Cranberry Whiskey Cocktail

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This time last year: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (2013)

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Well, Christmas has passed, but this holiday season is far from over- at least that’s the case in my house. Why let such a good thing end so soon?!

In celebration of the 12 days of Christmas, and a continued season of festivities, I am going to bring you six drink options for this holiday season that are NOT eggnog- starting today!

I will admit, I really don’t have anything against eggnog. Eggnog and I don’t go way back, but I don’t hate it.

However, I like getting a little more creative with my cooking choices than eggnog. It just makes life more fun! Thus, this week, from Christmas to New Years, I am going to bring you a handful of new drink recipes that you can use for a variety of occasions- from happy hour to early morning coffee.

Cheers to you!

And cheers to the holiday!

Love, Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Ginger ale
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Fresh Cranberries and ice for garnish
Directions:
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the liquids into the shaker and mix (shake or stir to your desire).
  2. Strain the liquids into a glass full with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with cranberries and enjoy!
 
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Source: Your Southern Peach 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other beverages from A Rented kitchen (Recipe links below photos!):

Food for the Fourth!

Saturday will be here before we know it, and that means the Fourth of July – fireworks, family, friends, starry nights, jeans, bare feet and food. Lots of food.

For all of you out there brainstorming what to bring to your neighborhood potluck, what to cook for your relatives, or how to celebrate this holiday in a more environmentally friendly way by going vegetarian- look no further.

Below I have compiled a list of scrumptious foods perfect for this summer holiday. Check it out, and let me know what you try!

Happy cooking, and an even happier Fourth of July 🙂

With lots of love, Sarah

Appetizers:

Drinks:

 

Entrees and Sides:

Desserts:

Lavender Lemonade

lemonade

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Well, it’s not quite summer, but a girl can dream, right? For those of you reading from cold places, I’m sorry. You should try moving to Atlanta. Winter here is lovely!

However, regardless of whether you are reading from cold weather or hot weather, and regardless of whether what you really need is hot cocoa or lemonade, this drink is delicious, and incredibly refreshing, and you should try it!

Maybe, just maybe, if we start sipping on homemade lemonade, the sun will want to linger a little longer. Fingers crossed!

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Lavender Week

Day One- Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

Day Two- Roasted Yukon Potatoes with Lavender

Day Three- Lemon Lavender Loaf

Day Four- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts and Lavender

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (or less, depending on how tart you like your lemonade!)
  • Juice from 8- 10 lemons
  • 6- 7 cups water
  • 3-4 lavender buds
  • 1 Lemon- sliced
  • Red/blue food coloring (if desired for purple coloring)

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to boil in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and then add 3-4 organic lavender buds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, juice the lemons.
  2. Strain the lavender from the simple sugar. Combine the lemon juice, simple sugar, and 4-5 cups of cold water into a pitcher. Stir.
  3. Garnish with fresh slices of lemon and a drop of blue and red food coloring if desired.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Adapted from: Centsational Girl
  • Like this recipe? Try these other refreshing beverages from A Rented Kitchen! (Links found below):

Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

 

lavender week

 

On this day last year: White Bean Hummus with Lime, Parsley, and Cilantro (2014)

Lav. Hot Cocoa

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One of my very nerdy culinary dreams is to have a beautifully organized and fully stocked spice rack. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. Ever since I started cooking I have drooled over the magnetic spice racks, the ones you label yourself, with all the little bottles. I’m truly revealing my inner organized nerd.

One of the spices I have always wanted to have in my stock, is a little jar of dried lavender buds. Lavender is a very affordable herb, but takes real intentionality to get. You are not likely to find it at your regular grocery store, unless you shop at Whole Foods!

I think part of the reason I wanted a little jar of lavender in my reserve, is due to its’ rarity. I had never tasted anything lavender flavored before! And who doesn’t want to incorporate edible flowers into their meal- helloooo?!

Thus, despite the fact that my little rented kitchen does not have an organized spice rack, yet, I have decided to bust the secrecy of this fragrant herb through a series of lavender food posts.

So, hold onto your apron, because this week is bringing you a series of scrumptious, sweet, and fragrant lavender meals!

On your mark, get set, lavender!

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate (70% cacao)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk chocolate (I used chocolate chips!)
  • ¼ teaspoon lavender buds

Homemade Whipped Cream

  • ½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Tablespoon granulated white sugar

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cold cream, vanilla, and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form (should take a few minutes!). Refrigerate until read for use.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and lavender buds over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the milk begins to simmer.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the milk and lavender buds to steep for five minutes.
  4. Strain the lavender buds from the milk, and return the milk to the saucepan. Stir in the chocolate and continue stirring until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated.
  5. Whisk milk mixture until frothy, about 20 seconds.
  6. Prepare the whipped cream by beating the cold cream, vanilla, and sugar with a hand mixture in a small bowl, until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use, and then add a dollop of whipped cream to each mug, and sprinkle with a few lavender buds! Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: a la mode
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious hot chocolate recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe Links found below!)

Homemade Ginger Ale & Variations

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It’s nearing the end of the semester, which means I’m getting really good at productive procrastination. Thus, I bring you another homemade recipe from my little rented kitchen, as opposed to my completed homework assignments. Gooooood.

Anyhow, this recipe has a little story behind it. You’ll be proud to know that I was at a coffee shop, studying like a good little student, when I tried the store’s homemade Ginger Ale. The drink was delicious, but expensive (no surprise there!). After finishing my expensive and petite store bought ginger ale, I became convinced that I could make my own version just as easily, save myself some money, and share this refreshing treat with friends! Win-win-win.

SO, no surprise to you all, but that’s exactly what I did. Story time over. It brewed, we drank, and all were happy.

I bring you my new favorite drink recipe- Homemade Ginger Ale. Sip up! Summer will be here before we know it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped peeled ginger (7 ounces)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 1 quart chilled seltzer or club soda
  • ~ 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Optional variations: lemon juice, lemon slice, strawberry slices, frozen blackberries, peach slices

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the chopped ginger and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer with the pot partially covered for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to steep, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Once steeped, strain the liquid through a sieve into another bowl, pressing on the ginger the get all the liquid out. Discard the ginger.
  4. Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Heat the liquid over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  5. Chill the syrup in a covered jar until cold.
  6. To assemble the drinks: Combine ¼ cup ginger concentrate with ¾ cup seltzer water and 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice. Adjust flavors as desired by adding additional ingredients.

To spice up your drink even more, add one or a combination of the following fruits, starting with a base of ginger concentrate, seltzer water, and either lime or lemon juice.

  • Frozen blackberries
  • Chopped strawberries
  • Lemon/lime slices
  • Peach slices
  • Any combination of the above

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Epicurious
  • Have fun adding your favorite alcohol or fruits to this recipe! The variations make this drink extra versatile and crowd-pleasing!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other treats from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’ (Recipe links found below pictures):