Green Tea Vinaigrette For Summer Salads

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As the weather gets warmer, all Kat wants to make is huge salads. The other day she came back from the farmer’s market with bags bursting with delicious fresh veggies. She loves to cook with fresh vegetables but often just likes to make an enormous salad for dinner. Her favorite are filled with leafy greens like kale and arugula. She’ll include some hearty additions such as hardboiled eggs, sliced ham, baked tofu, and even steak. The finishing touch to her salads is always the dressing. Kat love making dressing from scratch.

I started wondering how I could help create a new dressing for her summer salads. It dawned on me that I could include tea! After much thought and experimentation, I’ve come up with delicious green tea vinaigrette to add to all your salads this summer. It’s light but extremely flavorful.

Tippy’s Green Tea Vinaigrette

2 Tablespoons lightly flavored oil, we like grapeseed

1 tablespoon Rice vinegar

1 Green tea bag steeped in 1/4 cup water for 5 minutes and cooled.

1-2 teaspoons honey (if desired)

2 teaspoons diced shallot (optional)

2 teaspoons lime

Salt and pepper to taste

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To create the dressing, combine the rice vinegar and tea. You can then whisk in the oil until it’s well combined. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Sometimes when Kat and I are pressed for time or if the bowls are all in the dish washer, we combine all the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and shake away until everything is combined. That’s it! It’s super simple and delicious.

Kat always likes to start slowly when dressing her salad. She’ll use just a few teaspoons of dressing and mix everything gently. She’ll taste and see if more is needed. Especially in summer, it’s nice to have a salad that isn’t super soggy.

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You can even use this recipe as a template. Try out other types of tea, add a different vinegar, maybe a different sweetener. You could even try adding a little bit of Dijon mustard. Get creative and you’ll have salads that everyone will be sure to devour. The dressing could also be used on boiled potatoes as a spin on German potato salad.

I just love creating these recipes for all of you, it’s so much fun to cook with tea! Happy steeping and eating, my dear friends!

DIY recipe: Tippy’s Banana Earl Grey Tea Bread

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Dearies, you may have noticed that Kat and I have been getting more creative in the kitchen with tea recipes. I realized we haven’t done much baking with tea, and I set out to change all of that! Today I’m so thrilled to share our recipe for Earl grey banana bread. Kat has enjoyed earl grey in baked goods before, and has even had it in chocolate truffles. I thought adding it to moist and springy banana bread would be a surprising and delicious addition to the afternoon tea table. Or for breakfast, or really, any time of day!

Tippy’s Banana Earl-Grey Tea Bread

½ cup Water

3 bags of Earl Grey tea or 1 tbsp loose tea

¼ cup packed Dark Brown Sugar

pinch salt

tsp vanilla

¾ cup Sugar

½ cup Butter

1 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Eggs, beaten

2-1/4 cups all-purpose Flour

3 very ripe Bananas, mashed with a fork

Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the tea. Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes (you want a very strong tea). Add the sugars and butter and return the pan and heat on medium. Cook until the butter and sugars melt and combine. Once you have a thick, combined mixture, allow to cool to room temp.

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In a large bowl combine the yogurt and baking soda. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until the mixture looks a bit puffy. Stir in the cooled tea mixture and the eggs. Sift in flour and combine. Carefully fold in the mashed bananas.

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Pour batter into pan(s). We like to use mini loaf pans, so we fill them 1/3 way full. You’ll need room for the bread to rise. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours if you are making 2 large loaf pans. Less if you are using small pans like we are. Start checking around 30 minutes. Bake until a tester (we use a chopstick or knife) comes out clean. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to fully cool on a rack.

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I do hope you enjoy my Earl Grey Banana bread recipe! We make a few mini loaves at a time and store a few in the freezer. This way Kat always has a sweet treat to serve when company arrives. The combination of the citrusy early grey, rich banana, and lemon makes a delightful cake with an irresistible chewy texture. I noticed Kat sneaking a few slices throughout the day. I think you’ll agree that this cake is the perfect tea time accompaniment!

Tippy’s Tea-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

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Dearies, it’s Memorial Day weekend and the grilling season is upon us! I thought I’d share my easy chicken tea marinade that Kat likes to use for an easy weeknight grilled meal. It’s also perfect for a crowd! It’s easy to double or triple the recipe. The tea creates a tender, juicy grilled chicken.

