Enchantment Learning & Living Blog

Welcome to Enchantment Learning & Living, inspirational blog about the simple pleasures, radical self-care, and everyday magic that make life delicious.

La Vie en Rose Cocktail

Ahhhh summer...the season when we are most likely to experience the world through rose-colored glasses and savor the sweeter things in life.  Lately, I've been working on cultivating a little more sweetness and a little more softness to my every day--which is, frankly, a lot harder than it sounds.  As much as I love simple pleasures and self-care, I am inherently a creature of discipline, focus, and routine which is great...up to a point.  

It makes me highly productive and able to relish the day-in-day-out of my teaching and writing life.  There's so much to be excited about, especially in my writing world (but I'm not telling about what yet, winky face).  And yet when summer comes, I am always reminded of the importance of cultivating my life beyond the page and the classroom, much as I love both.  Too much routine and you risk its dark side: stagnation.  

Summer keeps me playful, adventurous, and bold.  Summer is for saying yes to new experiences and keeping your heart open to adventures.  It is a season for relearning the value of being deliciously unproductive--or rather, recognizing that staying out all night dancing is just as important for your soul as your weekly workout routine is for your health.  Of course, summer is also for those sweep-you-off-your-feet novels that encourage you to find the romance in every situation.  

Laura Florand's Once Upon a Rose (which, you'll remember, I recommended back in April) is the perfect example of this kind of breezy, warm read that asks us--no, demands that we acknowledge the healing power of pleasure.  It's not a perk in this book but a necessity for the well-being and creative life of the heroine, a burned out indie musician, and the overly responsible hero, heir to a family business in Provance (cultivating--you guessed it!--roses for high-end perfume companies).  Their romance unfolds in a series of delicious scenes that saturate the senses and leave the lingering scent of roses in its wake.  In short, it's a story about the sweetness of finding your happily ever after--and the work it takes, especially for the more work-focused among us--to allow yourself to enjoy it.

Long after I finished the book, in fact, I thought of roses.  Big bold bouquets of them.  The gentle kiss of rose water splashed on the inside of my wrists.  The bushes lining neighborhood homes begging to me to stop and take in their splendor.  And the desire to indulge in all things rosy...including cocktails.  

Thus my La Vie en Rose Cocktail was born.  It was inspired by three things: Florand's book, a bottle of rose liquor I stumbled upon, and Smart Bitches Trashy Books' Covers & Cocktails, in which readers concoct adult beverages based on various books they've read.  The results are always yummy and not unlike imbibing the liquid essence of the stories they are based on (how's that for everyday magic and kitchen conjuring?).  The drink is tart like a gimlet, soft like rose perfume, and sweet like a long summer night.  Gin adds a nice herbacous boquet, but if you prefure vodka, by all means, follow your heart.  And--who knows?--drinking this heady elixir just might make you bold enough to seek out your rose-colored happily ever after. 

Ingredients:

2 oz gin (or vodka)

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz rose liquor

ice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously for thirty seconds.  Pour into martini glass.  Serves one, so find someone who makes you see the world through rose-colored glasses, double the recipe, and make a night of it.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Biscochito Coffee

Nothing says the holidays in New Mexico like a fresh batch of biscochitos.  I look forward to those anise dotted sugar cookies every year.  In fact, it's pretty much the only time I eat those treats, so each bite seems laced with memories of unwrapping presents and lingering over cups of tea by the fireside. 

Another way to enjoy that biscochito flavor throughout the holiday season is to lace your coffee with the anise seeds, something my family has been doing for years to add to the festive quotient of our morning cup of cheer. The fun in making you own holiday coffee blends is that you can create your own flavors (hello pumpkin spice and Aztec mocha coffees) and control the quality of ingredient.  Most commercial flavored coffees are made with artificial ingredients and poor quality beans--yuck!   You can also play with the strength of your flavors, from just a kiss of anise flavor in each sip to tasting the equivalent of one biscochito in each cup.

Don't forget to use good quality coffee here. I go for the Santa Fe-based Aroma Coffee's organic Black Lighting dark roast.  Seriously, it has ruined me for other coffee.  Once you try the good stuff, you can't go back to the so-so.  This is an excellent last-minute gift as well since the prep work is virtually nada (you can keep the beans whole or grind them) and everyone appreciates a tasty beverage high on the festive quotient, but a welcome break from the heavier eggnogs and hot chocolates.

