Tag Archives: tea

Chai Ginger Tea

Chai Ginger Tea from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Considering how cold it’s been this month, it’s no surprise that January is National Hot Tea Month. In honor of the month, Veria.com, an online extension of the national health and wellness TV network Veria Living, provides tasty, healthy and medicinal tea recipes that can be consumed at various times of the day. 

One of the ones that caught my eye was a Chai Ginger Tea recipe. I love chai tea and I love ginger, so why not combine the two? Ginger is a great remedy for your digestive system and many people feel that if you use honey from a local bee keeper, it helps you build up immunity against local pollens, grasses, and other hay fever triggers.

Since I have an problem with a whey food sensitivity, I like to make my chai with either rice or coconut milk. This is also a great recipe to use up leftover spices from all that holiday baking and mulled wine making in December!

Chai Ginger Tea from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Chai Ginger Tea

This easy-to-make chai tea – spiked with fragrant spices and sweetened with honey – is a terrific winter warmer. And the addition of fresh ginger offers delicious protection from the common cold.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 pinches ground nutmeg
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches ground cardamom
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black tea
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup milk (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil water with cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and fresh ginger for 5 minutes.
  2. Add black tea and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup of milk (optional) and heat.
  4. Add honey.
  5. Strain into cups and serve hot.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Picture and recipe used with permission.

Lipton K-Cup 3-Pack and Keurig Platinum Plus Brewing System Giveaway {$205 value}

Lipton K-Cup 3-Pack and Keurig Platinum Plus Brewing System Giveaway {$205 value} | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

When we think of Keurig, we usually think coffee. However, did you know that Lipton in collaboration with Green Mountain Coffee Roaster recently recently released its first-ever hot and cold iced tea varieties for Keurig® K-Cup® single cup brewing systems? New Lipton K-Cup packs are a different way to enjoy fresh brewed tea blends, with the ease and convenience of a Keurig brewer while bringing Lipton’s most aromatic creations to the brewed tea line-up. Lipton K-Cups can be prepared simply and quickly.  Filled with the finest ingredients, they expertly combine delicious ingredients in three unique combinations:

  • Lipton REFRESH: This crisp and refreshing iced sweet tea is made of fresh-pressed tea leaves and sweetened with cane sugar.  This new variety are specifically crafted to brew directly over ice.
  • Lipton INDULGE: Tea drinkers can savor the taste of rich black tea from fresh-pressed tea leaves, blended with delicious natural flavors for an indulgent aroma and taste.
  • Lipton SOOTHE: This smooth green tea is made from tender green tea leaves, herbs, and blended with natural flavors. 

Since it’s cooled down, I’ve been enjoying both the Lipton INDULGE in the morning with rice milk and stevia and Lipton SOOTHE in the evenings after dinner. I’ve really loved brewing them in my Keurig® Platinum Plus Brewing System, since it’s so convenient to do. The tea’s perfectly brewed and always at the right temperature. Plus I love that I don’t have to wait for the kettle to heat up!

Make a Lipton K-Scope

To celebrate their new Lipton K-Cup teas, Lipton has released the Lipton K-Scope, an interactive Facebook app that you can visit to create your own K-Scope. Just clicking on the “Lipton® K-Cup® Packs” tab. A prompt will appear with an authorization to pull photos from your personal Facebook library. Simply press ‘accept’ and follow the requested steps. The application will allow you to select one of three K-Scope templates depending on the fresh spin they want to bring to life, inspired by the delicious, expert combinations found within each new Lipton K-Cup® pack – Refresh, Indulge and Soothe.

Mine was funny as it took Instagram photos of recent meals and made a kaleidoscope type movie complete with music out of them. Boy do I eat a lot of eggs!

Lipton K-Cup 3-Pack and Keurig Platinum Plus Brewing System Giveaway!

To celebrate the newest addition to the Lipton family, Lipton has provided me with a box of each K-cup flavor offering (REFRESH, INDULGE, and SOOTHE) and Keurig® Platinum Plus Brewing System to give away to one lucky reader. The approximate retail value is $205. Here’s how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Experience Matcha Madness with The Republic of Tea #SipbySip #tea

Experience Matcha Madness with The Republic of Tea #SipbySip #tea

This month I received the entire family of The Republic of Tea’s U-Matcha line as an Enlightenment TEAm blogger. Matcha powder contains fine-ground Japanese green tea leaves, which is what is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. What’s really special about matcha tea is that you can use it in cooking as well as drinking it. I’ve used matcha powder in smoothies, drank it in lattes, and even had it in baked goods and desserts.

The Republic of Tea U-Matcha family of teas

  • U-Matcha Natural contains tender, shade-grown green tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder creating a rich balance of flavors. This matcha tea is ideal for blending with water for sipping or for cooking.
  • U-Matcha Yuzu  this tea blends fine matcha powder with yuzu for a citrus flavor. This matcha tea makes a bright addition to mixed drinks, spice rubs and sweet desserts.
  • U-Matcha Ginger  blends fine matcha powder with ginger. This matcha tea boasts a spicy kick and wakes up the flavors of miso soups, stir-fry and other savory dishes.
  • U-Matcha Roasted Rice – blends fine matcha powder with roasted rice to create a nutty finish of flavor. This matcha tea provides warm nuances for sweet baked goods, savory dishes, shakes and lattes.

The Matcha Madness promo code – free matcha frother!

When ordering U-Matcha tea through The Republic of Tea website, use “#MATCHA6” (no quote marks, but use the #) to receive a complimentary electric matcha frother with any order of U-Matcha Tea from The Republic of Tea. This promo begins March 22, 2013 (today!) and is effective until March 29, 2013. While you’re shopping, check out all of their other matcha tools to make the perfect cup.

Cooking with U-Matcha

You can find several recipes on The Republic of Tea website for using U-Matcha in a variety of dishes and drinks. Here are a couple more:

U-Matcha Aioli

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light or no fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons U-Matcha tea
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Enjoy as a sandwich spread or as an accompaniment to fish, chicken or roasted vegetables.

U-Matcha Salt

Mix 1 part U-Matcha tea with 2 parts fine sea salt. Goes great with:

  • popcorn
  • mixed nuts
  • roasted vegetables
  • chicken, fish or stir-fry dishes
  • butter
  • mayonnaise
  • eggs

This also makes a nice homemade gift idea for friends and relatives who love to cook. Place the salt in a small canning jar and include a cute label along with a pretty ribbon.

How to brew an awesome cup of tea with The Republic of Tea #SipbySip #tea

The Republic of TeaI remember the first time I drank The Republic of Tea’s Honey Ginseng Tea. It must have been six or seven years ago when I was attending a writing workshop at a Denver-area restaurant. I loved its flavor and how their round tea bags didn’t have strings, tags or staples. I’ve been a fan ever since. So that’s why I’m thrilled to announce that I’m working with The Republic of Tea as an Enlightenment TEAm blogger! Each month I’ll be reviewing several of their teas as well as sharing some tea tips and a discount promo code with you!

You can connect with The Republic of Tea on Twitter @republicoftea, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.

Taking this month Sip by Sip

This month’s tea selection highlighted four of The Republic of Tea’s premium tea varietals – black, white, herbal and green:Natural Hibiscus Herbal Tea

My favorite was the Natural Hibiscus Herbal Tea, followed by the Ginger Peach Black Tea. I found both to be a refreshing pick me up on a dreary winter day. I also liked how both were sweet enough so I didn’t have to add some stevia or honey to my cup.

How to brew an awesome cup of tea

To brew the optimum cup of tea, follow these steps as recommended by the folks at The Republic of Tea.

  1. It starts with the water. If the water’s fresh, the tea tastes better. They recommend using filtered, spring or bottled water.
  2. Fill the kettle with fresh, cold water and heat to a rolling boil. For green and white tea, stop short of boiling to avoid “cooking” the delicate leaves.
  3. If using a teapot: Warm the teapot by swirling in a splash of the steamy water and pour it out.
  4. Add approximately one teaspoon of tea or herbs or one tea bag per six-ounce cup. Place tea into the infusing basket or teapot.
  5. Pour the water over the tea, cover and infuse to taste.
  6. Remove the infuser or tea bag. If using a teapot, pour the tea into a cup or thermos.
  7. Enjoy the perfect cup of tea!

They also suggest you steep the tea varieties using the following guidelines:

Type of Tea

Full Leaf

Tea Bags

Herbal Tea Infuse for 5 – 7 minutes Infuse for 5 – 7 minutes
White Tea Infuse for 2 – 3 minutes Infuse for 30 – 60 seconds
Green Tea Infuse for 2 – 4 minutes Infuse for 1 – 3 minutes
Oolong Tea Infuse for 5 – 7 minutes Infuse for 3 – 5 minutes
Black Tea Infuse for 3 – 5 minutes Infuse for 3 – 5 minutes

Note: Experiment to find your ideal brewing time. Don’t over brew, or you’ll get bitter, acidic tea. Also, when preparing iced tea, prepare a double strength infusion of hot tea (follow the above instructions). Strain and cool to room temperature. Pour cooled tea over ice.

