Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad
Chickpeas have entered the mainstream as an ultra flexible legume. While you may associate chickpeas with your creamy go-to hummus, these peas/beans can be used for a variety of dishes across different cultures. Fry them up with cured chorizo for a Spanish favorite or go Indian and try to make some chana masala. While starting with dried legumes always makes for the most flavorful dishes, sometimes the practicality of breaking open a can means you can whip up something flavorful and satisfying in a matter of minutes. In this recipe I used canned, but if you have the time, fresh chickpeas will always taste better. This chickpea salad recipe is meant to mimic the flavors of a chicken or tuna salad and is especially useful for those who are trying to eat more plant-based.
Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad
1 15.5 oz can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1 1/2 tbsp. of mayonnaise
2 tsp. finely diced shallots
2 tsp. finely diced pickles
2 tbsp. of lemon juice
salt to taste
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
The first ingredient, chickpeas, are also commonly known as garbanzo beans. There is no real difference between the two, and the name used is largely dependent on your location. When I was a child living in Puerto Rico, our school cafeteria always served garbanzos with rice, and I came to know it as a lumpy shaped bean. It wasn't until I was in high school that I heard someone refer to it as a chickpea. Whether you call it a pea or a bean, it still makes for a filling and hearty meal.
I begin by draining and rinsing my chickpeas. If you are bothered by the skins on the peas, I would take the time to peel them here. I particularly enjoy the skin, so I keep them intact. I mash most of the peas with a fork but leave some whole for texture. In a separate bowl, I mix my mayonnaise and lemon juice, which will thin out significantly and make more of a pourable sauce. For a vegan option, I would simply substitute the mayo for Vegenaise or you could use a plant-based yogurt. Then I add in my salt, pepper, shallots, and pickles. If you don't have shallots, you could substitute red or white onion. While I enjoy the bite of raw onion, many people don't. I'd recommend cutting thin slices of your onion (careful not to tear up!) and soaking them in water for 15 to 20 minutes before dicing or mincing. This makes them a bit more mild. Combine your mayo mixture with your mashed chickpeas, and you are done! As pictured above, I enjoyed my chickpea salad as a sandwich. I use the thin-sliced Dave's Killer Bread and would definitely recommend it. I've had the "Good Seed" and the "21 Whole Grain". As with chicken or tuna salad, you can also enjoy this with crackers or even in lettuce wraps. Happy cooking!
Repurposing A Pantry Staple
Oatmeal is always a popular favorite for breakfast, but you're probably familiar with the usual suspects of dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and a splash of maple syrup. Oatmeal as a sweetened dish can present a variety of combinations, all of which can be delicious, but the reality is that this versatile grain is largely undervalued. For those who were raised in the South, the treatment of oatmeal should be best likened to grits. Think of its traditional applications as a hearty base that is topped with a variety of vegetables, proteins, and legumes.
Pictured above you'll find my latest take on savory oatmeal, which was thrown together with the remnants in my fridge and pantry. I made a cheesy oatmeal topped with wilted kale and a medley of other veggies. If I had any more eggs left, you can bet a soft-boiled one would have made its way into my bowl as well. And just as with its sweet counterpart, savory oatmeal has endless pairings. Think of a spicy jambalaya or maybe a Buddha bowl complete with avocado and roasted chunks of sweet potato. The goal here, ultimately, is to remove the stigma of oatmeal as merely being kin to cereal. After all, there is no reason not to take advantage of one of the most nutritious grains out there. Oatmeal has a higher protein and fat content than most other grains and a healthy amount of fiber as well. If you want to start repurposing your pantry staple, you can start with the recipe for these cheesy grits with wilted greens.
Cheesy Oatmeal with Kale and Veggies
Perhaps the most important part of preparing savory oatmeal, as with any grain, is properly salting the water in which it cooks in. When you're cooking pasta, they say you should always taste your water first and that it should be as salty as the sea. It's a beautiful saying, and it's definitely true. Because under-salting your oatmeal can leave you with a gummy, bland mess, and then you will feel betrayed. Depending on what type of oats you have, you may want to put them on first, or even make it your final step. If you have steel-cut oats, go ahead and get your pot started with your oats, salt, and water before you start frying up your veggies.
