Thai Welcome Tea

During my visit to Oklahoma ten days ago, my niece Ashley gifted me with a package of organic dried flower petals. She explained that the flowers, when brewed, create a dark blue tea.

This afternoon, preparing for afternoon tea, I decided to open the package and try “blue tea”. As the water came to a boil, I did my research. The buds come from the Butterfly Pea Flower, and they are commonly used to create unique, and colorful, drinks including Thai Welcome Tea.

Thai Welcome Tea

Butterfly Pea Flowers

This flowering plant is native to tropical Thailand and Malaysia, but has been introduced to Africa, Australia and America. The butterfly pea is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows as a vine or creeper in damp, neutral soil. The most striking feature about this plant is the color of its flowers, which are a deep vibrant blue with light yellow markings.

In Southeast Asia, the flower is used as a natural food colouring. In Malaysia, it’s customary to add a few buds of this flower to a pot of white rice, which tints the rice a bluish color. In Thailand, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan. It’s sometimes consumed with a drop of lime juice to increase acidity and turn the juice purple.

Butterfly pea flower tea is made from the flowers and can include dried lemongrass. The tea changes color depending on what else is added to the liquid. Lemon or lime juice turns the liquid purple. Adding honey and lemon juice to the tea, which can be served hot or iced, is called Welcome Tea in Thailand.

Thai Welcome Tea

Thai Welcome Tea

Thai Welcome Tea

Reading about the Welcome Tea, I was intrigued by the reported color change when lemon or lime juice is added, and decided to try it. This is Try This Tuesday, after all!

I poured boiling water over two teaspoons of dried butterfly pea flowers and covered the mug so it could steep. The water immediately began to turn blue. The longer the tea steeped, the darker the color became.

Thai Welcome Tea

From Blue to Purple

I removed the flowers from the tea after about 10 minutes. My butterfly pea flower tea was a rich cobalt blue. Before I added honey and lemon juice, I cautiously sipped the hot tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect, from a dark blue tea, however the flavor was light and subtly earthy, similar to a high quality green tea.

Now the fun part. I stirred in a tablespoon of raw organic honey to the tea, without any change in color. As soon as I squeezed half a freshly cut lemon into the dark liquid, the color shifted from deep blue to a rich purple with a pinkish cast. I smiled with delight.

Thai Welcome Tea Thai Welcome Tea

Welcoming an Afternoon Break

Thai Welcome Tea was fun to create, and provided a welcomed break in my afternoon. The tea can be chilled and served over ice, or used as a base for cocktails. I chose to sip on hot tea, and savor the blend of exotic flowers, sweet honey and the citrusy tang of lemon juice.

Butterfly pea flowers infuse the tea with potent antioxidants that help protect the skin against premature aging. Studies show that the tea fights against internal inflammation and can treat pain, reduce inflammation, treat common eye issues such as conjunctivitis, combat certain types of cancers, support brain health, and increase vitality.

Thank you Ashley, for these delightful flowers! I enjoyed my Welcome Tea, and welcome more opportunities to savor its goodness.

Thai Welcome Tea

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Raw Date Granola

When I discovered a bag of dates in the refrigerator this morning, I knew just what to create for Try This Tuesday. During my 10 days of eating whole raw foods, I marked a recipe to try in Life Changing Foods by Anthony William.

Raw Date Granola is simple to make, and it is perfect to snack on or use as a topping on fruit bowls, banana ice cream or smoothies.

Raw Date Granola

Raw Date Granola

2 cups dates, pitted

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Process ingredients in a food processor until roughly chopped. Store granola in a container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Makes 2 – 4 servings.

Raw Date Granola

Sweet and Crunchy

This treat couldn’t be easier to make. In five minutes I had a batch of date granola. The combo of sweet chewy dates and crunchy almonds was perfect. The granola reminded me of the date balls I used to make during the holidays.

And dates are an amazing food for the digestive system. They also deliver vital glucose to the liver, and refuel the brain and muscles. Dates also keep the heart healthy, support the adrenal glands and they have anti-cancer properties.

Create a batch of raw date granola and enjoy the treat while sustaining a healthy body.

Raw Date Granola

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Parsley Tabbouleh

Day 3 of the 7 Day Raw Food Cleanse and I am feeling great! Much of my afternoon was spent restocking my supply of fresh fruits and veggies, visiting various stores to get the best deals. And, I picked up the ingredients for a recipe, one from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William…Parsley Tabbouleh.

