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honeymoon-smoothie-recipe-02

Honeymoon Smoothie | عصر المتزوجين

How do you know it’s springtime in Yemen? So much of Yemen is dusty: sand overwhelms the northern stretches in an area called “Rub’ al Khali” or the “Empty Quarter”; even ancient skyscrapers are made of sun-baked mud, as can be found in the town of Shibam. But… like a mirage, there’s another, glimmering view of Yemen. Between the dusty cliffs of the Hadramout desert lies a valley of prickly trees and honey bees, where one of the world’s great aphrodisiacs accumulates in golden pools. This is Sidr Honey, a.k.a. jujube honey. Every year, semi-nomadic beekeepers flock to the Do’an Valley, where the sweet fragrance of the jujube tree sets the bees into motion. The resulting honey is said to be a tremendous aphrodisiac. And what do you do with an aphrodisiac? You drink it, of course. Honeymoon Smoothie عصير المتزوجين is a love potion of sorts – a honey-laced smoothie meant to sweeten marriage and to help single folks find true love. I call it a “honeymoon smoothie,” though I read that the literal translation is “married couples juice.” Inside you’ll find everything …

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Kir Impérial

In honor of Valentine’s Day – and being one month away from the release of my new memoir (Eeee!!) – I went to the “way back” machine and dug up what I consider to be the most romantic of all French drinks: a Kir Impérial. There are only two things you need to know about Kir Impérial. #1 It bubbles. #2. It tastes like love. But… since I’m a front row kind of gal… The Story Behind Kir Once upon a time the Kir was actually called “vin blanc cassis” – which just means “white wine currants.” According to Larousse Gastronomique, this was a specialty drink from Burgundy, France. It mixed two of the region’s best drinks: an Aligoté wine (dry white wine) and cassis (black currant liqueur). After World War II everything changed. A priest, who helped 5,000 people escape a prisoners of war camp, was knighted and elected as the mayor of Dijon. He always served vin blanc de cassis during official meetings and celebrations, in part because there was a red wine shortage. His name was – you guessed it – Felix …

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besan doodh recipe

Besan Doodh: A Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash

One thought crossed my mind every time I took a sip of the Besan Doodh. The thought overwhelmed the bold cardamom and it distracted from the warm milk tinged with saffron. A small thing, really – a sentence, again and again, bringing tears to my eyes. “I didn’t clip her wings.” These are the words of Malala Yousafzai’s father. Malala is a young woman from Pakistan – just 17 years old. She is easily the greatest superstar in the peace movement right now thanks to her unapologetic opposition to those who would keep girls from receiving an education. Though she’d been blogging for the BBC since she was 11, the whole world paid attention when she took a shot to the head on the way to school at age 15, two years ago. As of Friday, Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first Pakistani winner. In a nice nod to her work for children’s education, she found out about the award during chemistry class. Malala’s father was the first person to write a girl’s name on the family …

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wassail

Wassail

The question is not whether I’d sing to an apple tree, but rather where I can find an apple tree to sing to. My Oklahoman neighborhood just doesn’t deliver the crimson fruit. Regardless, I will tipple this wassail with a cheer (wassail literally means “wes hail”, or good cheer)- after all in 2014 I’m learning about celebrations around the world, a suitable follow-up to completing our first adventure: eating one meal for every country in the world. January is all about wassailing. What is wassailing? Wassailing is the Southern English art – yes, art – of cooking up some of last year’s apple crop with cider – sometimes with a flush of orange peel, warm cinnamon stick, flecks of nutmeg, or maybe allspice. To make it… just… Roast some apples. Click on the burner and clank on a pot of cider and spice. In a moment, heat shimmers through the pot and those first bubbles pop the surface. Seconds later, sweet apple and spice billows through the house. The roasted apples are whipped into a froth, then stirred to …

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Venezuelan Fruit Punch | Tizana

Crack open just about any Venezuelan fridge and you just might find a pitcher of tizana. Tizana is as much a drink as it is a fruit salad. The fruity concoction keeps for nearly a week, which makes it perfect for impromptu scooping. Though perhaps not traditional, I’m guilty of digging into the pitcher at breakfast time, dessert time, and, of course, at midnight. I can see how having tizana in the fridge would be a great way to get my daily allotment of fruit, especially when in a hurry.   So how is it made? For starters, you’ll need about… an entire orchard. Chopped. The kinds of fruit varies, but most recipes seemed to include one or more kinds of melon, pineapple, grapes, bananas, and apples. More exotic fruit like papaya, passion fruit, persimmons, guava, and mango appear once in a while, too. The whole mixture is thinned with good ol’ fashioned OJ and a splash of grenadine. Some people like to add club soda or regular soda to the mix, too.   Seriously. If this doesn’t …

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Orange Blossom Juice

Orange juice is a hardworking breakfast drink. When everyone else in the house is still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, orange juice is waaaay perky. It contains enough joy to put coffee out of business. But what if you had something a little more fancy to offer your family (or guests) in the morning? Orange juice with a splash of orange blossom water is a direct inspiration from the United Arab Emirates (and all over the Gulf), where hosts offer guests orange blossom water & orange juice syrups to their guests.  The orange blossom water adds a floral note – a bit of  perfume-laden romance – something which is often sorely lacking in the early morning hours. If you’d like to get extra fancy, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice. That’ll brighten up the flavor even more. There’s really no recipe… start with a 1/4 tsp orange blossom water per cup of OJ, and add more to taste. I suggest you use the best orange juice you can find. If you …

