Strawberry-Basil Infused Water {Recipe Redux}

Ω May 22nd, 2015 Ω Tagged , , , , , , , , Ω 4 Comments

infused water recipe

It was the “lizard hands” comment that got me thinking.

cucumber mint infused water

A few weeks ago, in the midst of some serious fifth grade-style hand holding, Peter lifted my hand to his eyes. He squinted at my fingers as if I had sprouted an extra digit, or perhaps some fur.

“What?” I asked, already thinking about my upcoming final exams.

As tactful as ever, Peter chuckled to himself. “You’ve got lizard hands.”

I snatched back my hand. Sure enough, the telltale cracks of dry skin had wreaked havoc on previously baby-smooth hands. In the midst of preparing for final presentations and exams for the first year of my MBA program, I hadn’t hydrated as usual. It’s hard to remember fluids when you’re panicked about a major presentation that represents the culmination of an entire year of sweat, tears, and apparently not drinking enough water.

cucumber mint infused water

Staying hydrated is an oft-forgotten aspect of staying healthy. Fluids are critical for heart health, regulating body temperature, and avoiding kidney stones, not to mention smoothing out those lizard hands. I mean, I need those hands for playing Viva Piñata on Xbox. After final exams, of course.

A general guideline for making sure you’re hydrated can be found at this link. Thirst is not a great indicator of hydration, since being thirsty indicates you’re already dehydrated. Dessicated hands mean you need water, stat.

I like to think Peter is about to serve me pizza in the background.

I like to think background Peter is about to serve pizza.

Yet sometimes plain water won’t cut it. In times of busyness and stress (e.g. finals upon finals upon finals), I don’t necessarily reach for my water bottle. What’s an over-stretched gal to do?

Flavor the water, of course!

Madeline agrees.

Madeline agrees.

Adding flavor to water is a well-documented way to encourage fluid intake. When I say flavor, I don’t mean soda or sports drinks — oh, no. I mean delicious, refreshing fruit flavors. This fact led me to the perfect recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux.

What favorite kitchen staples do you now make from scratch – but in the past you purchased? Show us your best DIY recipe for keeping cupboards, fridge or freezer stocked with healthy basics. Think homemade frozen waffles, salad dressing, broth or other kitchen essentials.

Making your own flavor-infused water is cheaper and healthier than buying it pre-infused (pre-fused?). Plus, it tastes better!

infused water

The recipe below is for refreshing strawberry-basil-infused water, but you can make any combination you crave, such as blueberry-nectarine or the classic cucumber-mint.

Drink up!

Strawberry-Basil Infused Water

  Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (1 quart)

  • 3 large strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 3 large basil leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 quart water

Instructions

Slice strawberries into 1/4-inch slices. Tear basil into several pieces. Add to 1-quart jar, cover with ice, and pour in water. Cover and place in refrigerator. Infuse for 24 hours to enjoy maximum flavor.

Recipe variation: Crush berries for more intense flavor.

Flavor variation: Try other fruit/vegetable/herb combinations, such as blueberry-peach or cucumber-mint.

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Tomato-Corn Tortilla Soup with Fresh Lime {Recipe Redux)

Ω April 22nd, 2015 Ω Tagged , , , , , , , , Ω 3 Comments

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You know time is racing by when another Recipe Redux comes up and you swear you just posted the last one. Has it really been a month since then? Peter and I have been so swamped with work and other obligations that we’ve barely had time to stop and smell the roses.

Or the tulips.

Or the tulips.

Somehow, the Recipe Redux always knows what I need, be it easy leftovers or a dose of chocolate. This month is no different.

Go through your pantry, cupboards, freezer, or fridge; what ‘treasures’ have you found? Pick an ingredient/spice/condiment that’s been hanging out for a while and give it the attention it needs. Share a healthy recipe made using your new-found pantry prize.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know we’re no strangers to excess amounts of single ingredients in the THIH household. It’s a hazard of being married to someone who buys in bulk for a household of two-plus-hungry-pup. You may recall the following pathetic attempts to use up certain extra ingredients:

Chocolate Chip Week
Honey Week
Apricot Week (complete with poem by the Bard of J-Town)
Meyer Lemon Week
Ricotta Week
Pumpkin Week

The latest pantry prize came to me last week when I heard a snuffling from behind our pantry door. I opened the door to discover Madeline had ensconced herself at the bottom of the pantry, surrounded by dried Rancho Gordo beans that she was happily swallowing one-by-one. The image brought back unpleasant memories of the red lentil disaster.

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So, beans it was! This fiber-packed soup is light-but-filling, and the flavor of fresh lime ties everything together. Feel free to use canned beans and frozen corn, but the lime should be fresh if possible. Enjoy this soup hot or cold with a side of avocado-topped salad.

One-half cup dried beans down, nine cups to go.

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Madeline? Well, let’s just say that she’s banished from the kitchen for a while.

Tomato-Corn Tortilla Soup with Fresh Lime

  Prep Time: 10 minutes + bean time if needed

  Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced (boxed, bottled, or canned is fine)
  • 1/2 cup dried beans, cooked or 1-15oz can beans, preferably unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1/2 tortilla, sliced into strips 1/4-inch by 2-inch (optional)
  • Oil for frying (optional)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

In a large pot, heat the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the frozen corn and allow to warm through, approximately 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, beans, oregano, and salt, and stir. Turn off heat, add lime juice, and set aside, allowing flavors to meld.

Optional tortilla strips: In a small pot frying plan, heat an inch of oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F, until the surface starts to shimmer. Add tortilla strips so that they form a single layer, frying in batches if necessary. Allow to fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until strips are crispy and slightly puffy. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Alternatively, spread tortilla strips on a lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

Ladle soup into a bowl, garnish with tortilla strips and fresh parsley if desired, and enjoy!

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