Andrea Meyers http://andreasrecipes.com making life delicious blog Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:38:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Avocado Egg Salad http://andreasrecipes.com/avocado-egg-salad/ http://andreasrecipes.com/avocado-egg-salad/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 17:52:15 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=15444 I’m back! This last semester in grad school was crazy busy. In January we finalized Michael’s second novel, and I had a short break of just two days before the next round of grad classes began. I had two classes on my schedule, which turned out to be more than is good for my family....

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Avocado Egg Salad - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

I’m back!

This last semester in grad school was crazy busy. In January we finalized Michael’s second novel, and I had a short break of just two days before the next round of grad classes began. I had two classes on my schedule, which turned out to be more than is good for my family. We’re working hard to keep life in balance, which is not easy with three boys, volunteering at school, homework, projects, Scouts, band, hockey. You know what I’m talking about. We are not over schedulers, so when I was in front of the computer for many more hours than we planned, we decided that to keep our sanity I would limit myself to one class per semester for the rest of my program. I finished the semester two weeks ago, and have one more week of break before the summer session starts. Just one class this session!

I even joked about grad school and cooking several times on Twitter, because I had no time for any of my hobbies over the last four months.

Michael and the boys were my heroes, jumping in to cook and clean many nights. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my guys. The spring garden was neglected, which was sad because I so look forward to it every year. We cleaned it up so the rhubarb and asparagus could sprout, and we have been harvesting both for a few weeks now. I made our favorite strawberry rhubarb crumble for Mother’s Day, my first baking in a while. We are very excited about putting in the summer garden in two weeks. By then the night time temperatures should be just right for the peppers, tomatoes, and basil.

One of the meals that rescued me during the last few weeks was this absolutely tasty and healthy avocado egg salad from Cooking Light. We keep hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator for quick meals, so that make ahead saves time when I need a quick and healthy lunch. I eat this in lettuce wraps, but it’s also great for sandwiches, just choose your favorite whole grain or gluten-free bread, buns, or pita pockets. I also stir in extra avocado chunks for more avocado flavor. For something a little fun and daring, try it with pickled jalapeños instead of the pickled celery. Avocado is one of my favorite fruits—it’s actually classified as a berry—and I eat it with many meals, including curries and soups. Check out some of my favorite recipes with avocado in the links below.

Avocado Egg Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 small avocado, cut into small chunks, divided
  • 1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry-roasted salted sunflower seeds

  • SERVE WITH
  • lettuce for lettuce wraps
  • whole-grain or gluten-free bread or pita
  • baby arugula or dandelion greens
  • tomato slices
Preparation
  1. Combine 3 tablespoons water, vinegar, and sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until boiling. Add the celery and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup mashed avocado, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well until smooth.
  3. Peel the eggs and discard the shells. Slice eggs in half lengthwise and reserve 2 yolks for another use. Chop the remaining eggs and egg whites. Gently stir the eggs, celery, and sunflower seeds into the avocado mixture. Fold in the remaining avocado. Serve with lettuce or bread. Stuff the bread sandwiches with baby arugula or dandelion greens and tomato slices.
More Information
Equipment

medium glass bowl
medium bowl

Recipe Notes

The salad should be eaten the same day it is prepared. For a different flavor, try pickled jalapeños instead of the pickled celery.

More Recipes with Avocado

Avocado and Greek Yogurt Dip - Andrea Meyers Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado and Champagne Vinaigrette - Andrea Meyers Quinoa Avocado Salad with Parsley, Corn, Tomatoes, and Lemon Vinaigrette - Andrea Meyers Chilled Avocado Soup - Andrea Meyers

More Recipes with Avocado From Other Blogs

[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.]

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Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Cannellini Bean Soup http://andreasrecipes.com/creamy-roasted-mushroom-cannellini-bean-soup/ http://andreasrecipes.com/creamy-roasted-mushroom-cannellini-bean-soup/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 02:31:32 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=15242 I made it past the second anniversary of my cancer diagnosis without getting any bad news. January has become a strange time of year for me, always wondering what news I will get for my birthday. Andrea, you are pregnant. Andrea, you have cancer. Andrea, we have to change your medication/treatment again because of (insert...

