Pineapple and Cucumber Spritzer

Pineapple and Cucumber Spritzer

You know what I’m really good at? Short cuts.

I like to call it being efficient and using my time and resources strategically. But when it comes right down to it sometimes, it can be absolute laziness.

My favorite short cuts of the moment include ordering cat food online (because really, who wants to haul a 30 pound case of cat food home? not me…), cooking meals in bulk so I can save leftovers for lunches (why cook twice when you don’t have to?), and walking everywhere instead of driving (saving money on gas and getting some exercise… one step at a time).

You know what I also consider short cuts? Spritzers. To me, spritzers are easy to assemble and always look fancy and delicious, but usually take less than 10 minutes to prepare. I often opt to make mine non-alcoholic so I use sparkling water as the base, but if you’re looking to spice things up a bit, I’m sure you could substitute white wine of your choice.

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Strawberry Cucumber Water

Strawberry Cucumber Water

I feel like this post is a PSA: Drink your water. Stay hydrated. It’s good for your body.

But seriously… did you know that being dehydrated can cause food cravings? It’s true.

The next time you feel fatigued, hungry, or crave something sugary, try having a glass of water instead. I’ve found that about 90% of the time this simple trick helps keep me from overeating or eating something crappy.

The one challenge and complaint I hear from folks about this is that they just don’t like the taste of plain water. I’ve never really been a fan of flavoring water (especially with those creepy flavored packets with artificial colors…yikes) but on a very, very hot day in Seattle (okay, it was probably 80 degrees) on my way to a very, very, very hot yoga class this drink was born.

On that day I found myself in my kitchen whining that I did not want to go to hot yoga. In an effort to make myself feel refreshed before the class, I threw a random strawberry and a few slices of cucumber into a glass of water and chugged it. Whoa. It was like magic.

Ever since then, I’ve kept a giant jar of this in my fridge because now I think strawberry cucumber water is absolutely mandatory for hot yoga. And life in general.

There’s really not an art to making this drink. It’s pretty dang simple: slice up a little organic cucumber and throw some fresh local strawberry slices into the water as well. Let it sit and chill or add a little ice. Then drink up.

But don’t feel limited to just strawberries and cucumbers. There are a lot of fun variations as well:

Add a slice of lemon or lime.

Add some fresh basil or mint.

Sub blueberries or raspberries.

I even like to add a little slice of fresh ginger for a spicy kick.

What are your favorite ways to spice up your water?

Dandelion Tea & Giveaway

Dandelion Tea & Giveaway

Gosh I love spring time. For me, spring is all about growth, change, and making space for new things. I love how spring encourages us to make better choices and clean – whether that means our homes, our kitchen cupboards, or our bodies.

One of my favorite parts of springtime is the abundance of fresh, leafy greens. And dandelions. Did you know that dandelions are edible? It’s true! You can actually eat dandelion greens and they’re really delicious when sauteed with a little fat as this helps reduce their bitterness. You can check out my dandelion greens recipe here.

Since spring is upon us and everyone is in detox mode, I wanted to share one of my favorite tea brands with you and introduce you to two of their new teas! I’m a big tea drinker and I’ve been a fan of Traditional Medicinals tea for a long time. My favorites are their Nighty Night tea (it’s perfect before bed), Echinacea Plus tea (great during cold season), and Ginger Aid tea (helps with digestion and abdominal cramps). My kitchen cabinet is stocked full of Traditional Medicinals tea so you can imagine how excited I was when they reached out to me and offered to let me try their new blends!

For nearly 40 years Traditional Medicinals has been encouraging people to embrace plants as a way to maintain wellness.  Dandelion has become increasingly popular for its ability to support the body’s natural detoxification process, which is why Traditional Medicinals recently released two new dandelion teas:

  • EveryDay Detox Dandelion – Inspired by a classic European herbal formula; a blend of dandelion, licorice, fennel, and peppermint help stimulate the liver while providing support to the kidneys.
  • Dandelion Leaf and Root – From roots to shoots, this enjoyably mild and sweet tea supports kidney function and healthy digestion.

