Posts tagged ‘drinks’

2018, May 4

Recipe of the Month: Five favorite smoothie recipes

We bought a smoothie maker last month, and I’ve been making my own smoothies again.

Our old machine kicked the curb last Summer, and because I had my eye on a NutriBullet, we haven’t gotten around to deciding to get a new one. NutriBullets are expensive, or at least, they’re expensive over here. I could never justify that amount of money for it.
But then we went shopping one day, had enough time to browse and we looked around in the appliances section of the store. I found a “Concept Active Smoothie” blender, which comes with a bottle as well. I added it to my cart, and an extra bottle for it, which totaled to the third of the price of a NutriBullet. (It is really great, I recommend it to anyone.)
I had to admit that I truly only wanted the commodity of having a bottle or cup I could blend smoothies into and be able to put the lid on it and go go go. It wasn’t about the brand itself.

So ever since the beginning of April, I’ve made at least three smoothies per week. I forgot how much better they taste when they’re homemade! And they’re the perfect thing to have pre-run or post-run.

Below are five of my favorite smoothie recipes so far. I usually watch recipe videos on Youtube, but for these, I haven’t really followed any set recipe. I went with blending what ever I had at home at the moment and experimenting with different kinds of milks, since I don’t like dairy milk.

Spinach Smoothie

Blend together some banana, spinach, a teaspoon of turmeric, lemon balm, mint, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with rice milk and blend together.

Avocado Smoothie

Add some banana, avocado, a teaspoon of turmeric, dried cranberries, dried Agen prunes, a tablespoon of seeds mix, lemon balm and top with coconut milk and blend together.

Mango & Pineapple Smoothie

Add some banana, mango, pineapple, mint, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with coconut milk and blend together.

Blackberry & Apple Smoothie

Add some banana, apples, blackberries, lemon balm, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with hazelnut milk and blend together.

Orange & Carrot Smoothie

Add some orange, carrot, mango, a teaspoon of turmeric, a small piece of ginger, a tablespoon of Chia seeds, top with oat milk and blend together.

PS: I didn’t include measurements, because cup sizes differ, and also, I believe everyone’s personal taste should be the base for adding more or less of any of the above mentioned ingredients.

Bon appétit! ;)

2015, December 11

My favorite Winter drinks, with recipes

I was in bed with a cold for a few days this week, and while trying to stay as hydrated as possible, I started thinking of my favorite drinks for this time of year. And about how I haven’t done a Recipe of the Month post in a while. So, this will be a two in one blog post.

The following are my favorite Winter drinks, with one recipe included for each category.

Anything Winter-labeled tea
You know I love tea as a general rule, but during Fall and Winter I most enjoy drinking flavors I consider more “festive”. Some of my favorites are:
Pear & Caramel (Sir Edward Tea),
Apple & Cinnamon, Spiced Chai (Lipton),
Lemon & Ginger, Cranberry & Blood Orange or Blueberry & Apple (Twinings),
Magic Moments, Wintertime or Granny’s Finest (Teekanne),
Seasons Winter or Winter Holiday (Fares, a Romanian brand),
Ginger Peach Tea, Spiced Red Fruits or Black Tea Chai (English Tea Shop),
Magic Time (Mistral).

Sweet Ginger Tea

Sweet Ginger Tea

Sweet Ginger Tea

Cut about a one inch piece of fresh ginger root into small pieces, or thin slices.
Boil 250 ml water and pour into your cup over the ginger pieces.
Sweeten with 1-2 teaspoons of honey.
Add a slice of lemon, if you’re feeling adventurous.

The result is a really nice spicy tea, perfect for when you’re feeling chilly or a cold is creeping up on you.

If you’d like your tea less spicy, remove the ginger pieces after 2-3 minutes.
Optionally you can eat the ginger pieces and lemon slice after finishing your tea, or save them to use when cooking something (such as stir fry dishes).

Fresh juices
Orange, Orange & Grapefruit, Orange & Mandarin, Apple & Orange & Beet and Apple & Carrot & Beet combos. When my boyfriend doesn’t make me one in the morning, I like grabbing these on my way to work or during my lunch break, and sometimes even adding a splash of Ginger, Mint or Basil in there, too!

Spiced Orange & Grapefruit Juice

Spiced Orange & Grapefruit Fresh

Spiced Orange & Grapefruit Fresh

Squeeze the juice of 3 oranges and 1/2 of a Grapefruit into a glass.
You can also use a citrus reamer to do this. Strain of pulp if you’d like.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice mix (or both).
Sweeten (if needed) with 1-2 teaspoons of honey.

