Tea Affogato!

I'll be honest, until recently I didn't know what affogato was :D I have been seeing it more and more as the weather had gotten hotter and finally looked it up. I thought, this can be done with tea and of course tea affogato was also a thing that people do so I wanted to give it a spin. 

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Tea taste tests are fun because you can compare different flavors all next to each other. I decided to take the jasmine pearls, almond chai and sweet matcha from my sipsby box and pour them over one type of ice cream. 

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It had been a long time since I made homemade ice cream and wanted to give it another try. You will see the recipe for cardamom ice cream at the bottom of this post and yay for people who don't eat dairy, it's made with cashew milk!

I chose the main flavor of the ice cream to be cardamom because for me, although cardamom has a strong taste it is more or less a neutral ice cream that I think would pair well with any of these teas. I the amount of cardamom I used in my recipe was a lot and the ice cream was very fragrant and lovely! 

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A note about this ice cream. It's not a super creamy ice cream because it doesn't have cream. It's soft but also has more of an icy type texture. If you are able to find something like coconut cream or if you don't mind dairy any cream will work, adding cream to this recipe will make it more similar to ice cream you buy from the store. 

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Despite the ice cream not being super creamy it's delicious and lower calorie and it worked great for affogato! I was originally concerned that because it wasn't creamy that when I poured the hot tea in it, it would totally melt but that wasn't the case. Yay!

In terms of the flavor pairings, here is how I ranked them: 

  1. Almond chai
  2. Matcha
  3. Jasmine

The almond chai was my favorite because the nutty flavors of the chai paired so well with the cardamom. The chai was powerful enough to meet the flavor of the cardamom and it was definitely the one I finished first! The two flavors blended very well. 

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The matcha used is called "sweet matcha" and is sweetened with fruit. The ice cream itself isn't super sweet so this combo definitely gives you the sweetest outcome :) 

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The jasmine was 3rd but don't get it wrong, it was still yummy! The reason why this wasn't the top of my list is because generally the aroma of jasmine is so strong it isn't a favorite tea. I have started to enjoy jasmine a lot more but the aroma of the jasmine and the cardamom was too much for me. I will say that the jasmine tea is the combo where you could really taste the full flavor of the jasmine tea once mixed. The other two were a little more lost in the ice cream. 

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DIY Tea Scrubs

Tea Scrubs!

Valentine's day is coming up and handmade gifts are a great way to show someone you love, that you care! If you're stuck on what to make, check out these two types of tea infused scrubs that are easy to make, with simple ingredients !

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I have two different versions of scrubs that vary in ingredients and with tea!

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The first scrub combines salt and sugar and a rhubarb & ginger tea! Rhubarb and ginger are both great ingredients that can help skin. Rhubarb has antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Ginger is also said to help with evening skin tone and improving elasticity! 

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I had this manuka honey and decided to use it instead of regular honey. You're welcome to use regular honey as well! Manuka honey has all sorts of benefits like treating acne and eczema! 

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One of the most important parts of this recipe is to let the tea cool completely before mixing it in. If the tea is too hot, the sugar and salt will dissolve and lose the rough texture that helps with exfoliation! Feel free to put more tea than I used in the scrub but just know that the scrub might be a bit more water like as opposed to a scrub.

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This seconds scrub uses only sugar and 2 types of tea! I received these teas from kailo tea. Kailo tea puts loose leaf and a capsule of vitamins in a tea sachet so you're taking in tea and vitamins at the same time!

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The two teas used were Wake up and Zen out tea. The Wake up blend is green tea with vitamin B, C and D. The Zen out blend is herbal tea with vitamins C, D and magnesium! I brewed these two teas together so that they become mixed when I include them in the scrub. 

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The rosehip and vitamin E oils give this scrub a lovely scent and added skin benefits!

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Again, make sure to let the tea cool completely before mixing it into the sugar.  

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Make sure that the scrub clumps a little bit, so that it will be effective!

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Blood Orange Smoothie Madeleines

New and improved! 

A while ago I saw a recipe for madeleines from one of my favorite food bloggers, A cozy Kitchen. I worked from this recipe to create madeleines that were tea infused but they were a bit of a mess, especially since I didn't have the proper pan!

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I received some blood orange smoothie tea from The Tea Spot in my recent Sipsby box and knew that was the best tea to use! This blend has red rooibos tea, orange peel, hibiscus, rosehips, safflowers, rose petals, natural orange & vanilla flavors. 

