Functional Teas

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Dearies, lately Kat and her friends have been talking about functional teas. Now, being a teacup I’m not always up to date on the latest popular trends. But I try to keep my ears open and listen to what the younger folk are doing. Curious about functional teas, I took to the laptop and did a bit of research. It turns out these are teas with herbs for added benefit to the body. I’ve been learning quite a bit about these teas!

There are functional tea blends for just about anything you need. Feeling under the weather? Try a tea with Echinacea, vitamin C, and lemon. Having trouble with digestion? Try a tea with licorice root and magnolia bark. Ginger is great for many things, particularly for digestion. I’ve actually written about ginger before, I just love it for everything. It’s relaxing, delicious, and good for the tummy. Check out a previous post to get you started!

Kat has been drinking quite a bit of lavender tea lately. This functional tea is great if you need to relax. It smells divine, like sitting in a lush French field dotted with beautiful purple lavender. She originally started drinking lavender because it helped her relax and relieve stress. She has recently learned it’s also good for promoting sleep and helps to uplift your mood! She adds a touch of honey to her lavender tea for an extra dose of soothing goodness. Kat also drinks Chamomile, which is also known for helping with sleep and relaxation. After a particularly stressful day both of these herbs have been super helpful. She’ll even mix both teas together for a delicious way to unwind.

Kat has started using this organic detox green tea from Full Circle Organic. A friend recommended it when Kat said she wanted to take some time to cleanse her body after eating a bit too much around the holidays. It’s hard to get back on track after such indulgent festivities, isn’t it? Being more mindful of her nutrition, exercise, and a little help from this tea, she’s feeling much more like herself. This tea contains organic green tea, dandelion root, and schizandra berries, all things that are supposed to help cleanse the body. Why not get a little extra help in jumpstarting the process? This tea is the perfect way. This tea can be found in various grocery stores such as Tops, Coborns, Price Chopper, HyVee, Big Y and more.

Dearies don’t forget that I’m a teacup, not a doctor. So please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions about these teas. Have you tried any functional teas? I’d love to learn about what you’ve had, and your experience with them.

 

 

A Lovely Late Autumn Tea Cocktail

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Late Autumn is such a festive time of year, isn’t it? It seems that as temperatures start to lower, everyone starts having cozy get-togethers and hearty dinner parties. Kat and I have a few delicious tea cocktails in our repertoire, and I thought it would be fun to create another one for this festive time of year.

Since I love all things bubbly I came up with a ginger and pear cocktail that has a lovely little bit of fizz. Pear and ginger are flavors that remind me of fall leaves and crisp weather. I decided to use sweetened ginger tea as the base, add in pear juice, a dash of champagne (or prosecco), and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Put it all together and you have my ginger fizzy pear cocktail!

For this cocktail we used Newman’s Own Organic Ginger Green Tea. This tea combines mellow vegetal green tea with warming ginger. The zingy flavor is enhanced by a bit of lemongrass and rounded out with a pop of mint. It makes the cocktail even more unique. The calming yet invigorating flavor of this tea is perfect for morning sips or afternoon relaxation sessions. Kat’s friend Maeve came across this tea on Amazon.com and decided to give it a try. She shared some with Kat and they’ve been obsessed with it ever since!

Tippy’s Ginger Fizzy Pear Cocktail

Makes 2-3 cocktails

1 cup water

1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (we like honey)

1 ginger teabag of choice, or 1 tablespoon diced fresh ginger

¼ cup pear juice

Champagne or prosecco

Put your water in a small saucepan over high heat. Once it boils, turn off the heat and add in your ginger or teabag. If you are using fresh ginger, let steep for 7-10 minutes. If you are using a teabag, 5-7 minutes will do. Once tea is steeped, add in your sweetener and stir until dissolved. Strain and allow to fully cool.

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Once your tea is cool, pour into a champagne flute or coupe glass until about ¼ full. Add in a few tablespoons of pear juice, and top with the bubbly. You can add in a few pieces of chopped pear for a garnish if you’re feeling fancy!

I hope you enjoy all the fun this season has to offer! Cheers my lovely tea friends!

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!

Delicious and Easy Masala Chai Teas

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Kat loves to shop in international grocery stores. She’ll drive for miles just to have the opportunity to roam the aisles and enjoy the colors and aromas of different cultural cuisines. This week she went to a local Indian grocery store and spent a very long time in the tea aisle, of course! She returned home with dried lentils, spices, and a very unique line of teas.

Kat was intrigued by the colorful  boxes of teas called Chai Moments from Tea India. She makes her own masala chai at home and loves the flavor, but was curious to see how this tea would compare. These are instant powdered teas, and she wasn’t sure what to expect. Kat was pleasantly surprised to see there are no artificial flavors or preservatives, things that you often find in instant teas.

She brought home four different flavors of Chai Moments: Masala Chai, Cardamom, ginger, and milk tea. She invited one of her close friends Sima over for a tasting session. Her friend grew up in India and often talks fondly of having tea with her family. Her mother taught her how to make masala chai and she usually creates it from scratch.

To brew up these teas, you simply add a packet to 6-8oz hot water, and stir. The teas are made up of bold black tea, non-dairy creamer, and spices. The first tea they tried was the masala chai. This tea is spicy, sweet, and creamy. Kat said that the blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger took her back to being on the streets of India and sipping masala chai from the chai wallas. I completely agree! As soon as I smelled the tea I could see those chai stalls with the fast moving vendors furiously brewing and pouring tea. This instant tea is perfect for when you crave that spicy chai but don’t have time or teabags available. Kat said she could see herself drinking this in the morning at the office, when she’s looking for a little extra spring in her step.

