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Basic French Macaroon

What you will need:
For the macaroon:
2/3 cup ground almonds, finely ground
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus an extra 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
For the macaroon:
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
2. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks.

3. Sift confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds in a separate bowl and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.

4. Spoon a small amount of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off and pipe a test disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheet.

5. When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.

6. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, roughly 1 hour.

7. Preheat oven to 285 degrees F (140 degrees C).
8.
Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
1. Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer), cream butter until soft and smooth.
2. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.

To assemble the macaroon:
1. Transfer the buttercream filling into a piping bag with a round tip.
2. Pipe a swirl of filling on half the cookies.
3. Sandwich cookies together with the remaining halves.

 

.: Side Notes:.
If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.

If you don’t think your almonds are ground finely enough feel free to use almond meal instead.

These macaroons can be stored in the fridge for 24-48 hours uncovered, but can last in the fridge in an air-tight for up to a week
.

Once you get the hang of making these you can change up flavors of not only the macaroon but the filling as well. The ones in the picture are cookies and cream flavor and a chocolate hazelnut.

 

Cookies & Cream Macaroon, Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon

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Pork Potstickers

What you will need:
For the filling:
1 pound ground pork
1 cup green cabbage, shredded 
2 ounces crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, fine chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated or minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Everything else:
1 (12 ounce) package round wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. In a large bowl, gently combine all of the filling ingredients with a wooden spoon.

2. Prepare a wrapping station by lining two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
– Lay as many wonton wrappers as will fit onto one baking sheet.
– Add a tablespoon of filling to the center of each wrapper.
– Fill a small bowl with water and set it next to your workstation.

3. Dip a finger in the water and run it along the entire edge of the round wonton wrapper closest to you.

4. Form the potsticker by bringing two sides of the wrap together to form a half moon shape. Begin by pinching the center of the potsticker and work your way from the center out to both sides, pinching to create a seal as you go.

5. Place the completed potsticker on the second baking sheet.
6. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers until all of the filling is used.
7. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat.
8. Working in batches, add potstickers in a single layer and cover the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the cover and add 1/2 cup water.

9. Recover the pan, turn the heat down to medium low and steam until cooked through (another 5-7 minutes or so).

10. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and a little extra crushed red pepper flake to serve as a dipping sauce (this is totally optional, skip it if you want).

11. Serve warm and enjoy.

 

.: Side Note :.

If you’re not a fan of pork ground chicken works well with this recipe as well.

For easy grating, pop your ginger root in the freezer for 5 minutes then use a microplane zester to grate the ginger directly into the mixing bowl.

You can normally find round wonton wrapper in the ethnic aisle of any grocery store, my go to brand is Nasoya

 

potstickers

 

 

 

 

What you will need:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut roughly into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Salt and pepper, to taste

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook for approximately 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender

3. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more.
4. Remove the vegetables from the pan; place them on a plate and cover.
5. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and turn the heat to high. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil.

6. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

7. Add the vegetables back to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes or until the vegetables are warmed through.

8. In a bowl whisk together the oyster sauce, chicken broth, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water.

9. Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetables; cook for 30 seconds. 10. Add the cornstarch and bring to a boil; cook for 1 more minute or until sauce has just started to thicken.

11. Serve as is by itself over some steamed rice, or try over some rice noodles.

 

.: Side Notes :.
If you don’t like mushrooms feel free to substitute baby corn, slices of carrots or more broccoli

This recipe is very versatile, you can change up the protein and easily use beef strips or prawns

If you’re looking to add more texture feel free to add some crushed up cashews or almonds on top.

chicken-and-broccoli-stir-fry

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again you don’t need a New Years resolutions and if you do make one don’t make it an empty resolution. I’m gonna take a jump back to 2016 to bring back some old advice that still stands true and may be able to help start this year off right.

No resolutions for me
Written by me in 2016

It’s been almost two full weeks into the New Year, and I want 2016 to be the year people actually accomplish stuff. It doesn’t matter if it is getting your first pull-up, running your first muddy marathon, or learning to play that guitar that sits there unused since you bought it at that random garage sale. And the way you’re going to do that is by saying no to resolutions.

Most New Year’s resolutions are hallow ideas that could realistically be set any time of the year and if they actually mattered to you and could be started when you actually want to make a change. Things like….

“I’m going to exercise every day.”

