Archive | drinks

Smells Like…Tastes Like…But Doesn’t Look Like (Plus an invite for a Tea Exchange party!)

Barley Tea + Corn Tea = Coffee

Read it again, I think you missed it.

Ok, you can smooth your wrinkled foreheads and lower your raised eyebrows now.

I know it sounds ludicrous and almost insulting to the church of java beans. I apologize, but hear this — I’m on your camp, too.  And as a lover of good black coffee, I’ll put my fussiness in matters of taste and gladly attach my Certified Coffee Substitute seal on this one.

I discovered this almost-perfect combination by accident. My friend Alice, my personal purveyor of ALL kinds of tea, made this for me one afternoon. I could smell it from the dining table as I waited so I asked if she was making coffee. Not a coffee drinker herself, I thought she was making an exception for me that one time. She emerged from her kitchen with a teapot and poured golden brown colored tea into the cups. I sniffed the sweet smelling coffee aroma, and was quietly wishing it would taste something close to coffee because I was already craving for it. And then…I took a sip. And fell in love. I love both coffee and tea, and I couldn’t have been on a higher caffeine cloud at that moment. It was REALLY good. It was like drinking coffee, but with the lightness of tea.

Barley and Corn tea are two of the most unusual, if not exotic, types of tea I’ve ever had. One that makes me all giddy, though, is the subtly sweet and fragrant blush-colored rose bud tea. Having a baroness of tea for a friend does have its own benefits. And I encourage you tea lovers to find one of your own! :-D

Do you like tea? What’s your favorite?

Mine is the Coconut Macadamia tea from Hawaii on the right. Alice got me hooked on it as well.

Aside from my dear friend, I learn and get to taste teas from around the world through my like-minded penpals who I exchange teas with. We love mail and we love tea!

Have you participated in a tea exchange before?

It’s so fun! Anyway, my enthusiasm is getting the best of me. But do let me know if you’re into that and I’ll get something going for us tea lovers!
Oh, and enjoy your weekend!

Posted in dailies, drinks, experiments, fun11 Comments

Peppermint Hot Chocolate with Handcrafted Chocolate Marshmallow

Peppermint Hot Chocolate with Handcrafted Chocolate Marshmallow

Taken from the Williams-Sonoma Sale post, I made two cups of the Peppermint Hot Chocolate for the first time while putting the finishing touches on my other webpage, Tech Hub. If you have picked up a tin after reading the post, the important thing to know is following the directions precisely.  There is a little blurb about heated cups so microwave your cups for one minute.

One thing I noticed in the process, when heating the milk it says to watch for bubbles around the edges. There were bubbles when I poured the milk! So I waited for more bubbling to appear and by the time it happened, a thin layer of film was over the heated milk. I had to skim it off and put in the measured chocolate. 

It says to use 5 tablespoons per 1 cup. I measured it out and in case you don’t feel like counting it out, the loose equivalant is about 1/4 cup. This makes for a really rich and creamy chocolate. It also makes for the best tasting hot chocolate you will ever drink. Joy made a comment after her first sip that the regular chocolate version would be perfect with churros.

We took the marshmallows to the concotion. The picture you see above was taken when a chocolate one was first dropped into the drink. Shortly after thereafter, the marshmallow started to melt, adding more goodness to the drink.

I made another couple of cups the following night. Instead of waiting for the bubbles to happen, I heated the milk at medium heat and waited for steam to come off the saucepan.  This made for perfect temperature cocoa that could be enjoyed once it has been mixed. There was also no skimming needed!

If the tins are still available at your local Williams-Sonoma, I still recommend you get either of the chocolate variety the have available. Enjoy!

Posted in chocolate, Christmas, coffee buddy, dailies, drinks, reviews, snacks5 Comments

The Next Best Coke

Sparkling Kiwi StrawberryAs any Coke Addict will tell you — It’s hard to quit. A friend of mine was able to abandon smoking, but not her precious pop. However, as one gets older, your body manifest its ways of doing asset allocation — of Fat — to areas you wish wouldn’t stick out too much. Can one stay healthy without being completely deprived? Of course!

I’m turning 30 in 7 months (s-h-*-t). Now more than ever, I feel my youthful abandonment of eating badly, including my on-and-off love affair with Coke, catching up on me. Back in Vancouver I’ve made some ‘progress’ when I lived with my health idol, Elle. One of the things she introduced to me was this healthy substitute to my regular fizz fix: mixing sparkling water with fruit nectars. Brilliant!

I jazzed it up a bit with fruits and by serving it in a wine glass because I like dining at home in style:

My Favorite Coke Subsitute

  • 1 part sparkling water (I prefer Gerolsteiner)
  • 2 parts natural fruit juice or 1 part fruit nectar
  • 3 raspberries (or whatever fruit you like to ‘float’ on your drink)

You get the fizz and the ‘full’ feeling, minus the crap!

1. It’s HARD to find Gerolsteiner around here, but I finally found it at AJ‘s last night!
2. I used R.W. Knudsen Kiwi Strawberry juice for the drink pictured above, but my absolute favorite especially for the summer is Hero Peach Nectar.
3. You can also use champaign instead of sparking water, but only if you really want to.

Posted in drinks, healthier choices3 Comments

Happy Hour on a Thursday

Cheese Sticks and Cranberry-Vodka MartiniWe’ve also had it on Mondays. Who says you can’t have fun and be fancy the comfort of your own home?

Last night I made my favorite Cheese Sticks (cheddar sticks wrapped in spring roll wrappers and flash-fried) . Dan made our current favorite drink: Bejeweled Cranberry Vodka.

The cheese sticks are quick to make after you learn the techniques, and they’re oh so good. The cranberry cubes are a nice, cute touch to your drinks. I used it when we invited friends over to celebrate their engagement–perfect!

To start off your happy hour, make yourself a nice smooth drink:

Jeweled Cranberry Vodka

Optional Special Equipment: Cool Jewels Ice Cube Tray [I got mine from Borders, but you can also get them at Sur La Table, Amazon, and many other stores.] You can use a regular ice cube tray, or other shapes. It’s up to you.


  • 1 part Level Vodka
  • 1.5 parts Cold light cranberry juice cocktail
  • Light cranberry cocktail ice cubes

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Posted in appetizer, beer buddy, drinks, fried, liquor, original Gourmeted recipe, snacks0 Comments