Energizing Green Juice

Green juice is an excellent addition for your breakfast routine.  This simple juicing recipe includes:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 green cucumber
  • 2-3 celery stalks (with greens)
  • 1 green apple
  • ginger (length of two thumbs)
  • green herbs and/or spirulina (optional)

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Spinach, kale, and apples not only provide your body and brain with antioxidants in the form of flavonoids and other important polyphenolic compounds, but also the micronutrients calcium, potassium, folate, vitamin A, C, E and K.

Celery contains flavonoids that may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and additionally, scientists have found a connection between a diet rich in certain fruits and vegetables, like spinach, spirulina, apples, and berries, and a reduction in inflammatory conditions of the brain,  improving mental functioning during the aging process.

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The cucumber and apple help to sweeten the flavor of this drink, and the ginger (and herbs) adds a spicy kick to the green veggie combo. 

Finally, you can use the green pulp for your compost!  Take my word for it - your composted soil will be gorgeous and nutritious for your plants and garden after just a week or two of this treatment.

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Calming Chamomile

I have some exciting news!  My boyfriend and I will be moving across country to North Carolina in exactly 1 month.  We’ve been all a flutter with planning for the move, so of course tensions are high and time is scarce.  In response to this (let’s face it) stressful (and of course exciting) life-change, today I will take some time to relax and write about the lovely and calming herbal flower, chamomile.

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I was able to grow my very own chamomile last spring, which actually came as a surprise, blooming fiercely and suddenly.  I harvested (and dried) every flower I could find in my garden, and was able to brew a few delightful cups.  How satisfying to drink homegrown herbs!  Since then, chamomile has been my go-to herbal tea when I need to chill out. 

Chamomile is especially supportive for the:

  • Nervous system
  • Immune system
  • Digestive system

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Beginner’s Guide for Tea Supplies

A fellow lady blogger, Brighid, who recently gave me the opportunity to guest-post about tea on her brilliant blog, Postpositions on Prepositions, has inspired me to post a “tea kit” guide for beginners.  What a great idea!  I remember feeling a little confused myself about which supplies to use (and where I could buy such supplies) when I first began experimenting with loose leaf tea, so I hope this post helps to clarify the basics for tea storage, brewing, and refreshment!

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I am a big advocate for loose leaf tea.  Furthermore, I am a big advocate for organic and fair-trade loose leaf tea.  As I have mentioned before, Mountain Rose Herbs is a great company to support because they have organically certified herbs and tea, as well as fair trade products.  You should just assume that if a product does not specify “organic” on the label or online store, it is extremely likely that pesticides were used on the plant during its growth.  Since the majority of tea is grown in Asia, fair trade certified products ensure that you are supporting the farms and fields in other countries that provide fair compensation and respect to their workers.

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Frontier Natural Products Co-op and Davidson’s Organics are two other earth and health-friendly tea companies to check out, and if you’d still prefer tea bags, try Traditional Medicinals (available at Sprouts) and/or Choice Organic Teas.

Teaware, Tools, and Supplies:

{ Beginner’s Tea-Kit Guide }

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  • Tea Kettle

To heat your water, you need a basic kettle.  Of course you could always splurge for an adorable vintage version.  Or what about a water heater for your office or kitchen counter?  The cordless kettle is a great stove-less option.

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  • Teaspoon (or measuring spoons)

In case you don’t already own a measuring spoon set to measure your tea, here’s an affordable set to check out.  You could also invest in a tea shovel

General rule of thumb

Brew 1 teaspoon/1 tablespoon of loose leaf per 8-12 ounces of water

(8 oz = 1 cup)

*If you like strong tea, brew 1 tablespoon per cup

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Tea Smoothie: Banana, Coconut, and Herbal Chai

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Coconut Banana & Rooibos Chai Tea Smoothie

All I wanted this morning was banana…and coconut.  I’m in the process of eliminating sugar from my diet, so instead of adding any sweetener, I blended just 4 simple ingredients:

  • ½ cup iced rooibos chai tea (Ruby Red Trader Joe’s brand)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 1 frozen banana
  • (ice cubes optional)
  • note: add ¼ cup more tea if smoothie is too thick

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1 banana has about 15 grams of sugar and 100 calories, so this drink is naturally sweet!  The rich coconut flavor and spicy rooibos chai tea combine deliciously with the classic banana. 

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You could substitute any tea or tisane for the herbal chai.  I bet black tea or herbal mint would work really well.  You could also add cinnamon spice!

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{ Ten Tisanes } to Relax Nerves & Promote Restfulness

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  1. Chamomile
  2. Valerian
  3. Catnip (a stimulant for cats, but a sedative for people)
  4. Passionflower
  5. Skullcap
  6. Kava
  7. Hops (yes, the very same flavoring used in beer!)
  8. Lavender
  9. Lemon Balm
  10. Linden (random fact: the Linden tree is the origin for my first name, Lindsey)

All of these herbs can be found online for purchase at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Steep 1 teaspoon of the herbal flower, seed, leaf, root, or combination of herbs in 8-12 ounces of hot water for 5-10 minutes.  If you are taking medication or have a serious health condition, please talk with your doctor before trying a new herbal tea remedy. 

