Lemon Mint Tea (Using a Whole Lemon)

A refreshing, anti-inflammatory tea - served hot or cold! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

This easy tea combines the gentle flavor of mint with the bright, fresh flavors of lemon. I drink a quart of this almost every day as it makes me feel more energized and keeps me hydrated. It’s also soothing to drink when sick. Add honey for sweetness or when you have a sore throat. Pour over ice to make a refreshing iced tea!

This definitely has a big lemon punch to it, so if you don’t enjoy flavors on the sour side, don’t steep as long.

I created this method of making tea when I was brainstorming ways to include lemon peel in my diet on a more regular basis. I’ve been working on adding more anti-inflammatory foods into my diet, and lemon peel caught my eye.

Extracts from lemon peel have been studied in a wide variety of applications. It’s been associated with having an anti-cancer effect. 1, 2, It has possible uses for helping with heartburn and cholesterol caused gallstones. 3 Orange peel extracts could help with inflammation as much as ibuprofen. 4 Low Doses of Citrus peel extracts (CPE) “most likely can be used for the treatment of the T cell-mediated liver injury as in autoimmune hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, and chronic viral hepatitis.” 5.

Note that many of these studies were done with animals, and are still in beginning stages of research. But so far there is a lot of exciting research showing many potential benefits. My tea is not going to be the same as the strong extracts used in the above studies, but I figure it can’t hurt!

All to say, citrus peels not only add a big oomph of flavor, but they could be helping our health. This recipe is just one easy way to first of all not waste the most flavorful part of the lemon –the peel. But it also is a gentle way to include some of the benefits of citrus peel in your diet.

Notes on ingredients and supplies:

  • I make my tea in this French Press . I leave the lid off while it steeps, so there is no plastic and heat interaction. You could easily do this in a small pot, but I like the convenience of using my French Press.
  • Use whatever favorite mint tea brand you like! We recently planted to several types of peppermint in pots on our porch so that we have fresh available to use in recipes like this. But you can also use bulk peppermint tea,
  • Buy the best lemons you can. I buy organic lemons. Conventional peels may (will) have pesticide residue or waxes. I believe that organic lemons can have some waxes too, but use beeswax based ones. Best case scenario would be getting lemons completely untreated!

A refreshing, anti-inflammatory tea - served hot or cold! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Lemon Mint Tea (Using the Whole Lemon)

PDF for Printing 

  • 1 lemon, organic, washed well and thinly sliced
  • 2 bags of peppermint tea, loose tea equivalent, or several sprigs of fresh

Place thinly sliced lemon and peppermint in French Press. Heat purified water to boiling point. Pour over lemon and peppermint tea filling to the band on the French Press. Let steep for 15-30 minutes – the longer you leave it, the stronger it will become.

Drink plain, with honey, and reheated, if desired. I enjoy mine not super hot, so it’s usually perfect after steeping about 20 minutes.

Research Sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11142088
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7948106
3. 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18072821
4. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453014000056
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121996/

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Creamy Winter House Salad Dressing

This dairy-free salad dressing will help you enjoy dark greens all year long! The secret to it's wonderful taste? Two special ingredients.

This creamy dairy-free dressing has rich undertones from surprising ingredients that make it perfect for dressing salads during the cold winter months.

Lately I’ve been craving big green salads and I’ve been almost obsessed with making this dressing to go over it!

The backstory to this dressing was a beautiful bottle of salad dressing my in-laws gave me from a restaurant up in Canada. My husband and I liked it so much that we were very sad when the bottle was used up. I wanted to create something similar in taste, but their dressing had a long list of ingredients, so I wanted something simpler to make at home. I honed it on two of the ingredients – tahini paste (ground sesame seeds) and tamari (gluten-free soy sauce). It sounds like such a strange addition to salad dressing, and a strange combination too, but it works so well!

When combined with olive oil and vinegar, the tahini adds depth of flavor, richness, and creaminess to the dressing. The tamari adds a more complex saltiness than just salt alone, and a deep satisfying flavor.

These two ingredients appear to be the secret to dressing we enjoyed from Canada, as it does taste very similar, despite being so much simpler.

