Lemon Balm-Infused Lemonade

I planted Lemon Balm a few months ago and now it's beginning to take over my little garden plot! It smells so good, but sometimes I find it difficult to use. So, today I made some delicious Lemonade. It's an easy recipe and tastes the best with everything fresh, plus raw sugar vs. processed adds a better flavor. I added in two limes, used raw honey, and raw cane sugar. It was a perfect refresher! 

1 cup raw cane sugar
1 cup agave syrup/honey
3 cups fresh lemon balm leaves, slightly compacted in the measuring cup
3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
*I added in two limes as well. 

For Garnish
Thinly sliced lemons
Fresh lemon balm leaves
Plenty of ice
Combine four cups of water, the sugar and agave together in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from heat.

Add lemon balm leaves to the simple syrup, stir, and cover with a lid. Allow to infuse for about two hours or until the mixture is completely cool.
Strain the syrup through a fine sieve into a gallon glass jar or large pitcher. Discard wilted lemon balm.
Add lemon juice to the lemon balm-infused simple syrup and stir. Add 12 cups cold water. Taste and adjust as required. Add more agave if you find the lemonade too tart. Alternately, add more lemon juice if you prefer your lemonade on the puckery side.
Chill until ready to serve.
Serve over ice with a garnish of fresh lemon slices and fresh lemon balm. Enjoy!


Red Velvet Ganache Filled Cupcakes

yield: 12
3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. Butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Sift together the flour and the salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time. Set aside.
Whisk together the food coloring, vanilla and cocoa powder and add to the butter and sugar mixture.
Add 1/3 flour and 1/3 milk to the mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the flour and milk.
Add baking soda and vinegar together in a small bowl. When it starts to react add it to the batter. 
Line cupcake pan and bake for 16-18 min. 

Ganache Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
4oz. butter

Cook on the stove until combined. When cupcakes are cool cut out he middle and pour in your ganache! Finish with your favorite frosting. 


Chicken Curry

Dear stomach. Your craving has been satisfied! Oh, the warming smell of delicious Chicken Curry - fresh spices all mixed together. It's amazing what wonders are created and what food can turn into. Incredible. It was far too long a wait to finally have a taste of this perfect, 30 minute meal. Quick, easy, and simply satisfying. The smell always takes me back to my incredible adventures in South Africa and the wonderful meals we enjoyed.

Chicken Curry

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp white sugar
salt to taste
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar, and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces, tomate paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.
Serve over Basmati or Jasmine rice.

Fried Mozzarella Sticks

I know exactly what you all are thinking... aren't you trying to eat better? Yes, you're right, WE are. This post is about a month late. Please acccept my apologies. But I had to share with you how awesome these Fried Mozzarella sticks are. They are perfect party/guest appetizers and I guarantee they will disappear in a flash - at least, that's what happened in this household - and they're simple to make too! Actually, a bit entertaining because who makes Fried Mozzarella sticks in their own home? You do. Enjoy! Have a great day!

Fried Mozzarella Sticks

String Cheese (cut in half)
Small bowl of flower
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp. dried parsley
Panko Crumbs

Add the parsley to the crushed panko crumbs. Add any other kind of seasoning you'd like, or simply keep it simple! In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and eggs.

Step 1: roll a mozzarella stick in the flour mixture until lightly covered.
Step 2: Dip into the egg mixture.
Step 3: Place it into the seasoned panko crumbs and evenly coat. 
Step 4: Place on a clean tray.

Put the tray in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. This helps the Mozzarella from melting too quickly while frying. 
Pour about an inch to an inch and a half of oil into a frying pan and heat it up on medium high. Carefully add a few sticks to the hot oil. Once those cheese sticks are in the process will move quickly! Once they're nice and golden remove them from the oil and place on a paper towel to dry. 
Serve it up with some marinara sauce or ranch! Delicious!