Tea-Infused Vodka + Six Inspired Cocktails

With summer right around the corner, the days of sipping sweet cocktails in the sun are soon upon us.  Now I love a delightful libation {or two} myself, but I am not a fan of the added sugar and empty calories that comes with imbibing.

Enter Tea-Infused Vodka.

spices and tea

So delightful and flavorful, you can, without question, slash that simple syrup, sip, and say, “ahhhhhhh.”

Tea-Infused Vodka

peach mint vodka

Here’s what you need to get started:
+ High quality Vodka {Costco-sized Skyy is what I used}, approx. 300 ml per Mason Jar.
+ 6 mason jars {buy here}
+ Loose leaf or bagged tea + add-ins.
+ 3 days of brewing time.
+ Fine mesh strainer.

Green Tea // Cucumber + Orange + Mint

loose leaf green tea

+ 1 Tbs loose leaf green tea
+ 1/3 cucumber, sliced
+ 1/2 orange peel
+ handful of mint leaves

 Cocktail Suggestion:  Cucumber Orange Spritzer – Serve 1 1/2 oz tea-infused vodka over ice + 1 cup seltzer and a squeeze of lime, float a thin cucumber slice on top and garnish with an orange twist.

orange cucumber mint green tea

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Chai Tea // Orange + Cinnamon + Vanilla Bean

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+1 Tbs loose leaf Chai Tea
+ 1/2 orange peel
+ 2 cinnamon sticks
+ 1 vanilla bean pod

Cocktail Suggestion:  Hot Chai Tea Toddy – Serve 1 1/2 oz tea-infused vodka + 1 cup hot water with a squeeze of orange.

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Black Tea // Habenero + Garlic

black tea garlic habenero

+ 1 Tbs loose leaf black tea
+ 3 small habenero peppers
+ 5 garlic cloves

Brew Time: 2-3 days, depending on how spicy you like it.

Cocktail Suggestion:  The Perfect Bloody Mary –  Serve 1 1/2 oz tea-infused vodka over ice + 3/4 cup V8, a dash of worcestershire, dash of hot sauce, squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a celery stalk and stuffed olives.

black tea garlic habenero

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White Tea // Strawberry + Rhubarb + Vanilla + Mint

strawberry rhubarb vodka

+ 1 1/2 Tbs White Tea
+ 4 whole strawberries
+ 1/4 rhubarb stalk
+ 1 vanilla bean pod
+ handful of mint leaves

Cocktail Suggestion:  The Strawberry Shortcake  – Serve 1 1/2 tea-infused vodka over ice + 1 cup vanilla seltzer.  Garnish with a sliced strawberry and mint.

 

strawberry rhubarb vodka

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Lavender Tea // Lemon + Mint

lavender lemon mint vodka

+ 1 Tbs lavender tea
+ 1 Tbs loose garden lavender
+ 1 lemon rind
+ handful of mint leaves

Cocktail Suggestion:  Lemon Lavender Spritzer – Serve 1 1/2 oz tea-infused vodka over ice + 1 cup seltzer water and a squeeze of lemon.  Garnish with a lemon twist and mint.

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Peach and Ginger Tea // Peach Slices + Mint

peach mint tea

+ 1 peach oolong tea bag
+ 1 ginger tea bag
+ 1/2 peach, sliced
+ handful of mint leaves

Cocktail Suggestion:  White Peach Sangria – In a large pitcher, add 1 cup tea-infused vodka + one bottle sweet white wine {Moscato or Reisling works great}, 1 sliced peach, 1 sliced apple, and 1/2 cup grapes, halved.  Let chill for at least 2 hours before adding 2 cups chilled seltzer water and serve.

 

infused vodka

peach  mint tea vodka

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Did you know that vodka is just as good as a stress reliever as red wine?  Science proved it.

And did you know tea contains boat-loads of antioxidants?  If you hadn’t heard, antioxidants are those awesome compounds that fight against free-radicals that contribute to aging, cancer, and other chronic disease.

I’m not saying that drinking tea-infused vodka will help cure cancer, unclog your arteries, or make you look 10 years younger… but it will certainly taste refreshingly delicious, save you calories, and at the least, make for a fun summer afternoon!