A word on ingredients:

  • This is a good Organic Tamari brand.
  • Don’t use toasted tahini paste. I’ve been using a wonderful organic tahini paste from Trader Jo’s. This Organic Sesame Paste  looks similar. In the past, some tahini brands have been hard to deal with because the paste had gotten very hard, making it difficult to work with, but this brand and Trader Jo’s shouldn’t be a problem.
  • I prefer raw apple cider vinegar. If you need a substitute, I’d try fresh lemon juice.

I make this in a wide mouth mason jar with a wide mouth plastic mason jar lid (nonreactive lid).

For another dairy-free yet creamy salad dressing, see this other favorite salad dressing that pairs balsamic vinegar and coconut milk. Also, check out my cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons for practical, beautiful salads.

This dairy-free salad dressing will help you enjoy dark greens all year long! The secret to it's wonderful taste? Two special ingredients.

Creamy Winter House Dressing

PDF file to print recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce, if not gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup of raw apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions: 

In a quart-sized mason jar (or container of choice), use a fork to combine the tahini paste and tamari, until smooth. Add the vinegar, and stir until smooth. Add the olive oil and stir again until combined. Put on the lid to the jar, tightly, and then shake to completely combine.

Serve right away, or keep refrigerated. Let the dressing sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, and then shake to recombine ingredients, if refrigerated. (I keep my dressing in the door so that it won’t harden quite as much as when I put it in the back of my fridge).

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Instant Raspberry Hot Cocoa Mix (Dairy-free)

instant-raspberry-hot-cocoa

By Katie Mae Stanley of Nourishing Simplicity

Rich cocoa mingling with creamy coconut and tangy raspberries.

Cold winter days were made for hot cocoa. It’s the time of year that is perfect for warming yourself by the fire and wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of cocoa.

You love hot cocoa, you savor the simple art of heating the milk on your stove in your favourite stainless steel pot and mixing your cocoa and sweetener together and whisking it into the milk.

But some days, you just can’t. You may be having a busy day. Or maybe you are just.too.tired.

Instant cocoa mixes from the store are tempting for those days when you aren’t going to be able to make a cup from scratch. Unfortunately, the ingredients are generally not nourishing. If you need it to be dairy-free, you are going to be hard pressed to find one.

Did you know that you can make your own dairy-free mix in 5 minutes?

Coconut milk powder is my go to for making instant hot cocoa. It is dairy-free and full of nutrients.

A basic mix is always nice to have on hand but sometimes you want something a little different. Raspberry and chocolate have long been a favourite combination of mine, second only to peppermint. I have enjoyed many cups of raspberry Earl Grey hot cocoa over the years.

This instant raspberry hot cocoa mix only has five ingredients, coconut milk powder, cocoa powder, unrefined sugar, freeze dried raspberries, and unrefined salt. It is perfect for those days when you need an easy to prepare cup of hot cocoa! If you prefer you can use powdered cow or goat milk.

Ingredients Needed:

Instant raspberry hot cocoa mix is also a perfect gift when paired with a cute mug!

Instant Raspberry Hot Cocoa Mix

  • 2 cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered cocoa (Fair trade and organic, preferred)
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1/8 tsp unrefined salt

Directions:

1: Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for about one minute or until the raspberries are completely powdered.

2:  Sift the mix into a bowl using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer to remove the raspberry seeds.

3: Store in a glass jar for up to a year.

Mix 1 to 3 TBS of cocoa mix with 8 ounces of hot water depending on the desired strength of the cocoa. Stir until smooth. Top with coconut milk whipped cream if desired.

Instant Raspberry Hot Cocoa
 
Serves: 3½ cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered cocoa
  • ¾ cup unrefined sugar
  • ⅛ tsp unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for about one minute or until the raspberries are completely powdered.
  2. Sift the mix into a bowl using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer to remove the raspberry seeds.
  3. Store in a glass jar for up to a year.
  4. Mix 1 to 3 TBS of cocoa mix with 8 ounces of hot water depending on the desired strength of the cocoa. Stir until smooth. Top with coconut milk whipped cream if desired.

