Monday, June 11, 2018

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar


Most of my recipes are for people food. But I have a few non-food recipes that are worth knowing about. This is one.

Hummingbirds are really amazing animals. They're fast, small, and exotic-seeming, although hummingbirds of some variety are found in most parts of the country. If you have a feeder or several, you'll find that they're fairly brave animals as well. I guess that's what happens when you're super speedy. We used to have several feeders and they'd zoom right past us--just over our heads and in front of our faces. It's almost frightening actually what with those long pointy beaks they've got. Sometimes they'll even battle over a feeder using their beaks like swords (I'm totally not kidding; it's crazy.) We bird-watchers--we have some pretty wild times.

I knew it was time to get the feeders out when I saw a hummingbird trying to feed off of my red watering can (and just about any other brightly colored thing on the deck). Unfortunately, our feeders had met an unfortunate end in the dishwasher at the end of last season (Note: Do not, I repeat do NOT put your cheap plastic hummingbird feeders in the dishwasher--top or bottom shelf.) So I hopped on over to my spending Achilles heel: Rural King. They had plenty of feeders to choose from and next to all the feeders, they had that hummingbird nectar that they sell. It usually looks like orange or red syrup. And it costs a lot (I believe these were $4.99 a pop). I saw a lady standing there in front of the "nectar," reading a box. And I really really really wanted to stop her and tell her she didn't have to buy that expensive colored corn syrup and that she could make her own for super cheap. But then I was worried that that would be weird or creepy. Especially since I'd gone to Rural King dressed, as usual, in my best (cough) yard work clothes.

To make up for it, I will stop you. Do not buy that silly hummingbird nectar. Make you own. My mother-in-law--an avid bird lover/watcher--gave me this recipe for hummingbird nectar. It has worked for us for years. Super easy. Super cheap. I can hear the hummingbirds whizzing now.

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar
Prep time: 1 minute
Cost: $.05 for 1 cup (that's opposed to nearly $5.00 for not much more than a cup)

1 part white granulated sugar
4 parts water

Mix it up. I allow the sugar to dissolve. Pour into your hummingbird feeder. And they will come. (Um, probably--like, if you've got them in your area and all.) It can remain good for a few weeks (if the hummingbirds don't gobble it up), but if the nectar gets foggy, change it out and clean your feeder (not in the dishwasher) because something has likely contaminated the nectar.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Citrus Gelato--No Ice Cream Maker Required


It's summer! Well, pretty close anyway. Around here, it's been hot. When it's hot I crave ice cream. I know that some people crave ice cream all the time, but I really only crave it when my bones are melting. So pretty much all summer.

What I love about this ice cream is that it can be made without an ice cream maker, and that you can use any old citrus fruits you have sitting around. We've made it with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and a combination. And it is SO SO good. Using the citrus fruits just makes it incredibly refreshing. I'm seriously having to force myself to keep typing and not go make more RIGHT NOW. It's so good, I like to pretend it's completely healthy by focusing on the 1/4 C of fruit juice and forgetting about the cup of sugar and two cups of cream. Because, yeah, all that fruit juice--I'm basically consuming a smoothie, right? I said, riigghht...

Below you'll find my original post and some tips for variations. Enjoy!

Have you had enough of virtuous drinks and ugly vegetables?

Good. Because I think there's still just enough summer left to squeeze in more ice cream, don't you?

This treat was inspired by a grapefruit gelato posted on apronstrings. It was the best frozen treat I've had all summer (and I have had, um, a few). I figured it would work with other citrus as well. And boy, did it ever.

In addition to tasting amazing, this ice cream requires no ice cream maker and takes a whopping 7 minutes to whip up (although for purposes of full disclosure, I should mention, it takes 4-8 hours to freeze). Seriously, it's so good, so easy, and all natural. And if you want more virtue in your ice cream, hear this: Before we went away on our trip, we had 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime, and some cream. So you see, I had to make this ice cream, because otherwise, those things would have gone bad. And we all know that's a sin, right? Amen and amen.

