Along with my husband, I’ve made a conscious effort to cut sugary sodas and other drinks out of my diet. Although we’ll occasionally drink Sprite or ginger ale, for the most part we stick with water and tea. Water is the best thing we can drink, and it’s fun to flavor it to help meet hydration goals. We grow herbs that can be used to brew fresh teas such as nettle, lemon balm, and chamomile, and a couple weeks ago discovered the chamomile flowers can be used to flavor water in a cold infusion. Chamomile is easy to grow (in fact, you want to plant it somewhere you don’t mind it spreading), and the cold infusion is a snap to make.
Clip about a 1/4 cup of the chamomile flower heads.
Put them in a strainer and rinse.
Pour the flowers into a 32 oz. mason jar.
Fill the mason jar with water (preferable filtered), and cap.
Place the mason jar in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
The finished infusion
Strain or scoop the flowers from the jar, and enjoy! The slightly sweet and delicate flavor of the water is so refreshing!
You can use the flowers you removed from the mason jar to make hot chamomile tea. Place the flowers in a saucepan, fill the pan with 32 oz. of water, and bring to a boil. The water will begin to change color, and it depends how strong you like your tea, as to when you want to turn off the burner. I then scoop out the flowers to add to our compost pile.
Buckwheat peanut butter pancakes topped with organic strawberries and real maple syrup
Two winters ago, my husband and I started making our own maple syrup from five trees in our front yard. We keep and freeze some and like to share and give the rest away. As a result, people have asked us for maple syrup recipes. This is the first in what I hope will be a series of recipes involving maple syrup.
1-1/2 cups buckwheat pancake and waffle mix (Bob’s Red Mill is my absolute favorite)
1 egg (lately we’ve been getting farm fresh eggs from Point Farm)
1 Tbsp California Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup cold milk (I used SO Delicious coconut milk, a tasty dairy-free option)
2 Tbsp peanut butter (I love Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread)
1 cup (or more to taste) organic strawberries (I try and eat organic strawberries as much as I can, since they’re part of the Dirty Dozen)
Maple syrup (the real stuff) to taste, a generous pour
Blend mix, egg, oil, milk and peanut butter until just blended. You may need to adjust the batter with more mix or milk if it becomes too thin or thick. Preheat cast iron skillet or griddle with olive or coconut oil. To make pancakes, I scoop batter out of the bowl with a 1/4 cup and pour into the skillet. Cook on medium heat until until you see bubbles in the center and the edges begin to brown. Flip pancake, cook for less than a minute. Stack pancakes on a plate and top with strawberries and maple syrup. Yields about 12 pancakes.