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…

Homemade V8 Juice

I don’t know about you, but our vegetable garden is officially in full bloom. We are picking tomatoes, like big bowls of them, every day, along with cucumbers, beans, peppers, chilies, and broccoli, and I love every minute of it. It’s something I like doing after work, and at the end of the week I look at all of the bowls of tomatoes, peppers, and chilies, and think of things to make with them. So on a recent trip to our local farmer’s market, and while as was chatting it up with a couple of the local farmers, a lady approached them and asked to buy a huge basket of tomatoes. Of course I was going to ask this lady what she was going to do with all of those tomatoes, and her response was ‘I batch out large quantities of spicy v8 juice for bloody mary’s for football season’. As one of the farmer’s chimed in regards to the same process, I was intrigued to say the least.

So as I went back home, I decided to give my take on a v8 style juice, and man oh man was it ever good, and fresh to boot.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

    Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

This recipe, as it may not be the prettiest of juices, is not only easy to make, put it has just the right amount of spice (in my opinion) and you know that you put all of that fresh produce into it.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided

To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.

Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe
Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.

Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.

Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.

The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect. So if you are looking to use up some of those vegetables from your garden, or better yet supporting your local farmers, then give this one a shot. It’s well worth it. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade V8 Juice
Author: 
Recipe type: Juice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided
Instructions
  1. To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.
  2. Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.
  4. Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.
  5. Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.
  6. The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect.

 

Peach and Mint Soda

Peaches, and other stone fruits have been in abundance lately, and as I typically buy a handful of them during the week, only for my daughter to devour, I decided to buy some extras so that I could come up with a refreshing summer drink.  I typically buy an array of fresh fruit, placing them in a bowl on our kitchen counter to show my kids how many different fruits there are in hopes that they get curious and try them. This is pretty much only successful with my daughter. She eats everything from mangoes, star fruit, kiwi, different apples, and everything in between. I love that about her. So as my wife and daughter were playing an intense game of Stratego this past weekend, I decided to whip up a fresh peach and mint soda for them.

Peach and Mint Soda Recipe
Peach and Mint Soda Recipe

This drink is way too easy to make, and is really refreshing.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach, cut into segments
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint
  • Ginger Ale, or Seltzer water
  • Simple Syrup
  • 1 lime, optional

If you have not made simple syrup before, then add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a small pot. Place on medium heat, and cook until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, let it cool before using.

To a cocktail shaker, add in about 4 segments of the peach, along with about 6 mint leaves. Using a muddler, begin to lightly smash the peaches and mint together, releasing the juice and oil from both.

Peach and Mint Soda Recipe
Peach and Mint Soda Recipe

Next, add about 1 tablespoon (or more if you want it sweeter) of the simple syrup. Cover the cocktail shaker, and shake it like you mean it.

Take a couple of glasses, fill them with ice, and pour into the glasses. Top off with ginger ale, gently stir with a spoon, and serve.

The end result is a super refreshing drink that has a nice subtle taste of peaches, and mint with just the right sweetness. Hope you enjoy!

 

Homemade Strawberry Milk

Growing up, I loved strawberry milk. As most kids loved chocolate milk, I leaned more on the strawberry milk. Heck, I even loved Franken Berry cereal, only to be done with the actual cereal and be left with the strawberry milk. Genius. So as our local farmer’s market has been selling these amazing strawberries, I decided to pick up a bunch of them and make something with them before my daughter ate all of them. Yes, that happened. When I bought my first quart of them, and went to the store to pick up a couple of ingredients, I returned only to find two of them left. I was flabbergasted. That being said, I made to secure the next bunch of freshly picked strawberries and asked if my daughter would like to help making some homemade strawberry milk, something she loved as well. Who knew?

Homemade Strawberry Milk Recipe
Homemade Strawberry Milk Recipe

If you love store bought strawberry milk, you are going to love this one. Simple, easy, and delicious, plus you know what’s going into it.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup of regular sugar
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 4 cups of milk

Start by adding everything to a blender, and blend until everything is nice and smooth. You do not want any strawberry chunks in your milk. If you do, more power to you, but I know my kids would not want anything to do with that. If you feel like straining your milk, feel free, to remove any small chunks of strawberries, but I have been using a Ninja blender, and that thing does amazing things to blend.

Once blended, store in a pitcher, chill in the refrigerator, until nice and cold, then serve.

For one, there is nothing like simple ingredients that make something so delicious, and two it is great to show your kids how things are made. This strawberry milk was perfect, and we pretty much had it done within a couple of days as it was that good. If you are looking for something simple and delicious, give this one a try. It’s awesome. Hope you enjoy!