Tea Time

I have a confession to make……I am a coffeeholic. Yes it’s true. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is turn the coffee pot on. The minute I pour the first cup and taste the warm goodness, I am automatically in a good mood. Recently, I have embarked on a journey to wellness. I am quickly approaching 40 and I am trying to slow down the aging process. I recognize what I put in my body can either help or hurt me. My very close friend and weight loss wizard @preparedmealsli began schooling me on the effects clean eating can have on your system (If you aren’t following her on Instagram you need to). Boy oh boy was she right. I made small changes like eating more leafy greens and making sure I was properly hydrated. I can tell you this friends, by the second week of this new life style I had more energy, my head felt clearer and was able to focus better, and my cravings for sweets disappeared. I began to enjoy the taste of real food.
One habit I introduced into my daily routine was replacing a cup of coffee with green tea. I read up on the benefits and I figured why not I’ll give it a try. I picked up a box of green Matcha
tea from the company Salada and since then, I’m hooked. There were so many brands on the shelf to choose from but Salada’s teas are delicious and they offer a large variety of refreshing flavors. I’m picky when it comes to tea and so far, I have loved everyone I’ve tried. My personal favorite is the peach mango. I make a big batch of it and serve it cold. My kids go crazy for it and I’m happy because it doesn’t have sugar like the juice boxes they drink. I also got creative and made green tea ice cubes. In the morning I rub them under my eyes. It is so refreshing, and my skin feels so tight.
If you haven’t read up on the benefits of match tea here are a few reasons that might interest you to start incorporating it into your daily routine, it’s:
Rich in antioxidants
Boosts energy
Detoxifies the body
Prevents cancer
Aids in weight loss
I highly recommend you head to your local grocery store and stock up on Salada teas. I promise no matter what flavor you pick you won’t be disappointed.

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Thoughts about Coffee Cake

Coffee connects people. I’ve enjoyed many sessions of friend therapy and deep conversations over coffee. Now if we add a delicious accompaniment to coffee, we have absolute heaven. Particularly if that coffee cake is sweet, a little sinful, and spiced with the adventure of travel. My favorite coffee cakes have been enjoyed in different cities around the world and shared with wonderful people that I have met along the way.

On an unexpected trip to Argentina, I didn’t know a soul or have any idea which places to visit. Every morning I enjoyed alfajores, a sandwich cookie with dulce de leche in the middle, and coffee. A kind waiter would come and sit with me and help me plan my day, drawing elaborate maps on napkins for me. Alfajores are a perfect combination of a well-crafted pastry and a rich history having been brought by the Spanish who learned of them from the Moors. I think they tasted even better because of the waiter’s kindness to a stranger.

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Paris in April seemed more like more like a dream than reality. The people, the food, the culture – it was glorious! I drank amazing coffee imported from Madagascar. I paired this with pain au chocolat, a delicious croissant-like pastry filled with a chocolate that captured the richness of flavor that the French are so adept at creating. Those were the best mornings, shared with groups of people met at the discotheque, after dancing all night.

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In Chile I remember listening to music fused with samba and rock en español while enjoying berlines, doughnuts introduced by the great influx of German immigrants in Chile. The conversations usually centered around the government, the economy, and Auguto Pinochet, always a controversial topic for Chileans. Berlines are filled with “manjar”, the local name for dulce de leche. Berlines are a progressive fusion of South America and old Europe, as is Chile.

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Whether it’s at home or abroad, give yourself a slow morning with coffee and a sweet treat. Enjoy every bite of your next coffee cake. Be present to the silence, or the conversation, and most of all, savor the connection with yourself and with others.

Guest Blogger, Nicole Biscotti, @nicolebiscotti

 

 

Memorial Weekend Must Haves

Whether you are playing hostess this Memorial Day, attending a BBQ, or enjoying local venues you should be heading to the store to stock up on all the necessities to make this a Memorial Weekend one you and your family will never forget. In my house we love healthy options. Don’t get me wrong you will find the standard hot dog and hamburgers on our grill in addition to some keto and vegan friendly recipes.

parfMy first stop is always to my local dollar tree. I love stocking up on decorative plates, utensil, napkins, and festive decorations. When I am there, I always grab the clear cocktail cups. Instead of serving drinks in them, I layer them with blue berries, whipped cream, and strawberries for a refreshing and kid friendly dessert. Throw them onto a cute serving platter it so simple it takes all of five minutes to make your dessert table pop with color. I love the dollar tree because everything is $1. I am all about saving money while throwing a party that looks like it stepped out of a Martha Stuart magazine.

Next stop is to the local grocery store. In place of chips I serve fresh cut cucumbers and veggies with a homemade onion dip. I also buy veggie burgers and black bean burgers for my vegetarian guests. Layer them with some guacamole and a tomato and your guests won’t be worried about counting calories. My super easy side dish is a spinach salad with strawberries, red onion, feta, and a red wine vinaigrette will complement entrée you serve.

yogurtThe perfect party provides options for your guests. When setting up my bar area I always have out beer and wine. No BBQ is complete without an ice-cold beer and hot dog however, not all my guests are drinkers so I make a fizzy sugar free lemonade. It’s a crowd favorite. I try to eliminate as much sugar from my diet as possible so this lemonade has all-natural ingredients.

*2/3 cups lime juice (from fresh limes)
*1 tsp of stevia extract
*7 cups of water
*Ice for serving
*Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mint for garnish.

nailsNext stop is to my local nail salon, Daisy Nails with my daughter for matching red, white, and blue manicures. We always shop Pinterest before we go to get some inspiration. Don’t forget it’s going to be a long weekend. Make sure you have a good bug spray. I prefer organic brands that do not have any harsh chemicals, as well as having sunscreen on hand at all times. Last but not least remember to have lots of cute outfits on hand especially those white skinny jeans and denim shorts so you are prepared for any occasion