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Next up was the ginger tea. This one is warming and spicy. The milk tames the spice a bit, and makes it soothing with a nice lingering zing. Kat said she’s going to reserve this tea for chilly afternoons on the go, when she wants to take a quick break to warm herself inside and out.

It turns out that the cardamom tea is Sima’s favorite. She said this tea reminds her of spending mornings with her mother, learning how to make her family’s version of chai. Theirs is heavy on the cardamom, with lots of milk and sweetener. Cardamom in tea can be quite overpowering but this blend has just the right amount. Sima decided she was going to keep a box of this tea at home, for when she wants a taste of her childhood without the time to assemble the tea from scratch.

Kat also enjoyed the milk tea, which is creamy, sweet and soothing. Kat is keeping this tea for that mid-afternoon slump when she’s not looking for some extra help to wake up, but without too much spice. This tea is sweet but not too much so. It reminds Kat of being in Taiwan, where she found sweet milk tea everywhere she went. The milk, sugar, and tea are all well balanced in this blend. Each flavor can be tasted, and nothing overpowers.

These teas are perfect for travel, outdoor activities, or visiting with family and friends. They are warming, creamy, and oh so comforting! Next time you are in an international grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for new and interesting teas. You never know what you’re going to find!

The Joys of Ginger

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Ginger is just the perfect spice for the holidays. It’s zing and warmth adds flavor to beverages and baked goods. You’ll find it in cookies, cakes, pies and cocktails. Of course, I thin the best form to enjoy ginger is in tea! Ginger tea is not only flavorful, but it tames the tummy after too many holiday treats. It even helps to soothe your throat if you’re feeling a bit rundown after all the holiday shopping and festivities.

When Kat wants an immediate cup of ginger tea, she reaches for HyVee Ginger Herbal Tea. This tea is perfect for an afternoon or evening relaxing cup, since it is completely caffeine free. She always has a box on hand during the holidays. The zippy ginger flavor feels more festive with the additional peppermint, cinnamon, and fennel notes in the tea. There is even a sweet floral hint of chamomile that helps with relaxation. The flavors make her think of sitting in warm slippers on a snowy night.

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Kat often carries this tea in her purse while she’s doing her holiday shopping. Taking a break with this tea helps melt away the stress from the bustling crowds. Kat first had this tea when she visited an old college friend. They spent hours catching up, reliving precious college memories, and sipping this warming tea. Kat always thinks of her friend when she brews up this tea. She often shares this tea with friends when they are feeling a bit under the weather. Adding a drop of honey to the tea makes a soothing brew for achy bones and sore throats. A squeeze of lemon also helps ease sniffles. Making a warm cup of comforting tea to a friend who is not feeling her best is an act of holiday kindness. The tea feels like a warm, loving hug.

Making a pot of fresh ginger tea is a lovely accompaniment to those adorable gingerbread cookies at your holiday gatherings. Pairing the tea with rich dark chocolate is also a flavorful snack to add to your holiday table. Ginger pairs with creamy desserts, and would be an interesting complement to a cheese plate. It also works well as a palate cleanser. Kat sometimes serves little cups of ginger tea after dinner, but before dessert. It gets the palate ready for those sweet bites.

Be sure to add some ginger tea to your holidays this year! What do you think you’ll pair it with?

Feel-Good Teas

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The tissue box has made an appearance in our kitchen and the honey and lemon have been keeping watch over the countertop for the last few days. Alas, poor Kat has a cold. Thankfully I’m here to help! If you’re not feeling your best these days, reach for some feel-good teas! Here are some of our favorites. A few sips you’ll feel right as rain in no time:

Try an infusion of honey, lemon, and ginger. Kat drinks this combination just about any time she’s not feeling her best. Whenever I see that she needs a little lift, I remind her that it’s time for the comfort of this drink. She grates about 2 teaspoons of ginger in a cup, pours over boiling water, and squeezes in a few lemon slices. A few teaspoons of honey to taste, and she’s feeling better after just a few sips. The honey and ginger are good for soothing sore throats and achy bodies. The lemon brightens the brew up, and helps battle those sniffles. Be sure to inhale the warm steamy ginger aroma. Char always said that a little garlic is always good for what ailed you, so if you can stomach it you could add a few garlic slices to the mix.

Speaking of ginger, one of Kat’s most favorite teas to drink when she’s feeling under the weather is Holy Ginger from Happy Earth Teas. This herbal blend includes tulsi, a plant in the basil family that makes a wonderful herbal tea. The tulsi is earthy and sweet. The added ginger gives a spicy kick. She always breathes a large happy sigh after a few sips of this tea. She looks relaxed and comforted. Kat learned of this tea while chatting with friends on Twitter, and someone called it her ‘cure-all’. Once Kat tried it, she agreed- it just feels good to drink it.

Char also swore by elderberry tea. Her coughs and sniffles always eased a bit after a warm mug of this restorative tea. You can find it in teabags in most health-food stores. The taste is naturally sweet, tart, juicy, and soothing. You can always add a little bit of honey if it’s a bit too tart for your liking.

For something old-fashioned yet very comforting, you could also try a hot toddy. The drink can be prepared with bourbon, whiskey, or rum, and Kat likes to add a teabag of her choice. Kat combines ¼ cup of boiling water and lets a teabag steep for about 3 minutes. Then she adds 2 tablespoons of bourbon, a tablespoon of honey, and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice (it’s all your preference). You can of course omit the alcohol for an equally relaxing brew. Sometimes she’ll add a cinnamon stick, or a few splashes of apple cider (she’ll warm it up first). It’s a warm cup of TLC for your body that’s also nice for sipping during chillier months.

Simply holding a warm mug in your hands and inhaling the steamy tea will help remedy what ails you. Add a few of Kat’s favorite ingredients and a cozy blanket and you’ll be on your way to feeling better in no time.