Lavender Vanilla Lemonade

So, I have a problem with Penzey’s Spices. I walk in and I just get sucked into it’s vortex of amazing-ness, which is how a big old bottle dried lavender came home with me (last summer). I have been trying to come up with a way to use it and when I saw this ‘recipe’ I knew it might just be ticket. This was an incredibly tart and such a refreshing glass of lemonade. I just wish I could get more without juicing so many lemons!

lavendar vanilla lemonade~the comyn space

You’ll Need:
1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
2 heaping tsp dried lavender
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and sliced open
1 1/5 cups fresh lemon juice, about 8 lemons

lavendar vanilla lemonade~the comyn space

Bring the water, sugar, lavender and vanilla bean to a boil in a small sauce pot. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, juice those lemons! I used a strainer for the seeds, that really helped! Strain the flavored simple syrup and mix with lemon juice. Allow to cool and serve of copious amounts of ice.

Any other creative suggestions to use up the remaining lavender are welcomed! Otherwise, it might waste away for another year!

Brew Review~Sweet Water 402 Extra Pale Ale

Let’s get in our way way back machine to revisit this brew shall we? I was in Atlanta a long while ago but was lucky to have one one these over dinner. My little sister went to college in the South and basically the first thing out of her mouth was ‘you have to Sweet Water!’ and it does not disappoint. This extra pale ale was crisp and refreshing while maintaining a very hop forward, West Coast style. It’s a must try if you can get your hands on it!


Stround’s Run State Park

[Admin note; I've decided I need a summer break so things will continue to be quiet here]

A few weeks ago, the mister and I decided we needed a break from the city and drove down to Athens Ohio for the day. This continues to crack me up – we get so much more green here than we did a year ago in Chicago! Every friend who has come for a visit always remarks ‘It is so GREEN in this city!’ which it is. Still isn’t enough I guess!

I got us lost, of course, we ended up getting into the park through the back entrance, which is a 4 mile long gravel road! We ended up spending the morning canoeing on the lake, which was a blast! We were planning on hiking so we didn’t have a dry bag so this is the only picture, the phones stayed on dry land!


Hungry, we found our way into Athens proper for lunch and drinks at Jackie O’s. We both got burgers, which were amazing and sampled a few different brews you can’t get in Columbus. We even filled up a growler to bring home!

20140715-123356-45236080.jpgWe then walked around Ohio University’s campus for a bit and took in the oldest institute of higher learning in the Northwest Territory where I regaled M with my fourth grade ‘History of Ohio’ facts. It was a great day trip and I’m sure we’ll be back to the Hocking Hills soon!



Vegetarian Chili Rellenos

veggie chile rellenos

M has made these for us a few times, chili rellenos are his favorite Mexican inspired food and these make it easier to indulge more often. They also seem to heat up great for him at work. As I always have crock pot beans of some sort in the fridge, this is certainly something we can usually make in a pinch!

veggie chile rellenos

You’ll Need:
4 poblano chilis, sliced and ribs removed, on a lightly creased baking sheet
1 can beans, we used kidney but any would work
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced, seeded if you prefer
ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese.

Saute the onions, garlic and jalapeño in a deep sided pan over medium high heat. Once onions are glassy, stir in cumin, salt and pepper as well as the drained beans. Stir in half the cheese until just melted Cook until the beans are warmed through and then spoon into the prepped pobanos and top the 8 halves with the remaining cheese. Broil or cook on 350 until cheese is melted.

Crockpot Beef for Tacos

crockpot beef for tacos ~

I made this before I left so we could have tacos but also so M could have plenty of food in the house while I was gone. I don’t normally care but 6 days is a long time! Luckily this was easy and delicious! I can certainly see making this for a taco night with friends in the future.

You’ll Need:
3 lb rump roast (or flank steak)
1 14 oz. can of Rotel or diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup beef or vegetable broth (that’s all I keep)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
a good sprinkling of ground cumin

Place the rump roast in the crock pot. Whisk remaining ingredients together and pour over the roast. Cook on low for 8 hours and then shred in the juices. Enjoy.

Pico de Gallo Salsa with Jicama

pico de gallo l

M made this after I was traveling and he meal planned for the week himself. I have to say, I was in for quite a treat! This is incredibly crisp and super spicy. This recipe made a huge bowl that we ate for dinner over grilled portobellos with enough for chips for the next few days.

pica de gallo w

You’ll Need:
1 medium jicama, finely diced
6 roma tomatoes, finely diced
1 yellow tomatoes, finely diced
6 oz mint, finely chopped
1 serrano, seeded and finely diced
1 jalepeno with seeds, finely diced
1.5 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp salt
1 scant tsp Pico de Gallo powder (dried chili and salt) or to taste

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for maximum spiciness.