Tea IQ: Herbal Tea

tea iq

As I’ve may have mentioned before, I’m a proud tea drinker.

My mom is a big tea drinker, and although I thought it tasted like weird water up until I was a teenager, a trip to Ireland and then a semester in England opened my eyes to the beauty that is a cup of tea.

Why I drink tea:

  • It’s healthy
  • It’s relaxing
  • It can be caffeine-free
  • It comes in so many types and flavors
  • It’s great to drink by yourself or with others
  • It goes great with cookies, cake and other treats

I think Americans sometimes give hot tea (I’m not talking sweet iced tea here) a bad rap. But, I have hope that we’re all coming around.

Although, I do think that Americans, on the whole, need a bit of a re-education about tea.

Since I’m a huge herbal tea fan (I don’t often drink caffeine), I thought I would start this Tea IQ series of posts with one on tisane or herbal tea.

What is tisane/herbal tea?

Although herbal tea (also called tisane) isn’t technically tea, it’s a quite tasty and refreshing drink (that most people still consider to be tea). It’s a beverage made from an infusion of dried herbs, spices, fruits or other plant material.

All herbal teas are caffeine free.

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Mint Julep for Derby Week

mint julep

For someone who doesn’t ride horses or follow horse races, Derby Day is more significant to me than you might think.

Why, you ask?

  • My mom grew up in a small town in Kentucky, where horse riding was a popular hobby.
  • I grew up in Hot Springs, AR, the home of the Oaklawn Racing track.
  • I got married on Derby Day in Arkansas in 2012.

I’ve also done some volunteering activities with kids and horses, and I’m fascinated by these beautiful creatures!

mint julep

Additionally, there is such a great food, drink and hat culture around the Derby.

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Chill Out

key lime spritzer

Sometimes you need to just chill out…especially when it’s about 100 degrees outside.

This year, I’ve really been trying to be more chill and not panic about little things.

I’m coming along, but I’m not perfect yet.

For example: Last weekend, I was stoked about making a big pot of purple hull peas for my family. I had frozen the peas from my local farm stand from last year, and I was going to throw some bacon in there and even collard greens. Southern feast, right?

Everything was going great until I went to crack in some sea salt and discovered that my brand new Trader Joe’s sea salt grinder had not been screwed in all the way.

Cue to me dumping half of the sea salt crystals (the big, rock-like things) straight into my peas and broth. Also, did I mention that the peas were supposed to kind of be the star of the show at dinner?

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3-Ingredient Cocktails

3-ingredient margaritas

Memorial Day and July 4th are now officially behind us…and it’s Friday!

What does that mean?

The summer is in full swing, which indicates there’s still time to enjoy refreshing spritzers and cocktails.

Just saying or typing the word spritzer makes me feel fancy.

I think that July and August are the perfect months for some simple cocktails that you can throw together right after you get home from work or for any impromptu friend visits or bbqs.

That way, you can always be prepared to be the best bartender/host or hostess.

Whether you’re into more trendy, exotic flavors or classic citrus ones, then there’s likely a 3-ingredient cocktail for you!


3-ingredient margaritas

There’s a reason why margs are so popular: They are zesty, fresh and pair really well with a taco (or nachos or just chips and guac). But, there’s no reason to use that mix stuff. Grab a bag of limes at Trader Joe’s or your local Mexican grocery store, some tequila and triple sec and you’re ready to go! Salted rim or not, it’s summer!

My Recipe: 1 1/2 cup lime juice + 1 cup tequila + 3/4 cup triple sec (plus some simple syrup to sweeten it up and ice cubes to cool it down) = a pitcher for a party

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Simple Saturday: Pitcher Perfect

pitcher sangria

If Memorial Day weekend isn’t the time to grill out, invite some friends over and enjoy some delicious beverages, then I don’t know when is.

It’s also a great time to relax and enjoy all of those things, even if you’re the host.

Recently, my husband and I have been learning more cocktail tips and tricks at the Crude Bitters & Sodas Cocktail Classes. One thing that we’ve learned is the beauty of a batch of cocktails.

When you make a batch or pitcher of your drinks, you can whip up several cocktails in minutes, without breaking a sweat.

Also, having one of these big Ball mason jars will help you feel like a master mixer!

pitcher sangria

Here are some pitcher drinks that I recommend (click the links for the recipes):

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Simple Saturday: Moscow Mule

moscow mule

It is really is crazy that in almost four years of blogging I haven’t posted a Moscow Mule recipe.

Well, thanks to my brother-in-law getting those fancy copper cups and making us one (and me taking a second to photograph it), the recipe is finally here!

You have probably already noticed by now that we love ginger beer and all things ginger. We try to always have a few bottles of ginger beer around the house, so a delicious cocktail is only a few ingredients away.

moscow mule


For this one, all you need is:

  • Ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Vodka
  • Mint (if you’re feeling like a fancy bartender)

That’s it for a simple, refreshing and satisfying drink.

If you haven’t tried one, it must go on your weekend to-do list (and invite friends over)!

Here’s how you make it:

1. Fill your copper mug (or glass) halfway with ice.

2. Add in the juice of 1/2 lime and 1 1/2-2 oz. of vodka.

3. Top it off with a cold bottle of ginger beer and stir.

4. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint.

Better than Soda

better than soda

We all know that a part of eating healthy is not drinking sodas.

And if you didn’t know, sodas are full of high fructose sugar or lots of regular sugar that is not great to consume on a daily basis.

But, just because soda isn’t the best choice doesn’t mean that you have to go without some bubbles in your life.

I know that I love having something to look forward to during my 3 o’clock slump at my desk.

Bubbly drinks feels like celebration…and during these hot and sticky Southern summer days, you need something to cool you off. It’s a need!

That’s where my favorite Better than Sodas come in. I’ve selected three of my fave seltzer type drinks that are low on sugar (and other weird stuff) and full of flavor and bubbles.

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