In A Cozy Kitchen's recipe she uses "browned butter" which you can read a bit more about in her post. Instead, I used the normal infusing method of melting the butter and throwing the tea in here. You want to add the melted butter to your batter before it congeals!

One of the tweaks I made was to add the zest of lemon to the recipe as well. I think lemon paired well with the other ingredients like rosehip and hibiscous. 

You do want to let the batter cool slightly before putting it into a piping bag! If you use a bag that's fine but you can also just use a ziploc bag with the tip cut off. This makes it easier to fill the molds on the pan. One lesson I learned: even if you have a non stick pan, use either butter or flour or both on the pan before putting the batter in. 

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My pan was non stick but it was a bit difficult to get the madeleines out without breaking them! 

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I was really excited about how they turned out! Nice and plump! Remember to touch the madeleines to see if they spring back a bit. You do want them to get a bit golden but not too much so you don't burn the bottoms! 

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It's my personal opionion that these taste best warm!

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Glaze is totally optional but I wanted to try it and it helped cover up some patches from some of the madeleines I butchered :) I made an orange glaze by simply mixing fresh orange juice and confectioner's sugar! 

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OMG. SO. GOOD. If you don't like orange, stay awayyyy! My mom actually called me to tell me how good these were. 

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100% will be making again! 

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Yaupon Soaked Chickpea Hummus

The other day on my facebook, took recipe suggestions. One of the suggestions I received was hummus, but something more exciting than chickpeas and tahini. I started looking up hummus recipes to see how I could incorporate tea into a recipe. After lots of thinking I decided that although it wasn't my normal method of infusion, the only way I could incorporate tea into the hummus recipe was to soak the chickpeas! 

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I received a Dark Roast Yaupon tea from Lost Pines Yaupon in my sipsby box and originally I wanted to make something sweet with it because the notes suggest this tea would be good with honey! After thinking over the types of recipes I've made recently I noticed that I hadn't made a "food" recipe recently. I decided the dark roast Yaupon would definitely give the chickpeas a roasted flavor that would go well with the other spices in the hummus!

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When I was deciding on my recipe I definitely tried to take into account ways that could spice up a normal hummus recipe. I rummaged through my fridge as I usually do when I make recipes and decided to add these ingredients to make this hummus a little different.  

  • Shredded carrot
  • LOTS of fresh garlic
  • Lime 
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I recently received some carrots through our CSA that had this wonderfully subtle sweet flavor and thought that they could give the hummus and tahini some depth in flavor. I've definitely had hummus with garlic which I love so I also decided to load up on that. Finally, lime came into the picture because I had limes and love the idea of the hummus being strong, a little sweet and a little tangy!  

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A note on olive oil in the recipe, go with your gut! I start you off with 1/4 cup olive oil but I guarantee you that isn't enough. While blending the ingredients together I had to constantly add olive oil to get my desired consistency. After a while it was hard to calculate how much I've used so I suggest using the method I did. Start with the 1/4 cup then add little by little until the hummus and smooth and to your liking. You will also need extra for the top when serving. 

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Salt and pepper as always should be used to your own taste. I think you can use as much paprika as you'd like too. I wouldn't use more than 1 or 2 tablespoons especially because you should have some for the top when serving, as seen in most of my photos. I really enjoyed making this hummus and the cost of the ingredients was low. It's a great choice for a party appetizer! 

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Green Tea Apple Cider

Apple Cider Tea. 

So you can probably tell from my last recipe (matcha pumpkin pie) that fall is in full swing in my kitchen!

One thing that I've always wanted to make is apple cider. I love apple cider but often times, store bought brands are WAY too sweet for my taste and don't taste much like apple. I started to do some research to see the process of how to make my own. 

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I was pleasantly surprised to find out that making apple cider is very simple and it requires apples, water and spices. I looked at a bunch of recipes and decided to change up the traditional spices a little bit. I added in ginger and green tea!

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The Kukicha twig tea is known to be calming and nutty so I thought it would be the perfect addition to the cider!

You may use whatever apples you want for the cider but I used McIntosh because they are my fav! 

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Not only is this recipe very simple to make but while the apples and spices are boiling, a wonderful aroma fills your entire home! 

