Healthier Iced Peach Tea

Decaf Iced Peach Tea with Stevia

With the start of summer, it is not difficult to find delicious iced tea or lemonade recipes. The problem is they are usually full of sugar and with iced tea, lots of caffeine. For the moment, my husband must avoid caffeine and we want to avoid sugary drinks, which are bad for our health and teeth. As a dental hygienist, I am very concerned about the acid content of drinks. The best drink, of course, is water, but it can be boring at times! We both enjoy water infused with fruit, but after a while that even gets monotonous. There is herbal tea, but….. So what can one drink occasionally as a treat, without too much sugar, acid or caffeine?

At Trader Joe’s I found a decaffeinated black tea, which has under gone “a very gentle process with natural water and effervescence.” I also found a peach juice sweetened with other fruit juices, instead of high fructose corn syrup. So I decided to put the two together to make a “healthier” peach tea sweetened with organic Stevia. Using 2 cups (16 ounces) of Dixie Peach Juice and 40 ounces of the black tea, the total calorie count came to 260 calories for 56 ounces of my iced peach tea!

Decaf Ice Peach Tea with Stevia

Ingredients:

  • 5 Trader Joe’s Decaffeinated Irish Breakfast Black Tea bags
  • 40 ounces water
  • Organic Liquid Stevia (I used 12 drops)
  • 2 cups Trader Joe’s Dixie Peach Juice
  • Yellow peaches slices for garnish
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • Lots of ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Using a medium pot, bring water to a boil and turn the heat off. Add tea bags and steep for 3 minutes.
  2. Cool tea and refrigerate in a pitcher until cold.
  3. Add peach juice and Stevia and stir thoroughly. Add ice cubes.
  4. Add ice cubes and fruit slices into tall glasses. Pour tea into glasses and serve.

Decaf Iced Peach Tea with Stevia

Advertisements

Simple and Healthy Matcha Green Tea Latte

IMG_3183

A few weeks ago on the “Today Show,” they did a segment on matcha green tea. That sparked my interest enough that I went to Starbucks to purchase a cold green tea latte. It was sweet and delicious and it reminded me of one of my favorite ice creams, green tea. So when I got home, I did some research on the internet and then proceeded to my local Teavana store. After getting over the sticker shock of the price of the matcha, I purchased the larger tin of tea, the bamboo whisk and the frother.

After reading more articles and recipes and viewing YouTube videos, I came up with the recipe that suited my needs. As far as sweetening the matcha tea, tea aficionados recommend rock sugar, because it doesn’t affect the flavor. They are also picky about using filtered water and filtered water for the ice! Well, I hope you enjoy my recipe and don’t be afraid to tweak it to your tastes!

Facts about Matcha Green Tea

  • Matcha is powdered green tea leaves, grown and prepared in a different method from traditional green tea.
  • It is contains more nutrients than steeped green tea. Matcha is rich in the antioxidants, polyphenols, which are connected to protection against cancer and heart disease, better blood sugar regulation, anti-aging and reducing blood pressure. Since matcha contains the entire ground tea leaf, it can contain over 100 times the powerful antioxidant EGCG provided from regular brewed green tea.
  • Lead contamination is a concern, even with organic tea. 90% of the lead is contained in the leaf, so a cup of matcha may have 30 times more lead than a regular cup of tea. According to Mercola.com, “no measurable amounts in Teavana brand, which get its tea leaves from Japan.” ConsumerLab.com recommends drinking no more than one cup per day and not serving it to children.
  • High quality matcha is expensive. Teavana Matcha, which is organic and from Japan, is $44.95 for 80 grams. One teaspoon is 3.5 grams, which comes to 22 servings per can. It is definitely cheaper than buying your lattes at Starbucks!
  • Matcha has more caffeine than steeped tea, up to 3 times as much. To give you a comparison a “Short” cup of coffee at Starbucks is 180 mg. of caffeine, while one teaspoon of Teavana Matcha is 41+ mg.
DSC_1780

Kitchen tools and ingredients necessary to make the matcha green tea latte: frother, rock sugar, matcha, teaspoon and bamboo whisk. Not pictured: milk and ice.