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Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Cannellini Bean Soup - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

I made it past the second anniversary of my cancer diagnosis without getting any bad news. January has become a strange time of year for me, always wondering what news I will get for my birthday.

Andrea, you are pregnant.

Andrea, you have cancer.

Andrea, we have to change your medication/treatment again because of (insert short or long list of reasons).

I am always happy for the good news or just the lack of bad news. Always happy for another year, especially this year.

Life is good. All my guys are doing well. Holiday break is almost over and I’ll be back in grad school classes soon. I came up with what I think is an excellent idea for my capstone project. It’s still a few semesters away, but the inspiration helps me plan. Volunteering at the local school makes me happy, especially when the children smile and wave, “Hi Mrs. Meyers!” Michael’s next book is almost ready to go, so we’ll have that to celebrate. My mother knitted a beautiful shawl for me and sent it for my birthday. It’s in several shades of purple, and I love that she made it. There are many, many stitches of love in it.

So much goodness.

And I’m finding happiness in my relationship with food. Cancer can rob you of an appetite and make you feel like you shouldn’t eat or drink anything except leaves and water, especially if you read some of the scary pseudo-information on the Internet. I sort out the chaff and have some good sources I rely on, such as Rebecca Katz and her books. And I found after all my searching that my regular way of eating was already pretty darn good and healthy, I just tweaked a couple things here and there, and came up with other ideas that work for me and keep my doctors happy.

Which brings me to this soup recipe. I adore mushroom soup. Not the canned stuff, but a good homemade soup with lots of real mushroom flavor and chunks of mushroom to swirl around in the bowl. I make it with fresh mushrooms that I roast in the oven and a homemade mushroom broth made from dried porcinis. Michael said it’s the most mushroom flavor he’s ever tasted in a soup, in a good way. If you like the earthy flavor of mushrooms, this soup will warm your belly and make you feel cozy inside.

Plenty of goodness in a bowl.

Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Cannellini Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 cups (~1 liter) boiling water
  • 24 ounces (681 g) baby portabella or cremini mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and quartered
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (454 g) sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (480 ml) milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preparation
  1. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in the boiling water until soft, about 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Finely chop the porcinis and set aside.
  2. While the porcinis soak, preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.
  3. Toss the the baby portabella mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet and place the rosemary and thyme sprigs on top of the mushrooms. Roast until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, then drain off the liquid and combine with the porcini broth. Return the mushrooms to the oven and continue roasting until brown and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the herbs. Chop about 1 cup of the mushroom quarters and set aside.
  4. Warm the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until soft. Add the porcinis, quartered baby portabellas, cooked cannellini beans, and mushroom broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered until the beans are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in the milk and parsley and allow it to warm. Season with additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Puree in the blender, dividing into batches as necessary.
  5. Serve with some of the chopped roasted mushrooms on top.
More Information
Equipment

2-quart pot with lid
baking sheet lined with foil
6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid.

Recipe Notes

For a lighter mushroom flavor, use 1/2 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms for the broth.

This is a delicious, hearty soup for a meatless dish, but if you feel like indulging, it’s also fabulous with a little bacon crumbled on top.

More Recipes with Mushrooms

Steak Tips with Mushroom Pepper Gravy - Andrea Meyers Roasted Butternut Squash Polenta with Smoked Gouda and Sauteed Mushrooms - Andrea Meyers Creamy Chicken Marsala - Andrea Meyers Steak au Poivre with Sauteed Porta Bella Mushrooms - Andrea Meyers

More Recipes with Mushrooms From Other Blogs

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Nine Years of Life http://andreasrecipes.com/nine-years-life/ http://andreasrecipes.com/nine-years-life/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 22:12:09 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=15237 My blog’s nine year anniversary came and went last week without much notice from me. I belatedly thought I should make a little cake or something and announce it along with my birthday as I have done in the past. But the words have not come easily, and I wondered what I would write about....

