Get Your Ice-Cold Lemonade Here!

Sometimes you just want a quick glass of cold lemonade without all the gross preservatives and excess sugar you get from the powdered junk. This little concoction is

Lemonade 1

Blue Castles | Lemonade

another gem from my childhood. I remember my mother keeping a jar of what we called Concentrate in the fridge year round, ready to be added to water for a tasty glass of lemonade at whim.

Lemonade 2

Blue Castles | Lemonade

If you’ve got a lot of citrus laying around that you don’t know what to do with, you’ll love this. There isn’t a specific recipe involved. It’s really just depends on how much you have on hand.

So grab those variations of citrus and bust out the juicer, my friends! I’m going to keep you in lemonade all summer long.

Literally all Concentrate is, is freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice (and orange if you want it a little sweeter), and maple syrup. It’ll store nicely in the fridge in a sealed jar. Your maple syrup should equal about half the amount of the juice. So if you have 1/2 cup of juice, you’d want about 1/4 cup of maple syrup. You can use less syrup if you add oranges, since oranges are naturally sweet. You can experiment until you get the level of sweetness you prefer.

Then it’s a couple tablespoons of Concentrate in a glass with ice and water and you have a fast, delicious, healthier version of lemonade on demand.  The juice and the syrup separate, of course, so just give the jar a quick shake to recombine before you make your drink.

I love the depth of flavour the maple syrup provides. It’s a much more complex sweet than sugar is, and it gives this lemonade a lovely round flavour.

So if you’re looking for a refreshing drink to fortify you from the heat, whip up a batch of Concentrate and keep it on hand all summer long!

Lemonade 3

Blue Castles | Lemonade

 

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Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken

Happy First Day of June, my friends!

Summertime has arrived in full swing and I am absolutely loving the hot weather. After seven months of cold and snow, the sun is a very welcome change. As soon as the weather is even moderately warm, I start hankering for grilled foods of every variety. Since we don’t own a barbecue currently, this hankering is downright maddening.

This Coconut Curry Chicken is delicious no matter how you cook it, but if you have the means to grill it, it’s going to be absolutely amazing. Seriously, you will thank me afterwards.

If you want to, you can take the remainder of the marinade and turn it into a sauce by boiling it for five minutes. This will take care of the bacteria from the raw chicken, and the sauce is so good over the chicken and rice.

I always like to top this dish with fresh chopped cilantro, green onion and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. With the char on the chicken and some fluffy white rice, the flavour combination is unreal!

I always prefer to use chicken thighs for this recipe, because its so rich and flavourful. Chicken breasts would work as well if that’s what you have on hand. You can also bake the chicken in the oven or on the stove top if you’re like me and don’t have a barbecue.

Also, you can let this marinate for an hour and it’ll be mighty tasty, but let me tell you, I’ve marinated this recipe for a full twenty-four hours and it is the most amazing thing you will ever taste. I’m serious. This does not disappoint.

 

Coconut Curry Chicken

Serves: 6  Prep: 10 min + 1-24 hrs Cook: 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs, two per person
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped, for garnish
  • Lime wedges

 

  1. Combine coconut milk, oil, lime juice and zest, cumin, soy sauce, curry powder and salt to make marinade.
  2. Place chicken in an airtight container and pour marinade over, seal and let marinate in the fridge for anywhere from an hour to 24 hours.  The longer, the better.
  3.  Separate chicken from marinade and set marinade aside. Grill chicken for 5 minutes, flip, and grill for another 5 minutes or until juices run clear.
  4. Put marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it boil for a full five minutes. Set aside to cool.
  5. Serve chicken with cooked rice and marinade sauce, topped with cilantro, green onions and a squeeze of lime juice.

 

Enjoy!

 

Apartment Gardening For Beginners

I have got to say, I am loving the weather we’ve been having this week!

This past winter felt like it was never going to end. We had a week of spring-like weather in April and then we were hit with a string of spring snowstorms that just seemed to linger. Ever since the sun came back, I’ve been outside every day, trying to soak up all the sunshine I can possibly get.

Community garden

Blue Castles | Community Gardening

Getting the

Community Garden 4

Blue Castles | Gardening

gardening urge is always a little tricky when you live in an apartment building, like we do, but my husband and I decided we wanted to try our hand at it this year.

Gardening is definitely a hands-on learning experience. You can read books to gain knowledge about the best planting techniques but you won’t really know what you’re doing until you get your hands in the dirt and get to work.

 

 

Here are a few tips if you want to try gardening but you don’t have a yard of your own.

 

  1. Take Note of How Much Sunlight Your Apartment Gets.
    Do you get sunlight in the morning? In the afternoon? All day? How much sunshine you’re balcony gets will determine which kind of plants you can grow. Plants like tomatoes need full sun, which means 8 hours of sunlight, but things like carrots and beets do better in partial sunlight.
  2. Determine How Much Space You’ll Need.
    What kind of vegetables do you want to grow? Do you just want a couple of tomatoes or do you want to cut down on your grocery bills by growing your own veggies? Do you just want to have access to fresh herbs for the summer (who doesn’t)? Some plants need more space than others, and some thrive better when they’re planted with others.  Do your research, and be prepared that it might not be possible to grow some veggies.
  3. Check out Your Community.
    We are lucky enough to have a community garden in our town, where we can rent a garden plot for $25 for the year, which is a blazin’ good deal. The garden has every gardening supply you could think of, all of which is available for use at any time.  The only thing that is asked of us is that we take a few minutes to work on the plots that are dedicated to the Food Bank. I personally think that is a very fair trade. If you don’t have the space or the best lighting for growing green things on your balcony, do some research in your community and see if there are any gardening options that you can take advantage of.

 

Community Garden Tomato

Blue Castles | Gardening 

 

Our plot is about 4 feet by 8 feet, which tons of space for the two of us. So far we’ve planted three tomato plants, two Roma tomatoes and one Beefsteak, a Chili pepper plant, two basil plants and two sugar snap pea plants. We still have a ton of space, so we might add a few more plants in the next week or so. I’m so excited to have this project this summer! Especially because its something that my husband and I can work on together.

 

I’m here to tell you that you can still have a garden, even if you live in an apartment building. So, put those green thumbs to use this summer, friends!

 

 

A Glorious Mess: The Magical Peanut Sauce

Once upon a time, I gave you a recipe for Summer Rolls and Peanut Sauce

This peanut sauce is one of my favourite recipes. It never fails to impress, and it’s quick to throw together. 

It does make a wonderful dipping sauce, especially with other Thai inspired dishes, but one of my all time favourite ways to use it is in this meal. 

Brown rice, black beans, a tomato and avocado salad and chicken breast, with a generous helping of Peanut Sauce drizzled over the whole thing. It’s a big plate of deliciousness that is all fresh, bright flavours and spicy nuttiness. 

The tomato and avocado salad couldn’t be easier! Just chop your tomatoes and avocados, plus a generous amount of cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix it all together and voila! it’s amazing. 

Cooking the brown rice with chicken broth really brings a new level of flavour to the whole meal, too. Although, leaving the rice plain is fine as well if that’s what you prefer.
As for your chicken, I’ve had it breaded and baked, marinated and grilled, or simply just seasoned and broiled and it’s delicious whichever way you choose to do it. Feel free to experiment and discover which one you like the best!
This whole meal is so fresh and perfect for Summertime, especially if you grill your chicken. It’s fast and easy, and the whole family will love it! Just pile your plate with rice, beans, chicken,salad and sauce and gobble it up. 
You won’t be disappointed!