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Beverages

Not So Basic Pumpkin Spice Syrup

 

I know some of you may be thinking, pumpkin already?! Yup! I adore the fall time. I live in Massachusetts, it’s stunning and a time to be celebrated, for sure. Maybe it’s the cooler morning air, or the solar eclipse, whatever it is, I had the itch to make something pumpkin. Before I go all out pumpkin crazy, I thought it best to ease in with this awesome syrup recipe. With the highly anticipated PSL and pumpkin flavored coffees making there return, why not get in on the action first? Be a rebel and make your own PSL syrup. Not only will you be a rebel, you will actually know what is being put into this syrup and won’t be consuming a ton of chemicals. You autumnal rebel you! Also, this syrup takes minutes to make and your house will smell better than a seasonal candle. I kid you not. It’s so yummy. Now I just pop 1-2 tbsp, depending on how sweet I want my coffee, right into my morning cup. You can also get fancier and make your own latte by steaming your milk and adding it to strongly brewed coffee.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Instructions

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and pumpkin. Whisk together to combine. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, without letting the mixture come to boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10-15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer and store in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated.

Notes

Adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats.

Spa Water

 

As my son always says: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. This water is something else. I love infused water. I’ve experienced a few that seriously look like someone took frozen fruit cocktail and dumped it into water. It just did not look appealing.  I was talking with a colleague last week about an event we did in Dallas. We stayed at the Crescent Hotel, which is absolutely beautiful. I was a nursing mom at the time I traveled, so of course when we arrived at the hotel, our rooms were not ready. I had to pump somewhere, so they sent me to the spa! There were no tears coming from this girls eyes…..well maybe happy tears… While I was trying to get situated a wonderful staff member offered my some spa water. Let me tell you, pumping never felt so luxurious. That water was basically the highlight of my trip. It was so darn tasty! So naturally, when this summer cold that’s been making it’s rounds hit our entire house, I needed something to cure my sore throat. Seriously, it feels like I swallowed fire ants. What better than a water that not only tastes refreshing, but provides some serious vitamin C. The hint of mint really makes this water refreshing. It’s so easy to put together and just let it sit. I let mine sit for about an hour before I started to drink it. I used still water, but you could definitely add some sparkling if you wanted to add something fun.

For this super simple water I added a handful of mint, 1/4 cucumber (sliced), lemon, lime, orange, and about 8 strawberries (sliced). First I added the mint to the pitcher and crushed with a wooden spoon. I added in the fruit and then filled the pitcher with water. I mixed it around a bit and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour before I started to drink it.

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Fresh Mint Cookies and Cream Shake

I cannot believe I am already toward the end of my vacation. This week flew by but I guess that’s always the case when you are enjoying some much needed time at home. It’s just been me and the little one home this week, so we’ve been having fun hanging out. One of the best things about vacation is getting to enjoy things like this. I wouldn’t typically make this during a work week, but during vacation it’s entirely appropriate. It’s also a great way to incorporate the herbs growing in our garden. I’m that weirdo that walks around my deck admiring my herbs. The mint has been my favorite recently, it just smells so wonderful (shhhh please don’t tell the basil which is seriously my favorite). I was dreaming of mojitos or mint tea, and then I found this recipe and made it pretty much immediately. The original recipe was easily convincing when she mentioned that it’s healthy when there is basically little pieces of lettuce in it. So if you are trying to be uber healthy, just think of it as a smoothie….. But in all reality, the freshness of the mint in here is so nice. Also, any recipe that calls for Oreo’s, is a must obvs. I mean Oreo’s. I didn’t adjust anything in this recipe and it was absolutely perfect. If you want it mintier, just use a bigger handful. If you want a bit less, just use a smaller handful. I think I used 6 or so leaves and I thought it was great.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients into the blender, and combine. Enjoy!

Notes

Recipe from How Sweet It Is. 

Homemade Mocha Frappuccino

 

I love those fancy pantsy drinks, but not always at the fancy pantsy prices. Also, it’s not always easy to drive right out and get one. So I made my own. If you have a blender and can brew coffee…you are good to go! I made a mocha version, pictured here, that was so tasty. I used crushed ice, which is what the original recipe called for. I’m not sure that was necessary, it was no as icy as I would have liked. Also, my blender is uber powerful, so that could have been an issue as well. But they were delish. Of course, the best part of making these at home is that you get to control the flavor, sweetness….and free refills!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add ice cubes, coffee, milk, vanilla syrup and chocolate syrup to the blender. Blend until smooth and top with whipped cream and a drizzle or two of chocolate syrup.

Notes

Recipe from Annie’s Eats.

Easy Homemade Irish Cream

 

A short time ago, a friend, colleague, and fellow Smitten Kitchen lover asked me if I had seen the recipe for Irish Cream. My first thought was “What the heck….no I didn’t”. My second thought was “I want”, so I made. Sure, it’s super easy to head to the store and pick up a bottle already made, but why would you do that now that you have been gifted this easy homemade version. You wouldn’t. It’s incredible. It’s perfect. And it’s these things not only because it’s homemade, but you get to control the recipe. I made this as is and it’s great, but if you want to lessen the alcohol, add less. If you want it sweeter, add more. If you want to add spices, or a hint of coffee……DO IT! I had this over ice (pictured here) and it was the perfect late afternoon drink. My own personal Happy Hour. Me, my back yard, a summer breeze and you’re thinking and Irish Cream?….yup! It’s also inspired me to turn it into a boozy dessert *recipe coming soon!* My sister and I were dreaming up ways to make it more delicious. So check back for more ideas using this homemade deliciousness. But back to the process. Easy. Mix the stuff together. That’s it! Literally mix and you are ready to go.

 

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of a pitcher (or in a separate bowl, likely way easier to start) whisk the cocoa powder and a spoonful of heavy cream into a paste. Continue adding splashes of cream while whisking until you have a smooth paste and can easily add the remaining cream in bigger splashes. Once all of the cream has been incorporated, add in the vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, and whisky. Keep refrigerated. Can last for about 2 weeks to one month.

Notes

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.