Fresh Vanilla Mint Iced Tea

Why hello there tea friends. I have an iced tea recipe for you today.

First, I want to stress how easy it is to make iced tea at home and what a great alternative it is to Slurpies, soda pops and Arizonas.  Any of your teas at home can be made into an iced tea.  Whatever flavour you’re in the mood for, simply double steep the tea you want to drink and pour it over ice and voila! Iced tea!

However, there are many other ways to infuse iced tea at home. I like to get a little creative every time and try something different.  Recently I have been brewing chaga mushroom tea and chilling it in the refrigerator.  After some chill time, a couple of hours or so, the chaga will be cool enough to pour over a glass of ice and enjoyed as a refreshingly earthy beverage on a hot summer day.  The chilled chaga can also be added to any of your iced tea blends, adding an earthy, full-bodied, almost vanilla-y taste to your tea.

I am still discovering places in Toronto to purchase chaga, but I found a small little shop where I can get chaga finely ground or in chunks by the pound.  House of Energy is located in Kensington Market and has everything from loose tea, crystals, handmade jewellery to mushrooms.  If you’re curious to know more about this magical mushroom, stop by House of Energy and the ladies there will let you in on the secrets of chaga.

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And finally, here is an iced tea recipe I created on the fly one afternoon while cooling down from a mid-day cooking extravaganza.

1 cup of steeped Vanilla Orchid and Spearmint tea (use about a teaspoon of tea to steep each)

a few fresh mint leaves from the garden

1 cup of chilled steeped chaga mushroom

1/2 teaspoon of agave (optional for those sweet teeth out there)

So I steeped the Vanilla Orchid with Spearmint, poured it over iced and added the mint and chilled chaga altogether in a glass.  Cool down with this fresh vanilla chaga mint iced tea (that was a mouthful), it will be the healthiest thing you do that day!

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Matcha Cups

Last Friday I had a very productive day.  I worked, did some hot yoga and then as the house became quiet, the cats curled up for their naps I headed to the kitchen with matcha in my hand.

Matcha green tea

Matcha is green tea ground up into this powder.  All the great benefits you’ve heard about green tea pertains to this green matcha X10 because you are consuming the whole leaf!! I’ve done a bit of reading and matcha is super high in antioxidants, it boosts your metabolism, detoxifies the body and replenishes your red blood cells due to its high chlorophyll content.   Because matcha is highly concentrated green tea it also increases mental alertness and is super energizing!  Drinking matcha in the morning is a great alternative to coffee since it gives you that boost of energy you need in the morning, is low cal and is super healthy for you!  Click here to learn more about matcha.

Anyway, that is my little blurb about the wonders of matcha.  Last Friday I decided drinking matcha wasn’t enough I wanted to eat matcha! I started with a basic yellow cupcake recipe, one that didn’t require a lot of flour so my cupcakes would turn out nice and fluffy and moist.  I began mixing and mixing and singing to Bob Marley, and mixing…

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I added only one teaspoon of matcha powder to the cupcake mix and voila! I put them in the oven for about 20 minutes and I had the greatest cupcake ever.  It wasn’t too earthy as matcha tends to have a very strong earthly vegetal flavour, therefore I only added one teaspoon no more no less.  Also, I made sure there was vanilla flavouring in the recipe I chose to add a nice sweetness to the matcha flavour.

But wait there’s more!

I made matcha icing!

1 cup of icing sugar

2 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla

splash of milk

1/2 teaspoon of matcha powder

This is a rough estimate as I usually mix all these ingredients together until I get the right icing consistency.  After I made the icing, let the cupcakes cool down I began to spread the icing over the cupcakes and then they were ready to eat.

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And what better way to enjoy a matcha cupcake than with matcha tea on the side!

MMMMM MATCHA!

 

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Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

More pumpkin you might ask? But of course, pumpkin and cupcakes just go so well together…and if it couldn’t get any better I added tea to the cupcakes to make a pumpkin chai tea infused cupcake!

It all started with my sweet tooth.  I have a little one in my mouth that occasionally craves sweet things here and there.  And of course, when I have these hankerings I need to start baking my own concoctions in the kitchen.  Sometimes this can go very bad and only my dog will eat what I’ve created and sometimes I end up making a chocolate chip cake with Bailey’s whip cream on top!  Mmm that was a good cake.

