Hibiscus Iced Tea

I love shopping at my local Mexican grocery store. I have said it before and I will always say it as to how much fun I have browsing the aisles. Granted I’m pretty much the only gringo roaming the aisles, but that is just ok by me. At my particular store, one of the end caps is loaded with dried chilies and an array of spices. There are things I have never heard of before, such as different dried flowers for cooking, but one recently grabbed my attention, and one that I knew. Hibiscus flowers.  These dark burgundy looking dried flowers were grabbing my attention, only to be brought home and turned into a refreshing tea, that I knew my wife and I would love.

Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe
Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe

If you are not familiar with hibiscus tea, don’t worry. This stuff is brewed all over the world, has a great taste, and is super easy to make.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bag of dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • Additional items could be lime, ginger, or allspice berries

Start by adding 5 cups of water, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a pot. Bring to a simmer, add in the dried hibiscus flowers, and let this steep for about 30 minutes.  If you want to explore with lime, ginger, or allspice berries, go ahead.

After 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserving the hibiscus concentrate. This is your base, so if you are wanting to use this right away, mix about equal parts of concentrate to cold water, served over ice. My batch was pretty much gone in one day due to everyone loving it so much.

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

This hibiscus iced tea is comparable to a blended cranberry juice flavor with that kick of cinnamon. Not only is it super refreshing to drink but it’s loaded with awesome health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, great for the liver, blood pressure, and it has anti-cancer properties, all of which my body probably needs.

If you are looking to impress some guests and help boost their immune system, why not give this hibiscus iced tea a try. It’s a winner! Hope you enjoy…

Spam and Avocado Toast

You know the buzz… Avocado toast. It’s all the rage, and to be honest, I can’t blame the rage. Avocado toast in itself is delicious, and avocados are typically on our counter during the week. So as I was sitting around one late morning, I noticed an avocado, a ripe one that was ready for the taking, and as I got up to look around to see what I could make with this lonely avocado, I decided I would do my spin on an avocado toast. Let me introduce to you the Spam and Avocado Toast recipe.

Spam and Avocado Toast Recipe
Spam and Avocado Toast Recipe

Now I know what you are probably thinking right now. Spam? Yes, spam. I’ve dabbled with spam over the years, and as some may frown on the idea of spam, I actually have grown to like it, especially when cooked properly. Properly, meaning nice and crispy. There are two reasons I decided to use spam in this recipe. One is that I did not have bacon (I know, I know…) and two, I had spam! This combination was actually really delicious, and if you did not know that it was spam, I think you would probably agree.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of sturdy bread such as a whole wheat or 12 grain, toasted
  • 1 whole avocado, lightly mashed, or to your liking
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup, spam, cubed and cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Start by marinating your cucumber. To a bowl, add the sesame oil, chili flakes, soy sauce, and give a good mix.  Add the cucumbers, give a gentle stir, and set them to the side.

Now the spam. To a small skillet add the oil on medium to high heat. Let that oil come to temp for a minute then add in the cubed spam. Stir and cook the spam until it is nice and crispy.

Avocado Toast Recipe
Avocado Toast Recipe

During this time, get your avocado ready. To a small bowl, open that avocado, being careful not to slice open your palm (yep, people are doing it based on this whole avocado toast thing), and scoop it into the bowl. Use a fork and lightly mash it adding some salt and pepper to your taste.

Check that spam. Crisp? Cool. Remove it from from the heat and lets toast the bread.

Pop the slice of bread into the toaster and get it nice and golden brown. Toast it so it holds up to everything when you build the spam and avocado toast.

OK, lets build this baby. Take the slice of toast, spread on that avocado, layer on the on the cucumber (and only the cucumber) and crispy spam, and get ready to eat.

You tell me, but when you take a bite of this avocado toast, you will be blown away. That crunch and softness from the spam, the crispness and spice from the cucumber, and the creaminess from the avocado, all in a handheld bite sized form. Yep, I’m sold. It’s good, and good enough to have you questioning (possibly) why you haven’t been eating spam all of this time. Enjoy!

Dehydrated Pineapple

Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to get a gift of a dehydrator. I know, it sounds lame, but it is something that I have wanted for a very long time but never really pulled the trigger on the purchase. I was lucky enough, however, to have a wife that is either a really great listener, or one who wanted some beef jerky for that matter. Who knows. Whatever the case, I’m in heaven, and I have been looking at dehydrating everything from beef to vegetables, to fruit.

The latest was dehydrated pineapple and it was based on an idea from one of my colleagues. This stuff was awesome and my wife and daughter fell in love with this. Packed full of flavor and nutrients, what’s not to love.

Dehydrated Pineapple Recipe
Dehydrated Pineapple Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 1 pineapple, skinned, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Food dehydrator

I know… complicated, right?

I have a four tier dehydrator, but use however much pineapple, keeping about a 1 inch distance between each piece on each rack.

Turn on your dehydrator, and let that baby on for about 14 hours. Yep, about 14. Check the pineapple about 10 hours in to be on safe measure. Just be careful not to over dry this stuff. My family loved it with just a little bit of give in the texture.

Once you are comfortable with the texture and time, refrigerate them in a sealed tight jar, or vacuum seal them for future storage.

These things are like candy, but yield a nutritious bite, and if my kids are down with that, I’m down. Give these a try if you are looking for different ideas for dehydrating food. Hope you enjoy!

Egg in a Bagel

A handful of years ago I came up with a recipe known as ‘spicy egg in the basket with sausage‘. It was essentially a pretty awesome breakfast recipe where a piece of bread was cut out and topped with an egg and some cooked breakfast sausage. After thinking about it, I could probably eat that every morning. IT WAS THAT GOOD. This time was a bit different though. As I watch my wife eat her daily, morning bagel (Yes, she eats a bagel every single morning), something lit up, and it came to me to come up with this recipe. The egg in a bagel. As much as my wife loves her morning bagel, I’m a total sucker for making a McMuffin for breakfast. That’s my morning jam and I could probably eat something along those lines every day to get my morning going. This egg in a bagel was no different, but a nice little spin on a mcmuffin.

Egg in a Bagel Recipe
Egg in a Bagel Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 plain bagel (or use your favorite style)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • 1 slice of deli ham
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ring cutter, or serrated knife

Start by cutting out the center of your bagel. I use my handy, dandy ring cutter, about 2 inches in diameter, something wide enough to house the egg and get an even cook on it.

Do the same with with the cutter, or knife on the American cheese and ham.

Next, heat your skillet on medium heat, and add in the butter. Lay the bottom bagel down onto the melted butter, crack the egg into the hole, the top with the cheese, and ham. Top with the top side of the bagel.

Egg in a Bagel Recipe
Egg in a Bagel Recipe

Season the top of the egg with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper, then top with the lid, steaming the egg a bit so that it cooks through to your desired doneness.

Once the egg is cooked through, plate and serve.

Egg in a Bagel Recipe
Egg in a Bagel Recipe

Not only is this thing a joy to look at, it’s a thing of beauty to eat. That American cheese is crispy on the edges, along with the ham, creamy on the inside, the bagel lightly toasted from the butter, and the egg is perfectly cooked and creamy making this breakfast sandwich one to step up to any contender.

If you are looking for something fun to make, something pretty to look at, and more importantly something super delicious then give this one a try. Hope you enjoy and everyone have a great New Year!