 Tippy’s Tea-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 cups strong black tea fully cooled (you will need 2 tea bags, we like to use Harris Tea Decaffeinated Black Tea)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated ginger

pinch of black pepper

 Boil water for tea. Steep 2 tea bags in 2 cups of water, for 15 minutes and set aside until fully cooled.

 Pound chicken breasts out until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. The thinner you pound them out, the faster they will cook.

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 In a medium sized bowl combine cooled tea, soy sauce, ginger, and black pepper. Whisk together well. Pour over chicken and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but can also be left overnight. Kat will often put the mixture together in the morning, and will let everything marinate while she’s at work.

 Once marinated, we like to grill our chicken, and serve with fresh jasmine rice, and steamed broccoli or green beans for a healthy and light meal. But you can also cut the chicken up into pieces and stir fry with assorted veggies.

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Kat likes to use Harris Tea Decaffeinated Black Tea in this marinade. The tea is simple, brisk, and perfect with the chicken. She always has it in her pantry for the times that she wants a quick, easy, tasty cup of black tea at any time of the day. It also makes a lovely cold brewed iced tea! This would be a refreshing pairing with the chicken breasts. Kat likes to add lots of lemon and a touch of honey to this iced tea. Serve this meal for your family or your next outdoor gathering. It’s super simple and tasty.

Get ready for grilling season with this delicious tea themed recipe! I do hope you enjoy it.

Tippy’s Sweet Matcha Butter Cookies

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My lovelies, we’ve discussed springtime picnics and afternoon teas, and I thought I should give a recipe that you can use for both, or even just for snacking on your own. Have you ever made green tea cookies? Kat and I have an recipe for a buttery, tender cookie that have pleasing sweetness and a powerful matcha punch.

These cookies are perfect for any gathering, or could be enjoyed on your own with your favorite cup of tea. Dunk them in your favorite green tea for a super delicious experience.

These cookies only require a few ingredients, and are super simple to make!

Tippy’s Sweet Matcha Butter Cookies

For the cookies:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 tsp culinary grade matcha

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

For the topping:

1/2 tsp matcha

1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt and matcha and give it a mix to make sure everything is well combined. Set aside. For the topping, in a small bowl mix together the 1/2 tsp matcha and granulated sugar.

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In an electric mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar until it’s light and fluffy. It will be much lighter than you started, a few minutes on medium/high.

Switch the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Be careful not to have the mixer on a high setting or you’ll have a cloud of matcha flour in your face!

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When everything is combined, you’ll have a deep green dough. Remove this dough and shape into a log that’s about 10 inches long. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. This step is important to make sure you have well-formed cookies!

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. When the dough is ready, slice into cookies about 1/4 inch thick and spread them out on a lightly greased baking sheet (or you can line the cookie sheet with parchment paper if you have it).

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Bake cookies for about 15 minutes (may need a few more minutes depending on how thickly you sliced them) until they just start to get a bit brown and firm. While the cookies are still hot, spring with the sugar/matcha mixture. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely, if you can wait that long to taste them!

Enjoy with your favorite green tea! Kat likes to serve these cookies with Citrus Green Tea from Private Selection. This is a beautiful blend of light, vegetal green tea with a delicate orange flavor. The green tea of course blends well with the cookies, and the orange flavor breaks up the green tea sweetness and refreshes the palate. I just love this combination! Kat always has this tea available in the warmer months for a refreshing yet light iced tea. It’s perfect for picnics and BBQs.

I do hope you enjoy my special cookie recipe! Be sure to check back for more recipes coming soon!

DIY Infused Sugars + Tea Pairings

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Dearies, Kat and I have a little secret to making our tea times extra special. We serve infused sugars to give an extra dose of flavor to our teas! Flavor infused sugars are perfect for your next tea party, little gathering, or even for a special moment for yourself.

Our infused sugars are easy to make, and you can package them in a beautiful jar or canister for gift giving. You can use all sorts of flavors, and they take no time at all to create. The only time needed is a little bit of rest for the finished blend, to make sure the flavor fully infuses into the sugar.

 Basically all you need is a ratio of 4:1 of sugar to flavor. We usually do about a cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of mix-ins. For a strongly scented herb like lavender, you’ll want to use a little less herb. You can always start with a smaller amount and then add as needed!

Some of our favorite sugars to create are:

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Citrus Sugar: take your citrus of choice (Kat likes meyer lemon), wash, dry thoroughly and grate the zest only. Mix in with your sugar. We like to peel a few larger pieces of zest for displaying on top of the sugar bowl for guests.

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Vanilla Sugar: I like to use a fresh vanilla bean for this recipe. Open one vanilla pod, use a knife to scrape the seeds, and add the seeds and the empty pod to your mixture. Mix well, as those tiny seeds like to stick together! This will need to sit for a few days or up to a week for all the flavors to meld before you use it. But once you do, oh my the vanilla flavor is amazing!

Lavender Sugar: Simply take lavender petals and mix in with your sugar.

You can even do matcha sugar! If you’re doing one of these, you only need about 2 tsp of matcha per cup of sugar. Kat likes to sprinkle matcha sugar on morning oatmeal and pancakes. It’s also a delicious finishing sugar for baked goods hot out of the oven.

Once you have your infused sugars, be sure to pair them with lots of different teas! Here are a few of our favorite sugar and tea pairings to get you started:

Citrus Sugar + Earl Grey. Since earl grey has the lovely bergamot flavor already infused we like to add the citrus sugar for even more zing. Kat likes to serve Wegmans Earl Grey to her guests. The blend is well balanced, and you will still be able to taste the black tea along with the fresh citrus flavor. Kat picked up a love for earl grey from her great uncle, who always had some in the afternoon. The citrus scent still reminds her of spending the afternoon playing chess with him while he sipped on his tea.

Vanilla Sugar + Black Tea- The vanilla sugar is so delicious, we like a malty, sweet black tea to pair with it. I like a good Ceylon or Assam. Wegmans English Breakfast is the perfect accompaniment. It has a blend of bold and sweet black teas, and that vanilla sugar will complement the brew perfectly.

Lavender Sugar + chamomile tea. I love combining floral flavors in tea. As you know, I wrote an early post about it! The Wegmans Chamomile has a honey sweetness that blends with the lavender. One sip and you’ll feel like you are in a sunny field of French lavender!

I do hope you like my infused sugar ideas! Gift them for Mother’s Day, and serve them at your next tea party. Or just save them for a special moment all your own!

Picnic Tea Sparklers

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Dearies, it’s time to dust off that picnic basket! Since spring is finally here, Kat has been talking endlessly about all of the spring picnics she plans to have. She certainly gets excited about picnics. She wants to have a picnic every weekend! Just the thought of all that planning makes my saucer ache. But, being the good tea cup that I am, I agreed to help Kat find some interesting and unusual tea related recipes for her picnics. I thought I’d focus on one type of recipe in particular today, the tea sparkler.

A fizzy, refreshing, and delicious tea drink is such a fun idea for a picnic! Just make it ahead and put it in a bottle for transportation, or you can even make them right on the spot with just a few ingredients. It’ll definitely add a festive pop to your outdoor gathering!

For something brimming with spring and summer flavor, how about a strawberry and basil iced tea? I came up with this recipe after Kat brought home so many strawberries from the farmer’s market that she could barely fit them all in the fridge:

Tippy’s Strawberry Basil Iced Tea

6 cups brewed black tea such as Assam, Ceylon, or Nilgiri, cooled.

2 cups freshly sliced strawberries

Large handful of basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped, leaving smaller leaves intact

Honey to taste (about a tablespoon)

Small handful of mint leaves

3 cups sparkling water

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Add in sparkling water. Pour over ice and top with mint leaves. Dearies, isn’t this a lovely twist on iced tea? Perfect for sitting in the grass under a leafy tree.

For a different flavorful fizz, use sparkling apple juice in your tea sparkler! I love that this recipe uses sparkling apple cider along with black tea, lemon and cinnamon. What a delightful combination!

For a boozy sparkle to your outdoor soiree, Kat likes to use the pomegranate champagne cocktail that I came up with for the holidays. You can find my recipe in my previous post here.  The cocktail uses HEB Pomegranate Green Tea, a deliciously festive flavor combination of vegetal green tea and fruity, crisp pomegranate. This tea also has hibiscus added to the blend, which gives a nice tart bite to the brew. It works nicely with the added champagne for a juicy, bubbly brew worthy of your special picnic.

Well, I’m certainly glad to have found these sparkling tea recipes to keep in our picnic arsenal! I won’t get quite as large of a saucer ache when I hear Kat planning how many picnics she wants to have this summer!