“I’m going to start brushing my teeth more”

“I’m going to eat better.”

Let’s be honest, we know these things aren’t going to become habit right away yet we declare a random  goal, and then we look back at year’s end and realize we never really got out of the starting gate. Things come up, life gets busy and then the excuses start to creep their way in so you don’t feel so bad about yourself and things like…

Well I told myself I wanted to run more and eat better, and I was motivated for a few weeks, but then life got busy and it kind of faded away…Oops

..I bet that started sounding real familiar.

You need to stop with those “motivational” quotes / photos because in the end they don’t really help. Instead try to make a goal board, something where you constantly see where you want to end up and actually write a plan on how you are going to get there. Don’t get me wrong motivation / inspiration are a great way to get started on figuring out what you want to achieve but in the end it won’t do the work for you. Only you can do the work and end up with where you want to be.

That decision to sit on the couch instead of going for a run isn’t just a lack of building the habit of running — it’s reinforcing the habit of sitting on the couch. The decision to eat fast food rather than something healthy isn’t just a decision to not eat better, it’s reinforcing the behavior of eating junk food.

Our brains are a wonderful, strange and very complicated thing. It does however always look for the past of least resistance, and when you perform an activity over and over again, it requires less brain power to get you to do that thing. Do you remember how tough it was to drive a car for the first time? How nervous you would be and possibly over think every little action. Now it’s something you can do with very minimal thought and is almost second nature.

When you are looking to build a new habit, start by keeping the habit small and attainable. Make it black-and-white and don’t leave room for excuses: I did this/I did not do this. The smaller the daily goal the better. A five minute walk, five minutes of playing that guitar, or even writing every day even if it is only just 250 words. Once you achieve your daily goals they can then be turned into weekly goals and then grow again into monthly goals so on and so forth. I personally try not to set up my goals for over a month just because for me after the first month I will let some things slide and let excuses take over, having to start from square one all over again.

To help build your new habit so you are achieving your goals you need to put a reward/accountability system in place . A reward/accountability system that does two key things: increases the pain associated with skipping the new habit, and increases the pleasure associated with completing the habit.

You NEED to take the power away from your brain to say “meh, I can skip the run this one time” or “meh, I just don’t feel like it today. I’ll make up for it tomorrow.”

If you set up a reward / accountability system you can put things in place like…

If you go for a short 15 – 20min run every day for the next 4 weeks, you earn a new pair of running shoes

…or how about finally getting that fitness tracker you had your eye on or new guitar tuner. Things like this  encourages you to continue on with your goal. Reward yourself with things that reward you back and also keep you on track with your goals. Also it’s ok being hard on yourself, if you didn’t keep up with your goals YOU DON’T GET REWARDED. You wouldn’t pay someone for a job they didn’t do would you ?

It’s also very important to make our environments work for us not against us. Change things up in your home to either take away temptations or help break the reliance on them, for example try…..

Throwing out all junk food in your house.

Blocking time wasting websites on your computer or add a screen locking setting after so many minutes.

Take the TV out of your bedroom, getting a better nights sleep with help in your day to day life no matter what your goal is.

Putting your alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. If your alarm clock is your cell phone move your cell phone charger so you can’t lie in bed and check it.

Changing up your environment will let you then focus more on your goals, because once you make that first initial change you can then….

Only stock your fridge with healthy food.

Pack your gym bag and leaving it in the back of your car always so you can work out before work/after work. Or even leave it by the front door next to your purse / house keys so you can grab it as you’re leaving.

Buy a Kindle with guitar books loaded on it and bring it everywhere so you read more.

Screw relying on “willpower” you create your own success by structuring your life and making your own new routines. You can either do it by yourself or with a group of friends. If you can find a group of friends or even just one person who has the same goals as you use each other to keep the accountability in achieving said goals. Plus you can implement a “lazy” fee, simply tell one another that if we try pulling the “not today” excuse you then owe the other person something. It could be as simple as five dollars or build up to “You now owe me lunch“. Finding people who have the same goals or even similar ones (going to the gym more or loosing those last ten pounds can work hand in hand) is a great way to not only keep up your goals but keep an interest in making a real change.

My only last piece of advice would be use Google to your advantage. The internet it a wonderful thing if you let it be, it has many solutions to almost any goal. There are recipes galore, tips and tricks on how to take those first few steps, even forms / groups where you can ask advice (most of the time judgement free).

