One of the things I adore is re-purposing. As an Oregon native, “Recycle, Re-purpose and Re-use” has always been a way of life. Not only is it good for the environment to reduce waste, but the simple notion that things may have a second or third use stimulates my creativity. I get to think outside of the box, and imagine projects in new ways. It feels great to shop at resale stores and bring back to life items that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s extra fun to reuse ingredients in the kitchen. This week’s blog post is about reusing tea.
Did you know that once you have steeped your tea and enjoyed your warm and cozy beverage, you can also find fun and creative ways of reusing the loose leaf teas? Caffeinated teas, such as Black and Green, can perk up compost or be used for beauty treatments, while naturally caffeine free teas and herbal blends can be used in desserts and smoothies.
I recently tried a new fruit blend from Culteavo tea shop. It is called Blueberry Organic Fruit Blend. I love it! It has a rich and bold punch of hibiscus, rosehip and orange peel, while somehow still delicate and floral. The elderberries and apple pieces make this special combination sweet and beautifully bright in color. I made myself a big pot and drank all of the crimson liquid. I found myself curious as to what I could do with these juicy, now reconstituted, dried fruit and herbs. I decided to go with a healthy and delicious blueberry smoothie which is full of super food antioxidants. Smoothies are a great alternative to high calorie ice-creams and can serve as either a snack or a meal.
The secret combo to any green smoothie is 1) fruit, 2) greens and 3) milk or juice. The rest is up to you based on your dietary goals or ingredients you have on hand. I love adding flax meal to make sure that I am getting enough cancer fighting fiber for the day and it is also rich in amino acids. The addition of steeped fruit blends from Culteavo adds a depth of flavor and you get to use your yummy tea one more time! Feels good to reuse.
Thick and Creamy Blueberry Green Smoothie
1 cup of frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons of flax meal
1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I prefer Sunwarrior’s vegan vanilla)
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 or 2 tablespoons of used Blueberry Organic Fruit Blend
1 ½ cup of your favorite milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond)
A shake or two of cinnamon to taste
(1 serving: 328 calories. 23 protein, 32 carb)
It’s that simple. Just blend it all up and enjoy. (I use a nutribullet which does a great job of blending leafy greens.) You can also garnish your smoothie with the new crystal sugars that I found at Culteavo. I was so excited to try the hibiscus sugar on this smoothie as the fruit blend also has hibiscus. The bright and beautiful red color, sprinkled on top is such a treat.
This simple recipe makes a super thick and filling 16 ounce smoothie. It’s so thick, in hindsight; I could have served it in a bowl and added some fun toppings like nuts and seeds or more fruit. Smoothie bowls are a great way to enjoy the smooth and nutritious shake, while also getting the satisfying crunch of your favorite toppings. If you prefer more of a drinkable smoothie, not too thick, I recommend you use only half a cup of frozen fruit, and/or more nut milk to thin it out a bit. Either way it is so worth a try.
Here are some fun variations that you may also want to try using the Blueberry Organic Fruit Blend:
Happy Morning Orange Smoothie: 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 1 ½ cup of orange juice, 1 handful of spinach, 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 tablespoons of flax meal and 1 or 2 tablespoons of Blueberry Organic Fruit Blend.
Apple of My Eye Smoothie: 1 apple, 1 ½ cup of apple juice, 1 handful of spinach, 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 tablespoons of rolled oats and 1 or 2 tablespoons of Blueberry Organic Fruit Blend and cinnamon to taste.
Red Velvet Smoothie: 1 cup of raspberries, 1 ½ cup of chocolate milk (Almond, cashew, coconut or soy), 1 handful of spinach, 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, 1 tablespoons maple syrup (date syrup or liquid stevia works great too) and 1 or 2 tablespoons of Blueberry Organic Fruit Blend.
I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you have tried any of these smoothies or if you have other creative ideas of how to re-use your loose leaf tea.