Menu:

Drink Menu: Mason Jar Matcha

masonjarmatcha_5Matcha madness started early summer 2016 at the counter at Starbucks at Fred Meyer in Greenwood. In Seattle. Here we are, someone offering me a beverage of my choice, and me with no idea what to pick, but a mighty thirst. It’s a well-known bit of Sunshine trivia that Starbucks coffee tastes burnt like they strangled that goddamn coffee bean for more than it was worth. Matt says I’m crazy, half the world gulps it by the gallon, but I am not onboard. I did have a lovely latte at the original store in Pike Place Market once, though. Not only was my barista the sweetest, her foam art was transcendent. I digress. But, of course, you say, Starbucks is a wonderland of many beverages, not just crispy coffee, Bri. Chill out. Usually in this situation I’d order the only thing I could always trust—a basic bitch caffe vanilla frappa-goddamn-cino. Yes, I want whipped cream. How could you ask me that? Layer it. Make me a parfait. Can I get a name for your order? Brianna. Like Rihanna the singer? No. Not like that.

But not today, today I just threw words together that I never had before like some kind of pro [I still call the Grande a medium, because it’s a medium.] I’d like an iced green tea latte, sweet, please.

If I hadn’t had to take breaks for oxygen and all this thing could’ve been swallowed in one incredible gulp. So yummy! But Starbucks is not a place to frequent if you’re trying to pinch your pennies, so I sought out to find matcha on my own. Starbucks does not sell its proprietary powder. I found this one on Amazon, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Several friends told me to visit Uwajimaya, which is a magical place, but it’s nowhere near my day-to-day routine. So when we strolled near the HT Oaktree Market on North Aurora I had to stop in and see if I could find some green gold. The HT is pretty spread out and includes more international choices than expected. And they had fruits we—and we includes a professional produce man—could not identify. If you make it to the tea aisle, you’ve gone too far, though. They keep their matcha behind the counter on account of people stealing it constantly. ‘Cause it’s so good.

So now we’ve spent $8 for more than 10 drinks’ worth. Sweet.

 

Mason Jar Matcha

  • Servings: 1 matcha
  • Time: 5 min
  • Difficulty: SO easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Milk of your choice—I’ve tried whole, 2%, skim, coconut, and almond all to terrific results. Soy is also an option!
  • 1 ½ teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener—I’ve tried simple syrup, brown sugar, and agave nectar. Agave being the best, but honey is also an option. And it’s quite yummy unsweetened, too.
  • Mason jar
  • [Optional] Sippy straw mason jar attachment

Process:

  • Combine ingredients together. I’ve tried this in every possible order. It mixes best when you start with the sweetener and matcha and then add the milk. I also experimented with heating the milk and then icing it later. Was essentially the same. The rest is easy, just put on the lid and shake until ingredients are combined. I’ve heard tell there is a special whisk you can buy for this, but you almost get an arm workout in shaking it so might as well.

So good. Sooooo good.

masonjarmatcha_1

 

Are you into milk teas? What you got in that cup? Try this and lemme know if you can dig it in the comments below. Still hungry? See our whole Menu.

 

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Credits: All images and ideas are by Brianna for Wrays of Sunshine. If you like it, put a link on it.

Menu:

Menu: Personal Peach Pies

I have yet to taste a peach as good as a Georgia peach. Perfect texture, unreal juiciness, just everything you could ever want from the Earth. Bounty. A treasure. And now it’s been so long since I had one the memory’s locked, golden, in time. There hasn’t been much close until our buddy Nathan brought these farm fresh peaches from Walla Walla. There was no salvaging the situation, if you bit one of these peaches you succumbed to the peach dribble storming down your chin renewed with each bite. He brought us so many that eating them all straight up was out of the question. Demasiado, en español. All of a sudden we had to have pie. Everything was pie. Pizzas, color wheels, the world! Trouble is, I’ve never made a peach pie in my life. Turns out it’s the easiest, best thing.

