summer's end cocktail (honey, lemon, spiced tea vodka, and st. germain)

I can't believe summer is already coming to an end. I always get a little sad to see it go, but I have the perfect cocktail to celebrate both the end of summer and the beginning fall. This drink was inspired by a cocktail that I fell in love with last year at one of our favorite restaurants, but of course just as soon as I found it, it was promptly discontinued. I search for something similar on the cocktail menu at nearly every restaurant we go to, but after not finding anything that came close, I decided to try and recreate it for myself.
I had guessed it might end in disaster, but much to my surprise I ended up with an almost exact replica on my very first try! It's sweet without being too sweet, has a hint of spiced tea (making it an excellent transition into fall), and is strong without having an overpowering taste of alcohol.
You really have to try this.
You do have to plan ahead slightly, because the vodka needs to be infused with spiced tea. I know this might sound a little difficult but don't let it scare you. It's the reason it took me so long to try to create the cocktail myself, but it really couldn't be easier.
I used a pint sized mason jar, filled it with vodka and added one spiced chai teabag and a few cloves. Give it a shake a few times a day, and in about 24 hours you've got your infused vodka!
  • 1 part spiced tea vodka
  • 1 part st. germain
  • 4 parts club soda
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey
  • juice from 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • fresh mint for garnish
Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until mixed well. Pour into glasses and garnish with fresh mint and lemon wedge. Makes two drinks.

Let me know if you try it, and please feel free to share any suggestions! I think next time I make this I'm going to put it in a sugar-rimmed glass with a splash of Grenadine.


Our computer is back in business, so here is the recipe for baked falafel that I wanted to share with you on Monday. Have you ever had falafel? I hadn't tried it until recently, and now I'm obsessed.
I'm back on my diet so good ol' fried falafel is out of the question. Luckily I found this super easy recipe on design conundrum that I decided I needed to try. I'm glad I did, because I especially love how these came out crisp and brown from the oven. You definitely don't miss out on any of that crispy falafel goodness by not frying these. 

I had pretty much none of the ingredients to make her lemon tahini garlic dressing, but I'm sure it's amaze. I just threw mine on eensy Trader Joes pitas (full disclosure: I bought these only because they were cute, they aren't that great!), added a little hummus and diced tomato, and had a simple, filling dinner. My only suggestion is to be pretty liberal with the salt and pepper. I wasn't and they definitely needed more. The recipe makes quite a few of these little nuggets, so I've been snacking on the leftovers by dipping them in hummus... so good! 

Do you have a recipe for falafel that you love? If so, please share :)


There has been a lot of this happening... which means not a lot of cooking is going down over here.
Only fast, easy meals are on the menu for the next couple of weeks while we transition over to our new apartment.  
This is one of those meals. As an added bonus it includes cheese tortellini, and at only 331 calories for an entire bowl, you don't have to feel guilty about it!

Spinach and Cheese Tortellini

1 cup of fresh, frozen cheese tortellini (I find mine at Kroger)
3 cups fresh organic baby spinach
1/2 cup low sodium tomato sauce

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, saute fresh spinach in a medium pan (without oil) for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Add pepper to taste (I don't add salt here because it is already in the tomato sauce). Cook tortellini in boiling water for 2 minutes, or longer according to your package directions. Drain tortellini and stir in 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Add sauteed spinach and serve.

Seriously, we're talking only 5 minutes here. It's. so. easy!

calories: 331
fat: 7
sodium: 501