Home Made Soft Drinks

Home Made Soft Drinks

The urge to share some delicious, simple and easy recipes for soft drinks came the same way most of my recipes do these days… My newest project is to make my own versions of popular convenience products, because the price of them is so much more than I want to pay… and the prices are getting higher and higher!

“Healthy” soft drinks are now sold everywhere, from green tea blends and vitamin water to fruit drinks with just enough “natural” content to justify the label ‘contains real fruit juice’ and charge $2 to $4 per can or bottle. Think about it, they’re all mostly water. YOU can do better than that, save a pile of money and impress (or attract!) your loved ones.

Below you’ll find out how to make a few of the more popular recipes I’ve been testing out on family and friends. After some started telling me that they started making their own, I knew it was a “Rough Times” worthy concept.

I store mine in recycled glass bottles (plastic can make things taste funny). As always, feel free to use whatever you have hanging around your kitchen and your imagination… enjoy!

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

Gramma Willi

Ginseng-Green Tea Energizing Soft Drink

Makes about 2 quarts.

Ingredients

* 2 quarts boiled water

* 2 bags or 1 tsp. dried green tea (or mix green tea with mint, clover, fruit/herbal tea blends)

* 3 tsp. Honey

* 1 tsp. or 1 vial ginseng extract or 1 packet of ginseng tea or ½ cup ginseng root infusion (½ in. piece of ginseng root simmered in ½ cup water 15-20 min.

* ¼ tsp. Citric acid (for a nice tart flavor and added vitamin C – don’t add too much or it will be too sour)

* extra sweetener to taste (raw/brown/white sugar, stevia, rice or maple syrup, etc.)

Preparation

Bring the water to a boil in a metal, enamel or ceramic pot big enough to hold the water, turn the heat to low. Add the green tea, ginseng, your choice of spices, juices and herbs and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a little and add citric acid, honey and sweetener to taste. Drink hot or cold.

If you’re using herbal teas only, add 1 tea bag for each 2 cups of water; other than that, balance the fruit, juices, sweeteners etc. that you add to make a delicious drink… it’s okay to taste it as you go along!

You can make your soft drinks as simple or as complicated as you like; reading the labels on ‘store-bought’ drinks will give you pretty good recipe ideas and the knowledge that you don’t need much to make a really great drink yourself. It’s a great way to use all those forgotten herbal teas in the back of your cupboard!

** NOTE: I avoid aluminum and ‘non-stick’ cookware; to me, they make things taste weird.

A few suggested soft drink mixtures

Cranberry – Apple:

Some like it hot! A batch of hot apple or cranberry flavored drink is delicious, welcome and warming on a cold or damp day; I like it cold too.

This recipe is really good served simmering hot into cups from a pot with a few cinnamon sticks and ginger floating in the drink… a real winter warmer!

Ingredients: Use herbal tea already flavored with these fruits, add citric acid and sweetener, and add or substitute:

– cranberry and apple juice or – make your own ‘juice’: boil a chopped, skin-on apple and a handful of cranberries (or dried fruits) for 30-60 minutes before straining it and adding with your other ingredients). (Yes, you can eat the leftover fruit… or put mash it and put it on ice cream or toast.)

– add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon) and sweetener to taste

Lemon-Mint: A cool, refreshing drink on a hot summer day – simmer herbs together lemon balm, lemon peel, lemon juice, garden sorrel, and dried or fresh mint (a can of frozen lemonade will do for a base if that’s what you have). Sweeten to taste. Ginger and honey are really nice additions to this drink blend. Dress up with sprigs of fresh mint, thin slices of fruit for a gourmet touch!

Jordan’s Amazing Spicy Chai Soft Drink: (adapted from Gramma Willi’s early recipes):

1or 2 chai tea bags (or loose chai tea blend, or make your own!), 1 or 2 bags/pouches Ginger tea mix (or 1 tbsp. chopped or grated fresh ginger), cinnamon powder, grape jelly 2 tsp, 1 can of frozen cranberry juice. Add everything but the grape jelly in one big pot to 2 quarts of boiling water and simmer, stirring constantly until everything’s dissolved. Add 2 tbsp. grape jelly and/or mango chutney. Sweeten to taste. Enjoy hot or cold. This is amazingly delicious both hot and cold, I plan on making it for winter holiday drinks!