Personal Peach Pies

  • Servings: 4 mini pies
  • Time: 30 min+20 minutes cooling
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 8 peaches
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Smart Balance [butter, whathaveyou]
  • 2 pie shells
  • flour for stretching dough
  • 1 ½ cups water

Deseed and half peaches. Boil in water for 20 minutes. As peaches soften, remove skins. Break some peaches up with a spoon; leave some in larger bits, too. Add brown sugar. Stir until desired consistency is achieved. The longer you cook it, the more concentrated the peach intensity. Cool. Follow instructions for your dough, but mine required 15-minute’s pre-baking before filling could be added. We’ve moved into a new place where our oven is a multi-setting high-class toaster oven affair. My pie shells were ready in 5 minutes. I cut and set aside some dough for the toppers. What’s a pie without a little latticework?

Om nom. Nom Nom.

I’m sad there weren’t more pictures of these little guys. My Honeybee took ’em out! No survivors! I sent one to Bethany because she’s always baking up something amazing and sharing with me and that was it. Poof, another golden peach memory.

personal-peach-pies_2

Note: I ended up freezing half the cooked peaches—which is going to blow my own mind when I thaw it out at some point late fall, so if you’re going to use them all, you’ll need to double up on pie shells. Or you could just half the amount of peaches in the first place. Adjust to your pie needs. It works out to about a peach per pie.

Think about it, though, wherever you are just now, you’re only 20 minutes from peach pie. So, things are lookin’ up.

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Credit: All images and writing by Brianna Wray for Wrays of Sunshine. 

Life:, Menu:

Do You Meal Prep?

What makes your week run smoothly? These days, for me, it’s meal prep. Lemme tell you, in the summer time, when I’m not in school, I love taking my time preparing each artisanal meal one at a time. Now that school is back in session, efficiency is king. And did you ever notice that making one salad takes the same amount of time as making 4 or 6?

That’s what makes it the perfect meal for pre-prep. Rather than my usual Big Salad, I’m going for a grilled steak affair this evening.

Meal Prep: Steak Salad

  • Servings: 6 salads
  • Time: 40 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Steak, grilled
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Eggs, hardboiled
  • Cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Red Onion, sliced
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Baby Spring Mixed Greens
  • Garlic & Herb Croutons
  • Robust Italian Dressing
  • Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Fill your travel containers halfway with lettuce. I use (and re-use!) individual zip lock baggies to keep wet veggies, dressing and dry accoutrements separate. Boil and peel eggs and they just slide right into the corner. Top and refrigerate. And don’t forget your lunch on the way out the door!

Then just dump out all your baggies, replace the lid, shake and enjoy. Shaking ensures maximum dressing coverage, using as little dressing as possible. Behold, there at your desk is this perfect, nutritious meal.

Meal prep is weekend Bri looking out for future Bri, also known as: magic. Look! Here’s magic at my desk.

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I wanted to make sure this post went up over the weekend so you’d have time to try it out before the week begins anew. Salads are great because you can add or subtract whatever you like. You can even make several different salads to avoid boredom throughout the week. Maybe you throw some corn, black beans and salsa in one. Maybe feta cheese and olives in another. You tell me–comment with your variations! Also, share another other tips you might have for getting through busy weeks. And don’t forget to Like and Subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine!

Brianna Wray Signature

Menu:

Menu: Bacon Cheeseburgers

D’you ever go to a bar or restaurant and pay $10 for a mediocre burger? It irritates me to no end! Especially ’cause Matt is a master burger maker. They’re seriously crazy good, so I was pretty surprised when he requested me make burgers. What, why? Your burgers are the Honeybee’s knees. Apparently he’s a big fan of my burgers, too. Huh. How ’bout that.

So, I’ll be sharing my burgers and then Honeybee will share his soon!

Sunshine's Bacon Cheeseburgers

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tools:

frying pan / skillet, mixing bowl, toaster or broiler, possibly nitrile gloves, tongs, paper towel

Gather:

Burgers 5

1 lb ground beef, 2 slices of bacon, 4 slices of cheese, 3 mushrooms, 1/2 small onion, 2 cloves garlic, buns, 1 shallot, 1 egg, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, A1

Prepare:

Burgers 2

Chop your veggies until they look something like the above. The shallot is for the final plating, but everything else goes into the mixing bowl: egg, beef, shrooms, garlic, onion. You could use a spoon, but I find it’s easier to mix by hand. If meat in your fingers gives you the willies, wear some gloves.

