BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

In support of summer weather I bring you this cooling drink so you can settle into the deep heat. Let if flow over you; welcome it because it won't stay forever and you'll be craving it soon. Sip cold drinks, point fans at your barely clothed body and avoid turning on your oven. This is how I live in hot summer months. 

Pros of Hot Weather

  • No need for a sauna, you live in one
  • A multitude of cold drinks all day long
  • Swimming feels exceptional and necessary
  • Being lazy and not feeling bad about it 
  • Patio drinks
  • Rose wine (or frose)
  • Hair on head grows faster

Cons of Hot Weather

  • Hair on body grows faster
  • Bugs everywhere
  • Hot garbage smell (in the city)
  • Hot manure smell (in the country)
  • Under boob sweat
  • Back sweat pooling in butt crack
  • Chub rub– the struggle is real my fellow thick thigh ladies (and men).
  • It's so hot your drink sweats and slips out of your hand and spills all over your new summer dress. But at least you're cooled off so maybe it's a pro?

I've been obsessed with blueberries lately (see my blueberry tarragon gravlax). They are a classic Canadian summer food and I feel the need to devour them in pies, smoothies, jams, muffins or all on their own. They awaken memories of wandering through forests, swimming in lakes and the sound of cicadas on hot days. 

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
yellow water lily + my bff Alex

yellow water lily + my bff Alex

I just returned from a camping trip with two of my favourite people and we had the most amazing time. We canoed down a river filled with lilies and lily pads, saw blue herons up close, bought doughnut and watermelon floaties and swam in the waves of Lake Huron, made delicious camp food, played cards, sipped on these wine-ciders (half cider + half pinot noir = the perfect cooler), listened to baby wolves howling at night and relaxed into our naturey surroundings. It reminded me how peaceful and calming my mind can be and how connected I feel in the outdoors. It reminded me I live in an outrageously beautiful country with a rich history of people who lived off this land and respected it to the highest degree. It reminded me of the beauty all over the world and how much I still want to see and experience. As much as I tend to dislike winters in Canada (which feel never ending), the summers are so gorgeous that it might make up for it. No Canadian has ever uttered the words “Winters go by so fast!". If they do they're lying and are probably trying to get you to visit when it's cold and dark and all they'll want to do is cuddle and eat bread. Don't. Do. It.

But do come in the summer. It is breathtaking. 

white water lily

white water lily

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

Let's talk simple syrup for a hot minute. I want to show you how to make your own easily and with more exciting things than white sugar. This recipe calls for a honey simple syrup. Don't worry, it takes no time and you'll have a new skill to impress people with. 

Standard simple syrup recipes are a 1:1 ratio of sugar/sweetener to water. If you prefer a thinner less sweet syrup, add a bit more water than sugar. If you prefer a thicker sweeter syrup, add more sugar than water. “Rich syrup" is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Usually simple syrup is made by adding water and sugar/sweetener of choice to a small pot and heating to just before a boil until fully dissolved. But there is no need to turn on the stove on a hot day. Below I have included the lazy person's way which is how I usually make drink syrups of all kinds. 

Make simple syrups out of any of the following for subtle but different flavours:

  • Demerara or turbinado syrup– for a deeper more caramel-like flavour. Good for tropical drinks/ rum drinks.
  • Honey syrup– you can use any type of honey you like. Good for iced black/green tea, drinks with jasmine, gin, lemon, or bourbon. 
  • Agave syrup– the lighter in colour the agave is, the more it will taste like classic simple syrup. The darker in colour the more rich the flavour will be, closer to honey. Good for margaritas (lighter agave), tequila or mezcal cocktails, drinks with lime or watermelon.
  • Coconut sugar or brown sugar syrup– for a deeper, more molasses-like flavour. Good for winter cocktails, old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails. 
  • Maple syrup– use real maple syrup always. Good for old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails, ciders, mulled wine, dark or light rum, any warm winter flavours like allspice, cinnamon or clove. 

One Minute Honey Simple Syrup Recipe

  • Boil water in your kettle. Add equal parts of honey and boiled water to a container with a tight sealable lid. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until completely dissolved. Keep in fridge for up to one month. Make as much or as little as you like. 
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

the magic

inspiration:                         hot summer days in Canada

the feels:                             sweet, tart, fresh, effervescent

eat with:                              barbecued fish, blueberry tarragon                                                    gravlax, a splash of gin, watermelon                                                  feta salad

might like if you're into:      Foraging, fruit galettes, pine forests,                                                canoeing, The Great Lakes, the sound of                                            cicadas, daddy long legs, wading in                                                  rivers

 

the science

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                       blueberry preserves

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 lemon zested

blueberry lemon soda (one serving)

  • 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) blueberry preserves
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce honey simple syrup (see above for easy one minute recipe)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • mint sprig or lemon wheel for garnish

method:

                                                                                                                                                                                          blueberry preserves 

  1. Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and 4 tablespoons of water to small pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer blueberries for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water if thick. The final consistency should be more like blueberry syrup, not thick like jam. Let cool, pour into mason jar  and seal. Keep in fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months. 

blueberry lemon soda

  1. In a cocktail shaker (or mason jar), add blueberry preserves, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and mint leaves. Fill shaker or jar 3/4 full with ice, seal and shake for 10 seconds. Fill short rocks glass with ice, open cocktail shaker and strain (with cocktail strainer or hand held strainer) over rocks glass. Top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with mint sprig or sliced lemon wheel. If using a bigger/taller glass or making two, double the ratios in the recipe. 