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A few tips: 

  • I strained my apple cider through a mesh strainer but there were bits of apple that came through. Personally, I liked it this way so I left it. I would suggest doing several round of straining if you want minimal apple left. You could also put the apple that gets caught in the strainer in some cheese cloth and squeeze out any juice to make sure you are getting the most of your apple cider!
  • Don't put the tea in until you're almost done with the cooling process like mentioned in the recipe. You don't want to tea to over brew and give the apple cider a bitter taste. 
  • Honey or sugar is optional here and based on your own personal taste. I put one tablespoon of honey for the entire pot and thought it was sweet enough, I didn't want to cover the taste of apples!
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This cider is such a wonderful treat plain or if you're having a party it can easily be spiked! I really liked the effect of the ginger on the cider as well as the green tea. I wouldn't suggest not putting cloves or cinnamon because it's such a staple in the apple cider taste but I do encourage you to add some spices to experiement ! 

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What apples would you choose for your cider?

Berber Tea Noodles

Minty Noodles.

When I was younger I used to eat noodles all the time! Not just mac 'n' cheese but my mom would make this "green sauce" which wasn't really sauce just butter and basil which was SO GOOD. Nowadays I try to eat as healthy as I can, avoiding an excess of grains and noodles, with the exception of rice. I can't live without my rice!

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After doing some research I kept finding "green tea" noodles but these were mostly pre-packaged noodles that were made with green tea. I decided that I wanted to infuse my noodles and although I couldn't find an exact method, I kept it really simple. 

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I think that to make this recipe a success, you should use whatever noodle type you want. I used these flat korean noodles that I had in my shelves and they were great but I think this would work with any noodle and here's why. All you do is dump the tea into the water with the noodles and they will cook in the tea! The Berber blend from Tay Tea has Moroccan mint so it gives the noodles this fun minty flavor!

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I love every part of tea and when I make recipes I often leave some of the leaves in it for fun because they don't bother me. If you cook the noodles in the tea you will have noodles with pieces of tea leaves on them, I really like this but if you don't you can do it a different way. If you want tea leaf free noodles, I would brew the tea first, strain it then cook the noodles in them! 

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Now on to toppings and sauce. This would be delicious with a number of different sauces and I encourage you to pick your own. I like to use whatever ingredients I have so I whipped up a little stir fry of garlic, onions, salt and garlic chili paste! 

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Mix your noodles and enjoy! The minty flavor is very refreshing! I Wanted to share really quickly a book that my friend Lu-Ann over at The Cup Of Life wrote, it's filled with inspiration and I often like to read it when I'm enjoying tea! You should also check her out because she recently had me on her monthly "at the tea table"

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So there you have it, another fun and simple way to incorporate tea into your day! I want to encourage you to give Sips by a shot, not just because I partner with them but I think that their monthly boxes are seriously a great way to discover new teas if you're into that! Also, this weekend 100% of their sales will be donated to Hurricane Harvey Relief! 

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Bourbon Puerh Cocktail

Boozy Tea.

Ok, so I know I just made a similar drink with some bubbly but if you love bourbon you HAVE to try this! I enjoyed the green tea champagne drink so much I decided to tweak it for a different use. Enter, orange drop tea from White 2 Tea thanks to my Sipsby box!

P.s.You can use the code teathoughts for 50% off your first box!

Orange drop is a very special treat that I've been dying to try for some time! This is a  Xinhui Mandarin stuffed with ripe puerh tea. That's right, tea stuffed into a mandarin! This is meant to be brewed, skin and all. The mandarin sparked an idea. Old fashioned drinks often have the peel of an orange and it gives such a great flavor so I decided to try this tea with bourbon! 

You can steep this tea with the skin and in a tradition 4-6 oz pot or a larger pot. I actually decided to used my gaiwan that I love so much! This tea can be re-steeped 10 times so I suggest tasting the tea after the first steep to make sure you like the flavor. You could even keep different steeps separate and use the one where the taste is best. For my drink, I combined the 1st and 2nd steep. 

Why sour cherries? Before I go crazy and buy everything from the store, I often try to create a recipe with whatever I have in my fridge because that is more conveniant and I want these recipes to be easy and low effort! I had some sour cherries from the farmer's market and I remember that sometimes bartenders put cherries in an old fashioned. The less ingredients in my drink the better, BUT this means I know that the flavors more or less work! 

I'm not sure if you've ever had a sour cherry, or if you like sour things but they are absolutely delicious. I thought the flavors of the orange drop and cherries would go well and the cherries would also soak up the alcohol well. I used shot glass measurements for this drink. I used 1/2 of a shot of bourbon, 1.5 shots of tea and the rest was the sparkling wine. Let me tell you, ONE of these packs a punch! 

