Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Recipes: Iced Tea

With warmer weather here, I've started making iced tea again. 

I often take the lazy way and just plop in the Lipton Cold Brew tea bags, but Brenda has so many great iced tea recipes on the site that I've decided to try a few varieties. 

Here are some of the tasty sounding iced tea recipes I found on Ol Fashioned Living. Can't wait to give them a try!

Honey Apple Tea

4 black tea bags
1/3 cup honey
3 cups unsweetened apple juice
3 cups boiling water
lemon slices

In a 2 quart pot, brew tea bags in boiling water. Remove bags, add honey and apple juice. Stir well. Pour over ice. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Fruit Tea Punch

1 cup honey
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh fruit, crushed
1 1/2 cups fresh, strong tea
1 pint ginger ale

Mix all ingredients except ginger ale. Just before serving add ginger ale and crushed ice. If the punch is too strong for your taste you can dilute with ice water or more ginger ale.

Cinnamon Apple Cooler

1 1/2 cups boiling water
6 Cinnamon Apple tea bags
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup grape juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Club soda, chilled

In teapot, pour boiling water over teabags; cover and steep 5 minutes. Remove bags; stir in sugar and cool. In pitcher, combine tea, cold water and juices. Serve in ice-filled glasses with a splash of soda. Garnish, if desired, with lemon slices.

Apple Spiced Iced Tea

3 cups apple juice or cider
3 cups boiling water
6 black tea bags
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/3 cup honey

Add tea bags to boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes. Remove and add allspice, honey and apple juice. Simmer over low heat until honey is blended, about one minute. Chill. Serve over ice with lemon slices if desired. Store in a covered pitcher in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Yogurt Cooler

2 rosehip tea bags
2 cups boiling water
2 cups plain lowfat yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup sliced strawberries

Steep the tea bags in a small teapot or bowl for 10 minutes, covered. Remove tea bags. Place the yogurt, berries, and honey in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the tea to the yogurt mixture, and blend until smooth. Serve over ice.

Mint and Lemon Iced Tea

3 cups of boiling water
4 black tea bags
2 fresh mint sprigs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cups cold water
Fresh mint and sliced lemon for garnish

Use the boiling water to brew the black tea with the mint sprigs for 5 minutes. Strain or remove tea bags and mint. Add sugar and lemon juice, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in cold water. Serve over ice, garnish with fresh sprigs of mint and a slice of lemon. Makes 8 servings.

Warm Weather Tea Punch

2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh mint
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups strong brewed tea
1 1-liter bottle cold club soda
Flower ice cubes

Place water, sugar and mint in a large pan and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain mixture and place in a large pitcher. Add orange juice, lemon juice and tea to the mint water. Chill. Just before serving, add club soda to the tea punch after you place in the bowl. Serve in punch bowl with flowered ice cubes-recipe below.

Flowered Ice Cubes: Filling ice-cube trays half full with water and place an edible blossom or petal on water in each cube. Freeze until firm, then fill the tray with water and freeze again. You can use:

Sweet William-dianthus
Violets, Johnnie Jump-ups or pansies
Scented geraniums blooms
Mint or lemon balm leaves
Borage or angelica blooms
Calendula blooms if they are small enough

Be sure they are pesticide and bug free!

Strawberry Iced Tea

1 pint fresh strawberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 cups boiling water
5 tea bags-green or black tea
1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 quart sparkling water, or seltzer

Clean and trim the strawberries. Place them in a bowl with the sugar-mix to coat and set aside. Steep the tea bags with the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and cool. Stir the cooled tea into the strawberry mixture. Add the lemonade. Place in a large pitcher and chill. Before serving stir in the seltzer and pour over ice cubes in pretty glasses. Makes 12 servings.

Almond Vanilla Iced Tea

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart of strong tea-any black or green variety

Combine all the ingredients and pour over ice cubes in tall glasses.

Summer Herb Tea Punch

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 sprig lemon balm
5 sprigs borage (young leaves best)
1 sprig salad burnet
3 anise or anise hyssop leaves
2 cups of hot black tea
Juice of 3 oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
ginger ale
Fresh Mint

Pound the sugar, salt and herbs in a mortar or a bowl with a wooden spoon. Pour the tea and fruit juices over them. Cover and allow to stand for several hours. Strain and pour over ice in the punch bowl, fill the rest of the way with ginger ale. Use fresh mint to float as a garnish.

More you might like:

Friendship Tea Recipes
Tea Time Recipes & Afternoon Tea
Edible Flower Recipes

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Hodge Podge

This week I want to share another hodge podge of tips. Again, came across these shared by the members of's message board community. Many of the members there have been frugal for years, it's not trendy for them. Dur to the economy, many people have had to change their ways and learn to be less wasteful. It's funny, the more people I talk to the more I find that those same people are actually finding it fun to be frugal!

  • If you need to wrap a gift that is really big go to the dollar store and buy two plastic birthday table cloths. They work perfectly, and were very easy to manage.

  • After each meal gather up leftovers and any food or drinks that need to go in the refrigerator, put them together and only open the refrigerator one time. Do that after grocery shopping too to save energy.

  • Make batteries last longer-- put the batteries in the fridge. I have kept batteries for 3 years and they still work great.

  • It will save you a lot of money if you buy beef or pork in bulk (from the farmer). See complete tip here

  • Did you know hair conditioner is the best shaving cream? I've been using it for years and you can't beat the price.

  • Instead of using wax paper or paper towels, I purchase inexpensive basket-type coffee filters at the dollar store, and use them to reheat food in microwave and also use them to grease my cookware when baking.

  • A good way to use old pantyhose : Bunch up a leg and snip off the foot for a gentle scrubber that won't scratch surfaces.

  • Save those dish soap bottles that have the pop up top. Clean them out good & then fill with water or plant food to water your small house plants.

  • If you buy the liquid laundry detergent, when you are finished with it, remove the pour spout and you will get anywhere from about 1/2 to a full lid of soap.
We are participating in Thrifty Thursday this week. If you have a thrifty post on your blog, join us! All you have to do is link to Thrifty Thursday's current week's post and then add your thrifty link at the end. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Readers Questions & Answers

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work. ~Pearl S. Buck

I shouldn't have bragged about the nice weather on Saturday. Yesterday it was only 38 degrees! Today I have more questions and answers:)

I bought a butterfly feeder No instructions as to what to put into to feed the butterflies. Do you use the same mixture that is used for hummingbirds? or something different? ~Lee

This recipe will work for homemade butterfly nectar.

Butterfly Nectar

You'll need:
4 cups of water
1 cup granulated white sugar

Add the sugar to the water in a medium sauce pan. Heat the mixture, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cool before filling your butterfly feeder, and store any remaining nectar in the refrigerator for up to a week. Clean your feeder with hot water between fillings and change the nectar at least once a week. DO NOT use honey, syrup or any other kind of sweetener.

I have a recipe for Old Fashioned Meat Loaf and it mentions serving with potato with melted butter, crisp bacon chips and Smetina. I have never heard of Smetina. Any ideas? ~Nita

Smetina was a brand of sour cream produced by Raskas Dairy in St. Louis, Missouri. Substitute any regular sour cream in recipes.

I have some old hand crochet items from my grand mother and these items have some brown spots from age. They are white and I am afraid to bleach them. ~Peg

Bleach is not a good thing for vintage pieces, including a color safe bleach, so you were right to not do that. Try using a cleaner made for delicate washables, a gallon or so of cool water and 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Mix it up with your crochet piece in a tub or plastic bowl and let it soak for about 6 hours. Rinse it in cold water, and check the spots. If they aren't gone you can repeat it again, using a new solution. Place it flat to air dry when you are finished.

We also have tips on attracting butterflies and hummingbirds:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Tips: Cooking Time Savers

Like many, many people, I have a very busy lifestyle. I have 4 kids that often need to be taken to or picked up from sports and other activities. I work for 3 different companies from home. I love to bake and enjoy cooking meals, and I especially like to try new recipes. I also have a house to maintain, laundry to wash, chores to do, and to top it all off I've decided I want to grow a garden this year.

Therefore, anything that can save me time is a God-send. I've learned a few tricks along the way and want to share just a few of the time savers I use regularly. 

Hopefully they can help you too!

Double Chop
When I have a recipe that calls for chopped onion, I will chop up two large onions, use what I need for the recipe and freeze the rest. While frozen onion doesn't work well on salads or sandwiches, it's perfect for sauteing, tossing into an omelet, soup, chili, or anything else that calls for onion as a cooked ingredient. Keep it in zipper sandwich bags or a tightly closed plastic container. This also works great with mushrooms and bell peppers, which happen to be delicious in egg white omelets!

Condiment Dishes
You've seen them on cooking shows or on cooking tutorials on the web. Those cute little glass dishes that look like miniature bowls and hold about 1/2 cup of ingredients. They cost about $0.89 at WalMart, or you can usually find them at thrift stores for half that price. I have a stack of them in the cabinet. Whenever I am making a recipe, especially one I haven't made before, I measure out my ingredients first, placing them neatly into these little dishes. When it's time to add them to the recipe, just pop them in, no last minute measuring or rushing around.

Make Extra
If I make a meatloaf, meatballs, or even breaded items such as Chicken Piccata or Schnitzel, I always make extra and pack it away in the freezer for a future meal. I layer pounded and breaded chicken or pork between sheets of wax paper and then wrap in plastic wrap. Placing them between sheets of wax paper makes it much easier to remove individual portions after they are frozen. Then I place that into a zipper gallon freezer bag and mark the outside with a Sharpie. To save space with meat loaves and meatballs, I freeze meal sized portions in zipper bags, but I freeze them flat so that I can stack them once frozen. 

Read the Recipe!
I think we have all learned this lesson the hard way. You get all excited about trying a new recipe, maybe you've even added it to your menu for dinner that week. It comes time to make it and while you made sure you bought all the ingredients necessary, you neglected to notice that the meat needs to marinate for 24 hours, or the dough needs to rise for longer than you want to wait. Always read through a recipe's instructions, ALL the way through, from beginning to end, so that you are totally prepared for what you are going to need.

Healthy Snacks
It's so easy to grab potato chips. Making a salad is so time consuming! I've gotten in the habit of buying fresh vegetables and chopping them before I even put them away. That way I have celery sticks, broccoli heads, trimmed radishes and chunks of low fat cheese at the ready. I am experimenting now with some tasty dips as well. For those times that I really crave the chips, I have switched to whole grain Sun Chips. They have some great flavors and aren't as fattening or sinful as Doritos and potato chips. I also peel oranges and break them into segments, portioning them out into sandwich bags I keep in the fridge. I do this with grapes and melon as well. 

Wash as You Go
I love to bake. I usually bake something 3 or 4 times a week. Trying new recipes is one of my favorite things, and some recipes can generate a lot of dishes! Instead of waiting until the end to do that massive pile, I try to wash them in manageable chunks. If the heavy cream needs to be whipped for 3-4 minutes, that's plenty of time to wash measuring cups and mixing bowls. I also wipe the counters down as I go as I am not blessed with as much counter space as I would like. This really helps keep the kitchen efficient.

Those are just a few of the things I do to save me time in the kitchen. What do you do?

~ Amanda

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Spring Garden Tidbits

A gush of bird-song, a patter of dew, A cloud,and a rainbow's warning, Suddenly sunshine and perfect blue-- An April day in the morning.~Harriet Prescott Spofford

Last night we had the best soaking rain! My irises grew taller overnight, and things are greening up nicely at last here in Michigan. Today I have more spring tidbits:

Butterfly bushes look pretty sad in the spring, but don't be fooled! They are fast growers once warm weather hits. Wait until you see new growth, then cut back the old wood to 3-4 inches above the ground. Work in some compost around the base of the plant and water well.

Don't forget your pine trees! Prune any dead wood now, and if the tree is young, water once a week.Radishes are another spring vegetable that are very easy to grow. There are many varieties and if you can't make your mind many seed companies offer mixtures. Ideal soil temperatures are 50-65 degrees F. Direct seed the radishes every 2 weeks until temperatures reach about 80 degrees. This will give you a good supply for salads.

To grow the best radishes you'll need a fertile, well worked soil and plenty of moisture. Radishes need a scheduled watering. They should not dry out, but you don't want the soil soggy at all either. Be sure to thin the radishes if they are too close. The radish is the root of the plant and it needs room to grow. Harvest often once they are the big enough. If they grow too large they will be woody.

Peas can be planted any time your soil can be worked as long as it's not too wet. The soil should be well worked since the roots grow rather deeply. Mix in compost, peat and organic matter. They will also benefit from adding a cup of bonemeal to the soil. The seeds should be sown 2 inches deep. Keep the area very well weeded once the seeds germinate and water regularly. You can also sow the seeds every three weeks to keep a steady supply on hand when you need them.

On OFL we have more tips on growing butterfly bushes: