How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

This post contains affiliate links. 

How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

Have you ever tried lavender in your coffee?! AMAZING!

I would not have thought that lavender would pair well with the rich earthy flavors of coffee, but it does.

Just imagine the sun is rising, you are sitting in a rocking chair on a beautiful porch overlooking the serene beauty of the forest. You’re sipping on a lovely cup of goodness that brings into your soul all the wonderful feelings of joy and joyness. Add into that mix the delicious floral aromas of lavender. Calm, sweet, heavenly lavender.

Now, before I lose my non-coffee drinkers, this isn’t just about the coffee. You too can enjoy the delicious taste and flavor of lavender in a variety of ways. Keep on reading!

You might say I have a thing for lavender. I rarely go to sleep without rubbing a bit of lavender essential oil on my wrists before bed. I love using lavender in my homemade soap and body oil. The soothing scent combined with the sweet aroma lifts and calms me.

I honestly didn’t care for lavender before I discovered the essential oil and the dried flowers. Most commercial uses of lavender always had an off scent to them that I couldn’t place. Now I’m assuming it was the artificial aspect of lavender scented things. They tried, but you just can’t beat the real thing.

Lavender Simple Syrup 2

Back to the subject at hand, lavender simple syrup is a treat. It uses refined sugar, which I know is not a real food item, therefore, I really only use this recipe for special occasions. (Or on occasion because I made this batch up for the sole purpose to enjoy it and share with you.)

Lavender simple syrup is of course delicious in coffee. Just add a dash of milk and there you go. Sweet, floral, and yummy. But it also tastes amazing in lemonade, orange juice, tea, and steamed milk. I’m thinking of trying a bit of it in some oatmeal with a little cream!

You could definitely come up with some delicious ways to use lavender simple syrup. The key thing to remember is you only need a little bit. You might be surprised at the amount of flavor it adds.

Lavender Simple Syrup

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat ingredients in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer about two minutes. Let cool. Pour into an airtight jar or container. (These work really well.) Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2016/01/27/how-to-make-lavender-simple-syrup/

Have you tried lavender in your coffee?

 


subscription box 2

20+ Real Food Fourth of July Recipes

20 Plus Real Food Fourth of July Recipes

The Fourth of July is around the corner!! I cannot believe July is almost here.

I’m ready and I’m not.

This year we need some seriously healthy options for our family Fourth of July celebration. I’m all about some good food that’s good for you too!

I haven’t completely decided on a menu yet, but here are some of the ideas I’m pulling from. I hope you can benefit from this great list too!

Fourth of July Picnic!

Main dish:

Sides:

Desserts:

 What are you cooking for this celebration?


subscription box 2

Easy Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

easy cold brewed iced coffee

Sitting on the front porch on a warm summer morning with a glass of Cold Brewed Iced Coffee is the best way to start the day! Or get your mid-morning perk during nap time… Or a feeble attempt to survive the afternoon…

Regardless your reason for needing Iced Coffee, it is a delicious treat!

It’s no lie that I’m probably considered a coffee snob. I’m not a fan of cheap coffee that tastes bitter and stale. I need a strong fresh ground dark cup of joe to get my day started. It probably stems from my Coffee Master days at Starbucks.

A hot cup of fresh coffee is usually how my day starts. And sometimes I’ll go for a second one mid-morning or early afternoon. But in the summer heat a cold-brewed iced coffee is much more appealing!

Perfecting the cold-brew is a little tricky. You have to plan ahead just a bit. But like most Real Food meals planning is just a part of the routine! This little cup of heaven is an easy addition to your kitchen routine and the rewards are delicious.

ground coffee

I’ve tried making iced coffee by just pouring regular brewed coffee over ice. But the ice melts quickly and the coffee gets watered down. Instead, the trick is to brew the coffee cold and very strong so that the ice and milk (if desired) don’t dilute the roasty coffee taste.

Choosing the type of coffee for your iced coffee is a personal preference. Some prefer a lighter roast, one that comes from Latin America and has citrus or caramel notes (a lot of the inexpensive coffees like Folgers or Maxwell House are Latin American blends). Those tend to taste bitter to me so I generally prefer a darker roast from the Asia/Pacific region, which has rich earthy flavors. Herbal and floral notes tend to come from the African region.

Once you know your flavor preference, it’s time to make some Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee!

