Tippy’s Minty Matcha & Lime Popsicles

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The weather is still quite warm out there, and Kat and her friends are coming up with new ways to stay cool. Their latest idea is homemade popsicles. I love this idea! Of course, I had to create my own tea-infused twist. After much consideration, I decided that matcha would be the perfect tea to add to an icy popsicle. The sweet vegetal green tea flavor holds up to most ingredients, even those that are tangy and strong. After a little bit of experimentation, I came up with my new recipe! I’m so excited to share it with you. It combines our favorite matcha flavor with tangy lime and cooling mint.

Tippy’s Minty Matcha & Lime Popsicles

2 cups hot water

2 tsp matcha

1 lime- juiced and zested

Handful of fresh mint leaves

Simple syrup

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Prepare your matcha by whisking together the tea and hot water. Allow to cool to room temperature.

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Mix in your lime juice and 2 tsp of lime zest. Add 3 tbsp of simple syrup and taste. If it’s not sweet enough keep adding by the tablespoon until you are satisfied. Roughly chop mint leaves and drop a few into the ice pop molds.

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Pour in the matcha mixture, and pop on your tops. Pop in the freezer until the pops are fully formed. If you are using wooden sticks, freeze the mixture for about 60 minutes, pop in sticks, and return to the freezer. That way the sticks will stand straight up!

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These icy cold treats have a strong matcha flavor with the refreshing blend of lime and mint. Dearies I hope you love my icy matcha popsicles! They’re sure to be a hit at your next outdoor gathering. Or keep them all for yourself! Kat plans on making these as long as the weather stays warm to enjoy a cooling moment any time of day.

DIY: Cucumber Green Tea Body Spray

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Dearies this sweaty weather seems endless, doesn’t it? Kat has taken her afternoons on the shady porch, with a glass of iced tea in hand, and a good book. It’s been so hot that even a shady spot isn’t the oasis it once was. I decided it was time to do something about it. I noticed that my kitchen friends that live near the sink always seem to be the most comfortable in the heat. I realized it’s because they’re always getting sprayed by the faucet. Then it dawned on me- a body spray! That’s what Kat needs. So off I went, trying to find just the right combination of ingredients.

Kat loves cucumber in the summer, she says it’s quite refreshing. So I decided to put that idea in the spray. I think green tea pairs well with the cucumber. Both flavors are quite aromatic, and refreshing. With just a little bit of prep, you can have a refreshing body spray to beat that summer heat.

Tippy’s refreshing green tea + cucumber body spray

2 cups water

2 teabags of green tea of choice

Half a large cucumber

2 tsp witch hazel

Spray bottle

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Steep the teabags in just-boiled water for 20 minutes or more. Allow to fully cool in the fridge.

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Peel the cucumber and cut into large chunks. Puree in a food processor

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Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, coffee filter, or cheesecloth until you get as much liquid out as possible. You can chuck the solids, or use it in a delicious cucumber yogurt sauce!

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Add the cucumber to the tea mixture and mix in the witch hazel. Fill a spray bottle and keep it in the fridge at all times. When you’re feeling hot, just give yourself a spritz!

Camping With Tea

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Here’s the scene: Waking up in the lush green forest listening to birdsong and the smoky comforting smell of a campfire. Summertime is Kat’s favorite time of year to go camping. She loves being out in the forest so close to nature. Hiking, fishing, cooking over a fire, she just loves it all! She even likes sleeping in a tent. There is however one comfort she can’t live without: tea!

Over the years Kat has perfected a way to have tea while camping. It involves a little bit of gear, but can also be done with less. She does have a bit of tea camping gear, she just love collecting tea ware no matter what the occasion! Those enamelware cups are just so cute, Kat has a large vintage collection!

So there are only a few things you really need to enjoy tea while camping: First a heat source (campfire or camping stove), and vessel to boil water (we just use a cooking pot). Then you pick and choose: thermos, enamelware teapot, and enamelware teacups, empty teabags to fill, or just regular teabags. If you are trying to pack light, all you really need is the boiled water and a cup to put your tea in. If you need to pack even lighter, you can put the tea directly in your cup and sip it grandpa style (sipping with the leaves directly in the water). Or you could put the tea in a fillable teabag, steep and remove. Or of course, you can bring along your favorite teabags, and steep those. That’s what Kat often does.

 

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A tea she likes to bring camping is Private Selection Orange Spice black tea. This tea has orange cinnamon and clove flavors that hold up well to that smoky camp fire. Perfect with a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner by the campfire. It would also pair nicely with sweet, chocolatey s’mores, which are a must if you are going camping! Kat drinks this tea all year round. It’s soothing in the chilly months and quite refreshing when it’s warmer outside. She even serves it iced! I guess you could say it’s one of her staples. She always has it in the cupboard.

