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From the category archives:


If you follow me on instagram you probably already saw that last week I took on a mini green smoothie challenge. Up until a week ago today I had never tried  a smoothie made with greens so it was a lot of fun to try something new. Above was one of my favorite smoothies from the week-it involves pineapple and spinach. You can see all my smoothie creations along with recipes over at A Beautiful Mess today.

If you decide to join in with us and take the Green Smoothie Challenge please let me know about your favorite smoothie creations-as I really enjoyed the week and will probably keep making green smoothies from time to time. Or if you already have a favorite recipe let me know-I’d love to try it out.

xo. Emma


Peach Mojitos

by Emma on August 9, 2011

in Drinks

Confession: I’m not a very good… uh… cocktail-maker, mixologist, bar…. men? I just don’t really have a nack for it, and in the past I’ve had a few disastrous experiences trying to make my own cocktails.

I think part of it is due to the fact that I am, by nature, a wine drinker. I mean, if you don’t like cake how can you reasonably expect to be a naturally good baker? It just doesn’t add it. But I like cocktails, and I really like the idea of being one of those hostesses who can have a few folks drop by on a whim and just wow them with her perfectly clean house, amazing (in quantity and taste) through-together-at-the-last-minute food, and cocktails that make them swoon.

I feel fairly comfortable I can currently accomplish maybe one of those above things… I’ll let you decide which one.

These peach mojitos turned out very very good! My sister is a mojito freak and she approved, so that’s saying something. And here’s what I think the secret is: simple syrup.

I know, it’s sort of pain because it’s a total make-ahead, but it really makes a huge difference. It allows the sugar to magically dissolve into the entire drink, not just the bottom layer or… ahem… at all. It’s worth the trouble, turns out. And it’s really VERY simple to make and can be saved in the refrigerator for days and days. So, yes you have to go the trouble to plan a little, but that’s really not so bad when the result could be a whole week of awesome homemade cocktails.

Peach Mojitos, makes 8-10

Needed: 6 cups frozen (and thawed) peaches, 2 teaspoons lime zest, juice of 8 limes, 1 cup simple syrup*, 2/3 cup packed and chopped mint leaves, 3 cups white rum (I used pineapple run), 7 cups club soda, lots of ice and a few mint springs for garnish.

In a blender combine the peaches, lime zest and lime juice. Puree. In a big pitcher combine the remaining ingredients (except ice and the garnish springs) let that chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Pour over lots of ice and serve.

*To make simple syrup combine equal parts water and sugar and simmer until well combined and it thickens. I used 1/2 cup water to 1/2 cup sugar for this recipe.

And remember to drink responsibly. :) xo. Emma


How to make Boba at home.

by Emma on July 5, 2011

in Drinks

At the Red Velvet Sweet Shoppe we serve Bubble tea everyday (unless we sell out early). So over the past year I have made boba about 1 million times.

Ok, that’s not true. At all. You got me. BUT I have made boba a lot. And often times I get asked to share tips on how to prepare those tricky little tapioca pearls at home. So I thought I’d show you some tricks for preparing perfect boba in your home kitchen. Once you have boba (the ‘bubbles’) you can add them in to any beverage you like.

But first you need to get your hands on some boba. Many Asian markets sell it, but if you don’t have a supplier in your area you can order it online. I shop with Boba Tea Direct, and I buy in bulk since I’m using it commercially. If you are just planning to use this at home you may not want that much, but you can store unprepared boba in an air tight container once it’s opened. So there’s that.

I’ve read a lot of different directions for preparing boba, some from the internet and some from the pre-packaged directions that came with my boba purchase. None of them worked as well for me as this method.

1. Measure out your unprepared boba. However much you plan to use. I don’t think exact amounts of this to that matter as much as just knowing how much you need for you personal use/party for friends. Keep in mind that boba can only be prepared 24 hours in advance. Don’t try to keep it for days, it will just get hard.

2. Boil water. How much water, you ask? You need enough water that once you pour the boba in they will have plenty of room to move around when stirred. So it depends, based on how much boba you are preparing. When making boba at home I use a big stock pot (pictured) and I fill it up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way.

Let water get to a rolling boil. Not just hot, but really boiling. If you don’t wait until the water is all the way boiling the boba won’t cook properly and you will have to start all over. Trust me. :)

3. When the water is boiling and ready give it a good stir with a metal or wooden spoon, pour the boba into the swirling water. The pearls should rise the surface of the water and float. Now just let the water continue to boil for 10-12 minutes, stir every once in a while to ensure the pearls don’t stick together.

4. Turn the heat off and move your pot off the heat. Cover with a lid and allow the bobas to continue to cook in the hot steam and water for another 10-12 minutes.

5. Drain the pearls in a metal strainer or colander. Don’t use a plastic strainer as the water will still be very hot and could melt it.

6. Now your boba are ready! I always sweeten mine by sprinkling 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup (depending on how much boba I have prepared) brown sugar on top and stirring it in. Many methods will tell you to use a sugar syrup, I think that’s more work and not necessary. But you can do as you like at this stage.

If you are not using the boba right away store them in an airtight container with a little water (just enough to keep them moist and from drying out).

If you have any questions leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer. I am no expert, but I have made boba quite a few times, so I may have an answer for you.


xo. Emma