Ingredients:

12 oz quality coffee

2 oz anise seeds

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  You can grind your coffee right away before mixing, or grind as you go with each pot you brew.  Just make sure to get some anise in each batch you grind as it might settle to the bottom of your container.  Don't hesitate to play with the proportions to find the perfect balance between coffee and spice for you.  Brew as you normally would.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Vanilla Infused Bourbon

We've had glorious weather this week, from a lush snowstorm that swept over the city, creating an air of frivolity and lightness (let's just say there was more than one pool going to see if we would get a snow day--we didn't, but the blissful fat flakes seemed to cool the minds of everyone burning too hot at the end of the semester), to the gentle windy days that tickled fiery autumn leaves from their branches.  It has been nothing short of mystic!

This cold weather has made me want to curl up by the fire and enjoy the hush that seems to settle over the earth when autumn transitions to winter--something we too seldom indulge in as we get swept up in the flurry of the work week and the upcoming holiday season.  It goes without saying that a book and a delicious beverage would make fireside snuggling nothing short of epic.  Tea works well here (you know how much I love those cups akin to a warm hug for the soul), but if you are looking for something a little more festive, look no further than this vanilla bourbon.

It is super easy to make and tastes of the season, full of the lush caramel and vanilla flavors we crave in our holiday desserts.  You can make a sinfully vanilla old fashioned or give my cinnamon-apple cocktail an extra dash of yum with this vanilla bourbon. Of course, it is equally delicious on its own. 

As with all my recipes, the trick is getting good quality ingredients.  I used Maker's Mark bourbon (nice, but not so nice that you wouldn't want to infuse it with anything) and organic vanilla beans which I got here.  Make sure the vanilla bean is soft and plump.  A brittle bean is a sign that it has gone stale and the flavor won't be as strong.  The rest is easy: simply forget about the bourbon for a week while it soaks up all the lovely vanilla flavor.  My advice?  Mix up a double batch so you have some for yourself and another for a friend.  This bourbon is so good, you'll want to gift it to friends and family this holiday season.

Ingredients:

2 cups bourbon

1 vanilla bean

Slice vanilla bean almost completely in half lengthwise.  This ensures that the bourbon can soak up the flavor from the little seeds on the bean's inside and makes it easier to remove the vanilla from the bourbon once it has done soaking (as opposed to slicing it completely in half).  Place in mason jar and pour bourbon over it.  Seal jar and let sit for a week, making sure to shake jar periodically.  Then strain the bourbon by pouring it through cheesecloth draped funnel into a clean bottle.  Store in a cool, dry place.  Lasts indefinitely (though I doubt you will be able to keep it around that long!).  Makes two cups.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Turmeric Lemongrass Bath Bombs (sans Citric Acid)

Mother's Day is just around the corner.  School is done.  You have a free weekend afternoon for a bubble bath and a long nap...clearly, there are a myriad of reasons why you should make these super easy bath bombs to have on hand for those oh so important occasions!  The big one, of course, is that special day we take to celebrate our awesome moms, those strong women who spend so much time caring for others that it is important that we take time out to care for and pamper them.  These turmeric lemongrass bath bombs are the perfect gift for the woman who could use a luxurious soak (with a good book and a glass of wine!).

What I love about these bath bombs is that they are made without citric acid--a sometimes difficult ingredient to find and keep on hand.  The cream of tartar is a perfect substitute and something we often have (and forget about) in our pantry.  Turmeric is also an easy kitchen staple to add to these bombs and it is what gives them their festive sunshine hue.  Don't be alarmed if this bright yellow doesn't initially come through when you mix the dry ingredients--it will once you wet them down.

Like my spring bath bombs, these hedonistic treats use the smells and flowers of spring to rejuvenate the senses.  In this case, I use lemongrass, that universal revitalizer, mixed with calendula petals known for their ability to soothe the skin.  Tumeric is also a wonder-cure for many skin issues from acne to eczema.  The baking soda gently detoxes and exfoliates your skin while the cream of tartar softens it.

