mint

Digestive-Probiotic Green Smothie

Probiotic Green Smoothie

Hot days are creeping up and I’m in the mood for smoothies!! I try to monitor the amount of fruit I eat, especially when there is an abundance of amazing seasonal fruits available now. Green herbs are also in season and I love a good yogurt drink, especially when it’s homemade from grass-fed raw milk (recipe here).

The homemade yogurt makes this an amazing powerful probiotic (since I leave it 24 hours to ferment). The herbs add the touch of a digestive aid and beautiful flavor!

To make this wonderfully refreshing digestive-probiotic smoothie, you simply assemble:

  • 2-3 Cups of whole yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbs. fresh green herbs such as dill, mint, parsley, etc… (I like to use 1/2 dill and 1/2 mint)

Place it all in a blender for about 20 second and enjoy 🙂

 

8 Refreshing Herbal Iced Teas

iced tea pictea pic

Summer is in full effect here and I love my herbal tea, however with this heat, I have a hard time enjoying a cup of hot tea. I have compiled some of my favorite blends which are cool and crisp. Iced herbal teas offer health benefits just as traditional teas do. They are not just ordinary iced black tea; why limit yourself when you can mix herbs, fruit, flowers and spices to create extraordinary summertime drinks?

The sweeteners are all optional, raw-local honey is the best choice, but you can use any natural sweetener of choice. You can see other options for natural sweeteners here. 

1. Tummy Tea

A hit with morning-sick mamas and travelers, this tea not only helps with nausea, but its spicy kick is also refreshing.

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup fresh ginger slices
4 cups water
1 ½ Tbs. grated orange zest
1 Tbs. raw local honey or other natural sweetener, optional
About 1 cup cold water and/or ice cubes
Orange slices for garnish

Instructions:

  1.  In a medium saucepan, simmer ginger in water 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how strong you like the spice).
  2. Add orange zest; remove from heat and let cool until you can stick your pinky finger in and not get burned (this temperature will make sure you do not destroy the enzymes in the raw honey.)
  3. Then, stir in natural sweetener.
  4. Strain and cool completely.
  5. Add additional cold water to thin out the flavor if needed and ice, or store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Serve over additional ice. Garnish with fresh orange slices. This tea can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

2. Peach Pick-Me-Up

Make the most of summer’s most heavenly flavors with this sprightly tea. Use only fresh, fully ripe peaches. You can prepare the mint tea ahead of time, but always mix in the peaches just before serving.

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. dried mint leaves
4 cups water
2 cups pureed peaches, chilled
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Steep mint leaves in hot (80- to 90-degree) water for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour peaches into a sieve to remove chunks or juice them in a juicer.
  3. After the mint tea has cooled completely, strain
  4. Mix the tea with the strained peach puree.

Serve cold, garnished with fresh mint leaves. This tea doesn’t store well, drink on the same day it’s made.

3. Apple Rose Hip Tea

This tart tea is a delight to serve and is packed with vitamin C and other essential nutrients as well as flavor and color, .

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

3 Cups hot water
2 tsp. dried and seeded rose hips
10 to 12 dried hibiscus flowers
1 Tbs. fresh pineapple sage or apple mint leaves
4 tsp. fresh raspberry leaves OR 2 teaspoons dried leaves
1 Cup ice

Apple juice for sweetening, should be freshly juiced or organic unpasteurized (optional)
Apple slices, cut horizontally for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Place the rose hips and water in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. When the rose hips are done – add the flowers and leaves and steep for about 3o minutes.
  3. Strain and add cold water, ice and optional apple juice.
  4. Pour tea over additional ice. Float apple slices in each glass as garnish.

4. Herbal Iced Apple

The menthol content in mint makes it a naturally refreshing tea. It is a well-known home remedy for relieving digestive complaints such as indigestion, nausea and gas. Peppermint also has a calming effect. It’s also a diaphoretic, which means it induces sweating and so helps cool the body. Peppermint is sweeter and has a stronger flavor than spearmint, but for a more complex mint taste you can mix peppermint and spearmint together.

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

3 Cups water
30 leaves of fresh mint
2 tsp. dried peppermint (optional)
1 Tbs. of honey 
1 Cup ice

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Turn off heat, stir in mint, cover, and let steep for 5 – 20 minutes (depending on strength).
  3. Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve, pressing on herbs with spoon to extract liquid.
  4. Let cool until just above room temperature. Then stir in honey until dissolved.
  5. Then add ice.

Serve over ice, garnished with a piece of lemon and sprig of mint.  

5. Chamomile Cooler

A relaxing blend to help you unwind a the end of a long hot day. The added spices and lemon juice give it a nice summery kick.

Ingredients:

2 Cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. cloves
12 heaped teaspoons of whole fresh chamomile flowers (or 4-5 tsp dried flowers or 4 chamomile teabags)
½ Cup honey
½ Cup fresh lemon juice 

Instructions:

  1. Put the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot with the water and bring to a boil, then turn off heat.
  2. Add chamomile; let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and let cool to just above room temperature.
  4. Then stir in honey until dissolved.
  5. Add the lemon juice and let the mixture cool completely.

Pour over ice and garnish with fresh lemon slices.

6. Sweet Rosemary and Lavender Iced Tea

This tea is a perfect summer tea with a surprising pleasant flavor. It is best if using fresh herbs.

Ingredients:

2 Quarts water
Âľ Cups raw honey or other sweetener
1 tsp. packed whole rosemary leaves
½ tsp. dried lavender
1 ½  Tbs. packed fresh lemon balm leaves roughly torn or snipped with scissors
4 black tea bags

Instructions:

  1. Place water, rosemary, lavender and lemon balm leaves in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat as soon as water boils.
  2. Add the tea bags and drape them over the side of the pot of hot water; steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags, pressing gently to extract flavor and strain the rest of the herbs.
  4. Let cool to just above room temperature and add honey or other sweetener

Serve over ice and garnish with fresh rosemary stalk. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

7. Relaxing Lavender Mint Tea

Lavender is a wonderful relaxing scent and flavor, but it is too strong to be used alone in a tea. This tea has a beautiful flavor that is relaxing and soothing for digestion.

Ingredients:

2 Cups water
30 fresh spearmint leaves or 1 Tbs. dried
½ tsp. dried lavender

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat.
  2. Add herbs, let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and let cool to just above room temperature before adding honey.

Serve over ice.

8. South African Punch

Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is a caffeine-free tea brewed from a shrub that only grows in South Africa. This delicious, vanilla-scented tea has a naturally gorgeous orange-amber color. Rooibos is also celebrated for its many health benefits (see below after recipe). Here’s a festive way to serve it.

Ingredients:

2 Cups water
4 tsp. dried rooibos (or 4 teabags)
3 Tbs. unrefined organic sugar or other natural sweetener
2 Cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Cup sparkling water 

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat.
  2. Add the rooibos and let steep for 5 minutes, then strain.
  3. While tea is still hot, add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. When the tea brew cools to room temperature add orange juice and sparkling water

Serve over plenty of ice and garnish with mint leaves, cherries or apple and lemon slices.

Rooibos health benefits inside and out:

Rooibos is used to treat a wide range of symptoms ranging from headaches, colic, asthma, hay fever and insomnia. It is also said to be beneficial to pancreatitis sufferers, as it soothes the pain of digestive reflux.

Due to its high content of the anti-inflammatory antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of prostatitis, it is used to ease the painful symptoms of urinary system diseases such as prostatitis and cystitis.

Rooibos is also excellent for treating skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. It soothes diaper rash and improves skin condition in acne sufferers.

Hospitals in South Africa routinely use rooibos in baths for children with allergic skin conditions, as well as giving it as a drink. The infusion can either be applied to the skin, used as a wash to relive dry, itchy scalp, or used in skincare products such as soaps and cleansers.

Create Your Own Herbal Flavors!

Be creative and develop your own herb blends to please yourself and your family or experiment with whatever tea herbs are plentiful in your garden. Below is a list of some common herbal ingredients.

Choose one flavor or group of flavors to dominate, and then add flavors from another group as an accent to add depth to the finished tea.

As a general rule, use about 3 parts of your dominant ingredient(s) to 1 part of accent herbs. Fruit juices, honey, or sugar may be added after steeping for extra flavor and sweetness.

