Monday, March 9, 2015

Teavana Tea Review: Winterberry Green Tea!

So my wonderful husband bought me a beautiful cast iron cherry blossom tea pot from Teavana for my birthday! It's awesome!

I picked the pot though because each design represents something different. According to the Teavana website, cherry blossoms represent 'beauty, eternal love, and the emergence of Spring'! That's such a great representation in my opinion. Plus, I love cherry blossoms. :)

He also got me some Winterberry green tea in an adorable tin!

It smells like fruity gum! Looks pretty too!

I made myself a cup this morning. Since I can't heat up the pot on the stove, I heated some water in the microwave for three minutes and poured it over 3 teaspoons of tea. I wanted to have enough for another cup for later. My pot keeps the tea warm for at least an hour after it's steeped.
I don't have a thermometer so I had to guess at how hot the water was. I waited until it was steaming and there were a lot of small bubbles in the container. Then poured it into the teapot.
Before water. Looks good!

Just poured it in. Yum.

After it's steeped. See how the strawberries & oranges have soaked up the water?
I steeped it for about four minutes, just like it said. It turned into a beautifully rose colored tea. It tastes fruity too, though it's not as strong as how it smells. :) It's sweet without sugar and I drank the whole cup without it. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who likes fruity drinks without all of the added sugar. I'd give it a four out of five stars!

Unfortunately, I don't think they sell it online anymore. My husband got it from our local store, so if this sounds like the tea for you, don't walk, RUN to your nearest Teavana store and buy you a batch!
So pretty! Smells good too!

Winterberry green tea:
A 'rejuvenating green tea infusion with bright notes of sweet strawberry, citrus and hibiscus' (according to Teavana)
  • Sweet without sugar
  • Beautiful & bright in color
  • Fruity smell & taste
  • 4/5 star rating
  • Definitely a tea to serve to guests
  • Different in a good way
  • Has less than 15 mg of both caffeine and antioxidants
Have you tried Winterberry or any of the other teas from Teavana? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below! :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread!!

My Cinnamon Raisin Bread!
So I've been making bread for my hubby and I for a couple of months now, using the recipe found in this book (which I highly recommend!) There was one instance where we bought a loaf a few weeks ago, but that was only because of the horrible sinus infection that was kicking my butt!

Usually, I halve the recipe from the book and only make two loaves. About two weeks ago, I made all four loaves and made half of them into cinnamon raisin bread. They didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped and had very little cinnamon taste to them. This week, however, I made half of the recipe and made both loaves into cinnamon raisin bread! I think I may have the recipe down this time and let me tell you, it smells wonderful while it's baking!!

I followed the recipe in the book, for the most part. Here's what I added:
2/3 cup of raisins
2 Tbsp of cinnamon
About an 1/8 of a cup of water
All of that was for half of the recipe. You may want to double it if you intend to make the whole thing.
I added the cinnamon and raisins in after the first addition of flour (1 1/2 cups if you're following the full recipe, 3/4 of a cup if you halved it).

I didn't add the water until near the end when I noticed it was still too dry; not all of the whole wheat flour had mixed in properly. I say about because I was originally going to put it in about a 1/4 of a cup at a time but decided against dumping it all in there at once. I didn't want to ruin the batter by making it too liquid-y. So I just dribbled it in a little at a time until it looked like the previous batters I've made and ended up only using half of the water I measured out.

Then I followed the baking directions and ta-da! Yummy homemade cinnamon raisin bread!! :) I got 12 slices out of the first loaf and 11 out of the second, though those are a little thicker.
My first loaf sat a tiny bit too long in the oven. ;) 
My second one. Not as dark but a bit lopsided. 
I've yet to have this bread go bad, so I'm not sure how long it'll keep in the fridge, because it doesn't last! After about a week, it does get a little dry but popping a slice or two in the microwave for a few seconds usually does the trick! I also do that for my breakfasts during the work week. Depending on the size of the slice, I eat 1 1/2 to 2 pieces with my Breakfast Essentials shake and Greek yogurt.

I store them in reused plastic ice cream cartons. I think the thing I hate the most though, is slicing up the bread. Since I don't have an electric knife like the book recommends, I just use a bread slicer and they never come out even and they crumble on the edges. But I think it just takes practice because nearly every slice would crumble at the edges and now maybe half do. ;) At least the loaves are coming out a little more even. You should have seen the short fat ends I used to make! Haha!

I let the bread cool before putting it away to reduce/ prevent moisture from the condensation.

So if you try my delicious cinnamon raisin bread recipe, please let me know what you think!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tropical Mix Smoothie! Yum...

This is a smoothie I created last week. I kept meaning to post it but with work and a lovely sinus infection, I haven't had a chance. It's very good and thick, but not too sweet. Hubby liked it a lot too! Definitely something I will be making more often. :)
It makes two medium sized smoothies or one very large one.

On to the recipe!

Tropical Mix Smoothie
 2/3 cup Campoverde Tropical Mix frozen fruit (from Wal-Mart)
3-4 ice cubes
1/2 cup Fit & Active Vanilla Grade A Nonfat Yogurt (From Aldi-love that store!)
water or juice-optional. Use only if you want a thinner smoothie.

1) Since this was for breakfast, I didn't have a lot of time to wait for the fruit to defrost so I popped 2/3 of a cup into the microwave for about a minute. It will depend on your microwave and how powerful your blender is. You may not need to warm it up. My Oster blender is a few years old and not strong enough to blend frozen fruit (I tried. It does not like it!)
2) Scoop out 1/2 cup of the yogurt and put it in the blender. I tried the fruit first, but it blended better with the yogurt going in first.

3) Drop in the fruit next along with the ice.

4) Blend it up! I pulsed it slowly, mixing it up with a spoon in between so as not to kill my blender. :) It should look like this:

5) If you want to add the water or a bit of juice, go ahead and do it now. I don't know what it tastes like with juice but it's fantastic just as it is. So portion out and drink up!

I had mine with a slice of bread covered in peanut butter. It was delicious! :)

Did you try out the recipe? Let me know what you thought of this quick and easy breakfast smoothie in the comments!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

My New Story!

I wrote a story during the summer and I'm currently in the editing process of it. Editing and NaNo have been why I haven't posted much lately. Things have been really crazy here lately but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things. Here is the synopsis for the story I wrote during the summer, for those of you that are interested:

Falling: Book 1 of the Torian Trilogy
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sensation of falling.
Feathers. Silver feathers littered the ground, but everyone just walked past them. Ari stopped and bent to pick one up but it slipped through her fingers on the wind. A red stain was left and she wondered what kind of bird would have been large enough to have feathers that size. They were almost as long as her hand and several of them had spots of blood. Ari followed the trail of feathers into the bushes off the path. Behind some of the larger, unpruned bushes and trees was a beaten and bruised body. But the only thing Ari could focus on were his long silver wings.
Ariadne Matthews is on a normal training run when things go wrong. A trail of feathers leads her off the sidewalk path into a small grove of trees and bushes to a man half dead in the grove. If that isn’t strange enough, he has nine foot ebony wings and speaks through telepathy. She goes with him to the hospital in the ambulance and learns that he’s not a human in a costume.

Kaderon is an alien king sent adrift in a spaceship to escape the Usurper, Heten, from killing him. Ari volunteers to hide him while he fixes his communicator so he can return home to a planet named Tora. Things go from bad to worse when Heten finds the remains of his spaceship strewn across the atmosphere and threatens Earth with annihilation unless they give up Kade. Can Ari and her friends protect Kade and help him return to Tora to reclaim his throne? Or is Earth doomed?

I'm pretty excited about it. I even have the next two books outlined, though I'm not sure when I'll get to them since I still have The Sickness to edit and Falling to publish. I'll definitely post about it when it is on sale though!

Off to edit!