(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

My favorite way to create variety in mixed drinks is to make flavored simple syrups. Simple syrup is just water and sugar, and throwing in spices, herbs, fresh fruit, or juices adds a unique twist without having to buy additional liqueurs or other cocktail ingredients.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed I do this quite a lot - like in my Ancho Chile Manhattan, Fig, Vanilla Bean + Gin Cocktail, or Ginger, Lime + Five-Spice Cocktail. You can get creative by digging through your pantry or refrigerator and seeing what flavor combinations you can come up with!  

This recipe uses the same trick. Ground turmeric stirred together with sugar and water create a rich, golden syrup that's amazing with bourbon. I used Heritage Distilling Co.'s Dual Barrel Old Fashioned Ready Bourbon, because it has a hint of orange that's perfect for this drink.

And this time of year, the cold winter weather makes me want something creamy and comforting, so I added full-fat coconut milk. (You could also try using some cream or half-and-half if you're not avoiding dairy, although I do think the flavor of the coconut milk works really well in this drink.)

Grab a friend, shake up a couple drinks, sip, and enjoy!

(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]
(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]
(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]
(Dairy-Free) Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail [featuring Heritage Distilling Co.]

Creamy Turmeric + Bourbon Cocktail
Yields 1 cocktail

2 ounces bourbon (I recommend using Heritage Distilling’s Dual Barrel Bourbon)
2 ounces full fat coconut milk
1 ounce turmeric simple syrup (see recipe below)
Ground turmeric or cinnamon sticks (for serving)

Add the bourbon, coconut milk, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds then strain into a chilled glass. Serve with an extra dash of turmeric or a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Turmeric Simple Syrup
Yields about 6 ounces

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ teaspoon turmeric

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring often, until the sugar melts and the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. 

For this post, bourbon was provided by Heritage Distilling Co. All opinions are 100% my own.

Spiced Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

Spiced Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

Seven years ago on Christmas Day, my husband and I anxiously sat in a hospital waiting room. Carols played in the background, and strands of lights glimmered around the windows. Every once in awhile we heard a chime through the sound system, a tradition signaling the birth of a baby. The reminder of new life became a welcome interruption as we waited to hear from my mom’s surgeon.

Family and friends stopped by to check on us and ask about my mom. One couple dropped off sandwiches and salads for lunch. Later that night in a last minute attempt to salvage Christmas dinner, we heated up white chicken chili from my brother’s freezer.

Two years later, I answered emails and made phone calls while I “worked from home” at my mom’s bedside. The doorbell rang, a frequent occurrence in those last months as people visited and dropped off food and gifts for my family. It was my parents’ elderly neighbor. I anxiously twitched when I saw her, even though she was a perfectly pleasant woman. I couldn’t help but remember backing into car as a teenager and causing $800 worth of damage. But she wasn’t there to relive stories of my negligent driving.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Spiced Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze
Spiced Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze
Spiced Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!

Cocoa + Cardamom Waffles [and reflections on creativity and self-worth]

Cocoa + Cardamom Waffles

There are two voices, one for each ear, whispering supposed truth to me. I waver between listening to one or the other. It’s a constant struggle to choose to heed the words I know are true, the words that say I’m worthwhile, I have something to offer, I’m created in the image of a God who has designed me for a purpose. Other times, I turn away and listen to the voice that mocks me. “You’ll never be as good as that person. Why even try? It’s all been done before. The world doesn’t need your creativity, your thoughts, your words. You have nothing to offer.”

That latter voice is crippling. It causes me coil up and hide, refusing to share anything at all for fear of how it may be received, or for fear that no one will even take notice.

And then the other voice speaks, waking me up to the truth. My words are needed. They’re my words – no one else’s, and the idea that something is only worth contributing if it’s the best (according to our culture’s idea of “the best”) is a blatant lie. How do you think the people who are deemed “the best” got there? They practiced, worked and contributed before becoming the best in order to excel in their craft. Sure, some had more God-given talent in a certain area, but prodigies still have to practice.

But then what if I don’t ever get to that point? What if I don’t really want to get to that point? I honestly don’t really have the desire to be famous, and I’m OK if my work isn’t the best of the best of the best. Is my work still valid if it’s not at the very least a stepping-stone to public recognition? Should I even bother if the platform on which I speak remains small?

Yes. The extent to which others acknowledge and appreciate your work does not dictate its value – or your value.

