Month: February 2018

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms, you know I caught the flu this winter season. Let me tell you, I would NEVER wish the flu on my worse enemy. I rarely get sick and garlic has been my tried and true go-to remedy for over 16 years. Raw garlic has always worked for me and the 5 months + of accrued sick time at my old job is a testament to its success. Typically, when I feel that little tingle in my throat, I eat raw garlic, 3 nights in a row and whatever was trying to get me sick, is gone.

This last time, I felt the tingle and ate garlic for nearly a week and I was getting worse. I was in bed for 5 days. Seriously. I had no energy, no appetite and believe my children thought I was on my death bed. They only see me active and moving around so when I get sick and stop moving, they know I’m not well. Nearly 3 weeks later and I’m still not 100%, but I’ve decided to arm myself with elderberry syrup in the hopes to prevent this from ever happening again.

Benefits of Elderberry: Shown to be a potent cold and flu remedy helping to boost the immune system. Helps with aiding sinus infection, lowers blood sugar levels, is a natural laxative and promotes healthy skin.

Elderberry Syrup

Stay healthy during the cold and flu season with this immune boosting syrup.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried elderberries  about 3 ounces
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder I used clove powder this time
  • 1 cup raw honey

Instructions

  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (you will not add honey at this time)
  2. Bring all of the ingredients from above to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until you see the liquid has been reduced by nearly half. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Once cooled, mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil to get all of the juices. Pour through a strainer and into a glass bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries and transfer your liquid to a 16 oz mason jar. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey, add the cap and shake until well combined.
  4. There you have it. Homemade Elderberry syrup. Store in the fridge and take daily to strengthen your immune system. Some sources online recommend taking during the week and not on the weekends to boost your body's immunity.
  5. Dosing for kids: ½ tsp to 1 tsp Adults: ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults.

If you happen to get the flue while you are taking the syrup, continue the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms go away. Let’s hope they will forever!

Cheers to your uninterrupted health,

Simple & Homemade

Easy Cheesy Quesadillas

Easy Cheesy Quesadillas

We all have those evenings where we are rushing from work, to pick-up the kids, to help with homework, to being pulled in additional multiple directions, which only limits more of our time. On these evenings when I don’t have the time to prepare a fancy, or well-thought-out meal for my family, quesadillas are one of my many lifesavers. Quesadillas are one of THE easiest sides to make and with a little creativity and ingenuity, they can become simple meals. My children love them plain, filled with only cheese. However, if you want to make these more filling you can add some shredded chicken, sautéed green peppers and onions, or veggie meat, which I like. Top it off with guacamole, diced tomatoes and include a side of seasoned rice and refried beans for a more well-rounded meal.

Cheesy Quesadillas

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 4 flour or corn tortillas 8 inches
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions

  1. Pour a little olive oil in a pan and heat up one side of the tortilla shell.
  2. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the tortilla. Top with remaining tortilla and press down to be the the melted cheese spreads to the top shell. Pan fry over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side, or your tortilla shell has a nice golden color. Cut into wedges. Serve with your favorite sides.
  3. Eat warm and enjoy!

Cheers to quick and easy homemade meals,

Simple & Homemade

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

I love a good scone, but this one has seriously become my all time favorite. It isn’t too sweet, which makes it a perfect compliment to a good cup of coffee. This scone is inspired by Starbucks’ vanilla bean scone so if you decide to ever make these, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Just to give you a fair warning, the vanilla bean glaze is perfection. You can either drizzle it on as I did, or spread it thick to your liking.

Benefits of vanilla extract: vanilla extract has been shown to improve mental health, reduce cholesterol, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Vanilla Bean Scones and Vanilla Bean Glaze

Flaky, buttery scones with a light vanilla flavoring.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • tbsp granulated sugar
  • tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream divided
  • 1 large egg
  • Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • tablespoon  vegan butter cold and grated or diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon  heavy cream
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon  milk almond
  • Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get a baking sheet and line with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together 2/3 cup heavy cream, egg, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract until well combined, chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. Add butter to flour mixture and combine with a mixer until it resembles coarse meal. If you don't have a mixer, you can use a fork. 
  5. Add cream mixture to flour mixture until it starts to come together, then knead using a mixture until it comes together well. Note: the dough may be slightly sticky to work with but be careful to not over mix. This texture of dough will give you moist scones in the end. Try not to overwork the dough so you get tender scones.

  6. Pour mixture onto a floured surface and gently shape and pat into a 7 by 7-inch square. Cut into 9 equal squares, if you have a pizza cutter this can be used to cut each square in half on a diagonal to create two triangles (see photo above). 

  7. Transfer to prepared baking sheet spacing scones evenly apart, and brush tops lightly with remaining 1 Tbsp cream. Bake in preheated oven 12 - 14 minutes until set. Cool on a wire rack then spoon vanilla glaze over tops and spread to edges. Allow glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
  8. For the glaze: Whisk together all glaze ingredients in a mixing bowl well, add more powdered sugar to thicken if needed.

Cheers to saving yourself that Starbucks money,

Simple & Homemade

Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie

There is nothing more comforting, and an easier crowd pleaser than a pot pie. My children eat chicken so I will usually prepare a chicken pot pie, but I decided to prepare a vegetable pot pie so everyone could enjoy and to make my life easier. The rich creamy vegetables encased in a flaky buttery crust, who could resist. This recipe is a definite must-try.

Note: I made my crust by hand, but you are more than welcome to use a pre-made crust to save some prep time.

Possible additions: Chicken breast, seitan, broccoli, and portobello mushrooms

Vegetable Pot Pie

A simple all-in-one dish that will satisfy the entire family.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sliced carrots
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup of sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1/3 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup of potatoes optional
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup of milk almond milk
  • 2 9 in unbaked pie crusts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degree and oil dish. Gently press one of the crusts into the bottom pushing the sides down evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes.

  2. Combine carrots, peas, and celery in a saucepan with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and set the broth aside.
  3. Cook the onions with the melted butter in the saucepan over medium heat until soft. Stir in flour slowly, make sure to stir continuously, add pepper, salt and garlic powder to taste. Slowly add vegetable broth and milk. Simmer over medium/low heat until thick. Set aside from heat.
  4. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly in the bottom pie crust. Cover with the top crust pinching the edges into the rim of the of the dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven on a cookie sheet for 30-35 minutes or until pie is golden and filling is bubbly.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting

If you give this one a try, please be sure to let me know if and share your photos with me.

Cheers to leftovers,

Simple & Homemade