Tea is . . . my cup of tea! I love that there are so many varieties available that meet me my body where it is for the day, whether that’s requiring an instant pick-me-up, desperately craving better sleep, or feeling bloated and in need a diet detox. Plus, the world’s most popular beverage, is packed with an abundance of antioxidants (varies on the type of tea) to help boost immunity and optimize overall health and well-being. This month, I’ve been jump-starting my mornings with Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte, it’s a exponentially more wholesome, herbal alternative the carbonated sugar-free energy drinks I sometimes guzzle prebreakfast (we all have vices, people). After just a few sips of this steaming green goodness, I know that the cold weather, shortened daylight levels, and lengthy to-do list are going to be so much more bearable.
Our family loves to use honey as a sweetener in everything from mugs of tea, smoothies, bowls full of healthy cereal and more – I even put it in water with lemon juice and a tiny dash of salt to make a homemade sports drink. However, messy and sticky bottles are a pet peeve of this mom – my kids can’t seem to keep from dribbling it all down the sides. Okay, maybe I’m a little messy too – like that time I stuck the honey “bear” in my purse for ice tea during a lunch out . . . . uh, and I bet you can guess the ensuing disaster. Metaphorical bees also get in my bonnet when cooler weather rolls in and my precious honey crystalizes in the jar – it can be rejuvenated by soaking in the bottle in hot water, but the honey is just never the same.
I recently found a great way to get around all these honey dilemmas — Nektar Honey Crystals®, it’s Honey Without the Sticky Mess!® These 100 percent natural crystals are super yummy sweet and deliver the distinctive taste of honey and the convenience of cane sugar anywhere — at home or on-the-go. Nektar Honey Crystals are also a non GMO food and, of course, naturally gluten free. You can pick up a bottle or a box of individual on-the-go packets at your local Walmart – or maybe get lucky and will a bottle for yourself in my giveaway at the end of the blog post.
I’ve been making homemade gifts for the holiday season using Nektar Honey Crystals®, edible gifts that include everything from cookies and sweet-savory spice rubs to these thoughtful DIY Pre-Sweetened Tea Bags. My DIY Tea Bags are made out of unbleached coffee filters, your favorite loose-leaf tea and some spoons full of Nektar Honey Crystals®. I have a recipe for the Citrus Ginger Mint Tea in the photo featured at Litehouse Foods – check that out if you need inspiration for your tea blend.
Directions: Mix 3 ounces of your favorite loose leaf tea with 2 tablespoons of Nektar Honey Crystals®, (more or less depending on sweetness preferences). Add a couple tablespoons of tea mixture to inside of ‘cone” style coffee filter. Fold coffee filters per photo tutorial and staple on food-safe string and gift tag. Makes approximately 36 tea bags. Steep in very hot water for 3 minutes and enjoy!
Giveaway notes: U.S. only, one prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Nektar Naturals through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner.
This post was sponsored by Fit Approach, however all opinions and enthusiasm are all my own!
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.
Slurping your smoothie from a straw is so last year. The tastiest trend in town is to “eat” your smoothie in a bowl with a spoon! Not only do chains like Jamba Juice offer these frozen, fruity and fiberous concoctions but smoothie bowls are blowing up social media – just search the hashtag #smoothiebowl and you’ll get over 85K results.
One of the benefits of smoothie bowls (other than getting a ton of nutrition in one easy-to-make meal) is the artistic license. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy make my food pretty – Mother Nature has given us so many colorful and amazingly delicious ingredients to work with. Instead of throwing all your smoothie goodies into the blender, the key to a smoothie bowl is to make a thick base smoothie and then add the remainder of your fruits, whole grains, seeds and such to the top.
Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk from Almond Breeze creates a creamy base for any smoothie bowl or blended beverage. Made from real almonds and coconutmilk, this alternative to diary milk contains medium chain fatty acids; is lactose, soy and gluten-free; is an excellent source of calcium; and works with vegan and kosher diets. I also love how it has no added sugar and only 45 calories per one-cup serving. Another great thing – Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk from Almond Breeze is available in a shelf-stable version which means that I can keep my pantry stocked for last-minute meal making.
If you love the exotic spices of cha (like cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and more), but need something more than just of a cup of tea in the morning, by Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl is the perfect way to get your crave on while kick-starting the day with a little caffeine. I topped my bowl with hemp seeds, cacao nibs and strawberries, but feel free to beautify your bowl any way you see fit.
In addition to breakfast, I’ve been digging into Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowls for a post-workout snack and healthy dessert after dinner – use decaff tea instead. Don’t forget to look for Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk, it’s one of my favorites from all the yummy Almond Breeze products — the shelf-stable versions are usually on the cereal aisle.
What is your must-have ingredient in a smoothie or smoothie bowl? Let me know in the comments!
First of all, happy Independence Day! I’ll be celebrating the Fourth of July by running one of my favorite races in town, the Freedom 5000. All I’ll be thinking about while zooming through the forecasted 90 degree heat is grabbing a big slice (or two) of watermelon that is waiting at the finish line. There will be hundreds of cold, crisp watermelons served up for rehydrating refreshment – it’s pure heaven and perfect for the patriotic, post-race party. Check back tomorrow to find out if I won and how much watermelon I ate when I was done!
I will definitely run for watermelon, any time any place! The natural carbohydrates give me plenty of energy to hit the road, take on the trail or tackle the treadmill. Because watermelon is 92% water, it is also a super way to keep my hydration levels in check before, during and after a run.
Eating 8-ounces of watermelon is like drinking almost that same amount of water – but in addition, you get natural sugars, some electrolytes, vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene. Research has shown that drinking watermelon juice (simply pureed watermelon flesh) aids in athletic performance just as much as consuming a sports drink like Gatorade but you also get the benefits provided by powerful antioxidents. Also, as I mention on Day 2 of #LivingOnTheWedge, the L-citrulline amino acid found abundantly in watermelon juice can also lower an athlete’s heart rate and instance of delayed-onset muscle fatigue. So, drink up!
In the heat of summer, a runner can become dehydrated easily, losing quarts of water through sweat. If not replaced adequately, you’ll suffer from fatigue, decreased performance, muscle cramping and worse. However, it is just as dangerous to drink too much fluid as too little. Determining your personal fluid replacement rate is a proactive way to stay hydrated and healthy. Runner’s World has a Hydration Calculator that will give you a rough estimate based on weight, temperature and pace. However, I would also suggest performing a “sweat test” for a baseline personal estimate. Before a timed run, weigh yourself with the full water you plan to carry along. Afterward, note the length of time you ran and then get back on the scale with the remaining contents of the water bottle. The weight lost is how much MORE fluid needs to be consumed during runs of the same duration in similar conditions.
So, it’s time to get juicing – I think you’ll love these ways to incorporate watermelon juice into your running routine.
Watermelon Agua Fresca – Carry along some of this refreshing watermelon goodness in your water bottle! I’ve also done a version where I added a Nuun Hydration Electrolyte Tab (they make a watermelon flavor!) for an extra boost.
Watermelon Pomegranate Green Tea – This drink is perfect if you need a pick-me-up before or during your run. Swap the green tea for caffeinated black tea as a bit of caffeine can actually help improve sports performance. Plus, other research indicates that the bioactive compounds in pomegranate juice help reduce muscle soreness – just as watermelon juice does!
Come back tomorrow to check out my Creamy Watermelon Smoothie recipe, it’s so delicious and nutritious and perfect post-run or just hanging out by the pool. You don’t want to miss this one!
How are you celebrating the 4th of July, will you run or eat watermelon? Please share in the comments below and/or join my group #LivingOnTheWedge Pinterest board to share your love for watermelon.
Also, check out all the other posts on watermelon I’m featuring all week and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a great Watermelon Prize Pack!
The National Watermelon Promotion Board is providing me with compensation to share my love of watermelon. However, the opinions and content (unless otherwise noted) shared are my own and NWPB did not tell me what to say or how to say it.
Another holiday to report — did you know June is National Iced Tea Month! Oh how I love to sun brew a big container of tea and flavor it with ginger and lemon – or sometimes I’ll mix my pitcher of refreshment with a fruit puree. Or, how about a tall glass of Mojito Mint Iced Tea, that’s what I have for you today! Sit back on the porch and enjoy, y’all!
Mojito Mint Iced Tea Recipe
- 2 quarts water
- 4 – 6 black tea bags (depending on strength preference)
- 2 limes
- 1 bunch of mint
- Liquid stevia to taste
Directions: Pour water into a large glass container with lid. Add tea bags and hang tags over rim. Zest limes into tea container, taking care not to zest bitter white pith. Reserve limes, for use later. Massage and twist mint with hands to activate oils; immerse into container. Top with lid and set in sunny part of yard for 4 – 5 hours. Take tea bags out of jar and pour tea through strainer to remove zest and mint leaves. Squeeze flesh of zested limes into tea, add liquid stevia to taste – -stir and enjoy!
I’ll be first to come clean that I have a major sweet tooth and can’t drink my iced tea plain – yet that sweet tea that’s served down here in the south is way to sugary. My compromise is to use stevia, a natural and zero-calorie extract derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant. I still get the satisfaction of “sweet” without the calories, carbs or that sickly saccharine taste that comes with many other sugar substitutes.
I’ve tried many brands of stevia and I really like Pure Via®, the company has a wide range of products including non-GMO stevia packets that can be sprinkled in beverages and used in recipes along with liquid stevia that comes in a handy little squirt bottle that fits in my purse – I love to sweeten my on-the-go coffees and smoothies with the vanilla – the sweetness of stevia is very concentrated, so just a few drops will do ya!
If you like to cook, bake or mix up drinks with stevia, check out Pure Via’s collection of yummy recipes. I can’t wait to make this Blackberry Lemonade – as I’ve mentioned before, blackberry is totally the hipster berry of the year!
One of you lovely readers will soon be even sweeter — that’s because I’m giving away a Pure Via® Summer Fit Kit that includes:
- Box of Pure Via® non-GMO packets
- Bottle of Pure Via® stevia liquid
- Bottle of Pure Via® vanilla stevia liquid
- Container of instant iced tea
- Pure Via mason jar & straw
- Pure Via pedometer (get in your 10,000 steps!)
- Pure Via SPF 15 lip balm
To enter the giveaway, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter app – also, please note that this review and giveaway is sponsored by Pure Via®, however the opinions are my own. Entrants must be limited to the U.S. only and only one winner per household (eg: you can’t win the same prize from another blog.