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Honey Ginger Lemon Tea – A Cold Reliever

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Yesterday there was a blizzard here in the Midwest.  It was super fun to be snowed in, even though it was Super Bowl Sunday. We stayed in our jammies all day, I made a big ol’ lasagna, and my Avery made some chocolate chip cookies.  It was a super slow, super chill, super fun Super Bowl Sunday!

Today my 3 girls had a snow day as the roads were still a mess and the windchill was too low to be outside and stay safe.

We decided it is the perfect day for tea, especially when my Avery girl (11 years old) came to me and said “Mom, I think I’m getting a cold.  My nose is stuffy and my throat is a little sore and has ‘stuff’ running down the back of it.”  Oh no. Not cool.  Especially when she has been home bound for 2 days already.  She will be extra bored with a 3rd day at home, especially if she is not feeling well.

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Time for a cup of good, healthy tea.

I’ve been drinking this particular tea every morning, shortly after I wake up, and before I have a cup of coffee.  It is a great way to hydrate and get all those amazing good things that lemon- in -water gives you.  The addition of honey and ginger makes the tea even more nutritious. When I drink it in the mornings, I add a pinch of cayenne.  I’ve read that it is a great way to stimulate the liver to do its detoxifying magic first thing in the morning.  Read more about that here. 

I know when I have a cold, sipping on something hot is so very soothing.  I prefer something hot & light…like chamomile tea or this honey ginger lemon tea.  The steam will warm you  right up, and the ginger & lemon will help clear sinuses, and the honey will help soothe a sore throat. My sweet Avery certainly enjoyed it
and was very thankful for her cup of tea.  Later I will make her my Sweet Tart Smoothie for even more nutrition from aronia berries.  I do not want this cold going anywhere but away!

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The lemon in the tea gives a nice dose of vitamin C & there is wonderful goodness to the essential oils that diffuse into the tea from the rind of the lemon.  The ginger, honey and lemon all have their own natural medicinal qualities so when you drink them combined, they create a calming and relaxing tea that can ease cold symptoms and boost immunity.

This cleansing tea will become a favorite , whether you have a cold or not.  Make it for your family.  You will love it and so will they.  It tastes like a lightly sweetened hot lemon drink, with just a hint of ginger flavor.  It is so very thirst quenching and soothing.

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Before we move on to the recipe, I have a great tip for having ginger on hand and how to store it. It is to keep it in the freezer.  I like to store it in mason jars in the freezer 2 ways.  One–sliced thinly for tea.  Two–in chunks in a jar ready to be grated and used in the next recipe…like Korean Beef over Rice.  Frozen ginger is easy to peel and grate, and it lasts so much longer in the freezer.

Here are 7 of the top benefits of ginger:

1. Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body.
2. Ginger clears the “microcirculatory channels’ of the body, including the pesky sinuses that tend to flare up from time to time.
3. If you chew on ginger, it will help with nausea and airsickness.
4. Got a tummy ache?  Eat some ginger.
5. Joints giving you trouble?  Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can bring relief.
6. If it is cold outside, ginger tea has warming benefits.
7. Rid throat and nose congestion by drinking ginger tea!

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Don’t you love that porcelain infuser teacup?  It was a gift and it is my fav.  Buy it here.

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On to the recipe.

 

Honey Ginger Lemon Tea

6 oz hot water

1 teaspoon raw honey

1 teaspoon thinly sliced ginger

1/2 lemon

 

~Start heating up water.  I LOVE my electric tea kettle and use it everyday.  It does a great job of heating the water quickly and keeping it warm for multiple cups of tea throughout the morning.

~Take a tea cup that has an infuser in it, and using a fork, pierce the half of lemon while holding it over the infuser and twist the fork and lemon to juice it.  Squeeze as much of the juice out of the lemon half as possible.  Cut the lemon half into 2-4 pieces.  Add them to the infuser.

~Meanwhile, take 1 teaspoon of thinly sliced ginger and put into the infuser.  (Slice using a mandolin and store in the freezer in a mason jar.)

~Last, take 1 teaspoon of honey and drizzle it over the lemon and ginger.

~Put the infuser into the cup of tea, then pour hot water over.

~Let steep 3-4 minutes.

~Lift the infuser our of the cup and enjoy your amazingly light, clean, fresh & oh- so- good for you Honey Ginger Lemon Tea!

Counting Gifts/ FAMILY/ Featured

My New Way Of Counting Gifts

Moleskine -Journal-Planner

Thanks to Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts,  I have been counting gifts for years.

