hot tea toddy.

i was beginning to think that i may becoming superhuman. in fact, my husband + i had a lengthy conversation just last week. we were in complete bewilderment as to why neither of us [nor our two children] had caught any colds in the past couple of years. real colds. the ones where you don’t get out of bed colds. i’m not talking the flu. because too often people mistake actual influenza for a cold. anyway, i started the conversation & it maybe sounded something like this:

you know, i haven’t been sick in years! like actually sick.

come to think of it, neither have i. it’s been a couple of years.

neither have the kids. i’m going to attribute this to all of the vitamins, garlic, antioxidants + ACV. let’s knock on some wood?

maybe we are becoming superhuman!!! **huge smile on his face**

**eye roll. laugh. eye roll.**

and then we caught something. what a disappointment. with 30 nearing, i thought it might be cool if i were actually beginning to develop an immunity to all viruses. ha! unrealistic thought, i know. but a fun thought, nevertheless. it all began with our seven year old. she came down with a cold last week. i was nurse-mom for several days while she was out from studies, tending to her every need. and then. . .lo & behold. . .(unsurprisingly) i came down with the most terrible head cold. which eventually developed into an all-over-body-hurting type of cold. coupled with a sinus infection. oh, and AF. AF decided to make an appearance the other night. so add in some slightly unbearable cramping. . . .& voila! recipe for disaster. it must have been all of those kisses she & i shared. because kisses are the cure to viruses, right? lesson learned. currently, i am still in the throes of it all & my husband is in the beginning stages. he’s in for a lovely treat **uh**. we plan on locking ourselves indoors all weekend, all four of us snuggling and caring for one another. if you must find me, i will be here at home & i will very likely be in my most comfortable sweat pants, raw honey or moroccan clay smeared all over my face, dripping runny nose, a messy bun right atop my head, drinking buckets of tea with lemon, ACV & perhaps a few hot toddies. oh and doing something called R-E-S-T-I-N-G. strange how from time to time, we find ourselves guilty of being so very good at pushing right up to or over the limits, forgetting all about rest + relaxation that are vital for refueling the mind and body. i rarely sit. i hate naps. ask my husband. i am constantly on the go. i like. . .no, love. . .to consistently be doing something. because of these things, meditation is the most difficult practice and one of which i often have to force myself into. my hands are always working. baking. cooking. knitting. cleaning. tidying. helping the kids. then there are times when my body completely takes over and demands rest. .much as it is this week. and as sad as it may sound, i feel like sickness is the only time resting feels completely acceptable. so over the past few days (& likely over the next) i have been giving my body the rest it deserves. once we are well again we plan to book some acupuncture sessions for nick + i. and a two hour massage for myself because my neck sounds similar to popping corn when i roll it around. which i’m fairly certain is not a good sign. yoga practice has been lacking. as well as body work. and i’ll kindly take this cold as a reminder to do a better job of caring for myself as a whole.

steamy tea toddy

6 oz oolong tea {or tea of choice}, brewed + prepared

2 Tbsp raw, unfiltered {preferably local!} honey

1 1/2 oz quality whiskey

lemon slices//wedges to taste

2 apple slices

5 whole cloves

5 whole allspice

1/2 cinnamon stick

fresh nutmeg, grated – 3 pinches

properly brew tea. the brewing method, vessel & water temperature will widely depend upon which type of tea leaves you are using. put 2 Tbsp raw, unfiltered honey into the bottom of a mug, leaving the measuring spoon in the cup. slowly pour the hot tea over the spoon + honey, filling the mug. add 1 1/2 oz whiskey of choice. mix well. place apple slices and lemon wedge(s) into drink. to the mug, add: 5 whole cloves, 5 whole allspice, and 1/2 cinnamon stick. top with 3 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg. allow to sit for a few moments before consuming. get some zz’s + thank me later. xx.

tasty mexican hot cocoa.

since the forecast calls for snow all weekend, i think i can finally get this post up. i’m sure this won’t be our last snow. it usually trickles in throughout may. a lot of people act surprised, but really. . . .we know it’s coming every spring. if you live in a colder climate or at least somewhere winter hasn’t quite yet left, maybe you’ll have a chance to make this one last time before the seasons change & the chill disappears!

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four years ago, while wedding planning — nick & i were deciding upon favors. we wanted them all to be handmade, homemade & full of love. my sister sewed all the pairs of lace, hand-warmers full of lavender for everyone. they were so lovely & sweet smelling.

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if you have yet to notice, this post is incredibly media-heavy [sorry up front! i promise the recipe in the end is worth the scroll through]. since the hot cocoa is so nostalgic for us, i wanted to share photographs from our wedding day as well. i promise to keep it under fifty.

