DIY Christmas Presents : Eats & Treats

Merry Monday everyone! Christmas is coming quicker than I can handle, so while I shop online today, I’m also going to whip up a few homemade Christmas gifts that everyone on my list will enjoy.  I love giving and receiving edible gifts. Knowing the treats were made with love and care in someone’s kitchen makes them extra enjoyable.  If you still don’t have a present for me, here are a few suggestions 😉 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur3-1024x889 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur6

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Rosemary Roasted Vegtables

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. You can see all of our rosemary posts here. Today we’re ending the series with our easiest recipe and the absolute most popular rosemary dish in our house.

 

As you’ll see, this is a dish where any vegetable goes; the only constants are my roasting and seasoning methods. For those reasons this post reads more like an instruction manual and less like a recipe. If you’re making these for dinner, be sure to begin prepping them about two hours before you want to eat. I know that sounds crazy, but I like to do a lower roasting temperature that leaves the vegetables moist and concentrates their delicious flavors. After you’ve had them once you’ll see that the prep is so easy and they taste amazing, so it’s totally worth the cooking time. Throughout this post we’ve included photos of our past roasted veg experiments, all at different stages of preparation.

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Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. A few weeks ago we infused vodka with rosemary and made bloody marys; today we’re infusing olive oil.  Find other rosemary concoctions here. 

Oil infusion may be my new favorite hobby.  I’m a first timer, but I’m here to rave about it.  Make this rosemary infused olive oil and thank yourself while cooking all your future meals.  I felt like a little chemist with the measuring, pouring, heating and transferring (sorry to all the chemists I’ve just insulted).  Oil infusion may not be the most exciting or glamorous activity for a Friday night, but it’s so stinkin’ easy and it’s plain stinkin’ too.  It makes your entire home smell super fresh.  The green herbs combined with warm olive oil ease your senses into an aromatic daydream.  Personally I was skipping along green hillsides in Italy.  I’m excited to try other herbs and even fruits like lemons and oranges.  A little basket of different oils and yummy breads would make a great gift for a chef or a snacker or an anyone.

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Rosemary Body Scrubs

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. Today we’re using the same rosemary essential oil that we used to make those invigorating room sprays. Want the recipe for a perfect evening? Take a shower with these scrubs, pore yourself a Rosemary SAGE Fizz, and roast a plate of rosemary tomatoesliveseasoned_spring2014_rosemaryscrub7-1024x768 copy

We are always down for making our own body care products. Sure, it requires time and sometimes a bit of experimentation, but it’s almost always worth it. Why? It feels good to know the short list of ingredients we use are nontoxic. It’s often cheaper than products from the pharmacy. The options for personalization are endless! And finally, when I’m in the kitchen mixing up a big batch of this or that, I love that Calder refers to them as potions. Silly, but fun.

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Roasted Rosemary Tomato Skewers

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season.  Sometimes we drink it, sometimes we spray it and other times we bake with it. Oh, and sometimes we water it too.

Roasted Rosemary Tomatoes are a great addition to any meal! Seriously, they’re the best.  The rosemary skewers also make presentation a breeze, which is why I used mine as a cheese plate accompaniment.

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Packed full of flavor, but not overpowering, roasted rosemary tomatoes are delicious in couscous, quinoa and lettuce salads.  They also make a yummy topping for crackers and melba toast paired with some crumbles of cheese.  Roasted rosemary tomatoes are especially delicious in fettuccine alfredo, pasta primavera and margarita pizza or as a dinner side. Enough about how they taste, let’s talk about how roasted rosemary tomatoes are prepared.

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Rosemary *Sage* Fizz

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season (season of the season?). This is our second rosemary drink. We’ve already discussed infusing vodka with the herb, and today we’re using it to infuse simple syrup for a gin-based drink.

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You may recognize the photo above from Alex’s striped birthday recap. As I mentioned before, we were catering to the adults this year. Being the proud Pennsylvanians that we are, family gatherings always involve a case of Yuengling, but we often like to include a fun* alternative or two. With the little guy underfoot, I’m trying to be more smart in my planning. An alternate drink is awesome, but one that doesn’t have to be made glass-by-glass is even better. So, when I saw this recipe on A Cup of Jo, I couldn’t wait to try my first group-sized cocktail!

The original recipe called for gin, but I used my favorite substitute ~ Art in the Age’s Sage, which they describe as being a “garden gin” made from plants collected, grown, and chronicled from the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Ingredients & Such

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice & lemon slices
  • 1 cup Art in the Age Sage
  • 1 bottle of Prosecco
  • Make the simple syrup. Mix together the sugar, water, and a few sprigs of rosemary. Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Mix the cool simple syrup together with the remaining ingredients.
  • Serve with a garnish of rosemary and/or lemon slices!

