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Strawberry Lemon Mojitos with Basil-Infused Rum

Posted in Drinks, Food, Recipes
on June 16, 2017

 

There’s something one of my coworkers told me about summers as a teacher, when I told her how I’d be working two jobs and be pretty busy all summer, so it wouldn’t really be a break. She said that no matter what, summer is sweet and a complete gift. And she was right. I am working two jobs – three days a week nannying, and some weekends working weddings at Hidden Meadow – but there’s still so much extra time, and the extra daylight and sunshine and warmth has me feeling all kinds of happy. 

 

Summer is also proving to be the perfect time for me to work on accomplishing some goals: getting back into a fitness routine, keeping our house clean, trying out new recipes, getting projects done and getting an Etsy shop started that I can hopefully share with you all soon! Combine all of that with working and time with friends, travel and trips to our cabin, and my summer is going to be jam-packed, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

I’m also trying to remember to relax a bit. Last weekend, I met a mother of the bride who I’m pretty sure is my alternate universe self. She made all of the decorations for the entire wedding, and when I remarked that she must have spent a ton of time on everything, she just laughed and told me that she never sits still and rarely sleeps because she always has a project to work on. I tend to be the same way. From the time I wake up until I absolutely have to go to sleep, I rarely sit down. Sometimes I look at the clock and realize it’s 10pm and I have yet to take a second to relax. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I love the projects I work on and the ways I fill my time. That being said, learning to relax is something I know I could benefit from. 

 

And of course, alcohol isn’t a necessity in order to relax. But it doesn’t hurt! And there are few things I love more than summer evenings sitting outside on a patio, on our newly decorated porch or deck, or in front of a bonfire, sipping on a drink or two with friends. 

 

 

One of my all-time favorite cocktails will always be a mojito. The flavor is light and so refreshing, and they’re also so easy to make at home! One of our local bars serves a great lemon basil mojito for the summer, and I knew I needed to create a recipe to make them at home. The addition of fresh strawberries and basil-infused rum makes for the perfect easy cocktail to serve next time you have friends over – or for an easy weeknight drink! 

 

 

 

Infusing the rum yourself is super simple, just put a few basil leaves into a glass jar of rum for 12-24 hours. You may want to play around with ratios based on your taste preferences. Alternatively, you can muddle a few basil leaves in with each mojito to achieve basil flavor that way. As with most cocktails, you can and should make it your own, based on the flavors you prefer! I like a pretty even blend of strawberry, lemon and basil. If you’d prefer a mocktail or kids want to get in on the mojito action, just leave the rum out and you still have a delicious sparkling drink!

Serve over ice and garnish with fresh fruit, and enjoy! 

 

Tell me – what’s your favorite relaxing summertime activity? Do you have a hard time sitting still? What’s your favorite summer cocktail? I always love to hear from you! 

Strawberry Lemon and Basil Mojitos
Serves 1
A simple and refreshing summertime cocktail with fresh fruit and basil-infused rum.
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113 calories
12 g
0 g
0 g
2 g
0 g
302 g
7 g
6 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
302g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 113
Calories from Fat 3
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
61%
Calcium
15%
Iron
27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 oz white rum (infuse with basil leaves ahead of time)
  2. 2 strawberries, washed and sliced
  3. 1/2 small lemon, sliced
  4. 3-4 basil leaves (if not using infused rum)
  5. 1 tsp. sugar or sweetener of your choice (I prefer stevia)
  6. 6-8 oz. plain soda water
  7. Extra fruit for garnishing
Ahead of time
  1. Infuse 8-10 basil leaves in a glass jar of rum for 12-24 hours.
To make the mojitos
  1. In a glass, muddle strawberries, lemon slices, sugar and basil leaves, if not using infused rum.
  2. Add ice and rum.
  3. Fill the remainder of the glass with soda water.
  4. Garnish with additional fruit, and enjoy!
beta
calories
113
fat
0g
protein
2g
carbs
12g
more
By Emma, With Love http://www.byemmawithlove.com/

Follow along with my DIY and homemade adventures on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’  for more of my day-to-day life and projects! Happy creating!

 

{Interested in collaborations, or have questions, comments, or feedback for me? Please feel free to email at emma@byemmawithlove.com – I’m always happy to chat!}

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Rosé Sangria

Posted in Drinks, Food, Recipes
on May 25, 2017

National Wine Day. What a beautiful holiday. We’ve all established by now how I feel about wine, and any day dedicated to wine is a good day in my book. With this beautiful spring weather we’re having in MN/WI, and the holidays this time of year – Mother’s Day brunches and Memorial Day cookouts – I’ve had sangria on the brain lately. 