The most helpful time to count gifts was when I was going through cancer treatment.  I know during that trying time it helped immensely to focus on the blessings in life. I even got my girls involved and we together we looked for ‘treasures’ to count.  The good even in the bad.

When I become mindful of all of the wonderful things there are to discover in a day, it changes me.  It changes my attitude, my heart, & my perspective.  It is hard to have a bad day when you are looking for gifts to write down.

I love having and using tools to help this process.  The camera in my phone is one such tool.  I often take photos of things I see as blessings, big or small, and store them on Instagram.  I call them ‘Captured Life Tidbits‘ –they are just all the ‘goodies’ of life that I find beautiful.  I have also used the notes app in my phone to list gifts, but I found I’m more successful when they are written on paper.

I’ve been thinking a lot about listing the gifts and being faithful in keeping track of them day by day. Because it has been on the forefront of my mind, I was delighted to find the perfect tool for listing all the wonderful tidbits of life.

Enter Moleskine 2015 Weekly Diary/Planner 

I am a huge Moleskine fan, and have over 10 Moleskine journals that I have written in throughout the years.  They are a well-made classic.  I know there are so many cute journals out there, but I’m a pretty simple girl who loves plain & classic. I picture how a journal will look lined up on a bookcase, and I always end up grabbing a simple Moleskine.

I’ve always bought the hard cover journals, but lately I’ve been crushing on their soft cover journals that come in a package of 3.  I keep them in my bag.  I use my phone note app for a lot of things, but for certain things (like my Christmas list) I like having a paper journal to write in.

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The 2015 Moleskine Weekly Diary/Planner

It has the perfect amount of space to list gifts each day. The new 2015 journal gives you a few days before the new year to start, which I have taken full advantage of.

I will pull it out of my bag during the day when I am at home, and have it in a central location or close by to jot down a gift when I notice one.  I will also take it with me in my bag for on- the- go gift listing, but if I forget to grab it, I use Siri to help me list the gifts while I’m on the car or out and about.  I then grab my journal right before bed and transfer any lists of gifts that i mad during the day on my phone.  It then is right there by my bed when I wake up, ready for me to find my perspective for the new day.

Can you see why I need something that is well made and durable?  This book will be by my side and on the move all year!

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So there is my plan.

What do you think?

Have you ever counted and listed the amazing goodie- tidbit gifts of life?

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Brunch/ Featured/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I needed some chocolate asap, and I also knew I needed to figure out how to get a bit of protein, iron and fiber into my body. I had skipped my daily green smoothie so I knew I was missing some of these key nutrients.  Enter, the chia seed, and hello Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding!

I got this craving at 7:30 in the evening just as the sun was going down. I hurried to gather my ingredients to take advantage of the fading natural light for photos. I’m not kidding when I say this takes just a minute to make. It was so easy! Milk of your choice, cocoa powder, chia seeds, peanut butter & maple syrup. Throw it all into a cup measure and stir!

 

The hardest part of this recipe is having the patience for the chia seed to do its thing. It takes a few minutes for the chia to swell and absorb the liquid to turn it into a pudding consistency. The top photo was take after 5 minutes of refrigeration. It still was on the runny side, but I was impatient and my light was fading. It thickened up enough to use as a dip for apples in just about 10 more minutes.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding
{makes 1 serving}
1/2 cup milk ( I used almond.  Can use dairy or coconut or whatever you desire)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
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Frozen berries (optional)
Throw all into a cup and stir. Refrigerate, stirring every few minutes, until desired consistency…up to 20 minutes. (I ate mine after 10 minutes)
I’ve talked about chia before.  It is a superstar superfood and I love it.  I bought the above book and devoured it in 2 days. My family had fun teasing me, as I sat and read my book while drinking a bottle of chia kombucha.
                More about chia from The Wellness Warrior:
1. Chia is gluten free
2. It is super high in dietary fibre, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues.
3. It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart. Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon!
4. It boasts 20% protein
5. The protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids
6. It is high in antioxidants (It has a four times higher ORAC value than blueberries)
7. Chia contains five times more calcium than milk
8. Chia contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges
9. It contains three times more iron than spinach
10. It contains twice the potassium content of banana
11. It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails
12. It has a positive impact balancing blood glucose levels (making it awesome for diabetics)
13. Chia makes a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg.

 

Featured/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES

Date Paste – A Healthy. Raw Sweetener

Date Paste is popular in the raw food world.  After making it a few times myself, I can see why!  I am not a fan of dates-maybe it is their shriveled up wrinkly appearance but when softened with water and blended in a food processor into a smooth paste, then I become a BIG fan!