Recipe ReDux InLinkz Link-Up

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Polenta Three Cheese Pizza

know how hard it is to bake a gluten-free pizza crust.  Sticky, dense, or rock-hard… You might as well serve up melted cheese on a cardboard box.  Bleck.

But never fear, Polenta Pizza to the rescue!  Crisp, fiber-full, and just the right density.  I don’t even miss regular wheat pizza!

polenta

This was the perfect vehicle for my FODMAP “cautious” lactose challenge.  Bring on the cheese, baby!  {BTW, this girl tolerates milk products just fine!}

Polenta Three Cheese Pizza

Gluten-Free
Serves 4
Adapted from Living FODMAP Free

gluten free

Ingredients:

  • 36 ounces (2 packages) pre-cooked polenta
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs green onion, chopped {omit white part for Low FODMAP friendly}
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbs green onion, chopped
  • 1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 C shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 C goat cheese
  • pepperoni (if desired)
  • 1/2 C spinach

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place one package polenta in Kitchen Aid Mixer, using whisk attachment to break apart.  Repeat with second package.  Add water, corn starch, gluten-free flour, and 1 Tbs green onion.  Mix until smooth and forms dough ball.  Add additional water by the tablespoon if necessary.
  3. Press dough out evenly on to a pizza pan and bake for 35 minutes {Or until cooked through. Test this by using a toothpick – if it’s cooked, the toothpick will come out clean}.
  4. Mix green onion and tomato sauce together.  Spread over cooked pizza shell.
  5. Add cheese, and other desired toppings, and place in oven for an additional 25 minutes, or until cheese turns golden brown.
  6. Remove and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

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gluten-free

This crust is to die for.  Crisp and light, not too dense.

I chose to add some green onions to my tomato sauce, because I wanted a little extra flavor.  I am still avoiding garlic and onion, so my tomato sauce contained the basics – tomato and basil.  I used Pomi, which took me forever and a day to find at the grocery store.  Next time you are at the grocery store, just try and find a pizza sauce without garlic and onion.  Practically impossible!

Low FODMAP

gluten free salad pizza recipe

And please don’t forget to add some veg to the pizza.  Let’s be civilized, here.

spinach pizza gluten free recipe

polenta pizza gluten free recipe

gluten free pizza slice

Ohhhh yes, yes, yes.  That’ll do!

Enjoy!

 

Brown Sugar Pork Chops + Spicy Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

This is your last reminder!  If you haven’t done so already,

remember to update your RSS feeds and bookmarks to the new URL: StephanieRDN.com!

If you don’t update your feed reader to the new URL, you will no longer receive new post updates, and we wouldn’t want that!  Happy reading!

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I never knew how much I loved pork, until I gave this recipe a whirl. Oh. my. god. Rich and juicy and full of flavor. Talk about a twist on traditional comfort food. Not to mention, pulled together in less than an hour. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

First things first. Wine.

sweet potatoes and wine

Pinot Noir, please.

Pinot Noir and Pork

Then chopping.

quartered sweet potatoes

Cube your sweet potatoes, place them in a gallon-sized freezer ziploc, add olive oil and spices, then toss.

basket of spices

One of the three baskets of spices in my kitchen. We love flavor.

While the sweet potatoes are baking, get started on your pork.

brown sugar pork

After the sweet potatoes have baked for 15 minutes, start searing your pork. Enjoy the delicious aroma of butter and brown sugar. Mmmmm…

brown sugar pork recipe

My mouth is watering. Time to get cooking!

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Brown Sugar Pork Chops + Spicy Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

{Low FODMAP friendly}
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

brown sugar pork chop recipe

Ingredients:

Brown Sugar Pork Chop

  • 2 pork loin chops, approx. 1″ thick each
  • 4 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spicy Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • Dash of ground cayenne red pepper {more if you like the heat}

Instructions:

Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cube sweet potatoes.  Place in ziploc freezer bag and add olive oil and spices. Toss until well coated.
  3. Spread potatoes evenly on baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes.  Flip.  Bake for 15 more minutes until soft.
  4. If desired, drizzle with additional olive oil and toss to coat before serving.

Brown Sugar Pork Chops

  1. Season top and bottom of pork chops with salt, pepper, and brown sugar.  Let set 15 minutes while sweet potatoes bake.
  2. Heat frying pan on high heat.  Add butter to pan and melt.  Add pork chops, searing each side for 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium and cook through to an internal temp of 145 degrees {approx. 15 minutes total cook time}.
  3. Give pork chops 3 minutes to rest before digging in, and enjoy!

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recipe pork chop sweet potato corn

The crisp, caramelized crust is out of this world, and contrasted with the tender inside – divine!

And let’s compare nutrition facts:

  • 3 oz Pork Chop – 137 calories, 4 grams fat, 65 mg cholesterol
  • 3 oz Chicken Breast – 140 calories, 3 grams fat, 72 mg cholesterol

Pork isn’t so scary, right?

And how ’bout the sweet potatoes?  Bursting with antioxidants Vitamin A and C to help support a healthy immune system, keep your eyes bright, and your skin glowing.

Now that’s what I call a meal!

recipe healthy pork chops and sweet potatoes

Nom!

 

Weekly Menu + My New Diet

You may have noticed yesterday I posted a gluten-free recipe, something I haven’t done in about a year and half… It wasn’t because I just had some left over gluten-free flour that I needed to use up, or because I was trying to provide a trendy gluten-free recipe to you, my dear reader.  It’s because I am I am going back to gluten-free.  Actually, I’m taking it a little further than just wheat; I am going Low FODMAP.

I was first introduced to the Low FODMAPs diet two years ago during my undergrad while shadowing a fabulous dietitian, Carol Plotkin at On Nutrition in Rochester, NY.  I adopted a handful of the recommendations for a short period of time, and the results were amazing!  No more stomachaches, bloating, gas … and other unpleasant side effects.  Plus, I lost a little weight, got way faster, and felt more energized!

Now I’m not trying to convince you to go Low FODMAP, and let me note – this is not a weight-loss diet – but if you struggle with IBS symptoms, you may give it a try to see if you can find relief too.

So let me give you a brief review on what a FODMAP is…

Fermentable
Oligosaccharide {fructans and galactans}
Disaccharide {lactose}
Monosaccharide {fructose}
And
Polyols {sugar alcohols}

FODMAPs are specific types of carbohydrates that are rapidly fermented in our GI tract.  As the healthy bacteria in our gut digests and consumes FODMAP carbohydrates, they produce gas and draw in water.  For people with IBS, these normal physiological processes are exaggerated resulting in undesirable side effects.

So what are some of the big culprits?

  • Fructans – Artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, chicory (Inulin), snow peas, onions, garlic, wheat, and rye
  • Galactans – Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and soy products
  • Lactose – Milk, yogurt, ice cream, riccotta, and cottage cheese
  • Fructose – Apples, pears, peaches, mangos, water, coconut, dried fruits, fruit juice, honey, agave, and high fructose corn syrup
  • Polyols – Sugar alcohols, apricots, plums, nectarines, watermelon, cauliflower, and mushrooms

Currently, I am starting with a very strict elimination phase, where I am cutting out all  FODMAPs for two weeks.  I have never done an elimination type diet, and while I do have a pretty good idea what gives me grief {fructans, galactans, and fructose kill me, whereas polyols and lactose I tolerate fairly well, with the exception of sugar alcohols}, I think I will gain an even greater insight into foods I can tolerate and those I just plain can’t.

So here’s what I have planned for this week’s Low FODMAP menu:

+ Pork Chops + Baked Sweet Potatoes + Corn
+ Seared Ahi Tuna + Brown Rice + Mixed Asian Veg
+ Chicken Thai Quinoa Salad {inspired by this recipe}

And workouts for the week:

+ Monday – Chest & Biceps
+ Tuesday – Legs & Abs // 3 mi trails
+ Wednesday – Rest
+ Thursday –  Shoulders & Triceps // 3 mi
+ Friday – Legs & Abs
+ Saturday – 4 mi trails
+ Sunday – 3 mi

I’m upping my running this week after feeling like a slacker since this past weekend’s SLO Marathon.  I may or may not be feeling the racing itch!  Hopefully my new diet will help get me back in good shape for running season!

