Last Minute Gift Idea: Hibiscus and Ginger Simple Syrup

Attending a dinner party and forgot to get your cocktail loving host/hostess a gift? Instead of rushing to the wine shop and getting the usual, impress them with something homemade! This hibiscus and ginger simple syrup will add a nice personal touch and will only take minutes to make!

hibiscus_simple_syrup

All you need is a pretty bottle and nice ribbon, labels or tags. I’m sure the cocktail enthusiasts and non-drinkers alike would be pleased knowing you took the time to make them something special.

This hibiscus and ginger simple syrup can be used to make hibiscus mojitos, or mixed with vodka and seltzer for a cocktail spritzer or added to sweeten your lemonade or ice tea. The recipe ideas are endless!

Hibiscus & Ginger Simple Syrup
yields 2+ cups

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup dried hibiscus
1 inch piece of ginger, cut into small pieces and mashed
2-3 cinnamon sticks

1. Dissolve sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring until liquid turns clear as water. Add the hibiscus, ginger and cinnamon stick and let mixture simmer for about 2 minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil. Remove from heat and let syrup cool down completely.

2. Wash and dry two 8 oz bottle or a few smaller size bottles. Add a couple of ginger pieces and cinnamon sticks from mixture into each bottle and pour in the cool syrup. Decorate bottles as you like.

Here are a few more simple syrup flavors you can make!

Mint and Lemon Simple Syrup
Add a bunch of mint leaves, juice of a lemon and lemon rind to the syrup.

Spicy Thai Basil Simple Syrup
Add a bunch of Thai basil and a Thai chili to the syrup.

Raspberry Jalapeno Simple Syrup
Add 1/4 cup of mashed raspberry to syrup with a 1/2 jalapeno sliced. You can strain the syrup to remove the raspberry seeds but add the jalapenos back and into bottles.

Lollipop Stirrers: Another Way To Enjoy Your Tea

How do you enjoy your favorite tea? A little honey, sugar, agave syrup? Well here’s a treat that will sweeten your tea and add a bit of chile spice: use spicy lollipop as stirrers! These are perfect for when you feel the sniffles coming on or to soothe a sore throat, the chilies in the lollipops will warm you up and will also help with your cough and congestion. Mmm, I’m feeling better already!!

Try the ginger spice lollipop, the mango habanero or the coconut chile.

Coconut Ginger Ice Cream To Beat This Summer Heat

July is National Ice Cream month and to celebrate I made a spicy coconut ginger ice cream. Actually, I’ve been celebrating national ice cream month since May when the temperatures started to rise here in the Northeast but who is counting? This ice cream has fresh pieces of ginger to give it a nice bite and creamy coconut milk to make it all go down smoothly!

Ginger has many benefits, from treating inflammation to helping tame nausea. I always recommend fresh ginger to expecting moms because it’s a natural way to ease morning sickness and has worked wonders for me when I’ve had an upset stomach. Coconut is also great if you’re looking for an ice cream with less dairy, it does not have any contrary to what some think…I think its the “milk” that throws some off. I used light whipping cream in this recipe instead of heavy cream and substituted the regular whole milk with the coconut milk. Coconut also has the good saturated fat and has been known to aid in weight loss, especially when consuming coconut oil as part of your diet. It’s gluten free as well for those watching their gluten intake. I’ve been reading about its benefit for years but as always, do your own research, I’m no expert here but do know what works for me.

So get out that dusty ice cream maker and surprise your friends and family with a sweet and spicy treat! It’s pure and natural and perfect summer dessert for these hot, humid days!! Get creative if you like, add shredded coconut or some crushed nuts or fresh fruits…you could always blend them in after you make the ice cream. This recipe will yield a pint, if you want to make a quart, just double up the recipe.

Recipe adapted from the Big Chill ice cream maker, which I’ve had forever, and yes, it was dusty. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coconut Ginger Ice Cream

adapted from the Big Chill ice cream maker
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 2 -3
Author: Maria

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup light whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 inch piece of ginger chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar until light then add the coconut milk, cream, ginger and vanilla. Continue whisking until well blended.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the directions according to your manufacterers instructions.
  • Once ice cream is made, add the ice cream to a container and freeze.
  • Scoop into a bowl and enjoy on its own or mix in shredded coconut or chopped raw almonds for a nice crunch.