In a separate pan, fry up your garlic and onion briefly before adding in your tomato. The tomato, as it cooks, should simmer in all its juices and become this brothy liquid that coats all of the other vegetables. Then quickly add your kale, cabbage, carrot, and broccoli. At this stage, you can season your veggies as they cook with the cumin, pepper flake, salt, and pepper. You can cook the crap out of your kale, as you would do with spinach in say, a saag paneer, or you can leave it wilted as I chose to do. Once your vegetables are hot and your oatmeal has cooked down, sprinkle in your cheese to the pot and stir. Add your cheesy oatmeal to the bottom of a bowl and top with your vegetable medley and enjoy! Good luck and happy cooking.
White Wines from Alsace
I fell in love with white wine when I visited Alsace two summers ago. I stayed with my host mother and roommate in Strasbourg, but on the weekends we would explore other areas of the region. One particular weekend I was lucky enough to take a tour along the french countryside, where I was introduced to Gewurztraminer. It's a mouthful to say (geh-VERTZ-trah-mee-ner), but this wine was the most delicious I have ever tasted. Perhaps it's because I'm still somewhat of a novice, but if you are going to be drinking Gewurztraminer I would argue this is the best place in the world to drink it, considering the wine was born in the Alsace region in 1870. While a similar variant of Traminer or Savagnin was floating around during this time period, the Alsacienne people were the first to come up with Gewurztraminer, where Gewurz functions as preface for "spiced" or "perfumed" Traminer.
Sadly, like most nice things, I have struggled to find a bottle of the stuff "in the states" that compares to what I had over there. Just like a Chardonnay or a Riesling, Gewurztraminer is a complex wine that can come in many varieties from dry to sweet. While it is supposedly mostly a dry (at the most an off-dry) wine, the bottle I picked up at the nearest Whole Foods was sickly sweet and gave me a headache the next morning. I have searched for Rieslings instead that can match a similar flavor profile.
Gewurztraminer is often said to have notes of lychee, rose petal, and even apricot. It's a bright wine and is known for its fragrant quality, but what I like most about the wine, thought, is that is works great as an aperitif. You are likely to find small trails of bubbles clinging to the sides of your glass when drinking a bottle of Gewurz. Riesling, while much more accessible in the U.S. than its European counterpart, is also severely underrated in today's wine scene. While most white wines are enjoyed young, having only aged about two years, Riesling can take on a myriad of flavors when aged properly. While the wine is still iconically crisp and acidic, undertones can vary from lemon blossom to honey. As much as I love red wine, which is what I have grown up trying from being around my family (who all swear by merlot, except for my grandmother who is more of a cab girl), white wine can be a refreshing change, And sometimes its badly needed. My family has a long history with rich foods. On special occasions, we'll eat carne asada, and this quite often means a night of grilled steak, riblets and bone marrow, accompanied by warm tortillas and queso fundido. A glass of buttery merlot only seems to add to the richness, so its no wonder I've been looking for a plate cleanser all these years.
Thanks for reading!
So You Wanna Go to Law School...
It hit me when I was sitting in the middle of my constitutional law class as a sophomore in college. After finishing his lecture, my professor asked us, “Now who’s taking the LSAT this weekend?” and everyone’s hand shot up except for mine. (Mind you, I was the only sophomore). I thought to myself Wait a minute. Am I missing something? Then everything just sort of clicked. From then on it was nonstop. I started mapping out my route to law school, and it turned out to be a long and winding road. Perhaps some people experienced this already when applying to undergrad, but believe me when I say this is the college application on steroids. I’ve broken down my advice for any law school hopefuls into steps, and hopefully some of the things I’ve learned along the way can help the next bright-eyed and bushy-tailed student that comes along.
Step One: The Law School Admission Test
Start studying for the LSAT. Today. It’s never too early to start mastering the fundamentals of this test, because it’s honestly unlike any other standardized test out there. I recommend ordering the PowerScore bibles, and if you have the extra money, I would order the workbooks to go along with the textbook set. A free resource I used all the time was 7sage. They have a youtube channel where they work through almost all of the existing logic game problems, and if you’ve got some time to spare during your lunch break or between classes, try working through a whole game. Although I only self-studied, if your schedule allows it and you feel you need to be held accountable, signing up for an LSAT prep course could also be an option.
Step Two: Building Your Resume
Firstly, if you don’t have a resume yet, you should definitely make one. Even if you have very little experience you will have a template ready to go for when you do land that first internship or job. I was lucky enough to be able to shadow one of the attorneys in my town, which eventually turned into a paid position. It was one of the best things I could have done to get a closer look at what it’s like working as a lawyer from day to day. If an unpaid internship isn’t possible for you (i.e. you need a job that covers your groceries for the week) I wouldn’t stress about it.