Date paste is creamy and has an almost “caramel-y” like flavor that I fell for immediately. My favorite way to use date paste is on my oatmeal in place of brown sugar.  I have also used it to sweeten smoothies & chia oats. We have spread it on tortillas, added banana & chia, then rolled up as a healthy snack (post on that coming soon!)  My kids loved these, but FYI, make the date paste when they are not around.  My girls saw the dates soaking and were a bit skeptical to try it.  The second time I made it, I did it privately, and called it “sweetener.”  They ate it up.

So why go to the trouble to make date paste?  Well, first, it is not much trouble.

Second, I like that it is one more way to satisfy our sweet tooth while keeping blood sugar levels stable due to the fiber that dates contain. They are also good source of iron, vitamin A & potassium. They have their fair share of antioxidants and are not processed like most sweeteners are.

I have seen date paste used not just raw, but in all types of baking, like this Banana Date Paste Bread Pudding, which I want to try, it looks awesome!

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Date Paste

1 1b Medjool dates

1/2 cup reserved soaking water

Pit and cover dates with water.  Soak for 10 minutes.  Pour off water reserving 1/2 cup.  Process in food processor until desired consistency, adding more water if needed.  Place in a jar and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

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What about you?  Do you look for more healthful ways to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Featured/ HEALTH/ Natural Products

Homemade Face Moisturizer

 

I’m pretty excited about this Homemade Face Moisturizer.  I’ve been using it for about a week and I’m loving how my skin is looking and feeling.  I especially love that I know exactly what is in it, and that each ingredient is pure and good for the skin.

I recycled a dropper container that is a great reminder to me of the money I am saving by making my own Face Moisturizer.  The face product that was in that bottle previously costs about $30.00!

The recipe was linked up to my Anti-Procrastination Tuesday Link Party from the awesome Rebekah at Potholes and Pantyhose.  She did a great, month- long series on homemade products, which is where I got this recipe.  She did a price workup of this and a 2.5 ounce bottle is $.75 cents!  Now that’s a deal! (Click through for the price breakdown.)

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Homemade Face Moisturizer
4 Tbsp 100% Aloe Vera Juice (the drinkable kind)
1 tsp Vegetable Glycerine
6 drops Jojoba Oil
1/4 tsp Sweet Almond Oil

1 Container to keep the moisturizer in.

Measure all into container.  You may need to use a funnel.

Before each use, shake well.  This is not a creamy product, it is quite watery.  Apply using a cotton pad or your clean fingertips.  It will take a minute to dry, but as it does, it will absorb and leave you with soft, silky smooth skin!

If you need more moisture, just add a bit more of the oils until you get the level your specific skin type needs.  The above recipe was just perfect for mine.

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Here is some information for each product used in this recipe, from Rebekah’s research:

Aloe Vera Gel
here are just a few things it does besides cool sunburn: kills bacteria, virus and fungus.  The salicylic acid in aloe vera also acts as a pain killer.  That explains why it’s so soothing for burns.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Vegetable Glycerin
A topical remedy for a number of skin problems, including psoriasis, rashes, burns, bedsores & cuts.

Jojoba Oil
Provides all day moisture to skin. Jojoba oil doesn’t evaporate like water based moisturizers can.  It is theorized, but not yet proven, that because jojoba oil is so similar to human skin oil, it can “trick” the skin into thinking it has produced enough oil and thus balance oil production.  It is very stable, jojoba oil does not become rancid or lose antioxidants even after long periods of storage.  It spreads well and is absorbed well. The organic variety is free of pesticides, GMO’s and is sustainably farmed.

Sweet Almond Oil
Almond oil is an excellent emollient and moisturizer.  As an emollient it nourishes and softens the skin helping to keep it smooth to the touch.  Almond oil is similar in composition to the oil baby’s excrete to keep their skin and hair healthy.  This composition is beneficial to protecting and conditioning your skin no matter your age.  By helping the skin stay healthy it promotes a youthful skin complexion.  Almond oil is frequently used to treat dry skin.  It relieves itchiness, soreness, rashes, dryness, irruption and burns.  Almond oil aides the skin in keeping the proper balance of moisture in the skin which is critical when treating dry skin.

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For an extra special treat to your skin, use this sugar and lemon juice scrub in the video above, then follow up with Homemade Face Moisturizer.  My 3 little lovelies did this with me on a recent “beauty spa day” and I was amazed at how it even made their beautiful young skin glow!