Ingredients:

2 cups baking soda

1 cup cream of tartar

1 tsp turmeric powder

4 teaspoons melted coconut oil

1/8 cup water (in spray bottle)

100 drops lemongrass essential oil

1/4 cup dried calendula petals (optional)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, being careful not to raise too much dust.  Then add in coconut oil and essential oil and mix thoroughly with hands, making sure that oil is evenly distributed throughout the mix.  Here comes the tricky part: adding the water.  You need the spray bottle to ensure that you aren't adding too much water at once otherwise your bath bombs will begin to prematurely fizz. 

Going slowly, spray water into the bowl, stirring completely as you go until it is damp but not soaking wet.  You will probably not use all the water in your spray bottle.  You can test the readiness of your mix by squeezing together a handful of it and seeing if it sticks--if it does, you can go ahead and place it in molds or roll them into balls.  If not, you'll need more water.  Once you have placed the mix into molds or hand shaped it into balls, you can let your bath bombs air dry for at least two hours or up to overnight.  Remove from molds (if using) and store in a dry place.  Makes about 9 bath bombs.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Naked Margarita

Margaritas are one of the most festive summer drinks--and the ones most susceptible to too many sugar-laden ingredients.  In reality, all a great margarita needs is a few things: good tequila, juicy limes, a dash of sweetness, and a handful of ice.  If you want to get carried away, you can rim your glass with salt, but I never do. 

With this in mind, I present to you my naked margarita, stripped from the overly-sweet triple sec or other frou-frou ingredients, so that you taste nothing but the sweet burn of tequila and lime on your tongue. I like to make mine using agave syrup.  But If I'm in a pinch, I've been known to use my stevia herb simple syrup or actual simple syrup (recipe found here--just omit the ginger, or keep it for an extra kick!).  Play around with the sweetness factor.  I like to taste the tartness of the lime more than the sweet, so if you like a sweeter drink, by all means, add more simple syrup. Look for tequila that is 100% agave; the other stuff is full of more additives and fake coloring than actual tequila.  And please, please, please use fresh organic limes--they make all the difference in the world.

Ingredients:

1 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz tequila

1/2 oz agave nectar

ice

Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake thoroughly until ice begins to melt, about 30 seconds.  Strain into chilled glass.  Garnish with a lime if desired.  Makes one serving.  Feel free to be as naked as your margarita while you drink it.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Stevia Herb Simple Syrup

So I know claiming to have a sugar free simple syrup recipe to share sounds too good to be true--or full of those chemical-laden alternative sugars that are way worse for you than any spoonful of the sweet stuff.  This recipe, however, is really as good as it sounds and perfect for someone like me who doesn't enjoy a lot of sugar.  

I used dried stevia leaves to make what is essentially a thick tea aka my simple syrup.  Stevia is a herb with naturally sweet leaves.  You may be familiar with it in the shape of little sugar packets which in my opinion don't taste as good as the real deal because they only use the extract, not the whole leaf.  Plus, stevia leaves are easy to find at your local herb store or online here.  It gives you all the sweetness of sugar without the calories.

I particularly love to use this in lemonade so I can enjoy lots of this perfect summertime drink without worrying about sugar overload.  It's also great in margaritas or other drinks that require a little sugar to balance out the tartness of citrus.  Be warned though, some say that one tablespoon of dried stevia is the equivalent of one cup of sugar in sweetness--so a little really does go a long way!  Some people prefer to grind up the leaves and sprinkle them into their recipes, but I prefer this tea-like steep because it is less messy for mixing and easy to have on hand.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup dried stevia leaves

1 cup boiling water

Pour hot water over herbs and let steep until mixture is cool.  Then pour liquid through a strainer into a mason jar.  Store for a few weeks in fridge.  Makes about 1 cup.  Enjoy!

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Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

5 Cocktails to Cure Spring Fever

If you're anything like me and my fellow teachers (and our students!), you're feeling a little spring fever creeping into your day to day.  It's so lovely outside--something the tall glittery-green aspen trees outside the floor-to-ceiling windows in one of my classrooms remind me.  Then there is the sunlight, that ephemeral gentle kiss of golden splendor that just begs for you to pause a moment under its touch.  Who needs to grade papers when your garden is calling to you?  (Answer: me, but if I get my papers done soon enough, I can ease the throbbing in my green thumb.)  Can't those lesson plans wait in lieu of frolicking outside?  (Answer: no, class is in twenty minutes.) 

Fortunately, there is an antidote to the spring fever that clouds your brain with carefree longings in the midst of the end-of-semester grind--several in fact.  And yes, they come in the form of cocktails, those perfectly crafted restorative liquors that were once, in truth, used for healing minor ailments from ill-humor to stomach aches.  So why not use them to cure a little spring fever?  These cocktails whipped up in my own kitchen are for anyone who needs a little fun after the work-week, not just teachers. 

The prescription is easy: Take one of the below cocktails and mix with a cloudless evening, great company, and good conversation.  Also pairs well with a well-groomed backyard or garden nook.  Repeat as necessary.  Caution: Extreme relaxation and enjoyment may occur. 

1. 3 Citrus-Ginger Gin Fizz

2. Spritz Cocktail

3. Coconut Water-Kiwi-Lime Cocktail

4. Lavender Gimlet

5. Grape & Lime Gin Tonic

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Everything's Coming Up Roses Tea Blend

tea rose.jpg

This tea is like a cup-sized celebration of the bounty in your life, the eternal spring in your heart, and the perpetual enjoyment of love and life.  It is also a perfect February tea as it's laced with winter's warming spices yet heavily perfumed with roses--the promise of a new season.

I used two types of rose petals here; the soft pink ones give a light floral aroma while the red petals offer up an earthy flavor that pairs well with the black Assam tea.  Calendula lends a pop of color.  This tea is a thoughtful Valentine treat for the tea lover in your life that you love to love--try saying that three times fast--or for anyone who needs to be reminded that everything is, truly, coming up roses!

Ingredients:

1 cup Assam black tea

1/2 cup red rose petals

1/2 cup pink rose petals

1/2 cup cinnamon bark chips

1/4 cup calendula

1/8 cup cloves

Combine ingredients in bowl and transfer to a mason jar or other airtight container.  Store in a cool, dry place.  Makes almost 3 cups.  Enjoy!

Health benefits of ingredients:

Calendula: anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, reduces swollen lymph glands, soothes irritated skin.

Cinnamon: antiseptic, aids digestion, calms nervous system, anti-inflammatory.

Rose petals: soothes skin; mild sedative and natural stress reliever; rich in vitamin C.

Clove: antiseptic, antioxidant, aids digestion.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

A Cocktail Lover's Gift Basket

I love cocktails.  Like a lot.  And I know confessing that makes me sound like a lush. In reality, it's not about trying to drink as many as possible, but to enjoy the ritual of crafting a unique cocktail and savoring its liquid beauty.

This basket is dedicated to those amateur bartenders like me who relish quality cocktails and tinkering with new recipes. You can even include a few recipes to whet their appetite or a funky shaker to concoct the perfect drink!

1.  Small Batch Limoncello

2.  Ginger Simply Syrup

3.  Cranberry & Lime Vodka

4.  Orange & Rosemary Gin

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Orange & Rosemary Infused Gin

It's no secret that I love a good cocktail--and crafting my own.  There's no better way to add your own special touch to a drink than to infuse your own liquor.  It is seriously so easy that I can't believe I haven't been doing this sooner! 

It is super fun to play around with tastes--spices, fruits, even chile peppers!--to get the right kiss of flavor for your next bar concoction.  Naturally, DIY-infused liquor also makes a great gift for the cocktail buff(s) in your life.  Start with a good quality alcohol and always use organic ingredients.

I love this infusion of orange peels and rosemary here because these ingredients play off the herbaceousness of the gin.  They are likewise a distinctly festive flavor perfect for the gin and tonic or martini lover.  These infused alcohols can also be enjoyed neat or with a splash of club soda so that you can enjoy the full depth of their flavor.  I typically make enough to fill a 160z mason jar (enough to enjoy, but small enough that I can try new infusions) but if you want more, simply double the recipe!