The obtained juice contains lots of magnesium, vitamin C, other minerals and vitamins making it a powerful antioxidant source besides being colorful and tasty.

Lattes and Hot Chocolate
A nice Caramel latte is the first thing I drink in the morning, but during this time of year, I enjoy switching it up and adding a Pumpkin Spice Latte, Gingerbread Latte or Marshmallow Latte into the mix.
As for hot chocolate, my favorite ready mixes are:
Hot Chocolatta Caramello (LaFesta),
Vanilla Flavored Chocolate Powder (Chocolaterie Monbana),
Seriously Velvety Instant Hot Chocolate (Clipper).
I’m also still in love with the S’mores Hot Chocolate, and recently tried my friend Janel‘s recipe for Cinnamon Hot Cocoa.
In case you haven’t read Janel’s books, feel free to catch up on her Culinary Competition Mystery Series before the next book releases on December 17th! They include yummy recipes, too!

page hot cocoa

Cinnamon Hot Cocoa
by Janel Gradowski

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 – 2 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it)
Dash of ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 cup of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add some turmeric and maca powder if you want to make this healthier.

Whisk together cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small pan with a few tablespoons of the milk.
Stir until a smooth paste forms. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk until well combined. Add the coconut oil.
Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until almost boiling. Stir in vanilla extract and serve.

I actually used one tablespoon of coconut milk instead of coconut oil, since I didn’t have any at hand, but the result was still delicious!

Coconut oil has many health benefits, including strengthening immunity. It adds a subtle coconut flavor to the hot cocoa, as well as a bit of richness. If you don’t have it feel free to leave out.

Let me know in the comment section below, what are your favorite Winter drinks? Give me the recipe so I can try them out!

Hope you enjoy the holidays with yummy drinks! ;)
2013, December 13

S’mores Hot Chocolate Recipe – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 This is the very first blog post of my new endeavor, Life’s a Stage getting all sparkly and entering its Holiday Edition.

For the upcoming twelve days, I decided to go with publishing one blog post every day in anticipation of Christmas. This period will be filled with DIY posts, recipes, crafts and the alike. If you feel like joining in, or giving the ideas featured here a try, please let me know in the comment section below, and share your photos with me on Twitter @EstrellaAzul, or on Instagram @Estrella05Azul.

This first blog post is a very decadent drink idea that I saw on MissGlamorazzi’s YouTube channel, and decided to try making.

My version is different than Ingrid’s, as I used non-organic products, regular milk and hazelnut chocolate spread instead of peanut butter.

This is a perfect treat for when you have friends over this holiday season, or better yet, curling up in a warm reading corner with one of your favorite books.

Hope you’ll love it as much as I do!


page - smores hot chocolate

S’Mores Hot Chocolate

-1 cup milk (Regular, almond, soy – any kind will work!)
-2 tbsp unsweetened Cocoa, or your favorite hot cocoa mix
-1 tbsp sugar or your choice of sweetener (If using pre-made hot cocoa mix, skip this!)
-3 or 4 graham crackers
-chocolate spread, or peanut butter
-Optional: chocolate chips or chocolate syrup

Prepare the hot chocolate as you would, either from the hot cocoa mix you like, or with the milk and unsweetened cocoa.

Crush the graham crackers. Line the edge of your mug with chocolate spread or peanut butter so you end up with a rim of sticky spread.

Dip into the graham cracker crumbs and maybe push the crumbs all around your mug so you get all the spread covered.

Toast the marshmallows over your stove, since it’s not exactly camping season :)

Pour the hot chocolate into your mug carefully, add the marshmallows, then decorate with some of the remaining graham cracker crumbs, and some chocolate chips, caramel or chocolate syrup.

2013, January 21

Recipe of the month: Pumpkin Spice Syrup & Latte

Most of you might know by now that I’m not a fan of coffee. Lattes and cappuccinos are okay, but they need some extra yumminess in there, like caramel syrup and a ton of sugar to make sure I drink them.

One morning before leaving for work at 6am, I drank a cup of coffee. Not because I wanted, but because there was no way my eyelids would stay open on their own. So I drank the coffee… but did not like it one bit. That was in November, and I still can’t even look at a cup of coffee!

So the other week, after I stayed up way past my bedtime the night before, I decided to have some coffee. The mere thought of it sent my mind screaming “NO way!”. But then, I started searching for and found something my friend Janel recommended.

