Basil ginger tea

Basil ginger tea
This is an easy tea that can be served hot, for those chilly winter months and feeling under the weather, or over ice for a refreshing drink during the warm summer months.


Basil ginger tea

Every ingredient in this tea has healing benefits:
Coriander – helps digestion, helps high cholesterol, anti inflammatory qualiites.
Cardamom – helps digestion, fights cold and flu symptoms, helps lower blood pressure, anti inflammatory qualities and has lots of antioxidants.
Black pepper – helps digestion, antibacterial effects and antioxidants.
Ginger –  helps digestion, fights nausea, anti inflammatory qualities and is full of antioxidants.
Honey – can help acid reflux, can minimize seasonal allergies and contains antioxidants.
Basil – reduces inflammation, full of antioxidants and anti-age properties.
Lime – rich in Vitamin C (one of the most important antioxidants), anti carcinogenic for cancer fighting and can help lower cholesterol.
Basil ginger tea

Ingredients (makes 4 cups)                metric conversion                  print recipe

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander 
  • 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 8 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 8 large leaves of fresh basil


  1. In a small sauté pan, add the coriander, cardamom and black peppercorns.
  2. Over low heat, warm the spices until they get fragrant, about 5 minutes,
  3. In a medium saucepan add the water and bring to a boil, turn off the heat.
  4. Add the honey and stir until it is melted.
  5. Add the spices, grated ginger and basil.
  6. Bring the tea to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Strain the tea through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter into a jug.
  8. Serve with sliced lime hot or over ice.

*You can squeeze in some lime juice to add tang.

Basil ginger tea


Basil ginger tea

Other recipes you might enjoy:


Basil oil


Sweet potato samosas with mango chutney


Sweet potato samosas with mango chutney


Samosa, a popular Indian appetizer usually filled with vegetables and spices in a light dough and fried until crispy. The stars of any Indian dish are the spices and n this recipe, I used cardamom, turmeric and garam masala.
Making the samosas are easier than you would think and becomes easier with practice.

The dough is similar to making pasta dough, but without the eggs and spices are added. You just mix all the ingredients in bowl with your hands and comes together very quickly.


To prepare the dough, take a golf ball size of the dough and roll into a ball. Flatten and then using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle until it is as thick as a tortilla. Cut the circle in half. 

Sweet potato samosas

Take 1 half of the circle in your hand and bring the cut edges together, moisten one edge with water and press the edges together so you end up with a cone shape.

Sweet potato samosas

Sweet potato samosas



Holding the cone securely in one hand, as if you were holding an ice cream cone, fill the cone with the potato filling. Wet a finger with water and wet one edge of the cone then pinch the edges together to seal well.

Frying the samosas only take about 2 minutes each side and the result is a crispy dough and a delicious soft center.

Ingredients (makes 16 samosas)                                      print recipe

Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus 2 cups for frying
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed

Mango chutney (makes 3 cups)

  • 16 oz frozen mango, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Pinch paprika
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 small gold potato (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas that have been defrosted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

For the dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt and turmeric until combined. 
  2. Add the grapeseed oil and water.
  3. Using your hands, mix until the dough comes together. 
  4. If it is too dry add more water.
  5. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  6. Cover well with plastic wrap and set aside.
For the mango chutney
  1. Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth but still has some chunks.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
For the filling
  1. Using a fork, prick both the potatoes 3 times, turn over and repeat.
  2. Microwave the sweet potato for 3 minutes, turn and microwave for another 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Microwave the gold potato for 3 minutes, turn and microwave for another 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel both.
  5. Chop the potatoes into small chunks and add to a mixing bowl.
  6. Add the peas to the potatoes.
  7. In a small bowl mix the cumin, cardamom, garam masala and salt.
  8. Mix the spice mixture into the potatoes and peas until well combined, be gentle so you don’t break up the potatoes.
To assemble the samosas
  1. Add water to a small bowl and have it close by.
  2. Take a golf ball size of dough, form into a ball and roll into a circle using a rolling pin, about the thickness of a tortilla.
  3. Cut the circle in half.
  4. Take one of the halves and make a cone by taking the two ends of the cut side folding  them into the center of the curve, so the center of the cut side makes the point of the curve. Wet the edges with water using your finger and stick the edges together.
  5. While holding the ‘cone’, add 1 tablespoon of filling, wet one edge and pinch together to seal and finish the triangle shape.
  6. Repeat until all the samosas are made.
  7. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large saucepan to 350 degrees C.
  8. Working in batches of 4, fry the samosas until golden brown, about 5 minutes, drain on a paper towel.
  9. Serve warm with the mango chutney.

*The samosas will keep in a sealed container for 5 days in the refrigerator, or 3 months in the freezer. To reheat, place them on a baking sheet and warm in a 350 degree C oven for 5-6 minutes.