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My blog’s nine year anniversary came and went last week without much notice from me. I belatedly thought I should make a little cake or something and announce it along with my birthday as I have done in the past. But the words have not come easily, and I wondered what I would write about. Should it be another reprise of the past year’s events and what went on in the garden? I used to write about our sons quite often in blog posts because they were young and I felt it was important for me to document their joy and wonderment so I wouldn’t forget.

Family, 2006 - Andrea Meyers

Nine years have gone by since the day I officially started this blog, the same day I learned I was expecting Monkey Boy. The boys aren’t little anymore, but I listen to their laughter and love it just as much as I did those first baby giggles. They are growing older and finding their own interests. The Kids Cook Monday is a fantastic project that we still occasionally participate in, though it’s become more challenging as the boys now have events that take time away from producing those blog posts. We still cook together, minus the cameras and still photos or action shots. We still make a mess in the kitchen and (usually) clean it up together. We still sit down and eat together and discuss our day, though the conversations have changed from stories about what they did in preschool to discussions of band rehearsals, Scouts, and hockey practice.

And I have changed, but isn’t that part of life? Things come along, for better or worse, and we roll with it.

Family at the beach - Andrea Meyers

Several years ago I left the world of education to take care of our boys and deal with some of the challenges we had before us, not knowing there would be more challenges to come that we could not have predicted. And as we have rolled with the punches, I’ve pondered what would happen when the boys all got in school full time. I had always planned to return to work, but wasn’t sure what that would look like. I blogged a lot and dabbled in a photography business that ultimately wasn’t for me, but I’m glad I did it if for no other reason than it was part of my growing process. I’ve helped Michael with two novels, and we’re preparing the second one for publish soon. More learning experiences.

As we start my third year of living with cancer, I’m doing well and grateful for how far we have come. Yes, life is different, but it’s good and wondrous and I am happy. So happy that we have kept cancer at bay, that I’m watching my boys grow up, that I’m still here. And I’m happy that I am back in school working on a second graduate degree in education as I prepare to return to teaching. I was in second grade when I decided to be a teacher, and it really is who I am. In just about any situation, I approach it from an education point of view. What can I learn, what can I teach, how can I help someone else learn—those questions are always in my head.

So grad school and volunteering at a local school now take up most of my days, and writing about food and garden is my hobby once again, not my job. The circle is coming back around, and I’m comfortable with it. The mental challenges of grad school are good for me, as is spending time with teachers and students. Where life will take me next is a mystery I am exploring, but I know one thing for sure.

I’m back where I belong.

Hydrangea - Andrea Meyers

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Best of 2014: Our Favorite Recipes http://andreasrecipes.com/favorite-recipes-2014/ http://andreasrecipes.com/favorite-recipes-2014/#respond Wed, 31 Dec 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=15130 As 2014 comes to an end and we look forward to a new year, I am pondering this food blog I’ve been writing for almost nine years. I started it for my family and myself, and the idea that other people would enjoy the recipes and stories didn’t occur to me for the first several...

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Favorite Recipes of 2014 - Andrea Meyers

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As 2014 comes to an end and we look forward to a new year, I am pondering this food blog I’ve been writing for almost nine years. I started it for my family and myself, and the idea that other people would enjoy the recipes and stories didn’t occur to me for the first several months. This was my hobby, what I did for fun as well as a way to save recipes we enjoyed. I have enjoyed documenting our favorite recipes and garden adventures over the years and look forward to more in the coming year.

One of the best things that comes from blogging is the personal connections, the people you unexpectedly meet and get to know because you run into each other at a workshop or find out about common interests through reading their blogs or discussions in blogging groups. Those connections are real, and I’m happy to have made friends that I may never have met otherwise. So to all the people I have met through blogging, and to you my readers, thanks for the inspiration and support through the years. May you have a joyful New Year celebration with family and friends, and we wish you a healthy and fulfilling 2015!

Now for the list, our favorite recipes of 2014, one from each month. The thumbnails are in order in the image above. Enjoy!

JANUARY

Creamy Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

FEBRUARY

Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Apples

MARCH

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms

APRIL

Japanese Sesame Spinach Salad with Dandelion Greens, Goma-ae

MAY

Vietnamese Caramel Pork (The Kids Cook Monday)

JUNE

Artichoke and Spinach Hummus

JULY

Grilled Salmon with Fresh Pineapple Salsa

AUGUST

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Lentils and Tomatoes (The Kids Cook Monday)

SEPTEMBER

Cauliflower Casserole with Italian Sauce

OCTOBER

How to Make Tomatillo Puree (Preserving the Harvest)

NOVEMBER

How to Make Cranberry Liqueur

DECEMBER

Cocoa Dusted Almonds

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Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast http://andreasrecipes.com/slow-cooker-char-siu-pork-roast/ http://andreasrecipes.com/slow-cooker-char-siu-pork-roast/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 01:52:11 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=14919 It’s the week before Christmas, and my to do list isn’t any shorter than last week. We have meetings, appointments, school stuff, Scout stuff, and I’m trying to figure out how to make it all work. Oh, and I still have to feed my guys and do laundry, but house cleaning may have to wait...

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Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

It’s the week before Christmas, and my to do list isn’t any shorter than last week. We have meetings, appointments, school stuff, Scout stuff, and I’m trying to figure out how to make it all work. Oh, and I still have to feed my guys and do laundry, but house cleaning may have to wait until next week. So last week I made two of our favorite slow cooker recipes, which made my hungry guys happy and dinner planning a little easier for me.

This one is a riff on Chinese char siu, aka Chinese barbecue, a popular restaurant dish. The restaurant version is roasted or grilled, and this simplified version from Cooking Light is done in the slow cooker. The salty-sweet flavor is fantastic, and the juicy meat falls apart when I start shredding. We eat the shredded pork in lettuce wraps with sesame green beans and brown rice on the side.

One of the things I like about restaurant char siu is the crusty top, and it’s actually possible to get something close to that in a slow cooker. Make sure the pork shoulder has a good coating of the marinade on top of the meat when you start the slow cooker, and don’t brush any of it off or ladle on any of the sauce while cooking. It will stay put and thicken as it cooks, creating a delicious layer of charred goodness. Michael loves those pieces and call dibs on them, but he’ll share with me.

Yum

Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • MARINADE
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

  • THE REST
  • 1 (2-pound/~900 g) boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth (I use Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, Low Sodium.)
  • iceberg lettuce leaves
Preparation
  1. MAKE THE MARINADE - Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  2. COOK THE MEAT - Place the trimmed pork in the slow cooker, and pour the marinade over the top slowly, letting it drip down the sides. Leave a good coating of the marinade on top of the meat. Cover and turn on warm for 2 hours. Change heat to low and continue cooking for 8 more hours.
  3. Remove pork from slow cooker using a sturdy slotted spoon and place it on a platter. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  4. If the sauce in the slow cooker has any extra fat, skim it off or pour the sauce through a gravy/fat separator. Transfer the extra sauce to a 2-quart saucepan and add the chicken broth. Cook over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Shred the pork with 2 forks, and serve with the sauce.
More Information
Equipment

small bowl
4-quart slow cooker with a warm setting
gravy/fat separator
2-quart saucepan

Recipe Notes

I have made this with an 8-pound pork shoulder in a 6-quart slow cooker, and tripled the sauce ingredients. It worked well.

I wrote the instructions based on how I make it. Cooking Light original instructions specify to marinate the meat in a large zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator.

 

More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Ann's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - Andrea Meyers Slow Cooker Paprika Chicken - Andrea Meyers Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy - Andrea Meyers Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans (Kids Cook Monday) - Andrea Meyers

More Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes From Other Blogs

[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.]

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Cocoa Dusted Almonds http://andreasrecipes.com/cocoa-dusted-almonds/ http://andreasrecipes.com/cocoa-dusted-almonds/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 22:58:20 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=14908 Have you ever bought cocoa almonds? I got addicted to them a few years ago, and instantly thought how easy they would be to make at home. I’ve gone through a lot of almonds and cocoa powder trying different ways to make them, and this is by far my favorite. I skillet roast them in...

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Cocoa Dusted Almonds - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

Have you ever bought cocoa almonds? I got addicted to them a few years ago, and instantly thought how easy they would be to make at home. I’ve gone through a lot of almonds and cocoa powder trying different ways to make them, and this is by far my favorite. I skillet roast them in a little bit of coconut oil, then drain and dust them with a mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. My four guys can go through a bowl of these in no time, which is fine with me because this is a delicious and healthy snack.

Almonds are good for you, in fact they are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. They are high in monounsaturated fats, which lowers LDL cholesterol levels, and they are high in beneficial magnesium and potassium. And they give a little protein boost. Coconut oil is a healthy oil with medium-chain fatty acids, though there is still much research to be done on the total health picture for coconut oils. I like that it has a high smoke point and subtly flavors the almonds. The cocoa powder is naturally sugar free, and you can control the amount of sugar in the recipe. My guys like an equal ratio of cocoa powder to sugar, and I prefer a little less sugar, so I can make batches for everyone. I’ve also done it with a little sea salt for extra flavor.

For a party, you can make larger amounts a week or two ahead of time and store them in tightly closed jars. These almonds almost make nice little hostess gifts for the holidays, just put them in a cute jar with a ribbon.

To make sure I use as little oil as necessary, I prepare the nuts in a nonstick pan. I use the Cuisinart GreenGourmet nonstick skillets (not sponsored) in my kitchen because they work well and are PTFE and PFOA free, and they are a snap to clean.

Yum

Cocoa Dusted Almonds
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Preparation
  1. Warm the skillet over medium heat and melt the coconut oil in the pan. Sauté the almonds in the coconut oil for about 1 to 2 minutes, until warm. Strain the almonds and transfer to a medium bowl. Sift the cocoa powder and sugar together, then sift again over the almonds, tossing and stirring until the nuts are completely coated. Allow to cool and serve. Will keep in a tightly closed jar for a week or two.
More Information
Equipment

nonstick skillet
medium bowl
small sifter

Recipe Notes

You can reduce the amount of sugar to your taste.

 

More Holiday Party Recipes

Polenta Toasts with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, and Port Cranberries - Andrea Meyers Vaina Cocktail (Chile) - Andrea Meyers Creamy Cheese Torta with Prosciutto, Kalamata Olives, and Fig Jam - Andrea Meyers Pomegranate Ginger Chile Nojito Cocktail - Andrea Meyers

More Holiday Party Recipes From Other Blogs

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Hot Cranberry Tea http://andreasrecipes.com/hot-cranberry-tea/ http://andreasrecipes.com/hot-cranberry-tea/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 02:05:08 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=14762 One of my favorite moments on cold mornings is when I pour my cup of hot tea to start the day. Preparing the water, choosing a mug, and selecting my flavor is settling, calming, and my boys have started to participate in the tradition. We each choose a tea bag and steep it in hot...

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Hot Cranberry Tea - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

One of my favorite moments on cold mornings is when I pour my cup of hot tea to start the day. Preparing the water, choosing a mug, and selecting my flavor is settling, calming, and my boys have started to participate in the tradition. We each choose a tea bag and steep it in hot water for a few minutes while preparing breakfast, then enjoy the fragrant vapors as we let the tea cool just enough to keep from burning our mouths as we take a first sip.

My collection of teas takes up more shelf space than it probably should, but my enjoyment of tea began as a child, and became a passion when living and traveling abroad. I grew up only knowing one kind of tea, then began drinking herbal teas in college, and later tasted my first oolong and Pu-erh teas in Hong Kong. In Colombia I purchased the local herbal teas, and my favorite was yerbabuena. In Istanbul, I sipped my first apple tea while negotiating rug prices.

But my ultimate tea experience was the Japanese tea ceremony, one on one, with students who were studying the Urasenke tradition of chado, The Way of Tea. The ceremony was led by SEN Soshitsu XV, a fifteenth-generation Grand Master who shared with us the teachings and ideals of chado: Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility. It was a beautiful way to experience a piece of Japanese culture, and truly unforgettable. And each time I sip a cup of tea, I feel as if I am bringing part of that experience to my day.

