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Kombucha Tea

Have you made kombucha? Warning: It looks like a weird slimy science experiment. Plain kombucha tastes like tart sweet tea, because it is fermented tea. The photo above is a 2nd fermention with fruit and looks far prettier than the science experiment jar. (More on that later)

So, you want to make Kombucha?

Step one is aquiring a scoby. (See below) What’s that? A Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. In other words it’s the blob of slimy goodness that takes plain sweet tea and turns it into fizzy probiotic-filled bucha drink. 


I ordered my scoby from Amazon and it came packaged like this with starter liquid for my first batch. You can also get a scoby from a hippie you know but it will look much less like something you want to put in a jar of tea to drink. (Spoiler alert: working scobys look gross)

I also bought a 1/2 gallon mason jar from target to hold my brew. Next you need:

4-6 tea bags (or loose tea)

½ cup sugar

6-7 cups water

1 cup starter tea or a few tablespoons of vinegar (ask for starter tea with your scoby)

Boil the water and steep the tea as usual. (Some people leave tea in longer, I fear this will make it bitter) After removing tea bags stir in sugar with a non-metal spoon until it is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temp. Once the tea is cool add it and scoby to the 1/2 gallon mason jar (or similar size container). Cover with paper towel or tight weave cloth and secure with rubber or mason jar ring. 


Let it ferment for a week and then remove a bit with a clean straw to taste. If it’s still sweet you can let it go longer; it’s all to taste! With each brew your scoby should from a 2nd scoby but most people go 2-3 batches before separating them.

After about a week you should bottle it in strong bottles that can withstand pressure so your kombucha ferments in an airtight container and develops the fizz that commercial brews contain.

 I also bottled mine with frozen raspberries (first photo) and it continues to ferment to make the fizz. The addition of fruit or more sugar will also raise the amount of alcohol in your brew. *IMPORTANT NOTE* If you add sugar or fruit you need to burp the bottle (open it to the let pressure out) 2-3 times a day. Store bought kombucha is less than .5% alcohol. When you make it at home, especially when you add extra sugar or fruit to ferment again, it can get up to 3-5% alcohol making it the strength of beer. (I fully admit I’m OK with this) It’s full of probiotics so it’s good for your digestive health.  

Enjoy!

Easy Cake decorating

I’ve got a party tip for when you want it to be Pinterest-perfect but…ain’t nobody got time for that. Here’s how to be a shortcut DIY cake decorator.

Go to any craft store and buy pre-made fondant. Go to any grocery store bakery and as for a plain white cake or cake with solid color border. Roll fondant out on a cutting board with a little cornstarch (to keep it from sticking). Use cookie cutters to add names, numbers, or shapes. DONE. Every busy lady needs to know how to DIY a cake with a little help.

I have some tea cup cutters and I’m dying to do a cake up cupcakes with a tea party theme. What would you put on yours?

Hot TEA Toddy


If your looking for a DIY cure for stuffy noses or just a warm winter drink try our twist on the hot toddy by adding tea!

Ingredients:

2 oz (4 tablespoons) bourbon

1 tablespoon mild honey

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup boiling-hot water

1 teabag (use decaf if you’re sensitive)
Mix the lemon juice, honey,  & bourbon. Microwave for 30 seconds to warm. Steap the tea in 1/2 cup water and then pour over the other ingredients. Optional to garnish with a slice of lemon or cinnamon stick.

Mimi’s muffins 

Mimi makes a good muffin! We got her to share the recipe. Try these out, they taste just like the fancy bakery muffins!

Ingredients:

1 1/3 sticks butter
2 2/3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. blueberries
1 1/3 c sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c whole milk
1 T vanilla

Zest of 1 lemon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Butter 12 Texas sized muffin cups and dust with flour. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Hold a sieve over the bowl and toss blueberries with a few tsp of the flour mixture to coat and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, use paddle attachment and beat butter and sugar on med till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time scraping bowl between each addition. Mix in vanilla and lemon zest.
Add half the flour on low, add milk and combine, then finish with remaining flour. Do not over beat. Fold in blueberries with spatula and divide batter between muffin cups.
Bake until muffins are golden and cake tester comes out clean. In most ovens about 25-30 minutes. Cool pans on wire rack about 10 minutes, then turn the muffins onto their sides in the cups to cool.
* adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

Sparkling half & half

It may be fall, with these cool nights, but the summer daytime weather isn’t over! Get out in the sunshine and enjoy a sparking 1/2 & 1/2!

Ingredients:

6oz sparkling water, try a polar flavored water for extra taste and endless flavor combos 

6 oz iced tea, I used a green tea

1 tablespoon country time pink lemonade mix

In this recipe the water and lemon aid mix become the lemonade half and the tea is the other half. Half and half is a classic summer drink and this is a fun twist on the classic. Fancy it up and make it sparking! This is great for parties or any old Tuesday!

Happy 8/20! & Pizza recipe

Is that a haunted house? Nope, just a place we called home in college!#820, hence why we celebrate this date!


Now I understand my parents worried looks, it should be condemned! But at the time we thought it was fantastic! 

Abby lived on the first floor (at least she had some sense) and I lived in the attic (ahem, death trap). Even tough it was 2 separate apartments we left doors at the back stairwell unlocked and we were always in each other’s kitchens.
820 is significant to our tea blog because its when our love of tea samples was born! The 8 of us girls in the house bought a tea sampler for ourselves one Christmas. We have something like 50 different kinds of tea. It was a blast! And we needed the tea for warmth because, surprise suprise, the heat was questionable in this place.

Another thing we made a lot of was pizza, bringing me to the recipe for this post. We used to make homemade pizza. Abby reminded me today that she used to like to put the toppings on all in a row, very orderly, and I would scatter them about. Funny, now Abby is a doctor and I’m an artist! 😉 So you can guess who made this pizza!


Arugula, cheddar, chicken & fig pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough (homemade or store bought)

4 fresh figs

1 cup arugula 

1-2TB Olive oil (I used orange infused)

1 cup sharp cheddar (I used Cabot)

I small chicken breast (pre-cooked)m

Salt and pepper to taste

Start with your favorite pizza crust. In college I used to make it from scratch, but shhh, don’t tell, whole foods and trader joes both have excellent pre make pizza dough!

Let the dough warm to room temp and give t at least 30 mins to expand. 

Stretch dough on your pizza pan using olive old under to keep from sticking. 

Drizzle the top of crust with olive oil.

Add toppings in this order: cheese, arugula, sliced figs & chicken, salt & pepper.

This pizza is good if you scatter toppings about or place then in an orderly fashion. You choose a method and vote if you prefer Abby’s OCD or my ‘messy’ style!

 Bake at 400 until crust is starting brown. Enjoy! 

This pairs especially well with a fruity iced tea.

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler 


Ingredients:

8 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup boiling water
Directions:

1. MIX TOGETHER: 3 tablespoons white sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
3. In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

5.Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.


6. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.


7. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Strawberry Rubarb Pie with Lattice Crust


Use your favorite crust recipe. Make sure it’s one you can trust!
FILLING:

2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white

DIRECTIONS:

1) Prep your favorite pie crust. The fork holes help prevent bubbles.

2) Mix all ingredients except egg white in a large bowl.


3) Slice top crust. A pizza cutter works well for this. 

4) Fill bottom crust with the filling and add 1/2 of the strips of top crust on top.

5) Lift every other strip and weave the other half of the strips in. Crimp edges.


6) Brush crust with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then 375 for an additional 45 minutes. Cool to room temp and serve!

Tea Tasting in Boothbay, ME

While Abby and I were visiting Boothbay we passed a sign that said “tea tasting today” and obviously we had to stop and check it out! What we found was Wanser’s Natural Food Market and Merry Auld Tea Company!


Look for reviews of what we purchased soon! Also, if you’re “Down East” make sure that you venture into the shop. They have an amazing calendar of all of the happenings in Boothbay for the summer!


June, July, August, & even September are even more filled out but I’m told it’s just for those who visit in person so go check it out! 

And, of course, take in the beautiful costal Maine Scenery.

Green tea sugar scrub

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