If you can manage it, however, I would suggest getting involved in clubs on campus. Your choices could vary from your school’s Student Government Association, the debate team, Mock Trial, or even Model United Nations. Academic extracurriculars like the ones listed above show an admissions team that you are already working on mastering some of the skills needed in law school and beyond. Not only do they look good on paper, but these clubs are a great opportunity for new experiences. With my Model UN team I was able to go to NYC and Canada, and I was able to meet people from all across the world, some of whom I still talk to today.
Step Three: Identify Your Goals
So you figured out you wanna go to law school, but what’s your end game? If it’s Big Law you’re after, then a law school with more recognition is what you should aim for. Do you dream of opening up a practice in your hometown? Perhaps look for a school that’s in-state, so you can save on tuition. When selecting target schools, it’s all a balancing act. You need to be able to gauge schools that are within your reach. Look at their median LSAT scores and GPAs, the bar passage rate, employment rate after graduation, etc. Additionally, look for schools that offer certain types of law that you think you might be interested in. It could be Intellectual Property or Environmental Law, but each school can offer you something special. Lastly, don’t be afraid to apply to those reach schools. A large part of the admissions process is numbers, but you also have those invaluable experiences that make you you.
Step Four: Build Your Application
Most law schools only accept first year students during fall semesters, so if that’s the case for your target schools I would recommend starting your application the year before. I personally took the LSAT one last time in September, but had already begun assembling my application before then. In August I asked my professors if they would write letters of recommendations for me, giving them a hard deadline of mid-October. Make sure you give your professors plenty of time to write one of these for you. The last thing you want is a disgruntled professor under a time crunch tasked with the job of painting you as a dependable student. Apart from these letters of recommendation, it is absolutely essential that your personal statement be a true reflection of your character. While you should try to be original, the most impressive thing you can do is come across as sincere to the admissions team. And make sure the story is about you, not your grandmother or your parents — no matter how impressive they may be. Have professors, and even friends, look over your first few drafts. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this step!
Step Five: Hit Send!
By this point you should have given it your all. You squeezed out the highest score you could on the LSAT, pieced together a sparkling application, sent thank-you emails to your professors, and suddenly it's all out of your hands. During those weeks of waiting, I found myself on some law school admissions forums on Reddit. While this can be a good tool to connect with other equally ambitious applicants, you can’t let the numbers on there discourage you. I had to keep myself away form the app whenever I was feeling down, because sometimes you can’t help but compare yourself to other applicants who are worried their 179 score coupled with their 4.0 GPA won’t be good enough. Instead, acknowledge that the worst of it is over. You put in the work, and all that’s left to do is wait for the schools to come to you.
I’ve currently been accepted to American University, George Washington University, UGA Law, Georgia State Law, Emory Law, and SMU Law. If you have any questions about these schools or anything else, feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading!
All my best,
The Best Cone in NYC
I love New York City in a way that everyone else in the world loves this metropolitan anomaly. The thousands of busy people doing very important things and impatient yellow taxis weaving in and out of traffic are charming in their own way. I’ve visited the city on multiple occasions, and while I (somewhat) enjoyed the obligatory tourist traps like the Empire State Building (where I accidentally groped a security guard) or the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, I much prefer to eat my way through the city. My fondest memories are visits to places like the Shake Shack in Grand Central Terminal where I had my first Shack Stack, or the flank steak dish with polenta fries at Cafeteria, or my first birthday truffles from Milk Bar, or positively stuffing my face at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. You get the picture. But while this post could be three miles long, I wanted to shed light on some of the best ice cream I’ve enjoyed in the city.
The cone I’m thinking of is from Big Gay Ice Cream. BGIC not only focuses on presentation and quirky marketing, but also delivers on the customer's experience. The design of the cone is built to introduce something new with each bite. It’s sprinkled and drizzled but also dipped and filled. Probably the most iconic cone is the Salty Pimp, consisting of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, and a dip in chocolate to hold all the goodness in place. I chose to order the Monday Sundae, which is similar, but in my opinion a bit more decadent: twist ice cream (chocolate and vanilla swirl), a Nutella lined cone, dulce de leche, sea salt, and whipped cream. But fair warning, these cones are messy (worth it).Why was this my favorite? It’s a rich cone. With the twist ice cream you get the best of both worlds, which is perfect for those indecisive types (i.e. me). I’m also a sucker for Nutella, but what really makes it is the sea salt, which becomes necessary if you plan to eat a whole waffle cone’s worth of the ice cream. The flakes speckle the cone and cut through the sweetness, keeping the monotony at bay. For the less experienced, you might consider asking for a spoon to scoop out remnants at the bottom of the cone.
