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Friday, May 29, 2020

How To Make Fruit-Infused Cold Brew Ice Tea

A hot summer day calls for a tall glass of ice tea

 I received samples to facilitate this post.

 Warm summer days call for a tall glass of cold ice tea. A cold glass of ice tea is so refreshing and it does a better job of quenching my thirst then plain water. I am usually a water drinker but when the temperature heats up, water can get quite boring after I have had too many glasses. Living in the desert of New Mexico means that we have dry hot summers and we have to drink even more water to stay hydrated. For me, since I am an athlete, that can be 15 or more glasses of water. So I like to make summer hydration pleasing to my taste buds but at the same time healthy.

 So I always have a batch of cold brew fruit-infused ice tea in my fridge so I can quench my thirst with a drink that is not loaded with sugar. Add fruit to ice tea adds flavor without having to add sugar. Tea is loaded with antioxidants so along with body hydration, I am also getting healthy antioxidants. It's a win-win situation. My body is also getting some vitamin C from the delicious fruit.

Cold-brew tea is so easy to make

 Cold-brew ice tea is so easy to make and you don't need any special equipment. The cold brew method of ice tea yields a brewed tea that is less bitter and brings out a better flavor. To cold brew your tea is simple. Just place the tea bags in a pitcher of cold water and place it in the fridge. Let the tea brew in the fridge for 15-36 hours. I like to place my pitcher of tea in the fridge the night before so it is ready by the afternoon the next day. I usually make a batch of cold brew tea every night in the summer as my family helps me drink the cold tea every day. The size of the pitcher is up to you. Just adjust the amount of tea bags per cup of water. I like using 1 tea bag for every cup of water.

Black or green tea?

The type of tea is really personal preference so you can brew black tea leaves or green tea leaves.  Black tea leaves will be a darker stronger tea, while green tea is milder and lighter. If after brewing the tea, you can always add more water if it is too strong. If the tea flavor is too mild for you, just add more tea bags in the next batch that you brew.

Give the tea great flavor

 Ice tea is a drink that can be customized and adding fresh or frozen fruit to your brew is a perfect way to add flavor without a whole lot of calories. You can add the fruit to the tea while it is brewing in the fridge. Then when the tea is done brewing, you can strain the fruit pieces out. If you have a pitcher with a fruit-infuser all the better, as you can leave the fruit in the tea pitcher. Almost any fruit will work in ice tea, from peaches to strawberries, the choice is up to you. I think the only fruit that would not work in tea is bananas. You can also add herbs to your fruit infused ice tea for even more flavor.

Some combinations for cold brew ice tea:
Strawberry + Basil
Lemon + Honey + Ginger
Watermelon + Mint
Raspberry + Peach
Orange + Honey
Blueberries +  Mint
Strawberry + Lemon

Some like it sweet

 If you like your ice tea on the sweet side then add some honey or sugar. You will find that you may need less sweetener as the fruit already add a sweet flavor to the tea. I like adding raw honey to my ice tea as it gives a better flavor. A honey that I am enjoying is Bee K’onscious’s, single-origin honey. I like that I can trace this honey back to the beekeeper's hive with the QR-coded label that is on each glass jar. This honey is 100% pure, unfiltered, unpasteurized, non-blended honey. Raw honey also has antibacterial qualities and disease-fighting antioxidants.

How to Make Fruit-Infused Cold Brew Iced Tea

You'll Need:

8 tea bags
8 cups of water
1-2 cups fruit slices, fresh or frozen
optional: 1/4 -1/2 cup honey or sugar


Fill a large pitcher with cold water and place all the tea bags into the water. Add your choice of fruit slices and place the pitcher in the fridge. Let it brew for 15-36 hours to desired strength. Remove fruit and add your choice of sweetener. Pour the tea into a glass with ice and enjoy.

Want ice coffee instead of tea?

If you are a coffee drinker you need to check out these recipes for cold-brew coffee or ice coffee.

How To Make Easy Cold Brew Coffee

How to make the perfect iced coffee

9 Ways to Improve Your Full-Body Health

 When it comes to our overall well-being, it takes attentive care and dedication to meet all of our needs. In order to keep all the systems in our body working harmoniously, you need to devote time and effort to maintaining both your mental and physical health. For some, the work that goes into caring for full-body health can seem overwhelming and difficult to navigate and that is understandable. However, there are many simple changes you can make in your daily routine to improve your overall well-being. Being over 50, I have tried my fair share of best practices, products, and trends to have a fairly good idea of what works for me—and maybe they will even work for you, too.