Ingredients:

Peel of one organic orange

2 springs organic rosemary

15 oz quality gin such as Hendrick's or, for a less herby taste, Amsterdam

Scrape off any of the white pith on the orange peel--this minimizes bitterness.  Then combine ingredients in a 16 oz mason jar.  Let sit for at least three days and up to two weeks, making sure that you shake it periodically.  The longer you let it sit, the stronger the infusion will be. Strain mixture through cheesecloth or strainer to remove peels and rosemary.  Store in your mason jar in a cool, dry place or the fridge if you want to keep it chilled.  Makes about 15 oz.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Cranberry & Lime Infused Vodka

Cranberries are right up there with pumpkin pie or chestnuts (or piñon, if you're a New Mexican!) when it comes to signaling Yuletide fun.  And if you love a good Cosmo or any vodka-based cocktail, then this cranberry and lime infused alcohol is the perfect treat.

I use Organic Prairie Vodka as my base but feel free to use your favorite vodka brand so long as it is good quality.  I also poke holes into the cranberries because their wax-like exterior can make it harder to infuse in your alcohol.  A pinch of sugar draws out their flavors even more.  As always, make sure your produce is organic so you maximize the flavor without the chemicals.  Don't be surprised if it slowly starts turning a rich red in color--that just ups the festive quotient!  And don't throw away the cranberries after their soak--freeze them to drop into champagne cocktails or use them for a tasty and boozy cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups organic cranberries

peels of 3 organic limes

pinch of sugar

15 oz vodka

Make sure the white pith is removed from lime peels to avoid bitterness. Poke holes in the cranberries (this will help vodka absorb their flavor). Combine all Ingredients in a mason jar or other airtight container. Let sit for at least three days and up to two weeks, making sure to shake it periodically.  The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor will be. Pour mixture through a strainer to remove berries and peels and return to mason jar. Store in fridge or liquor cabinet.  Makes about 16 oz. Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Tea Lover Gift Basket Two Ways

Every time I think I have more tea than I can possibly finish, I get seduced by another blend to try, either my own or one I see in one of my favorite shops around Albuquerque--a classic tea lover's dilemma!  Same goes for tea accouterments--strainers, teapots (especially my mom's!), tea cups...you name it.  These two holiday gift baskets are perfect for quenching the thirst of your favorite tea lovers.

1.  Tea Sampler:  Samplers, or small jars of various teas, are a great way to try a bunch of different flavors before committing to a whole jar of tea. I like to use little 2 oz jam jars to share an array of my festive holiday blends like Winter Wellness Blend, Winter Solstice Tea, Holiday Chai, and Orange Spice Rooibos.  As always, stick to a theme--in this case, winter or holiday teas.  You can go the extra mile and provide the recipe for each tea should the receiver ever want to mix up a batch of his or her favorite!

2.  Tea Treats: For the tea lover whose tastes are pretty set--or who you know absolutely loves a certain kind of tea--provide her with a jar of her favorite tea, a cheesy holiday tea mug, and maybe a funky strainer.  Wrap in ribbon and wa-la!  You have the perfect treat for your tea buddy.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Holiday Chai Tea Blend

Yesterday I shared my delicious chai tea blend, so today I thought it would only be fair to show another chai recipe that boosts the festive quotient of this rich brew.  I added toasted almond slivers to add a creamy richness to the blend which pairs nicely with the grated nutmeg.  The star anise adds a bright kick that plays well with the cardamom.  Be careful with the nutmeg: like cloves, it can easily overtake the other flavors so I wouldn't add more than what's given below.

Ingredients:

1 cup Assam black tea

1/2 to 1 cup cinnamon chips

1/4 to 1/3 cup toasted almond slivers

1/4 to 1/3 cup pink peppercorns

1/4 cup star anise

1/4 cup dried ginger

1/4 cup cardamom

1/8 cup clove buds

1-2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

Blend ingredients and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Make about 2 cups. To brew, add 1 tablespoon to 8 oz boiling water (you need your tea this hot to open up the spices).  Make sure to brew this loosely in a teapot or a big strainer--you want the hot water to circulate around the spices to really get maximum flavor.  Add sugar and milk if desired.  I also brew this in a pot on the stove using equal parts milk and water--absolutely wonderful! Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Chai Tea Blend

Although this is not strictly a holiday type tea, chai is so chock full of those rich spices synonymous with the season that it makes the perfect gift for your favorite tea lover.  The trick to any good homemade chai is to go easy on the cardamom and don't forget the peppercorns--they add a nice spicy kick that balances out the sweetness of the cardamom. I like a lot of spices in my blend, especially cinnamon, so you'll notice that I gave a range of how much to add. 

