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!

Soothing Summer Skin With Tea

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Once the weather warms up, you just can’t keep Kat in the house! She’s constantly out and about- hiking, swimming, camping and relaxing on the beach. The only downside to these outdoor activities is her inevitable sunburn. Dearies, I remind her to put on sunscreen every time she gets ready to leave the house! There is sometimes a small spot missed, and it ends up getting sunburned. If you’re suffering from a bit too much sun exposure, I have the perfect remedy for you. Can you guess what it is?

Of course, it’s tea! Black tea works wonders on sun irritation. If it’s a small patch, you can dab a cooled wet teabag right to the area. But it’s a bit easier and more effective to steep the tea, cool completely, and dunk a washcloth (one you won’t mind getting tea-stained) in the solution and apply to the skin. Here’s the full how to:

What you’ll need:  A large pitcher or wide-mouthed jar, 6-8 teabags, pot for boiling, 2 cups water, and a soft washcloth.

Step 1: boil the water and add the teabags in. Turn off the heat and let steep for 5-10 minutes, until you have a nice dark brew. Transfer to a pitcher or jar and allow to cool completely.

Step 2: submerge the washcloth in the tea. If your skin is really on fire, you can even wrap the tea-soaked cloth around a few ice cubes.

Step 3: gently dab the skin with the cloth. Repeat. If the area is extremely irritated, you can keep the cloth on the skin until you start to feel better. Repeat a few times as necessary. Do not rinse the tea off. If you are doing this right before bed, beware that the tea could stain your sheets. So you may want to put a towel under the sunburned area.

That’s it. Give this remedy a try, it’s easy to whip up, and quite effective. No need to immediately reach for expensive creams and lotions!

Don’t forget Dearies, always apply sunscreen if you’re going to be outside. It’s important to remember! If your skin does become unexpectedly irritated, try my tea remedy. Have a fun-filled summer and don’t forget the tea!

Tippy’s DIY Matcha Tea Bath Bombs

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Dearies, if you’re like Kat, you adore making DIY products. Some of her most favorite projects have been using tea for bath products, such as this one: https://thelovelyteacup.com/2015/09/02/using-tea-to-create-fabulous-beauty-products/.

Well, since I’m always the helpful teacup, I’ve come up with a fun way to create spa-like relaxation at home! Don’t you just love relaxing in a warm bath? Well, add in a fizzy, comforting matcha bath bomb and you’ll feel like you’re at a spa! The tension in your muscles will melt away after a bath with one of my matcha bath bombs. I’m sure you’ve seen these at fancy stores that sell bath products. Kat had been buying them for years until she realized she could make them herself. Well until I told her so, anyway!

I also discovered a fun way to shape the bath bombs. I bet you have a bunch of hollow plastic Easter eggs lying around the house. Use them to mold your bath bombs! Sometimes I’m a very clever teacup if I do say so myself!

Tippy’s Matcha Bath Bombs

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • ¼ cup Epsom salts
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 2 tbs matcha (powdered green tea, culinary grade)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp water (more if needed)

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Mix the dry ingredients together (the 1st 5 ingredients) and make sure they are well sifted. You don’t want any clumps, especially in the baking soda! In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients. Very slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring constantly. If you see the mixture start to bubble up, mix vigorously. Only add a little of the wet mixture at a time.

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You should end up with a mixture that clumps together well when you mold it in your hand. If it doesn’t stick together, add more water (slowly) and mix. Add the mixture to your mold of choice- we like to use easter egg halves but you can also purchase bath bomb molds, or even use the bottom of mini muffin tins.

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Leave the mixture in the molds for about an hour. Then remove, and let them dry for 3-5 hours, or even overnight to make sure they are fully set.

Once you are done you can wrap them in cellophane or pretty paper and give as gifts. Or just set them out and use in your own bathroom! Trust me, once you realize it’s this easy to get a spa-like bath experience at home, you’ll be hooked!

If you have any other bath bomb recipes, or other tea DIY bath products, send them my way! I’d love to try them out.

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!

Painting With Tea

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The other day I noticed a paper napkin with drops of tea on it. As I was sitting and contemplating what tea to steep that day, it suddenly occurred to me! How about using tea as paint? It would be a unique way for Kat to express herself with her favorite beverage.

 Wouldn’t it be fun to try and paint with tea? Imagine a quiet weekend morning with a blank canvas and a rush of creativity. Add a few drops of tea, and you’re ready to paint your masterpiece! I think this is such a fun idea for any tea lover to relax and express themselves.

 To get started you need to pick your tea. Teas with hibiscus or berries in them give you some lovely hues. You can also use black tea, or green tea for a very light color. Take out a few teas from your cabinet and experiment with what you like best! You could even use matcha, if you can bear to part with some. Just make sure it’s well dissolved. Experiment with the type of paper you use. Watercolor paper is lovely, but try first with whatever paper you have on hand an see how it goes. Try not to use anything too thick or absorbent.

 You can use as many teas as you like of course, but you could even just use one! You can get many different shades of ‘paint’ out of just one tea. Just brew it super strong and then dilute in different cups to get various shades of ‘paint’. Adding a little more water to each consecutive cup will give you a different shade of tea. I love the look of just black tea diluted to different shades. It has a very rustic, vintage-y feel. There are so many color options to create, Kat and I can play around with creating tea paints all day long and not get bored!

 Another approach is to paint with tea bags for interesting shapes and colors! This is a great activity for kids. Kat’s going to try it next time Camille comes to visit, for sure! You can just dip the tea bags in cool water, and blot them on paper. Similar to making a sponge painting! I can’t wait to see what Camille decides to create.

 On the next rainy spring weekend, stay inside and give tea painting a try. You’ll end up having a creative and fun afternoon.

 

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!