Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade [and learning slowness]

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade

I don’t really want to go slow. I daydream about slow evenings on a front porch (a front porch I don’t currently have, but would love someday) sipping ice-cold lemonade. But let’s be honest. It makes me anxious. Slow means fewer check marks. It’s unsatisfying and even painful. There’s no instant gratification.

I grew up playing card games like Nertz and Dutch Blitz. Speed is essential in those games. The hustle and the quickness required to win outweighs the importance of accuracy. If you’re fast enough, you can even get away without a few mistakes (or intentional “misdirection”). But that pace is unsustainable.

When I was in eighth grade, my science teacher had us stand on our chairs as we repeated Newton’s laws of motion. There’s something about putting our bodies in a different posture that makes a lesson stick. To this day, I can picture standing up on my chair reciting how an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force (and other science-y things I’ve since forgotten).

I view life a little too much like the laws of motion sometimes. I fear once I stop, I may never start again. If I rest, will I stay there forever? Will I become stagnant? So I keep going. Inertia will do its part, and I’ll be able to keep on keepin’ on, right? Moving feels more comfortable, more satisfying—for a while at least. And then I realize I’m moving in the wrong direction, or I slam headfirst into a wall called burnout or sickness or whatever else. I’ve hit that wall enough times in the past to know I’m bound to smack my face again.

I’ve been thinking on Psalm 131 lately, especially verse 2 that says, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

My soul is more often like a loud, screaming toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed. It’s like a kid who doesn’t want to let go of what their doing even though the slowing and stopping is needed and even enjoyable.

What would it take to quiet my soul?
What does it mean to rest, despite what’s going on around us and all that needs to be done?
What if I didn’t have to go so fast and then slam on the breaks to avoid catastrophe?
What if I lived my life with a soul and body that were slow, calm, quiet, rested, and refueled?
And what if, instead of trying to wriggle free, I found complete comfort, contentment, and peace in the arms of God?

I don’t have a five-step plan or an easy answer. But I’m dwelling on the questions. In our harried and hurried world, I think we’d do well to practice the art of slowness—maybe even stillness. I’m (slowly) learning what it looks like for me, and even that’s bound to change with the seasons of life.

It can be scary practice. As we calm and quiet our bodies, we start to see the unrest of our souls. Slowing down forces us to stop hiding our inner chaos behind a wall of to-dos. But I think that’s when we really start to learn slowness and stillness. Our bodies no longer run like a machine but as a sacred gift that points us to an infinite, tireless, omnipotent Giver. As as we rest in him, our souls become calm, our spirits quiet. And like a weaned child with its mother, we get to know the slowness, stillness, and complete peace that comes from being in the arms of our God.

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade
Yields about 8 servings

2 ½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (fresh really does make a difference!)
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger*
6-8+ cups sparkling water**
Ice

To make the base of the lemonade, add the lemon juice, sugar, honey, and ginger to a small saucepan. Turn on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, and the mix comes to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Strain to remove the pieces of ginger. (If you prefer, you can skip this step so the ginger continues to infuse flavor in the lemonade.)

Refrigerate the lemonade base until cold, up to a couple days in advance.

When you’re ready to serve, transfer the lemonade base to a pitcher or individual glasses filled with ice. Top with sparkling water to taste, and stir gently. If you’d like to make it a cocktail, add a splash of vodka or top off each glass with prosecco. Enjoy!

*This gives a subtle ginger taste, but feel free to add more if you want it stronger.

**You can adjust the amount of sparkling water to make the lemonade the strength you prefer. I usually prefer a bit more sparkling water, but adjust it to your taste. You can also use regular water for a non-carbonated lemonade.


How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex

How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing

In high school, I’d swing by Dunkin Donuts early in the morning to get a medium hazelnut coffee with milk. Just saying my old coffee order brings back memories. Even at seventeen, I loved the routine comfort of a hot, caffeinated drink in the morning. Fast forward about fifteen years and three kids later, and I still think there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee when you wake up. But I’ve learned a bit about this drink in the last decade and a half—like what makes a really good cup.