The Republic of Tea March 2013 promo code

When you order tea through The Republic of Tea website, use “#THISMAMA” (no quote marks, but use the #) to receive a complimentary Cheerful Cuppa tea mug for making a purchase from The Republic of Tea (with your shipment #1 promo code).

The promo begins March 1, 2013 and is effective until March 8, 2013.

What flavor tea will you be ordering?

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Disclaimer: The Republic of Teas provided me with product samples. All opinions and experiences are my own.

A healthy drink for the new year: Citrus White Tea Latte

Citrus White Tea LatteI bet that one of your new year’s resolutions is to eat healthier. After a very indulgent holiday season, it certainly is one of mine! We all need to try to consume at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep from getting sick this winter. That’s why finding ways to include them in your cooking is so important.

One classic healthy food is 100% Florida orange juice. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and carotenoids. All help support the immune system to help the body’s natural ability to resist colds and flu.

Luckily, orange juice is fun and easy to cook with and to include in your diet. I use it in marinades, salad dressings, smoothies and sauces. But have you ever tried it in a tea latte?

Check out this recipe from Florida Citrus’ recipe database.  Between the OJ and the green tea, it makes a terrific healthy indulgence. If you can’t drink almond milk due to a food sensitivity or nut allergy, try soy or coconut milk instead. (Low or non fat cow’s milk is fine, too, of course!) To reduce calories, use stevia or Splenda to taste instead of agave nectar or honey. Finally, to froth the milk without having to get your cappuccino maker out, use a hand held milk frother. I love using mine and it works well on alternative milks (at least temporarily), too!

Citrus White Tea Latte

Citrus White Tea Latte

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 100% Florida orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bags green or white tea
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Orange curl for garnish, optional
  • Cinnamon stick, optional

Directions

  1. In medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, heat orange juice, water and tea bags for 3 1/2 minutes on high.
  2. Stir in agave nectar, orange zest and cinnamon and let tea steep for 4 minutes, then remove tea bags; reserve and keep warm.
  3. In medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, heat milk in microwave on high for 70 seconds (to about 150˚F.)
  4. Beat hot milk with hand mixer (using just 1 beater) until frothy foam forms.
  5. Pour tea mixture into two large mugs and add frothy milk foam on top, dividing equally.
  6. Garnish with orange curl and cinnamon stick, if desired. Serve immediately.
Servings: Serves 2
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Recipe and photograph used with permission.

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Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Enjoy Lipton’s new green teas on me! {Lipton Tea Lovers Gift Basket give away}

Lipton Tea Lovers Gift Basket A few week’s ago I created a breakfast dish, Blueberry French Toast Casserole, to go with one of Lipton’s new green superfruit teas. There’s nothing better than toast and tea for breakfast!

At that time, I only had a few boxes to give away. However, now that I’m officially a Lipton Tastemaster Brand Ambassador, I have a wonderful Lipton tea gift basket to give away to YOU!

The Lipton Tea Lovers Gift Basket (approximate value $90) contains:

Here’s how to win it:

Giveaway closed. Congrats to Shawna C.!

  1. Tell me which Lipton Green Tea Superfruit you’re most interested in trying – Purple Açai and Blueberry, Red Goji and Raspberry, or White Mangosteen and Peach – in the comments below.
  2. Sign up for This Mama Cooks! Review’s RSS feed for ONE additional entry.
  3. Sign up for my enewsletter for ONE additional entry.
  4. Follow me on Twitter @amnichols.
  5. Spread the word about this giveaway by submitting a link to this post on Twitter for ONE additional entry. You must leave a link to your tweet in your comment so I can check.
  6. If you have done any of these additional activities you MUST come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did. I will be checking!
  7. Maximum amount of entries at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet is FIVE.
  8. You have until midnight MST on Thursday, March 8, 2012 to enter.

ONE winner will be chosen at random. You must be willing to send me your full name, mailing address and phone number so I pass your info on to Lipton’s PR agency so they can mail you your gift basket. I’ll announce the winner on this blog. I won’t share your mailing info with the public, just your name. If you have a blog, I’ll link back to it when I announce the winner.

