How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea

Welcome back friends! Let’s get cozy and have a cup of tea! 

I am fortunate enough to own a spearmint plant that has flourished in its container and I want to show you how to harvest, dry and brew your own spearmint tea!

Beyond being a warm and comforting beverage, spearmint tea has numerous proven and/or potential health benefits, including:

  • Fighting bacterial infections. 
  • Relieving digestive upsets.
  • High in antioxidants.
  • May aid in balancing hormones.
  • May lower blood pressure.
  • May lower blood sugar.
  • May help reduce stress.
  • May help relieving arthritis pain.
  • May improve memory function.
INGREDIENTS
  • Mint leaves
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Trim the mint back, then pluck the best leaves from the stems. If you do not want or need to trim the mint back, you could also pluck the best leaves directly from the plant.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly with fresh water, then place them in a salad spinner to remove any excess water.
  3. Line a baking sheet with with a baking mat or parchment paper and spread the mint leaves on the prepared baking sheet. Be careful not to crowd them.
  4. Turn your oven on to it’s lowest setting (for many this will be 170F). 
  5. Place the mint leaves in the oven and bake them until dry. This could only take 10 to 15 minutes, but it varies by oven strength so keep an eye on them! They will be curled and make a dry rustling sound when nudged with a utensil.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. You can store the leaves in an airtight container or brew some tea right away!
  8. Use an infuser and keep the leaves whole or grind them up. If you do grind them up, smaller pieces will make their way out of the infuser and float around in your tea. This isn’t a bad thing, just personal preference!
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Comforting Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who would like some warm and comforting, homemade cinnamon rolls on one (or more) of these cold winter mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? Or maybe a good movie or show? I know I do, so let’s bake some!

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

FILLING

  • 1 cup of brown sugar, packed 
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of heavy cream, divided

TOPPING

  • 1/3 cup of salted butter, softened 
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast.
  2. Add the butter, eggs and sugar, then mix until well combined.
  3. Add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, then mix until well combined.
  4. Scrape the dough off the beater blade and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  5. Spray another large bowl with cooking spray and use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place in the greased bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour).
  7. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of heavy cream; mixing it until well combined, then set it aside.
  8. Once the dough has risen, sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour, and turn the dough onto the mat. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour.
  9. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about 24” x 15” rectangle (though it does not have to be exact).
  10. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
  11. Starting at the long end, roll the dough up tightly.
  12. Cut the roll into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13” baking pan.
  13. Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
  14. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  15. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the chill is off, then pour if over the risen rolls, allow it to soak in and around.
  16. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until gold brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Time will vary so keep an eye on them! If they are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
  17. While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter, blending well.
  18. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, then beat until combined.
  19. Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.

*To save time in the mornings, you can also prepare the dough the night before. Make the dough and proceed to the second rise when the rolls are in the pan. Once risen, cover them up again and put them in the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for about 30 minutes before baking.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who wants some warm and comforting hot cocoa on a cold winter morning or evening? Maybe with some homemade marshmallows and a good book or movie? I know I do, so let’s make some mix!

HOT COCOA MIX
  • 3/4 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry nonfat or whole milk powder
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, milk powder, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl, then add the white chocolate chips and stir again to evenly distribute them.
  2. Add the mixture to a food processor and pulse until everything is finely ground and smooth.
  3. This dry cocoa mix can be store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  4. To make hot cocoa, put 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk (whichever milk you prefer).
  5. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired and enjoy!

Homemade Peasant Bread Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh, oven baked peasant bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Or afternoons? Or evenings? Honestly, anytime is the right time for freshly baked bread!

So let’s bake!

HOMEMADE PEASANT BREAD
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • Butter, for greasing
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, then add the warm water and stir until well combined.
  2. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
  3. Grease two bread pans with the butter, then set them aside.
  4. When ready, remove the cover from the bowl and using two forks gently pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl, then use the two forks again to split it in half down the middle.
  5. Transfer each half of the dough into a greased bread pan.
  6. Cover each pan and allow the dough to rise again for 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. Transfer your baking vessels to the oven and allow them to bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden all around.
  9. Allow to cool in the baking pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  10. Enjoy!

Homemade Buttery Tortilla Recipe

Welcome back friends! 

Who wants some warm, buttery and freshly made tortillas to use for breakfast, lunch or dinner? 

I know I do, so let’s make some!

