Tag Archives: mint

Citrus Sunshine Cooler

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler - Pook's Pantry
I love tea.  Warm temperatures call for pitchers of iced tea or sun tea sitting on the porch letting Mother Nature do the work for you.  Cooler weather brings spicy teas infused with cinnamon and cardamom or my favorite English Breakfast.  Recently, I wrote a post for a new grocery store in town and I discovered they have a bulk tea section.  I zeroed in on this particular tea, full of dried citrus and hibiscus.  I brought it home and opened the bag.  The smell of that tea was absolutely intoxicating.  I knew it would be lovely as is, but that’s not really my style.  So I started poking around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had stashed away.

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Summer Berry Smash

Summer Berry Smash

Has this ever happened to you?  You buy a watermelon, a huge watermelon (because it’s finally in season and you’ve been craving it since October), and then you realize you are going out of town in a few days?   I’m not naming any names,  but you (I) know who you (me, again) are…

Not one to let food go to waste, this was no exception.   Watermelon, meet blender.

It’s summer, people!  What do we need?!  Drinks!!!  When do we need them?!  RIGHT NOW!!!  
A libation that screams summer.  A drink that makes us think of lazy days, floating in the pool or feeling the sand between our toes.  One that  we have at backyard bbqs with friends and neighbors, watching the sun drop as the firepit glows with bright orange flames dancing around skewered, melty marshmallows.  This is that drink.

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Quinoa with Pistachios, Lemon and Mint

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Winter is on it’s way out, Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to change up the menu, moving from hearty stews and roasts to lighter fare and my clients are no exception.  Although we live in a warm climate year-round,  when the temperatures start climbing, no one wants a pot roast.  

In this installment of #Client Food Fridays, we will put together this quinoa salad in about 20 minutes!  How’s that for quick? Did it mention it’s delicious & healthy too?  Winner!

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Cold Remedy Tea -Kitchen Rx

Kitchen Rx - Cold Remedy Tea

The Kitchen Prescription.  This tea has been my “go-to” for years when I’m under the weather. Lemon, mint, ginger and honey tea soothes your throat and warms you up to get you get through even the worst colds.  Winter in most of the northern states is serious.  Temperatures hovering in the single digits for weeks on end, plummeting to -20 at night, leaving you so cold that you simply can not shake the chill no matter how many layers you pile on.    I hate winter,  let me rephrase:  I loathe winter.  I loathe the snow and ice, the freezing temperatures, the slipping and sliding down sidewalks that haven’t been cleaned, chipping an inch of ice from the windshield, car doors that are frozen shut…  You get the picture.

And then you get sick.   Watery eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat and a cough that rattles your insides like gunfire.   You have been taken down by the common cold.   Once it gets you,  it takes weeks until you start to feel human again.  

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Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

Deep, dark devil’s food cupcakes topped with cooling mint buttercream make an excellent treat for St. Patrick’s Day or any day!  Shaved chocolate mint candies are the perfect garnish for these tasty cupcakes.

My days of tipping back green beers at a packed in like sardines Irish pub are long behind me (thankfully), but being the good Irish lass that I am, I still enjoy a bit of silliness on St. Patrick’s Day and bow to the obligatory “green something”.

This year, I’ve decided it should come in the form of a cupcake.  It’s as good as any other choice and I’d take a cupcake over a green beer any day of the week. Continue reading

Thai Chicken Salad


Thai Chicken Salad

In my continuing effort to avoid turning my kitchen into the sweltering fires of hell,  I decided that this time I would cheat a little.  Just a little,  and it’s for the greater good.   The heat index is hovering in the triple digits while beads of sweat are pooling at the nape of my neck.  The least entertaining thought at this moment is “let’s fire up the oven”.

Store-bought roast chicken: In the winter months, this would be considered sacrilege… but in the blistering heat of summer, it is sweet salvation! 

As if buying the chicken wasn’t enough, the food processor is going to do the majority of the work!  Yep, this might be the perfect summer recipe.  The amount of work involved barely even registers.  If you don’t own a food processor it isn’t the end of the world, just a bit of chopping & grating.

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Move over Swiss Miss…

No offense to Swiss Miss, but it pales in comparison to the real deal.  It will do in a pinch, but during the holidays it’s nice to make something special. 

I usually make this treat “to go”…  I put it in big travel mugs and we sip it as we stroll the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights.

The peppermint schapps in it is delicious, but you might want to skip it if you’re making it for kids…

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A Night In

Do you ever feel like you go through the same dozen or so recipes over and over?  Sometimes we all just get into a bit of a rut with dinner,  even me.   One of the wonderful things about writing this blog is that it forces me out of it. 

Back in my restaurant kitchen days,  I’d work 14 hour days and the last thing I wanted to do at 2 a.m. was fire up the stove and cook for myself.  Most of us went to a diner after work or made a PB & J when we got home. 

Sometimes I miss those days, believe it or not.  Not quite enough to do it all over again,  but the rush of a restaurant kitchen is pretty seductive.  The sound of ticket after ticket spitting out in front you, giving you all of your orders… you start calculating in your head just how people are out there waiting for your food!
A professional kitchen is like a well choreographed dance.
Everyone moves within inches of one another, speaking to each other every few minutes communicating your expected time to the pass.  There is a camaraderie unlike any other environment out there if you’re lucky.  

I have told this story many times to people over the years…  there was a single moment early in my kitchen days when all of us working at a certain well-known restaurant stopped what we were doing and looked up at each other. 

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