A few years ago, my brother started his coffee roasting business, FreshGround Roasting, and has taught me the wise ways of good beans and good brewing. Let’s just all admit one thing right from the start. The craft coffee culture can be a bit snobby—just like some wine aficionados, craft beer brewers, and any other artisan-type industry. I’m guilty of this in many ways, and that’s unfortunate. Coffee, and food and drinks in general, should be a catalyst to bring us together, right? Alienating each other because of what we eat and drink goes against so much of the beauty of our eating and drinking.

FreshGround Roasting is all about teaching and welcoming people into the coffee world rather than ostracizing them from it. And this post isn’t about touting the way to brew coffee (although if you’re going to master one brew method, I suggest mastering the Chemex). As I’ve learned how to brew better coffee, just like I’m learning to cook better, my old tastes don’t appeal as much anymore. There’s something about taking a little extra care with good quality beans that makes it more than just a vehicle for caffeine or a mindless habit. It’s a gift to savor and enjoy—like a good wine or a perfectly cooked steak.

So if you’re interested in upping your coffee game, try brewing with a Chemex. If it’s new to you and maybe a little intimidating, don’t let that deter you. Honestly, it’s just pouring water over grounds in a cool looking vessel. Each step of the brewing process and the design of the Chemex and filters makes a difference in the end result, but it’s surprisingly simple to do.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for instructions. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. You can also find lots more info over at FreshGround, including a demo video.

How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing
How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex | Sarah J. Hauser #coffee #chemex #coffeebrewing

How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex

What you’ll need
Whole bean coffee (in this post, I used FreshGround’s Ethiopian Harrar)
Chemex
Chemex filter
Grinder
Kettle (we like a gooseneck kettle because it gives you more control as you pour)
Kitchen scale
Mugs

Weigh out the beans. In a 6-cup brewer we use 48 grams of beans. For the 8-cup use 64 grams, and for the 10-cup use 76 grams (yeah, use slightly less as you make more).

If you have unfolded filters, fold them in quarters. Open it up and put the filter in the Chemex brewer. Make sure the side that has 3 layers of filter paper is against the spout portion of the brewer.

Heat water in a kettle to boiling. Pour a little water in the Chemex brewer to rinse away any of the paper taste from the filter. Empty the water out of the brewer. Don’t remove the paper filter at this point; it’s very difficult to get it back in if you do.

Grind your beans to a medium consistency, similar to what you would do for drip coffee. On my Baratza Encore grinder, I set it to about 19 or 20. Add the ground beans to the brewer.

Put the Chemex brewer on your kitchen scale and tare to zero. Pour about 50 grams of water over the beans making sure they get completely wet. Let the beans “bloom” for about 30-45 seconds. Don’t skip this step!

Slowly pour water over the grounds until the scale reads 710 grams (945 for the 8 cup, 1180 for the 10 cup).

Let it sit until it stops dripping into the bottom part of the brewer. Timing is the key here. It should take about 4 minutes for you to brew 710 grams of water. If it takes longer, your grind is too fine. If it takes less time, your grind is too coarse.

Remove the filter, pour, and enjoy!


Special thank you to Taylor Rae Photography for taking all the photos in this post. Also thanks to FreshGround Roasting for providing the brewing instructions! This post was not sponsored by FreshGround. I just really like their coffee and their mission—and I also happen to be related to the owners. :)


(Paleo) Summer Broccoli Salad

Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic

My mom made a broccoli salad like this when I was growing up. I still have her hand-written recipe card and used that as inspiration for this version. For some reason, despite broccoli having a reputation of not being the most kid-friendly food, I LOVED her salad. The combination of crunch and creamy, savory bacon and a bit of sweet…it was so good!

I didn’t realize, though, that probably one of the reasons I loved it so much had to do with the crazy amount of sugar added to it. And it wasn’t just my mom’s recipes. I’ve looked up similar versions online, many of them loaded with granulated sugar.