Easy Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

Ingredients

    Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup fine ground coffee
  • 3-4 cups water
  • Milk (optional)
  • Unrefined Sugar or Stevia Extract (optional)
  • Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • Supplies:
  • 2 – 1 qt Mason Jars (wide mouth preferably)
  • Lid and ring
  • Coffee filter and brew basket OR strainer and cheesecloth

Instructions

  1. The first step is to grind your coffee very fine. You can do this from whole bean or you can take already ground coffee and grind it finer.
  2. Place the grinds in one of your mason jars and fill the rest of the way with cold water.
  3. Put the jar in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours (or overnight).
  4. Once the coffee is done cold-brewing, filter it out into your other mason jar. I had trouble using a filter and brew basket because of the fine grind so cheesecloth worked a little better because I was being impatient.
  5. You will end up with a VERY STRONG cold-brewed coffee.
  6. Fill your favorite Iced Coffee cup with ice and fill about 1/3 of the way with milk or cold water. Add your cold-brewed coffee on top. You may need to test the milk/coffee ratio to your taste. I prefer mine pretty strong! If desired add a little sweetener and vanilla extract for flavor.
  7. Store remaining Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee in the refrigerator.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/06/22/easy-cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

brewing coffee

You can brew a second or third batch with the used grounds, but it won’t be quite as strong. I usually go for it since it takes a lot of coffee to make cold-brew and I want to be frugal with my fancy coffee.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee is a favorite summer drink around my house. I love to sip on it while rocking on the porch with a good book. (Or have it nearby while chasing my toddler.)

iced coffee on the porch

It’s a great beverage to sip on during the warm days to get a little boost of caffeine. It’s debatable whether coffee is good for you or not because of the caffeine, but in my opinion, drinking it within reason is fine. I know my limits and don’t go for more just because it tastes good. Although..that is difficult with this iced coffee!

How do you like your coffee? Strong? Hot? Iced? Light?


subscription box 2

 

Nourishing Bone Broth

This post contains affiliate links.

nourishing bone broth

There’s something about the cold that makes me want soup.

I haven’t always been a soup person. Especially watery soups. I could handle a creamy soup every now and then, but a chicken and vegetable soup? No, thank you.

Then I discovered homemade bone broth. My life has changed.

I was perusing the labels in the canned soup aisle one day at the store and discovered, much to my dismay, the ridiculous amount of weird ingredients that were included in chicken broth. The more I was reading labels the more I became disgusted at what was being deemed “food”. (That’s another story.)

I needed chicken broth for a recipe, but I didn’t want to feed my family those unpronounceable ingredients that were really unnecessary. So I looked up how to make bone broth. It really is quite simple.

The key to a good bone broth is starting with a whole roasted chicken. (I’m focusing on chicken broth, but you can really make bone broth with any leftover bones!) I like to make my broth in a crock pot, so a roasted chicken in a crock pot makes the most sense.

To cook the chicken, I like to rub it down with a variety of spices and then cook on high for about four hours. Simple as can be.

Once the chicken is cooked, we’ve eaten some for dinner, and I’ve removed the leftover meat, I’m left with a delicious bird carcass. (Actually, chicken bones really gross me out, so I try to not look at it, hence no pictures…)

All I need to do is return the bones to the crock pot, and add in some roughly chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and celery. There is generally enough spices and salt left in the crock pot from roasting the bird that I don’t have to add any more.

I fill the crock pot with water to about an inch short of the top. Cover and let simmer on low overnight. If you wake up in the night while it’s cooking, you may get hungry!

bone broth supplies

In the morning, I strain the broth into jars. (I just use a mesh strainer, but if you want your broth clear of all debris, use cheese cloth.) Usually, if I am making a batch I will put it in smaller freezer safe canning jars so that I can save it for later. Other times, I put it in repurposed jars and use later that week in soup.

It is also possible to make two or even three batches of broth out of the same chicken! I usually only do two, since I run out of jars (gasp!). And the flavor will go down the more batches you make. My hubby prefers “first runnings” when I make a brothy soup or stew so we can savor more of the flavor.

To make more, just refill the water in the crock pot and add in a little more salt or spices if desired. Let simmer through the day. Then, strain and fill your jars. It’s that simple!

And if you want to a more “official” recipe:

Nourishing Bone Broth

Nourishing Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • Leftover chicken bones and juices from cooking
  • 2 TBSP raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 large carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3-4 ribs celery
  • Any other desired vegetables

Instructions

  1. Remove all the leftover meat from your roasted chicken. Place in your crock pot with any remaining juices from cooking.
  2. Roughly cut your vegetables and add to the crock pot.
  3. Fill with water until about an inch short of the top.
  4. Cover and simmer on low for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
  5. When finished, strain broth into freezer safe jars.
  6. Let cool slightly before labeling and putting in the freezer.
  7. Or place in the fridge until you use it later that week.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/01/16/nourishing-bone-broth/

I make bone broth quite frequently. I like to make sure we have a steady supply of it in the freezer.

Bone broth is nourishing due to the fact that as it simmers all day the valuable nutrients are being pulled out of the bones and mixing with the water. And not just the nutrients from the bones, but from the vegetables. You could use a similar technique to make a vegetable broth as well.

Now that we have this nourishing bone broth, I love to make soup! It’s delicious, filling, and good for our bodies. I love it so much I could drink it out of a mug.

bone broth cup

Have you tried making nourishing bone broth?

This post is shared on these blogs.


subscription box 2

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

This post contains affiliate links.

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is almost upon us! It is an often overlooked holiday with Christmas joy and joyness overshadowing it. Personally I am a huge Christmas fan, but am always careful to not forget the special day of thanks that comes before it.

