Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade
This is a favorite for parties and picnics. We served it at my baby shower and everyone loved it. Its also a great use for all the basil in your garden.

What you need:
1 cup Basil packed
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
lemon juice

What to do:
First we are going to make basil tea to use as a base of our simple syrup. We tried to just make the syrup infused with the basil but it did not work well. So boil the water in a pan. When it boils take it off the heat  and throw in the basil. Let it sit like that till it cools. Strain out the leaves, I squeeze them a little to get all the basil goodness. Discard the leaves.

Now to make the simple syrup add the sugar to the tea and simmer till it reduces by half. It will start to look like syrup. Let the syrup cool before using it. You can store it in a jar in your pantry too.

Now to make lemonade it goes like pour 1 part lemon juice 1 part syrup and 2 parts water over ice. Feel free to change the amounts to suit your taste. Garnish with lemon slices.

We have doubled and even tripled this recipes for parties. Also it mixes great with vodka, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This is one of our favorite summer drinks. Hope you like it as much as we do.


Salsa Verde

This week I was given some tomatillos and some peppers. Seemed like the perfect time to make salsa verde.
After removing the husks and and washing the tomatillos. I cut them in half. I split and seeded the peppers. Cut up some onions and garlic. Put them all under my broiler for about 15 minutes. Till they looked like this.
After they cooled I put them all in the food processor with the juice of one lime salt and cilantro to taste and ran it all around. The finished product looks like this.

It’s fresh and delicious awesome on tacos or just chips and so easy to make.

Garden · Recipes

Too many cukes

There seems to be an over abundance of cucumbers in my area. Friends are gifting garden cukes and there are some in my CSA. So I wanted to pass along a quick cucumber recipe. I don’t much feel like making pickle right now, but this is easy and delicious.
What you need:
3 or so large Cucumbers
16 oz plain Greek yogurt
4 oz Feta Cheese crumbled
Juice of one Lemon
2 or 3 big Tablespoons of Dill chopped or dried

What to do:
Slice the cucumbers thin I don’t peel them. You can if you want to I think they hold up better not peeled.

Mix all the other ingredients in a very large bowl and toss the cucumbers to coat.

If you can make it the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

That’s it so simple and so very good. I could eat this all the time.
Try it and let me know how it works for you.


Callaloo or something to do with all those CSA greens

Here’s what you need:
Large bunch of Greens Kale and Escarole work well
3 or 4 slices of bacon
1 onion
1 can coconut milk
1 cup of broth I use chicken but veggie would work too
Cayenne pepper

Here’s what you do:
Rough chop the onion and bacon
Saute the bacon and onion in a large sauce pan till onions are translucent
Add coconut milk and broth bring to a simmer
Add greens and salt and cayenne to taste
Cook until the greens have all wilted.
It will be very much like soup this dish is often used as a gravy over roasted meat.


Butternut Squash Soup

A guest post from The Hooligan:

The recipe was adapted (stolen) from a sweet potato soup Adrian Stock used to make. It’s extended-family-holiday-dinner-sized, so reasonable people will want to halve the amounts.

2-3 Butternut squash
2 big onions
1 cup cashew pieces, roughly chopped
4 cups veg or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups heavy cream (for less fat, use evaporated skim milk)

big fist of fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
black pepper1. Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds. season w/salt & pepper, then bake at 400 deg until soft. Let cool, scoop out flesh.
2. Dice onions and saute in olive oil until translucent, add cashews, stirring until nuts are lightly browned. Make joke about nuts.
3. Add stock, squash, cream, & dill. Blend with immersion blender. Simmer for 45-60 minutes. You may want more salt if the cashews were not too salty.To switch it up a bit, replace cream & dill with coconut milk & curry powder. You can use almond, soy or coconut milk to make vegans happy. I’ve used almonds, pine nuts, and macadamias successfully, and a quick version using canned pumpkin wasn’t bad.


Just a quick post

I know that I promised you a guest post from the Hooligan about making ice cream it is not quite ready yet. If you know him feel free to send him a message telling him how much you are looking forward to it. In the mean time I thought I would let you know about a side dish we made this weekend that was very yummy. We had some beets that we picked up at the farmers market. Now roasted beets are delicious all by themselves. We added some blue cheese. Then we made some walnut brittle by melting butter adding sugar and walnuts then letting it cool on some parchment. We broke that up and and put it over the beets too. The Hooligan doesn’t like beets, but he ate these. So I think you might like them too.


Oops I Forgot

I was supposed to tell you about corned beef ravioli with mustard sauce. Recently the hooligan and I have been making our own pasta. One of the things we like to do is to make interesting ravioli. Now there are lots of simple pasta recipes online so I am going to concentrate on the filling and the sauce.
Our filling was corned beef chopped fine and potatoes that were mashed but still chunky. The sauce was simple too. Melted butter and deli style brown mustard with a splash of irish whiskey. They were a fantastic appetizer for the podcast crew.
I am sorry it took so long to tell you about this recipe. Next time spring! And craft projects.