Wild Women’s Nourishment in a Glass: Use ½ cup of the most nourishing herbs in your cupboard or straight out of your garden – approximately flowers, leaves and fruits of raspberry, strawberry, lemon balm, mint, nettles, red clover, sweet fern, violet, yarrow, dandelion, motherwort. Sweeten to taste, bottle and keep at the front of the fridge.

P.S. Check your herb books for healing combinations, which can probably all be made into delicious recipes.

(Safety alert! Remember that herbs should only be used fresh or completely dried, not half way dried.)

Options:

Instead of separate ingredients, combine a bag or two or a few teaspoons of your favorite herbal teas… or use up some that’s been hanging around your cupboard waiting for you…

No fresh fruit in the house? Use a few tablespoons of fruit jam, frozen fruit, a can of frozen lemonade or fruit drink and mix half-half with your herbal tea. Simmer dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries in water to make a flavored drink, go ahead, make your day… be creative!

Want a home made vitamin drink?

You can use your blender or the back of a spoon in a bowl and blend mild tasting vitamins like, chewable vitamin C, calcium and raw food supplements like kelp, beet and seaweed powder and green food supplements. Mix these well with a little liquid (water, herbal tea, etc.) before adding it to your soft drink recipe.

If you’ve already used citric acid in your soft drink, remember that it contributes to your vitamin C intake… you might want extra vitamin C if you’re fighting or nursing a cold.

How to Make Plain Black Teas Into Specialty teas!

Strawberry tea – plain black tea, add a spoonful of strawberry jam, strain into cups (or not), and milk and sugar to taste. Substitute apricot, blackcurrant or peach jam, or make combinations, use your imagination! How about s spiced fruit tea? Add marmalade with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg? Make a batch of your own iced tea with plain black tea and a little lemon, sweetener and other flavors?

Hints and Tips:

Citric acid can be found in the baking section of your supermarket or bulk foods store (and some drug stores). I pre-ordered a large quantity from my bulk food supplier for the same price as one of those little bottles – if kept dry in storage, that’s enough for years!

For less mess serving loose teas, use a tea ball, recycled cloth tea bag (make your own with a bit of organic cotton and string), a few layers of cheesecloth… or a fine strainer. Toss any bits in the bottom of your cup into the compost… or around outdoor plants… what a treat for the Earth!

Save travel containers for taking your own soft drinks with you instead of buying them on the road. Fill a small cooler with your own recycled bottles, travel cups, an ice pack, use a thermos for hot drinks… over a year you will find yourself saving hundreds of dollars!

TAGS

soft drink, ginseng, tea, Ginseng Green Tea Energizing Soft Drink, chai, budget, saving money, home made, vitamin C, seaweed, green food supplement, green food, beet greens, dandelion, convenience food, fruit drink, spice drink, cookware, aluminum, plastic, root, herb, ginger, cinnamon, green tea, Gramma Willi, Rough Times Cooking, recipe, hot drinks, apricot, cranberry, apple, blackcurrant, peach, lemon, stevia, raw sugar, brown sugar, honey, apricot, kelp, herbal tea, raspberry, strawberry, lemon balm, mint, nettles, red clover, sweet fern, violet, yarrow, motherwort, vitamin drink, vitamins, healing, holiday drink, recipes

……

as published 1Nov2012

Home Made Soft Drinks

The urge to share some delicious, simple and easy recipes for soft drinks came the same way most of my recipes do these days… My newest project is to make my own versions of popular convenience products, because the price of them is so much more than I want to pay… and the prices are getting higher and higher!

“Healthy” soft drinks are now sold everywhere, from green tea blends and vitamin water to fruit drinks with just enough “natural” content to justify the label ‘contains real fruit juice’ and charge $2 to $4 per can or bottle. Think about it, they’re all mostly water. YOU can do better than that, save a pile of money and impress (or attract!) your loved ones.

Below you’ll find out how to make a few of the more popular recipes I’ve been testing out on family and friends. After some started telling me that they started making their own, I knew it was a “Rough Times” worthy concept.

I store mine in recycled glass bottles (plastic can make things taste funny). As always, feel free to use whatever you have hanging around your kitchen and your imagination… enjoy!

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

Gramma Willi

Ginseng-Green Tea Energizing Soft Drink

Makes about 2 quarts.