Happy Tuesday!

Almond Quinoa & Oat Waffles with Blueberry Drizzle

Happy Monday!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I’m still in weekend mode as I am still off from work today.  Monday = the new Sunday for this girl.  When I first started my job at the hospital I thought I would hate my new “weekend,” but being off Monday does have it’s perks.  I’m able to make appointments, get in great workouts, meal prep, and run errands without having to fight the hustle of the weekend crowd.  It also makes the traditional Sunday Funday mimosa brunch a little less guilt-inducing knowing that I have the next day off. 😉

Speaking of which, Jaime and I went back to Luna Red yesterday from Sunday brunch to get our fix.  Jaime loves the chicken and quinoa waffles, and I love that he loves such a awesome whole grain version of his favorite food.  So in attempt to satisfy the craving, I decided to make my own version the recipe.  And to my delight, these turned out {in my humble opinion} EVEN BETTER than Luna Red’s!  Full of texture, fiber, protein, and flavor. Mmmmm. Gimme.  And instead of the savory fried chicken-scrambled egg-topping route, I went with a luscious blueberry drizzle.  But to be honest, you don’t even need syrup for these waffles.  They are that good.

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Almond Quinoa & Oat Waffles with Blueberry Drizzle

{Gluten-Free}
Prep time: 30 min {less if you have quinoa pre-preped}
Cook Time: 10 mins
Makes 4 waffles.

gluten free

Ingredients:

Almond Oat & Quinoa Waffle 

  • 1 C cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 3/4 C gluten-free all purpose flour {regular will work too}
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 C water

Blueberry Drizzle

  • 1 C frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 C real maple syrup

Instructions:

For Waffles:

  1. Add cooked quinoa, rolled oats, gluten-free flour {I used Bob’s Red Mill}, salt, and cinnamon to a large bowel.  Mix until combined.
  2. In a small bowl, add eggs, vegetable oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.  Whisk together.
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir to combine.  Add up to 1/4 C water to thin batter.  Add additional 1 Tbs if needed.
  4. Heat waffle maker and spray with cooking oil.  Add batter according to waffle maker instructions and cook.

For Drizzle:

  1. Add frozen blueberries and syrup to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer for approx. 2 minutes.  Pour over waffles.

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gluten free

Gahhhhh, I die. SO good.

gluten free

I decided to use my Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Pupose flour to go completely wheat free this morning.  Luna Red’s, however, is not gluten-free.

Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

Rolled oats, quinoa, and gluten-free flour.  Plus a side of fresh-brewed coffee and sunshine.

Making Waffles

Organic eggs, please.

Organic Eggs

gluten free

Now, isn’t that pretty?

Gluten Free Waffles

They are a hearty waffle with great texture.

gluten-free baking

Tons of staying power!

gluten-free

And the sweet, sweet syrup.  Mmmm.

gluten-free

Hope you enjoy!

Have a great week!

 

Honey Glazed Beet, Fresh Fig, and Roasted Kale Salad

I love parties.

I love planning parties.

I love making food to eat at parties.

I love eating food other people made at parties.

I love food and parties.

I mean, who doesn’t?  Unless you’re an introvert.  But even then, you still probably like food.

So bring this to your next party.  I just did. {Happy Birthday Anouk!!}

Honey Glazed Beet, Fresh Fig, and Roasted Kale Salad

{Gluten-Free, Vegetarian}

IMG_6449

Prep Time: 30 – 45 minutes
Serves: 4 entree-sized salads, or 8 sides

Ingredients:

  • 8 small beets {or 4 large}
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 bunches dinosaur kale
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2-dozen figs, quartered
  • 1 C ricotta
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Peel and cut beets into wedges.  Toss with 2 Tbs olive oil and salt to taste.  Place on a large baking sheet, and cook for 25 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Whisk together 2 Tbs honey and 2 Tbs olive oil.  Toss cooked beets in dressing.  Adding additional honey, salt, or pepper as desired.
  3. Turn oven to broil.  Remove stems of kale leaves.  In two batches, toss with 1 Tbs olive oil each, and salt and pepper.  Place one bunch in the oven for 5 minutes, or until edges become crispy and lightly charred.  Repeat with second bunch.  Chop roasted kale into bite sized pieces.
  4. Plate figs and honey glazed beets atop roasted kale.  Dollop on ricotta and serve!

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I love this salad.  It is so simple.

IMG_6414

The honey glaze for the beets could also be used as a salad dressing drizzle if desired.

IMG_6419

But I think the ingredients speak for themselves.

IMG_6428

A beautiful mix of color, texture, and taste.

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I was nervous to bring kale AND beets to a party, but people ate it up!  {Maybe that’s a lovely California thing, or maybe it’s the fact that we played chubby bunny and stuffed ourselves silly with sugar – veggies to counteract the marshmallow high.}

IMG_6437

Note:  If you are bringing this to a party, Do Not Mix.  It will turn the salad into pink mush! And you don’t want that.

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Mmmm. Doesn’t that look good?

Bon Appetite!

Kale, Quinoa, & Orange Salad

Hello there darlings.

Happy Friday!

itsfridayonlystudy2hours

Or maybe 3 or 4…

Hope your week went well!

I have a delicious recipe to share with you today.

I know. Can you believe it? It’s been way too long.
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Kale, Quinoa, & Orange Salad

Adapted from the  Edible Perspective
{vegan}
{gluten-free}

IMG_6390

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbs Coconut oil, or olive oil
  • 1 C Uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C Water
  • 6 Tbs Olive oil
  • 4 1/2 Tbs White wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Orange zest
  • 1/2 head Dinosaur kale
  • 3 Oranges
  • 1 C Chickpeas

Instructions:

  1. Place the coconut oil in pot over medium heat and add quinoa once hot.  Stir quinoa and oil for 3 – 5 minutes.
  2. Add water and bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, stir once and cover with lid for 15 – 18 minutes until water is absorbed.  Do not stir while cooking.
  3. Remove quinoa from heat and let sit covered for 5 – 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, and place in the refrigerator on a large baking sheet to chill.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, orange juice,  honey, zest, and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.
  5. Remove and discard stems from kale leaves.  Slice leaves into thin ribbons, measuring out approximately 3 Cups loosely packed kale.
  6. Remove skins and section oranges into bite sized pieces.
  7. Add kale, oranges, chickpeas with half of the dressing in a large bowl.  Toss and place in refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.
  8. Add kale, chilled quinoa, and remaining dressing together.  Mix well.
  9. Top with chopped pecans and orange zest, serve or store covered.

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Ohhh yes, yes, yes.

This is such a light and refreshing salad.  Perfect for hot summer days.

First, I want to start with the quinoa. Now, I know most of you know about quinoa – but have you ever cooked it using a little coconut oil?

IMG_6346

Holy smokes.

Brown up your quinoa in sweet coconut goodness before adding water. Ohhhh boy!

IMG_6347

Heaven! I’m in heaven.

We could stop with the recipe right here, really.

Bucket of coconut quinoa for one please!

That’s the awesome thing about cooking up a big batch of grains at the beginning of your week. You can do anything with it – eat it hot in the morning with a little milk and sugar, have a serving on the side with salmon and grilled veggies, or add beans and veg for a complete meal! So versatile.

Okay – getting side tracked here.

So while you are cooking up your quinoa, get started on making your vinaigrette. {Does anyone else have the worst time spelling ‘vinaigrette?’}

IMG_6348

A little of this, a little of that…

IMG_6355

Bada-bing, bada-boom.

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{Please note: Those past two lines should be read with a thick New Jersey // Italian accent.}

Now chop up that kale real good.

IMG_6373

Add in the rest of the ingredients.

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Voila!

IMG_6375

A delicious meal that is hardy enough to last in the fridge for the entire work week {that is, if you have the will-power to not eat it all}.

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Pretty, no?

IMG_6392

Pretty and delicious.

Have a Killer Weekend!