Pomegranate and Honey Mulled Wine Recipe

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‘Tis the season!  I have so many goodies in stock for you this festive month!  Yay! From a handmade Holiday gift guide to recipes, I’ve got you all covered so this season will go a little smoother than you think, with no stress involved and a lot of fun! And because the holidays are nothing without food and drinks, let’s start this blog series wiiiiiiith… Drums rolling…  the booze!
You might be hosting a party this year or just preparing your holiday meal and want to pair it with good cocktails, I am sure. For the next two weeks, I will be posting a little more than usual, making sure you willet some good, easy, DIY recipes for this season.    I am happy to share my favorite (and unique) cocktail recipes (cold and hot!) that you will keep sipping all winter long because they are so delicious!  Be prepared to surprise guests and family with more elaborate (and easy I promise) Holiday cocktail recipes that will bring a touch of originality to your party.  They are all tested and approved by yours truly (I know, that was a tough blog post to work on…) and can all be prepared in their virgin forms so people who don’t drink alcohol (including kiddos) can enjoy them as well.  Oh and they can also all be savored in one evening: cold ones as cocktails before the meal and hot ones as digestives after the meal, sitting by the fire for example…  Your choice!  Falalalala!
Let’s start with the first one of this series: The Pomegranate and Honey Mulled Wine Recipe!
Very easy and simple recipe for a variation of the traditional mulled wine, using an in-season surprising ingredient: the pomegranate.  This warm beverage includes pomegranate juice as well as honey.  A beverage of choice that will please the crowds when it is chilly outside!
Ingredients:
1 bottle of red wine (not expensive and mild).  My personal choice is a red Zinfandel
2 cups of pomegranate juice
4 tablespoon of honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of cloves
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and warm up on the stove at low heat.  Don’t boil! That’s it! Now go enjoy by the fireplace and let me know what you think in the comments…
Cheers!

Makeup Remover DIY (Because You Deserve to Know What You Put on Your Face)

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I wanted to share this makeup remover DIY with you for quite a while but I kept forgetting to post it. I ran out of it last night so I needed to make another (small) batch today and it reminded me to finally write this post on how to make it. It is extremely easy to make and the ingredients are, of course, natural, and in my case, organic.
There are many reasons why I ended up making my own makeup remover instead of buying it, and these reasons might (hopefully) make you decide to do the same:

When we make our own beauty products, we help the environment by using and throwing away less packaging. We also (usually) buy organic and local ingredients, and in bulk, which ultimately helps boost the local economy and reduce carbon footprint.

We know exactly what we put on our skin and/or on our eyes and we don’t need a Ph.D. in chemistry to understand what the ingredients are. Did you know that on average a woman puts 500 chemical products on her body daily?… 😱 (Source: Canadian Health Food Association). Hmm… should we do the math and find out how much women actually put on themselves over a lifetime? 🤔 Maybe another time huh? In the meantime, mixing simple, organic ingredients and making our products ourselves without the yucky stuff we can’t even pronounce, sounds much better…

We save money! The cost might be a little high at the beginning because we buy in bulk, but in the end, spending less than $5.00 per 100 ml (3.5 oz) sounds like a good plan, especially for all-natural and organic products!

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So here is the recipe for my very own makeup remover:

• Jojoba oil (1 part)
• Vitamin E oil (3 drops)
• Witch hazel hydrolat (1/2 part)
• Rose water (1 part)

💡 Tips: I use an eye dropper to place the ingredients in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle.

Mix well and store for up to 2 weeks.


Easiest and Most Delicious French Baguette Ever

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I am not kidding here…  This is the most surprisingly easy recipe for French baguette that I have ever tried in my entire life! Now you might say that “easy” doesn’t mean “good” or “authentic” at all, but…  it has been tested by the French Connection (including myself as well as the fam) here in San Diego and it was unanimously approved! Now the beauty of this super simple recipe is that there is no kneading or poolish involved! You can basically get the dough ready in the evening (in about 10 minutes), let it rise overnight and cook your bread in the morning for a delicious and typical French breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of unbleached bread flour (375 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt (8 grams)
  • 3 tsp of bread machine rapid rise yeast (12 grams)
  • 1.2 cups of lukewarm water (300 ml)

How to:

In a mixing bowl, mix the yeast with a little bit of the lukewarm water to dilute it and then add the rest of the water

Add the flour and the salt and mix roughly with a wooden spoon (yep you read that right)

Cover the bowl with a cotton fabric towel and leave for about 1 hour and 1/2 until the dough has doubled in volume

Preheat the oven to 465°F (240°C) and fill the drip pan with water (the moisture released will help the crust be more crunchy during the baking process)

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured baking sheet or stone (you can line it with parchment paper), or directly into  The dough will be very sticky but it is totally ok and normal.  Stretch it in one long baguette, or you can separate in two or more pieces to make more baguettes (smaller ones though). Don’t work the dough too much so it doesn’t go down.

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Make beveled cuts on top of each baguette with scissors or a blade (2 or 3 cuts per baguette loaf)

Place the baguettes in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes (each oven is different so cooking time may vary)

Take the baguettes out of the oven and let cool on a rack and wait about 30 minutes before cutting.

Store in a cotton fabric bag or a towel (no plastic please!).  It will keep for about 2 days but I guarantee you that it will be gone way before that! You can also freeze them but do it the day you baked them and once they are cooled.