  • Hibiscus – has a tangy citrus flavour; sweetens breath
  • Lemon balm – the name says it all a beautiful lemony taste, soothing any time of day
  • Linden blossom (lime blossom) – has a mildly sweet taste; soothes nerves and indigestion
  • Green tea – full of antioxidants and delicious garnished with a bit of mint
  • Any fruit tea you can think of makes a great base for iced tea – sweeten to taste and serve with fresh fruit garnish

Flavors:

  • Fruity flavors: lemongrass, lemon verbena, citrus zest, chamomile, pineapple sage, lemon thyme, gingerroot, raspberry leaves, lemon basil
  • Spicy flavors: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, cinnamon basil, aniseed
  • Floral flavors: hibiscus, rose hips, rose petals, lavender, jasmine
  • Minty flavors: bee balm, peppermint, spearmint, catnip
  • Herbal flavors: rosemary, marjoram, sage, savory, parsley, yarrow, hyssop

8 Refreshing Herbal Iced Teas

iced tea pictea pic

Summer is in full effect here and I love my herbal tea, however with this heat, I have a hard time enjoying a cup of hot tea. I have compiled some of my favorite blends which are cool and crisp. Iced herbal teas offer health benefits just as traditional teas do. They are not just ordinary iced black tea; why limit yourself when you can mix herbs, fruit, flowers and spices to create extraordinary summertime drinks?

The sweeteners are all optional, raw-local honey is the best choice, but you can use any natural sweetener of choice. You can see other options for natural sweeteners here. 

1. Tummy Tea

A hit with morning-sick mamas and travelers, this tea not only helps with nausea, but its spicy kick is also refreshing.

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup fresh ginger slices
4 cups water
1 ½ Tbs. grated orange zest
1 Tbs. raw local honey or other natural sweetener, optional
About 1 cup cold water and/or ice cubes
Orange slices for garnish

Instructions:

  1.  In a medium saucepan, simmer ginger in water 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how strong you like the spice).
  2. Add orange zest; remove from heat and let cool until you can stick your pinky finger in and not get burned (this temperature will make sure you do not destroy the enzymes in the raw honey.)
  3. Then, stir in natural sweetener.
  4. Strain and cool completely.
  5. Add additional cold water to thin out the flavor if needed and ice, or store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Serve over additional ice. Garnish with fresh orange slices. This tea can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

2. Peach Pick-Me-Up

Make the most of summer’s most heavenly flavors with this sprightly tea. Use only fresh, fully ripe peaches. You can prepare the mint tea ahead of time, but always mix in the peaches just before serving.

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. dried mint leaves
4 cups water
2 cups pureed peaches, chilled
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Steep mint leaves in hot (80- to 90-degree) water for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour peaches into a sieve to remove chunks or juice them in a juicer.
  3. After the mint tea has cooled completely, strain
  4. Mix the tea with the strained peach puree.

Serve cold, garnished with fresh mint leaves. This tea doesn’t store well, drink on the same day it’s made.

3. Apple Rose Hip Tea

This tart tea is a delight to serve and is packed with vitamin C and other essential nutrients as well as flavor and color, .

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

3 Cups hot water
2 tsp. dried and seeded rose hips
10 to 12 dried hibiscus flowers
1 Tbs. fresh pineapple sage or apple mint leaves
4 tsp. fresh raspberry leaves OR 2 teaspoons dried leaves
1 Cup ice

Apple juice for sweetening, should be freshly juiced or organic unpasteurized (optional)
Apple slices, cut horizontally for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Place the rose hips and water in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. When the rose hips are done – add the flowers and leaves and steep for about 3o minutes.
  3. Strain and add cold water, ice and optional apple juice.
  4. Pour tea over additional ice. Float apple slices in each glass as garnish.

4. Herbal Iced Apple

The menthol content in mint makes it a naturally refreshing tea. It is a well-known home remedy for relieving digestive complaints such as indigestion, nausea and gas. Peppermint also has a calming effect. It’s also a diaphoretic, which means it induces sweating and so helps cool the body. Peppermint is sweeter and has a stronger flavor than spearmint, but for a more complex mint taste you can mix peppermint and spearmint together.

Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

3 Cups water
30 leaves of fresh mint
2 tsp. dried peppermint (optional)
1 Tbs. of honey 
1 Cup ice

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Turn off heat, stir in mint, cover, and let steep for 5 – 20 minutes (depending on strength).
  3. Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve, pressing on herbs with spoon to extract liquid.
  4. Let cool until just above room temperature. Then stir in honey until dissolved.
  5. Then add ice.

Serve over ice, garnished with a piece of lemon and sprig of mint.  

5. Chamomile Cooler

A relaxing blend to help you unwind a the end of a long hot day. The added spices and lemon juice give it a nice summery kick.

