RSS Feed

Category Archives: beverage

cherry-lime fizz

Posted on

I had a few reservations about putting up this post only because as refreshingly bubbly and satisfying as this drink is one of its three ingredients is maraschino cherries.  And as you may have realized maraschino cherries are not exactly organic.  In fact I’m pretty sure they don’t come by their neon coloring naturally.  I don’t think Cheetos do either, but I digress.  After a moment of consideration I thought why not this is too good to keep to myself.

 Not long ago I made a strawberry cream cake that required  Kirsch in the strawberry filling and as the grocery store I was in did not sell alcohol (Kirsch is a brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits) I had to improvise.  I purchased a jar of maraschino cherries so I could use the “cherry juice”. I got the smallest jar available knowing I would never have a use for the tiny, syrup-macerated, cherries in my cooking.  I knew they would sit in my refrigerator until they were old enough and I could, without guilt, toss them out by telling myself they’d gone bad.

Months later the flaming red orbs were still in my refrigerator sheltered in their syrupy juices looking plump and bright as ever and  I couldn’t bring myself to toss them.  I also didn’t have a clue as what to do with them.  Maraschino cherries don’t have the best reputation.  They are cherries preserved in a syrup made of mostly high fructose corn syrup and lots of other things I can’t pronounce stuffed into a jar and destined to stay in said jar macerating away until they are either garnished on some drink or sundae or thrown away.

In my home we drink lots of seltzer and sparkling water in lieu of soda.  I call it fizzy water, a name given to  bubbly water by my friend Natasha .  Sparkling water serves a purpose for me by satisfying my craving for bubbly drinks without having to drink soda.  After awhile plain sparkling water can become boring  and the old squeeze of lime or lemon sometimes just won’t do.

On a particularly thirsty day I  decided I’d make a syrup to add to my sparkling water by muddling the maraschino cherries with limes.  Muddling is the quickest way to extract juice from lemons and limes plus you get maximum flavor because the peel is left on as you muddle and you get the benefit of the fruity oils on the peel.  Its how I make my lemonade.  For this reason you should use organic limes or lemons or clean store lemons well before muddling.

This drink idea came about solely out of convenience-I wanted something sweet and fruity to add to my plain sparkling water.  You certainly don’t have to use maraschino cherries-any fruit can be cooked down and strained and added to seltzer water.  I’m just saying if you happen to have a jar of maraschino cherries hanging out in your fridge here’s something you can do with it.

Recipe: Cherry-lime fizz

Note: this is deliciously tart and sweet

3 organic limes rinsed and cut into quarters

10 maraschino cherries plus 1-2 tablespoons of juice

1 cup of sugar


Place all ingredients in a large pitcher and with a wooden spoon or muddler mash down (aggressively) on the limes and cherries until all the juices are extracted and the sugar has dissolved.  Strain the juices into a clean bowl pressing the fruit with the muddler to get all the liquid out.

In a saucepan large enough to hold the juices and over medium heat carefully cook the liquid down until it become somewhat thick and syrupy.  Cool completely.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator.  Use a tablespoon or so to add to sparkling water whenever you feel like.


iced mocha frappé

Posted on
iced mocha frappé


I know I’m late to embrace the iced-coffee trend.  I’m a purist and believe coffee should be consumed  steaming hot no matter what the weather.   To me, the hotter the better.  Warm coffee may as well be iced coffee.  If my coffee gets down to luke warm, I make a trip to the microwave to blast it back to steaming hot. 

Lately its been hot and even for a coffee purist such as myself drinking hot coffee in above ninety degree temperatures just seems wrong.  So I gave in.

Though willing to give up my mug of hot coffee for a tall iced coffee I was less willing to purchase one from a trendy coffee shop or fast food place. Not that I have anything against those places.  But if you haven’t noticed I’m a bit picky.  People who know me would say I’m a lot picky and they’d also call it something else. It isn’t even that I think I can make a  better iced coffee than those places. It’s just that besides being picky I’m also frugal.  Say I spend four dollars on a designer iced coffee drink and it turns out to be a watered down mess,  I’ll complain about it and then kick myself for not just making my own.  On the flip side if I spend six dollars on what turns out to be a fabulous iced coffee, it was money well spent and I might buy it again and even try to reproduce it at home.

Which is exactly what I ended up doing.  I know that on a busy week day morning most of us don’t have time to blend coffee cubes and make chocolate sauce and whipped cream just so we can have a colder version of  our morning pick me-up . So this is more like a weekend splurge.  However if you made some of the components ahead and gave yourself an extra 15 minutes in the morning you could find yourself going off to work sipping an icy cold mocha frappé.

Some things you can do ahead:

Make and freeze the coffee cubes.

Make the chocolate sauce.

You can even use the kind of whipped cream that comes in the can that you shake up and down.