 

 

Post-Holiday Spicy Elixir to Get You Back on Track

Feeling heavy, a little bloated? Eat and drink a bit too much during the past couple of weeks? No worries, don’t beat yourself up over it, that’s what the holidays do to just about everyone. Family gatherings, food, drinks, friends, more food and drinks, sweets, parties, champagne, confetti, YAY! Hopefully by now you’re caught up on sleep, had your hangover helpers, gotten out of your jammies and are ready for a fresh start. New year, new day, new you!

Never mind New Year’s resolutions, they never work, well at least not for me. Every time I resolved to do something I’d forget about it by the end of January anyway so I will not be making any new promises. I’ll just continue to work on the things I need to work on and do exactly what makes me happy. So needless to say, I will not be joining a gym, or vow to eat more veggies but whenever I feel like working out, I will, and when I’m feeling sluggish, I’ll make my post holiday spicy elixir.

This drink is so delicious and incredibly good for you too. I use fresh beets, carrots, spinach and ginger, all of which provide wonderful health benefits. Ginger is great for nausea and any general stomach issues and inflammation, beets are known to help combat iron deficiency and anemia and the carrots and spinach are loaded with vitamins and beta-carotene.

This drink is mildly sweet from the beets and carrots and a bit spicy from the ginger. Sort of makes you forget you’re drinking veggies. It’s a great way to start your day and easily get in your recommended daily vegetable servings in just a few ounces! Also, use the leftover ground up veggies in the juicer to make vegetable cake, bread or cookies. No waste, how great is that!

Spicy Beet, Carrot and Spinach Elixir

2-3 Medium Beets, peeled
8 large Carrots, cleaned, stems cut
Bunch of Spinach, rinsed well under cold water, stems cut
2 inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled

Juice all the ingredients one at a time. Makes about 18 oz of juice. Chill and drink it all if you like but I like having just a little each morning for a quick pick me up. The ginger in this drink will definitely get you going and get you back to a renewed you!

Ginger Tea Time! Or as my family would say โ€œJengibre!โ€

I started getting the house ready for the holidays this past week. I bought my Christmas tree, started putting up decorations, and turned on my chili pepper lights! Yes, Iโ€™ve had those lights for about 10 years and they still light up.

To kick off the festivities that always surround the holidays I hosted a ginger tea party at my place last night with a small group of family members. Ok, this was not of the pinkies raised variety with cute little sandwiches (which I love) but a traditional Dominican holiday gathering that has gone on in my family since I was a kid. Visit any Dominican household in the month of December and youโ€™re sure to be offered a very spicy cup of jengibre (which by the way just means โ€œgingerโ€ and also the name of event). Usually the events are held weekly with someone from the family hosting at their home and is done until Noche Buena (Christmas Eve). Jengibre is always served with plain soda crackers but I always use it as an opportunity to try new appetizers or desserts before serving the tea. This breaks a little from tradition since the tea is the main focus of the event but itโ€™s a nice way to keep everyone around a bit longer and marks the beginning of the holiday season. This is a time to sit back and relax, catch up with friends and family, and enjoy a hot, spicy drink on a chilly December evening. It’s such an easy drink to make and the house smells wonderful afterwards.

To make Jengibre, add about a pound of mashed up ginger root to a pot filled with water and let boil for about an hour. You’ll boil off about half the mixture. Youย can also add a couple of cinnamon sticks if you like but I usually go without. The longer you let it boil, the spicier the tea. Be sure to mash up the ginger well with a wooden mallet or anything heavy that will break up the root. You want to extract as much of the spicy juices as possible when itโ€™s boiling. I can tell itโ€™s done when color turns a dark caramel or dark amber. Pour yourself a cup and sweeten however you like.

Enjoy the holidays! Traditions are so important in our family and looking forward to our next Jengibre! What are holiday traditions in your family? Please share, I’d love to hear about them!