If you look around my website, it’ll quickly become obvious I’m not anti-sugar. I just want it in the right places—like a good shortbread cookie (basically butter, flour, and sugar) or simple syrup (sugar and water) for cocktails. But whenever I can, I decrease the amount of sugar in recipes or use unrefined sugars like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.

This recipe cuts down on the sweetness and uses honey. The mayo-based dressing gets tossed together with crunchy broccoli, crisp bacon, red onion, raisins, and pine nuts for the perfect combo of flavors. To be honest, I think I love this paleo-fied broccoli salad even more than the one I grew up eating!

Scroll down for the recipe!

Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic
Paleo Summer Broccoli Salad | Sarah J. Hauser #dairyfree #glutenfree #summersalad #potluckrecipe #cookout #picnic

(Paleo) Summer Broccoli Salad
Yields about 8 servings

16 ounces broccoli florets* (about 5.5-6 cups)
12 ounces bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup raisins
½ cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds
¾ cup mayonnaise
2-3 Tablespoons honey (I used 2)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Add the broccoli, cooked bacon, onion, raisins, and pine nuts to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo, honey, and vinegar. Pour the dressing over the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

You can serve this salad immediately, but it’s best if you let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours. Just give it a good stir when you’re ready to serve, as the dressing can gather at the bottom.

Enjoy!

*If you’re cutting the florets from a stem (as opposed to buying a bag of florets), don’t throw those stems out! Click here for tips on using them up!


White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!)

White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate

It’s been a heavy couple months. Does anyone else feel like that? Then again, the weight of the news, struggles with friends, and the heaviness of our own souls seem all too common. Grief, at least on some level, is always close at hand.

The Christian’s life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world.
— Francis Schaeffer

So what’s the point of little things like this? What’s the point of baking cookies or writing on a food blog or sharing ordinary pieces of our lives on the Internet? I’ve wrestled with this often over the years, and I don’t think there’s a simple answer. Sometimes, for me, I do have to set my creative work aside to deal with deeper heartache in front of me. But other times mixing dough and taking photos, moving our hands and tasting what’s sweet...sometimes that’s exactly what we need when the world feels dark.

A few years ago as I wrestled with the purpose of my own work, I came across Francis Schaeffer’s book, Art and the Bible. He asks, “Is the creative part of our life committed to Christ? Christ is the Lord of our whole life and the Christian life should produce not only truth—flaming truth—but also beauty.”

In the midst of grief, heartache, and a dark and despairing world, we have to be people who speak truth—but we also have to proclaim beauty. It’s not about conforming to the world’s standards of beauty but about reflecting the beauty of our Creator God through what we create.

No, it’s not always the time to bake cookies. It’s not always the time to take photographs or play around in the kitchen. But sometimes it is. Sometimes you have to stop and literally taste once again that even in the darkness, God is still good.

White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate
White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!) | Sarah J. Hauser #cookies #glutenfree #almond #whitechocolate

Most recipes I’ve come across that use almond flour or almond meal include it as a substitute for a traditional flour. Sara Forte’s “Almond Meal Cookies with Coconut and Cacao Nibs” from The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods is one of the first that actually celebrates almond meal. Rather than being disguised as a traditional flour, these cookies embrace the texture and nuttiness of almond meal.

My recipe below uses hers as inspiration, changing up the flavors a bit with ingredients like macadamia nuts and white chocolate.


White Chocolate + Macadamia Almond Meal Cookies (Gluten Free!)
Yields about 12-14 cookies
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

1¼ cups almond meal
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
⅓ chopped dried cherries (optional)*
¼ cup chopped white chocolate
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, macadamia nuts, cherries (if using), white chocolate, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until it’s uniform in color. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Cover and put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375. Form the dough into balls, slightly smaller than a golf ball. Set them on a baking sheet about two inches apart. Gently press down the tops to flatten them slightly.

Bake for about 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Serve and enjoy!

*I made one batch with the cherries and one batch without. I honestly couldn’t decide which I preferred. The cherries add quite a bit of sweetness to the cookie, so if you want to tone down the sweetness, leave them out. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, go ahead and add ‘em!