I would also go easy on the clove buds though as they can pack a serious punch.  If you want a decaf version of this blend, simply swap the black tea with a quality rooibos.  Make sure to brew this loosely in a teapot or a big strainer--you want the hot water to circulate around the spices to really get maximum flavor.  Sounds OCD, I know, but if the leaves and spices are too tightly packed, they can't steep properly.  I've also been known to put equal parts milk and water in a saucepan along with my chai tea to brew--delicious!  I don't add sugar to my chai but feel free to doctor up your own mug just as you like it.  Sometimes I do throw in a pinch of stevia leaf or my stevia simple syrup to add some sweetness without the sugar, but I don't think it's necessary to enjoy this spicy brew.

Ingredients:

1 cup Assam black tea

1/2 to 1 cup cinnamon chips

1/4 to 1/3 cup pink peppercorns

1/4 cup dried ginger

1/4 cup cardamom

1/8 cup clove buds

Blend ingredients and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Make about 2 cups. To brew, add 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces boiling water (you need your tea this hot to open up the spices).  Add sugar and milk if desired, although it is delicious on its own.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Orange Spice Rooibos Tea Blend

Come nighttime when I'm snuggled in my jammies, cheesy Christmas socked feet resting on my coffee table, enjoying the twinkling lights on my tree, I long for a fat mug of tea that soothes me to sleep and yet has the rich flavors of the season.  Rooibos becomes the perfect based then for my Orange Spice Tea because it is caffeine free and has citrusy notes that pair well with the orange peel.  You can find these ingredients at your local herb store or online at Rose Mountain Herbs

Ingredients:

1 cup organic rooibos

1 cup dried orange peels

1 cup cinnamon chips

1/8 cup clover buds

1/4 cup calendula

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups.  To brew, add one healing tablespoon to 8 oz hot water and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Aztec Mocha Coffee Blend

Mmmmmm....who can say no to a hot cup of chocolate-cinnamon coffee on a cold winter morning?  That's what I thought: absolutely no one.  Don't be turned off by the cayenne pepper--it only adds a little heat at the back end of your drink and compliments the chocolate and cinnamon nicely.

Don't forget to use good quality coffee here. I go for the Santa Fe based Aroma Coffee's organic Black Lighting dark roast.  You can thank me later! 

Ingredients:

12 oz quality coffee

2 oz cocoa powder

1/2 oz ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne red pepper

mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  Don't hesitate to play with the proportions to find the perfect balance between coffee and spice for you.  Brew as you normally would.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Blend

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I love my festive flavored lattes this time of year, but sometimes I want a delicious caffeinated beverage that doesn't have added sugar and that I can brew up right at home before I've even had a chance to change out of my jammies.

Over the years my family and I have gotten into the habit of adding spices like anise and other flavors to bring a little holiday cheer to our coffee.  Lately, I've been adding a teaspoon of my pumpkin pie spice to add an extra festive kick to my morning cup of joe--as if my cheesy holiday mug didn't already do that!

The great thing about flavoring your own coffee is that you can control the strength of the added flavor.  After reading about flavoring your own coffee at home from good ol' Martha Stewart and The Kitchn I realized that most homemade coffee flavorings involve whole beans and other add-ins that get ground together--this whole bean method would look very pretty in a mason jar. 

However, I don't always have the time or the patience to freshly grind my coffee every morning so I usually just stick with adding whatever already ground spices I have on hand to my coffee basket before brewing.  In either case, always use good quality coffee because no amount of spices will make bad coffee taste good.  I am personally addicted to Aroma Coffee out of Santa Fe, NM.  Their organic Black Lightning Dark roast is pretty swoon-worthy. Flavored coffee also makes a great gift for the coffee fanatic in your life--one who appreciates the really good stuff with minimal additives.  Simply mix your coffee, whole or ground, with your flavorings in a large mason jar and top with a bow.