So good luck to everyone, I hope this helps you not only set some new goals for yourself but also keep them.

On the eve of a new year

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Wish you all nothing but the best for the new year to come. Hope you all have a wonderful night full of fun, friends, food and being somewhere safe as well as warm

Please also remember that there is no excuse for drunk driving. If you are going out tonight have a designated driver, take a cab / taxi / uber / bus, walk just DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE ! ! !

Please alread

Fizzy Cranberry Gin Cocktail

What you will need:
Ice
Club soda or sparkling water
1 heaping tablespoon cranberry sauce
1 ounce gin
1 ounce orange liqueur, such as triple sec or cointreau
Slice of any citrus fruit, for garnish
Rosemary sprig, for garnish

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Add the cranberry sauce, gin, triple sec, and ice to a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
3. Pour into a tumbler class and top with club soda or sparkling water.
4. Garnish with orange slice and rosemary sprig.

 

.: Side Notes :.
1 ounce equals 30ml
This can easily be turned into a mock-tail for kids just replace alcohol with cranberry juice and mix with Sprite or 7up.

 

 

 

When you see a blog that hits so close to home you have no choice but to share it

Written by : Rhona Silverbush
Original blog found here:
The Advice I’d Never Heard About Supporting a Child on the Autism Spectrum

“My son Jack gets on kicks. Remember those Magna Doodle drawing boards? We had several minis (understatement!), because we couldn’t leave the house without one for what amounted to a large percentage of my son’s young life. One of the many reasons?

One of the sweetest (says his unbiased mom) was his cash register kick when he was about 6. He had calculators with rolls of paper that print out the calculations that are punched in, and they were his “cash registers.” Everyone who works at our corner grocer has known Jack his whole life, and they were charmed by his sincere desire to help out. “Jack’s going to help me ring up customers,” one would declare when they saw us enter. “Oh, no — he helped you last time. I need his help today,” another would say. And Jack would beam. He’d take his station alongside one of the cashiers, who would call out the prices to him as he or she was doing the actual ringing up of a customer’s items, and Jack would happily plug in the numbers and crow out the final tally. The cashier would quietly adjust that to account for tax and complete the transaction with the customer, and on they’d go to the next.Jack would use them as signs — he loves signs. He’d pretend that a walk we were on was a train ride, and he’d write each stop on the board. We’d pause along our way whenever we “pulled into the station.”

The other sweetest? Label makers, when Jack was 7 and 8. He’d print labels for people in the building and the neighborhood that were mini “gifts” to them, and he would beam when the recipient “got it” that he or she had just been gifted something precious.

Every year, he trick-or-treats with his dad, always in a very singular costume of his devising, and goes into stores in the neighborhood. “What are you this year, Jack?” or “Wow, Jack, that’s amazing,” are the common refrains. And we live in a building with a doorman now, where Jack sometimes likes to sit in the lobby with his LED sign reading “Welcome to Our Building.” The sign scrolls. It has three colors. It’s truly awesome. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, Jack is on the autism spectrum.

Don’t get me wrong — Jack is actually quite shy. He hates being in the spotlight with every fiber of his being. But as I hope you’ve gleaned by now, he seems to enjoy connecting and forging relationships with people as much if not more than anyone you’ll ever meet, and that tends to win out over his shyness — so long as he can engage in his own way.

There’s nothing shy about me, though, and I wind up getting asked a lot to speak with moms of children newly diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. I recently spoke by phone with one such mom who said, “My 8-year-old son does a lot of things people find annoying, and they get irritated. I just don’t know what to do. He doesn’t mean any harm.”

I hear her loud and clear. Same here. Jack’s challenges aren’t always visible to the naked eye, and it can be easy for a stranger on the street to misinterpret them. As he gets older and wants to go places on his own, I worry that he’ll bump into someone and be scolded, or worse.

I had two answers for the mom on the phone. The first was obvious: As her boy gets older, teach him to advocate for himself. “I’m sorry — I wasn’t ignoring you. I have trouble with auditory processing and didn’t know you were talking to me. Can you please repeat that?”

But equally important, I believe, was my second answer, and it’s not one I’ve heard or read anywhere, which is why I’m writing about it now: This mom and her child’s dad need to get out there and actively build their son’s “village.”