 

 

Easiest Gluten Free Cake from a Muffin Mix

This super easy and frugal gluten free cake got rave reviews! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

One of the things that made me first love being in the kitchen was baking. I love baking! Warm bread from the oven, juicy pies, sweet cakes, healthy muffins, pizza, bagels ¬– I love it all. I especially loved making baked good for my family and friends. I still have my love of baking, but I don’t always have the time or energy now to spend as much time baking as I’d like. In fact, as we have been in survival mode as I go through treatment for a chronic health issue, I’ve hardly been baking at all.

For us this last year, if we were in the kitchen it was making the most basic of basic things while we tried to figure out my health issues (things like super easy skillet dinners). Dinner was a priority. Making cookies weren’t.

However, when there was a special occasion (such as a birthday), I really needed to make sure I made something special for the girls. To them, it’s not a birthday unless we have cake. A couple of years ago they were horrified that I didn’t have a cake on my birthday. It was like having Christmas without a Christmas tree to them!

So while this addition to my series, The Low Energy Guide to Healthy Cooking, isn’t exactly centered on a healthy main dish, I think it’s important for those of us who need a relatively healthy option for gluten-free cake making for our family.

My youngest has a birthday coming up, and we had two fall birthdays, all during a time of ill health for me. I’ve never found baking to be tiring until recently when I’ve found most kitchen tasks to be tiresome and have had to keep things as simple as possible.

As I was scrambling to make the all important birthday cake, I figured out a method that kept sugar content lower and made things super easy and fast for me. Win-win!

My New “Secret” GF Cake Trick

You all know that I am a make-it-by-scratch all the time type person. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the girl’s birthdays coming up, I knew that having a homemade cake for them was really important to them. I was feeling extreme fatigue at that time, though, so I knew my usual soaked gluten-free cakes were not going to be an option. I also knew that all of the gluten-free cake mixes were extremely sweet – something we didn’t enjoy.

In a moment of inspiration, I found a gluten-free muffin mix that was more lightly sweetened and had good (not perfect, but good) ingredients in it. When I compared it to some of the gluten-free cake mixes, the muffin mix was only about half of the sugar content per serving!

We made it into a lemon cake for my ten-year-old’s birthday by simply adding lemon zest to the mix with homemade lemon frosting once it was baked. For my six-year-old, we added vanilla and sprinkles for a fun cake that she adored.

It wasn’t too sweet, they were super easy to make (even for me with my fatigue), and my girls felt loved and happy with their cakes. When I served this cake to guests at their birthday party, I was gratified to see that everyone liked the cake, and even a hard-to-please family member complimented me on the cake. Great news for a gluten-free cake made out of a muffin mix! With a frosting, the sweetness it just right for a birthday cake.

For their joint, Pokemon party, we did the same trick and made it into a Pokemon ball cake.

Tips for Success

This is the gluten free muffin mix we used.
Instead of using muffin tins, I just greased two cake pans. It took roughly the same amount of time to cook as the muffins on the package instructions. Since this will make thin layers, check for doneness a couple of minutes early. You can also make just one cake layer (just add more time to the cooking time).
I added lemon zest to both the cake and a simple frosting for the lemon cake (one lemon for each).
For the sprinkle cake, I added vanilla to the batter along with a generous amount of sprinkles. For the frosting, I used freeze dried raspberries and blended them into a powder in my blender. I added that to a simple butter frosting, and then lightly sprinkled with sprinkles.
For the Pokemon cake, I kept it a simple vanilla cake by adding 2 teaspoons of vanilla and then decorated with dark chocolate chips and red sprinkles on top of a plain butter frosting.
I was in survival mode, so I didn’t think of it in time, but you can order naturally dyed sprinkles! (Examples:This one or this one. )

Other ideas: Chocolate chip cake – add chocolate chips, Orange cake – use orange zest, Lemon Poppyseed: Zest of one lemon and 1 tablespoon of poppyseeds.

Two other bonuses? This is a very inexpensive cake to make. I thought about buying a cake from a gluten-free local bakery, but it would have been at least 6- 10 times the price. Plus, it’s so easy to put together even a beginner baker can easily make it (like one of your children!).

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