Parsley Tabbouleh

Parsley Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almonds

4 cups parsley, tightly packed

1/8 cup mint leaves, loosely packed

2 cups tomatoes, cut into chunks

2 cups cucumbers, cut into chunks

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions:

Pulse almonds in food processor until roughly chopped. Set aside.

Pulse parsley in food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in food processor and pulse until chopped and well combined. Transfer mixture into a large bowl. Add parsley and almonds and stir together. Makes 2 – 4 servings.

Use flat leaf parsley, if available, for maximum health benefits.

Alkalizing Parsley

I’ve been craving alkalizing foods this week, as I enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. So I’ve added lots of green leafy veggies to my meals.

As it turns out, parsley is one of the best foods for alkalizing all of the systems of the body. Its mineral salts bind onto unproductive acids in the body and drive them out, making parsley helpful for preventing all types of cancers. It also keeps bacteria, parasites and fungus at bay.

It’s important for me to listen to my body and give it what it needs. Apparently, I required this aromatic herb this week. I’m happy to oblige, as I have wanted to try parsley tabbouleh. This salad is perfect as a side dish partnered with other healthy foods or enjoyed on its own.

I loved the flavorful tabbouleh, and intend to make it often…anytime my body lets me know I need alkalizing food!

Parsley Tabbouleh

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Hibiscus Lemonade

I’ve been enjoying freshly brewed hibiscus tea for a week, after being reminded of the incredible health benefits of this flowering herbal plant. Hot herbal teas are my drink of choice in the afternoons or on crisp chilly evenings.

Coming in late tonight, thirsty and with two blog posts to write, presented the perfect opportunity to try a fun twist on a favorite summer drink instead of my standard hot tea.

Special thanks to Anthony William for this simple and tasty drink. It’s not only delicious, it’s gorgeous as well.

Hibiscus Lemonade

Hibiscus Lemonade

4 cups of water, divided

2 teaspoons dried hibiscus

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 tablespoons raw organic honey

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add dried hibiscus and cover. Allow to steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain tea and chill in refrigerator.

In a small bowl combine remaining water, lemon juice and honey, whisking until honey has dissolved and a smooth lemonade has formed. Chill lemonade while hibiscus tea cools. Combine cold liquids to create hibiscus lemonade. Garnish with lemon slices.

*Hibiscus tea bags can be used in place of loose hibiscus. Substitute 1 tea bag for 1 teaspoon dried. Organic maple syrup can be substituted for raw organic honey.

Hibiscus Lemonade

Tart and Refreshing Lemonade

The hibiscus lemonade was deliciously tart and so refreshing! I don’t typically use any type of sweetener in my tea however the honey added just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.

I like sour flavors. The combination of hibiscus, with its cranberry-like tartness, and fresh lemon juice created the perfect cold drink.

As Anthony William prepares for the release of his newest book, Liver Rescue, he is sharing these wonderful, health boosting recipes. Hibiscus contains a unique compound that gives it a deep red color and rejuvenates the liver. Hibiscus cleanses mucus off cell membrane walls and improves the liver’s ability to function while supporting the organ’s personalized immune system. This herb cleanses and rejuvenates the gallbladder as well.

I’m looking forward to receiving Liver Rescue, due out next month, and more health improving recipes such as tangy Hibiscus Lemonade!

Hibiscus Lemonade

Preorder Liver Rescue below!

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Two Raw Apple Treats

The 10th day of the Apple Challenge presents the perfect opportunity to offer not one, but two delicious treats. I’m grateful for the many recipes that author and teacher Anthony William offers. Both of these scrumptious and easy to prepare recipes are his.

Two Raw Apple Treats

Raw Applesauce

I prepared this simple dish a couple of nights ago, to include with a veggie bowl that included baked potatoes, steamed cauliflower and tomatoes fresh from the garden.

Raw Applesauce

4 apples, cored and diced

4 dates, pitted

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth, even applesauce forms. Serve immediately. Makes two servings. If there are leftovers, sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the applesauce and seal tightly. Store in refrigerator.

This recipe came together in minutes, and it was so good. I purposefully left my applesauce slightly chunky. And when I discovered I was out of dates, I substituted 1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup. The applesauce was the perfect accompaniment for the veggies.

Two Raw Apple Treats

Apple Pie Smoothie

I made these cold frosty smoothies after dinner, as a special treat.