However, this time I followed a recipe.  Not just any old recipe but a TEA INFUSED recipe that I found on Facebook, with my favourite ingredient right now…PUMPKIN!

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes.  Yes.  They exist.  I was on Facebook of all places and found this GREAT recipe on the DavidsTea page.

This is one of those recipes that turned out amazing.  I happened to have almost every ingredient already in my kitchen, except for apple cider vinegar, which I substituted rice vinegar for.  And there are no eggs! Weird huh?  This was my first time making cupcakes with no eggs so I was a little nervous they wouldn’t turn out, but they were excellent.

They have such a unique flavour especially because there is no real pumpkin in them but tea infused pumpkin flavouring instead.  The extra cinnamon and vanilla adds so much flavour to them, I’ve never had anything that tastes similar.  And the way you add the tea is totally different than any other baking recipe.  In a pot over the stove I simmered a cup and a quarter of milk and 6 teaspoons (4 perfect David spoons) of the pumpkin chai tea.

When the milk was hot I turned the stove top all the way to min and let the mixture steep for about 10 minutes before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

The recipe made about 24 mini cupcakes.  The next day I tried making the regular sized ones and the recipe only made about 12 cupcakes.  However, I found that if I wanted to bake a second batch I could re-steep the mixture but for a longer time, maybe 15-20 minutes, before adding it to the rest of the ingredients again.  This may sound like there wouldn’t be enough flavour left in the tea, but there definitely was!  Also, if you don’t want to make a second batch, re-use that tea in the pot!  There is still lots of flavour left in the tea and if you re-steep it with milk again you have yourself a cup of pumpkin chai tea milk!  Which is absolutely indulgently delicious!  I definitely had a cup of pumpkin milk or two after baking the first mini batch.  MMMM!

I finished them off with pink vanilla icing and pumpkin seeds.

Happy Tea Baking!

 

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Hemp Milk-Tea Infused Smoothie

Today I have to say that I made the most delicious pre volleyball smoothie.  It of course included tea.  I was inspired by the lack of food in my kitchen and the recent non-tea smoothies I’ve been making.  This summer my boyfriend and I had dinner at this Vegan spot called Raw Aura in Port Credit and ordered a hemp milk chocolate smoothie after our meal.  It was amazing because it was such a different flavour and was the perfect thing to top off our deceptively delicious dinner.

I’ve been making my own hemp milk infused smoothies for the past week or so because I found out how amazing hemp milk is for you and I had a great tasting experience when I had that smoothie.  Initially I started looking for hemp milk in just a regular grocery store but found nothing but almond milk. I’m pretty sure that you can purchase it at Whole Foods, but I also ended up finding it at Bulk Barn.  Hemp milk is very high in omega-3, has all 10 essential amino acids and contains 26-31% pure protein which is great for a vegetarian like me!  Also, it helps promote healthy menstruation!  There are many other uses of hemp that are beneficial to the body, those are just to name a few.  I also put hemp seeds on my cereal in the morning for extra goodness!

Hemp milk has sort of a nutty flavour to it, I’ve been making these smoothies for about a week now and today I decided to add some tea and it is even better!  This smoothie is for those chocolate banana lovers out there and I find the hemp flavour adds to the perfect combination of chocolate banana nuttiness!

How to make a Hemp Milk-Tea Infused Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 cup of chocolate hemp milk

1-2 frozen bananas

a handful of fresh dates without the seeds (I used dried dates and it did not work as well)

1 tsp of cocoa powder (for extra chocolate flavour!)

2 tsp of your favourite Mate tea (I went with my go-t0 Mattechino tea)

4-5 ice cubes (more ice cubes if banana isn’t frozen)

First, you must steep your tea for the appropriate amount of time (in this case 4-7 minutes).  I always use The Magic Steeper when I’m making some sort of creative tea recipe to eliminate extra dishes.  Once the tea has steeped, go ahead and pour it in the blender along with the other ingredients and blend it on high until everything looks all mixed up!  If the smoothie doesn’t seem cold enough add more ice cubes or let it sit in the fridge for a bit until you’re ready to drink it.  When all the ingredients have been mixed well together, pour into a glass and ENJOY!

Don’t worry about being too precise with this recipe as I just added a little bit of this and little bit of that here and there until I get the taste that I want.  You’ll love this smoothie in the morning as it will give you lots of good nutrients and the energy to start off your day!

Happy Hemping!

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