The giveaway is valued at $90 and is only open to legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age and older. No purchase required. Odds of winning based on number of entries. Up to FIVE entries per person. ONE Lipton Tea Lovers Gift Basket will be given away. Void where prohibited by law. By submitting your name and email address, you agree to receive relevant promotional emails and contest follow up communications from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet in compliance with my privacy policy and giveaway rules.

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Disclosure: I also received a Lipton Tea Lovers Gift Basket and additional compensation from Lipton’s PR firm to run this giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Pomegranate juice for the holidays: drinks and desserts

POM Pomegranate juice Have you seen the gigantic bottles of POM Pomegranate juice at Costco? It’s sold at a great price and worth buying to make your Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce with or brine your turkey in. (Believe me, I’m sooo tempted to try yet another brining method after seeing this recipe for POM-Brined Turkey.)

So what else can you make with pomegranate juice?

Desserts

Green Tea Poached Pears with Pomegranate Glaze and Pistachios

clean food This recipe comes from Terry Walters' cookbookClean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • 3 green tea bags
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios, finely chopped
  • Mint for garnish

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add tea bags and maple syrup, turn off heat, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. (Longer steeping will make the tea bitter.)
  2. Remove teabags from the pot, add pears, and bring to a simmer. Poach pears until tender but still held together (6 to 10 minutes, depending on ripeness).
  3. Make glaze in a medium pot by stirring juice, water and syrup together over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from heat and immediately stir in dissolved arrowroot. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. To serve, place pear halves decoratively on each plate, drizzle with pomegranate glaze and top with chopped pistachios. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Here’s a variation on the same recipe: Green Tea Poached Pears with Fruit Juice Glaze & Pine Nuts. She uses toasted pine nuts (good idea if you have a nut allergy) and light agave nectar. Dark agave nectar would be even better in my opinion.

Other ideas:

Cocktails

Pomegranate and Soda (non-alcoholic)

Serves 1

This one comes from Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight's Dinner.

steamy kitchen cookbook Ingredients:

  • Spoonful of pomegranate seeds
  • Ice
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 4 oz club soda
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. Spoon the pomegranate seeds in a tall glass and fill with ice.
  2. Pour in the pomegranate juice and club soda and stir briefly.
  3. Garnish with the mint sprig.

If you want to serve this by the bottleful, you may be interested in reading my review of R.W. Knudsen’s Sparkling Pomegranate Juice and buying it that way instead.

Variation:

  • Try using ginger ale instead of club soda. The ginger in Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale combined with pomegranate juice would be fantastic.
  • Instead of plain pomegranate juice, try one of POM’s juice combinations. I recently tried their POM Kiwi and POM Nectarine varieties, both of which were delicious.

Other drinks:

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Disclosure: POM occasionally sends me their pomegranate juices to try out. I was not required to blog about or review it. I received a copy of Jaden’s book as an attendee of a party she hosted after the BlogHer Food conference. I received a copy of Terry Walters’ book from her publicist to review.

A few of my favorite things: Celestial Seasonings and their Cool Brew Iced Teas

Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comAs part of the Weight Watchers Momentum plan, you are encouraged to drink eight cups of liquid a day. The difference from a few years back is that you can include everything you drink – tea, coffee, diet soda, milk, fruit juice, etc. – and not just water.

I’m glad to hear that because I’m a big tea drinker. Luckily for me I live in Colorado, not far from the Boulder headquarters of Celestial Seasonings, and where all their teas are made, packaged and boxed.

Take the tea tour

Over spring break, I took the kids and my mother-in-law to the Celestial Seasonings factory tour. Not only is it free but we learned all kinds of cool info about tea. (Yes, the kids enjoyed it, too.) For example, did you know that all teas (green, white, and black) come from the Camellia sinensis plant? The different types are determined by how/where the plant is grown or how it is processed after being harvested. White tea is picked once a year from the top of the plants. Black tea leaves are oxidized tea leaves. And red teas aren’t really “tea” but are brewed herbal concoctions (for want of a better term) that are made from the leaves from Rooibos and heuningbos plants.

According to our tour guide, if you put milk in your herbal tea, it will curdle because many of the plants that Celestial Seasonings use in their herbal blends are acidic. And speaking of milk, if you put it in your tea (herbal or regular) it will “kill” the antioxidant properties of the tea. (Check out the Celestial Seasonings website for more tea and health information.)