Sangria is by far one of my favorite summer drinks, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser. Being a typical twenty-something, I’m also a big fan of rosé, so the meeting of the two was bound to happen at some point. For Mother’s Day, we had a little brunch at my house, and I made a pitcher of Rosé Sangria that may or may not have been gone in a matter of about 15 minutes. It got rave reviews and my mom and siblings were impressed, and I didn’t tell them how easy it really was to make. 

This recipe comes together so quickly, and takes like summer in a glass – semi-sweet rosé mixes with the tartness of lemons and the sweetness of fresh strawberries and a hint of refreshing mint for the perfect summer drink. 

For my sangria, I used a bottle of semi-sweet rosé from a local Wisconsin winery because it’s my favorite, but you’ll want a bottle that’s a bit on the drier side so that it won’t be overly sweet in the sangria. If you’re looking for help finding the perfect bottle of rosé, I strongly suggest checking out Jess’s post over at Plays Well With Butter on all things rosé – she’s brilliant and so helpful! 

 

As with most sangrias, this blend is best enjoyed at least a few hours after you make it, or let it chill overnight and give it time for the flavors to really meld. Serve on frozen strawberries instead of ice to keep it chilled without watering it down, and top it with a splash of sparkling water or rosé prosecco for some bubbles if you prefer. 

 

I have lots of new stuff coming for you all soon! For now, I’m gonna go pour myself a glass of sangria and sit on our newly decorated front porch (stay tuned). Cheers! 

Rosé Sangria
Serves 6
A simple and refreshing summer sangria with rosé wine, strawberries and mint.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
122 calories
8 g
0 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
182 g
7 g
3 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
182g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 122
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
54%
Calcium
2%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 bottle (750mL) rosé wine (semi-dry to semi-sweet)
  2. 1 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  3. 1 lemon, sliced
  4. 10 fresh mint leaves
  5. Sparkling water or prosecco (to top)
  6. Frozen strawberries (for serving)
Instructions
  1. In a large pitcher, lightly muddle strawberries, mint and lemon.
  2. Pour rosé into the pitcher, and stir well.
  3. Chill for at least an hour or overnight.
  4. Pour over frozen strawberries, and top with sparkling water or prosecco.
  5. Garnish with fresh strawberries, lemon slices and mint.
  6. Enjoy!
beta
calories
122
fat
0g
protein
1g
carbs
8g
more
By Emma, With Love http://www.byemmawithlove.com/

 

 

 

Mexican Mocha Cold Brew

Posted in Drinks, Food, Recipes
on April 3, 2017

 Last weekend, Steve and I and a couple of our great friends went on a little long-weekend vacation to Nashville. A roadtrip, to be more specific. We’re talking 13 hours each way, driving through the night and in the wee hours of the morning, with basically no sleep. It was so much fun. But we left Minneapolis late Friday night and arrived to Nashville mid-morning on Saturday, with a day and night full of plans around Nashville as soon as we arrived. If you know me, you know I don’t do well on no sleep. I need my sleep. My poor friends and family are in for a very cranky Emma when I haven’t gotten enough rest. 

 

We managed to survive by sneaking in a quick nap before we left and some dozing in the car, and coffee. All the coffee. Actually, coffee was a recurring theme of our entire trip. I may or may not be currently sipping some while writing this as we drive home right now. {I may have a caffeine problem, but hey, you choose your battles} We hit an average of two coffee shops each day we were in Nashville, because there are so many cool shops and because…coffee. We found a few wonderful places – Eighth and Roast had a super cool rustic-industrial vibe and some fantastic specialty roasts, The Frothy Monkey had a Banana Mocha that was seriously life-changing, and Barista Parlor had a bright, open space and a Strawberry Fields Latte that tasted like summer in a mug. In addition to trying some of the specialty drinks at each of the shops, we also tried the cold brew at each place. 

 

 

I got an espresso machine for Christmas a couple years ago, and I’m basically obsessed with it. It’s also made me a bit of a coffee snob. Specifically, I prefer the taste of espresso to traditional coffee. I’ll make myself a shot of it as a quick pick-me-up, or enjoy my daily latte in the morning, or slowly sip a more indulgent mocha on the weekends. I’ve pretty much ditched regular coffee altogether. The only exception is cold brew coffee. Since I’m not a huge fan of the bitterness of black coffee, I typically have to dress iced coffee up with a bit of sweetener or milk. Which is fine, but it’s not very convenient, and it’s also pretty difficult to make at home since I don’t have a regular coffee machine anymore. Not to mention that chilling coffee actually changes its flavor, and not in a good way. 

 

Enter, cold brew.

