Happy New Year’s Eve Cocktail: Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Soda

Christmas 026 Edited Happy New Years Eve Cocktail: Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Soda

Happy New Year’s Eve! After a wonderful week that included visiting with family and friends, I have begun to look forward to the new year. Déjà vu? It is by complete coincidence that I chose to post a grapefruit-inspired drink on both last New Year’s Eve and this one.

I have wanted to make this drink for some time. The two times per year my girlfriends and I get it together enough to make it to brunch, we typically find ourselves at a restaurant that serves a very similar – if not the same – drink. It is delicious, refreshing and the perfect use for winter citrus. As suggested in the original recipe, the rosemary-infused simple syrup is also a great sweetener for lemonade.

Speaking of lemons, this Rosemary Gin Fizz Cocktail is another delicious drink that also makes use of rosemary. I drank a couple of those on Christmas day and found them lovely. I then made these Rosemary Grapefruit Sodas the day after Christmas. Given that I am just now posting them, I have resolved to be more attentive to my teeny tiny blog in the New Year.

Christmas 033 Edited Copy Happy New Years Eve Cocktail: Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Soda

Last year, I wrote my resolutions were to practice yoga on a more regular basis as well as to make a galette, Charlotte and Baked Alaska. I succeeded at the yoga and the galette. I did not even try the Charlotte and Baked Alaska, and perhaps more surprising to myself, I did not care. Preferences change, and I decided I simply was not in the mood. Maybe I will get around to those desserts this year and maybe I will not. Either way, I’m sure it will be fine.

I have decided I really do not see a problem with making resolutions any time during the year. My goal on Memorial Day was to finish the five published Game of Thrones books by Christmas. I have been reading (which in this case means looking at  the book on my dresser) A Dance with Dragons since September. In my defense, I have read Gone GirlWhere We Belong, and A Casual Vacancy in the meantime, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Christmas 030 Edited Happy New Years Eve Cocktail: Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Soda

Tonight, I have been invited to a party. I would prefer to stay at home and relax on the couch with a book (see above), but I decided to kick-start achieving my resolutions by getting out of my comfort zone. If you find yourself in need of a little resolution inspiration, I found the lists 32 Things You Should Stop Caring About and 25 Things You Need to Forget About rather enlightening.

This year, I struggled to choose my resolutions. At what point do resolutions cross the line into a plain ol’ to do list? The best I can come up with is to start rinsing with mouthwash. I brush and floss, so that next step seems logical.

I am also going to try to meditate, which for me simply means pausing for 15 minutes out of the 16 hours I typically spend awake. This means I must stop for just one of 64 of my 15-minute waking increments. This sounds achievable, yet I have been working on taking just these few minutes for myself  since July. I always tell myself that I will start tomorrow. This time, tomorrow literally is tomorrow. Right after I make cupcakes. Enjoy!

Christmas 040 Edited Happy New Years Eve Cocktail: Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Soda

Happy New Year’s Eve Cocktail: Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Soda
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup grapefruit juice (about two grapefruits)
  • 5 cups club soda or plain sparkling water
  • Ice, for serving
  • Rosemary sprigs, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Combine the plain water, granulated sugar and rosemary in a saucepan over high heat.
  2. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch, about three to five minutes.
  3. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the rosemary flavor to infuse throughout the syrup.
  4. When the time has passed, use a mesh strainer (or colander in a pinch) to strain the syrup into a pitcher. Discard the strained rosemary.
  5. Add the grapefruit juice and stir to combine.
  6. Immediately before serving, add the club soda or sparkling water and again stir to combine.
  7. Serve over ice and garnish each glass with sprig of rosemary.

 

White Christmas Hot Chocolate

White Hot Chocolate 125 Edited White Christmas Hot Chocolate

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, peace, love, happiness, smiles, laughter and dessert. This malted white hot chocolate is one way to bring a little bit of white into your Christmas no matter where you find yourself. Pure Vanilla suggested serving the drink in mugs for dessert or in shot glasses or espresso cups for a smaller sweet fix. I served my white hot chocolate topped with a few mocha marshmallows. If you find yourself with leftovers, I would like to note it also makes for a delicious coffee creamer. Enjoy!