Lemon-Lime Gelato
adapted from apronstrings
Serves 6 (or 4 or 2 or maybe just you because, really, who's counting)
Prep time: 7 minutes
Cost: $2.15
(1/2 lemon: .20, 1/2 lime: .15, cream: 1.50, milk: .10, sugar: .20)

Note: This recipe requires regular whipping cream--as in, not heavy whipping cream. You're shooting for 25-30% milkfat, so it's not too icy and not too much like whipped cream. Here in Evansville we apparently like our creams on the heavy side. The only non-heavy cream I found was still one at 36% milkfat. So for this recipe, I combined 1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream with 1/2 C whole milk (though other milk would probably work too). For the grapefruit version, I used 1 3/4 C of the 36% milkfat cream and 1/4 C whole milk. Both worked well.

1/2 lemon
1/2 lime
1 C sugar
2 C non-heavy whipping cream (see note above)

Juice the lemon and lime. You should end up with about 1/4 C juice. Then zest the lemon and lime.

Pour cream, sugar, juices, and zests into into an 8x8 inch pan. Mix it up. I used a flat whisk and mixed it till the sugar was incorporated enough that it didn't sit in a big lump on the bottom. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours. (If you'd like this ice cream faster than that--and who wouldn't--put it in a larger pan so it's spread thinner.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Easy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies


Mmm. This is a good one. Below you'll find the original post and recipe. Happy Memorial Day!

Generally, I really hate dessert recipes that "cheat." I pretty much loathe all cake box recipes, for example (yeah yeah, haters gonna hate) as well as things made with cinnamon rolls in a tube or Jello in any form (ugh, Jello, why?). But this. For this I will break all my rules. For this perfect and dumb easy cookie, I will add a box of instant chocolate pudding into a regular cookie dough and have some of the best double chocolate chip cookies you will ever taste. I'm not sure what dark magic that pudding uses, but it gives the cookies that moist, fudgy consistency, yet still lets the butter shine through and has a little crisp to the edges. Fool proof every-time-perfect cookies. #welovedarkmagicbutonlyincookiesandmaybefantasynovels

On over HERE I've got a triple chocolate cookie recipe that is amazing in every manner, yet a pain in the bootyttocks to make (it is still forgiven due to its utter awesomeness, but it's not a lazy afternoon cookie). But these. These are simple, yet with the perfect flavor, perfect texture and consistency. Perfectness (yes, I know it's not a word; what of it?). Plus ease.

I got the recipe from my good friend, Becca, who baked them for December's book club, thereby making the universe completely happy. So add some Christmas M&M's to these things and make the people in your life happy.

Easy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes/batch
Cost: $.4.90
butter: 1.35, brown sugar: .20, white sugar: .05, eggs: .20, cocoa: .15, chocolate pudding mix: .85, flour: .20, chocolate chips: 1.90

1 C (2 sticks) butter, soft or a tiny bit melted
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
a little less than 1 tsp baking soda
a little less than 1 tsp salt
1/4 C cocoa
1 small packet instant chocolate pudding mix (NOT cook and serve)
2 C flour
2 C chocolate chips (or 1 C chocolate chips and 1 C M&M's)

Preheat oven to 375. (You're going to drop the temperature to 350 after you put the cookies in.)

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Add soda, salt, cocoa, and chocolate pudding mix. (Note: You may want to stir those powdery cocoa ingredients in by hand at first, so you don't get a puff of chocolatey powder in your lungs and die or at least cough and then have to clean all the walls near your mixer.) Add the flour. Mix until combined, then add chocolate chips and M&M's.

Put in preheated oven, drop temperature to 350. Bake for 9-10 minutes.

Refrain from consuming them all and then blaming science, or at least social science for forcing upon you this experiment on impulse control. Give some to Santa for goodness sake. Or, well, maybe a few of your neighbors if Santa also has poor impulse control.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...