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i had spent hours over a few scattered evenings scouring the internet for the best hot cocoa mix recipe. the site i came across and landed on for sure immediately upon finding was really difficult to discover. i had searched a lot of different key terms for so long. for some reason, i forgot to bookmark the blog site. the year following our winter wonderland, canadian wedding, i went searching for the site again and was lucky enough to come across it. a friend had asked me for the recipe and i had to dig it out of the depths of cyberspace so that i could send it over to her. and yet again, i failed to bookmark it. ahh! but how?? finally, three years later i was ready to do a third search, trying to remember what it was that i had used for key terms. i tried everything. i even tried specifically putting in the wording from the preparation instructions. nothing was bringing it up. i began to wonder if the site had been removed and i started to get disheartened. nick was able to locate the blog using an internet history site that sweeps the web & saves copies of pages & sites. I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E.

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so from what i can tell, jamie jimenez used to have a blog site @yours-is-the-earth.com. i’m not even sure that it was a specific food blog. i think it was artsy odds & ends and there just happened to maybe be a few recipes on there. i think i got lucky with that hot cocoa recipe. i mean i really hit the jackpot. at least that’s how i felt. guys — i have tried probably upwards of thirty hot cocoa recipes in my day. that’s kind of a lot, right? i’m not sure jamie jiminez quite understands the golden recipe she was holding onto. i have found so many sites saying the exact same thing — that it was hands down the best hot cocoa they had ever tasted. sooo lucky to have found it in the first place! and that’s how i feel now that i have found the original recipe again. for a third time.

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so after yours-is-the-earth, it appears that jamie went and helped her husband start homespun  @homespunatl.com — which she is the co-founder of — i’m not even sure if any of the things from her old blog were transferred over. however, they should seriously consider adding the hot cocoa to homespun. it would be a hit.

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anyway, back to my finding the recipe. i cannot stress enough that this is the greatest hot cocoa recipe i have ever come across. i did make a few modifications. i added ancho chile pepper, chipotle chile pepper & habanero powder. i used extra large chunks of chocolate to top off the powder in each of the mugs and i used one large mallow as opposed to littles.

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i had several requests for the recipe after everyone had safely made it home and tried the liquid chocolate gold. i have been meaning to get this on the blog for years and to be quite honest, time slips away from me many days and posts sit for a while before i actually get around to them. you know, because real life happens. this isn’t my job. and so i just sort of get to the blog when i get to it. i hope you guys enjoy this one. i really, really do! let me know if you try the hot cocoa.

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i cannot source the original site since it is no longer available. however, i did put a listing for homespun at the bottom of the page — they are actually putting together some absolutely incredible gatherings [i wish we lived closer!] and the blog and things jamie sells are so fun to look through! her husband creates some very delectable dishes! if nothing else, give their site a glance!! homespun can be found on IG via @HomespunATL and jamie can be found via @mrsjamiejimenez. if you do make the hot cocoa i’m sure you could throw a tag in there!

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so, without further ado, what you have all been waiting for [i hope] as i just talked it up for a good five minutes. the recipe {listed exactly as it were on yours-is-the-earth.com}. . . . [my modifications are listed just below it.]

recipe courtesy — jamie jimenez from Homespun ATL.

photo credit for all pictured above: kristy-anne swart from up and away studios.

tasty mexican hot cocoa

INSTRUCTIONS:

In your handled mason jar, mix the following ingredients:

-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
-¼ Cup of sugar, mixed with a teaspoon of vanilla extract (or a scraped vanilla bean)
-½ tsp of salt
-½ tsp cinnamon
-¼ tsp nutmeg
-A dash of cayenne or chili powder (optional)
-½ Cup chopped semisweet chocolate (or morsels)
-Approximately 1 cup large marshmallows. These will fill the space at the top of the jar.

*When it comes time to enjoy the cocoa (for one serving):
Set marshmallows aside. Put ¼ of the mix in a mug. Warm a cup of milk. Pour just enough of the warm milk into the mug to make a paste with the mix. This will prevent clumping. Then pour in the rest of the milk and stir. Add the marshmallows on top, and enjoy. This can easily be made in whole batches, by diving all of the mix between 4 mugs, and using 4 cups of milk.

*For dairy allergies, almond milk makes this drink quite delish!

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**the first time around (for the wedding favors), i used vanilla essence. the second time around and most recently, i used vanilla bean paste in place of the essence and prefer it that way.