White Hot Chocolate 158 Edited White Christmas Hot Chocolate

Malted White Hot Chocolate
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup malted milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the milk, half-and-half, white chocolate and salt.
  2. Stir occasionally until the white chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes hot to the touch.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the malted milk powder and blend for one minute.
  4. Pour the blended mixture into the saucepan and reheat over low heat until just hot. Do not boil!
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
  6. Enjoy immediately.

 

Candy Cane Kisses

December 053 Edited Candy Cane Kisses

I am in a slump. I don’t feel like working, cleaning, baking, packing my bags to go on a trip to see people I really want to see or anything else remotely productive. As I was flipping through the radio stations in my car yesterday, I heard DJs  talking, ironically, about slumps. Their conversation centered around how the suggestions given to someone in a slump often involve the idea to just push through it. The DJs were convinced this is terrible advice. They believed sometimes you’ve just got to sit in it and let it pass.

Outside of work, the only thing I have been pretty consistent about during my slump is getting my butt to yoga. Tonight marked my sixty-second yoga class since November 1. Actually, it was my sixty-fifth class since October 29, but that is little more than a technicality. Suffice it to say, I am sick and tired of asana.

As I was stuck in a yoga studio for weeks on end, I wanted to get outside and go for a run. Oh, all right. It was a stroll in the sunshine more so than a kick-butt run I craved. For the past five months, I have paid my bills by writing nearly every day. I started this blog as much to exercise my writing muscle as I did to plow through a stack of recipes, so I no longer look forward to writing blog posts as much as I once did.

In case you had not yet noticed, the ever elusive butterfly in my life is finding a sense of balance. When we commit to balance, we often find we can lighten the load more so than we thought in one area while at the same time taking on more in others. I need to figure this out.

December 060 Edited Candy Cane Kisses

I had no idea what I was going to write for this post until I sat down and starting pecking out words, but a new theme of balance and a continuing theme of light seems to be taking hold. My heart still feels a little heavy, yet these cookies are as light as air. The photo of those baked-in air pockets up there come from my third attempt at meringue cookies, so they were also an exercise in patience.

This recipe for Candy Cane Kisses came from one of the prettiest cookbooks I have ever seen, Masala Farm. Its pages were full of color, and I liked the short stories found throughout the book. It was just overall nice. The original recipe  suggested adding one teaspoon of pulverized dried lavender to the meringues in place of the peppermint when baking outside of prime candy cane season.

Some believe the world will end tomorrow. Which is already today in some parts of the world (as I write, it’s just after 3 p.m. in Sydney). I would like to bring up two very good points I have heard (though I don’t remember where) about this theory. 1). If the Mayans were so good at predicting the end of the world, then why couldn’t they predict the collapse of their own civilization? 2). The Mayan calendar fails to take into account leap years, so technically, the world should have ended sometime in October.

Regardless, what we can all agree on according to the calendar is tomorrow marks the darkest (shortest) day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of us will also likely agree the darkest day came a week early this year. After the dark, the days must get light again. Enjoy.

December 054 Edited Candy Cane Kisses

 

 
Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cram of tartar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons crushed peppermint
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
  2. Add the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites and increase speed to high.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form, then add in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. (If you fail to add the sugar slowly, you will end up with a very grainy cookie.)
  4. When the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks, use a rubber spatula to very gently fold in the peppermint and chocolate chips.
  5. Place dollops of meringue onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 250 F until the tops begin to crack, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on wire racks.
Notes
To make red meringues, I suggest adding food coloring along with the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt. Folding it in with the crushed peppermint and chocolate chips tends to deflate the egg whites that were beautifully whipped into shape just seconds earlier.