Celestial Seasonings Cool Brew teas

Celestial Seasonings Tea Tour from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comAlong with the wonderful tour, we had a chance to sample several new Celestial Seasonings teas in the tasting room. We also visited the Tea Shop twice and went home with over $50 of tea and Celestial Seasonings coffee. (They have a dollar bin, so I couldn’t resist.)

My favorite purchase was several boxes of the Cool Brew Iced Teas, which I learned about on the tour. The teas brew in cold water in just five minutes. Here are the varieties I purchased the Peach Cool Brew Iced Tea, the Raspberry Cool Brew Iced Tea, and the Mint Cool Brew Iced Tea (only available at the Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop until May 2009).

My review

I have a four-quart Pampered Chef pitcher that I keep in the fridge filled with water and lemon or lime slices. I first brewed the Raspberry Cool Brew Iced Tea. They recommend four tea bags to one quart of water, so I put 16 bags into the pitcher, filled it with water and placed it in the fridge for a few hours.

While the tea brewed up great, it was too strong and bitter. So I decided to back down and only used three bags per quart when I brewed the peach and mint cool brew teas. Much better! The Peach Cool Brew Iced Tea was delicious and had a slight hint of peach. It wasn’t bitter and didn’t need sweetening.

However, the mint tea was fabulous! My husband drank two big glasses in a row and thought the tea was refreshing and made him “feel healthy.” We both agreed that the Mint Cool Brew Iced Tea would make a terrific mint julep. Just add a jigger of bourbon, some no calorie sweetener and serve it on crushed ice and you’re good to go!

5 Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet – Try Protein Powder

5 Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet - Try Protein Powder from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com(For more Five Things/Ways advice articles, click here.)

According to Psychology Today, if you have some protein in your meal, you'll go longer without feeling hungry. A great way to sneak more protein into your diet is to use protein drink powders. There are many varieties out there like soy or whey. I use whey protein powder because that's what Dr. Ian Smith recommended on the Extreme Fat Smash diet.

If you're like me, you have container of protein powder sitting in your cupboard only half used because you got tired of drinking protein shakes. Here are some unique ways to use up that supply of drink powder that you may not have thought of before:

1. Oatmeal. Have you ever had the creamy strawberry flavored instant oatmeal? Well if you have some strawberry-flavored protein powder, here's how you can make your own:

Berry Good Protein Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup (maybe a little more) of water
  • 1/2 scoop of berry flavored protein powder (adjust to taste - you may want less)

Instructions:

  1. Put the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and stir until protein powder is dissolved.
  2. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  3. Stir and eat! (If it's too thick, add some hot water to the bowl and stir.)

Weight Watchers POINTS - The oatmeal has 2 points and depending on how much protein powder you use, add .5 or 1 more point. If you're trying to get your milk serving in, you can use milk instead of water - just remember to add another 2 points for 1 cup of skim milk.

2. Pancakes and other baked goods. Last week I added a scoop of vanilla protein powder when I was making pancakes for my children. If you have kids who don't like eating meat, this is a great way to sneak in some protein. Try adding a scoop of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry protein powder and some fresh fruit to your pancakes. Or experiment with adding protein powder to cake, brownies, and banana bread.

3. Yogurt. Nothing more boring than plain, no fat yogurt. Adding a flavored protein powder will liven it up. Putting too much powder may make the yogurt kind of gritty, so experiment to see what amount is right for you.

4. Fruit. Instead of putting sugar on your strawberries, try a little strawberry, chocolate or vanilla flavored protein powder.

5. Chai and coffee. Try replicating your favorite Starbucks coffee and chai recipes. Instead of cream and sugar, try a little no fat milk, light soy milk, protein powder and sugar free coffee syrup. Here's what I make most mornings.

High Protein Chai

These amounts fit in my favorite travel mug. Adjust accordingly to fit yours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non fat milk or light vanilla soy milk
  • 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder (measure to taste)
  • 1 Celestial Seasonings Chai Tea bag
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • sugar free Torani Syrups to taste (I like using vanilla, caramel, almond or Irish cream)

Directions:

  1. Add milk and protein powder together in your microwave safe mug and mix well. (I use a small whisk.)
  2. Add tea bag and heat on high for one minute.
  3. Add hot water.
  4. Add sugar free coffee syrup to taste

Weight Watchers POINTS - 1 cup of no fat milk and half a scoop of protein powder is 3 points. If I'm using light vanilla soy milk, it's 4 points. Your points will depend on the amounts you use, so get your POINTSfinder out!