Whether you are experiencing health problems or simply want to find ways to optimize your health so you can age as gracefully as possible, the following tips can help you on your path to improved total wellness.

 Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies and plays a key role in protecting us from external elements. As such, it is essential that we do what we can to keep it strong, healthy, and beautiful. Over the course of our lives, our skin goes through so much, from sunburns that last days upon days to injuries that leave us scarred. But on the same token, many of our wrinkles are the result of years of laughter and smiles. What’s important is that we take the right steps to care for our skin by using products that nourish it instead of dry it out, protect it instead of exposing it to harmful chemicals, and restore it instead of aging it further.

 When it comes to caring for my skin, I search for products that are going to do more harm than good. When it comes to your skin’s well-being, these are a few rules to live by:

Use an all-natural mineral sunscreen
Drink plenty of water to keep it well-hydrated (time-marked water bottles from HydroMATE are great for getting started)
Only apply products with gentle, natural ingredients

Physical Fitness & Agility
Our physical fitness is a critical part of our overall health. Keeping yourself active is good for your heart, bones, muscles, and more. Whether you find yourself facing exercise burnout that has kept you from exercising recently or have never had a regular workout routine, now is as good a time as any to find a physical activity you enjoy and stick to it. Even if you are restricted by your mobility or fitness level, there are still plenty of ways to work exercise into your routine.

Here are a few ways to stay physically fit no matter your age:

Try low-impact workouts like yoga, walking, or water aerobics
Create your own “home gym” with workout equipment you like to use
Join a fitness group or create your own where you can bike or run with friends

Exercise should be enjoyable, not a punishment, at least I like to think of it that way to stay motivated. Find ways to make keeping your body physically healthy fun and manageable. And if you do find yourself experiencing aches and pains, the CBD muscle and joint cream by CBDfx is easy to apply and provides natural relief from discomfort.

Mental Health
I understand that as a mom it can be difficult to carve out time to take care of your mental health—between spending time with your children, working, and sustaining a relationship with your partner, it might seem like there is no time to be found. However, your emotional well-being is essential to being the best that you can be for both yourself and your family, because it means you will be better equipped to manage all that life throws at you. Some ways that you can prioritize your mental health include:

Reserving 30 minutes to an hour of your day to focus solely on yourself (this can include reading, taking a candlelit bath, watching your favorite show, etc.)
Taking time out of your day to reflect (journaling is a great way to analyze your emotions, express gratitude, and learn how to make positive changes)
Seeking help when and if you need it (lean on your partner or find external sources of support such as therapy)

You can even do things as a family to make sure you all have better mental health, like escaping into nature and completely disconnecting for a weekend.

Keep in mind that everyone’s needs are different, so if some of these tips don’t work for you or suit your lifestyle, that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re trying to find ways to maintain your all-around health and will enjoy the benefits of your efforts.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

60 Minute Homemade White Bread

Love baking bread but short on time?

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 There is something special about fresh-baked homemade bread. From the kneading of the bread dough to the smell of the bread rising. Then the magic of seeing the bread dough double in size. Maybe its the aroma of the loaf of bread baking in the oven or the anticipation for a slice of warm bread fresh from the oven. The best part of DIY baking bread at home is eating the chewy slice of tender bread that is slathered with butter. Making homemade bread is something that most people have come to enjoy over the past couple of months as they have been sheltering in place at home while the world was trying to flatten the curve of a respiratory lung virus.

Homemade bread is comfort food 

 For most people, a loaf of homemade bread is comfort food. The C virus made us feel unsafe and comfort food was a good thing. Maybe it was the act of providing for your family or that the stores were out of bread. Whatever the reason that you discovered the joy of baking bread, it is probably an activity that most will have to give up as they head back to work as baking homemade bread is time-consuming. From start to finish, baking bread can take 3 hours or more. Even if you have a bread machine, baking bread still takes time. The bread machine can help eliminate the process of kneading the dough and you can bake the bread in the bread machine. My favorite way to use my bread machine is to make homemade pizza dough or pretzel bread.

11 Homemade Bread Recipes You Need To Bake 

60 minutes from start to end for homemade bread

 Sure you could buy freshly baked bread at the store but it is not the same as a hot loaf of homemade bread baking in the oven. Bread from the store does not have that bread aroma that smells so good. So if you still want homemade bread, this 60 Minute Homemade White Bread recipe is perfect for busy days or for a weekend when you have an hour of time to bake. Baking bread is a perfect way to unwind from a busy day at work. If you have kids baking bread is a great family quality time activity. Did you know that baking is also a great way to teach kids math and science? So you can call baking bread with kids a homeschool lesson. For a super easy homeschool baking activity, check out my recipe for homemade croutons in a bag.

Ingredients for better bread baking

 If you want to bake the best bread, then these bread baking tips will help you bake delicious bread. The most important ingredient for baking bread is the flour. Using all-purpose flour is ok for baking bread but if you want a chewier texture and better rise, then I recommend bread flour. Bread flour has more protein and more protein produces more gluten. Gluten is the ingredient that gives the bread dough its stretch and elasticity which gives your baked bread recipe its chewy texture. White flour is always preferred over wheat flour as baking bread with wheat flour can lead to bread that does not rise that well. If you need tips to help your bread rise check out these six ingredients to help your bread rise higher. These ingredients are useful when baking with whole wheat flour.

 The next ingredient that is important for baking a perfect loaf of bread is yeast. There are many types of yeast for bread baking. The types of yeast that I prefer for baking are active dry yeast and instant yeast. Both of these types of yeast can be purchased in single packs and in multi-use packages. The major difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast is that instant yeast does not need to be proofed in water. So when making 60-minute homemade bread, you will get the best results with instant yeast. If you do not have any yeast in the house and still want to bake bread, check out how to bake bread without yeast. My favorite bread to bake without yeast is a Quick Caramelized Onion Bread that is so delicious.

How to tell if my yeast is fresh

 Since yeast is such an important ingredient, you want to make sure it's fresh and active. To test if your yeast is active, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water-110F. Then add 2 teaspoons of yeast. Let this sit for ten minutes. After 10 minutes, the yeast has should start to bubble and expand. After another 10 minutes, it should be frothy. If your water has no bubbles it is time to replace your yeast. To keep yeast fresh, store it in the fridge. For long term storage, yeast can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

The best pan for baking bread

 There are several ways that you can bake your bread dough. If you prefer your bread to be in a loaf shape, then I recommend using a bread pan. To get the best texture and rise, I like using Aluminized Steel Loaf Pans. These bread pans are also better quality so they will last a long time. If you want to make your loaf of bread in different shapes like artisan bread that is round or oval, then simply shape the bread dough and bake it on a baking sheet or a pizza stone. I have several pizza stones so I can bake two homemade pizzas at the same time. I like baking bread on pizza stones as it gives the bread a nice appearance and a crisper crust.

60-minute bread baking tips

 This quicker method of baking bread is different than baking regular bread. The bread dough will be sticky and you might feel tempted to add more flour but don't as that will affect the texture of the bread. If you have a stand mixer, then use that to mix up the bread dough. If you don't have a stand mixer than a large bowl and spoon will be just fine to use.

This quick homemade white bread recipe also has a different way to knead the dough. Instead of kneading the bread dough on a floured surface, your surface will be sprayed with cooking spray. Then the dough will only need a couple turns to be kneaded.

 To make you baked bread look fancy, you can take a sharp knife and spray it with cooking spray. Then make 1/4 inch slashes on the top of the bread before baking.

Looking for a fun baking project to do with the kids? Check out this Frog Bread recipe!

Check out these useful items for bread baking

60 Minute Homemade White Bread

60 Minute Homemade White Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Chewy homemade bread that takes only one hour to make from start to finish


  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
  • 1 cups very warm water (about 110°)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix all dry ingredients. Then add oil and water. Mix for one minute. The dough should be very sticky. If it is too dry add more water
  2. Mix the dough for an additional 5 minutes, do not add more flour.
  3. Spray a clean surface like a cutting board, baking sheet, or silicone mat with cooking spray. Place the dough on the surface and knead until smooth. This only takes a couple turns of the dough.
  4. If baking bread in a bread pan, lightly grease the bread pan and shape the dough into the pan.
  5. If baking on a cookie sheet, lightly grease the baking pan. Then form the bread dough into the desired shape and place it on baking sheet. You can also use a pizza stone.
  6. Cover the bread with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let it rise for 25 minutes in a warm place.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.  When the dough is done rising bake take off the towel or plastic wrap and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 


This recipe can be doubled to make two loaves of bread, just divide the dough in half. If baking the bread on a baking sheet, you can make the bread look fancy by using a sharp knife to make 3 slashes down the middle right before baking. Make each cut about 1/4 deep
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