Bamboo whisk

The beautiful and delicate design of the bamboo whisk.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder (organic, ceremonial grade from Japan)
  • 4 teaspoons filtered water (very hot, but not boiling)
  • 3 teaspoon rock sugar simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup organic nonfat milk (or milk of your choice, like almond)
  • 1 cup ice made from filtered water

Directions:

  1. Sift green tea powder into a small bowl. Add hot water and whisk together using a bamboo whisk.
  2. Add simple syrup.
  3. In a glass pint measuring cup, frothe the milk.
  4. In a tall glass, add ice, matcha and most of the milk, stir well. Then top with remaining milk, which should be mostly foam. Sift a little matcha on top and serve immediately.

German Rock Sugar Simple Syrup: 

  • ¼ cup rock sugar
  • ¼ cup hot filtered water

Using a microwave safe dish, heat water until just boiling. Add the rock sugar and stir. Stir occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved. Can be stored in the refrigerator up to one week, according to Teavana. (Their recipe called for larger quantities, but I chose to use smaller amounts). I was able to get 17 teaspoons of simple syrup with my recipe.

IMG_3175

Blogger’s Note: Information for this blog came from the following sources:

http://time.com/3766975/matcha-green-tea/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/03/green-tea-benefits.aspx

http://www.teavana.com/the-teas/green-teas/p/matcha-japanese-green-tea

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/tea/green-tea-latte#size=

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

IMG_2261_2

With the Arctic Blast hitting a large area of the United States and seeing a pretty container of peppermint cocoa mix at Trader Joe’s, I thought it would be the perfect time for me to experiment making my own peppermint hot chocolate! After going to two stores, I was able to find the organic peppermint. Fortunately, it didn’t take very long to come up with the perfect recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic nonfat milk (80 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa (22 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (30 calories)
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract (3 calories)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Simply Organic Peppermint Flavor (0 calories)

Directions:

Heat milk in microwave or on cooktop. Add cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract and peppermint flavor. Stir well. The peppermint is an oil, so stir well.

Blogger’s note: You can go to the Simply Organic website and download their coupons!

Hot Chocolate

IMG_1850

With the weather changing, I decided to research one of my favorite cold weather beverages. For many years, I have bought the hot chocolate mixes. It was quick and easy and you could drink the “diet” product with only 25 calories! I never paid much attention to the ingredients, but my gut told me that I wasn’t going to like what I going to read. With that being said, I began my search with the most important ingredient, cocoa powder. In Cook’s Illustrated’s “Supermarket Cocoa Powder,” published November 1, 2012, they named Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa as winner of their taste test!

Upon the recommendation of Cook’s Illustrated, I bought the Hershey’s cocoa powder and another popular brand for comparison. First, I made the hot chocolate drinks using the two different powders and sweetening them with Stevia. My husband I both agreed that the Hershey’s cocoa tasted the best, but we were not happy with the taste of sweetener. Then I decided to try turbinado sugar. It is a less refined sugar and a popular brand is “Sugar in the Raw.” We both agreed that it was up to our standards and were happy to know that we won’t be drinking all those additives anymore!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic nonfat milk (80 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa (20 calories)
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado raw cane sugar (30 calories)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (3 calories)

Directions:

Heat milk in microwave or on the stove. Add cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla extract. Stir well and serve.

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/taste_tests/573-supermarket-cocoa-powder?incode=MCSCZ00L0

Organic Coffee with Pumkpin Pie Spice

IMG_1736

I switched over to organic coffee many months ago while shopping at Costco. How could anyone pass up a 32 ounce of organic coffee (100% arabica beans) for about ten dollars! It was a light to medium roast, perfect for me!

Now, I had to figure out how I was going to get my pumpkin pie spice coffee for my husband, who has to drink decaffeinated coffee, and me, who drinks regular. So this morning, I put 1 teaspoon of the “Pumpkin Pie Spice” that I made last week, into my freshly grounded coffee. It came out better than I what I expected!

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Make sure your spices aren’t too old. They lose their “intensity” over time.  Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and place in a container with a tight lid. Makes about 1/3 cup.

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee

  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Ground coffee enough to make 8 cups

Place the Pumpkin Pie Spice into the filter along with the ground coffee. Brew and serve. Since every coffee is different, you may have to make a slight adjustment to the amount of the spice.