Cranberry Mango Green Tea

I am starting 2022 with recipe that combines my longtime love of cranberries with my new found love of tea in all it’s forms for a delicious hot drink. If I am honest, I have been drinking this tea since I found the recipe in late August and will continue drinking it until I run out of cranberries to make it with. Which, honestly, will probably never happen because I always make sure to stock up on cranberries for the off season.

I have used plain Jasmine green tea for this recipe as well a blend called Full Body Reset from a company called Plum Deluxe. You can use loose leaf green tea or green tea bags for this recipe. Serve this recipe hot or cold.

Cranberry Mango Green Tea

4 cups water

1 cup chopped mango, fresh or frozen

1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

1 (1 inch piece) fresh ginger, sliced

4 tsp loose leaf green tea or 4 green tea bags

sweetener, to taste

in a medium saucepan, combine water, mango, cranberries and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 5minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Cover and steep for 5minutes.

Remove and discard tea bags. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. You can sweeten the tea at this point and float a lemon slice in each cup.

Chai Spice Mix

I try really hard not to complain about the weather. I really do. I mean what’s the use of complaining about something absolutely no one can change? This year though, the cold weather is hitting me hard and I don’t like it.

Maybe it’s because last winter I worked from home and never had to leave the house in the cold. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the colder I get. Maybe it’s because the weather is just stupid. I don’t know. I just want it to be 30 degrees above zero with no wind chill for the rest of the winter.  Is that too much to ask?

Since the weather doesn’t look like it is going to give me what I want for the foreseeable future I am looking for ways to keep warm. One way I do that is to drink a lot of hot tea and tea related drinks.

My favorite tea related drink is Chai, especially the Chai from The Himalayan Yak, a local restaurant. I have a store bought Chai spice blend that is very, very, similar but with my luck it will be discontinued the moment my current jar is empty. So, I have been looking for a Chai spice blend that I enjoy just as much for months. I think I finally found it at Take Two Tapas. I add the Chai spice to plain black tea. I make Chai lattes with it. I added it to my baked oatmeal and muffins. It is so good, versatile and will never be discontinued.

Chai Spice Blend

Take Two Tapas

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ginger

1 1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cloves

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix well. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

Season Everything Spice Blend

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!  I can’t believe 2021 is over.  It was one of the more challenging years for me, personally, with having to end a decades long friendship due to alcohol and drugs and having to realize you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, losing one of my best friends to a heart attack to having to quarantine for Covid in November.  You can tell by the number of months I posted once or not at all, I haven’t been really excited by cooking, baking and blogging for a while.  The good thing is that time heals all wounds, or at least heals them enough for you to start enjoying the things you used to again.  

So, I am going to be back and posting a little more regularly than I did in 2021.  I am starting off with a couple of recipes for some of my favorite things …. Spice blends.  I never get tired of trying spice blends because they are such a quick way to get flavor into your food.

Season Everything Spice Blend

Adapted from Take Two Tapas

2 TBS paprika

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp oregano

3/4 tsp turmeric

2 TBS salt

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use anywhere you would use seasoned salt.  I used it as a rub for chicken, on my eggs and vegetables.   

Homemade Hot chocolate

The older I get, the colder I get. When I was younger, I could run the to the garbage dumpster in my bare feet, in the middle of January, in a snow storm and my feet would barely be cold. Now, I wake up and my feet are cold before they hit the floor. It is so bad I was forced to do something I swore I would never do! I bought and wear fuzzy socks when I am home from work and on my days off.

Its not just my feet that are cold. My hands are cold all the time too. It is just much easier to warm up my hands with out have to resort to torturing them with fuzzy socks. I simply keep hot drink on a mug warmer on my desk. The mug is often hot tea but sometimes I am looking for a little something different, like hot chocolate. Don’t run out and buy those little packets of hot chocolate from the grocery store. You can make an awesome hot chocolate using things you probably already have in the house. With just 3 ingredients, you can skip the vanilla, if you don’t have it and 3 or 4 minutes you can have a hot drink to warm up your cold hands.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

From the back of a can of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

1 1/3 cup milk or milk alternative

1 TBS cocoa powder

1 TBS sugar or sugar alternative

1/8 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, add milk, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla. Heat the milk mixture over low heat until hot. Don’t try to rush heating the milk by turning the heat up. If you do you will curdle the milk and that isn’t good. Pour the cocoa into a mug, top with whipped cream and serve.

Soft Honey Pumpkin Cookies

The first thing people ask me when they find out from North Dakota is “is it cold there?”  The answer is sometimes.  I find that the definition of cold varies widely,  In North Dakota, when the temperatures hit the 50’s, everyone puts on their shorts and t-shirts and celebrates the arrival of spring.  My friend in Alabama says when the temperatures hit the 50’s it is time for winter boots, parkas and mittens to come out.  And let’s not talk about what happens to people from Alabama when the temperatures are below 50.  I think my friend said something about the end of the world.  We both agreed that she probably shouldn’t visit North Dakota in January.  #ifyouknowyouknow

What people who don’t live in cold climates don’t know is that cooler fall weather is the perfect excuse to turn on your oven and bake. So I made these soft, cake like, pumpkin cookies. My house smelled so good while the cookies were baking and my tummy was so happy when I was eating them.

Adapted From Plum

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

6 TBS Honey

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS lightly beaten egg

8 TBS white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices and baking soda.

In another medium bowl, beat the butter, honey and brown sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, on at a time beat well to combine.

Slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just moistened. Mix in 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on to a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will look slightly underdone when they are taken out of the oven. Remove the cookies from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool you can melt the remaining white chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookies for a “frosting” if you desire.