We should be thankful everyday for the numerous blessings we receive. But to have a whole day set aside to feast and reflect on the year’s bounty? What fun! I hope you will be able to spend the day in an enjoyable way, with lots of food involved.

And with that special holiday coming this week I must include an obligatory Pumpkin Pie Recipe!

This recipe uses all real food ingredients and is actually quite healthy. I experimented with a few variations and landed on this choice. It uses a gluten-free crust and honey as a sweetener. It isn’t overly sweet and won’t push you over the edge, but has some really excellent flavors. It tastes excellent with coconut whipped cream on top.

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

Instructions

    For the Pie Crust
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. It should be moist and flakey.
  5. Pat the dough into a greased pie pan. This takes a little finesse. The dough is fairly flakey and so you need to smooth it into the pan with your fingers.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  7. Let cool. It's best to freeze for about 20 minutes before adding pie filling. That helps the edges to not burn when baking your pie.
  8. For the Pumpkin Pie
  9. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  10. In a large bowl whisk all ingredients together.
  11. Pour pie filling into frozen pie crust. Freezing the crust should keep the edges from burning, but if you are prone to toast the edges, go ahead and cover with foil.
  12. Cook for 40-45 minutes, until the pie is almost fully set, the middle will still be slightly jiggly.
  13. Cool for 30 minutes in the oven with the door cracked, this helps keep the top from splitting in the middle.
  14. Serve chilled.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2014/11/24/real-food-pumpkin-pie/

Enjoy your holiday! Don’t forget to take some time to be thankful and rest.

This post is shared on Homestead Barn Hop, Modest Monday, Meal Plan Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Creative Muster, WFMW, Homestead Blog Hop.


newsletter banner cropped

Homemade Hot Salsa

Who doesn’t love a fresh batch of salsa? Maybe someone without taste buds. So here is my first attempt at a homemade canned salsa. I want to experiment with the taste a little. But I was overall happy with the result. There are so many ways you can make it and I doubt any variation would be wrong.

salsa edit

 

Hot Salsa Attempt #1:

makes about 4 pints

6 cups chopped tomatoes

2 cups chopped jalepeno peppers

2 cups chopped onion

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 TBSP minced cilantro

2 tsp oregano

3 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Prepare your water bath canner and sanitize your jars.

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle the hot salsa into the sanitized jars, leaving, 1/4 inch headspace. Place the lids on only finger tight and set in your water bath canner. Process for 15 minutes in boiling water.

Remove jars from canner and let the lids seal. Don’t mess with the jars for about 12 hours. You should hear them pop shortly after removing them from the canner. If you have any excess salsa, pour into an extra jar and use right away.

 

I’m thinking that next batch I’m going to use a little less jalepenos and less apple cider vinegar. It was really hot and pretty watery. Again, it really did taste great. Every one that has tried it loves it! Yay! So until my next experiment in canning, have at it!

Blueberry Jam

I think I’m getting the swing of this canning thing! My Blueberry Jam turned out pretty well if I may say so. I have more blueberries and will make another batch. The one thing I learned this time around is to always have extra lids on hand. I could only make a small batch since I didn’t have many lids.

I pretty much followed the Strawberry Jam recipe and subbed blueberries. I changed it up just a little.

IMG_2639

Blueberry Jam

makes 4-5 half pints

1 1/2 quarts blueberries

1 1/2 cups sugar (you could use less, this turned out really sweet)

2 TBSP lemon juice

Directions:

Get your water-bath canner filled and heating. Place your jars in the canner to sterilize them, put a small plate in the freezer for later, and put your flat lids in a heat proof bowl. Lay out your tongs, a couple of towels to set everything on, and have a damp cloth handy.

Put your blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large simmering pan or stock pot. Keeping the berries and juices together bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

IMG_2626

Test your jam by putting a small dab on the plate in the freezer. If it firms up when you place it in the freezer for a minute it is ready. Skim off the foam and remove from heat, stirring gently to distribute the fruit.

Carefully remove your jars from the canning pot, pouring the water from one into the bowl with the lids to heat the seal. Set your jars on one of the towels, upright and ready to fill.

Ladle the hot jam into the jars with 1/4 inch of headspace in each. Make sure there are no large bubbles on the edges by sticking a knife or spoon along the sides. Use your damp cloth to clean the edges so that your lids will seal correctly.

IMG_2628

Place the lids on top and gently tighten the rings just finger tight. Place your jars into the canner and bring back to a boil, making sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Let them boil for 5 minutes.

Remove the jars to a folded towel on the counter and don’t disturb them for 12 hours. Within the next hour you should hear each of the lids pop. Press down on each of the lids to make sure they are sealed.  If it doesn’t pop put that jar in the fridge and use. Label your jars and store for later.

I got four and half jars out of this recipe. The sealed jars are stored and the half jar I put straight in the fridge for us to use. It really tastes great and I’m so excited to have more jam!