BUTTERY TORTILLAS
  • 3 cups of flour 
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of water
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in 1 cup of water and stir until well combined.
  3. Gently pour the butter and water mixture into the flour mixture and mix with your hands until a dough forms, then knead that dough into a smooth ball.
  4. Put the dough ball back into the bowl and cover it with plastic. 
  5. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it and separate it out into smaller balls of dough.
  6. Transfer them back into the bowl, cover them with plastic, and allow them to rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat your pan or skillet to a medium heat.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a ball of dough into an 8 to 10 inch round.
  9. Place your tortilla in the middle of the pan.
  10. When bubbles form, flip your tortilla and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove it from the heat.
  11. Repeat steps 8 through 10 until all of the tortillas are cooked!
  12. Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Welcome back friends! 

Who wants some fresh, oven baked pumpkin bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? 

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

PUMPKIN BREAD
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3⁄4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 large of eggs
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set an oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat it to 325F. 
  2. Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter, then dust with flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Whisk until well combined, then set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and continue to beat until very light and fluffy, then incorporate the pumpkin.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix on a low speed until well combined. 
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the two prepared pans, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  7. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  8. Place powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly dust the top of each loaf.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Halloween Cookies with Reese’s Pieces

Welcome back friends 

I have some chocolatey, peanut buttery halloween cookies for you!

You may have heard that you can make cookies with boxed cake mix and this recipe does just that, but with a boost of unsweetened cocoa powder and Reeses Pieces! They are delicious; rich and not too sweet. If you’re looking for something tasty to bake for yourself or someone(s) you love, please try these and enjoy!

HALLOWEEN COOKIES
  • 1 box of devil’s food chocolate cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of Reeses Pieces candy
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Open the cake mix and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
  • Measure 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa into the dry cake mix and stir gently to incorporate.
  • Add the softened butter and eggs into the dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
  • Divide the Reeses Pieces: stir one cup into the cookie dough and place the other cup into a separate small bowl.
  • Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls, then dip the top of each dough ball into the small bowl of Reeses Pieces. Lightly press the Reeses Pieces on top a little more firmly into the dough if needed but don’t squash the dough ball and place it onto the baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the power of your oven.
  • Bring the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on a rack for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Homemade Ghostly Brownie Recipe

Welcome back friends!

Who wants some fresh from scratch, oven baked ghostly brownies to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn evenings? Maybe at a movie night, or a game night?

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

GHOSTLY BROWNIES
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and coat a baking pan with cooking spray (I used a 13×9 pan).
  2. Combine the melted butter, oil, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt.
  4. Slowly stir in the flour a little at a time until a thick batter forms, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 21 to 25 minutes or until they become glossy around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Place a little powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly sift the tops of the brownies until white.
  7. Using a ghost shape cookie cutter, cut ghost shapes into the brownies (leave them where they are) and add 3 chocolate chips for the eyes and the mouth of each ghost.
  8. Allow the brownies to completely cool and solidify, then carefully remove the ghosts from the pan. I peeled away the edges and extra spaces first, then used a flat metal spatula to lift the ghosts out.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Recipe

Welcome back friends!

Who wants some fresh, oven-baked, cinnamon and sugar coated pumpkin doughnuts to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful Autumn mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book?

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
TOPPING
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and vegetable oil together in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat until well combined.
  5. Fill 3, six cup nonstick doughnut pans with batter so each mold is almost full, then smooth the tops with a small spoon.
  6. Bake the doughnuts for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then remove them from the oven and invert them onto a cooling rack.
  7. While the doughnuts are baking and/or cooling, stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl and melt the topping butter in another bowl.
  8. Once the doughnuts have cooled to a comfortable handling temperature, brush both sides of each one with butter and then dip each side in the cinnamon and sugar to coat.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Stovetop Popcorn

Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh stovetop popcorn to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn nights? Maybe cuddled under a blanket, while watching a good movie? I know I do, so let’s pop some!

HOMEMADE STOVETOP POPCORN
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoon of popcorn salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To create popcorn salt, grind it into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or run 1/2 cup of salt in the food processor until fine.
  2. Place the olive oil and popcorn kernels in a large lightweight pot, then gently shake the pot to distribute the kernels over the bottom of the pan and evenly coat the kernels with oil.
  3. Place the pot on medium heat (or slightly lower depending on the power of your stovetop) and put the the lid on. The kernels will begin popping in about a minute or so and you may need to hold the lid on using the safety handle.
  4. Shake the pot briefly every 30 seconds or so. When the popping stops, immediately pour the popcorn in to a large bowl. You may want to have a bowl set aside to pour excess popcorn into as you go if your pot turns out to be too small.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave, then pour it over the popcorn and sprinkle the salt, shaking well to toss and disperse.
  6. Enjoy!

*This popcorn may look a little dark, but the kernels were toasted in the pan before popping, I did not taste any burnt flavor.