Three Quick and Easy Summer Drinks

My hooligans are all away this week….two at sleepaway camp and one at Grandma Camp in Oklahoma.  That means I’ve had the week to do what I want, when I want.  The hubs and I have eaten out every night, watched “Bad Moms” (so inappropriate, but so hilarious), and been able to actually converse one on one in the evenings while walking the dog.  You know, rather than constantly reminding kids to skate/bike/skip on the right side of the street.  It’s been very pleasant. I’ve also had time to concoct a few beverages that may or may not contain alcohol…it’s up to you!  This week, mine do.

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This one I didn’t actually create…Pimm’s Lemonade is a specialty at the Napoleon House in New Orleans, and I just tweaked it a bit. I first served this to my cooking club back in February when I taught a class on Mardi Gras menus. It’s perfect for summer, though (who am I kidding…I love it anytime!).  The Pimm’s liqueur may be a little hard to find. My amazing husband stopped at a big liquor store in “the city” on his way home from work. It’s also pricey…around $25 per bottle, but that makes at least a couple of pitchers of deliciousness.  Here’s how to make a single serving; it can easily be doubled, tripled, or made for a pitcher.

Pimm’s Lemonade

  • 1-1/2 ounces of Pimm’s (3 Tablespoons)
  • about 1/2 cup lemonade
  • about 1/4 cup seltzer water (I use lemon seltzer)
  • Tall thin spear of cucumber

Pour the Pimm’s over a tall glass of ice, add lemonade to fill 3/4 of the way, then top off with seltzer.  Use the cucumber spear as a swizzle stick, or give it a quick stir to combine.

Drinks-Blackberry-ChaosServThis Blackberry-Amaretto Refresher is a stroke of genius, y’all. My kids love the Izze sparkling sodas (and they’re really pretty healthy for them), so we usually have a big variety pack on hand. I was making a blueberry pie with amaretto in it and thought how fabulous blackberry and amaretto are together, as well. When I realized there were a few blackberry sodas in the pack, I just had to try it. It is the bomb, I tell you. To make yourself one, just pour a blackberry Izze over ice and add a shot of amaretto. See…I told you it was genius. It pairs well with popcorn for dinner, if you’re wondering.

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Those other two drinks are really, really good, but this Lavender Limeade takes the cake for me.  Lime and lavender, on their own, are two of my favorite summer flavors, so I decided to combine them. I used some lavender syrup from Le Monin, but you can make your own following this post from last summer. It’s very easy to do. Like the Pimm’s Lemonade, this could easily be made as a pitcher of drinks. And I bet your friends would thank you!

Lavender Limeade

  • 8 oz lime seltzer water
  • 2 tablespoons lavender syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Pour the seltzer over ice, add the lavender syrup and lime juice, and stir!  Garnish with fresh lavender, if you’d like.

I accompanied the limeade with a baguette slathered with gorgonzola and a plateful of fresh figs, some of my favorite things!  You could easily make this a cocktail by adding a shot of vodka or rum.  Vodka would make a sort of lavender Moscow Mule, and rum would be a bit like a lavender mojito (minus the mint, but you could add that, as well!).

We’re finally getting a few days over 80 here in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m sure I’ll find lots of reasons to make all of these drinks as summer winds down in the next few weeks. I hope you will, as well!

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21 Seed Toast with Goat Cheese, Lavender, and Honey

I know, I know…you’ve fallen out of your chair with amazement that I’ve finally gotten around to writing a new post!  I’m pretty amazed myself.  As an excuse (or at least an explanation), since my last post in August, I’ve completed all of my coursework for teaching high school math.  Now all I have left to do is my student teaching when school starts in September.  I’ll graduate in December and be ready to teach all those reluctant math students (and hopefully at least a few who love math as much as I do!).Goat Cheese Toast ChaosServedDaily

But on with this post…my favorite local coffee shop, Schoolhouse Coffee, makes fabulous toasts.  Among their offerings, my two favorites are peach jam with sea salt and goat cheese with lavender and honey. I’m pretty sure you can figure out the peach jam and sea salt on your own, but I have a couple of tips for the goat cheese, lavender, and honey one. The shop uses fabulous fresh bread from an artisan bakery in Seattle, but I love Dave’s Killer Bread for the at-home version…usually the 21 Seed variety.

So, to make your own little taste of heaven, toast the bread and smear on a bit of butter.  Then, while it’s still hot, sprinkle about a tablespoon of goat cheese crumbles on each slice. I’ve tried using the goat cheese log, but it’s a little difficult to get to crumble (neatly), so I just buy goat cheese crumbles. Spread the cheese around a little, if you need to…it softens really quickly on the warm toast, so this is easy to do!

Drizzle a little honey over each slice.  I’ve been waiting to make this at home once the local berry shack opened with their honey for sale.  It is the best honey I’ve ever had!  Last summer, I bought a couple of pints, not knowing how good it was, then I was forced to hide it in the “way back” of the cabinet so the kids wouldn’t squander it.  I managed to ration it out until almost Christmas, y’all.

Anyway, back to the toast. After the honey, sprinkle some lavender buds on top, and enjoy!  Or impress your family with your gourmet creation.  I bought food-grade lavender at a little farm in my town, but it’s available in gourmet sections of grocery stores, or at farmer’s markets. Be sure you’re using food grade, though.

Now, I’m off to enjoy my last full day of alone time before the hooligans are released for the summer.  Hope yours is off to great start…this toast will guarantee that at least your morning starts off well!Signature_thumb.jpg

 

 

Lovely and Simple Lavender Syrup

I know what you’re thinking…why in the world would I need lavender syrup?  Trust me, you do!  A couple of weeks ago we went to the Lavender Festival in Sequim (pronounced “squim” ) on the Olympic Peninsula.  Sequim is in the rain shadow of the Olympics, so they enjoy many more sunny days than we do here on the other side of Puget Sound. That’s why they can grow such wonderful lavender…it’s hot and sunny!

Lavender Farm CHaosServedDailyThe day we were there, that certainly held true…we arrived around 11:00, and by noon were in desperate need of shade and refreshment.  The food booths offered pretty much anything you could name, combined with lavender for the event.  While the rest of my family stuck with boring Italian soda flavors (cherry, root beer, and limeade), I thought the lavender one sounded refreshing…and it was!  They all tried it, and were sorry they hadn’t chosen that instead of their pedestrian flavors. Of course, they kept trying mine, and I really got to do little more than eat the ice, by the time they were done!

I thought it would be a simple enough task to find lavender syrup here in the home of coffee syrups, but it proved impossible.  I did find it available to order online, but at $15 a bottle, decided I could make it myself!  AFter steeping some of the lavender buds I bought at the festival in a simple syrup, I made Italian sodas for the family.  They declared them as tasty if not better than the one we shared in Sequim.  It’s a new family favorite with popcorn for movie night!

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Lavender Syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lavender buds (I used dried, but you could also use fresh)

1. Combine all in a medium saucepan over medium high heat; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Strain, using a fine mesh strainer, into a jar and refrigerate.  Syrup-Strain-ChaosServedDai

3. To make Italian sodas:  Fill a tall glass with ice, add 2 tablespoon of the syrup, then fill with sparkling water/club soda. Stir well to combine.  If you’d like a cream soda, also add a tablespoon or two of cream. Enjoy!

You can find loads of other recipes using lavender syrup with a simple online search…I’m thinking I need to try out a lavender mojito, or perhaps a lavender, vodka, and lemonade slush!

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