The sparkling wine brings some sweetness to this drink and you are always welcome to replace it with a dry champagne!

Just like the other cocktail I made, this is bubbly and fun and great for a party or a maybe an intimate celebration! 

BTW: I don't work for Bulleit, I just love their bourbon so much. Ever since we discovered it, its always on our shelf. It's great neat but it also is perfect for a mixed drink! 

Happy Sipping! 

Garlic Jasmine Oolong Rice

Tea Rice.

I've probably mentioned on my blog or instagram before that I LOVE rice. It's pretty difficult not to when you grow up in a Persian household. Like tea, rice is very central to our culture. Rice is an essential ingredient in most dishes and I've always thought it was something that held together our stews. 

That being said, my favorite rice is definitely basmati. Basmati rice is what I grew up eating and it's my favorite to cook as well. A while ago, I got a Blue Apron meal where there was a garlic jasmine rice recipe. I don't often use jasmine rice but it was a simple and delicious recipe that I have recreated almost every time I marinate meat with Japanese inspired spices. Most times when I cook I think to myself, how can I incorporate tea into this dish? ENTER Alishan Oolong from Terroir Tea Merchant! 

**Blue Apron is a meal service that my boyfriend and I enjoy sometimes! I have 5 free meals I can send so leave your email address in the comments if you would like to try it!**

I hear so many people talk about how cooking is so difficult and that's why they don't do it. I totally disagree, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Unlike baking, cooking gives you a lot more room for experimentation and that is the best part. I like to share simple recipes so that anyone can try them at home. This recipe doesn't get much easier!  

Essentially, you are replacing the water used in the recipe to cook the rice with brewed tea. The tea cooks the rice and also infuses it with the oolong flavor.

Again thanks to Sipsby I got to create a unique dish! The Alishan Oolong is described as buttery, floral and nutty. These flavors cut the garlic the perfect amount and give the rice a little more depth than when it's cooked with plain water. 

Pair this rice with your fvaorite dish! I suggest someting either slightly sweet or slightly spicy :) 

Oolong Granita

Shaved tea!

Granita is a classically Italian ice dessert that is similar to sorbet but made by hand and therefore flakier. The granita I made kinda reminded of the "shaved ice" we use to get as kids but instead of being flavored with artificial sugar color, it's flavored with delicious Shangri-La oolong from Nepal Tea! 

It's summer so the majority of my Sips by teas are going to be turned into some sort of cool treat! 

The Shangri- La oolong is described as "spicy" and full bodied so I decided to add some cardamom pods to intensify the flavor but in a sweeter way. Green cardamom pods are so easy to incorporate into teas. For a stronger flavor, crack open the pods and throw them in the brewing tea. It will get strained anyway so no harm done if seeds sneak out of the pods!

It's important to use a container that is able to go in the freezer without cracking. I bought this glass bread pan from the grocery store and it can handle both hot and cold! I let the tea cool down in this dish. 

I wasn't able to get good photos of the progress but basically if you check on the granita every 20-30 minutes you will see it starting to harden. Make sure to push the edges of the granita into the center every time you check on it. 

What this will do is start creating the flaky type texture you see here. After there is no water left and all of the granita is frozen, scoop it out and enjoy! I missed a few chunks that were larger and they froze but I was able to run a fork along the chunks to shave them down. 

Do you have a favorite summer recipe that you want me to incorporate tea into? Share with me in the comments or contact me!

Bliss Tub Tea

Blissful Relaxation.

In my latest Sips by box I received some Bliss Tea from Higher Tea. This blend includes St. John's wort and Zhen Mei Green Tea. 

St. John's Wort is known to have benefits such as treating depression, reducing inflammation and anxiety! Those sound like the perfect ingredients for a bath - I was sold!

I decided to add in some epsom salts and lavender to help your skin feel smooth and the aroma from the lavender is so wonderful! 

One of the perks of the Sips by box is that it comes with these bags to have your tea on the go but they are also perfect to make the tub tea!

It's important to use a bag with a drawstring or some sort of closure to reduce the mess in the bathtub!

I filled my bags about 3/4 of the way full. Leave enough space so that the tea can infuse the bath water. 

These make a great gift for any bath loving friends or family! 

Would you try these in your tub?!