A dear friend of mine lives in an actual village — a small seaside town, where nearly everyone knows her son, who is also on the autism spectrum. They’ve known him since he was born, so they really know him. In their minds, he’s one of theirs, and so they all adore him and look out for him. I don’t live in a small town, but my neighborhood in my big city is akin to one, and Jack’s dad and I made sure from the get-go that Jack’s neighbors knew him — really knew him — so that they, too, could truly “get,” appreciate and care about him.

Communities often rally around those they perceive as their own. I urged this mom of the 8-year-old to get him out there in ways he could tolerate and see to it he becomes familiar to those around him. And to fill them in about his diagnosis — engage their empathy, which can override their prior irritation. He’s a wonderful boy with many attributes, strengths and challenges. Let them see the full picture. I urged the mom to turn the people in her area from strangers into her son’s community, so that they, too, can see what she sees when she looks at and smiles on him. Yes, incidents with strangers will be unavoidable. But there could be far fewer strangers and far more people looking out for him as he grows older, far more people cheering him on. Far more people sincere when they say their version of our corner cashiers’ “No, you had Jack with you last time — I get him with me today!”

 

 

gingerbreadcookies

What you will need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup  brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest, optional

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Whisk the flour, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
3. In the bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they’ve just come together.

4. Add the egg, and mix until incorporated.
5. Add the molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest (if using) and mix until incorporated.
6. Slowly mix in the flour mixture until your dough forms.
7. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4″ thickness, then cut out your shapes.
8. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-9 minutes.

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you’re not immediately making the cookies, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate (You can freeze this recipe too) until you are ready to use it. Before using, bring to room temperature.

 

While reading a fellow bloggers newest post I felt the need to share it because it struck a cord. It made me stop and think about  how being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum (any parent in general can relate), we try to do everything to ensure that we are able to provide the best for our children however some times we often over look what they really need / would really benefit from. It was a good reminder to take an extra moment to really think about what my son and I are doing let alone looking at the bigger picture when it comes to helping my son grow.

The post was called Learning to Be More Open to What My Son on the Autism Spectrum Really Needs.”    and was written by Kim McCafferty.

“Twelve years ago this month, I walked into our pediatrician’s office with my then-17-month-old son in tow, hoping for a prescription for reflux. I walked out shaking, crushed by our doctor’s callousness, and clutching four mis-stapled and badly copied articles about autism in my trembling hands. Our pediatrician never uttered the word himself, just told me to call a developmental pediatrician, thrust some numbers on a stickie into my hand and left the room.

He wasn’t our pediatrician much longer.

I remember being in shock as I left the office, as we’d just been in four weeks prior and our insensitive doctor had not seemed that concerned with the delays our toddler was demonstrating. I also remember as I made my way to the pharmacy to fill that prescription, which would at least let me help him with his reflux. I called upon my experience with the few autistic children I’d had as a teacher in my homeroom and classroom, thinking those few encounters would give me a leg up on raising my own autistic child. Boy, was I wrong.

As they say on “Game of Thrones,” I knew nothing, Kim McCafferty.

The year was 2004, a time when Jenny McCarthy was talked about a lot in the autism community. While navigating doctors appointments and the murky and ultimately deeply disappointing world of what passed for Early Intervention in northern Virginia, I spent any time I wasn’t interacting with my son researching autism on the internet, and God was it confusing.

There were parents claiming the only positive outcome of this diagnosis could be a “cure.”

There were autistic advocates and parents of autistic children claiming an alternative neurology cannot and should not be “cured.”

There were professionals informing me that studies showed that sign language gave kids an edge over learning to talk and should always be employed.

There were professionals informing me that alternative methods should always be explored, matching the child’s strengths to the appropriate communication system.

There were parents telling me not to vaccinate.

There were physicians telling me I’d better vaccinate.

There were parents explaining to me that a public school program was the way to go for their opportunities for mainstreaming, which should be my ultimate goal.

There were teachers sharing with me that despite the push for it, mainstreaming might not be the most important goal regarding my son’s future education.

As I look over my list, I realize not all that much has changed in a dozen years.

I did my best by my son Justin in those early and isolated years, reading and attending workshops whenever possible. I often felt the two of us were drowning back then, combating my son’s insomnia, aggression, gastrointestinal disorders and his adherence to having things a certain way (he would eventually receive a dual diagnosis of OCD and autism). My husband worked, our families were three hours away, and all my friends either had careers or were busy raising babies of their own. I often felt adrift at sea, anchor-less.