You might notice that all of the ice cream at BGIC is soft-serve style. Not only does it provide that iconic swirl, but as co-owner Douglas Quint explains, soft serve ice cream is eaten at 20 degrees compared to typical hard-packed ice cream which is served at 0 degrees (Fahrenheit). By offering their delicious cream above the ice-cold, frozen standard, Quint claims that it’s actually easier to taste the ice cream and the toppings that come with it. The excitement is not simply limited to soft-serve, however. They also offer a variety of cold treats. Milkshake flavors range from horchata to ginger-curry. "Paletas" are also seasonally offered in flavors such as hibiscus and coconut. Customization also comes into play with peculiar toppings such as olive oil and sea salt, elderflower syrup, wasabi pea dust, or even cayenne pepper! Big Gay Ice Cream is just one of many small businesses in NYC that pride themselves with original and inventive food; the only difference is that BGIC will leave you walking away with a smile and possibly a unicorn shirt.
I've stated it before in a previous post, but quiche is a wonderful breakfast food that is unfortunately severely underrated and underappreciated. It's a super customizable dish that supports any sort of mix-ins. Think beyond the standard filling of broccoli, cheddar, and cubed bits of ham. How about some sun-dried tomatoes, or fried crimini mushrooms, or little nuggets of feta and olives, or a Spanish quiche (a play on a Spanish tortilla) with scalloped potato layers and chorizo? I'm just saying, that when it comes to a quiche, you've got lots of options. And while the custard is a fairly simple ratio of egg to milk, the most crucial component of this dish is the crust.
Flaky and Tender, Yet Elusive and Mysterious
I love quiche and make it as often as I can, but I haven't yet been able to master this buttery and flaky thing. I had previously tested a "quick crust" consisting of flour, salt, rosemary, ice water, and olive oil, but this dough lost all of its moisture in the oven and came out all wrinkly and pale. My latest attempt featured a traditional butter crust, which was much better in flavor, but couldn't retain its shape throughout the baking process. My beautifully crimped edges sank down into a shorter and fatter lining for the custard, Perhaps my actual baking dish could be the culprit here, as it has an exaggerated slope on the sides instead of the more iconic 90 degree angle.
I mean, look at how promising this crust looked before it's demise in the oven!
Blind Baking: Necessary Or No?
My crust failed me in the very first step of the process, which was the preliminary blind bake. And if you're wondering right now Do I really need to bake my crust beforehand? for me, the answer is an absolute yes. It's a necessary step, unless you want a mushy and raw bottom. The same goes for pies. Some people don't believe in blind baking at all, but for the life of me I can't imagine how you can achieve distinct layers without this step. I enjoy the crust because it serves as a complimentary element to the custard. If I just wanted the experience of a single texture, I wouldn't bother with all this mess and simply make a frittata!
If you've managed to make it this far and have a base for your quiche that you're at least somewhat content with, it's time to fill it! The importance of this step is in determining how much mixture you will need. A mistake I normally make is calculating the amount of eggs and milk it will take to fill my tart to the top without taking displacement into account. If this were a purist's quiche, (i.e. solely custard and crust) I would have been fine with three large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of whole milk. (As a general rule of thumb, the custard consists of a 1:2 ratio, or one large egg to a 1/2 cup of milk.) But since my crust decreased in height by about half, I struggled with preventing an overflow of custard after adding my asparagus and caramelized onion to the mix. If you're crust changes height after the blind baking, be sure to take this into account as well! If some of the mixture does spill over into the crevices between pan and crust, there is nothing to worry about, however. It will merely give your crust a shiny lacquered appearance, as the eggs forms a dark brown, shiny seal as it cooks. See picture below:
I do not find that this affects the taste, but it certainly makes the quiche more crunchy on the outside.
I wish you the best on your own quiche-making endeavors, and if anyone has any tips on a fool-proof crust please leave them down below in the comments section.
