How to Make Herbal Tea without a Tea Bag

Making herbal tea is easy. So easy that I almost wrote this post in “pig latin”  You guys are smart.  You need something more challenging than boiling water and dropping in some herbs.

My brain has the tendency to complicate things.  When I first learned how to make herbal teas, I didn’t believe it.  Making an herbal tea couldn’t be that easy… could it?  I re-read the instructions over and over looking for the “complicated part.”

Guess what.

There is no complicated part.

With that said, let’s get started.  Herbal teas are sold in their own little individual pouches and while that is easy and convenient, it isn’t the most cost-effective… or creative for that matter.  To make your own herbal tea, you are going to need the following items:

1.  A pot

2. Water

3. Dried herbs of your choice

4. A fine mesh strainer or tea-pot with mesh strainer.

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Fill your pot with water.  Heat on high until boiling.  Sometimes my husband sets the timer to remind himself that he is boiling water, but that really isn’t necessary.  Once your water is boiling, turn off the heat and remove your pot from the burner.

Now, hang with me.

This is where it doesn’t get tricky.

You are going to need about one tablespoon of herbs for one cup of water.  You can measure if you want… or if you are like me, you can just “guesstimate.”

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If you are using a teapot with a mesh strainer, dump your herbs on into the strainer part.  If the strainer is full, you have over “guesstimated.”

IMG_3320Carefully pour the boiling water over the herbs inside the mesh strainer.  Remember, the water is hot.

IMG_3324The herbs will start to look something like this:

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This is where you walk away.  Take a nap.  Hop in the shower.  Play with your kids.  Read a book.  Do whatever you want, just leave the tea alone for at least ten minutes.

The hot water is leaching out the nutrients from the herbs, otherwise known as steeping.  Steeping is what makes the tea a tea.  You will need to give the herbs at least ten minutes to do their job.

IMG_3331When the herbs are done steeping, the water will be a different color.

If you have waited for longer than ten minutes and your water hasn’t changed colors, your “guesstimate” was way off.  Try adding more herbs to the mixture.

If you have a mesh strainer, your job is pretty easy.  Like I mentioned above, you want to begin by boiling yourself some H2O.  When the water is boiling, remove the pot from the hot burner and drop your herbs into the water.

Give your herbs at least ten minutes to steep.

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Place the fine mesh strainer on a water pitcher.  With one hand holding the strainer, use the other to pour the herb-infused water.  Once again, be careful.  Your water is still pretty hot.

IMG_3340Your mesh strainer should catch 99.9% of all herbs.  If not, your strainer isn’t “fine” like mine.

IMG_3347 Once your tea is cooled enough for consumption, sit back and enjoy.  Congrats!  You did it!

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There are also Tea Strainer Balls that work just like a tea bag… only you have to fill them first.  Some of my favorite herbs to brew are licorice root, dandelion, red raspberry, peppermint, and rose buds.  Try adding a dab of honey for sweetness.

How To: Make Vegetable Broth Powder

My kids and I have this little game we like to play. I say “guess what?” and they reply with “chicken butt.” It is the only time they are allowed to say the word “butt.” Needless to say, they love the game very much.

Now it is our turn.

Guess what?

No.

Not chicken butt.

Homemade vegetable broth powder is amazing and easy to make. One of the main ingredients in this vegetable broth powder is nutritional yeast. It looks something like this:

what nutritional yeast powder looks like.

Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk aisle at most food stores in the form of flakes or powder.  A complete protein with high levels of B-complex vitamins, nutritional yeast is a friend to all.  Sprinkled on homemade popcorn, mixed in green smoothies, and/or  spread over a hot pan of roasted potatoes – nutritional yeast is simply amazing… but not on ice cream.  Trust me on that one.

I use this broth in soups and in place of salt on many of our favorite dishes.  The beginning price may be daunting, but the dried herbs will store and result in multiple batches of powdery goodness.  Make it by the bulk and enjoy it for a very long time.

Vegetable Broth Powder

2 cups Nutritional Yeast
1/2 cup sea salt
2 Tablespoons onion powder
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons marjoram (optional)
2 teaspoons dried powdered lemon peel (optional)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon powdered thyme
1 Tablespoon dried parsley

Incorporate everything from nutritional yeast to parsley in a dry blender.  With the lid firmly attached, blend spices until a smooth powder forms. This broth powder loves to be stored in an air tight container inside of a kitchen cupboard.  To make veggie broth, add 1 tbsp of powder to every quart of water.

With an insanely long shelf life, it will (most likely) outlive the life of my son’s eternal goldfish swimming around next to my kitchen sink lovingly named KaKaPooPoo, Hand, and Small.

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The majority of my spices were purchased online through Mountain Rose Herbs and nutritional yeast can be purchased on Amazon.  Simple.  In the end, I didn’t have to leave the house at all to purchase a two-year-supply of vegetable broth powder.  Love it!

How To: Make Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

Yesterday when I looked at the calendar, I was shocked to discover how quickly Thanksgiving is coming our way.

