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June 29, 2015

Green Tea Coconut Smoothie

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:02 am

Matcha tea preparation

 

Triple digits outside are slowly changing my tea drinking habits. Normally I prefer my teas hot, but lately I have been craving drinks that are more on the cool and refreshing side – no wonder with the heat wave we have been having!  No worries, though – I still get my tea – but have found more creative ways to prepare them.

While experimenting with different ingredients and flavors I came across the following recipe – a concoction I wanted to share with my tea loving fans.

For one serving you will need:

  • 3teaspoons matcha powder
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • ¾ cup coconut water
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana (can be substituted with peaches or mango)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

Preparation:

  1. In a small dish, stir together the matcha powder and hot water until the matcha powder is dissolved.
  2. In a blender, combine the dissolved matcha with the coconut water, Greek yogurt, banana, agave nectar, and coconut. Blend until smooth and transfer to a large glass and add ice to taste!

Cheers!

 

 

June 26, 2015

Rose & Hibiscus Lemonade

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:14 am

 

 

It is definitely getting hotter here in Arizona and I have just the perfect blend of flowers to keep you healthy AND refreshed. I found this recipe in the “Essential Herbals” and after trying it out am convinced that healthy and tasty are not mutually exclusive!

To make this delicious drink you need,

4 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers

4 tbsp dried rose petals

8 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate , ice

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Take water off the heat and add the hibiscus and roses. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain out the flowers and pour the tea into a large pitcher. Add about 2/3 of the can (about 8oz) of frozen lemonade concentrate. Stir to dissolve and let cool a bit before refrigerating until completely chilled.

Pour over ice in a glass, add a wedge of fresh lime and serve!

 

June 22, 2015

Rooibos for Smooth and Healthy Skin!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:00 am

 

I love to drink rooibos and know that it has many health benefits. It is rich in minerals, antioxidants and it is a great moisturizer.

Living in the desert, my naturally dry skin, suffers a lot. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize is the motto and I always carry an extra container of moisturizer in my purse so I can reapply it when necessary.

I am very selective when it comes to skin care products and like to make my own when I can. Not only does it save money, but I always know exactly what went into the product. My favorite skin cream is based on a recipe by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and yesterday, I tried a variation by adding rooibos into the mix. The recipe is easy to follow and most of the ingredients can be purchased in your local health food store.

Ingredients:

Waters – 2/3 cup distilled water

1/3 cup aloe vera gel

1/4 cup rooibos

1 or 2 drops essential oil of your choice (I use lavender or rose)

vitamin E (as a preservative)

Oils –  3/4 cup almond oil

1/3  cup coconut oil or cocoa butter

1/4 teaspoon lanolin

1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax

1.  Combine rooibos and distilled water in a glass jar and let it steep overnight. The next day, strain the tea and set aside.

2. In a double boiler, over low heat, combine the oils. Heat them just enough to melt

3. Pour the oils into a blender and let them cool to room temperature. The mixture should become thick, creamy, semisolid and cream-colored.

4.  When the mixture has cooled, turn on a blender at its highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle, pour in the water mixture into the center vortex of the whirling oil mixture.

When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream. Whe the blender starts to choke and the cream looks thick and white, like butter cream frosting, turn off the blender. ou can slowly add more water, beating it in by hand with a spoon, but don’t over beat! The cream will thicken as it sets.

6. Pour into cream or lotion jars and store in a cool place.

In additon to using rooibos as a moisturizing ingredient, it also gives the cream an nice amber color. I made some of this wonderful cream for myself, but have enough left over to gift it to some of my girlfriends!

Try it yourself!

June 19, 2015

Herb Infused Oils

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

infused oil

 

Herb infused oils are great for culinary and medicinal use. They are easy to make and wonderful gifts with a personal touch.

The methods used to infuse the oils are the solar infusion or the quick method for which you only need a crockpot.

Solar Infusion

Though it requires a little patience, it is my preferred method because it allows the extraction to occur naturally and in addition to the infusion with the flavors and medicinal properties of the herbs used, the sun’s rays also imparts its healing strength.

Place 1 part of herb in a dry and sterilized glass jar. Cover it completely with organic olive oil. close the jar tightly and place in  a sunny, warm window. Shake the jar each day and infuse in this way for two to six weeks. Add more oil if needed to keep the herb covered.

Quick Method

If you need to get to the results a bit faster, place the herb(s) in a crock pot and cover with organic olive oil. Gently heat the herb over very low heat (between 100 to 140 F)  for about 3 hours. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

As a next step for both methods, strain the herb and squeeze it using a cheesecloth. Bottle in dry sterilized glass bottles and store in a cool place. Herbal oils will keep for about one year if stored properly. You may add a few drops of vitamin E oil to prolong the shelf life!

It is best to use dry herbs for the infusion, since fresh herbs have a higher water content and could cause mold to grow and spoil the oil.

One of my favorite herbs for a cooking oil are Rosemary and Thyme. For healing, I always keep calendula and comfrey at hand to heal scrapes, sunburn and dry skin.

I will share my recipes  in future blogs – stay tuned!

 

June 15, 2015

Summer Drinks – Kick it up a Notch with Tea!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

melon

Summertime…and the living is easy!!!  I love Arizona’s dry heat and like to cool off with a tasty, freshly made glass of iced tea. There are so many flavors, I never get bored with the same cup. In addition to keeping me cool, tea keeps me hydrated. In fact, research has shown that drinking tea is just as hydrating as drinking water – but much tastier!

If you want to bring a little “varie-tea” into your iced tea selection, I recommend this delicious Melon Punch with Green Tea.  You get your hydration, anti-oxidants and a refreshing break all in one glass!

Ingredients:  10g of green tea

1  lime

1 bottle white grape juice (30 fl. oz)

2 honey dew melons, honey

1 bottle pellegrino or seltzer (29 fl. oz)

Bring 20 oz of water to a boil, remove from burner and let cool for 1 minute. Add the green tea and steep for 3 minutes. Strain the tea, then take the lime, wash it and squeeze the juice into the tea. Cover and let cool.

Once the tea is cool, add the grape juice and add honey to taste. Cut the melon in small cubes and add those punch. For the finishing touch, add a bottle of Pellegrino and ice – or if you want to really kick it up a notch and make this a drink at your next party, replace the Pellegrino with a bottle of champagne!

For garnish, you can add thin slices of lime.

One sip will let you forget this sticky summer heat – at least for a little while…..I promise!

Cheers!

June 12, 2015

Got Clouds in your Iced Tea?

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

Souvia in Mexico

“Clouding” is a term used to describe the opaque, fog-like appearance of a tea’s liquor. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with the tea, nor does it affect the flavor. The problem is more cosmetic, since cloudy tea does not look very good in clear iced tea glasses.

The two factors that can lead to a cloudy glass of iced tea are are the water quality and certain chemicals compounds in the tea called “theaflavins”.

Hard water, for  example, has high concentrations of minerals, which when brewed with tea, can form visible solids that do not dissolve at cooler temperatures.

The second factor, modern science is pointing out, are precipitates being released into the water. A 2005 article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explains that theaflavins are only soluble in water at higher temperatures and will only remain suspended if the temperature changes slowly. So, if you pour hot tea over ice, the tea cools to quickly, the theaflavins will not remain suspended and the tea will cloud.

To avoid this, let your tea cool at room temperature first, before adding ice.

It also seems that certain varietals of tea are more susceptible to clouding than others. In general, Ceylon and South Indian teas (such as Nilgiri) are less likely to cloud than those from the Assam valley. South American teas don’t seem to cloud at all, which is probably the reason, why the majority of tea used by the iced tea industry comes form Argentina.

If it happens, that you made a fresh batch of iced tea and it turns out cloudy, use this trick to reverse the reaction. Add a little bit of hot water to your tea before serving. This will clear the liquor very quickly by reorganizing the chemical structure of the infusion and baffle your guests!

 

 

June 8, 2015

Did you know? – Iced Tea Facts

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am
  1. Did you know that during the 19th century, green tea from China and Japan was the tea varietal widely available.  After World War II, however, green tea was scarce and black tea from India replaced it.
  2. Did you know that eighty per cent of all tea consumed in the USA  today is black tea.
  3. Did you know that eighty per cent of tea consumed in the USA is iced tea.
  4. Did you know that the chilled beverage we love is called “Iced Tea” and not “Ice Tea” because tea with ice is an “iced” beverage.
  5. Did you know that that forty per cent  of the tea used for the iced tea production is actually grown and manufactured in Argentina.

iced-tea-4667

 

June 5, 2015

Tired of “Swimming Pool” Hair?

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

lemon

As much fun as you might enjoy spending hours in the pool, your hair (blonde hair  that is ) might not enjoy it quite as much. Chlorine and chemicals in the water  can turn that golden hue of your hair into a ghastly green.

Fortunately, there are  easy and natural solutions to this problem.

  • before swimming, wet your hair with fresh water so that it soaks up less chlorinated pool water
  • after swimming use this home made treatment to deep clean your hair

2 tbsp. baking soda

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. mild shampoo

Mix together  all the ingredients until well blended. Wet hair and massage  mixture into hair and scalp, making sure the ends are coated as well. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse hair well and shampoo as usual. This treatment can be repeated as needed!

 

June 1, 2015

June is National Iced Tea Month!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

iced-tea-4667

 

Temperatures have been kind to us this spring, but we all know that summer heat and triple digits are inevitably coming.

What better way to cool off then with a nice chilled glass of tea! We Americans have a longtime love for this beverage – in fact 80% of all tea consumed in the U.S. is iced! It even had its beginning in this country:

At the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, Richard Blechynden, a tea merchant and director of the East India pavilion became frustrated as he tried to offer samples of his hot Assam tea under the sweltering Missouri sun. In order to save the day and generate interest in his samples, he circulated the tea through a series of lead pipes immersed in ice. The result was that the tea, now chilled, turned into a hit with the fair visitors and has enjoyed great popularity ever since.

Since then, it has only gained in popularity and therefore we are celebrating the chilled version of the second most consumed beverage in the world all month!

With delicious flavors like

Blackberry Cassis

Lime (De-) Light

Arizona Sunset

Orange Cream

you can celebrate with us and  have fun cooling off !

CHEERS

May 29, 2015

“Did You Know” Tea Trivia…..

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:05 am

With a history spanning five thousand years, there is much to know about tea. I thought, for today’s blog, I’d put together a few tidbits about tea that you may not have heard yet.

Did you know:

– that New Yorkers were sipping tea long before the English even thought about it. Tea was introduced to the “New Amsterdam”, as New York was then called,  by Dutch Settlers. It was the Dutch who first imported tea from China and spread it across the European Continent.

– that at the Boston tea party, 342 chests of tea were thrown overboard – that was about 120000 pounds of tea floating in the ocean.

– that a professional tea taster goes through a seven year apprenticeship before his palate is refined enough.

– eighty percent of all tea consumed in the world is black and that eighty percent of all tea consumed in the U.S. is iced.

– the first book written about tea, the “Ch’a-ching” was published in 780 C.E. and is still in print today!

– no artificial materials are used inside the Japanese tearoom, only the five elements of the Taoist universe: earth, wood, fire, water, metal

– that before tea became a staple in every English household, Ale was the popular morning drink.

– that the habit of putting sugar in your tea, started around the latter part of the 17th century. It was the working class that developed this habit first out of necessity. Tea was affordable and with a little sugar offered the temporary illusion of a hot, nutritious meal.

– that it takes 60000 tea leaves to make 2 lbs of Dragonwell green tea.

(Source: Liquid Jade, Beatrice Hohenegger)

 

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