Twingings Orange Pekoe Tea - Andrea Meyers

The tea I grew up with was black, the common type found in tea bags in the supermarket. I remember reading the package and wondering what orange pekoe meant, and I just assumed it was the type of tea. Many years later I learned orange pekoe refers to the grade of the tea, mostly for teas from Sri Lanka, India, and countries other than China. There are about 30 different grades of tea in four categories (whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings, dust) and some jargon used to describe the consistency of the leaf.

That common black orange pekoe tea forms the base of this cranberry-infused mixture. Combine all the ingredients in a pot on the stove and simmer, then let it rest. Your home will fill with the scent of tea and cranberries, making a welcoming aroma to share with family and friends during the holidays. The flavor is full and on the tart side, but you can add a couple drops of stevia to your cup if desired.

Foodista Featured Blog[Update: Thanks to Foodista for featuring this post as Drink Blog of the Day for December 8, 2014!]

Yum

Hot Cranberry Tea
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange pekoe tea leaves
  • 2 (3 x 1-inch) strips orange rind
  • 4-1/4 cups water
Preparation
  1. Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange pekoe tea, and orange rind strips in the stainless steel saucepan. Add water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Strain the mixture over the liquid measuring cup, and discard the solids. Serve hot.
More Information
Equipment

3-quart heavy stainless steel saucepan
fine mesh strainer
heat-resistant large liquid measuring cup

Recipe Notes

Look for loose leaf tea, but you can use bagged tea if necessary.

 

More Festive Holiday Drinks

Irish Coffee Eggnog - Andrea Meyers Sparkling Pomegranate Punch - Andrea Meyers Hot Mulled Wine - Andrea Meyers Peppermint Paddy Cocktail - Andrea Meyers

More Festive Tea Drinks From Other Blogs

[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.]

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Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Sour Cream http://andreasrecipes.com/crispy-smashed-potatoes-herbed-sour-cream/ http://andreasrecipes.com/crispy-smashed-potatoes-herbed-sour-cream/#respond Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=14304 Mashed potatoes are a staple on many Thanksgiving menus, and honestly it’s hard to top a helping of mashed potatoes and gravy to go with turkey. I like mine with roasted garlic, and I also like mashed sweet potatoes with a variety of flavors mixed in.  When it comes to Thanksgiving, I treasure our family...

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Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Sour Cream - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

Mashed potatoes are a staple on many Thanksgiving menus, and honestly it’s hard to top a helping of mashed potatoes and gravy to go with turkey. I like mine with roasted garlic, and I also like mashed sweet potatoes with a variety of flavors mixed in.  When it comes to Thanksgiving, I treasure our family traditions.

But it’s also fun to change things up a little and try something different depending on the crowd that’s coming for a big Thanksgiving meal, and these crispy smashed potatoes from Cooking Light make a great  fast potato side dish. My guys devour the whole plate whenever I make them, and they are easy enough for young kids to get in the kitchen and help with, especially the smashing part. Kids can use a small plate or pan to press the potatoes, or give them a wide wooden spoon and have them press down on the spoon with their palms for better leverage. Even a rolling pin works.

Smashed potatoes are a terrific side dish for any time of year, and I play around with the sour cream ingredients using whatever is in season in our garden. Dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, and chives all work with the sour cream, and you can get more adventurous with chipotle peppers or roasted red pepper. Spice things up and have fun with the recipe!

Yum

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Sour Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 pounds (1.13 k) small red potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) light sour cream (I use Daisy brand.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F/260°C. Place the oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.
  2. Place potatoes on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave at HIGH for 8 minutes or until tender. In the bowl, toss the hot potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Divide the potatoes evenly between prepared pans. Flatten the potatoes to about 1/2-inch thickness, and then brush on the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Rotate pans from front to back and top to bottom, and then bake for 10 minutes more, or until browned and crisp. Place potatoes on a serving platter.
  3. While the potatoes roast, combine the sour cream and chopped chives in a small bowl. Serve the sour cream with the potatoes.
More Information
Equipment

microwave-safe plate
large bowl
2 baking sheets, lightly coated with cooking spray
small bowl

Recipe Notes

The sour cream can be mixed up to one day ahead.