DIY Dog Treats
Now, I'm not one to claim that I'm a perfect dog owner. Sometimes my dog Ezra has to paw at his water bowl to let me know he's thirsty or whimper by the door for me to let him outside. Recently, I had noticed that he was a little depressed. The holidays were a chaotic time for travel, and my family was gone a lot, and it seems it took a toll on Ezra. His mood changed. It's funny how we can sense these things from our animals. He wasn't necessarily curled up in a corner or whining all the time, but he was notably less affectionate and the expression in his eyes had changed. Sometimes we forget to show love to our pets, not because we don't care anymore but because we grow comfortable. In the past few weeks I have made extra efforts to pay attention to Ezra, and the difference in his energy levels and mood has been night and day. Reevaluating my relationship with my dog may sound trivial, but the principle applies to our human connections too. I decided to get in the kitchen and make something special for Ezra, but these treats were so easy that I will probably continue to make them in small batches. While he likes his milk bones, these are a cleaner option to make sure he doesn't get too pudgy.
DIY Dog Treats
1/3 cup of oat flour
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup all purpose flour
Firstly, I made my own oat flour by grinding up oatmeal in my NutriBullet. I'm sure you could leave your oats whole if you wanted some texture in these treats. In a medium bowl I combined the banana and peanut butter. I mashed it with a fork and then beat it until it was one homogeneous color. Then I added the oat flour, which made the mixture gather into a sticky batter. After this, begin to add your flour in small amounts. You may need to add more or less flour depending on the fat content in your peanut butter. The goal is for the mixture to become a dough that is mold-able and won't cling to your fingers. I then took my dough ball and placed it between two sheets of parchment paper before rolling. The dough will be slightly springy but a good consistency for cutting out shapes. I used the screw top of a beaker as my cookie cutter, but if you own a dog bone cookie cutter, now would be the time to break it out!
After punching out my circles, I was able to fill 1 and a half cookie sheets. These treats were on the small side, so it yielded about 50. If you use a standard 2-inch dog bone cookie cutter, your yield should be half that. Bake them for 12 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees F, or until they are golden brown. These treats have a cracker-like consistency (because of the ratio of flour). They reminded me of teething biscuits for babies probably because of the mild banana flavor, but they were perfect for Ezra. I stored them in an airtight container and will probably keep them in the fridge since they have no preservatives. I plan to make these again, but next time with different flavors such as grated carrot or pumpkin puree. I hope you have a chance to try them out, and more importantly, hopefully they brighten your pup's day!
My Top 10 Foods
One of my favorite questions to ask complete strangers, generally as an icebreaker, is what their last meal would be. It’s both a worst and best case scenario in that you’re probably on death row awaiting your final hours, but at least you’ll go out with a bang knowing you’re belly is filled to the brim with lobster and filet mignon or whatever tickles your fancy. And while we might fantasize about being able to eat the most outlandish and exuberant dishes that we cannot indulge in on a daily basis, these whimsical answers won’t truly address the question. At the end of the day, what do you eat that truly brings you comfort and makes you feel good? Perhaps it's an old favorite that reminds you of home or maybe it was a dish you tried for the first time when you went abroad in your twenties.
I’ve thought about this for a long time, and it’s simply torture to narrow it down to a single meal. I realize my hypocrisy here, because I still insist that others answer my death row prompt with at most three courses. If we relaxed the limitations, however, I can think of at least ten foods that simply make me happy. My top ten is a work in progress, as not every meal can make my list of the ten very best foods I have ever tried based on my limited, earthly experiences. In no particular order I selected:
While a "veggie" burger is not the end-all-be-all of vegetarian fast food cuisine, it is certainly a nice option to have. It is perplexing, therefore, that few chains offer any veg-head friendly patties, considering the ever expansive market of vegan and vegetarian eaters. The same complaint goes for sit-down chains. The only one that comes to mind that offers a vegetarian patty is Chili's with their black bean patty. Some restaurants have cop-out vegetarian options such as Five Guys with their Veggie Sandwich, which simply omits the patty altogether, or In-N-Out's secret menu "grilled cheese" which is just as much of a let down as it sounds like.
The only two widely accessible fast-food chains that offer any sort of vegetable-based (or vegetable and grain mix) patty seem to be Burger King and Subway. But if we are being honest, the only true contender would be Burger King. My experience with Subway's Veggie Patty was just okay. When I pointed to the brown, wrinkly rectangle, the Subway guy looked at me and asked "Are you sure?" He then scratched his head explaining that no one had ever ordered a Veggie Patty for as long as he'd worked there, and he wasn't even sure of how long to heat it in their toaster oven. He had to ask the manager. Despite its unpopularity, the patty was not bad. It was mushy, but its flavor was decent and gave me falafel vibes. I was not a fan of the killer stomach ache it gave me later on that day. So, my advice to others would be order at your own risk.