Thanksgiving equates to whipped cream in my book – healthy whipped cream.  There are a variety of dairy-free whipped creams available at your local health foods store, but they can be pricey and hard to find.  Making your own whipped cream with coconut milk is an inexpensive, yummy, and healthy way to enjoy the holiday festivities. I love this whipped cream on any dessert, breakfast, and hot chocolate.

Want to learn how to make your own?

 

Hot to Make Dairy Free Whipped Cream with Coconut Milk

 

First you are going to need a regular can of coconut milk, low-fat will not work.  Place the can of coconut milk standing upright in the refrigerator and leave it to chill overnight.  If you are in a pinch, you can place the can of coconut milk in the freezer for an hour, but only for one hour!  While the can of coconut milk is chilling, the heavier cream portion of the coconut is going to separate from the watery portion.  We want the heavier creamy portion, so be sure to open the can in the same position it was chilled in.

 

Open the can and scoop the creamy portion into your blender or vitamix.

The creamy portion will be very firm.  If your coconut milk is not firm, you will want to chill it a little more.  Your coconut milk should look something like this:

After you have removed all of the solid milk, you will see a creamy water substance at the bottom.   We will not use the coconut water in the whipped cream mixture.  Place the coconut water to the side and save it to add to your next smoothie.

Add 3-6 tbsp of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

 

Whip coconut milk in your blender, vitamix, or hand mixer until smooth.  Store your coconut whipped cream in your refrigerator.  Coconut whipped cream maintains a thicker quality the colder the temperature.

Yum!

How To: Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar should be renamed as the “Party Sugar.”  The light and airy substance of powdered sugar sings party time and instantly transforms any Monday into a Friday. Thank goodness its Friday?  No… Thank goodness it is powdered sugar.

 

But when you are monitoring the quality of sugar you are eating, party sugar created from unprocessed organic sugar is hard to find.  Today I am going to teach you how to bring the party back into your sugar.

 

How To: Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

To start you are going to need some unprocessed white sugar – organic if possible.  White unprocessed sugar is known as “Sugar in the Raw,” organic sugar, and more of a brown sugar substitute.  You might notice that the sugar crystals are larger which is a sign of higher nutrient content.  Yum.  Sugar that is healthy for you.   As a heads up the sugar will double in volume as it is powdered-ized.

Next, you are going to need a blender or some form of grinder.  I use my vitamix when I am creating large quantities and my toastmaster grinder when I need a small amount.  Today I am going to demonstrate with my toastmaster grinder.

Place no more than 1/4 cup of unprocessed sugar in the toastmaster.  If you try to powdered-ize more than that, the sugar will not be as fluffy.  Push the handy dandy button at the top and watch the sugar circle.

When the sugar is light and fluffy, remove the lid.

Simple.  Right?  Now you can use this simple homemade powdered sugar to compliment frosting, brownies, and life.  TGFHPS.  Thank Goodness For Healthy Powdered Sugar.  The party can start right now.

 

How To: Use Chia Seed as an Egg Replacement

Chia seeds are my culinary boyfriend. I love these little “poppy-seed-look-a-likes” in a way that I have never been able to love a flax seed. Unlike a flax seed, chia seeds are readily absorbed by the body in their natural state – which is pretty darn awesome if you ask me. And you want to absorb these little seeds because they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, complete proteins, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

I enjoy sprinkling chia seeds on a banana, adding them to a batch of oatmeal, and using them as an egg replacement. Chia seeds have an amazing ability to bind with other foods – which is super helpful if you are struggling with constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel syndrome, or irritable bowel syndrome. Chia gel promotes a healthy digestive tract with it’s mucilaginous gel that encourages bulkier stools and regularity – calmly.

As I mentioned earlier, you do not need to grind chia seeds to release their nutritional qualities, but I have found that when creating an egg replacement it works better if your chia seeds are a fine powder.  Grind those little chia seeds with a coffee grinder into a fine powder.

The chia powder is going to look something like this:

Now combine 1 Tablespoon fine chia powder with 3 Tablespoons liquid.  I prefer the consistency of chia seeds with a dairy-free-milk-alternative…. but you can judge that for yourself.

Allow your chia-milk-concoction to set for two to five minutes because it is going to turn all gooey.

How To:  Use Chia Seed as an Egg Replacement

  • 1 tablespoon of finely ground chia seeds in a coffee grinder.
  • 3 tablespoons liquid (I recommend soy milk, rice milk, or coconut milk)

Mix together and allow it to sit until gooey – approximately two to five minutes.

When you return, you will find a lovely gooey substance.  Use as a substitute in muffins, pancakes, cookies, and breads.  Your going to love chia seeds so much that you are going to be begging me to share my boyfriend with you… and I can share, just as long as you don’t ditch your husband to hang out with your chia seed boyfriend on a Friday night.  Not a good idea.  Trust me.

 

Chia seeds can be found at most health food stores or conveniently online.