Making the Perfect Apple Jam

Making the Perfect Apple Herbal Tea

Back Where I’m From, Sweet Tea Flows Like Water

In an earlier post, we had look at the best teas for helping you get to sleep, but this time let’s look at tea as far as helping you stay hydrated. Later as we move up the pyramid, we’ll then look at tea again as we clean out our spice cabinet and learn what’s really in all those red and white McCormick canisters that have probably been there for how long?

 

Tea obviously contains water…

After all, tea is made by infusing dried, crushed leaves or herbs in hot water

 

And tea contains herbs…

Herbal tea has been used in medicine in southern and eastern Asia for thousands of years, and drinking herbal tea has many health benefits—such as settling your stomach, burning fat, curing a cold, relieving muscle tension and twitching, calming the stomach, improving your mood, helping to manage stress, helping you lose weight, and helping you feel less stressed, sad, or anxious.

The people of the ancient Shang dynasty in China first introduced to our side of the globe by serving it to Portuguese missionaries during the 16th Century. The popularity of tea spread quickly throughout Europe and Asia.

 

But which tea?!

There is such a wide range of tea brands and varieties that choosing which tea to actually buy can seem mind-boggling….almost like choosing coffee or your favorite donut at Dunkin’ Donuts…

 

So which teas are best for when?!

Just like everything else, each of us probably has an opinion on which tea is their favorite, which brand to buy, how to make it, and so forth…

So in this post I have decided to simply list as many different types of tea as I could think of, and start exploring these different types of tea before we reach the herbs/spices rung of the Raw Foods Pyramid.

 

  1. Banana Tea—Dr. Oz RecipeNot only will banana tea help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, but bananas are rich in both potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help your blood vessels and muscles relax.
  2. Basil Tea…Basil tea is made with fresh or dried herbs. Basil tea is perfect for helping with digestion.
  3. Black Tea…Black tea contains a lot of caffeine, which will obviously, or hopefully, help you stay awake and alert throughout the day….as well as other health benefits—such as repairing lung damage caused by cigarette smoke exposure and reducing the potential of stroke.
  4. Catnip TeaCatnip Tea?! Really?! Before now I only thought that catnip was just fun to give your cats, but the organic compound nepetalactone that is found in catnip is actually used in medicine to treat many things, including insomnia.
  5. Chai Tea...The traditional Indian spices in chai tea serve as a natural stimulant—helping to facilitate energy production within the body, boosting energy and mental clarity—all without that afternoon, post-caffeine crash.
  6.  Chamomile TeaChamomile Tea does the opposite of black tea…instead of  providing you with a huge dose of caffeine to keep you overstimulated and hyper all day, chamomile tea helps get rid of all that anxiety and stress. Chamomile tea has also been shown to provide many more health benefits—such as boosting blood circulation, getting rid of bloating and indigestion, and helping you get a good night’s sleep.
  7. Ginger Tea…Ginger tea provides just enough of a boost of natural energy boost to keep you feeling like you can tackle the world, improves circulation, and helps whenever you are feeling nauseous,
  8. Green Tea…Green tea can calm you down and make you feel relaxed. It contains L-theanine that boosts the brain waves, giving you a similar sensation that is experienced during meditation.Green Tea will help relieve a whole host of ailments including a slow metabolism and icommonly called the ‘wonder tea’….It’s packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and even fights tooth decay.
  9. Honeybush Tea…This caffeine-free tea has a sweet, fragrant taste. Honeybush has a calming effect, reducing stress and easing the mind. It is also a powerful antioxidant, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  10.  Indian masala chai…can keep your mind positive every day. It has properties that can lift up your mood and make you feel happier. This chai promotes positivity by stimulating your body to generate serotonin, a chemical that stabilizes the mood.
  11.  Lavender TeaLavender tea treats a variety of ailments, like agitation, anxiety and insomnia. Lavender is known for its mood stabilizing properties, reducing stressful feelings and acting as a muscle relaxant.Usually the first “natural” ingredient that I think of when thinking about ways to help relieve stress and calm down for the night is lavender, but I never knew that you could buy lavender tea…actually I’d never looked for it before…Lavender tea is your best option whenever you are sleepless. It promotes relaxation that places you in a sound and undisrupted sleep. Drinking lavender tea can also help improve blood circulation, and keep your nervous system in top condition. You can drink a cup every day before bedtime.
  12. Lemon or Orange Tea….to boost your mood. These two teas taste great and are effective in relaxing your body. Their scent will also calm you down.
  13.  Lemon Balm Tea…Lemon balm is an herb in the mint family. It has been used for thousands of years to induce a clam state. It promotes restful sleep, improving impulse control and reducing feelings of rage…Lemon Balm TeaLemon Balm Tea…Lemon Balm tea is good for anxiety, panic attacks and if you are feeling stressed. Adding a little honey to herbal teas is also beneficial and can make them a little more palatable too….Lemon balm is a herb commonly used to treat insomnia and to help with anxiety and stress. Lemon balm is often combined with other herbs, such as chamomile and valerian, to create a very powerful tea for insomniacs.
  14.  Lemon Verbena Tea…Lemon verbena is a plant native to South America. This herb, also known as lemon beebrush, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps regulate hormones. It’s mood-boosting properties help to reduce anxiety and depressive thoughts.
  15. Lemongrass tea…. This tea contains essential oils that help your body calm down. It is the best natural anti-depressant.
  16. Oat Straw Tea…Oat straw tea is made from the grassy stem part of the oat plant. Oat straw is considered a “nutrient dense” herb and is especially great for soothing the nervous system, helping to manage everyday stress, cleansing the liver and gallbladder, and supporting a healthy circulatory system.
  17. Oolong Tea…Oolong tea is high in antioxidants and is known to reduce bad cholesterol levels. For years, it has been considered the best tea for weight loss for both men and women. For the most optimal benefits, it is important to consume at least one glass, 2 to 3 times every day.
  18. Passion Flower TeaPassion flower tea is made from the leaves and vines of the passion plant, which is native to Mexico and Central America and was named “passion fruit” by  Spanish missionaries in Peru, who saw the flower’s design as being symbolic of the Passion of Christ. Passion flower tea contains many important nutrients—including vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants.
  19. Peppermint Tea…Peppermint tea can help calm your mind and body. It is the best tea for your emotional wellness. If you have been suffering from a heart-breaking experience, all you need is a sip from peppermint tea. You should feel better after emptying a cup….Peppermint tea is the tea of choice whenever you are looking for something to help calm stomach problems such as indigestion before you go to bedPeppermint tea is known to soothe an upset stomach. It helps reduce nausea, stomach cramps, heartburn and motion sickness. It is also a known antispasmodic, reducing the chance of vomiting…Peppermint Tea….If you are feeling bloated, you can’t go past good old
  20. Rooibos Tea…This sweet, nutty tea is popular in South African countries. It is naturally caffeine-free, yet boots memory, focus and concentration. Rooibos tea also relives nervous tension and improves mental clarity.
  21. St John’s Wort TeaSt John’s Wort is a popular natural anti-depressant that helps relieve anxiety and stress, two of the most common causes of insomnia. But before using St. John’s Wort, make sure that is safe for you to use, based on your current state of health and any other medications you are currently taking.
  22. Tart Cherry Tea…Tart cherry tea is for the anxious people. It is effective against anxiety or restlessness. Drinking a cup of tart cherry tea will slow down the blood flow, just like how the lavender tea works. You will begin to feel more relaxed afterwards.
  23. Valerian TeaThere has been much debate as to the effectiveness of valerian and valerian tea, in helping people deal with insomnia and anxiety, even though people have been using the root of the valerian plant for its sedative properties for centuries.
  24. White Tea…White tea is both unfermented and uncured. In addition, is known for its potent anti-cancer properties, and is also shown to be highly effective for weight loss.

 helping you feel refreshed and optimistic….

Making the Perfect Cup of Hot Tea

Okay, so I realize that not everybody has had the privilege of growing up in the Deep South where people don’t even bother to take drink orders, but simply pass around huge glasses filled with ice tea as soon as your butt hits the restaurant dining table chairs…

 

 

So how do you make that Mississippi nectar that is the pride of the hospitality state?

Sure lots and lots of sugar is important, but many other factors are important also—such as the technique/process you will be using, the quality of the water used, temperatures, and time.

But there are many factors that go into making the perfect cup of tea, including…

 

 

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The Method

What method you use when making your tea is a personal preference, but here are a few options…

 

French Press…The same French press that you use to make coffee can also be used to make tea. Using a French press allows you to brew several cups of tea at one time. A French press also allows you to steep and serve your tea in the same vessel. However, you could easily over-steeping your tea since the tea leaves simply sit at the bottom of the press after you make the tea, instead of being taken out.

 

Tea Ball Infuser...Tea ball infusers are basically teabags that you fill yourself with whatever loose tea you would like and then steep in your tea until you get the strength of tea that you would like. These hinged mesh spheres are obviously more “environmentally friendly.”

 

Tea Brewing Strainers…Tea brewing strainers are small mesh baskets that you fill with loose leaf  tea and then pour hot water on top of the leaves. As the hot water passes over the loose tea leaves, your tea is “brewed,” but this is probably not your best option because you can’t is not very popular and control how long your tea brews.

 

Teabags...Of course you already know what a teabag is, and this is the most common method of making tea. This method is the most convenient, even though not the most “environmentally friendly.”

 

TeapotTeaposts are always a great choice, but not all teapots will deliver the same results. Two factors to consider when choosing a teapot are whether or not the teapost has a built-in strainer to help infuse the tea or requires use of a separate straining device….and what  material your teapot is made from so that you can know that the brewing temperature is ideal or not for the type of tea which you will most likely be making.

 

 

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The Temperature

Even though most of us would assume that in order to make tea, you must bring your water to a rolling boil, this is not always the case. In fact, different types of tea require different temperatures. Bringing your water to a rolling boil can actually keep your tea from reaching its fullest flavor potential.

As a general rule, white tea and green tea should be made with the lowest temperature, about 175 degrees. Oolong and black tea should be made with a medium temperature, about 200 degrees. And mate, rooibos, and other types of herbal tea should be made with the highest temperature, about 210 degrees.

Bringing your water to a full rolling boil and then letting the tea cool down to the ideal temperature also will negatively impact the flavor of your tea.

 

 

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The Time

Time can also affect the flavor of the tea. Different steeping times will create subtle flavor differences that you may or may not like. The best thing to do is to take the time to steep any new type of tea that you may be trying in thirty second intervals until you find the steeping time for that particular tea that you like best.

 

 

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The Water

Water is obviously a very important ingredient to a great glass of tea, almost as important as the sugar. Only use water that is fresh and cold.  Avoid using tap water that has been sitting in stagnant in your kettle for any length of time or that has already been boiled previously. Always use cold water instead of hot water. Hot tap water tends to carry more minerals—such as calcium and lime—and can mess up the flavor of your tea.

Herbal Tea…The What

Making the Perfect Apple Granola Bars

Making the Perfect Apple Fritters

Even though this is supposedly a blog about the Raw Foods Pyramid and changes that I am making in our diet every since my husband was diagnosed with type 2 cancer…

A girl has to do what a girl has to do…

And right now that Mississippi girl has to fry something…(not to mention that I now live in Texas, where they fry everything from the encyclopedia to streetlights at the State Fair each year.

I feel like I can get by with this though because apples are actually on the Raw Foods Pyramid, and if you buy a ton of apples you want to make sure that you use them all, right?!

The perfect apple fritter is a sweet, tender, and fluffy donut-type object perfectly stuffed with juicy fresh apples…the perfect sweet glaze…and are served with the perfect hot cup of coffee.

Not only that, apple fritters are easy, require only a few simple ingredients, and take only thirty minutes from start to finish.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1C flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp salt
  • 2tsp lemon juice
  • 2 -3 Granny Smith apples…peeled, cored, and diced into bite-size pieces
  • 2Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ¼C milk
  • Cooking oil
GLAZE
  • 1-¼C powdered sugar
  • ¼tsp vanilla
  • 6tsp milk

 

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Prep the Apples

Making the Perfect Fried Apples

Making the Perfect Apple Dumplings

Making the Perfect Apple Dessert Pizza

 

 

close up photo of apples
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

The perfect apple dessert pizza consists of a giant Snickerdoodle cookie or some other type of pizza crust…topped with a simple marshmallow vanilla buttercream…plenty of cooked apples or apple pie filling…the perfect cinnamon struesel layer…and finally caramel sauce, powdered sugar, brown sugar, sugar and spice, and everything nice.

 

 

This recipe for dessert pizza is quite versatile. Use this recipe to make the perfect dessert pizza with basically any flavor canned pie filling—such as blueberry, blackberry, lemon, cherry, strawberry, and peach.

 

 

This a very easy dessert recipe…so let’s get started.

 

 

 

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The Cookie Base

  • ½C butter
  • 1/4C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½tsp vanilla
  • 3/4C flour
  • ¼tsp baking soda
  • 1Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1C warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1Tbsp olive oil

You could also use an 8oz can of Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dough sheet if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own crust.

 

 

 

 

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The Bottom Crust 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a pizza stone or cookie sheet in the oven as the oven preheats.

 

 

Combine dry ingredients—flour, baking soda, sugar, and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl.

 

 

Combine liquid ingredients—butter, egg, vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients.

 

 

Beat on medium speed until well until well combined and dough forms.

 

 

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Shape into a large ball. Turn the dough over once to coat it in oil. Wrap in plastic wrap.

 

 

Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

 

 

Refrigerate at least thirty minutes.

 

 

Remove the dough from the plastic. Roll the cookie dough into a ¼” thick circle.

 

 

Place the dough on the preheated pizza stone or cookie sheet.

 

 

Bake at 350°F for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden brown. The center will still be a little bit soft but that’s okay.

 

 

Allow the cookie to cool completely.

 

 

 

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Cream Cheese Layer

8oz cream cheese, softened
2Tbsp brown sugar
1/2tsp cinnamon

 

Beat ingredients together untli well blended. Carefully spread onto cooked crust, leaving 1/2″ uncovcered along the outer edges of the pizza.

 

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Apple Layer

  • 10 large apples
  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1C brown sugar
  • 3/4C sugar
  • 4Tbsp cornstarch
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla

 

As far as which apples you should consider buying to make your dessert pizza, good choices would be Braeburn, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp.

 

 

Peel and core the apples. Dice or slice them. Put them in a large bowl.

 

 

Combine the sugar, apples, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon.and cornstarch in a large saucepan over medium heat, Simmer forthirty minutes…until the apples are tender and the mixture is quite thick.

 

 

Let filling cool for 45 minutes…

 

 

 

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Baking

Bake at 350° for 30min, until the edges are browned and the pizza topping is hot and bubbly.

Make a powdered sugar icing to drizzle over the top by stirring together 2C powdered sugar, 2Tbsp softened butter, 1tsp vanilla, and 3 or 4Tbsp milk or half-and-half.

Drizzle on top of pizza. Enjoy!