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Archive for the ‘beverages’ Category

Iced Coffee

When planning the menu for the party, Amber and I agreed coffee should be on it. There’s always coffee for dessert, right? It wasn’t until later, when we realized what the temperatures were supposed to be like, that we decided on iced coffee. Much better idea.

I think this coffee got the most rave reviews out of anything served at the party. Nobody wanted hot corn on the cob. Nobody wanted to sit by a fire and roast hot dogs. Even the cheese on its platter looked to be wilting. But the drinks – everyone went for them. People who claim they don’t even really like cold, sweet coffee said they liked it!

And I have to admit, I was not disappointed that there was a gallon of this leftover. Brad and I had no trouble at all finishing it off over the next couple of days.

This recipe is really to taste. Put as much or as little sugar and milk in as you please. This just happens to be our favorite proportions.

Kate's pic

Iced Coffee

Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s recipe

1/2 pound coffee (decaf or regular, flavor of choice…I use Colombian)

cold water

1 1/2 cups cane sugar

2 quarts whole milk

Put the coffee in a gallon jar. Fill to the top with cold water. Stir to make sure all the coffee is wet. Let sit on the counter 8 hours. Strain through a cheese cloth. Stir in the sugar and milk until dissolved. Keeps for at least 3 days in the fridge (I wouldn’t know if it keeps any longer as we always drink it so fast). Serve over ice (coffee ice cubes are the best!).

Alternatively, you can leave out the sugar and milk and just store the coffee concentrate in the fridge, mixing up individual servings as you please. The concentrate would keep for a long time in a jar.

Yield: about 1 1/2 gallons finished coffee or about 1 gallon of coffee concentrate

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I visited my mom the other day. It was mid morning on a rather hot day. I ran an errand while leaving the children with her and when I returned, there was the prettiest pitcher of water sitting on the counter. We poured ourselves some cold glasses of cucumber lemon water and proceeded to sit and gush about how refreshing it was. For about 10 minutes. Yeah, we’re weird like that. But it’s so good! You wouldn’t expect that much coming from unsweetened fruit and veggie water. We love it, though. So delicious and cooling on these warm days.

Now, when you need a break from pulling those stubborn weeds out in the garden, slice up some cucumbers, pick yourself a handful of flowers, pour yourself a glass, and sit down. Your feet (and taste buds) will thank you.

Cucumber Lemon Water

Recipe from my Aunt Krista

1 small cucumber (5 inches), thinly sliced

1/3 of a lemon, thinly sliced

2 quarts water

ice

Put the cucumbers and lemons in a pitcher. Pour the water over them, stir gently, and let sit for an hour or so. Pour over ice in a glass and enjoy. You can use the fruit a couple of more times, just refilling the pitcher with water as needed.

Yield: 2 quarts

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1. Pick 2 1/2 pounds of mint (meadow) tea stalks. I don’t usually weigh it. I fill my 12 quart pot nicely full of it…slightly packing it but not too much.*

2. In a big pot, weigh out 3 pounds of sugar. Yes, I used the white stuff.

3. Add 1 gallon (4 quarts) of water.

4. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.

5. Dump the boiling sugar water over the tea.

6. Make sure all of the tea is submerged. I place a dinner plate on the top.

7. Let this sit for 12 to 15 hours. It should be completely cooled. Don’t let it sit much longer than that or it might get bitter.

(no picture…it would have been boring)

8. Dump off the tea concentrate, straining out any leaves and bits of stems – discard these.

9. Mix in the juice of one lemon.

10. Measure the concentrate into 1 1/2 cup portions. I freeze mine in freezer containers.

11. Label and freeze immediately. Keeps a long time…sometimes I forget to pull it out and it lasts just fine all winter long until I get around to organizing/cleaning out my freezers. Then I remember it’s there. And Brad is very happy to find I have once again mixed up some tea.

12. When ready to drink some, mix 1 1/2 cups concentrate with 6 1/2 cups water (to make 2 quarts of tea). Stir until concentrate is thawed and it’s well mixed. Keep refrigerated.

13. Wait a month or two until your tea patch grows back and repeat the process.

*We like a weak tea. If you prefer it strong, use more like 3 or 4 pounds of tea stalks/leaves and 4 pounds of sugar. Also note that in the spring, the tea isn’t as strongly flavored as later on in the season.

Mint Tea Concentrate

2 1/2 pounds mint tea leaves/stems

1 gallon water

3 pounds sugar

1 lemon, juiced

Place the tea in a big pot. Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Dump over the tea and let sit until cooled, about 12 hours. Strain out the stems and leaves (without pressing on them as this makes the tea bitter). Stir the lemon juice into the tea concentrate. Measure out into 1 1/2 cup portions. Freeze.

To make tea: Mix 1 1/2 cups concentrate with 6 1/2 cups water. Refrigerate.

Yield: Enough concentrate to make about 6 gallons of tea

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Hot Chocolate Mix

No more packets of SwissMiss for us! As much as we love the stuff, I knew I couldn’t keep buying those wasteful paper pouches forever. When I was pregnant with Jada, I was sick as a dog so I spent lots of time on the couch watching Food Network. Alton Brown of Good Eats was always a favorite of mine. This is his recipe, adapted of course. But guess what? This time I added MORE sugar instead of taking it away. Shocking. I suppose we like sweet hot chocolate.

(By the way, I made another batch of marshmallows, which are pictured. It’s a recipe sans corn syrup, found here. They are just as delicious as my other recipe, though I think they dry out a little faster. No matter…it doesn’t affect the taste and they make delicious microwave smores!)

Hot Chocolate Mix

Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe

3 cups powdered sugar

2 1/2 cups powdered milk

1 cup cocoa powder

2 t cornstarch

3/4 t fine salt

Put all of the ingredients through a fine-mesh sieve. You will have to smoosh the powdered milk through with a spoon. This breaks up those lumps of milk and makes a nice uniform looking powder. Store in a glass jar. Does not keep forever but will be fine all winter long.

*Instructions for making cocoa: Fill mug 1/3 of the way with the mix. Add a little bit of boiling water and stir or whisk. Fill the rest of the way with more water. I don’t usually use quite this much mix but I like a weaker flavored hot chocolate.

Yield: about 6 cups of mix…that’s a lot of mugs of cocoa

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