Vegetarian Tales

Last week I promised you some of my favorite vegetarian recipes.  Cook these when your vegetarian friends come to visit or anytime because  they are delicious.

First up, my grandmother’s Escarole and Beans.

Here is what you will need:

1lb Escarole – This is a green leafy vegetable. I like the recipes best with it. If you can’t find escarole you can use spinach or collard greens.

3 or 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

3 cans of White Kidney or Cannellini Beans

3 cloves of Garlic chopped fine

Red Pepper Flakes


Here’s what you do:

Open the cans of beans. DO NOT DRAIN

Grab your big sauce pan. Heat the olive oil till shimmering.  Add the garlic and brown it just like you are making pasta sauce

Add the beans with the liquid they were canned in. Lower heat to medium.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I over season it a bit because we will be adding the greens.

Simmer stirring for 10 to 15 minutes

Add the greens a few handfuls at a time stir them and let them wilt. Then add the next handful. Do this until all the greens are added to the pan.

Cover and simmer on low for 20 to – 30 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread.

Next up Vegetarian Jambalya

Here is what you need:

I make this using vegetarian Charizo sausage.  Feel free to use any vegetarian sausage you like. If you can find a vegetarian Andouille, that would be awesome

1 pkg Vegetarian Sausage

3 Carrots chopped

2 ribs Celery chopped

1 large Onion chopped

2 or 3 Bell Peppers chopped

2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 quart Vegetable Broth

1 large can of Crushed Tomatoes

1 cup Rice


Cayenne Pepper

Here’s what you do:

Once again grab you big saucepan and  heat the olive oil till it shimmers, you should be good at this by now.

Add the sausage and vegetables cook them till the veggies soften and everything starts to brown.

Add broth and tomatoes salt and cayenne pepper to taste.  It should be kind of spicy.

Simmer covered on low  for 45 to 60 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.

Add the rice.  Cover and on low for another 45 minutes or so till the rice is tender.

This is wonderfully hearty and spicy great for a cold winter night.

Speaking of veggies.  Today I started my tomato and pepper seeds inside.  Will let you know more about the garden as it progresses.

So do you ever go meatless?  What do you make?

Crafty Goodness · Parties · Recipes

Stitch and Bitch

So the holidays are over hope you all had a wonderful New Year.   I got a couple of craft books for Christmas which is just perfect because tonight is the first monthly Stitch and Bitch!! I am very excited to get all my wildly crafty friends together to hang out, I am sure it is going to be a blast.

I don’t really have anything planned for this post. I recently quit smoking and have been, less than motivated lately.  I know it happens to all of us from time to time but, it’s hell when you are trying to come up with content for a blog.

How about I give you the recipe for our go to appetizer.  It’s everyone’s favorite and we serve it at almost every party we have.

Bacon Thingy’s

Here’s what you need:

1/2 pound of bacon strips cut in half

1 package of cream cheese

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 loaf of thin sliced white bread



Here’s what you do:

1. Cut the crusts off the bread

2. In a food processor mix together then  cream cheese with the garlic

3. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread

4. Cut the bread into strips about the same width as a strip of bacon

5. Take 1/2 a bacon strip lay it on the bread strip and roll into a spiral secure with a toothpick.

6. Place on cookie sheet and bake at about 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or so till the bacon is crispy and the bread is toasted.

7. Wow your friends!

Next week I will be sure to let you know how stitch and Bitch went.  I’ll also post some pics of all the craft projects I have been working on to try to keep from smoking.

Wish me luck.





Shortbread and Excuses

Sorry this is so late.  Holiday stress and work is crazy.  Will try to post again on Friday. I know you don’t want to hear my excuses. You want to hear about Cookiemageddon. It was awesome!! Everybody’s cookies were great.  My wonderful husband gave me my Christmas present early a new KitchenAid mixer, which is already getting a workout.  As a matter of fact that wonderful Hooligan made his amazing shortbread in that mixer just this weekend.  He was nice enough so write up the recipe to share with you.  So here it is.


Shortbread Cookies


1 Cup Brown Sugar


2 Cups Butter


4 Cups Flour


1 cup dried cranberries/raisins/currants


In mixer, cream butter & sugar together, then slowly add flour. Add a cup of dried fruit and mix.


Divide dough in half. Form half of the dough into log shape 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten sides to form square log. Repeat with 2nd half of dough and refrigerate both logs for at least 4 hours.


To bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap logs and cut into ¼ inch slices. I use parchment paper on my cookie sheet and place them fairly close together. If they’ve been refrigerated long enough they won’t spread much. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown. They can go from pale to burn in 30 seconds so keep an eye on them.


Variations: I’ve replaced the fruit with 1/8 cup of caraway seeds. Another variation is to leave out the fruit, dip the cooled cookie halfway in melted dark chocolate, and sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt. Let cool on wax paper.


These were also successful using a vegan margarine, but they spread out and didn’t hold the shape as well. I used the caraway seeds on that batch and my vegan friends loved them.

I love these cookie the texture is perfect!  They are particularly yummy with hot chocolate.  You can thank me for that tip later.