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Macro Monday: Matcha Latte

Happy 2014 everyone!

This year is going to be wonderful; I just know it!

I'm easing into it gently. 2013 was quite a big year, involving lots of packing & unpacking, and moving, and visiting and traveling. We just returned from our Christmas trip to visit T's family in the Okanagan. It was lovely, and restful, and peaceful. But it was still travel, and there were LOTS of late nights...so we're just getting back into the swing of things over here, trying to get to bed earlier and finding our routine.

Sometimes in these situations, a warm drink helps.

matchalatte2.JPG

Yah okay, you're right, they always help!

This warm drink will pep you up, make you feel good because you're drinking something green (even though there's no kale in it), and it's warm and comforting. I'm not saying it'll take the place of a real latte, because good espresso is a whole thing of it's own that nothing could ever replace (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).

But if you want to try something new, I'm totally diggin' these Matcha Lattes (which may or may not be because I have a new stash of good matcha from Japan - thanks pops!).

And before we begin, I have a confession: I'm a green tea snob. Secret's out. Call me whatever you like, but after living in Japan and tasting how green tea SHOULD taste...I realized just how bad it is over here. And yes, I am going to be that general. I have yet to taste a cup of any kind of green tea that even comes close to being as good as the stuff in Japan. And trust me, I've ordered it at plenty of places, ranging from tea focused shops to cafes. Since returning home from Japan, I've been telling everyone that... IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! (picture me saying that in a really loud and slow-mo kind of voice, because that's how serious I am about it).

Here are the tips I've been telling everyone about:

How to make Green Tea taste good!

  1. The temperature of the water you use to make the tea is VERY VERY important. As in, it has the power to make your matcha have a really nasty bitter flavour, or turn it into the most delicious sweet tasting drink. There are different temperatures for different kinds of green teas...but generally, you never ever want to use boiling water.
    *Sencha (most common green tea leaves): high grade sencha will taste the best around 70C, and regular sencha should be fine around 80C (and even 90 will be much better than straight boiling)
    *Matcha: 70-80 C
     
  2. If you're making sencha...the tea you drink should be very very light in colour. Not dark yellow. Not brownish-yellow. What I'm saying is this: they most often do NOT STEEP their sencha. In Japan, they actually run hot water over & through the tea leaves (never letting it just sit there), straight into their tea cup. So the tea they drink is very very mild and sweet and light in colour & taste. You can then re-use those leaves and run water through them again, multiple times, getting great tasting tea.

Now let's get down to business, for the first Macro Monday of the year!

I enjoy Matcha in all it's forms, but sometimes a latte is just the nicest.

Macro Monday: Matcha Latte

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Matcha Latte:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 - 1 tsp high quality matcha powder (I like it strong, so I use 1 tsp, but work your way up if this is new for you, starting with 1/4 tsp...it's pretty potent!)
  • 3 TBSP - 1/4 cup hot water -- not boiling (around 80C if possible)
  • liquid sweetener of choice, if desired
     
  • A small-medium bowl you love
  • *A matcha whisk will greatly improve the process
matchapowderbowlwhiskJPG.JPG

Directions

  1. Find a pretty bowl that is large enough for you to freely whisk up the matcha.
  2. Bring a small amount of water to boil. Pour about 1/4 cup into a separate mug, and let it sit until cooled down. Alternatively, if you're rushed for time, you could add cool water to the boiled water until the temperature reaches about 70-80C.
  3. Heat up 1 cup of milk, either in a saucepan on low-medium, stirring frequently, or in the microwave. Don't boil it. If you like foam, use a whisk or milk frother and froth up.
  4. Pour a bit of remaining boiling water into your bowl, and roll it around, so it covers the sides, dip the matcha whisk in it. Then dump the water out. This step warms up the bowl, and gets the whisk ready.
  5. Measure out your 1 tsp matcha powder, and put it into the bowl.
  6. Gently, with love, pour in your 1/4 cup 70-80C water, and using a matcha whisk, move the whisk in a circle around the edges to get all the powder, and then back and forth from left to right, moving from one end of the bowl to the other, in short movements, to froth up the matcha.
  7. Using a spoon to hold back the foam, pour the almond milk into the bowl. Stir in sweetener if using any. Scoop out the foam after, and put on top.
  8. Using both your hands cradle the bowl, smell the wonderful tea, and close your eyes while sipping it's deliciousness.
Matcha Latte: matcha powder, hot water, and heated almond milk

Matcha Latte: matcha powder, hot water, and heated almond milk

Matcha Latte all ready to go!