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Coconut Watermelon Refresher | ‘Otai

Sun. Sweat. Waves. If lemonade is the go-to poolside drink in the United States, ‘Otai is the go-to ocean-side drink of Tonga. Our recipe for ‘Otai takes us way out into the southwest Pacific, where the tropical days lull a person into putting away their smartphone. Can you imagine? Oh, please, someone take my cellphone from me!! My heart is there already. I promise you won’t need your phone to enjoy this drink. What you do need? A watermelon, a can of coconut milk, and some shredded coconut. If you want to get fancy, you can add things like crushed pineapple or papaya, too. A squeeze of lime juice brightens up the flavors (and looks fancy schmancy) TIP: The watermelon and coconut milk should be very cold. Refrigerate them overnight.. or you could make the drink ahead, and refrigerate it for several hours, or overnight. While you wait, paint your toenails watermelon pink (or is it red?). Use three coats. No biggie. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts Ingredients: 1/2 seedless watermelon (about 5 cups mashed) …

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Thai Iced Tea

There’s nothing sweeter than a good love story; and there’s no love story more refreshing than Thai Iced Tea. This is the love story of extra strong Ceylon tea, brewed until deeply blushing. The rouge dissolves like a faint, as sweetened condensed milk swirls into the mix. If you think that’s all there is to Thai Iced Tea, you’d be half right. For many people, that’s all they desire. But every love story needs a little spice, so today we’re going the extra mile, by including one of the little optional additions that give each pitcher ultimate romance … like a few stars, to brighten the mood. Star Anise glitter as brightly as any in the sky…  don’t you think? This is a drink that will cool you after a bite of spicy Thai food. It will calm you after a stressful day. And, if you sweeten it as much as they do in Thailand, it just might make your eyes pop out. In a good way. Note: Some people like to add orange food …

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Lemongrass Dawet

Lemongrass. Coconut milk. Slushie. Pink. Pink. Pink. Hello. The weather’s been heating up lately, so when I happened up this Dawet recipe so beloved in Suriname, I knew we had to try it. When I discovered it was also enjoyed in slushie form? I did a little dance. Slushies are always a good idea. The refreshing, tropical drink is made with an easy, homemade lemongrass syrup, a swirl of coconut milk, and a splash of water (or ice, if making a slushie). Dawet originates from Asia, and is especially popular in Indonesia. The drink was brought to Suriname and popularized as a result of colonization and immigration. In my research, I found several photos of the dawet in Suriname, and it seems the slushie is popular among street vendors. Ava and her friend were fans. There’s so many ways to make this drink. I suggest making the syrup and then toying with how much coconut milk you’d like, versus how much ice. The quantities given are what worked for me, but there really are no …

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Sudanese Cinnamon Tea

Under the pulsing noonday sun, Tea Ladies line the streets of Sudan. They soak up what little shade they can find. Water simmers over charcoal stoves. They swirl a mishmash of ingredients through the steam, into the pot. You can pick your combination. Will it be mint? Or what about ginger? The most popular option for many patrons is cinnamon tea, a blend of black tea steeped with cinnamon sticks. Many patrons like to hold a sugar cube between the teeth while drinking to sweeten the brew. When business is good, men sit and talk at the edge of their Tea Lady’s makeshift stall. They sip her healing brews on metal chairs, a wooden box, or on their haunches. They don’t rush. They soak in the warmth. The might nibble some Zalabya, a.k.a. sugar dumplings, to go with it. Others rush by and drink on the run. When their too busy at home to make tea, this is their version of Starbucks or perhaps Dunkin Donuts. Makes 3 cups Ingredients: 3 cinnamon sticks 3 cups …

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Sangria

About five years ago Sangria was my go-to drink. A sweet, chilled glass served as my weekend wind-down and my mid-week pick-me-up. I sipped the ruby red goodness with friends… and it brought us joy, whether we were laughing or crying. Sangria became such a standby, I even served it at our engagement party in 2007. P.S. Look how glamorous (and eerie) our engagement photo was (Thanks to my amazing friend Rebekah Shannon!) … this feels like a lifetime ago… and I suppose it is, because it’s pre-Ava’s lifetime. But, back to the Sangria. Despite my initial flush of excitement with this Spanish drink, I eventually fell out of love with Sangria; the flavor grew to seem one-dimensional and way too sweet. I suppose the drink felt rather like dating a pretty boy. The fling was nice for a while, but without mutual interests – something deeper – the romance fizzled all too quickly. Then I made a batch of Sangria from scratch. That changed everything. Let’s just say I fell back in love. I made one major change: …

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South African Amarula Coffee

There’s nothing like a drunk elephant to get my attention. Whoa, whoa, whoa. It’ s a little early for that kind of talk. Let me back up a moment. Amarula Coffee is a South African favorite – a breezy concoction that includes your favorite coffee, some brown sugar (the sweetener of choice in South Africa), a shot or two of Amarula, and whipped cream. It’s very much like an Irish Coffee. Why? The Amarula. You can find this creamy concoction at most liquor stores in the United States, next to the Bailey’s. The flavors are quite similar, which makes this drink the perfect nod to Saint Patrick’s Day, South Africa-style. Amaurula is made from Marula fruit. Which brings me full circle, back to the drunk elephants. I’m not sure I can do it justice… so watch for yourself what happens when the elephants (and other animals) feast on the fruit of this treat. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. (The hungover orangutan is too funny) Ingredients: 3 parts brewed coffee 1 part Amarula brown sugar, to taste …

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