Archive | SWEET BITES

SWEET BITES: HOMEMADE SODAS

I don’t know about you guys but February is seriously kicking my butt. Not sure if it’s the lack of sun, daylight or warmth that has me feeling so blah and it probably hits me around this time every year and I forget, but OMGeeee! Spring cannot get here too soon. And I am not one that usually wishes for time to hurry.

A few of the things that seem to be helping with the winter blues lately: copious dance parties, getting out of the house, and playing with the kids in the kitchen. Thought I would share our latest cooking session recipe with you, inspired by the last few hipster-ish restaurants we’ve grubbed at  that have handcrafted sodas on the menu instead of sprite and root beer. While nothing can really replace a good old fashioned Shirley Temple, these homemade sodas are delicious and less sugary. Plus the fancy flavors and garnishes make them feel extra special.

Our DIY version is a mix of sparkling water and homemade simple syrups. Here’s the how-to…

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh fruit
  • 1 cup sugar of choice (modify measurement for stevia or splenda)
  • 1 cup water
  • sparkling or flavored water (like pellegrino or la croix)
  • mint, basil, lemon, lime, berries, etc., for garnish
  • lemon and lime juice (optional)

TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUPS:

  1. Dice or slice fruit if needed – for instance mango or strawberries.
  2. Heat 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar over med-high heat. Stir until sugar is melted.
  3. Add fruit and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the sugar mixture is a deep color that matches the fruit.
  4. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another pot or heat safe bowl. Resist the urge to press down on the strained fruit to try and get more juice out :) it just makes the syrup chunky and cloudy.
  5. Let syrup cool completely then poor into mason jars or other airtight containers in the fridge. Should keep for a few weeks.

TO MIX THE SODAS:

  1. Set out syrups, sparkling water options, and garnishes.
  2. Pour sparkling soda in each cup. Add syrup and garnishes to taste. We used approx.  a 1:4 ratio of syrup to water (1/4 cup of syrup for every cup of sparkling water… maybe a little less syrup than that).
  3. Tip: a little splash of lemon or lime juice tastes so good in the sodas!

 

These yummy drinks may not make spring arrive any sooner but they will add a little fun to your day and fancy to your tastebuds.

How has February been treating you? Have any tricks for beating the winter blues? I probably should have added Netflix to my list of tricks above :)

If you love this time of year please spill all your secrets and then move next door so your happy winter vibes can rub off on me.

Happy hump day friend!!!

xo, Rae

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A MENU PLAN, PENGUIN COOKIES, FAVORITE BOOK, + LIFE LATELY

It’s not often that I start my week off with a random post but — oh my goodness you guys — still over here having  a hard time transitioning out of Christmas break mode! Was hoping all the new year’s resolutions, goals and ambitions would kick my butt into gear but the haze has not fully lifted. I’ll be heading out later this morning for a meeting and long work day away from the house and kids (what, what?) and am hoping it will do the trick. Nothing like a quick break from the norm to regain focus and energy.

Here are a few other things that have been going on around here…

I may not have done much other than play and visit with the ones I love this last week but I did manage to put together a meal plan which is always a good thing. Here’s what we’ll be chowing down on this week:

M | beef + cauliflower fried rice

T | baked potato bar

W | thai chicken noodle bowls (i like this recipe but this one has some good shortcuts)

TH | eat out or takeout :)

F | skillet chicken chilaquiles + a winter margarita (cheers to the weekend!)

SA | creamy tortellini and sausage soup + rustic bread

SU | dinner with friends

BREAKKIE | cereal or smoothie with sausage, or omelets

LUNCH | leftover fried rice or bagel sandwich, apple slices with almond butter or strawberries, popcorn or veggie straws, cucumbers or baby carrots with dip

SNACK | zucchini chocolate chip muffins or greek yogurt and granola

Now let’s chat about the cute penguin cookies above that Griffin and I made last week while Poppy napped and the big kids were at school.

To make YOU’LL NEED:

  • oreo cookies
  • white baking chocolate
  • black decorating gel (next to the frosting tubes) or mini chocolate chips
  • fruit leather for the beak (or other orange dried fruit or candy), cut into small triangles
  • wax paper

HERE’S HOW (reference pics below):

  1. Cover cookie sheet or cutting board with wax paper. Melt chocolate according to instructions. Dip cookies in chocolate at an angle to make face. Lay on wax paper and then use a spoon to make chocolate lines more rounded like a heart.
  2. Use black gel to add eyes and small triangles of fruit leather for the beak.
  3. Place cookies in the fridge or freezer until chocolate hardens and then enjoy! Side note — black gel never fully hardens so if you stack them the eyes sometimes smear.

The cookies and my kids recent penguins obsession was inspired by the book, Penguin Problems. I purchased it because the cover and name was so cute (ha!) and then wasn’t sure what I thought about the story once it arrived. The kids however, fell in love and even quote parts of it too!

Those feet! Griffin’s are still cute and sweet to me but probably not for long.

The sun paid us a visit for most of last week and with it frigid temperatures. It was a nice break from the rain but kept us cooped up indoors just as much which I actually didn’t mind too much. These pictures and the pretty light is sure making me crave springtime though!

Feeling a little more ready for the week after that recap… Hope your Monday is off to a beautiful start!

XO, Rae

Poppy’s sweatshirt and sweatpants and Griffin’s sweatshirt are from childhood’s clothing. Griffin’s sweat pants are from Zara.

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