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands” (Brene Brown). When I stop and think about why I’m struggling through this debilitating cycle of comparison, what I often realize is that I’m trying to find my worth in the affirmation of other people. If I’m doing that, then my worth is constantly changing. If someone likes me, I’m worthy. If they don’t, I’m worthless. If I receive affirmation for my work, it’s good. If I don’t, it’s terrible.

It’s exhausting.

When my sense of worth and creative value rests on the shaky ground of outward recognition, it is so easy to falter, to doubt, to grow weary, tired and discouraged. But when I realize that I have worth as a human being, created by God in his image, I remember that I have worth, because HE has given it to me. I can echo the words of the psalmist and say, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

My worth and the value of my work are determined by the Creator God, and he doesn’t change. Even if no one else sees what I do or recognizes my contributions, or even if it’s not up to the quality of the person next to me, He sees it and values it if it is offered up to glorify Him.

Francis Schaeffer wrote, "How can art be sufficiently meaningful? If it is offered up merely before men, then it does not have a sufficient integration point. But it can be offered up before God…So the man who really loves God, who is working under the lordship of Christ, could write his poetry, compose his music, construct his musical instruments, fashion his statues, paint his pictures, even if no man ever saw them. He knows God looks upon them." (And may I add, "cook and photograph her recipes" to that list?)

Over the last couple years, I’ve been learning better how to silence the debilitating voice and listen to the words of the life-giving one. The truth is finally starting to sink into my heart – and the irony is that as I’ve recognized my worth from God and have been grounded in him, my work has improved. My courage has grown. I’m more willing to show myself to the world, and if I’m not well received, that’s OK. My identity and value are not on the line.

The volume of the lies is gradually fading. Thoughts of worthlessness are becoming mere white noise, drowned out by words speaking beauty and truth. I choose to listen to the truth.

Our topic for Wednesday March 1st is "The Environment." What does it actually mean to take care of the environment? Who's job is it really? Do we have a moral obligation to do so?
Cocoa + Cardamom Waffles
Cocoa + Cardamom Waffles

Cocoa + Cardamom Waffles
Yields about 10 (7-inch round) waffles

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
½ teaspoon salt
Cooking spray or additional butter (to grease the waffle iron)

Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high (I set mine to setting number 4 out of 5). In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee, and salt. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and stir just until combined.

Grease the waffle iron if needed. Pour about ½ cup of batter onto the center of the preheated waffle iron. (You may need to adjust this amount based on your waffle iron and the manufacturer’s recommendation.) Close the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are crisp on the outside. Repeat this step until you use all the batter.

Serve immediately, or keep the waffles warm in a 200-degree oven until you’re ready to serve. (Hint: They’ll stay crispier if you avoid stacking them!) Top with powdered sugar, fruit, whipped cream, maple syrup, or any other favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

This past week has been marked by cloudy, rainy days and crisp, fall weather. All I’ve wanted to do is curl up on the couch with a hot drink and a good book. And to be honest, that's exactly what I've done. I've unabashedly taken advantage of the days when my kids took a good, long nap (which definitely didn't happen ever day, but I'll take what I can get). 

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

I know chores and to-do lists can't be put on the back-burner forever, but sometimes you just have a to let good things go in order to fill up with the best things. My kitchen may still be a mess, but my soul is refreshed - and for that, I'm grateful. 

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles
Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

Of course, during this season, if you've got a good book in one hand, you need a mug of hot cider in the other. I changed things up from my normal orange-clove-cinnamon combo and threw an ancho chile into the mix. I absolutely loved it. I know the added heat may not be for everyone, but for me, there's something calming, comforting and pleasantly surprising about the slight kick after every sip. Rest assured, this is a drink that'll keep you warm during those cool fall days!

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

P.S. Want to know what I'm reading? Check out the new "Reading Now" section on the sidebar, and let me know what you're reading in the comments below!

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

2 quarts apple cider (make sure it doesn't have any added sweeteners or spices)
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
1 lemon, sliced
1 ancho chile

Add the cider, cloves, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and lemon slices to a large saucepan. Cut the ancho chile in half and add it to the cider (seeds and all).

Bring the cider to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. Let the cider simmer for at least 30 minutes. Pour into mugs and garnish with a slice of lemon or a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Quick Tip: You can also make this recipe in a slow-cooker. Just let it mull for at least a couple hours before serving.