Not a chai fan? Try making a café au lait instead.

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Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

A review of Celestial Seasonings new Saphara tea line

Saphara Teas reviewed at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comI was thrilled when the folks at Celestial Seasonings sent me two boxes of their new Saphara teas to try. Tea is a blessing for dieters and those trying to lose weight. Why? Because it has no calories, of course, and is great for sipping on throughout the day.  A cup of hot tea is a great way to warm up - and fill up - on a cold winter day.  And, with all the caffeine free varieties, drinking tea is a great way to get your water in, too.

I've been a huge fan of Celestial Seasonings for years, even before I moved to Colorado near its company headquarters. My dad used to drink it back in the '70s and '80s since it was one of the few teas available with no caffeine. In fact, when he traveled with boxes of their tea to England on business trips, the local restaurant managers nicknamed him the "Tea Man."

I love their teas and wondered if Celestial Seasonings could top themselves with their new tea line.

Premium tea

Saphara features full-leaf botanicals and real fruit pieces in silken pyramid bags that are specially designed to allow water to flow around and through the teas. Saphara teas are crafted and packaged using environmentally conscious manufacturing processes and packaging materials.

The cartons are 100% recycled paperboard made from at least 35% post-consumer waste material, and all packaging is completely biodegradable. Celestial Seasonings even uses vegetable-based biodegradable inks when printing the cartons.

My review

I was sent Mango Ginger Decaf Green and Tropical Rooibos to try out. The green tea was nothing special, but I loved the Tropical Rooibos even if it is caffeine free (I'm a bit of a caffeine fiend). It wasn't bitter like most teas probably because it isn't "tea" in the strictest sense of the word.

Rooibos is Afrikaans for "red bush," a shrub that grows only in South Africa's Cederberg mountains. South Africans have been making herbal tea from the foliage of this shrub for generations, and today this "red tea" is enjoyed for both its slightly nutty taste high antioxidant content. Celestial Seasonings has added coconut, lemongrass, orange, spicy ginger and pink (!) peppercorns to the tea making it even more delicious.

I was concerned at first about a product coming out of South Africa. So I checked the box to find that the rooibos is Fair Trade Certified™. In fact, all the ingredients in Saphara teas are fair trade as well as USDA organic, which probably explains why they retail for $6.99, about $3 more than their other teas.

Are the Saphara teas worth it? If you're looking for organic, Fair Trade tea made in an earth friendly way with eco-friendly packaging, then I'd say yes. You've got to hand it to the folks at Celestial Seasonings. They've hit the luxury "green" market dead center with their delicious new Saphara line.

Earl Grey, hot

Stcarnival90806_2Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Star Trek TV show. To celebrate and join in at the Star Trek Blog Carnival at A Mama’s Rant, I’m highlighting various recipes from The Star Trek Cookbook written by Star Trek Voyager’s chef Nelix (also known as actor Ethan Phillips).

The Star Trek Cookbook – I must be joking, right? Well that’s what I thought when the book originally came out. However, since I was participating in this blog carnival – and needed some Star Trek inspired recipes -  I thought I’d purchase a cheap, used copy.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. There’s some darn good recipes in the book like Ratamba Stew (eggplants, peppers and tomatoes over pasta or rice), Laurellian Rice Pudding (with unsweetened coconut milk and mangos), and Spider Apple Pudding (instead of using Talaxian blue spider stomach, use stale white bread instead since they have similar consistency and taste). The Star Trek lore around the recipes is kind of fun, but will only be appreciated by die hard Trekkers, especially those familiar with DS:9 and Voyager.

Nelix features some Classic and Next Generation Trek recipes, too. At A Readable Feast I’ve featured a recipe for Vulcan Apple Pastry which is very practical for us eating-on-the-run 21st century types. However, I was intrigued by his Picard inspired recipes, and his use of Earl Grey tea.

Nelix gives the history of the tea and writes about Captain Picard’s love of the drink. Then he gives recipes for an Earl Grey chocolate cake and a cocktail. I find the use of infused tea very interesting, and hope non-Star Trek fans will find these as enticing as I did.

The Picard Cocktail
HardearlgreyNelix isn’t sure if this was ever served at Quark’s or Ten-Forward, but it should make for a great hot after dinner drink. Serve it with some fo the Earl Grey Chocolate Cake!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces fresh spring water
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur
  • 1 tsp. Earl Grey tea leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the water to nearly boiling, and pour over the tea, steeping for about 3 minutes.
  2. Pour into a cup, straining out the leaves.
  3. Slowly pour in the Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  4. Serve at once.

Thanks to Ross Hines at RainbowAnimations.com. Boy was I pleasantly surprised to find this image. What a hoot!

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I love chai…but not the calories

Chai_1Chai is wonderful yet it’s full of calories from the sugar and milk. So what to do when you’re watching your diet?

Here’s the best solution I’ve been able to come up with:

Super Skinny Chai

In an oversized mug, place the following ingredients:

  1. One bag of Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chai White Tea (You can purchase this online at Amazon.com for $15 for six boxes of 20 tea bags each. At $2.50 a box, this is a good price compared to what you pay at the grocery store.)
  2. Torani_syrupTo taste, sweeten with Torani Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup 750mL (At $7.90 on Amazon.com, this is another great bargain. I pay more for a bottle of this at Cost Plus World Market, especially considering the cost of gas and tax and the 40 minute round trip drive.)
  3. 1 cup skim milk
  4. 1 cup water

Heat in a microwave until hot (1-2 minutes).
Stir and enjoy.

To me, this is just as sweet and yummy as the premade chai tea drinks, plus the only calories you get are from the skim milk. It’s much cheaper to make it this way, too.

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Our trip to Celestial Seasonings

CandycaneteaThe kids and I went to the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder last week. It was the closest place that carried their wonderful Candy Cane Lane Holiday Tea and Santa’s Candy Apple Kids’ Holiday Tea. The Candy Cane Lane tea tastes like you have literally dipped a candy cane in green tea. It's decaf and really fulfills my jones for candy canes without the calories.

Santatea While Monkey Boy loved the apple and cinnamon smell of the Santa's Candy Apple tea, he didn't like drinking it. Oh well, I'll just have to. I found it very interesting that Celestial Seasoning is making tea for children. According to my sister who resides in Switzerland, chamomile teas for children are very popular with parents in Europe. It's probably because the teas mellow or knock kids out. (Always a good thing.)

RockingraspteaCelestial Seasonings also makes another kid's tea, Rudolph’s® Rockin’ Raspberry Herb Tea that does not contain chamomile. I love the graphics from the Rudolph Christmas special on both boxes. Ah, nostalgia.

The Celestial Seasonings gift shop is wonderful. Besides tea, you can get everything from gift sets to mugs and t-shirts. Plus boxes of tea cost $2 there instead of the usual $3 plus at the grocery store. And they have a bargain bin of "damaged" or expired tea for $1 or less.

ChaiI also picked up a box of Metabo Partner™ Wellness Tea in the bargain bin, since it sounded interesting. And I had to try the Chocolate Caramel Enchantment TeaHouse Chai. It sounds completely decadent. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to make any yet.

We also spent some time in their tearoom to sip free samples. Boo Girl loved hugging the life size, stuffed Sleepy Time bear. Unfortunately, my children are too young to go on the factory tour. (Kids must be at least 5-years-old.) I took the tour years ago. It's very interesting and best of all it's FREE.

So if you find yourself in Boulder, Colorado, plan to take the tour and stop by the Celestial Seasonings gift shop. Just make sure you have plenty of room in your trunk or luggage to take a dozen tea boxes home. (Wonder what those bomb sniffing dogs at the airport will think of the tea in your baggage? Maybe you should ship it home?)

This Mama’s hot toddie recipe

Got a cold? Make yourself a Hot Toddie! From This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comWhen I found out that a friend was sick with a sore throat, I recommended drinking a Hot Toddie. Here's the recipe:

  1. In a large travel mug (safety first around the kids!) put in 1 to 2 (or more) ounces of your favorite bourbon.
  2. Add lots of honey and lemon juice.
  3. If you have fresh ginger or a lemon, add some slices. 
  4. Put in a tea bag or two of your favorite herbal tea for colds like Celestial Seasonings Echinacea Cold Care or the classic . If you don't have a cold-specific herbal tea, try a ginger tea, a mint tea, or the classic, knock-you-out Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Natural Herb Tea.
  5. Add hot water and stir. Do not remove tea bag.
  6. Put lid on your travel mug. Sip until you pass out.

Remember, it's a bad idea to mix alcohol with most night time cold remedies.

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