**add to powdered mix:  1/8-1/4 tsp. ancho chile pepper, 1/8-1/4 tsp. chipotle chile pepper, a pinch of habañero powder {i used a decent-size pinch, but you can tailor based off of how spicy you want the hot cocoa!}

**lastly — do not go cheap! splurge on good quality chocolate. i used a bar that we had from nuance chocolate in fort collins — a specialty shop that imports chocolate from all over the world. we had a bar from belize that we threw into our most recent jar! in the end, you will be so happy you spent the few extra dollars! after you have drank your warm mug of cocoa right down to the last drop, ‘thank you’s‘ for recovering this glorious recipe can be sent to moi — @country.bumpkin on IG, or here — simply leave your comments below! [of course i’m totally kidding, but seriously — ENJOY!] xx.

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fresh fig & pom bomb.

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1/2 C. fresh figs, well rinsed and coarsely chopped

1/2 C. fresh strawberries, well rinsed and chopped

1/4 C. fresh pomegranate seeds, plus additional for topping

1 large ripe banana, chopped into large chunks

1/2 C. blueberries, well rinsed and stems removed

1 Tbsp. raw cacao, ground or 1 Tbsp. raw cacao pieces

1 Tbsp. unrefined organic coconut oil

2 tsp. raw unfiltered [local] honey

1/4 C. almond milk, unsweetened — [1/4 C. cashew milk if you prefer a thicker smoothie]

1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

xx.

 

 

 

 

 

berry vanilla breakfast smoothie.

we all get burnt out on fresh avocado & free-range eggs in grass-fed butter. sometimes breakfast is better in the form of a smoothie. and on smoothie mornings i get to create.

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for this one, i catered more to the kids. it’s difficult to get them to drink green juice (no, not apple & pear with coconut water. veggies. all veggies). they won’t touch the stuff. i’ve tried several times. so berries it is. if berries are the worst part of their breakfast then so-be-it.

the smoothie {this will make roughly four small servings}

1 large, ripe organic banana [if you prefer to add it to the blender frozen, do so!]

1/2 C blueberries [frozen or fresh will work]

1/2 C fresh organic strawberries [washed properly]

1/2 C fresh organic blackberries [washed properly]

1 Tbsp unrefined organic coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla bean paste | you could also use a vanilla bean in place of

1 Tbsp raw organic goji berries

2 C unsweetened almond milk [coconut or cashew will work just as easily, cashew will provide extra thickness. do whatever makes you happy!]

top it off {optional}

1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs | pieces

1 tsp golden quinoa [how you prepare your quinoa, if at all necessary, will be completely dependent upon which type of quinoa you purchase — you can read more up on preparation methods & raw consumption here: patricia & carolyn]

1/2 tsp chia seeds

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boozy brandy & cinnamon cider.

october hits and immediately, so do my cravings for cider and warm fresh goodies out of the oven or hot off the stove. it’s instinctual. okay, mostly it’s the weather. but that doesn’t make the cravings any less intense.

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i’ve been making mulled cider since i was a tween. so i figured it high time i threw together a list of sorts for which you could perhaps base your hot pot of {hard} cider upon. this is so loose. i mean. . . .the loosest. you could add more of some things, less of others, nix ingredients, or add whatever tastes better to you. i find myself doing the exact same thing with nearly each pot as sometimes i am in the mood for sweeter or spicier. it all depends on what you are looking for. so without further adieu. this will make roughly four servings. you can double or even triple if you are needing to make cider for a large party|holidays.

boozy brandy & cinnamon cider

4 C | 1 liter unfiltered apple cider — if you can find this at a local orchard or famer’s market, even better!

1/2 C | 125 mL brandy {optional} — not only is this optional but should you choose to use alcohol as an additive in your hot cider, you could easily use bourbon, rum or whiskey if you would rather. likewise, the amount of booze is dependent upon taste. i started out using 1/4 C for this recipe & i found it to be too little.

1 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed

wait! before you cut your orange in half : peel a few fancy twists for garnish using a zester|knife & set them aside for later. the juice of 1/2 orange, freshly squeezed

1 apple, properly washed & cut into circular slices. i prefer honeycrisp as they are sweet & delicious but again, any apple of your choice will work perfectly.

8 juniper berries

2 heads star anise

3 three-inch cinnamon sticks

5 cardamom pods, slightly crushed

1 tsp whole all spice berries

1 tsp whole cloves

combine the unfiltered cider, brown sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice & apple slices in a large stock pot over low-medium heat. as the ingredients are slowly rising in temperate, prep the mulling sachet. combine all of your spices together using cheesecloth or muslin fabric. i prefer muslin as it tends to hold things in slightly better but either will get the job done just fine. tie it off using string or baker’s twine. add the mulling sachet to the pot. bring all ingredients to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. once hot, remove from the heat & add alcohol. serve with an orange twist & cinnamon stick for garnish, if desired. xx

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