Herbal Teas Everyone Should Have!

Ah! It’s Fall! How glorious is that? I’m so ready for some colder temperatures, if only because it means I can cozy up with some warm tea in bed with a good book. If you know me, you will know that I’ve been on a tea-buying ban for two years now because my tea collection has gotten out of hand. Yeah. I haven’t bought any tea in two years, and I’d say I still have enough for 3 maybe 4 years… My tea collection has warranted comissioning my boyfriend for a special tea shelf to save room for food and plates in our cupboards. Seriously, if I don’t open up my own tea room someday, I’ll be shocked!

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The only exception to my tea-buying ban has been herbal teas. Free of caffeine, I drink these every day as a gentle healing ritual. Medicinal herbal teas are very potent for small, daily aches, and so they don’t really count as tea, right?

I usually prepare a tea pot mixing a few herbs and spices. I love adding crushed cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves or peppercorns as these spices help me stay warm in the colder months. Over the years, I’ve come to know what I like, and so I gravitate around the same herbs, but really, the possibilities are endless! Here are a few of my most favourite herbal teas.

  1. Oatstraw: Yes, I know. Not only do I have a slight addiction to my morning oatmeal, I also drink oatstraw! Well, what can I say? This plant is wonderful! I like to drink oatstraw herbal tea because it is soothing and calming. Perfect if you are feeling like a buzzball! As it has a very mild taste, it’s a perfect base for all of your herbal tea mixes.
  2. Holy Basil or Tulsi: Another great one if you feel like you need to be more grounded, holy basil supports the nervous system and helps releave stress and anxiety. Plus, it is really yummy!
  3. Nettle: Super rich in nutrients and minerals, stingy nettle is delicious! It has a really “green” taste, and I think it’s one of the best plants for anyone, but especially for women and vegans who are always on the hunt for extra nutrients! Extra points to this one to help releave seasonal allergy symptoms!
  4. Rasberry leaves: Girls, if you have any, and I mean any, issue with your periods, this is the BOMB! It releaves PMS (crazy peach alert, be gone!), cramps, bloathing, heavy flow, and even the length of the period. It’s seriously a magical plant. It’s also very astringent, so I suppose it’s good for everyone, but really a must-have for all women.
  5. Calendula flowers: This one is so pretty! Bright yellow or explosive orange, I love adding these to my teapots as it makes everything more beautiful! These flowers are also very soothing and healing for the digestive track.
  6. Lavender buds: One of my favourite plants ever, lavender buds are so relaxing! I love how they add a touch of Provence to my teas. Plus, they are also great for your immune system. Be careful with this one: a little goes a long way!
  7. Thyme: A stapple in my house since I’ve been a kid, thyme is great for your immune system. Mix in a bit of honey or maple syrup, and you are in business!
  8. Verbena: A classic for a reason, this beautiful herb is lemony and fresh. Also a great one to drink to relax before going to bed or after a heavy meal to aid diggestion.

I hope this will encourage you to explore the facinating world of herbal teas! I easily find my herbs in health food stores and at my local herbalist (I’m very grateful to have such a good one so close by!), but you can also find them online. Be sure to by organic teas! A great option is also to grow them yourself! Calendula are super easy, and so is thyme. Have fun mixing and matching the different herbs and spices to create your own perfect cup of tea! Let me know what your favourites are and if you’d like me to share my favourite mixes!

Thank you for reading my post! I’m currently doing a kickstarter campaign for a planner, the LEAFY planner, I created! It would be great if you checked it out!

Remember that I’m not a doctor or a healthcare specialist. Please consult a doctor before adding these herbal teas into your life if you have any concerns or conditions.

 

Zucchini lasagna with cashew cream

Yesterday at the market, I found some beautiful zucchinis that I really wanted to cook today. I decided to try out making zucchini lasagna: you use thin zucchini slices instead of pasta. Sounds good, right?

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This is a fun recipe because you can really decide on what you want to add as your layers. I went for a more traditional tomato sauce with a lot of fresh thyme and some cashew cream to give it a ricotta cheese feel. It was really good! The only thing I would say it to keep in mind that your zucchinis will give out a lot of water as they cook: make sure the different dressings you are adding are not too liquid or you will end up with a lot of extra sauce!

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Here is what you need:

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbs miso paste
  • 1 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes

For the cashew cream:

  • 2 cups raw cashew nuts
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs hemp seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Additional ingredients:

  • 3 medium-size zucchini squashes
  • 4 cups of shredded kale
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Here is what you do:

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Thinly mince the garlic cloves and dice the tomatoes. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil on medium heat, and add the garlic. Let cook until golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, thyme leaves and tamari sauce. Mix until everything is dissolved and well combined.
  4. Let simmer until the tomatoes are completely mushed and the sauce thickens up.
  5. Season to your taste.
  6. Set aside.

For the cashew cream:

  1. Place all the ingredients in your food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
  2. Set aside.

For the noodles:

  1. Using your potato peeler, peel long strips of zucchini and set aside. I find it helps to keep the stem of the zucchini and use it as a handle. When you get to the middle of your squash, just flip and start over on the other side.

To assemble:

  1. Place some zucchini noodles on the bottom of your lasagna dish (or pie plate if you don’t have one like me…) in an even layer.
  2. Place an even layer of kale on top.
  3. Place a layer of cashew cream.
  4. Place a layer of tomato sauce.
  5. Sprinkle some walnuts and some thyme leaves.
  6. Repeat until you reach the top of your dish and end with a layer of cashew cream. Sprinkle some thyme leaves and red pepper flakes.
  7. Place the lasagna dish on a cookie sheet, and put in the oven set at 350F for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the lasagna cool in it until you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

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This was amazing! I served each lasagna piece on a bed of fresh lettuce to add some green to the mix and it was great! The zucchini is tender but not mushy, while the cashew cream is a dream: rich and, well, creamy, it really feels like ricotta cheese. The thyme adds a touch of freshness to the mix, while the walnuts add a nice bite to the dish. This is a great alternative if you want a gluten-free lasagna. It can also be customized to your own liking in a breeze! Let me know if you try it out!

Fancy (but easy) Mushroom Nest

This week-end I went to Blanc de Gris which is an urban farm specialized in oyster mushrooms. How fun! I was so excited I actually did a cooking test before cooking the whole batch to make sure I would do it right… Well, I’m glad I did because this looked really nice, and it was delicious!

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Look at all these colors! This dish was fresh, savoury, filling and really let the mushrooms be the stars of the show. The grapefruit and clementine salad was so flavourful and brings a really nice texture to the entire plate. It could really make a meal of its own. As for the purple potato mash, well, I’m completely biased about purple sweet potatoes, so let’s just say it was amazing.

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But really, the mushrooms were incredible! So firm, tender and so not mushy. Unlike any mushrooms I have bought before these have a flavour of their own and are not watery at all.

Here is what you need for the strawberry-grapefruit dressing:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit flesh
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the dressing:

  1. Just put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are completely pureed.
  2. Keep this is an air-tight container in the fridge. This will stay fresh for about a week.

Here is what I put in the salad:

  • romaine and butter lettuce
  • grapefruit flesh
  • clementine chunks
  • capers
  • avocado
  • shredded carrots

Here is what you need for the purple mash:

  • 2 normal white potatoes (I really need to pay more attention to varieties of potatoes…), about 4 cups once diced
  • 2-3 purple sweet potatoes, about 4 cups once diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the mash:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them in small chunks.
  2. Boil in water with the laurel leaf until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  3. Strain and transfer to a big bowl. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes. Add the milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Add the dried herbs, give a good mix and season to your own taste.

Here is what you need for the mushrooms:

  • 350g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Crush and mince the garlic and set aside. Separate and cut the mushrooms if they are not bite-sized.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and stir well until cooked through.

To assemble the plate, add lettuce first then all the other salad ingredients around the plate. Add a few spoonfuls of mash in the center and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Arrange the mushrooms in the center and add some dressing on the salad before serving.

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Be ready to impress anyone you are serving this too, including yourself! This is such a fancy-looking plate, so why not try it out?

Let me know what you think and if you try it out!

Easy Jicama Pasta

I really like jicama! It is great raw in salads: crunchy and fresh, it really adds a lot of texture to any salad. Guess what? It’s also great cooked!

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Paired up with asparagus and pasta, it creates a very easy and fresh recipe for spring, while still being filling and deliciously flavourful! Cooked jicama has a really nice peppery taste that greatly complements pastas.

Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 jicama, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 asparagus bunch, sliced bite size
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • Cooked pasta to serve

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan, sauté the tomato until some juice comes out. Add the onion and garlic. Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the asparagus and stir around until tender. Add the jicama and mix well.
  3. Add the spices and season to your taste. Add the pasta and give it a quick stir.

This is very simple, but so flavourful!

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The asparagus adds a lot of flavour, but the jicama really brings it to another level and is perfect with the herbs.

Let me know if you try this out!