Cook:

Cook your bacon first, over medium heat. I like to pepper my bacon. Then I drain most of the fat, then add my burgers to the same pan, top with a swirl of A1, then smoosh down. I cook them until they’re a lovely brown, then flip them bad boys over! After you flip the burgers, turn on your broiler / toast your buns.

Plate:

Plating is straightforward here: tiny dollop of A1 on the bottom bun, burger, cheese, bacon, shallot, bun, boom.

Burgers 8 wos

 

Burgers 9 wos

How do you make your burgers? Share in the comments below. And don’t forget to like and subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine. Still hungry? See all the whole Menu.

Brianna Wray Signature

Menu:

Drink Menu: Shirley Dimple

🎼 Summertime and the thirsting’s easy. 🎶

But, for real, it’s hot out there. It’s important to stay hydrated. That said, there’s only so much water you really want to drink in a day. Eventually, you gotta switch it up. I’m not a big soda fan, never really have been. If I’m in the mood to drink that much sugar, I tend to reach for beer. Alas, alcohol doesn’t mix well with the pain medication I’ve been on since surgery so I had to get a bit creative.

They say necessity breeds invention.

Enter the Shirley Dimple, my mocktail of lip-smacking deliciousness. It’s similar to a Shirley Temple, wherein you’d have grenadine, club soda and a maraschino cherry garnish. My version has a kick, though. It’s more about flavor and less about sugar. And, you know, she’s pretty.

Shirley Dimple

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tools:

medium saucepan, whisk or spoon, citrus juicer, immersion blender, strainer, bottle, single chopstick (or fancy stirrer if you’re fancy with your stirring)

Gather:

3 limes (2 for juice, 1 for garnish), 1 lb cherries, powdered ginger, filtered water, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, club soda / sparking water, ice

Prepare:

Grenadine

To make our very own grenadine, we need to simmer down. Those cherries, that is! Throw pitted cherries, juice of two limes, ginger powder, filtered water, brown sugar and agave nectar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. This recipe would be really fun to work on during a Halloween party for the sheer bloodiness. It seriously looked like I was a mur-diddly-urderler. Once there’s a pretty consistent boil, cook over medium-low heat. Stir continuously and cook until all the water is gone and your cherries are mushy sweet. Use an immersion blender until the mixture is smooth and then a strainer to create a fine, sweet sauce. Pour into a bottle and refrigerate for easy serving later. Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it!

There are no preservatives so the shelf life is shorter than store-bought drink bases, but it’s fresh and natural and you’ve eliminated the need to add bitters. I’d only keep it for 5 days, but it hasn’t lasted long enough.

Serve:

I like to use a taller glass for Shirley Dimples. These outlandish fancy mason jar glasses are perfect for the job. Add ice, drizzle our homemade grenadine, squeeze some extra fresh lime, if you want, then pour club soda over the whole shebang and stir. Garnish with a stemmed cherry and a lime slice. Enjoy!

Shirley Dimples

Brianna Wray

Menu:

Menu: Steak & Taters

I sometimes refer to this recipe as dump-truck steak & taters because I have a tendency to just throw in whatever’s in the fridge. It’s so easy to put together, you’ll be chowing down in no time at all.

Steak & Taters

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: crazy-easy
  • Print

Gather:

1lb New York Strip steak, sliced thinly. 4 handfuls of mini potatoes – these are a medley of Yukon gold and purple. 5 garlic cloves. 1/2 medium sized onion. 1 small shallot. 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce. 1/2 cup white wine – I literally use anything on hand, I love the tang of pinot grigio. 1 tsp powdered ginger. 1/2 lime. 1 broccoli crown. 1 mushroom. Avocado oil. Red pepper flake.

Prep:

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Chop all your veggies and slice up that steak. “Prepare yourselves,” I say mid-chop, “for delicious is coming.” Spray a dark baking pan with high-heat cooking spray. In a stovetop pan, heat avocado oil.

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Cook:

The most difficult thing about this recipe is the timing. I like everything to come out at the same time. To make it so, I start the potatoes first and give them about a 15 minute head start in the oven. Split your cut garlic, onion and shallot–half for the steak, half for the potatoes. Try to use the largest cuts of onion and garlic for the  potatoes or else they’ll just burn. Then, on the stove, cook your steak in a splash of oil and garlic, when you flip the steak strips over, add spices, wine, worcestershire sauce and lime juice. Then once everything is positioned evenly, put your broccoli atop the steak strips and the steam rising up off the wine perfectly cooks your broccoli crowns. Magic! Well, science, really. No, magic is what happens when all the alcohol cooks off you’re left with this saucy dankness. Ooh! So good.

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Enjoy!

Plate –or bowl– it up! I think this recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Steak you don’t even have to cut! It amazes me every time that you can get steak to be tender without a fancy cut or hours of prep. Thin slices cook faster and as long as you’re keeping an eye on it, they’re tender and juicy.

Have you tried this recipe? Post your pictures in the comments. See the whole Menu page or scroll through the archive.

This was an unintentional Menu item. I just happened to be cooking and Jared snapped these photos with my camera as I went along. Many thanks to Jared Wade Photography. Every time we get together there are collaborations out the wahzoo!

xo,

Sunshine

Menu:

Menu: Dirty Rice

Monosodium Glutamate. MSG. The flavor enhancer. Scientifically there’s not too much wrong with it, but in an effort to enjoy food with fewer unnecessary additives I started brainstorming a recipe for a dirty rice of my own.

But I ain’t mad atcha Zatarain’s.

Dirty Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Gather:

  • 1 lb ground beef (or sausage or meatless meat crumbles)
  • 1 cup rice
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • red, yellow & orange bell pepper (1 small of each)
  • 5 mushrooms
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 small serrano pepper
  • cracked peppercorn
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • *pinch* tamarind
  • *pinch* dried basil
  • *pinch* dried rosemary
  • *pinch* fennel
  • red pepper flake to taste
  • *pinch* marjoram
  • *pinch* adobo (I used an adobo that didn’t have pepper in it, if you use one with pepper, omit it elsewhere)

Prep:

Did you ever notice how chopped veggies are just pretty? Everything gets pretty finely chopped for this recipe which brings about the melding of flavors, so chop your heart out. You need just a wee a pinch of a lot of dry spices, so combine all the wet and dry ingredients in their respective bowls. For this recipe you’ll need a fairly wide pan with a tight-fitting lid. The tight-fitting-ness is crucial. Warm your pan to medium heat.

spices&rices

Cook:

Brown that ground beef (or sausage or meatless meat crumbles) over medium heat. Drain the fat and set the ground beef aside. Ground beef is not as pretty as veggies. See ↓

ground beef

Using that same pan, throw in some olive oil and sauté your veggies. Typically I’d start with the most resilient veggies, adding in the more delicate ones over time, but since everything’s roughly the same size I say chuck it in.

veggies

Once they’ve got a bit of color on em, reintroduce the ground beef.

add beef

Then add rice, water, broth, wet mixture (soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce) and, finally, the dry herbs. Give everything a marvelous stir and allow to come to a full boil.

add rice

Stirring continually, hold at a rolling boil for one solid minute.

boil 1 minute

Grab that tight-fitting lid and fit it…tightly. And don’t touch it for 25 minutes. No touchy. Walk away. Shoo.  You could use this time to do something useful like those dishes, or you could watch the Seahawks uber lose.

super bowl sadness

25 minutes later we were no longer in the lead, sure. But the rice was on point, though.

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Menu: Dirty Rice

Menu: Dirty Rice

 

Thanks for kicking it with me in the kitchen. Hungry for more? Check out the full menu and the archives.

xo,

Sunshine

Life:, Menu:

What Are You Hungry For?

Hi there, hey. How ya feelin’? Chillin?

I’ve been hiding under a rock the past few days either busy or crabby or both. That’s alright, though. But in the meantime I could really use your suggestions for new recipes. What do you wanna eat? Over the past few months we’ve had yummy soups, salad, fish, some crazy desserts and some even crazier dessert beverages. What to chew next?

Leave your suggestions in the comments below, yo,

Brianna