Ultimately what I clung to to get through it all were my choices regarding Justin’s therapy, usually based on articles I’d read, clutching their information to me as tightly as I had clutched those initial articles which had in one instant completely altered my world.

I displayed my own rigid behavior regarding that information. According to studies I’d read, sign language more often gave way to words, in my opinion a must for my boy even though his fine and gross motor abilities were delayed.

I was told that he should absolutely attend a public school program both for the chance he’d mainstream, and so he’d make friends with neurotypical peers.

And if it weren’t for professionals who gently offered me alternatives to both of these choices and asked me to keep an open mind, despite my best intentions, I might have done my son more harm than good.

After we moved to New Jersey and actually received appropriate Early Intervention services (yay the Garden State!), I clearly recall one of the therapists from Rutgers gently pointing out to me that after more than a year of working with my son, he only had a handful of signs, and some of those were used sporadically at best. I remember initially feeling that using the PECS system meant giving up on words, instead of focusing on the fact that my then 22-month old might actually end up with a way to communicate his needs other than by mostly crying.

If I hadn’t listened, he might have spent many more months often frustrated by his mother’s inability to read his mind.

I had that same rigid mindset originally as from Virginia we attempted to find the most fantastical, amazing, perfect autism program in the perfect NJ town (oy!) because I wanted my son in the public schools for the mainstreaming opportunities, and I didn’t want him sent out of district. At the tender age of 3 I wanted him to have opportunities to engage with neurotypical peers. I wanted him to have friends, to interact with others. This was the most important goal in my life, more than losing that last seven “baby weight” pounds or consuming large amounts of chocolate every day.

OK, that last is still an important goal.

After four years in two different public school districts, it became apparent that the only one who cared about his interactions with neurotypical peers was me, and that his home school district really didn’t have an appropriate program for him anymore. I remember my mom, a special educator with three decades of experience, gently telling me to look at the big picture for Justin, that perhaps him having friends was not the most important issue now, that in fact Justin really didn’t seem to care about his peers. I recall making the mental shift to becoming open to sending him to a private autism school, where educators could help him focus on the academics he loved so much, where down the road he would have better access to job programs and adult programs, and hell, even a swimming pool he’d frequent daily during his eight-week summer program.

I’m still learning how to make the shift from wanting for Justin what I think he should need to what he really needs (it remains a learning curve for me), and by keeping an open mind, I know my choices for him have contributed to the thriving, happy teenager who loves school and loves his life. I still struggle to do this with both my boys (what parent doesn’t), often employing a “what would Zach/Justin do” mentality when considering my options.

And I still make mistakes. I am still sometimes slow to recognize a shift in need, still working on ridding myself of “what should be.

But as with many things in life, I’m still a work in progress, and keeping an open mind is one goal I plan to keep.

their opportunities for mainstreaming, which should be my ultimate goal.

Sore Throat Tea

It’s the time of year where nasty colds are in the air, next time you have a sore throat give this tea a try. I know it’s my go to, an it may become yours too.

honeytea

What you need:
1 inch fresh ginger root (no need to peel it, you’ll see why below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed 
1 tablespoon honey

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Grate the ginger into a heat safe bowl.
2. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the ginger and let it steep for 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the lemon juice and the honey in a large mug.
4. Strain the ginger tea into the mug.
5. Stir to dissolve the honey, taste, and add more honey or lemon juice if you like.

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you want to play with the flavor give these ideas a try.
– Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or cardamom at the end for a warm spice flavor. Or, use a cinnamon stick to do the stirring to dissolve the honey (this is a particular hit for those with stuffy noses).

   – If you like things spicy, add a dash of cayenne—that spicy note will further help clear out those sinuses.

   – If the lemon flavor is too much for you, balance it out with a splash of orange juice works just as well as lemon but doesn’t have the bitter notes.

This tea works best if it’s warm but does the trick chilled as well.

I find the best way to grate ginger is with planer zester / grater   a but the small side of a cheese grater works too.

You can make a big pot of this and store in a drink pitcher or later.

If you’re feeling extra lazy don’t worry about grating the ginger, you can just slice it up since you’re going to strain it later. I suggest grating it though because it helps release the juice more.