Pumpkin Spice Latte. I gave it a go, and my gosh was it wonderful!

page pumpkin spice latte

Pumpkin Spice Syrup & Latte


  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tsp. honey
  • butter-vanilla essence


  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Toss in the cinnamon sticks and whisk in the remaining spices and the pumpkin puree. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks (or strain through a fine mesh strainer).
  4. Store in the refrigerator.
  5. To make a pumpkin spice latte: combine 2 ounces of hot coffee or 1 shot of hot espresso with 6 ounces of steamed low-fat milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice syrup. Taste and adjust amounts accordingly. Top as desired with freshly whipped cream or a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

    Goes wonderfully with stroopwafles! <3

Happy latte-drinking ;)


PS: You can use the strained leftover pumpkin for baking an easy pumpkin sheet cake. I always do!


*Recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

2012, October 28

Recipe of the Month: Elder Flower Syrup

As you might have read in my travel article on Milliver’s Travels, “Romanian road trip, just for the fun of it”, we drove by a house on top of one hill where I noticed Elders in full bloom. They weren’t in bloom back in the city anymore but liked the different weather up in the mountains.

I asked for us to stop and went up to the people living there, asking nicely to let me pick some flowers to dry. (Since I’m not supposed to have medication, Elder flower/berry tea is very much a part of my war plan against the sniffles.) It turned into a lovely chat where we swapped recipes for Elder flower lemonade, and I learned a new recipe for Elder flower syrup.

By the end of our chat I had a big bag of flowers to take home to dry, plus try the following syrup recipe (which turned out lovely and very flavorful).

Who would’ve thought I’d take home a brand-new recipe I learned on the top of a mountain?


Elder Flower Syrup

about 50 elder flowers 
4 lemons, washed and cut in half
2-3 tablespoons lemon salt
5 liters water
5 kg sugar
syrup preservative

Place the Elder flowers into a five liter glass or plastic bottle. Add the lemons (cut them up more if they don’t fit through the opening), lemon salt and pour the water over it.

Place the lid on, and leave in a cool place for 48 hours.

Filter after two days into a large pot, add the sugar and syrup preservative, then mix until they’re all dissolved. You should have a smooth syrup by the time you are finished.

Pour in smaller bottles and store in a cool place. 


Happy drinking ;)

2012, January 21

Recipe of the month: Mulled Wine

For January’s recipe of the month, I thought I’d go with a seasonal drink we make during Winter, in this little corner of the world.

Aside from being a tradition of the season, mulled wine is a variable drink with many recipe versions. And at the same time there are many ways for savoring: sip it alone in a hot bath, while under a warm blanket curled up on the sofa reading a good book, on an outing with friends or on a romantic evening with your sweetheart.

IMG_3790-1 modified

Mulled Wine

1 –1,5 l great quality (either white or red) wine
8 dkg sugar
1 cinnamon rod
5 cloves
half an orange’s peels
optionally: a few pieces of cut orange, some allspice, cardamom, dried fruit (apples, plums, sour cherries), raisins, lemon peels

Wash the orange, grate the peels and then cut thin slices of orange if you want any in your drink.
Pour the wine in a large pan, add the spices, fruit and peels, sugar, and heat until boiling point.
After you’re done, strain your drink and serve while hot.

Happy wine-sipping ;)

2011, May 29

Recipe of the month: Rose lemonade & Elder flowers lemonade

You may have noticed that I forgot to post a recipe last month. So this month I’m cheating a bit making up for that by providing sort of two recipes.

These are my favorite summer drinks :)

page rose lemonade

Rose lemonade

7 liters water
1100 grams sugar
1 lemon’s grated peels
2-3 lemons’ squeezed juice
3-4 fragrant Roses’ petals


Elder flowers lemonade

7 liters water
1100 grams sugar
1 lemon’s grated peels
2-3 lemons’ squeezed juice
6-7 Elder flowers



Warm up the water, dissolve the sugar in it, then let it cool until lukewarm.
Wash the Elder flowers or Rose petals and place them in a glass jar (or other kind of recipient with a large enough opening) along with the lemon peels and lemon juice.
Pour the sugared water into the jar over the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Cover with a gauze or similar fabric so air can get through.
Leave this to mature (ferment?) for around 5-7 days (possibly less if you place it in the sun), stirring 2-3 times daily.
When ready, filter and keep it in an open bottle in the fridge as your drink will be slightly carbonated, so a tightly closed bottle might explode.

Note: the more flowers/petals you add, the stronger your drink will become, so you can adjust the recipe to your liking.
Depending on your personal taste, you can add more lemon juice to the Elder flowers lemonade.

Happy drinking ;)

PS: I just made Rose lemonade today, can’t wait to drink some at the end of the week!

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