 

Here’s the scoop: cold brew is just coffee that’s made with “cold” (actually room temp) water instead of hot water. Since the water is much cooler, it takes a lot longer for the coffee to brew, but you end up with an iced coffee that’s full of flavor without the bitterness, and it’s equally as delicious on its own as it is with a bit of cream and sugar. Since it’s brewed at a higher concentration, cold brew is also generally higher in caffeine (depending on how much you dilute it), which I’m definitely not complaining about. Every coffee shop has caught on to the magic of cold brew, and you can buy it for about $4 anywhere you go. $4 on a daily basis adds up fast though. Luckily, cold brew happens to be super easy to make at home, and you probably have the materials and ingredients you need already. 

 

To make cold brew, you need a medium-coarse ground coffee. It’s best to grind the beans yourself, since most of the ground coffees you find at the store are a pretty fine grind. I bought a huge bag of whole coffee beans and ground a ton at once so it’s all ready to go. The other great thing about cold brew is that you can use lower-cost beans and still end up with a coffee that tastes amazing. You simply combine the ground coffee and water in a large container, give it a good stir, and let it sit (on the counter, not the fridge) for 12 hours (or up to 14 hours, depending on taste preference). After 12 hours, you filter the coffee grounds from the water, and your cold brew is done! 

 

Here’s what you need to make a basic cold brew:

1 part Coffee (medium-coarsely ground)

4 parts Water (filtered will taste the best)

Pitcher, jug or jar 

Strainer of some kind  – {a few options for this: a fine mesh strainer, a colander + coffee filters, a strainer + paper towel, or my favorite, a nut milk bag/coffee bag. Anything that will strain out the grounds from the water) 

 

If you use a nut milk bag, the straining is made even easier, since you can simply lift the bag out of the jar, squeeze out the extra liquid, and enjoy the cold brew without a time-consuming, messy straining process. But I’ve tried all of the above methods, and they all make delicious cold brew 🙂 

 

That’s it! 

I highly recommend buying a nut milk/cold brew bag – they make the process so much easier!

Honestly, the only difficult part about making cold brew is waiting the 12 or so hours for it to be ready. But it’s totally worth it. And what makes it even better? Adding your own custom flavors. 

One of my all-time favorite coffee drinks (excluding, perhaps, a good peppermint mocha during the holiday season) is a Mexican mocha. The creamy coffee blended with semi-sweet chocolate and spice from cinnamon and a touch of cayenne pepper make for the perfect drink. Mexican mochas also tend to be time consuming to make and pretty high in sugar and fat, which is totally fine as a treat, but not really practical as a daily thing. So Mexican mocha cold brew is the perfect solution. 

 

The chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne flavors are definitely noticeable, but don’t overpower the rich flavor of the coffee. It’s delicious on its own, and even more delicious with a splash of milk, or, even better, a splash of chocolate milk – Fairlife is my personal favorite! Cold brew is brewed as a concentrate, so it’s meant to be mixed with something to dilute it. I like mine pretty strong {read: I’m a caffeine addict} but most people prefer a 1:1 ratio of cold brew and water or milk. Feel free to play around with the ratios until you find the perfect amount.

 

It’s also crazy easy. You just mix some cocoa, optional sugar/sweetener, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in with your coffee grounds, and the flavors infuse perfectly with your brew. Who needs fancy coffee shop drinks?! 

 

This cold brew has given me so many ideas for other flavor combinations: vanilla, peppermint, caramel, the options are endless! For now, I’m gonna go pour myself another a glass of Mexican mocha cold brew and tackle this Monday! 

Do you have a favorite coffee drink? Do you like cold brew? I’d love to hear from you! 

Follow along with my DIY and homemade adventures on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’  for more of my day-to-day life and projects! Happy creating!

 

{Interested in collaborations, or have questions, comments, or feedback for me? Please feel free to email at emma@byemmawithlove.com – I’m always happy to chat!}

Mexican Mocha Cold Brew Coffee
Serves 8
A simple and delicious homemade cold brew with chocolate and spice flavors.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 hr
Total Time
12 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 hr
Total Time
12 hr 10 min
7 calories
2 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
150 g
1 g
1 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
150g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 7
Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 1mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 2g
1%
Dietary Fiber 1g
2%
Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups filtered water
  2. 1 cup coarsely ground coffee
  3. 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  4. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  6. 1-2 tsp sugar or sweetener (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except water. Stir to combine.
  2. In a large pitcher, add the grounds, then add a small amount of filtered water to the grounds, just until wet. Stir well.
  3. Pour in the remaining water, and stir well.
  4. Allow to sit uncovered on the counter for at least 12 hours.
  5. Strain grounds from the water, cover and refrigerate.
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you use a nut milk or cold brew bag, you will simply add the grounds to the bag, pour the water through the bag, and leave the bag submerged in your large container for 12 hours. After the time is up, simply remove the bag, squeezing out excess coffee, and your cold brew will be ready!
beta
calories
7
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
2g
more
By Emma, With Love http://www.byemmawithlove.com/

Holiday Mulled Wine

Posted in Drinks
on December 9, 2016

TGIF! 