Ingredients:

12 oz quality coffee

2 oz pumpkin pie spice

Combine ingredients and brew as you normally would.  Keep in mind these ratios are for what I like in my cup o' cheer, so play around with them.  If you like more spice, add more.  If less, add less.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Oatstraw Tea

We are all familiar with the delights of a good morning oatmeal--personally, my weekdays aren't the same without it!  Lately, I've brought the joys of oatmeal into my tea blending with oatstaw which gives me the same satisfying nourishment a good bowl of oatmeal does and that comforting taste of earthy grains.

Oatstraw is the leftover part of the oat plant that gets harvested and dried after the grain has been removed.  It's great for the skin and works well as the base for a soothing bath or as a tincture to soothe irritated skin.  Of course, it also makes an excellent tea!  You can find oatstraw at your local health foods store, herb store, or online at Rose Mountain Herbs.

I love drinking this at work because it keeps me fueled and energized through the day more naturally than sugars or caffeine do.  It regulates blood sugar, reduces cholesterol, and is chock full of vitamins A, D, and E; zinc; and magnesium.  Its flavor is slightly sweet in a grassy way. 

Ingredients:

1 heaping tablespoon oatstraw

To brew, pour 8 oz hot water over oatstraw (in strainer or tea bag) and let steep for 3-5 minutes.  Remove strainer and enjoy!  Makes one serving. 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Old Fashioned Devil Cocktail

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This is option three in my round of Halloween-inspired cocktails, sans sugary neon additives that have no business in a real cocktail.  I'm a sucker for a good old fashioned; my recipe adds a playful twist to this drink by adding activated charcoal to give it a devilishly smoky flair.  Activated charcoal is a common natural health aid used to improve skin tone, whiten teeth, detox the body, and even reduce bloating.  It has even become a favorite new ingredient in for cocktail makers.

I've also omitted the traditional sugar cube that goes in this drink because I feel this drink is already sweeter than sin without it, thanks to the rich Silver Coyote Whiskey I use.  The trick to making a good old-fashioned is to pay attention to the details, which make sense, because, as they say, that's where the devil always finds himself.

Ingredients:

4 dashes angostura bitters

2 oz silver coyote whiskey

1 splash club soda

small pinch of activated charcoal (no more than half of 1/8 teaspoon)

1 slice of organic orange skin, minus the pith

1 orange slice (for garnish)

1 black cherry (for garnish)

ice

In a shaker, muddle orange skin, bitters and activated charcoal together until the oils have released.  Add ice and whiskey and shake until mixed.  Pour into a glass and top with a splash of club soda.  Garnish with orange slice and black cherry.  Serves one--so double the recipe and share with your favorite devil.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

I Put A Spell On You Cocktail

This cocktail is sister to my Green Fairy, another concoction whipped up to celebrate Halloween without the sugary additives and fake colorants used in most drink mixers.  This drink has a lovely pale green color, much like its absinthe-infused sister. This title comes from the idea that all cocktails or liquors act as proverbial potions in one way or another: inspiring courage, brewing up love or acting as unconventional oracles of a sort.  Thus, this drink was born.

I used apples this drink because they are long considered an integral part of Samhain, Halloween's pagan ancestor.  Apples symbolize immortality and so, on the night where spirits can walk the earth, are a perfect offering to the powers that be.  I also added ginger, a heating root, purported to ensure success when spell working; lime is added for its healing properties. 

So what is this spell then?  Let's think of it as a longevity-inducing-healing-good-vibe-making potion spiced up with whatever (benevolent) intentions you add as you blend the ingredients.  At the very least you'll have a refreshing drink to enjoy with friends!

Ingredients:

1/2 green apple, juiced*

1/2 oz ginger, juiced* 

1/2 lime, juiced

2 oz gin or vodka

ice

Muddle ginger and lime juice in a shaker, then add apple juice, vodka or gin, and ice.  Shake thoroughly.  Pour into chilled martini glass.  Enjoy!

* I juice the apple by grating it and then putting the grated pieces in a cheesecloth and squeezing out the juice, much like I do to remove excess moisture from my shredded zucchini for my zucchini fritters.  You can purchase ginger juice at your gourmet grocery store or simply shredded about 1/2 inch fo ginger and strain it through the cheesecloth like you do the apple.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!