Ingredients

* 2 quarts boiled water

* 2 bags or 1 tsp. dried green tea (or mix green tea with mint, clover, fruit/herbal tea blends)

* 3 tsp. Honey

* 1 tsp. or 1 vial ginseng extract or 1 packet of ginseng tea or ½ cup ginseng root infusion (½ in. piece of chopped ginseng root simmered in ½ cup water 15-20 min.

* ¼ tsp. Citric acid (for a nice tart flavor and added vitamin C – don’t add too much or it will be too sour)

* extra sweetener to taste (raw, brown or white sugar, stevia, rice or maple syrup, etc.)

Preparation

Bring the water to a boil in a metal, enamel or ceramic pot big enough to hold the water, turn the heat to low. Add the green tea, ginseng, your choice of spices, juices and herbs and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a little and add citric acid, honey and sweetener to taste. Drink hot, warm or cold.

If you’re using herbal teas only, add 1 tea bag for each 2 cups of water; other than that, balance the fruit, juices, sweeteners etc. that you add to make a delicious drink… it’s okay to taste it as you go along!

You can make your soft drinks as simple or as complicated as you like; reading the labels on ‘store-bought’ drinks will give you pretty good recipe ideas and the knowledge that you don’t need much to make a really great drink yourself. It’s a great way to use all those forgotten herbal teas in the back of your cupboard!

** NOTE: I avoid plastic, aluminum and ‘non-stick’ cookware; to me, they make things taste weird.

A few suggested soft drink mixtures

Cranberry – Apple:

Some like it hot! A batch of hot apple or cranberry flavored drink is delicious, welcome and warming on a cold or damp day; I like it cold too.

This recipe is really good served simmering hot into cups from a pot with cinnamon sticks and ginger floating on top… a real winter warmer!

Ingredients: Use herbal tea already flavored with these fruits, add citric acid and sweetener, and add or substitute:

– cranberry and apple juice or – make your own ‘juice’: boil a chopped, skin-on apple and a handful of cranberries (or dried fruits) for 30-60 minutes before straining it and adding with your other ingredients). (Yes, you can eat the leftover fruit… or put mash it and put it on ice cream or toast… or back in your cup with a spoon.)

– add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon) and sweetener to taste

Lemon-Mint: A cool, refreshing drink on a hot summer day – simmer herbs together lemon balm, lemon peel, lemon juice, garden sorrel, and dried or fresh mint (a can of frozen lemonade will do for a base if that’s what you have). Sweeten to taste. Ginger and honey are really nice additions to this drink blend. Dress up with sprigs of fresh mint, thin slices of fruit for a gourmet touch!

Jordan’s Amazing Spicy Chai Soft Drink: (adapted from Gramma Willi’s early recipes):

1 to 2 chai tea bags (or loose chai tea blend, or make your own!), 1 or 2 bags/pouches Ginger tea mix (or 1 tbsp. fresh ginger), cinnamon powder, grape jelly 2 tsp, 1 can of frozen cranberry juice. Add everything but the grape jelly in one big pot to 2 quarts of boiling water and simmer, stirring constantly until everything’s dissolved. Add 2 tbsp. grape jelly and/or mango chutney. Sweeten to taste. Enjoy hot or cold. This is amazingly delicious both hot and cold, I plan on making it for winter holiday drinks!

Wild Women’s Nourishment in a Glass: Use ½ cup of the most nourishing herbs in your cupboard or straight out of your garden – approximately flowers, leaves and fruits of raspberry, strawberry, lemon balm, mint, nettles, red clover, sweet fern, violet, yarrow, dandelion, motherwort. Sweeten to taste, bottle and keep at the front of the fridge.

P.S. Check your herb books for healing combinations, which can probably all be made into delicious recipes… if you haven’t already, try Gramma Willi’s Ginger Drink.

(Safety alert! Remember that herbs should only be used fresh or completely dried, not half way dried.)

Options:

Instead of separate ingredients, combine a few bags or teaspoons of your favorite herbal teas… or use up some that’s been hanging around your cupboard waiting for you…

No fresh fruit in the house? Use a few tablespoons of fruit jam, frozen fruit, a can of frozen lemonade or fruit drink and mix half-half with your herbal tea. Simmer dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries in water to make a flavored drink, go ahead, make your day… be creative!

Want a home made vitamin drink?

You can use your blender or the back of a spoon in a bowl and blend mild tasting vitamins like, chewable vitamin C, calcium and raw food supplements like kelp, beet and seaweed powder and green food supplements. Mix these well with a little liquid (water, herbal tea, etc.) before adding it to your soft drink recipe.