Flavor the sour cream with other herbs: cilantro, basil,parsley, dill. You can also try the flavored sour cream recipes mentioned in the blog post.

 

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Parmesan Cheese - Andrea Meyers Sweet Potato Souffle - Andrea Meyers Maple Orange Cranberry Sauce (The Kids Cook Monday) - Andrea Meyers Gluten-Free Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing with Herbs - Andrea Meyers

More Potato Recipes From Other Blogs

[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.]

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Sautéed Green Beans with Spice-Glazed Pecans http://andreasrecipes.com/sauteed-green-beans-spice-glazed-pecans/ http://andreasrecipes.com/sauteed-green-beans-spice-glazed-pecans/#respond Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:14:01 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=14282 I gave up the green bean casserole years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up eating that famous casserole and looked forward to it every Thanksgiving. My favorite part was the crunchy onions, and in my family everyone would try to get as many of them on our plates as possible. But change happens,...

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Sautéed Green Beans with Spice-Glazed Pecans - Andrea MeyersFollow Me on Pinterest

I gave up the green bean casserole years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up eating that famous casserole and looked forward to it every Thanksgiving. My favorite part was the crunchy onions, and in my family everyone would try to get as many of them on our plates as possible.

But change happens, life throws curve balls, and sometimes things that we used to adore lose their luster. I am not the girl I was in my twenties. I lost my taste for rich, creamy sauces several years ago, and found that I prefer tasting the beans and fresh flavors. I adore the slow cooked Southern green beans of my childhood, but now I like my green beans a little al dente with crunchy nuts and flavorful mix ins.

This green beans recipe from the October issue of Cooking Light will make a fantastic addition to our Thanksgiving dinner this year. All of us enjoy the spicy-sweet pecans, and I also like the simplicity of the dish. Having a couple fast side dishes on the menu makes Thanksgiving a little less hectic, and these beans are perfect for that. Make the pecans a few days ahead, then whip up the beans right before dinner time. Tasty and ready in a flash.

And for a fun treat, make a bigger batch of the pecans and set out the extras in small bowls for football game nibbling. My guys can’t keep their hands out of them.

Yum

Sautéed Green Beans with Spice-Glazed Pecans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
GLAZED PECANS
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
GREEN BEANS
  • 2 pounds whole green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
  2. GLAZED PECANS - Bring the brown sugar, water, cumin, and red pepper to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the pecans, rosemary, and salt. Spread the pecan mixture in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool in pan, and break into small pieces if necessary.
  3. BEANS - Place the green beans in a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for just 4 minutes, until the beans turn bright. Drain and plunge green beans into ice water and drain.
  4. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans, and sauté 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with the salt and black pepper. Place the beans on a serving platter, and sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Serve immediately.
More Information
Equipment

small saucepan
baking sheet lined with parchment
large pot with lid
large nonstick skillet

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead - Prepare the pecans up to three days ahead and store in a sealed plastic container or bag.

When I make the pecans in the amounts listed above, I cook them in my counter top toaster oven rather than turn on the big oven. Cooking time can be reduced to about 8 minutes or less depending on your oven. Watch carefully so they don't burn.

 

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Cranberries with Orange Zest and Port - Andrea Meyers  Roasted Butternut Squash Polenta with Smoked Gouda and Sauteed Mushrooms - Andrea Meyers Waldorf Brussels Sprout Salad - Andrea Meyers

More Green Beans Recipes From Other Blogs

[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.]

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How to Make Cranberry Liqueur http://andreasrecipes.com/make-cranberry-liqueur/ http://andreasrecipes.com/make-cranberry-liqueur/#respond Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:00:10 +0000 http://andreasrecipes.com/?p=14259 We began experimenting with homemade liqueurs and infusions several years ago. Our first adventure was the Italian classic limoncello, which we made with both lemons and oranges (arancello), and since then we’ve made Polish krupnik and other concoctions that are now traditions for us. This year we decided to experiment with cranberries, because we look...