Perhaps part of the problem is that Subway seems to have taken on the task of producing their own veggie patties. Unlike the sandwich chain, Burger King humbly outsourced their veggie burger duties to MorningStar Farms. All BK does is throw the patty down alongside it's meaty counterparts to get that same charbroiled flavor. And this seems to work well. Burger King's veggie burger was surprisingly tasty. The texture on the inside was what you would expect (sort of mushy), but the patty itself was firm enough on the outside to withstand the burger experience. My biggest question to all major chains out there: McDonald's, Wendy's, Hardee's/Carl's Jr., I'm looking at you. Why haven't you followed Burger King's lead?
I can only assume that maybe MorningStar and Burger King have some sort of blood-pact that forbids the veggie burger brand from doing business with anyone else. Even so, there has to be some other veggie competitor out there willing to do a deal with a major fast-food chain. And it shouldn't be a matter of waiting to see if the vegetarian and vegan trend will die out. They shouldn't wait for the "right time" or the 'right brand" to come along, considering Burger King has been making a profit off of veggie burgers since 2002. For international fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, it is simply a matter of expanding existing products into those chains in the US. Franchises in countries such as the UK, Germany, and India already boast an expansive vegetarian menu with items such as the Vegetable Deluxe, a chickpea patty seasoned with cumin and coriander. I find it difficult to see why major chains such as McDonalds would be so hesitant to include veggie burgers in chains all across the country, because all I can picture is an America that would warmly welcome more vegetarian (and vegan!) options in the fast-food scene.
A Simple Ritual To Start Your day
With the start of a new year, it's no wonder that people are embracing change. It's a chance to start over. We are eager to dive into our newer, healthier habits, but while it may be overwhelming to tackle meal prepping, your new spin class, and home re-organization all at once, you can still implement one simple habit that can make a world of a difference for your 2018.
Most simply, its a morning cleanser. Some people pour themselves a hot mug of water with lemon. Others swear by their daily shot of ACV (apple cider vinegar, for you non-Pinteresters). And while a white or herbal tea could possibly be considered a cleanser as well, it's bolder counterpart coffee does not make this list. Even if you take your coffee black (props to you) it's diuretic properties and caffeine levels are a harsh start to your day compared to these morning cleansers. A good cleanser should slowly wake your insides after a hopefully long night of hibernation. You wouldn't want to be plucked out of bed and plopped down in an office meeting with unruly bedhead and no pants on. You should show some kindness to your gut in the morning, too.
I started off the new year feeling like Jeb Bush due to a sinus infection I seem to have caught from my holiday travels. While I drink this cleanser even when I'm not feeling sick, it helped me immensely to get through those first few days of feeling like a zombie. My version is a simple lemon "tea" that I throw together with basic spices that are always in the pantry.
Morning Cleanser Lemon Tea
1 8 oz mug of hot water
1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
a pinch of cayenne pepper
Firstly you heat the water by itself. When I'm lazy I just microwave my water in the mug, but if I have time I will boil it on the stove in my cute little glass teapot. I squeeze the juice of half of a large lemon into my mug and I will place some sliced wedges on top. I like a strong lemon flavor: if you include the rind in the water it will be stronger, but if the water is too hot and you keep it in for too long, it might become bitter. Then I toss in my spices. The measurements are just approximate, and you can add as little or as much as you like, as there is no science to it really. While I was scared to use cayenne pepper at first, I found that a small amount won't blow your palate. I make different variations of this tea depending what I have on hand. When we don't have lemons, I use lime. If we are out of ground cinnamon, I will treat myself to a whole cinnamon stick and use it to stir my tea. (It's also an added treat because my family buys the Mexican cinnamon, which is a brighter red and is more warm and mellow in flavor). On days when I feel a tickling in my throat I will add honey, but if you would like some sweetness and are vegan I would suggest maple syrup instead.
There are many elixirs and recipes you can adopt to create your very own cleanser. I have seen people include everything from chia seeds, to turmeric, to matcha powder in their morning drinks. It is all a matter of playing with different ingredients and flavors. The health properties of any ingredient can be endless, so it really depends on what you feel your body needs. Nothing is off limits here: if you are feeling adventurous you can try drinking bee pollen, as it has endless health benefits (although it is an acquired taste). I hope you have fun finding your morning cleanser, and happy 2018!
I'm Lisa Cecilia Garcia. I'm a freelance writer specializing in food and lifestyle but have experience in poetry, creative writing, and everything in between. I'm a recent college graduate residing in Valdosta, GA. I love sketching, running, and obviously cooking and eating. When I'm older, I plan to run away to the mountains.