You may also like:
2 Ingredient Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

Stay tuned for what I have been using to cleanse my face!

Featured/ POPULAR/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Bars – The Best Recipe I’ve Ever Messed Up

 

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars Close Ups

Hmm, what to call this chocolate bar recipe? I kind of messed up a chewy granola bar recipe and ended up with absolutely awesome oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter heaven! How is that for a name?

 

The Recipe Search for Chewy Chocolate Bars

I’ve been on the lookout for a gooey, chewy granola bar recipe. I checked out some of my favorite sites, and I should have known Heavenly Homemaker’s has been on the same hunt. She, too, wanted one with no corn syrup, and of course, she came up with one. It is one I really want to try again so I can do it right and experience her true recipe, but oh my, am I glad I messed it up because the concoction it made was DELISH!

 

Two Amazing Recipes for Chewy No-Bake Bars

So you can experience both, I will give you my “oh so good, messed up version”, then I will post her chewy granola bar recipe. I’ll try it again soon and can’t wait. I tasted the mixture after adding the oats and before adding the last cup of my “combination” and it was peanut buttery goodness.

 

Continue Reading…

Drinks/ Featured/ FUN/DIY/ RECIPES/ Seasonal

Homemade Gifts-Peppermint Stick Cocoa

I have seen SO many great homemade gift ideas this year.   I really want to write a post featuring them all, but they are all disorganized and saved in my bookmarks, or starred somewhere on my reader. You would think I would would take the time (2 clicks!) to clip and annotate them to my Circus Ponies Notebook, but….no.  Gotta work on that!

I read so many blogs a day thanks to my Google Reader –I’ll post about this soon for those who don’t know what it is– so I come across many, many great ideas.  My head started to feel spinny whenever I would think about what I wanted to do.  I finally had to just pick one, so Peppermint Stick Cocoa it is.  I thought the layers were pretty, especially the mini-chocolate chips and the crushed peppermint candies.  Plus, I got to use a mason jar!  I like that I can do smaller jars for 1-2 people and larger jars for families.  (if you click on the link, you will see that they put it in a very cool square-ish jar.  I love it and you can buy them at wal-mart, but at almost 3 times the cost of a mason jar.  They are very cool but not THAT cool!:)

Peppermint Stick Cocoa
Layer the ingredients for homemade cocoa in a jar, add a ribbon, embellishment, and a tag, and you have a simple but cute gift.  This mix will fill a 1 quart jar (12 servings), but if your containers are different sizes, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant.  On the back of the tag, write: “Mix contents in a bowl.  For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in one cup boiling water.  Store remaining mix in airtight container.

1 cup powdered milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy

Layer powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and peppermint candy.
Yeild: Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

I used a 16 oz jar (1 pint) and halved the recipe, this serves 6.  I also made 8 oz jars (1/2 pint) and adjusted the measurements, this serves 3.

16 oz jar measurements (1 pint) serves 6
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy

8 oz jar measurements (1/2 pint) serves 3
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/8 cup crushed peppermint candies

I like giving away homemade gifts to people like co-workers, school teachers, mailman, neighbors, piano teacher, pastor, and friends.  Just a little something to let them know I am thinking of them during the Christmas season.

My oldest daughter and I made these together today, while the younger 2 watched a Christmas movie.  It was the perfect thing to do on a “school’s- out -snow- day!”  It went pretty smoothly, I do wish peppermint candies came pre-crushed!  Beating them with the rolling pin did not work, banging them with the bottom of a mason jar did not work, finally we got out the hammer and with some muscle–it worked!  Those were some hard- headed peppermints!  Once we had the candy crushed and a fun little math lesson with the measurements, we were good to go.  We made an assembly line, and got busy!

We found that with the small 8 oz jar size, we needed to change up the order so that the peppermints would show.  We did sugar, cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips, crushed peppermints, salt and powdered milk.  Much prettier that way.  In the 16 oz jars, we kept the order as stated in the recipe.

After my girls had some igloo fun in the snow, they came in and sipped on some Peppermint Stick Cocoa.  It was very chocolate-y and very good;  so good that I got impatient when I had to say no at least 9 times when they asked for more. (3 times per girl, 3 girls).  I will blame their persistence on the addictive nature of the cocoa drink, because of course, my girls would respect their mothers “no” the first time, so they must have been on a chocolate high. Ha! Um, yea–guess we gotta work on that one!

Ask Anna

 

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