I hope one or more of these herbs can help to soothe your worries and de-stress your day away. ♥

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Peppermint Herbal Tea

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While gardening at my university’s gardening club this summer (the Autumnal Equinox doesn’t technically begin until September 22nd), I was lucky enough to successfully grow chocolate peppermint in my petite square foot garden.  To my surprise, the tiny peppermint plant grew into a large bushel of mint, continuing its growth outward, along with several different “runners” (which look like shallow root vines) extending out into the rest of the garden.  This herb will grow like a weed if it likes its home in the soil, so make sure you have an open spot of soil to seed, and plant each seed a few feet apart.

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You can also take cuttings of a thriving plant and transfer into a windowsill pot.  This is the easiest and most successful way to grow mint. Just make sure you commit to watering the pot everyday, set the plant in a spot with sunlight, and ideally, give the plant some composted soil full of rich nutrients.

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Pouring hot water over fresh mint leaves makes a wonderful and gentle herbal drink, but you can also freeze the mint for a lengthy amount of time, if you happen to harvest too much of it at once. 

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This is precisely what happened with my own mint harvest.  Instead of letting it go to waste, I simply filled a freezer-safe container with mint, and covered the fresh herbs with filtered water.  I kept the frozen mint safe in my freezer for about a month. 

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Once the mint was needed again for my smoothies, juices, tea and tisane (herbal tea) blends, I only had to wait for the thawing to finish.  Don’t you think the frozen mint is beautiful?  A perfect model for a photograph.

Along with herbal infusions, mint can be a great addition for a variety of food dishes and body care products:

  • jellies, juleps, and sauces
  • smoothies and juices
  • salads, vegetables, and curry
  • bath sachets, deodorants, and lotions
  • toothpaste and chewing gum
  • perfumes and air fresheners

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Beautiful { Bioactive } Berries for Great Health

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Nutritional Value

  • According to both the USDA and NIH, berries are significant sources of the following nutrients:
  1. fiber
  2. moisture
  3. vitamin C (antioxidant)
  4. vitamin E (antioxidant)
  5. folic acid (very important for women of childbearing years)
  6. minerals: calcium & selenium        
  • Berries function as a bioactive food, { which positively impact your living tissue } providing a rich source of antioxidants, specifically:
  1. carotenoids (beta-carotene & lutein)
  2. flavonoids (anthocyanins and ellagitannins)

What does this mean for your health?

improved cardiovascular, liver, digestive, and neuronal health, reduced risk of cancer, and healing effects for anti-inflammatory conditions

Tea Smoothie Idea:

Try blending some mixed { organic} berries (and honey or sugar for sweetener) to your iced tea!

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Additional Source:

Konić-Ristić, Aleksandra, Katarina Šavikin, Gordana Zdunić, Teodora Janković, Zorica Juranic, Nebojša Menković, and Ivan Stanković. “Biological Activity and Chemical Composition of Different Berry Juices.” Food Chemistry 125.4 (2011): 1412-417. Science Direct. Web.

Matcha Smoothie with Chia & Banana

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Smoothie Recipe:

  • 3 teaspoons (Trader Joe’s) matcha green tea powder mix
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • banana
  • 1 cup (fortified unsweetened SO brand) coconut milk
  • 5 ice cubes

Blend, pour, enjoy. Makes about 2 cups.

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Smoothie Nutritional Benefits

contains omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid

487 milligrams of Potassium (mostly from the banana)

6 grams of fiber (very helpful for digestion)

~ only 30 grams of sugar ~

~ only 236 calories ~

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Afternoon Treat : Dark Chocolate & Tea

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{ Irish Breakfast Black Tea & Dark Chocolate Caramels }


Black tea leaves acquire their unique toasty flavor from a process known as fermentation, in which the tea leaf is crushed and then oxidized (exposed to oxygen) for a certain length of time.  Oxidation transforms the tea leaf’s chemical composition, thus increasing the tea’s caffeine content and differentiating the tea’s polyphenol / flavonoid content.

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Benefits of { Garden } Carrots

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These little silly-shaped organic carrots grew in my garden { the juice was vibrantly orange and earthy-sweet }

Why carrots are a great veggie to juice…

Did you know that 1 medium sized carrot is equivalent to about 500 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin A? The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Vitamin A (which is how much of a nutrient you should eat or drink in a day) is 700 mcg for women and 900 mcg for men, so juicing just 1 carrot supplies you with more than half of your daily requirement!

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Green Juice!

Very very green juice. I love my new Ninja blender!

Juice

  1. 1 bunch green grapes
  2. 1 cucumber
  3. 1 green apple
  4. 1 green pear
  5. 1-2 handfuls snap peas
  6. 1/2 lime
  7. 2-3 kale leaves

Blend

  1. Green juice (listed above)
  2. 2-3 kale leaves
  3. 1-2 handfuls spinach
  4. basil and mint (to your preference)
  5. 5-7 ice cubes (or more/less)