 

AVOCADO EGG SALAD TOSTADA + ESCABECHE (PICKLED VEGETABLES)

Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

I went to Oaxaca, Mexico for two weeks. Since, I have been daydreaming of returning next winter to eat corn based snacks, wander amongst the bright coloured stone buildings and drink mezcal with strangers, (or friends –same thing in Mexico). We spent a week in Oaxaca City, two days in the mountains and a week on the coast in Puerto Escondido. It. Was. INCREDIBLE. I'm working on posts for Mexico so I won't go into too much detail. But I will  tell you about the day I saw some people vomit. You may be thinking, “Wow, what a great intro for a food post!". Yes. I only aim for the best here on my blog. I could write about something else like how delicious this meal is, but that seems cheap and repetitive sometimes. Because of course I wouldn't post something on here that tastes bad, so let's all assume I'm making good food for me and you. Also, this story  is much more interesting than listening to more food words like mouthfeel, paleo, or tasty. Don't even get me started on short form words or exact-same-length words like delish, yummers, or 'za. Only moms in the suburbs use these words because they heard them from a fellow suburban mom who only hangs out with her children, mom, and grandma (who is the most confused that we changed perfectly good words into slight variations that sound worse). I feel you g-ma. (The short form “g-ma" is okay because it sounds gangster and every granny is/was gangster in some way). Birthed nine children vaginally?! Gangster. Sipping on a bottle of sherry all day?! Gangster.  Saying whatever the f*$k you want all the time because you're 93 and don't give a sh*t?! Gangster. No no, this story has more adventure, mystery, and self reflection than food words. It also has vomit. You are welcome gentle human. (note: All badass grandma qualities are based on real life grannies I've known. Also, I love all my suburban mom friends! I was kidding. Kind of.)

We spent a night in the small town San Jose Del Pacifico in the Oaxacan mountains. Our next destination was Puerto Escondido and we were ready for the salty ocean breezes and beachside cocktails. The only way to get from this little town to the coast is by colectivo, large vans that operate all over Mexico. They are cheap and efficient and if you're lucky, they have tvs that play movies.

The van pulled up and the driver told us it would be 200 pesos each ($14 CAD) for the four hour ride to Puerto Escondido. Within a minute of being in the van we noticed a very robust smell. Like fresh sliced garlic mixed with overripe onions. “Wow. That. Is. Pungent." I whispered.  For some reason, I couldn't get used to the smell. It stung my nostrils on each breath. It became so intense that I dug out a long sleeve shirt from my bag and tied it around my nose and mouth. I imagined myself a bandito. The driver looked at me through the rearview mirror and made gestures like, “are you okay?". I gave him a thumbs up and he smiled. This long drive has over 200 turns, many of them 180°, while teetering on the brink of high cliffs. People began feeling sick and one guy asked them to pull over so he could throw up but instead they handed him a plastic bag without even slowing down. A woman started vomiting, sweat rolling down her face. People had told us this was a bad bus ride, but I assumed they were being dramatic or prone to motion sickness. I love fast bumpy rides so I figured we'd be just fine. Turns out, they were correct. I wouldn't wish the ride upon my worst enemy. Well maybe I would. But only because it's mostly harmless. 

Without being there, you can't fully comprehend the amount of severe turns. So here are a few Google map images of the ride itself with drawings on top from Paint (yes, it's still around) of my feelings/thoughts along the way. (more food photos + recipe at the end)

Yay!!!! On our way to ocean and margaritas!

Yay!!!! On our way to ocean and margaritas!

Weeeee!!! This is like a rollercoaster! 

Weeeee!!! This is like a rollercoaster! 

Oh okay, this IS a very winding road. I get it now. “Sorry for falling on you señor!"

Oh okay, this IS a very winding road. I get it now. “Sorry for falling on you señor!"

Two hours pass and vomit fest begins. 

Two hours pass and vomit fest begins. 

“Seriously though. Who brings stinky garlic and onions on this ride anyways?! I wish an permanent itchy butthole upon them."

“Seriously though. Who brings stinky garlic and onions on this ride anyways?! I wish an permanent itchy butthole upon them."

“Did we drive off a cliff and now I'm unknowingly in hell?!?! Will I forever be amongst vomit and the smell of alliums??!"

“Did we drive off a cliff and now I'm unknowingly in hell?!?! Will I forever be amongst vomit and the smell of alliums??!"