Bon appétit! 🇫🇷

 

 

 


French Alpine Hot Cocoa Recipe

 

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This one drink brings me back to the place where I grew up, in the French Alps.  It is a delicious warm drink (for both vegans and non-vegans) that combines an old traditional European hot chocolate recipe and a delicious and surprising ingredient.  The beverage is enhanced with Chartreuse liqueur, which is produced by French monks from a 400-year-old recipe. Both Green Chartreuse and Yellow Chartreuse (we will use the green one in this recipe) use a secret blend of 130 herbs and plants and the entire operation is still overseen by just two monks (and manufactured near my hometown in the Alps).  The liqueur has a unique taste that you probably haven’t had before, but it is worth a try as it is considered one of the best liqueurs in the world.  Check with your local liquor store to see if they sell Chartreuse.  If not, I have linked an online shop below that sells it. Be ready for a cup of hot cocoa with a very pleasant twist!

For one cup:

Ingredients

8 oz of plant milk or regular milk for non-vegans
2 tsp of hot cocoa powder (I get mine from Trader Joe’s and it is inspired by a traditional European recipe).

1/2 or 1 tbsp of green Chartreuse (Shop here)
1 tsp of brown sugar

In a cooking pot, combine the Chartreuse, the hot cocoa powder, the sugar and the plant milk.  Warm up at low heat and remove right before boiling (do not boil really, I am serious here!)

Remove from heat and serve in a mug.  Sit back, relax and enjoy…

Non-alcoholic and kids friendly version: Don’t add the Chartreuse and add a cinnamon stick during the warm-up process!  Delicious!

 


Easy and Delicious Ginger Beer Recipe

Suddenly my Moscow Mules (one of my favorite cocktails) got much more homemade than I ever thought I would drink them. Nope I am not distilling vodka in my garage yet as I do not have a distilled spirits permit, and I don’t intend to get one or even make vodka, but I just added Ginger Beer to my list of made from scratch items, in my journey to going back to a more back to basics, homemade lifestyle.  So what is Ginger Beer you may ask?…  For those of you who are familiar with, as mentioned above, Moscow Mules and/or Dark and Stormy cocktails, Ginger Beer is one of the ingredients that make those drinks so fabulous.

Processed with VSCO with a9 presetNot to be mistaken with Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer is a naturally sweetened and carbonated beverage (non-alcoholic even though it is called beer, though the original drink that started in England in the 1700s, contained alcohol).  What we call today Ginger Beer is produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger, yeast, and sugar, and has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years as a refreshing and spicy drink, that can be enjoyed alone or mixed in several cocktails.

Making Ginger Beer at home is actually fairly simple and by doing so, it will allow you to save a bundle of money compared to the store-bought one.  In addition, you will know exactly what was put in your drink, as well as experience the satisfaction of making it yourself!

By following these instructions, you should obtain a delicious beverage in about 3 days, when the fermentation has peaked.  Please note that the more you wait, the more bitter drink you will get, which is totally your choice, and according to your own taste.

Here is the recipe that I made the very first time and  I was so satisfied with the results that I decided to keep it as is.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of grated fresh ginger (I put mine in a food chopper)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh pressed lemon juice
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp of active dry yeast (I use the Rapid Rise one and it works great)
  • 1 2-liter plastic bottle (an empty and washed soda or water bottle will be just fine)
  • 2 1-liter glass bottle with stopper (I got mine from Ikea)
  • 1 1/2-liter glass bottle with stopper (Ikea sells them too)
  • a fine strainer

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Place the grated or chopped ginger, the lemon juice and 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture has reached a boiling point, turn the heat to medium and add the sugar until it has dissolved.

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Add the rest of the water (5 cups, cold), turn off the heat and wait until the mixture has reached a temperature of 75°F (24°C).

Once the temperature of 75°F has been reached, add the dry active yeast to the mixture, stir well and cover with a cloth or a towel.

After 3 hours, pour the mixture through the strainer and in a container with a spout (bottle, mixing bowl, etc…). The strainer will help separate the pieces of ginger from the mixture, to only retain the liquid.

Pour the mixture into the 2-liter plastic bottle, making sure to leave some room at the top.  This is a very important step as the fermentation will create some carbonation, therefore some gas will form, that will need some space to build up (again, I insist that you make sure this step is not omitted so you don’t end up with Ginger Beer all over the room).

Place the bottle in a warm and dark place for at least 2 days (the more you wait, the drier your Ginger Beer will be). Make sure you untwist the cap of the plastic bottle a few times a day (don’t untwist it completely) to release the gas.  Don’t worry if there is no gas the first day (I usually get some build-up I can hear and feel when untwisting the cap, on the second day). Be careful not to point the bottle at your face or someone else’s during this process, in case the liquid comes out.  Go slow too…

Once the Ginger Beer has fermented enough (2 or 3 days), pour the brew in the glass bottles and place in the fridge.  The fermentation process will be greatly slowed down and you will be able to enjoy your homemade Ginger Beer right away.  It can be kept in the fridge for about 10 days.  Et voila!

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This recipe is really simple and doesn’t require any particular skills to make.  Plan in advance if you would like to use it for mixed drinks on the weekend, or for a party.  Make sure your yeast is not too old as it might lead to your Ginger Beer not fermenting.

Cheers! Oh and because I love you guys and I love to share my recipes, here is the one for the Dark and Stormy drink.  You are welcome!

Dark and Stormy Cocktail Recipe

  • 2 ounces of your fave dark rum
  • 5 ounces of your very own homemade and delicious Ginger Beer
  • 1 lime wedge
  • ice

Pour the rum over the ice in a glass, pour your homemade Ginger Beer and squeeze the lime wedge in.  Salud!