If you’ve already used citric acid in your soft drink, remember that it contributes to your vitamin C intake… you might want extra vitamin C if you’re fighting or nursing a cold.

How to Make Plain Black Teas Into Specialty teas!

Strawberry tea – plain black tea, add a spoonful of strawberry jam, strain into cups (or not), and milk and sugar to taste. Substitute apricot, blackcurrant or peach jam, or make combinations, use your imagination! How about s spiced fruit tea? Add marmalade with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg? Make a batch of your own iced tea with plain black tea and a little lemon, sweetener and other flavors?

Hints and Tips:

* Citric acid can be found in the baking section of your supermarket or bulk foods store (and some drug stores). I pre-ordered a large quantity from my bulk food supplier for the same price as one of those little bottles – if kept dry in storage, that’s enough for years!

* For less mess serving loose teas, use a tea ball, recycled cloth tea bag (make your own with a bit of organic cotton and string), a few layers of cheesecloth… or a fine strainer. Toss any bits in the bottom of your cup into the compost… or around outdoor plants… what a treat for the Earth!

Save travel containers for taking your own soft drinks with you instead of buying them on the road. Fill a small cooler with your own recycled bottles, travel cups, an ice pack, use a thermos for hot drinks… over a year you will find yourself saving hundreds of dollars!

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

One Pot Meals

Rough Times Cookbook Recipes

Got a Crock Pot? Roast Pan? Casserole Dish? Since civilizations began, slow cooked, one pot meals have fed busy people with hungry bellies. Simple to prepare and made from almost any combination of staple foods, grains, vegetables, beans, meat, you can pretty much use whatever you’ve got. Here’s an example of a simple vegetable stew that can feed about 8. Use a bigger or smaller pot and more or less stuff to feed more or less people. Depending on the ingredients, this stew freezes quite well.

Simple Vegetarian Winter Stew

6-8 liters water or vegetable broth
3 C diced root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnip, parsnip, etc.)
onion and garlic to taste (imho – the more the better!)
1/2-1 C grains (rice, millet, barley)
1/2-1 1/2 C green, fresh, frozen or canned vegetables (cabbage, chard, spinach, tomatoes, corn, green or yellow beans)
2 C cooked “legumes” beans (e.g. lentils, kidney, romano, pinto, adzuki, black turtle, navy, soy, chickpeas)
Herbs and spices to taste (oregano, parsley, savory, thyme, lemon; see curry hint below)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsp. apple cider or white vinegar (to purify and add a nice tangy flavor. You can use the juice from pickles too!)
1 C mixture 1/2 milk or yogurt and 1/2 water

Put the grains in a big pot and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting, sauté or fry onions and garlic until soft; you can add your green veggies and sauté them for a few minutes. Add to the boiling pot of grains with vegetables, beans and your choice of herbs and spices.
Simmer on top of the stove for 2-5 hours, (or put in a crock pot all day/overnight). Stir once in a while to make sure that the food isn’t sticking to the pot and that there’s enough liquid. Add water/broth if necessary.
When everything is cooked and you’re almost ready to serve, adjust your spices, add the yogurt/milk and water mix, salt and pepper and heat through. Serve with hearty bread and a big pot of herb tea or cider!

Hints: This is especially good with curry spices (garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, mustard seed, ginger, mint) – warm the curry spices in the onion-garlic sauté to enhance the flavors. This recipe is a great for using up leftovers! Use a pressure cooker if you’ve got one to reduce cooking time and retain more vitamins in the food.
Vegan options: Instead of yogurt or dairy milk, use coconut milk with a root vegetable-based stew; most excellent with curry or Thai spices. Add some marinated firm tofu, lightly browned in a frying pan to increase protein and add really nice texture and body to this dish.
Lazy/Busy Day options: Prepare the ingredients the night before, store in the pot in the fridge; in the morning, add boiling water over everything, bring to a boil, then let simmer for hours/all day (my personal favorite technique!). Put the ingredients in a big roast pan and cook in the oven; add some extra water or broth so it doesn’t dry out.
Meat Lover’s option: add diced cooked (beef and chicken are nice) to replace 1/2 or all of the beans for protein… or use both for an extra-high protein meal.
Note: This recipe was added at the specific request of legendary Toronto activist Josephine Grey.