Apple Pie Smoothie

2 red apples, cored and cut into chunks

1 1/2 – 2 frozen bananas, chunked

1 1/2 cups almond or coconut milk, unsweetened

1 tablespoon organic maple syrup OR 1 date

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more almond milk or water, if needed. Serve immediately. Makes two servings.

Two Raw Apple Treats

What a treat this was! The blended drink was thick and very cold, and did indeed taste like apple pie. The smoothie could be served as a meal replacement for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or, as I discovered, it makes an excellent after dinner treat.

I am loving the Apple Challenge and getting my three apples a day in a variety of ways. And I know my liver is benefiting, as is the rest of my body. Watch for more nutritious and fun recipes as the challenge continues!

Two Raw Apple Treats

Cilantro Lemongrass Sauce

I enjoy making my own dressings and sauces to dress up freshly prepared foods. My lemongrass plant has supplied me abundantly with leaves for hot and cold teas. I searched for a simple sauce recipe that used this fragrant herb as an ingredient. I found one that I adapted slightly that combines lemongrass with fresh cilantro, creating a flavorful sauce that makes a wonderful accompaniment for veggies.

Cilantro Lemongrass Sauce

Cilantro Lemongrass Sauce

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 large bunch fresh cilantro

1 1/2 tablespoons dried or fresh lemongrass, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce or sugar free sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup light olive oil, extra virgin

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/3 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender, blending until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Store in refrigerator.

Cilantro Lemongrass Sauce

I snipped fresh lemongrass from the herb garden for this easy to make sauce. The consistency is thin enough to serve as a pesto with gluten free pasta. It also makes a delicious dipping sauce for nori wrapped veggie roles or fresh cut up veggies.

Today I drizzled cilantro lemongrass sauce over a veggie bowl that included half a baked potato, chopped tomatoes fresh on my garden, and avocado slices. The tangy lemony herb combined with the rich distinctive flavor of cilantro was so good. This simple sauce is already a favorite.

Cilantro Lemongrass Sauce

Oil Free Basil Pesto

One of the foods that I enjoyed in Italy last year was gluten free pasta with fresh basil pesto. Oh my, that dish quickly became a favorite meal. I’ve tried different plant based packaged pesto mixes in the past year, and while they were good, they couldn’t beat freshly made.

This summer, I grew more basil in my herb garden than I usually do, with the intention of making my own pesto. The plants are big enough and full enough now to snip leaves. After missing lunch today, I created my own fresh oil free basil pesto, for a meal that fell in between lunch and dinner. Lunner? Dinch?

Oil Free Basil Pesto

Here’s the recipe I adapted:

Oil Free Basil Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 ripe avocado

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup cashews

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons water

Blend basil leaves, avocado, garlic, cashews, and sea salt in food processor or high speed blender, until well combined. Add water a tablespoon at a time, until pesto is smooth and creamy. Serve over pasta or zucchini noodles. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

Oil Free Basil Pesto

I loved snipping basil from the garden for this recipe. This aromatic herb releases its scent whenever you touch the plant and I inhaled deeply as I gathered leaves.

The recipe was extremely easy to prepare. However, I had trouble getting the pesto smooth enough. The blades of my Ninja blender pushed the mixture to the sides and didn’t blend it well enough.

In hindsight, the pesto might have blended better if I had added more water. I was concerned with making it too thin. The other solution is to double the recipe next time so that the blades of my blender have more to bite into.

The result was a rather chunky oil free basil pesto. I prepared raw zucchini noodles with my spiralizer and topped them with my fresh basil pesto and cherry tomatoes from my veggie garden.

My pesto wasn’t the prettiest, in appearance. However, it tasted wonderful. The freshness of the basil was evident and I savored every bite. I have lots of basil growing in the garden. I’ll practice until I perfect fresh oil free basil pesto.

Oil Free Basil Pesto

Healthy Wacky Cupcakes

Yesterday was one of those unique holidays, that people don’t know about. Cupcake Day is celebrated the third Monday of August each year. I sometimes enjoy participating in these celebrations although I initially passed this one up since traditional sweets are on my “no” list.

I felt like being creative in the kitchen however, and inspired by the egg free wacky cake my mom made when I was a child, I adapted a recipe to create my own version of healthy wacky cupcakes.

Healthy Wacky Cupcakes

Healthy Wacky Cupcake Recipe

This simple cupcake recipe comes together in minutes.

Wacky Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used gluten free oat flour)

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop 12 cupcake papers into a cupcake baking pan.

Mix gluten free flour, coconut sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder in a large bowl, stirring until well combined. Make three wells in the dry mixture. Add olive oil to one well, apple cider vinegar to another, and vanilla to the third. Pour cold water over the top of everything. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, hand mix batter until mixture is smooth and slightly bubbly.

Immediately pour batter into cupcake papers, dividing evenly among the 12 compartments. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. Top with whipped coconut cream, unsweetened dried fruit, fresh fruit or nuts.

Healthy Wacky Cupcakes

Healthy Wacky Cupcakes

Visually the batter reminded me so much of Mom’s wacky cake. I sampled it by swiping a finger along the edge of the bowl, and it tasted like her cake. The kitchen smelled wonderful as the cupcakes baked while I cleaned up. I ended up baking my cupcakes for 24 minutes.

Refined sugar is not on my diet. Coconut sugar, which resembles unrefined brown sugar, or pure maple syrup or raw honey are the only sweeteners I use. So no frosting allowed for these wacky cupcakes. Instead, I topped my mini cakes with unsweetened shredded coconut and wild blueberries, thawed.

Healthy Wacky Cupcakes

Taste Test

After the cakes cooled and the wild blueberries thawed it was time to sample the wacky cupcakes. They smelled wonderful but how would they taste?

These little treasures were perfect…tender, full of chocolate flavor, and not too sweet. The shredded coconut and wild blueberries made an excellent topping. Next time I create these I want to try making my own whipped coconut cream for a topping.

I could not have wished for a better way to celebrate Cupcake Day, in my own way. Healthy Wacky Cupcakes made a great special treat!

Healthy Wacky Cupcakes

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

I’m always on the lookout for healthy treats. It’s not easy because I have tough criteria. The snack can’t contain gluten, refined sugar, eggs or dairy products. Thankfully, such recipes do exist. For Try This Tuesday, I tried out a quick and recipe for 3 ingredient chocolate cookies.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

This recipe comes from Listotic. Check out her website HERE

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

2 large very ripe bananas

1 cup quick rolled oats, gluten free

2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas in a bowl. Add oats and cacao powder and stir until cookie dough like consistency is reached. Depending on size of the bananas, you may need less oats. Start with 3/4 of a cup and add more to make a dough that holds its shape. Optional: add in a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia, dried fruit or nuts.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use fingers or a fork to mash down dough, forming a cookie shape. Bake 10 – 12 minutes. Enjoy warm from the oven. Makes 12 – 15 cookies.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

These were so easy to make and turned out well! The cookies hold their shape during baking and have a wonderful texture and chocolate flavor without being too sweet. I like how versatile the recipe is. I added a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes to this batch. I’ll try adding nuts or dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia next time.

I sampled two warm, fresh from the oven cookies with my afternoon tea. This is what I love, hot tea made from herbs plucked from my garden, and light, wholesome snacks that contribute to health, rather than complicate it. I’ll be experimenting with different versions of this basic recipe!

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

As one who has recently begun to enjoy radishes, for the first time in her life, I was excited to try another wonderful looking recipe. After all, I have radishes in my refrigerator crisper to use up.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

This easy to prepare recipe was created by Anthony William.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

2 cups of radishes, thinly sliced

2 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced tarragon

4 tablespoons minced dill

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 lemon, juiced

Sea salt to taste

Place radish and cucumber slices in a medium sized bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. Chill salad in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Serves 2.

I used ingredients fresh from my garden, except for the radishes, to create the salad. Since I was the only one who would be eating this gorgeous salad, I cut the recipe in half, which was just the right amount. I didn’t have tarragon on hand, but I had plenty of fresh dill from my herb garden. And, in place of a lemon, I substituted a lime. The beauty of this recipe is that it can be adapted and still taste amazing.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

I loved the radish cucumber dill salad. It was refreshingly crunchy and the dill and sprinkle of sea salt added so much flavor. I am still astounded…at myself. I used to dislike radishes and cucumbers were marginal for me. Now, two years in on a plant based journey, I marveled at the beauty and tastiness of my lunch. And this salad is incredibly healthy for me, with the combination of powerful foods and herbs.

I chopped up a tomato from my garden, and toted it and my bowl of salad to the office, so I could eat while I prepped for a listing appointment. My pretty lunch was so satisfying, on so many different levels.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

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