Ingredients:

2 Cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. cloves
12 heaped teaspoons of whole fresh chamomile flowers (or 4-5 tsp dried flowers or 4 chamomile teabags)
½ Cup honey
½ Cup fresh lemon juice 

Instructions:

  1. Put the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot with the water and bring to a boil, then turn off heat.
  2. Add chamomile; let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and let cool to just above room temperature.
  4. Then stir in honey until dissolved.
  5. Add the lemon juice and let the mixture cool completely.

Pour over ice and garnish with fresh lemon slices.

6. Sweet Rosemary and Lavender Iced Tea

This tea is a perfect summer tea with a surprising pleasant flavor. It is best if using fresh herbs.

Ingredients:

2 Quarts water
Âľ Cups raw honey or other sweetener
1 tsp. packed whole rosemary leaves
½ tsp. dried lavender
1 ½  Tbs. packed fresh lemon balm leaves roughly torn or snipped with scissors
4 black tea bags

Instructions:

  1. Place water, rosemary, lavender and lemon balm leaves in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat as soon as water boils.
  2. Add the tea bags and drape them over the side of the pot of hot water; steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags, pressing gently to extract flavor and strain the rest of the herbs.
  4. Let cool to just above room temperature and add honey or other sweetener

Serve over ice and garnish with fresh rosemary stalk. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

7. Relaxing Lavender Mint Tea

Lavender is a wonderful relaxing scent and flavor, but it is too strong to be used alone in a tea. This tea has a beautiful flavor that is relaxing and soothing for digestion.

Ingredients:

2 Cups water
30 fresh spearmint leaves or 1 Tbs. dried
½ tsp. dried lavender

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat.
  2. Add herbs, let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and let cool to just above room temperature before adding honey.

Serve over ice.

8. South African Punch

Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is a caffeine-free tea brewed from a shrub that only grows in South Africa. This delicious, vanilla-scented tea has a naturally gorgeous orange-amber color. Rooibos is also celebrated for its many health benefits (see below after recipe). Here’s a festive way to serve it.

Ingredients:

2 Cups water
4 tsp. dried rooibos (or 4 teabags)
3 Tbs. unrefined organic sugar or other natural sweetener
2 Cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Cup sparkling water 

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat.
  2. Add the rooibos and let steep for 5 minutes, then strain.
  3. While tea is still hot, add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. When the tea brew cools to room temperature add orange juice and sparkling water

Serve over plenty of ice and garnish with mint leaves, cherries or apple and lemon slices.

Rooibos health benefits inside and out:

Rooibos is used to treat a wide range of symptoms ranging from headaches, colic, asthma, hay fever and insomnia. It is also said to be beneficial to pancreatitis sufferers, as it soothes the pain of digestive reflux.

Due to its high content of the anti-inflammatory antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of prostatitis, it is used to ease the painful symptoms of urinary system diseases such as prostatitis and cystitis.

Rooibos is also excellent for treating skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. It soothes diaper rash and improves skin condition in acne sufferers.

Hospitals in South Africa routinely use rooibos in baths for children with allergic skin conditions, as well as giving it as a drink. The infusion can either be applied to the skin, used as a wash to relive dry, itchy scalp, or used in skincare products such as soaps and cleansers.

Create Your Own Herbal Flavors!

Be creative and develop your own herb blends to please yourself and your family or experiment with whatever tea herbs are plentiful in your garden. Below is a list of some common herbal ingredients.

Choose one flavor or group of flavors to dominate, and then add flavors from another group as an accent to add depth to the finished tea.

As a general rule, use about 3 parts of your dominant ingredient(s) to 1 part of accent herbs. Fruit juices, honey, or sugar may be added after steeping for extra flavor and sweetness.

  • Hibiscus – has a tangy citrus flavour; sweetens breath
  • Lemon balm – the name says it all a beautiful lemony taste, soothing any time of day
  • Linden blossom (lime blossom) – has a mildly sweet taste; soothes nerves and indigestion
  • Green tea – full of antioxidants and delicious garnished with a bit of mint
  • Any fruit tea you can think of makes a great base for iced tea – sweeten to taste and serve with fresh fruit garnish

Flavors:

  • Fruity flavors: lemongrass, lemon verbena, citrus zest, chamomile, pineapple sage, lemon thyme, gingerroot, raspberry leaves, lemon basil
  • Spicy flavors: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, cinnamon basil, aniseed
  • Floral flavors: hibiscus, rose hips, rose petals, lavender, jasmine
  • Minty flavors: bee balm, peppermint, spearmint, catnip
  • Herbal flavors: rosemary, marjoram, sage, savory, parsley, yarrow, hyssop