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Lemon and Honey Tonic with Bourbon

Lemon and Honey Tonic with Bourbon

This feels like a strange day. I’ve never featured alcohol here on the blog before so either my cold is completely clouding my judgement or this recipe truly is the best way to feel better while battling a terrible cold. I hope it’s the latter.

Over the weekend I finally came down with the cold that everyone’s been fighting. I woke up with all the gross symptoms and tried my best to rest as much as possible, stay hydrated, and eat lots of greens. I knew these behaviors would help me to heal faster in the long run, but in the short run, I just wanted something to make my throat feel better and to take my mind off of my terrible headache.

And that’s exactly how this lemon and honey tonic with bourbon was born.

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Green Tea and Chia Energy Drink

Green Tea and Chia Energy Drink

I think CrossFit is going to be the death of me.

Let me back up for a minute here.  In case you don’t know what CrossFit is, it’s basically an intense strength and conditioning program that focuses on functional movement. (You can see a visual demonstration in this video.)

I started CrossFit last week and just finished my first week of beginner classes. At the end of each workout I find myself laying on the floor thinking that this is how I am going to die… 

And the scary thing is that these are only the beginner classes! Our workouts are only 15 minutes long! It honestly makes me feel a little pathetic because I love intense workouts and have done plenty of kettlebell and boot camp classes before this, but CrossFit definitely takes the cake in terms of intensity.

Next week I start the regular classes and I’m honestly a little worried if I’ll make it through the full class…. which is exactly how I got inspired to make my own healthy version of an “energy drink.”

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Calm-marita (aka the Healthy Margarita)

Non alcoholic margarita

Let’s start this with a confession: today I need a margarita.

After a long weekend of dealing with website troubles and technology that I still don’t quite understand, I am ready for a drink.

After three and a half years of blogging through Blogger, this year I made the decision to switch my website to WordPress. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a fabulous and knowledgeable professional to help me move everything, but there have still been some kinks to work out along the way. Some of you may have noticed that this website wasn’t loading over the weekend, but hopefully everything should be resolved by now. But, if you’re still having some trouble or things are acting weird (broken links, missing images, etc), would you mind contacting me and letting me know? Big thanks in advance.

Regardless of how your weekend was, perhaps you need a margarita too?

This isn’t the typical combination of alcohol and sugar like most mixed drinks though. This one is actually a nutritious drink that energizes our cells while making our tastebuds feel like we’re doing something a little naughty. And it has a special stress-relieving ingredient that I know I definitely need after this weekend… :)

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(Sugar-Free) Vanilla Rosemary Soda

Sugar-free vanilla rosemary soda

The first sunny weeks of the season finally hit Seattle. And, apparently, it’s all we can talk about right now.

Last weekend I spent all day sitting on my back porch working on my laptop under the shield of an umbrella. Somehow a three-inch section of my wrist didn’t quite make it under the shade and now I have a funky tan rectangle on my arm. I like to think of it as my Vitamin D patch.

Before we get to today’s recipe, I just wanted to say thank you again to everyone who joined us the other night for Conscious Money, Conscious Eating. I teach a lot of classes in Seattle, but this was my first time doing a workshop where I didn’t get to see you all face-to-face! I loved all of the emails and responses we got about the material we covered and it’s so great to hear that it’s already changing the way many of you are planning, prepping meals, and cooking at home! Awesome! (Psst, if you’re sad that you missed out, you can actually purchase the webinar recording package– which includes our awesome 55-page ebook! Details here.)

Now, onto the most amazing drink that only takes 3 ingredients to make!  This one is going to be a must-make as we head into late spring and summer!

Sugar-free vanilla rosemary soda

This soda starts with a simple rosemary tea made from boiling water with fresh sprigs of rosemary. I love the taste of rosemary in drinks, especially combined with a little sparking water and vanilla.  Yum!

Sugar-free vanilla rosemary soda

To make this “soda” sugar-free, I used vanilla stevia drops as a sweetener. If you prefer not to use stevia, then pure maple syrup or a little coconut sugar will also do the trick! If you are going this route, then you will need to add a vanilla bean when you boil the rosemary to infuse the vanilla flavor.

