Steeped Tea Must-Haves for the Holiday Season and New Year

by Peggy Michel, Independent Steeped Tea Consultant

Ahhhh, the holidays!!!  They are quickly approaching!  Some of us love and enjoy them and others hate them and anxiously await a new year.  Either way, they can definitely be stressful, even for those that seem to have it all together…

Today’s blog post includes some of my favorite tea items that have made my life much easier – for both serving and gift giving!

Cheeseball Mixes

Have you tried a tea-based cheeseball mix? Grab your favorite cream cheese and mix the contents of the packet together to create the perfect cheeseball. You can also concoct a dip by substituting Greek yogurt, create a pasta sauce with them, or layer in a pretty dish and add complementary ingredients. The possibilities are endless.  Having these on hand during the holidays is super convenient!

Cheeseball Mix

Flavors include:

  • Pumpkin Cheesecake – serve with graham crackers or vanilla wafers
  • Caramel Apple
  • S’mores
  • Vanilla Cookie (my personal favorite)
  • Garlic Chili – serve with chips or veggies

Priced at $12, each bag makes 8 Cheeseballs!  Money well spent!

Iced Tea Infusion Jug or Sweet Tea Pitcher

These two pitchers are fabulous! Each pitcher holds about 2 bottles of wine. I have used our Winter Sangria Tea with Pinot Grigio for parties and it was a huge hit!

The Iced Tea Infusion Jug has a removable infuser in the center.  You just add your tea leaves of choice and add your hot or cold liquid.

Steeped Tea Iced Tea Infusion Jug

With the Sweet Tea Pitcher, you add the tea leaves directly into the pitcher and add your liquid of choice.  The strainer built into the lid will catch the Tea leaves and just give you a beautiful serving of goodness!  I have used our Berry Mania tea steeped directly into vodka and seltzer and added cut up limes…it looked great and was another successful drink!  I have also steeped our Papaya Sangria in water for my daughters – which they LOVE!  I highly recommend either of these pitchers for giving or serving during the holidays.

MATCHA

I have no idea what I did before I found out about matcha. Matcha is when the green tea leaf is completely ground down into a fine powder and blended directly into your liquid of choice.  There are many health benefits associated with matcha! Personally speaking, I get an abundance of energy when I drink matcha. It is also high in antioxidants, boosts the immune system, detoxifies, and helps stimulates the metabolism, among other things.  It is much different than the burst of energy you get from coffee.  Matcha gives you a “focused alertness” with no jitters.  It is awesome and they come in a variety of flavors. One tin is priced at $39 for 100 servings!  (Only $.39 per serving!)  You can mix matcha in hot water, blend it into smoothies, mix it into yogurt, and add it to pancake or cupcake batter…another item where the possibilities are endless.

Steeped Tea Gingerbread Matcha

The available flavors are:

  • Banana
  • Fruit Punch
  • Gingerbread (pictured)
  • Mocha
  • Peppermint
  • Pineapple Punch
  • Sweet Strawberry
  • Tonia’s Pumpkin
  • Vanilla

Also available is plain Matcha ($39) and Ceremonial ($45). Not sure which to try? A matcha sampler is also available for $60 and comes with the 6 most popular matcha flavors in a sample size.

Pop-Top Tumbler

This Pop-Top Tumbler is amazing! It will keep liquids hot or cold for about 12 hours. This gem comes with a detachable infuser so you can steep your tea right into it!  I use mine every single day as I am constantly on the run with my kids.  It also has a lock to prevent spills! This is an invaluable tumbler to have for $40 (and can be personalized for an additional $10). It is available in 7 colors, is double-walled, stainless steel, BPA free, vacuum sealed and holds 16.9 oz (500 ml).

Steeped Tea Pop-Up Tumbler.jpg

Detox Sampler

This little set has it all! It comes with 50 steeping sacks and 6 different teas – all of which are must-haves for the holiday season! It includes:

  • Don’t Worry be Happy
  • Feminini Tea
  • Hot Yoga
  • Lemon Ginger Tea Tox
  • Immunity Booster
  • Stress Reliever

Steeped Tea Detox Sampler

The Detox Sampler is priced at $40 and can be separated as gifts or stocking stuffers! Who wouldn’t want to give the gift of health this holiday season?

Last, but certainly not least… enter Sleepy Chai.  The holidays could be stressful, and turning off my brain doesn’t happen easily. Sleepy Chai tea totally relaxes me at night; not only do I fall asleep with ease, but I wake up feeling well rested and rejuvenated. Available for $19 for 3.52 oz – I always make sure this is in my pantry!

Steepd Tea Sleepy Chai

All of the above items could be purchased from my Steeped Tea store. I hope my list of tea-must haves has given you ideas and I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season!

Have questions? Contact Peggy at pmic719@hotmail.com and join her Steeped Tea Facebook group!

Namaste.

Tea Must-Haves for the Holiday Season and Beyond

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Cusa Tea – Premium Instant Tea

I love coffee and tea equally. Before work, I drink a few cups of coffee, and when I get to work, I drink cold tea in my infusion water bottle. I love the way it refreshes my palate and gives me the caffeine to power through my morning. I am always down to try new tea varieties…enter Cusa Tea!

Cusa Tea was created by Jim Lamancusa. He concocted the first-ever instant tea that contains only high-quality, premium, USDA Organic certified teas and fruits.

Cusa Tea

Cusa Tea comes in 5 varieties:

  • Organic English Breakfast
  • Organic Oolong Tea
  • Mango Green Tea
  • Organic Green Tea
  • Lemon Black Tea

I tried the Mango Green Tea and Organic Green Tea varieties.

Cusa Tea - Premium Instant Tea

Cusa Tea has no additives, fillers, or sugar and uses a low-temperature crystallization process to extract the essence and provide all the benefits of drinking tea.

Directions:

  • Open the tea stick and pour it into an empty 12-14 ounce glass.
  • Pour hot or cold water and watch the tea dissolve.
  • Cold water may take 30 seconds to dissolve.
  • Adjust the strength of the tea by adding or removing water.

Thoughts

I never used anything besides loose tea or a tea bag, so I was super curious to see if a tea stick would hold up to my standards.

I really appreciate that the caffeine content and tea polyphenols were listed on the box. I am caffeine sensitive so this is important for people like me to know before drinking a cup…

Cusa Tea - Premium Instant Tea

The Mango Green Tea (pictured) was fabulous! I ripped open the tea stick, poured it into a cup, filled my cup with water (just eyeballed the amount), and gave it a stir. It dissolved immediately. I added some ice cubes and really enjoyed the mango and green tea flavors. Next time, I may add some fresh mint from my garden, to add even more flavor to the cup!

The Organic Green Tea, I tried hot. Again, the tea dissolved immediately into the cup and was super delicious. Green Tea is naturally bitter, so my husband likes when I add honey.

The Cusa Teas were super simple to make and I would absolutely love to try the other varieties. I think they are great for those who love to travel, are always on-the-go, or just love tea!

Make sure you head to the Cusa Tea website to order online or see where they are located in a store near you.

Follow Cusa Tea on Facebook, and Instagram.

Namaste.

Disclosure: Two packages of Cusa Tea were sent complimentary for reviewing purposes; all opinions within are my own. If you would like your product reviewed on Realm of Vibes, please contact realmofvibesdg@gmail.com 

 

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Peter’s Brew: Jamaican Rum Flavored Coffee

Disclosure: This post features sponsored items. All opinions within are my own.

I’ve been a coffee drinker since I was ten years old. I added a little coffee, lots of milk, and lots of sugar. (Isn’t that how every kid starts drinking coffee?) As my palate and dairy allergy developed, I now take my coffee with a little almond milk, no sugar, I am sweet enough. Whenever I travel, I always find a local coffee shop,  and purchase a bag of coffee to bring home. You can never have enough coffee! Since I work long shifts in healthcare, and my husband works in law enforcement, we make EIGHT cups every morning. Coffee is a staple in our home and powers us through our days. This week on Realm of Vibes, I am featuring Peter’s Brew Jamaican Gourmet Coffee.

Peter's Brew Coffee

Peter’s Brew Coffee in front of my favorite machine

About Peter’s Brew

Jamaican born Peter Thomas started Peter’s Brew to share his delicious coffee with the world. (You may have seen Peter on the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Not going to lie, I’m a huge RH fan…)

On their website, three different varieties of coffee are offered:

  • Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain
  • Jamaican Rum Flavor
    • Available in K-Cups, too!

You can select whether you would like whole or ground coffee.

Peter’s Brew imports Jamaica’s finest coffee beans from the world’s best growers. They meticulously examine each pound of green beans for the perfect size, color, and texture.

Review

I was sent a one pound bag of Peter’s Brew Jamaican Rum Flavor, which consists of 100% Arabica beans. This variety combines the flavor of White Jamaican Rum! (There is no alcohol in any of Peter’s Brew products.) I love Jamaican Rum, so I was really excited to sample this variety.

Packaging: Super cool. Love the picture of Peter overlooking the Blue Mountains. There is a recipe on the side of the bag to make an iced Jamaican cocktail called The Rude Boy.

Peter's Brew Coffee

Smell: Yum! Originally, I thought it smelled like chocolate and vanilla. Jason nailed it – he said it smells like vanilla and almonds. We aren’t professional foodies/drink taste-testers by any means, but the Jamaican Rum flavor combines chocolate, nuts, and vanilla.

Flavor: Jason drinks his coffee black, while I add a little almond milk. I tried Peter’s Brew black, and instantly felt like I was sipping on a strong alcoholic coffee beverage in Jamaica. (I have never been, but if I close my eyes and think hard enough, I can be anywhere for a few minutes!) You can taste the delicious rum flavoring. I added a little almond milk, and the nutty flavor is amplified. Jason isn’t really a big flavored coffee kind of guy, but when I blended the coffee with ice and a sprinkle of Cinnamon in my Blend-Tec, this made for one heck of a refreshing treat.  I also tried pouring the coffee over ice, and this was equally as refreshing and delicious. I like how Peter’s Brew isn’t acidic; the flavor is smooth and easy to drink.

Recommendation: I would recommend Peter’s Brew Jamaican Rum coffee to anyone who appreciates responsible sourcing, meticulous examination of Jamaica finest coffee beans, flavored coffee, and Jamaican Rum. I would also recommend this to anyone who likes to get creative in the kitchen; the flavor is so unique, that you could probably infuse Peter’s Brew coffee into drinks or add when baking to get a rum inspired food or drink.

Peter’s Brew Jamaican Rum Flavor coffee is pretty amazing. My sister has visited Jamaica and has raved about the coffee, so purchasing from Peter’s Brew allows me to experience Jamaica’s finest from the comfort of my own home.

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Danielle with her Peter’s Brew coffee & trusty coffee maker

Order your own bag on the Peter’s Brew website and make sure you follow their social media: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook!

Namaste.

Workin’ like a Mule? Time for a Drink from Culinary Cantina’s 100% Copper Moscow Mule Mugs

Disclosure: This post contains sponsored and affiliated items. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts and opinions within are my own. 

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FRIDAY. Or, like I say, FRI-YAY. My husband will call me on his way home from work and ask the million-dollar question, “What are we drinking tonight, Danielle?” He will proceed to tell me he is on his way to the liquor store, will pick up take-out, and come home to our beautiful palace. Lately, I have been obsessed with Moscow Mules – an old-school vodka drink that is served at restaurants in a shiny copper mug. I, on the other hand, did not own such a vessel, and was serving them in mason jar mugs and beer glasses, but thanks to Culinary Cantina, I now have a set of real copper Moscow Mule mugs. And, I learned WHY they taste so much better!

20170426_19430320170425_173028About Culinary Cantina

Culinary Cantina was founded in December 2016. Their mission is to create products to assist all of your kitchen endeavors combining science and a sleek design. The first product Culinary Cantina has to offer is a set of four 100% Copper Moscow Mule Mugs.

What I love:

  • 100% Copper
    • HOLY COLD – my Moscow Mule is COLD, and STAYS cold.
    • No liner
    • Improves the flavor of the vodka
    • Increases carbonation
    • Intensifies the tang
  • 16 ounces of pure deliciousness
  • Brass Handles
    • Strong metal to withstand the weight of your beverage
    • Perfect resting spot for your thumb and pinky fingers
    • Jason seriously loves the handles…he could probably write this review…
  • 100% Guarantee
    • Register your Culinary Cantina Moscow Mule mugs and you will be set for 5 years!
  • Price: $49.99 USD
    • This is a great price. Seriously, I have seen ONE mug go for $15-20 a pop in home goods stores.

My Moscow Mule Recipe

  1. Get your Culinary Cantina Moscow Mule Mug.
  2. Muddle mint leaves at the bottom of your mug. This brings out the mint flavor.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Add vodka.
  5. Add fresh lime juice.
  6. Add Ginger Beer.
  7. Add a slice (or two) of jalapeno. (optional)
  8. Stir.
  9. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Substitute tequila for vodka for a Mexican Mule.

My Thoughts

The Culinary Cantina Moscow Mule mugs are awesome. My drink stays cold, and the concave bottom makes it stable. The handles are awesome and fit both my (small) hands and my husbands (rather large) hands. The brass handles are super sturdy. They look classy and are statement pieces.

Consider purchasing the set as a gift – package together the Culinary Cantina Moscow Mule mugs, a bottle of vodka, a pack of Ginger beer, a potted mint plant, and some limes (or Lime essential oil!). I would LOVE to receive a gift that thoughtful and creative!

Care Tips and a Moscow Mule recipe are printed on the box!

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Support a small business and order your Moscow Mule mugs from Culinary Cantina on Amazon. Visit Culinary Cantina’s website to get a 25% off coupon (while supplies last).

Visit Culinary Cantina on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Culinary Cantina’s 100% Copper Moscow Mule Mugs

Namaste.

If you are interested in having your product or service on Realm of Vibes, please visit the Contact page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com 

Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

by Lovoni Walker 

People assume because I cook for a living that I whip-up elaborate, gourmet meals every night. After food styling, being in front of the camera cooking, or writing recipes all day, the thought of spending hours in the kitchen to knock together the evening meal holds little appeal, no matter how much I love to cook. Meals that are fresh and fast are where it’s at during the weeknight grind. Salads and stir-fries are both perfect speedy, wholesome meals for the time challenged and are my savior for when I’m short on time, energy or inspiration (and sometimes all three).

Keeping a well-stocked pantry is key, so I tend to have a selection of vinegars, nuts, oils and Asian sauces at the ready. Buying meat and seafood in bulk, portioning them and throwing them into the freezer to have on hand means all that’s left to pick up from the store is a few fresh ingredients.

If you have any energy left at the end of your day, doing 15 minutes prep for the following night’s meal will have you feeling like a kitchen maven.  Here are a couple of quick recipes:  an Asian inspired shrimp and mango salad and a ginger spritzer to wash it down, both with lots of make-ahead elements, so you can have dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss maybe leaving a little time left for you at the end of your long day (it helps to dream, right?!).

Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad

Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

MARINADE

  • 1/4 cup sambal oelek (Asian chili paste)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 20 large, raw shrimp (prawns), peeled and deveined leaving tails intact
  • 4 to 5 metal (or bamboo) skewers
Mint and Mango for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad

Mint and Mango for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

SALAD

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large, ripe mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 6 to 8 small radish, halved or sliced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts

To make the marinade: Combine sambal, garlic, honey, fish sauce, ginger, soy and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a blender (this will become the dressing for the salad). Add shrimp to the remaining mixture in the bowl; mix well to coat. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

To make the dressing for the salad: Add vinegar and canola oil to sambal mixture in blender; blend until smooth.  Cover and set aside in the fridge.

Just before serving: Toss mango, cucumber, onion, radish, mint & cilantro together in a medium bowl. Drizzle with salad; toss to combine. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Cook shrimp on greased grill of a hot barbeque, 2 to 3 minutes each side until they turn pink – do not overcook.  Serve shrimp with mango salad. Serves 3 to 4.

Note: As an alternate, you could marinate and grill the shrimp the night before & toss them into the salad, cold, just before serving.

Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-inch piece ginger (it doesn’t have to be peeled), sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
  • ice
  • sparkling water or club soda to serve

Combine water, sugar, ginger & rosemary in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, for 5 minutes; strain into a small pitcher or jar. Cover and chill until read to use.

Place cucumber slices and ice into a serving jug or individual glasses. Top with sparkling water; stir to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 3 to 4.

Here is a timeline to prepare during a week night:

Timeline for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad and Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Don’t forget your shopping list: 

Shopping List for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad and Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Realm of Vibes wants to thank Lovoni Walker, Foodsmith for guest posting. E-mail her at Lovoni@freshhunger.com. Fresh Hunger, her new website, is coming soon. Connect with Lovoni on social media: InstagramFacebookPinterestTwitter, and visit The Fresh Aussie blog.

If you are interested in being featured on Realm of Vibes, please fill out the form on the Contact page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started.