Special Tea-Themed Gifts for Mother’s Day

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Dearies, it’s the special time of year when we get to spend the day honoring the most important women in our lives. What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Last year Kat made a lovely breakfast for her mom, and this year she’s planning to have a little spa getaway for just the two of them. She’s been brainstorming beautiful tea themed gift for her mother, so I started thinking up some creative ideas of my own. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Tea Themed Gift Basket: I love the idea of a basket brimming with tea goodies. Package favorite teas in beautiful tins, add a tea-for-one teapot and cup set, a small jar of local honey, maybe even a few delicious cookies. Don’t forget to add a luxurious DIY Tea soak, matcha face scrub, or one of my other tea beauty product ideas! A basket filled with gifts to pamper that most important woman in your life. I’m sure every mother out there could use a bit of luxurious relaxation!

I recently saw a photo on pinterest of a white teapot that had beautiful words and quotes written on it with an oil-based sharpie. You can personalize your own teapot for mom! I love this idea. You can add poetry, quotes from her favorite authors, or lovely little tea themed phrases. It’s a sweet and sentimental way to show your love. She’ll be reminded of you every time she brews a pot of tea. You can get kids of all ages involved in this project.

A small windowsill tea herb garden would also make a sweet gift. If you’re really feeling crafty you can reuse tea tins for the garden! Or you can make a seed kit with all of your favorite herbs to brew into a relaxing nighttime tea. I love adding herbs such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, mint, and basil. But really, you can mix and match seeds for any herbs you think your recipient would love to grow and brew. Include a few pretty plant markers and even a small shovel or nice pair of gardening gloves for the ultimate tea gardening gift!

If your mother is a bookworm, how about a tea book? if your mother is anything like me, she’d love to spend the day reading and learning about tea. You could select an informative book like the classic  Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties. This is practically a tea textbook, with everything a tea lover would want to learn about teas from all over the world. Or go for a fun, exciting read that’s a tea-themed mystery! Author Laura Childs writes a series of tea shop mysteries that take place in Charleston, South Carolina. They are fun and filled with tea tidbits!

If you are including tea in your Mother’s Day gift, don’t forget to create your own tea bags with personalized tags! This is one of Kat’s most favorite gifts to create and give. It gives such a lovely personal touch to the gift, and this way you can include lots of different loose leaf teas in easy to brew packages.

Whatever you choose for your Mother’s Day gifts, you can’t go wrong with lots of tea! I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I raise my cup to each and every mother. You have the hardest and most important jobs of all!

DIY: Make Your Own Bubble Tea!

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Dearies, do you like bubble tea? Do you even know what it is? It’s a sweet iced tea drink that has chewy tapioca ‘bubbles’ on the bottom. The brew can often be shaken in order to combine all the ingredients, and can look at bit frothy and bubbly on top.

This sweet drink originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, and has recently become popular stateside. It’s common to see the drink in specialty bubble tea shops. Kat developed a taste for these teas while travelling in Vancouver, where she had many a bubble tea in Chinatown. It’s harder to find in our neck of the woods, so she’s discovered how to make her own. I actually think it’s better to make your own bubble tea, because you can control the amount of milk and sweetener you add to the brew.

The first thing you’ll need is the boba (tapioca pearls). You can find these at most Asian grocery stores and also through a quick online search. They are usually black, but also come in fun rainbow colors. The boba themselves don’t have too much flavor. They’re mostly for texture but you can cook your boba in a little bit of simple syrup to give them a touch of sweetness. You boil the pearls until they are soft (about 5-10 minutes) and then they are ready to add to your tea. The boba don’t stay chewy for very long, so I’d suggest only making enough for a few cups of tea. They start to get hard after a few days.

After you’ve procured the boba, it’s time for the tea! The simplest thing is to just make a very strong cup of your favorite tea. Kat usually uses 2 tea bags. You’ll want it a  bit concentrated since you’ll be adding your milk of choice.

To create your DIY bubble tea:

Make simple syrup:

Boil a cup of water and a cup of sugar, until the sugar is dissolved.

Cook the boba:

Follow directions on the package, but it’s usually 2 cups of water for every ¼ cup of boba. Bring the water to a boil and add the tapioca pearls. Cook until they start to float to the top and get nice and chewy. Quick cooking boba takes 5 minutes, the regular kind can take about 10. After cooking submerge boba in the simple syrup for at least 15 minutes.

Make the tea:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then steep 2-3 tea bags for at least 5-10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool. Once cool, add your milk of choice. Kat loves to use coconut milk, almond milk, even sweetened condensed milk for a real decadent treat. Add as much or as little milk as you like. Add some of your simple syrup, to taste.