Dearies, will you try my tips for your next camping trip? Do you have any other ideas for taking tea in the great outdoors?

How to: Have Matcha On The Go!

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Matcha is all the rage these days, and with good reason. It’s quite delicious and packs a great long-lasting energy punch. Many of Kat’s friends have started getting into matcha, and try to make it in the morning. The problem is it can be a little time consuming. You need the right equipment, and just the right whisking technique to create a frothy bowl of matcha. A few of her friends have started asking Kat if she had any tips for creating a quicker cup of matcha at home. Well, we actually do have a secret for quicker matcha preparation! It just involves a little bit of elbow grease.

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In order to prepare your matcha in a flash, you just need a jar with a tight fitting lid, hot water, and matcha powder. You can use a fancy mason jar but honestly Kat often just saves small jars in her cupboard and grabs one when she wants matcha in a hurry.

Simple place your matcha in the jar, and add the hot water (make sure it’s about 165°. Then, all you need to do is shake! Shake it up until the powder is completely dissolved. Just be careful, if your jar isn’t very thick, it will get hot quickly. you may want to grip your jar with a tea towel. With vigorous shaking you’ll also get a nice frothy matcha. You can sip from the jar, put it in a mug, or just keep the cap on and sip on the go!

How To: Decorate for a Summer Tea Party

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The sweet smell of summer flowers, teacups gently clinking in their saucers and delicious light bites. It’s time for summertime tea parties! Dearies, Kat likes to change up her tea parties based on the season. In the winter and fall, she likes cozy get-togethers. But once summertime hits, she’s all about outdoor tea parties! We like to go a bit crazy with the florals- fresh flowers, floral china cups and teapots, even floral napkins. We like to use mismatched patterns, to give everything a lush, garden vibe. We also like to put edible flowers on our cakes and cupcakes. Gorgeous! If you have lots of teacups like Kat does, stack them and cluster a few stacks together with flowers in the very top. Easy centerpiece!

You could also go for a beachy theme, decorating the table with coral and seashells! Wouldn’t it be fun to do a late-afternoon tea party with a table strewn with lovely shells and gently flickering candles that light up with table as the sun slowly sets? I can practically hear the ocean waves as I think about it! Kat loves being on the beach, so I’m going to suggest this for her next tea party.

Another fun idea is to also put picnic blankets down if you have a grassy area. This way your friends can choose to lounge in the cool grass while they sip their tea. Make sure you have a large space that’s out of the sun, or make sure to have large umbrellas to create shady spots.

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If you’re serving iced teas, don’t forget to include flower and herb ice cubes! Check out my previous post on how to do this. Thy will be a surefire hit. A summery tea Kat likes to serve her guests is HEB Serenity Spearmint Lavender tea. In the summertime she loves serving this tea iced. The frosty mint flavor is perfect for the hottest summer days. The soothing lavender is perfect for a relaxing get-together or even a quiet afternoon on your own. This tea is caffeine free, so it’s perfect for the whole family. She loves this tea as-is but for her tea soirees, she’ll add fresh mint and lavender leaves to her brew. It just looks so festive that way! Kat discovered this tea while visiting relatives in Texas. She was looking for a refreshing tea to combat the strong Texas sun and popped into the local HEB store. When she noticed the Serenity tea, she was curious about the combination of lavender and spearmint. She wasn’t sure if they’d work together, but once she tried it, she was amazed at how well the two herbs work together. She likes this combination so much that she grows fresh lavender and mint so she can make her own version when she’s in-between boxes.

For the savories, we like to do easy cucumber, cream cheese and dill tea sandwiches, fruit tarts or little mini pound cakes topped with fruit. Also mini cupcakes with edible flowers. Just go for things that are light, refreshing, and filled with seasonal ingredients.

How are you going to decorate for your summer tea parties? I’d love to hear your ideas. Be sure to check out my summertime tea party pinterest board for more inspiring ideas!

Tippy’s BBQ Steak Rub

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Dearies, you know I love backyard BBQs. It’s basically all I ever talk about in the summer! I’m constantly thinking of tea-infused recipes for Kat to use, and today I’m happy to share my steak-rub recipe! This recipe is simple to make, and grills up a savory, smoky, tea-flavored steak. Is your stomach grumbling yet?