Am I the only one who thought this was such a long week?! As a teacher, the stretch between Thanksgiving and winter break feels soooo long, and I know my students think so too! Life has been so crazy between balancing school, holiday parties and celebrations with family and friends, projects around the house and for the blog, and all the other spontaneous plans this time of year. It’s my favorite time of year, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get crazy and stressful sometimes! I’ve been trying to remind myself to be present in the moment and truly enjoy the season, since soon it will be January and time will slow way down. 

And I happen to know a surefire way to relax, de-stress, and enjoy the holidays. Mulled wine.  

I first discovered mulled wine a couple years ago at a wine tasting (obviously) and instantly fell in love. It’s all the goodness of wine combined with the perfect amount of spice that makes it so festive and extra tasty this time of year – not to mention it warms you from the inside out, which is necessary here in the Midwest! My first time ever making mulled wine last winter was a fail, to say the least – I poured a bottle of wine and a ton of mulling spices in a Crockpot and left it for hours, leading to the spiciest wine I’ve ever tasted, and not in a good way! Luckily we made it work by adding some extra wine, but needless to say, I needed some practice with this whole wine-mulling thing.

For this version, I combined two of my favorite drinks: sangria and mulled wine. The fresh apple cider, cranberry juice, oranges and cranberries give this wine the perfect tangy-sweet flavor, and the mix of warm mulling spices and a splash of added brandy add some spice and extra warmth to the concoction. Serve with some fresh fruit and a cinnamon stick to garnish, and you have the perfect drink to serve at your next holiday party! 

Steven and I planned our first ever “Friendsgiving”/Christmas party for a bunch of friends this past weekend (which Steve actually ended up out of town for, oops!) but I hosted our friends anyway and we had a wonderful time! I made my first ever whole 15-lb turkey (all all-around humorous experience), some cranberry orange rosemary scones, and a big pot of this mulled wine, which was in its experimental phase at the time. Luckily I have wonderful friends who gladly oblige when I hand them a plate or cup and tell them to try something because I don’t know if I like it (seriously, you all are the real MVPs.)  

A little bit of tweaking and I’m happy to say I created the perfect recipe for this mulled wine! I prefer to make mine on the stove-top so I can make sure the spices don’t sit too long and overpower the wine, but it’s super convenient to strain out the spices once it’s ready and transfer the wine to a slow-cooker in order to more easily keep it warm and serve it. You can also make the whole thing in the slow-cooker if you want, for an extra easy party drink. 

Serve this delicious concoction at your next holiday party or on Christmas Eve or New Years with your family and friends and be ready for some impressed guests  – and beware, because this stuff goes down a little too easy, if you know what I mean! 

I hope you try this recipe this holiday season, and remember to slow down and enjoy the time with family and friends over the next few weeks! What are your favorite festive cocktails to serve to your guests? I’d love to hear from you! 

Follow along with my DIY and homemade adventures on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’  for more of my day-to-day life and projects! Happy creating!

Holiday Mulled Wine
Serves 12
A warm and festive mulled wine with orange, apple and cranberry flavors that combine well with warm mulling spices.
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Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
214 calories
17 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
257 g
8 g
13 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
257g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 214
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 8mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 17g
6%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 13g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
19%
Calcium
2%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 750-mL bottles red wine (something with fruity notes but not too sweet - I recommend Merlot or Cabernet)
  2. 2 cups fresh apple cider
  3. 2 cups fresh cranberry juice
  4. 1 orange, sliced
  5. 1 apple, sliced
  6. 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
  7. 8-10 whole cloves
  8. 4 cinnamon sticks
  9. 3-4 star anise
  10. 3-4 whole allspice
  11. 1 cup brandy
  12. Sugar, honey or stevia, to taste (if desired)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients but brandy in a large pot or Crockpot. Stir to combine.
  2. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until hot and flavors are well-combined.
  3. Stir in brandy and any added sweetener you prefer.
  4. Garnish with extra fruit and cinnamon sticks, and serve. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you use a pre-mixed mulling spice blend, you will need 1-2 tsp of mulling spices, depending on how "spicy" you like your wine.
  2. If you're using a Crockpot, cook on low for 30-60 minutes, or until wine is hot and flavors are melded.
beta
calories
214
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
17g
more
By Emma, With Love http://www.byemmawithlove.com/