Sugar-free vanilla rosemary soda
Once you boil the rosemary tea, simply let it cool in the fridge (I like to make a big batch and let it cool overnight) and then assemble your drinks with a little ice, sparkling water, and stevia to taste. You can add more or less rosemary tea depending on your preference. (I really like the flavor of rosemary so I tend to add more to my glass.)
And, if you are into this kind of thing, this recipe is fabulous with burbon. But, if you’re not, then you didn’t hear that from me. :)
(Sugar-Free) Vanilla Rosemary Soda
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 medium (about 3-inch) sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1.5 cups of (filtered) water
  • 48 ounces sparkling water
  • Vanilla stevia drops (to taste)
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. Add rosemary and filtered water to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and let steep for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove rosemary sprigs then transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
  4. Add about 2 - 4 tablespoons of rosemary tea to a glass with ice.
  5. Top with 8 ounces of sparkling water and add stevia or desired sweetener to taste.

Vanilla Rooibus Tea with Cacao and Mint

If you ever come to Seattle, one of the places that you absolutely have to visit is Remedy Teas on Capitol Hill. I am obsessed with this tea house. They carry over 150 organic loose leaf teas in the cafe, including white, green, oolong, black, rooibus, yerba, and a variety of herbal teas. If you are a tea drinker, this place is pure heaven.

One of my favorite combinations was a seasonal holiday tea they featured several years ago that tasted like chocolate peppermint candy. Let me tell you, I bought out the store. Literally. And over the next eleven months I drank it all.

Then the following Christmas I anxiously awaited for this seasonal tea to return, but they never brought it back. Several months ago I found myself craving this tea again and I finally decided it was time to just make my own combination. So I did.

 

Rooibus is a sweet, caffeine-free tea from South Africa. I love drinking it as an afternoon treat and this combination is perfect with a little almond milk and stevia.

I was pleasantly surprised by how cost effective it is to make my own loose leaf blend by purchasing the ingredients separately and then mixing them together. A small tin of this blend can usually run around $15, but I found that purchasing the ingredients in bulk and making this myself cut the cost to a little less than 1/3 of the price. I found the ingredients at my local health foods store, but I also provided links below to order online if your store does not have a bulk section or does not carry these items. Since vanilla beans are quite pricey, I kept mine whole and added it to the tea blend to help infuse the tea with vanilla flavor. Storing the tea in a tea tin kept the vanilla bean fresh enough that it still has plenty of flavor to reuse in future batches of tea.

The general rule of thumb when brewing loose leaf tea is 1 teaspoon of tea per cup of water, but I tend to like stronger tea so I usually add 2 – 3 teaspoons per cup of water. I am by no means a tea expert, but here are some other helpful tips I typically use for brewing rooibus tea:

  • Always use fresh, cold, and preferably filtered water for boiling. (This will help your tea to taste the best.)
  • The recommended temperature for making rooibus tea is 205°F, which means you can usually bring the water to a rolling boil and then steep the tea right away. (Some teas are better at a lower temperature so you have to wait a few minutes after boiling.)
  • For steeping the tea, I usually opt for my trusty Bodum teapot or tea filters if I am using a travel mug on-the-go. Lately I’ve been using a tea infuser, which allows me to steep the tea directly in my mug. For some reason this has felt easier than using a teapot, but it’s all personal preference.
  • Rooibus tea should steep for 3 – 5 minutes, and then the leaves should be removed.  It’s also recommended that the cup is covered during steeping, but if you use the teapot or tea infuser, this usually has a lid of its own.
  • Finally, enjoy your tea! Add some milk of your choice and your favorite sweetener (if desired) and serve hot!

 

Vanilla Rooibus Tea with Cacao and Mint
 
Vanilla Rooibus Tea with Cacao & Mint Makes about 15 cups of tea
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Assemble the ingredients and store in a tea tin.
Notes
Makes about 15 cups of tea