I loved this drink! It was delicious, and the combination of lemon and rosemary gave it a fresh and somewhat light flavor that I think would make this perfect for any sort of spring or summer event, particularly one outside on the green, green grass.  That said, I loved it so much that I’ll probably find an excuse to make it year round. Come back in December and I’ll be telling you that with its rosemary garnish, it’s the perfect drink for your Christmas party (especially if you add some frozen cranberries to the punch bowl!). 

The drink was strong, but as Joanna recommends, you can add a second bottle of Prosecco to lighten it a touch.  I kept it to one bottle, because our gathering was small, and as it was we still had some left over, and I would say that that is the only downside of the big-batch cocktail. On the other hand, I put the extra in the fridge, and happily sipped on it for the rest of the week. The Prosecco’s bubbles faded, but it still tasted delicious. 

*While the party was in full swing, I referred to this drink as being fun. Our sister, Kristin, then told me that she’s noticed (and it drives her crazy), that as women age they start to use fun as an adjective more often than they should (Isn’t that shirt fun? Look at this fun rabbit hole we’re going down. Should I go on?). Does this drive you crazy too? Or did you see this post and think, “my word, what a fun drink!”? Apparently we aren’t the only ones caught up in this debatable use of the word!

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Vegan Rosemary Tomato Scones

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season.  Sometimes we use it in food, sometimes in alcohol and other times in our home.

Scones are a simple alternative to everyday breakfast foods.  I’m guilty of forgetting about these little treats until I see them piled up in coffee shops, but you don’t have to wait until you go out for this treat. Scones are extremely simple to make at home, and that’s coming from someone who shies away from baking!  They’re quick too.  Start this vegan rosemary tomato scone recipe, and you’ll actually be finished mixing and kneading by the time the oven is preheated.  Only dirty a few dishes will be dirtied, so you can clean up while they bake and by the time the buzzer sounds you’ll be sitting down with your morning coffee or tea.

Try this vegan version; it’s a bit healthier since it lacks the usual butter and heavy cream.  It’s always nice to build a vegan and vegetarian recipe repertoire to accommodate vegan guests, introduce healthier alternatives to dairy and meat loving friends or round out your own diet. These scones are not only yummy, but beautiful too.  The tomato gives them a nice orange color and the roughly chopped rosemary really stands out.  It’s an easy way to add a pop of color to your breakfast and you can even make them the night before (bonus!) if you’re entertaining.

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Rosemary Room Spray

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. Today we’re stepping out of the kitchen and using rosemary oil to create a room spray that will leave your whole house smelling fantastic!  If you follow this link, you’ll see some of our other favorite uses for essential oils. 

Hey readers, it’s been a fun week around here, hasn’t it? Did you check out Sarah’s profile of Connie Zamorano Tuesday afternoon? Now I’m obsessed with getting one of those cicada prints on my wall!

If the bugs left you squirming in your seat, you can channel that energy into this super simple project: homemade rosemary, mint and eucalyptus room spray. Have you tried store bought room sprays? I have a few, and I have to admit that I love them at first, but find that they can be a bit overpowering in their staying power and/or they just smell chemically over time. I don’t have either problem when I make my own. As for complexity, it’s going to take you longer to read this post than it will to mix up your spray.

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Savory Rosemary Scones

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. We think you’ll love the rosemary aroma that’s left on your fingers after mixing these scones, only to by topped by the aroma that fills your house as they are baking!

These are your grandmother’s scones.  Rosemary, butter and heavy cream are the main flavor players in this mix.  Crumbly, but not dry, these scones are perfect with a cup of tea or in place of a biscuit at lunch or dinner.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks

Glaze (optional)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbs. milk
  • sea salt for sprinkling

*makes 8 large scones

Instructions:

  • Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, rosemary, baking powder and salt.  I like to give the ingredients a light whisk to ensure everything is mixed evenly.
  • Slice cold butter and add it to the dry ingredients.  Now it’s time to play Edward-butter-knife-hands, if you have a pastry cutter-use that now.  Hold a butter knife in each hand and begin chopping the slices of butter even smaller until all the pieces are no larger than a tic-tac.  That little lump you see on the butter knife is an example of what your largest butter ball should look like.
  • In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the two egg yolks and stir in the cup of cream until it’s blended together.  If you’re new to the egg-separating game, don’t fret it’s easy.  Just give your egg a good whack on the side of a small bowl, right about in the center of the shell.  Then pour the yolk into one side of the shell and back into the other.  Continue to do that little egg dance until all of the egg whites fall out of the shell and into the small bowl.  You should be left with a perfect little yolk.  After the egg yolks and cream are blended, combine it with the dry ingredients.
  • Gently mix the batter with a wooden spoon.
  • Dust your hands and a clean surface with flour.  Lightly knead the batter.  I like to push the ball forwards over and into itself, backwards, left and right.  You don’t want to over mix the dough or it will become gummy.  Lumps and bumps are characteristics of a great scone.
  • Form the dough into a disk about an inch thick.  Cut the disk in half and then cut each half into four triangles.  Place the triangles on your prepared baking sheet.

The glaze is optional, but it adds a nice golden sheen to the scones, so if you’d like to pretty ‘em up a bit then glaze on.

  • Lightly whisk two eggs and a tablespoon of milk and brush it onto your wedges.  If you’re like me and your kitchen isn’t fully stocked with gadgets, gizmos and mainly a pastry brush, no worries!  Wash your hands and grab a spoon.  Spoon a little bit of glaze onto each triangle and gently brush two fingers over it to evenly coat the scone. You’ll have a good amount of glaze left over. Martha is probably shaking her head, but that’s how we do it over in Sarah’s kitchen.
  • Sprinkle each scone with a bit of course salt and before popping them in the oven for 15-18 minutes.

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While the scones were baking I mixed the extra glaze with the two egg whites and scrambled up a healthy little snack.  It was just enough to tide me over until the buzzer rang.  The scones should have a golden brown crust when they’re finished.  To ensure they are fully baked, insert a toothpick, chopstick or butter knife into the center of a scone and make sure it comes out squeaky clean. Serve warm or at room temperature and be sure to enjoy!

*I slightly tweaked this recipe from one found in Fine Cooking.
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Rosemary Vodka & Herb Bloody Marys

As you would expect, we love to eat seasonally, varying our ingredients and menus to take advantage of whatever is fresh at the moment. We thought it would be fun to place extra emphasis on one flavor or ingredient each season, highlighting the variety of ways you can use it in your food and home. To kick things off, this season’s ingredient is rosemary!

Today we wanted to share an amazingly simple way to turn your average bloody mary into something extraordinary: rosemary vodka!

Making the vodka is so easy, and when paired with our bloody mary recipe below, you’ll be the star of your next brunch (honestly, the bloody mary will be the star, you’ll be drunk).  We’ve dressed up the bloody mary with some fresh herbs and cheese stuffed olives, nothing too crazy, but just fun enough to make these bloody marys memorable.

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First the vodka  ~ I’m going to provide basic instructions, but fom my experience, the process is flexible and can be adjusted based upon how strongly flavored you want your vodka to be.

 

Vodka Ingredients

  • 4 cups vodka
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary (more or less to adjust flavor)

Place the rosemary and vodka in a clean jar to steep. After a few days, give your vodka a taste. You should be able to taste a hint (or more) of the rosemary flavor. I wanted an intense flavor (and I may have forgotten about this project for a moment), so I let my rosemary steep for over a week. After that amount of time, the rosemary flavor was perfectly present in my bloody mary, but not overwhelming.

Whenever you are happy with the rosemary flavor of your vodka, remove the rosemary sprigs. Be prepared for your vodka to turn a greenish-brown color as the rosemary’s tannins are released ~ while slightly unnerving, the color change really makes it seem like you’ve made a potion!

Now, you could take your vodka and make a basic bloody mary, but why not dress it up a bit? The recipe below simplifies things by using bloody mary mix, but then we splurge on the goat cheese-stuffed olives and the fragrance from the additional fresh herbs.

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Bloody Mary Ingredients

(makes 1)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4-5 oz bloody mary mix
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 2 dashes worchestershire sauce
  • lime wedge
  • celery stalk
  • goat cheese
  • green olives (I purchased olives without the pimentos)
  • fresh herbs, particularly dill and cilantro

Stuff your olives with the goat cheese. I used a knife to push the goat cheese into the open end of the olive. It wasn’t pretty, but it was relatively easy.

In a glass filled with ice, add the vodka, bloody mary mix, worchestershire, and horseradish. Stir it well. Arrange the celery stalk and herb sprigs in the glass. Add the lime wedge and skewered olives to the glass’s edge.

Enjoy!

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Have you tried your hand at infused vodkas? Have any favorite flavors?

What about your bloody mary, what are your favorite garnishes?

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