Sweet potato samosas with mango chutney



Cheese tortellini

Cheese tortellini
Fresh tortellini starts with great homemade pasta. This is a step-by-step guide to making the perfect dough.

Fresh pasta, when it’s right, it’s soft and just melts in your mouth. It is really not as difficult to make as it seems and when you’re done, you feel proud that you made something from scratch that the Italians have been doing for centuries.


Firstly, the dough is just 2 ingredients, eggs and flour. You start with a mound of flour and you make a well for the eggs.

Cheese tortellini
Then using a fork, start to beat the eggs incorporating a little flour with each movement.
While the egg is still in liquid form, with your other hand, keep the outsides of the flour mound  in tact so the eggs don’t run out.
Cheese tortellini

When the egg is no longer liquid, you can start using your hands to mix. Start to knead the dough using the palm of your hand. You don’t have to use all of the flour if the dough doesn’t need it, use only enough flour so the dough is not sticky.

Cheese tortellini

Continue kneading the dough for about 3 minutes until the dough is smooth, this kneading is important to ensure soft pasta.

Cheese tortellini

When the dough has been kneaded for 3 minutes it should be soft and smooth, cover well with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
Cheese tortellini
After the dough has rested, cut off a 1/4 piece and shape into a rectangle with your hands. With your pasta machine on the largest setting (usually 1), run the dough through 2 or 3 times. Turn to the next narrowest setting and repeat. As the dough gets longer, help the dough out of the bottom of the machine and spread out so it doesn’t stick to itself. Repeat this process until you’re at the narrowest setting and the dough is thin enough to see your fingers through.  Lay the dough out on a floured surface and using a 3 to 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles and lay out on a floured surface.

Cheese tortellini

Using the egg wash, brush the half of the round nearest to you. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture into the center. Fold the edge closest to you over the filling to meet the other side, press to seal the edge. Take the left and right corners and twist them around to meet each other, stick them together using a dab of egg wash with your finger. You just made your first tortellino (that’s  what you call 1 tortellini). 

Cheese tortellini


Ingredients     (makes 1 pound of pasta and 32 tortellini)        print recipe

For the dough

  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 extra large eggs, room temperature
For the filling
  • 8 oz fresh ricotta
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Small pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
Directions

For the dough
  1. On a clean work surface, make a mound with the flour and create a well in the middle and add the eggs.
  2. Using a fork, beat the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour from the inner rim of the mound, making sure the mound stays intact with the other hand.
  3. The dough will start to come together and once there is no more liquid use your hands to start kneading the dough with the palm of your hands.
  4. Do not force the dough to take all the flour, just until the dough comes together and is not too sticky to handle.
  5. If the dough does take all the flour and is still too sticky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to knead for 3 minutes, the kneading is what makes the dough nice and light.
  6. Once the dough is nice and soft and smooth, wrap it in plastic wrap, making sure it is well wrapped so no areas of the dough dry out. 
  7. Set aside for 20 minutes to rest.
For the filling
  1. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside.

To roll out the pasta dough
  1. Dust your work surface with flour.
  2. Cut a 1/4 piece of the dough, keep the unused portion of the dough well covered until ready to use. Flatten the piece of dough  with your hands into a small rectangle in preparation for passing through a pasta machine.
  3. With your pasta machine on the widest setting (usually 1), pass the dough through 2 or 3 times, guiding with your hands as it comes out, keeping it flat.
  4. If the dough gets sticky, dust with flour.
  5. Reduce the setting by 1 number and pass the dough through 2 or 3 times.
  6. Repeat until you reach the narrowest setting and the dough is thin, so you can see your fingers through it.
  7. Lay the dough out on your floured work surface.
  8. Using a 3-4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and set off to the side on a floured surface.
  9. Brush half of the edges of the rounds closest to you with the egg wash.
  10. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture to the center of each.
  11. Fold the egg wash half of the circle over the ricotta to meet the other side.
  12. Bring the corners around to the bottom to meet and stick them together using egg wash.
  13. On an empty shelf of your freezer, spread out parchment paper and put the tortellini in a single layer, without touching and freeze for 1 hour. This makes them easy to handle and they wont stick together. 
  14. Transfer the tortellini to a freezer bag or container and either store them in the freezer, or if you are using them right away, cook in simmering water  until they float to the top, about 5-7 minutes and serve with marinara sauce (recipe).
Cheese tortellini


Cheese tortellini

Maple glazed pecans

Maple glazed pecans
These pecans are perfect for either snacking on or adding to any salad, they are toasty and sweet. I like to add them to my winter squash salad, because if you’re like me, you like a crunch in your salad. But they do come with a warning, it will be difficult to prevent yourself from snacking on them as they cool

Ingredients (makes 2 cups)                                            print recipe

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Directions

  1. In a medium skillet over medium low heat, add the pecans.
  2. Toast the pecans, tossing every 2 minutes until they are brown and toasted.
  3. Add the maple syrup and stir until completely coated.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt.
  5. Transfer the pecans to a parchment lined baking sheet. Separate so they will not stick together and allow to cool.




Chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes

Chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes


Well they don’t look like turtles, you say. The name comes from turtle candies that consist of caramel, chocolate and pecans that are shaped to resemble a turtle. 
These cupcakes were made for my husbands birthday. His favorite dessert is turtle cheesecake, but I wanted to make something different for him, so I came up with these cupcakes.

Quite the indulgence, these cupcakes come with a nice surprise inside, more caramel. To me, that just makes a cupcake more exciting because not only do you have fun on top, there’s fun in the middle too. To do this, you cut out a cone shaped section, cut the bottom of the cone off so you’re left with a lid and after you’ve filled the cupcake you just pop the lid back on. 

Chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes.


Storage: I only frost however many cupcakes I need because the frosting will not last as long as the cupcake. I put the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container and they will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Frosted cupcakes will keep about 2 days in the fridge in an airtight container.


Chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes


Chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes


Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)                                        print recipe

For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2  cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • Salted caramel sauce (recipe)
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted * (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted pecan pieces. * (see notes)
For the coffee buttercream:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee, cold
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the chocolate sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
Directions:

For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cake cups. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and the vanilla. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.
  6. Add the granulated sugar and the brown sugar and mix until fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. 
  8. Add the chocolate and mix well.
  9. Add 1/3 of the flour/ baking soda mixture, mix well. Alternate with the buttermilk vanilla mixture and flour mixture, ending with the flour and baking soda. Mix until incorporated, do not over mix, it should resemble chocolate mousse.
  10. Fill each cake cup 2/3 full with the mixture using an ice cream scoop.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool.
For the coffee buttercream:
  1. In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Start slowly or you will end up covered in powdered sugar.
  3. Add the cold coffee and heavy cream. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 more tablespoon heavy cream.
  4. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with closed star tip and pipe onto cupcakes.
For the chocolate sauce:

  1. Heat the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chocolate while stirring, until melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
To assemble the cupcakes:
  1. Take a cooled muffin. Cut a circle about 1 inch in diameter and 2/3 of the way down the inside of the muffin, will be in the shape of a cone. Remove and set aside.
  2. Drizzle into the hole the salted caramel sauce until 2/3 full.
  3. Take the cone piece that was cut out and remove the cone  so you are left with a circular ‘lid’. Place back on top of the muffin.
  4. With the piping bag filled with the buttercream, pipe onto the cupcakes.
  5. Drizzle the tops with chocolate sauce, salted caramel and sprinkle toasted pecans.

*To melt chocolate, place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds, check and stir. Keep doing this until the chocolate is melted. Be careful not to overheat.
*To toast pecans, add to a small skillet. Cook over low heat, turning often, until you start to smell them and they are evenly browned.


Chocolate caramel turtle cupcakes



Low carb cloud bread

 Low carb cloud bread

I don’t normally go for low carb recipes, but I do go for healthy. As I mentioned in my spaghetti squash with chicken meatballs post, I have a friend on a low carb diet. 
She of course misses bread, as everyone does, so after doing some research I starting reading about cloud bread. All of the recipes I saw used artificial sweeteners as they have no carbs, but I don’t like to cook with anything artificial so I use agave instead and they are still very low in carbs.

Low carb cloud bread


The cloud bread is light and fluffy from whipping eggs whites, then carefully folding in the egg yolks and cottage cheese. What you are left with are light fluffy discs that could really be used in place of buns for a sandwich and I think would be perfectly satisfying.

I don’t normally do a nutrition breakdown for my recipes, but had to in this case and since this recipe is only 4 ingredients,  it wasn’t that difficult. With only 1.1 grams of carbs per serving, I would say that’s pretty good.


Per serving (8 servings in this recipe)
38 calories; 1.1 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein;  2 grams total fat;  .1 grams fiber; 1 grams sugar;  26 grams sodium
Ingredients (makes 8 large rounds)                 print

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, whites and yolks separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons cottage cheese, 4 % milk fat, small curds
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Take 2 baking sheets and spray them with non stick spray, set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl add the egg whites and cream of tartar. With a hand mixer (makes sure beaters are clean) mix until fluffy and have peaks. Set aside.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the cottage cheese, the egg yolks and the agave until smooth.
  5. Add 1/3 of the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Add the mixture on the side, then carefully fold in the yolks so you don’t deflate the egg whites. Do this 2 more times.
  6. Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheets, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  7. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, keep an eye on them.
  8. Remove from the oven and loosen them slightly with a spatula and allow to cool for about 10  minutes.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
    Low carb cloud bread