Elderflower, Lemon + Rosemary Cocktail [and learning to play]

 Elderflower, Lemon + Rosemary Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

I sat at the kitchen table with a blue plastic bowl full of applesauce, spoon-feeding my son, Josiah. My three-year-old twins ran laps around the house, and for a few moments I savored the fact that they were playing well together. No fighting, no tantrums, no tears. I overheard whispers about superheroes, and I knew what was coming. They stomped upstairs to retrieve their blankets and within a minute stood next to me asking for help tying on capes.

I set down the baby spoon and knotted the corners of the blankets around their shoulders. Off they went shouting, “We’re superheroes!” I smiled—until I saw them carrying a third, larger blanket.

“Mommy! Be a superhero with us!”

Let me confess something: I am not good at playfulness. Silliness for the sake of it seems so unproductive. I need to plan dinner. Change diapers. Write that essay. Answer an email. Basically, I’m a maternal Scrooge.

Fortunately, my kids’ pleas got the best of me. I tied that blue and green quilt around my neck and chased them from the kitchen to the living room, then through the dining room. They laughed hysterically, as did their baby brother who didn’t seem to mind taking a break from eating to witness this hilarious spectacle.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

 Elderflower, Lemon + Rosemary Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
 Elderflower, Lemon + Rosemary Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
 Elderflower, Lemon + Rosemary Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
 Elderflower, Lemon + Rosemary Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Read the full essay and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!


Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser

My husband and I just got back from a (kid-free!) vacation in Sedona, Arizona, and while I was ready to come home and see the kiddos, I'm still feeling the vacation vibes. I can't quite keep track of what day it is (although that's often true even during a normal week), and I'm perfectly content having a quiet and (relatively) lazy week. I didn't expect the slow week, but that's sort of the way things shook out.

Apparently I'm getting older, because on the last day of our trip as we were packing to leave, I lifted my suitcase and tweaked my back. I'm choosing to use the term "tweaked" instead of "threw out." Somehow the latter makes me feel like I'm deteriorating at faster rate than I care to admit. But then we sat in the car for a few hours, had a three and a half hour plane ride, and finally another hour car ride. The next day, I could barely get out of bed and only did so with ridiculous pain rivaling that of my C-section recovery. 

I'm on the mend and moving much better (thanks to chiropractic care and having physical therapists as friends!), but my husband and I decided we're going to start fresh on Monday and give ourselves a grace week to get back to normal (whatever normal means).

So here's to another week of relaxation, whether caused by vacation or immobility. Cheers!

Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser
Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser
Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser
Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins - Sarah J. Hauser

A vodka collins is a light, refreshing cocktail (based on the Tom Collins) that's perfect for summer. I added blackberries and thyme because I love the fruit and herb combo. You can use whatever you have on hand, like strawberries, basil, blueberries, or rosemary!


Blackberry-Thyme Vodka Collins
Yields 1 drink

1 ½ ounces vodka (I used Heritage Distilling’s Batch No. 12 Vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½-1 ounce simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
Small handful of blackberries
2-3 sprigs of thyme
Club soda or seltzer
Fresh lemon slices for garnish

Add the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, blackberries, and thyme to a highball or Collins glass. Muddle using a cocktail muddler or the back of a spoon. Add ice and stir thoroughly. Top with club soda. Give it another gentle stir, and garnish with a slice of lemon.


Coffee, Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie [featuring FreshGround Roasting]

Coffee, Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie - Sarah J. Hauser

It's Friday. Phew. Take a breath. I love having a holiday in the middle of the week, but I'm not going to lie. It kinda' throws me off my rhythm a bit (as if I had any rhythm to begin with). Anyone else know what I mean? But alas, the weekend is here and so is this smoothie. 

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
— Henry James

I've been craving a coffee smoothie lately, but so many of the recipes I've seen contain extra sugars or loads of dairy - both of which I love, but my body doesn't. This one is sweetened with dates and uses almond milk. To make it paleo, use almond butter instead of peanut butter, but there's something about the peanut butter flavor that just can't be beat. If you're not avoiding peanuts for dietary reasons, I highly suggest sticking with that creamy, peanut goodness. 

For the coffee, cold brew iced coffee tastes best. I used FreshGround's ready-to-drink Black Ice Brew. If you use a cold brew concentrate, you may just need to add a little extra almond milk or water to the smoothie. It's a flexible recipe, though, so just taste as you go along!

What are you sipping this weekend? Any favorite summer beverages? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Coffee, Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie - Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee, Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie - Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee, Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie - Sarah J. Hauser

Coffee, Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie
Yields 2-3 servings

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup brewed coffee, cold*
2 large bananas
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
3-4 Medjool dates, pitted
1-3 cups ice

Add the almond milk, coffee, bananas, peanut butter, 3 dates, and 1 cup of ice to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add another date if you want it to be sweeter and additional ice to taste. Less ice will give you a richer flavor but a thinner smoothie. More ice tones down the intensity and makes the smoothie thicker. (My personal preference is about 2 heaping cups of ice.)

*Your recipe is only as good as your ingredients, so use good quality coffee! I used FreshGround’s ready-to-drink Black Ice Brew. Cold brewed iced coffee is ideal in this recipe!


Citrus-Brandy Cocktail

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave until the last few days. We’ve been potty training the twins, which has been going mostly well…not counting the flooded bathroom due to an unnamed toddler stuffing it with toilet paper, the baby who threw up on Day 2, and the time spent cleaning pee off a friend’s floor (including the carpet) last night. But other than that, it’s going great! (You can’t see the facepalm happening right now.)

In all seriousness, though, we've turned a corner despite a few missteps, and I am thankful for that. We had twins before having our third baby, so we’ve never had only one kid in diapers until now. I think that’s reason to celebrate!

I mixed this Citrus-Brandy Cocktail up a few weeks ago as I experimented with drink ideas. The first time I made it, I used blood oranges since they were in season, but you can use any kind of orange (just note the color will be different than these images). I also threw a few sprigs of tarragon in the cocktail shaker. I love the combination of fruit and herbs, but you can leave that out or try other options like thyme or rosemary.

It’s a drink that’s refreshing, rich, and slightly sweet with a bit of tart – and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

So cheers to the Friday, cheers to potty training, and cheers to whatever milestones you have to celebrate, from the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, to the small ones you never realized would feel so monumental.

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice*
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh herbs, such as tarragon (optional)
Ice

Add the brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a few sprigs of torn herbs, such as tarragon, to the shaker if desired.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into a cold cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I used blood oranges for the drinks in these images to get the pink color, but you can use Cara Cara, or another favorite kind of orange!