Put the boba in a glass, pour in your sweet, milky tea, and top with ice. Enjoy!

A fun variation is to add a flavored tea bag, and even fruit nectars. Kat likes to use HEB Mango black tea along with a few tablespoons of mango nectar added to the brew. Kat adores mango, and the HEB tea is a perfect combination of sweet, tart, and juicy. She was so excited to find this tea in her local store, and always has a box on hand for iced tea, afternoon tea breaks, and of course bubble tea.

To drink your tea you’ll need wide bubble tea straws (easily found online) since the boba are too big to fit through a regular straw. Or simply slurp without a straw altogether.

See it’s easy to create delicious bubble tea at home. Why not give it a try? If you come up with some exciting flavor combinations, be sure to let me know in the comments or via twitter!

Mixing Teas & Flowers

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Dearies, I know I’ve written quite a bit about spring time teas, but I’ve recently thought of one more way to get spring flowers in your cup. To actually put them in your cup! I know, it seems too easy to be true, right?

You’ll want to dry your flowers first, or you can purchase them already dried. The amount of flowers you use depends on how much tea you want to make. For a few servings I’ll blend one cup of tea and a tablespoon of flowers and adjust if necessary, but you’ll need to start experimenting and see what works best for you. You may also want to add a floral extract to your blend, to increase the flavor. But that’s entirely up to you!

To make a garden blend with just flowers, you can use equal parts of each flower. Kat likes to blend chamomile and lavender together for a soothing evening blend. She often likes to play around with the following flowers. You can find these already dried online for easy use: rose, jasmine, lavender, hibiscus, chamomile, and chrysanthemum.

Kat likes to create her own version of Rose Congou. This is a fragrant rose tea from China. She takes 1 cup of her favorite Chinese black tea, and 2 tablespoons of dried rose petals. Sometimes she’ll add in a couple drops of rose extract. Mix everything together and store in an airtight container for 1 week. Open the container and give it a sniff. If it smells like a rose garden, it’s ready!

Adding flowers to your tea blends is delicious and also visually appealing. Fill tea filters with your tea blend and share with friends and family. You could also put it in a pretty glass jar for gift-giving, although I wouldn’t recommend storing your tea in glass long-term unless you’re sure to keep it out of the light (see my previous post on properly storing teas!)

You can add your flowers to any of your favorite tea bases, or I also like to use rooibos as a caffeine-free base. You can also skip the tea base altogether and just blend the flowers together!

Now my lovelies, please note I’m not a master tea blender, I just know what Kat and I enjoy. These are just my recommendations to get your mind thinking about how to get creative with tea and flowers.

DIY Spring Tea Smoothies

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Dearies, Kat told me that when she was little Char used to assure her that March ‘comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb’. So even though it feels like winter will never loosen its grip, that milder weather is just around the corner. Once the temps begin to rise, Kat likes to switch from warm breakfasts to refreshing smoothies after her early morning yoga classes.

What better to celebrate spring than with a vibrant green smoothie? Kat combines green tea, mint, and greens?

-1 cup steeped green tea

-1 small, ripe pear

-3 large kale leaves (ribs removed)

-3-4 mint leaves

-1 cup crushed ice

– At least 1 tbs honey

– A few squeezes of lemon, to taste

Brew the green tea and allow to cool (you can do this the night before). You then simply place everything in a blender except for the honey and lemon, blend until smooth. Add honey and lemon to taste.

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One of Kat’s newest smoothie creations she calls her ‘Ginger Chai Energizer’. She uses Tea India Ginger Chai Tea Latte mix to easily get a flavorful smoothie. Here’s her recipe:

-1 cup brewed Tea India Ginger Chai Tea Latte mix

-1/4 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)

-1/2 of a banana

-1 cup frozen cubed mango (optional, but so delicious!)

Brew the tea in a cup of water, and allow to cool (again, you can do this the night before). Combine with the other ingredients in a blender until thick and smooth.

It’s also easy to make your own smoothies with matcha! In a blender you can combine ½ cup yogurt of choice (lately Kat has been using coconut yogurt which is great for vegans), 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp of matcha and ½ cup ice. You can also add any fruit or greens of your choice.

These smoothies are sure to get you up and out on a gorgeous spring morning! Do you have any go-to tea smoothie recipes? I’d love to swap!