My favorite tea for a steak rub is lapsang souchong. The hit of smoke works well with the charred meat. You can use another black tea of your choice if you prefer. For an extra hint of smoke, I like to include chipotle chili powder.

I like to serve sautéed mushrooms alongside the steak, or even piled on top. The smokey, savory flavors are enhance with the mushrooms.

This recipe is perfect for steak but you can also use it for grilled tofu  ‘steak’ or grilled seitan as well.

The tea leaves can be whole, or small pieces from a tea bag. Either will work, but the larger leaves will give you a crunchier texture.

Tippy’s BBQ Tea Rub

  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ cup black tea leaves (we like to use Lapsang Souchong)
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili flakes or powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 lb steak of choice

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Combine all rub ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Pat it liberally all over your steak and let it sit for about an hour so the flavors will come together. Grill the way you like it, and enjoy!

This is an easy recipe to play around with- you can swap out the type of tea and play around with the spices. You can also serve it with a BBQ sauce if you’d like to add even more flavor. I hope you enjoy, Dearies!

How To: Have Tea On The Beach

beachtea2Dearies, we’ve talked a bit about taking your tea on the go. Kat is never without her tea whether it be on an airplane, at a picnic, or even hiking. But in the summer there is another important place that Kat totes her tea- the beach! She actually does both hot and iced teas for beachy afternoons. I thought it would be helpful to do a little ‘how to’ on taking teas to the beach, so you can always have your favorite beverage by your side (and hopefully your favorite teacup too!).

For hot tea, Kat will do it a few different ways. The thing you must have is a trusty thermos. Kat has them in varying sizes, depending on the group. She has a small one for herself and a larger one for tea with friends. Sometimes Kat will steep her tea right in the thermos and take it with her. Other times, she’ll bring along the hot water and tea separately. This way she can steep up individual cups, or even bring along her gaiwan for gongfu steeping on the beach. It may require a little bit more setup, but this is such a lovely way to enjoy tea all afternoon. The gaiwan setup is sure to draw a little bit of attention, and you’re sure to make some new tea-loving friends!

If you are icing your tea, you have a few options as well. You can put the iced tea in your thermos, and it’ll keep cool for hours. You can also put it in a large container specifically made for iced tea just make sure it’s lightweight and easy to pour. Kat has a little cooler that’s the perfect size for her plastic iced tea jug. Another must is plastic ice cubes. These are a must for iced tea! They don’t melt, so they don’t water down your tea. Leave them in the freezer and then grab when you are ready to go!

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For her iced teas, Kat loves to pack a pitcher filled with Southern Breeze Peach Sweet Tea. She makes the tea the night before her outing and cools it in the fridge. When she wakes up, it’s ready to go! The sweet black tea flavor combined with ripe peach flavor is perfect for sunny beach days. The tea is sweet without any added sugar or calories, so it’s a hit with all of her friends. She likes to bring along freshly sliced peaches for anyone that wants a fresh, delicious garnish. This tea is so easy to make: simply boil 2 quarts of water, add 2 teabags to a large pitcher and pour in the hot water. Steep for 3 minutes, and remove the bags. Pop in the fridge and cool! Easy peasy. Chill it overnight and have your tea ready for your day at the beach. As soon as the weather begins to warm up, Kat places an order on Amazon for this tea.

To enhance your tea experience on the beach, be sure to bring a few teacups! Drinking tea from your thermos or even disposable cups is fine, but when you bring along a few pretty cups, you’ll feel like royalty while listening to those crashing waves. What are your beachy tea-time tips? I’d love to know if you have some secrets to share. Happy summer Dearies!

 

Behind the Leaf: Yellow Tea

 

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Dearies we’ve discussed all kinds of white tea, oolong tea, and black teas. But did you know we missed a category from the camellia sinensis plant? Yellow teas are harder to find, but they are a tea type that you all must try.

Yellow tea is more time consuming to process, than other teas which makes it less available. There are only three regions in China that process it, Hunan, Sichuan and Anhui provinces. It is processed like a Chinese green tea, but then after firing they go through a controlled oxidation. The leaves are steamed under wet cloth or thick paper, and often the process is repeated. This process can take a few days, and creates a mellow yet aromatic cup of tea. It also has a nice bit of sweetness.

Because this tea is given a heated fermentation, it’s type is a mix between a green tea and a puerh. Yellow teas were originally considered tribute teas, which means they were exclusively grown and picked for the Emperor! How very special.

Because it is similar to a green tea, you can brew this the same way you would your Chinese greens. I recommend using a gaiwan, going grandpa style, or using a small teapot with multiple short infusions. Yellow tea isn’t as prone to bitterness as greens are, so you can use a water temperature a bit higher, from 160-175° F.

The most famous yellow tea is Junshan Yinzhen, from Hunan province. This tea can also be called Mount Jun Silver Needle tea, as the leaves resemble the white tea called silver needles. This tea is picked only from late march to early April, a very short window of time. This tea consists of tender, fuzzy buds, similar to white silver needles. This is actually was a favorite of Mao Zedong which is why it is so well known.

Two other yellow teas you may come across are Meng Ding Huangya from Sichuan province, and Mo Gan Huang Ya from Zhejiang. Be sure to purchase your yellow teas from a reputable source that is knowledgeable in these leaves. As I mentioned, these teas are hard to find, but worth the effort.

As a teacup I’m of course going to promote any and every tea I can. But I must say Dearies, yellow tea is really special. If you come across it, do give it a try. You’ll be quite pleased!

 

Recipe: Matcha Lemonade

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The other day Kat came home and was telling me how much she enjoyed her lunch. The best part was her beverage- she had a ‘half n’ half, which is a half black iced tea, and half lemonade. It’s one of her favorite iced teas to drink. It got me thinking about how we could adapt this idea to other types of teas. We’d need a tea that could hold up to the strong lemon flavor but also be enhanced by some sweetness. Then it hit me- why not make it with matcha? Perfect!

I gave it a few tries,and learned a few things in the process. First, it’s important to whisk your matcha up with hot water first, don’t just add it to all of your liquids. This way it will be well combined, and not grainy. Also, make sure you incorporate the sugar when the matcha is still hot, to make sure it dissolves fully. This recipe is actually very simple! Do give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tippy’s Sweet & Tangy Matcha Lemonade

Makes about 3 servings

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup hot water

1 ½ tbsp. matcha

2 cups cold water

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

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First make the matcha- whisk the matcha in 1 cup of hot (not boiling, about 165 degrees F) water. once it is combined, add to the lemon juice and stir in the sugar. It helps if the tea is warm so the sugar will dissolve more easily.

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Add 1/2 cup sugar, taste and see if it’s enough sweetness for you, you can always add more if necessary. Pour this into a serving pitcher and add the 2 cups cold water.

Mix until everything is combined to a beautiful green hue. Pour over a glass with lots of ice and garnish with lemon slices. You can add freshly sliced strawberries or mint to your lemonade. It’s such a delicious way to beat the summer heat!

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Dearies, I was just thinking you could probably pour this mixture into popsicle molds and have a delicious frozen treat! I’m sure there are more ways to get creative with iced matcha this summer. I’d love to hear your ideas!

DIY: Tub Teas using Summer Herbs

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One of Kat’s favorite ways to end a busy summer day of beachgoing and pool hopping is to take a relaxing bath. Isn’t it lovely to soak sun-kissed skin and weary muscles after a long day of outdoor activities? Kat often uses our green tea soak, and I’ve recently come up with even more tea-themed bath ideas. Dearies, it’s the perfect time of year to create herbal tea bath soaks. You can even use seasonal herbs you grow in your own garden!

The herb choices can vary based on what you have on hand, or what’s lush in your garden. We like to choose lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or lemon verbena. But you can add in whatever aromatic herb you’d like.

You can also add relaxing elements such as Epsom salts, and rose petals for a soothing bath that will transport you to a quiet oasis.

To make your own teabags, you can use my tutorial here. Or, you can simply fill up a tea sac and staple the top. You’ll want to make your teabags larger than a regular one, since the tub is much bigger than a cup of tea! Or if you’re using small teabags, just use a few at a time. If you’re making large teabags, you should add in about ¼ cup of your herbs. You can use one, or a blend of a few different herbs. Mix and match and see what you like best!

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If you are pressed for time or don’t have a garden, you can use any store-bought herbal teabag. Kat has actually been using HEB Catch Your Z’s right in the tub. Kat has tried many different types of bedtime teas, as she enjoys having a warm cup before bed. She finds it helps her wind-down after a hectic day and is a lovely way to find a few minutes just for herself. Her mother actually sent her a box of this tea recently, and she’s  been preparing a cup almost every night. The soothing flavors of peppermint and chamomile instantly start to calm her down. The other night she decided to add 3 of these teabags to her warm bath, and she just loved the experience. The steamy water diffused the herbal aromas all around the bathroom. She felt like she was in a spa, having one of those fancy bath soaks.

Give these tub teas a try, and bring the spa right to your bathroom! Don’t forget to bring a cup of tea with you, too! Hot or iced, you can sip as you relax. Enjoy!