Recipe: Mocha Frappé

For the coffee ice:

3 Tablespoons sugar

2 cups warm strong coffee

For the chocolate syrup:

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch processed cocoa)

1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate,finely chopped

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1 cup full fat or reduced fat milk

homemade whipped cream (recipe follows)


Make the coffee ice by stirring the sugar into the coffee until dissolved. Let cool. Pour into a 16-cube ice-cube tray and freeze until solid, at least 3 hours or over night.

To make the chocolate syrup combine the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan and slowly whisk in 2/3 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves about 3-5 minutes. Do not boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped semi-sweet chocolate, honey and vanilla until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Make the Frappés

Puree 8 coffee ice cubes, 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup chocolate syrup and 1 cup plain ice in a blender until smooth. Pour into two glasses, then repeat steps to make 2 more drinks. Top with freshly made whipped cream and more chocolate syrup.  Enjoy!

Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 Tablespoons sugar

In a cold bowl using a wire whisk, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.  (lift the whisk out of the cream and a tiny mountain with a peak forms and then quickly flops over-that is a soft peak)

Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar to the bowl and continue to whip just until sugar incorporated.  Be careful not to over-whip.  Your whipped cream should look like the picture below.

fresh-made whipped cream

rich hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows

Posted on

It seems mother nature is thoroughly muddled by what winter should feel like in these waning days of February.  Just a week ago I was happy to unbundle and walk outside to near seventy-degree temperatures and a bright, sunny sky.  The very next day temperatures plunged almost fifty degrees.  Back to hats,scarves and gloves. 

Those few days of warm weather had me wishing for spring.  I want to see tulip leaves pushing up from underneath the ground,green grass and tightly closed buds sprouting from the limbs of trees.  The weather has been the hot topic on all the news and talk shows.  It will be a welcome change to hear news not weather related or forewarnings of winter storms to come.  Unless of course we are plagued by heavy rains in spring or summer heat waves.  Perish the thought.

  In the meantime I have made a promise to enjoy these last few weeks of winter, without looking out of the window in disgust at the mountains of dirty snow that have been around since late December.

The next winter storm (and I know there will be one) I promise to go outside and make snow angels, I promise to have a furious snowball fight with the kids and be the last man standing.  And most of all I will remember to take pictures of the snow-covered landscape so I won’t forget how beautiful ,and at times comforting, winter can be.

For now while the night’s are guaranteed to still be cold I’ll enjoy grown-up hot chocolate.  Thick and rich with toasted marshmallows.  The toasted marshmallows add a smoky flavor and if you poke them open all this melted, goodness seeps into the already thick hot chocolate.  You don’t need a big cup of this-its meant to be savored in small portions.  But you may want to have a spoon nearby. 

This recipe serves 4 sweetly.

Recipe: rich hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

2 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped 

2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4-8 large marshmallows



Heat the heavy cream and milk in a saucepan on medium heat until it bubbles and simmers slightly.

Turn the heat to low and continue to simmer.  It will thicken a little.

Add the chopped chocolates and vanilla extract.

Using a whisk, whip until all chocolate  has melted and the mixture is frothy.

Set the hot chocolate aside and toast the marshmallows.

Working two at a time place the marshmallows on a metal skewer or the tines of a metal fork and hold them over an open flame of the stove top, turning until all sides are nicely charred.  Continue until all the marshmallows you are using are toasted.

If needed, reheat the hot chocolate, pour into cups and top with one or two toasted marshmallows on top.

Showcasing Greatness Within the Black Community


adventures in baking, sewing and crocheting

A Lot On Your Plate

A budget friendly blog (now an official website) that gives creative & practical tips, recipes, and more, to help inspire, organize, & simplify your life!

industrial home decor ideas

Kat, Kitchen and Beyond

domestic diva, M.D.

my mother raised the perfect housewife...then I went to med school


and other adventures...


a collection of recipes

Texana's Kitchen

Yummy food. Pithy commentary. Pretty pictures.

The Craving Chronicles

I have a sweet tooth and I'm not afraid to use it

Just Homemade

Nothing is as good as homemade with love..

The Fauxmartha

Set to a minimalist tune.


My name is Dwayne Peterkin. I was re-baptized April 2011 and since then I have been doing my best to obey the Lord Jesus Christ and do his will. In this sinful world IT IS NOT EASY to stand up for God. You'll be tested, friendships may fall by the wayside, old habits will fade away. I hope that as I share my Faith Walk, others are encouraged on theirs. I hope you join me on this journey.

Murphy's Test Kitchen

A science teacher experimenting with cooking...

Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Chef and Steward®

Serving the good life!™

Chica Andaluza

Sometimes Up a Mountain in Andalucia and sometimes Down by the Sea on the English South Coast

%d bloggers like this: