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Tuesday
Jan252011

Hot Pomegranate Cider {with a White Tea Kicker}

Hot Pomegranate Cider goodness—so nice to sip while you read the post.

It’s January—the month that follows the busiest, most indulgent, frivolous, joyful month of the year.

It’s the time we slow down. Take stock. Renew ourselves.

We vow to exercise and eat right. To savor life. To cherish our families. To put our heart and soul into some big endeavor.

We detoxify and revitalize.

What better way to do that than to boost our immune systems with vitamins and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables—smoothies, juices, and detoxifying soups.

It’s a call to arms by Nicola of gfree-mom where a month of bloggers share their antioxidant drinks and soups to create D-Tox January. Welcome to Day 25 of D-tox January. For links to all the other wonderful detoxifying & healthy recipes visit at gfree-mom.

This easy recipe incorporates three antioxidant powerhouses—pomegranate, apple cider and white tea. The combination, hot and steamy will soothe you—a good friend, your honey, and your kids—on a cold winter evening.

I’ve been sipping it to help ward off this darn cold I’ve been fighting. And, just because it tastes really really really good.

So, make a cup, or two, and mosey on over to g-freemom to read her call to arms and peruse the list of other D-tox January drinks and soups. It will inspire you to start on your own D-Tox path.

 

Hot Pomegranate Cider (with a White Tea Kicker)

Heat and lightly simmer in a small saucepan for 10 minutes and remove from the heat:

2 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 whole cloves

Brew the tea for 1 minute in a small teapot:

2 White Tea tea bags (I used Republic of Tea Asian Jasmine White Tea-it’s gluten-free.)
2/3 cups hot (not boiling) water*

Add to the teapot with the white tea:

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice**
Warmed spiced cider

Pour into two large mugs. Sip. Smile.

*Bring the water to a boil and take it off the burner. Let it cool for a few minutes (optimal temperature is 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit). Here’s a really nice guide on how to brew tea from my friend Amber over at Bluebonnets and Brownies.

**I used POM Lite. If you use 100% pomegranate juice reduce the amount to 3/4 cup and substitute the other 3/4 cup with half water/half cider or all water. Of course, if you like the kick pomegranate juice gives this drink go for the whole 1 1/2 cups!! It’s all a matter of taste.

PRINT RECIPE

Sunday
Jan162011

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto—sounds perfect for a cold day in January, don’t you think?

That’s exactly what we’ve got here in the northeast. A cold and somewhat gloomy day. Lots of snow on the ground. A nip in the air. All I want to do is hibernate.

Not possible. The little dogs still get excited about going for a walk—and if they don’t get one they add to the chaos that’s already my home. Holiday stuff is still hanging around waiting to be stored for another year. The kid is making camping stoves from empty soda cans. Laundry is overflowing its basket.

So, we get bundled up and out we go. Every now and then the little boy dog picks up a paw and begs to have it rubbed vigorously until warm. Yes, he’s very spoiled.

Despite the frosty temperatures my husband is camping with the Boy Scouts. It’s the annual Freezeree. He looks forward to it every year. I know. It’s a little crazy. But, it makes him happy. He’s happy. I’m happy. Besides, I’m sleeping in a warm house under a big quilt.

When I got up this morning he was already gone. Lucky me, he made the coffee before he left. I woke up to a quiet house lightly scented with coffee and filled with a sleeping college kid and snoozing dogs. Just enough time for a few hours of just me and…well, whatever.

Seemed like a good time to make a warm, delicious breakfast. Coffee in hand I pulled out all the ingredients and started stirring. About a half hour later I was savoring a bowl of steaming Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Toasted Coconut Breakfast Risotto

Heat a small cast iron frying pan over a low heat. Add:

½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Gently brown the coconut while tossing it lightly with a silicon spatula. The pan retains heat and will continue to brown the coconut so once you get it lightly browned remove it to a dish to cool.

Bring to a simmer in a medium saucepan then turn off the burner keeping the water there to remain warm:

2½ cups water

In a separate saucepan over medium heat add and heat for a minute:

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other vegetable oil

Stir in, coating with oil, and heating for another minute:

½ cup Arborio rice

Add and stir in:

¼ cup dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, raisins)

Now you’re going to add the hot water ¼ cup at a time. The first addition will create a bit of steam so add it carefully. Stir the risotto until the water evaporates and then add another quarter cup. Continue in this manner until all the water has been absorbed and the risotto is plump, soft, and creamy.

Caution: this requires a lot of attention and stirring. If you walk away to do some other tasks you may easily burn the risotto. Trust me on this.

When all the water is absorbed and the risotto is soft and creamy remove it from the heat.

Stir in the remaining ingredients:

¼ cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg (optional)
sea salt

Let it sit for a minute or two to cool and then gently stir in all but a heaping tablespoon of the toasted coconut. Serve in a bowl topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, brown sugar and the remaining coconut.

Makes about 2 or 3 servings.

PRINT RECIPE

Risotto is a wonderful naturally gluten-free food that lends itself to so many flavoring options. Here are a few to get the ideas sparking:

 

Sensitive Pantry—Carmelized Fennel & Onion Risotto

Gluten Free Goddess—Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto

Gluten Free Girl—Bacon Spinach Risotto

Book of Yum—Seven Herb Risotto

Celiacs in the House—Crispy Vegetable & Risotto Cakes