*Three hours have passed. Wonder if oxygen has always smelled like garlic and onions. Brain starts torturing me with thoughts of fish markets, dogs pooping, and that time I got food poisoning from Chinese food when I was 6. And then again when I was 12.*

*Three hours have passed. Wonder if oxygen has always smelled like garlic and onions. Brain starts torturing me with thoughts of fish markets, dogs pooping, and that time I got food poisoning from Chinese food when I was 6. And then again when I was 12.*

*Acceptance phase. Consider that maybe I entered an infinite time/bus loop and may never get out.*                     “I guess this is where I live now?" 

*Acceptance phase. Consider that maybe I entered an infinite time/bus loop and may never get out.*                     “I guess this is where I live now?" 

We finally make it onto straight road for the last hour and I consume three snacks.                                                   “YOU CALL THAT A BUS RIDE?!"

We finally make it onto straight road for the last hour and I consume three snacks.                                                   “YOU CALL THAT A BUS RIDE?!"

Avocados || Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocados || Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || A healthy and delicious meal with fresh ingredients inspired by Mexico. A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado || Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Corn Tostadas || Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

At one point we stopped for a bathroom break and I realized who it was. An old man sitting by himself with a large bag in front of him filled with his aromatics. He wore sandals and his feet were so dirty and cracked they looked like actual stone. I immediately felt a pang of compassion and shame wash over me for being so angry. Oh god, was my white privilege showing? 

His bag smelled no less after, but the sharp corners of the mountains were behind us and people weren't vomiting anymore. I told myself stories of why he would be carrying a rotting bag of vegetables so I could have more understanding for him. Here are the viable options I decided on:

  1.  This bag of garlic and onions were his great-great grandfather's vegetables and passed down for generations. They bring good luck. But also turn your feet to stone. 
  2. There is a vampire hunting him so he must carry the most potent garlic everywhere he goes. 
  3. He has lost his sense of smell so he has no idea the torture he's putting everyone through. 
  4. He has a sick sense of humour and likes to rides colectivos carrying only the stinkiest items he can find. Last time he brought jars of cow farts and released them incrementally every 10 minutes. Before that, 2 dozen freshly peeled boiled eggs. The time before that it was a pillow peed on by ten cats. He's currently working on bottling an old-age-home smell of moth balls, bad perfume and undigested medicine breath. (Patent pending). 
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Mexican hot sauces: Tapatio + Cholula || Avocado Egg Salad Tostada + Escabeche (pickled vegetables)  || Healthy + delicious Mexican inspired dish. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  A perfect recipe for summer that is easy to make and can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! A nice change from avocado toast and it's gluten free, plant based + dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

 Tapatio or Cholula? Which one is your favourite?


AVOCADO EGG SALAD TOSTADA + ESCABECHE (PICKLED VEGETABLES)

the magic

inspiration:            my trip to Oaxaca + all the escabeche I ate

the feels:                soft, crunchy, creamy, sour, savoury, fresh  

eat with:                 mezcal, agua frescas, agua de jamaica,                                             horchata, sparkling water, margarita,                                               michelada

might like if you're into:     antojitos, avocado toast, street food,                                                 other pickled things, messy foods,                                                     meals that work for breakfast, lunch                                                 or dinner, lucha libre, curried egg                                                     salad on naan

the science

makes 6 tostadas || resting time: 2 hours (for escabeche, make in advance) prep + cook time: 20 minutes

ingredients:                                                                                                              

mexican escabeche (pickled vegetables)

  • 2 large radishes or 4 small, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorns

guacamole egg salad tostadas

  • 6 tostadas (or tortillas to bake into tostadas)
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 limes (1 juiced + 1 cut up for topping tostadas if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro + extra for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 - 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, depending on preferred thickness
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, depending on taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Optional Toppings                                               
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese (feta or goat works too)
  • salsa of your choice
  • hot sauce of your choice

method:

  1. Escabeche – Add sliced vegetables, garlic cloves, peppercorns and coriander seeds to one large jar/container or 2 smaller jars. Add water, vinegar, salt and honey to a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Mix with a spoon to ensure honey is completely dissolved. Pour into jar(s) over vegetables. Let cool for an hour. Seal and refrigerate, you can use them in one hour but it's better to make them a day or two before. Will keep for up to three weeks in the fridge.
  2. Begin making hard boiled eggs
  3. In a medium bowl add avocado, juice of 1 lime, cilantro, garlic, green onions, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. When eggs are ready, dice them up and add to avocado mixture. Mash/mix together with fork. 
  4. If making tostadas from tortillas – Preheat oven to 450°F. Place tortillas on baking sheet and brush both sides with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over top of them. Bake for 4 – 8 minutes or until golden on edges, check oven at 4 minute mark. 
  5. Layer avocado egg salad on to tostadas. Top with pickled vegetables, cherry tomatoes, cotija cheese, salsa, hot sauce, and extra cilantro + lime squeezes if desired.