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We began experimenting with homemade liqueurs and infusions several years ago. Our first adventure was the Italian classic limoncello, which we made with both lemons and oranges (arancello), and since then we’ve made Polish krupnik and other concoctions that are now traditions for us. This year we decided to experiment with cranberries, because we look forward to cranberry season and make so many other things with cranberries. So why not a cranberry liqueur?

Cranberries - Andrea Meyers

I started with our arancello as a point of reference and went from there. The idea is to soak the fruit in the alcohol and sweeten it enough to balance the tartness of the cranberries and bite of the alcohol. For sweetener, I chose simple syrup, and vodka or rum for the alcohol. I wanted loads of cranberry flavor and a brilliant color, so the cranberries would be the lead ingredient. And I wanted a little extra something, a little richness, so I added vanilla bean. After some research, I decided on the following ratios:

  • 1 part cranberries (by weight) to 1 part alcohol (by volume)
  • 2 parts cranberries to 1 part sugar
  • 2 parts sugar to 1 part water

These ended up being somewhat rough, because when it came time to translate all of that into weighing and measuring, I fudged a little to make things easier.

Once I figured out all of that, the rest was easy. Make the simple syrup, puree the cranberries, stir it all together, and pour into bottles with the vanilla bean. The resting phase takes 2 to 3 weeks, then you just strain out the solids and use the infused liquid in cocktails. This is definitely a liqueur, a little on the sweet side, and good for mixing cocktails and serving with sparkling wine. If you plan to use it as a mixer with sweetened beverages such as lemon-lime sodas, you should probably reduce the sugar in the recipe.

And just in time for the holidays, little bottles of cranberry liqueur makes lovely hostess gifts, just put the liqueur into bottles with a tag and ribbon. I find cute bottles like the one in the top photo at stores such as Home Goods and Ross, or you can order online from other stores.


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Cranberry Liqueur
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 6 cups (1.050 kg) granulated sugar
  • 3 cups (720 ml) water
  • 3 (12-ounce/340 g) bags cranberries
  • 36 ounces (1.65 L) vodka or rum
  • 2 vanilla beans

  • OPTIONAL FLAVOR ENHANCERS
  • orange rind
  • lemon rind
  • cinnamon stick
Preparation
  1. SIMPLE SYRUP - In the 3-quart pot, dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat, stirring as it cooks. Don't allow it to boil, just cook long enough to dissolve, then remove from heat and allow to cool. You can make this ahead and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  2. Rinse the cranberries well and pick through them to remove any bad berries. Puree the berries in the food processor, adding a cup or so of the simple syrup to help smooth the puree. Process in batches if necessary. Transfer the pureed berries and the rest of the simple syrup to the large mixing bowl and stir. Add the alcohol and stir.
  3. Cut each vanilla bean in half, then split the halves lengthwise. Place each bean half in the bottom of a mason jar, then pour in the cranberry mixture. Seal each jar and store in a cool dark place (cellar) or in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
  4. Strain the cranberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Check the strained liquid to make sure it's free of floating particles, and strain again if necessary. Pour into gift bottles. The liqueur will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
More Information
Equipment

3-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
food processor
large mixing bowl
6 quart mason jars with lids and bands, or other storage jars/bottles
fine mesh strainer
gift jars

Recipe Notes

I have used several types of bottles for the resting period, including used wine bottles with screw caps. Just make sure any bottles and lids you use are properly cleaned.

If you want to add other flavors, shave some fresh orange or lemon rind (minus the white pith) or add a stick of cinnamon to each bottle for steeping.

More Homemade Gifts

Easy Dulce de Leche Caramel - Andrea Meyers Bourbon Praline Pecans - Andrea Meyers Maple Cranberry Butter - Andrea Meyers Mom's Peanut Brittle - Andrea Meyers

More Homemade Gift Ideas From Other Blogs

Thanks for subscribing to this blog! Copyright © 2005-2014 Andrea Meyers: making life delicious.

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