slurry. Return the pan to burner. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 3 minutes.
In a large heat-proof mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and salt. Remove the cinnamon stick from the hot milk and cream mixture, then pour over the cream cheese. Whisk gently to combine the melted cheese with the hot custard. Add 1/2 cup apple butter and whisk to combine thoroughly.
Pour the custard into a large ziplock bag, then submerge the sealed bag in a bowl filled with ice and water. Cool the custard completely.
Churn the custard in your ice cream machine for 30-40 minutes, or until the ice cream thickens enough to pull away from the sides of the barrel.
Scoop the soft ice cream into pint-sized containers, adding a spoonful of the reserved apple butter between every few scoops of soft ice cream.
Freeze the ice cream for at least 2 hours before serving.
I purchased my Promised Land milk at my local Target. Right now you can save an extra $0.75 on your purchase of Promised Land products using Ibotta. Click here to learn how you can earn rebates on Promised Land products and many other everyday purchased using Ibotta.
It's really true what they say about not knowing what you've got till it's gone. This isn't always a bad thing, of course. Sometimes something you think you enjoy as-is can become even better when it loses something.
Take cold-brew coffee, for example. I've always been a coffee lover, but it wasn't until I started drinking cold brew that I realized how burnt and bitter the coffee from my electric coffee maker tasted. When my coffee lost that particular layer of flavor my eyes opened to a whole new world of deliciousness.
Cold brew coffee is incredibly smooth and mellow. It has the rich flavor of coffee that I love but it's missing a certain quality that I have since come to loathe. Some might call it "toasty", but personally I have come to love my coffee tasting less acidic and less, well, overheated. The smooth flavor of cold brew also makes skipping the sugar and sweeteners a little easier.
All I need is a splash of milk to fall in love with my hot morning cup of java or my afternoon treat over ice. It's a far cry from my previous Italian syrup habit which was definitely racking up my daily sugar intake.
Oh, and did I mention that cold brew typically has about 3x the caffeine of conventionally brewed coffee? Yowza. It's a good idea to treat your cold brew as concentrate and to dilute it accordingly but the truth is that I indulge in the occasional full-power cup.
It makes me feel alive.
So, if you have never tried cold brew coffee I would highly recommend checking it out. It's been my "new" favorite thing for a couple of years now. The only big drawback is that a cold brew habit can get a little expensive - that is if you buy your concentrate online or at the grocery store.
Luckily, making your own cold brew at home is really easy - like stupid easy.
The best part? Cold brew makes coffee taste so good that you can even use the cheapest, most generic, store-brandiest coffee and STILL have it taste good. Thrifty people rejoice!
All you need to get going is a quart-sized mason jar with a re-usable lid and something called a nut milk bag. This same method will work just fine with cheesecloth or another type of strainer - just make sure the mesh is very, very fine or you will wind up with cloudy (possibly even gritty) coffee. I've actually used this kind of metal mesh strainer with great results.
Tip: If you are grinding your own beans go with a coarse grind to help make the cold brew even easier to strain.
I hope you give this recipe a try! Trust me when I tell you that you won't miss the expense of fancy store-bought cold brew OR the burnt acidic flavor from your electric coffeemaker once those things are gone. For once, parting won't be such sweet sorrow.
Add water to the jar until it is completely saturating the ground coffee and filling the jar.
Screw a re-usable cap onto the jar - right over the edges of the nut milk bag. You should be able to see the very edges of the bag peeking out from beneath the tightened cap.
Place the jar in your refrigerator for about 48 hours.
Strain the coffee from the jar by pulling out the nut milk bag and squeezing the contents gently.*
When you are ready to enjoy your concentrated cold brew make sure and dilute at a 1:3 ratio. That means 2/3 cup water for every 1/3 cup of cold brew. The remaining concentrate should last for at least one week in the refrigerator.
*Alternatively, you could add the grounds directly to the water (sans bag) and then strain the whole jar through the bag after the grounds have finished soaking. It doesn't really make much difference which order you do this in. It's a personal preference thing and if you try it both ways you will quickly discover which method you find less messy or troublesome.