Matcha Latte all ready to go!

A few more tips:

  • Here's a great link about matcha, including the temperature, different ways to whisk it, etc.
  • To clean your match whisk, add some hot water to a cup or bowl, and whisk away, then rinse it off.
  • There is a vast vast VAST difference in quality of matcha...I hate to say it, but generally the more expensive, the better it is.
  • Keep matcha in an airtight container...and in the fridge. Fresh matcha actually smells sweet.

Okay, that about does it.

Happy Monday. Enjoy whatever warm beverage it is you're currently cradling, and have a wonderful week!

xoxo Jess

I'm fine and dandy, thanks!

Dandelion coffee.

Truly a delight.

I'm fine and dandy, thanks!

Kind of looks like dirt.

But delightful, nonetheless.

I have tried dandelion tea as well, and quite like it--- be warned though, it's very bitter.

Which is an indication that it's probably good for you ;)

If I want to feel truly luxurious, I make my dandelion coffee in a stovetop espresso maker.

Pretty much just like this one. I put in about 1 tablespoon, and it makes a quite strong dandelion espresso.

And if you have espresso, you may as well fancy it up!

So, I steam some almond milk (natural, no sugar) in my stainless steel stovetop milk frother.

I let the milk heat, then froth away, and I end up with this:

I'm fine and dandy, thanks!
I'm fine and dandy, thanks!

I told you----luxurious.

I sprinkle some cinnamon and a bit of cardamon on top.

If your condition allows, and you truly want a treat, a tiny drizzle of brown rice syrup is wonderful.

I get my dandelion coffee at a local grocery store. And in fact, the dandelion coffee itself is locally made too:

I'm fine and dandy, thanks!
I'm fine and dandy, thanks!

I store mine in a ceramic jar for convenience, and because I love jars:

I'm fine and dandy, thanks!

As I

mentioned a few posts back

, i'm giving up almond milk for awhile, to see how I feel.

I plan to experiment with home made brown rice milks of various kinds over the next few weeks.

Dandelion coffee is nice on it's own too, without getting fancy.

You could make the espresso, and add some hot water for a dandelion americano!

What's your favourite coffee alternative?

I mostly just drink tea --- kukicha tea, green teas of many varieties, tulsi, rooibos...

Have you tried any yummy grain coffees?

In Japan I tried this delicious brown rice coffee. It looked like very dark rice, and I boiled it for a long time on the stove. I haven't tried many other grain coffees because they usually contain barley, and i'm not sure if they're gluten free.  Any recommendations, or recipes?

Happy Day to you all ♥♥♥

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good latte.

Hello, hello friends.
Just a quick post to share some holiday cheer.
And a recipe for a wonderfully simple treat: chestnut soy latte!
First up, our small little Christmas tree (sent to us from family in Canada).
So teeny weeny and cute!

Last night, the 24th, we celebrated Christmas Eve Swiss style. A nice candlelit dinner, consisting of some meat (for the man), cheese (I tried some goat cheese), bread --vegan, olives, artichokes, bruschetta (lemon+olive oil+ fresh basil + tomatoes+ some camembert) and salad. With no oven, this meal was the perfect choice!

Then we opened up our presents (when I was young, we always opened presents on the 24th, and then "Santa" delivered some presents on the 25th morning. This year, I must have been a very good girl:

Some pretty wooden trays to further my insane addiction to tableware. And some books I can't wait to read while sitting bored out of my mind at work! Also unpictured was an insane amount of dark chocolate.

This morning began with breakfast served on my cute new trays. For me, some pumpkin oats topped with tahini and cinnamon and homemade almond milk. For him, his favourite once per year treat: golden grahams, and orange juice.

After I finished eating, I made a latte. I have been trying to avoid soy milk lately, but my homemade almond milk just doesn't seem to heat up nicely. So in honour of treating myself over the holidays, I purchased some delicious soymilk, and made a....
Chestnut Soy Latte
Directions
1. Prepare espresso. I use a stove top stop espresso maker like this one.
2.In a small saucepan, heat on low 1 1/4 cups of plain soymilk. Whisk whisk whisk. I like this soymilk (does anyone know if this exists in North America?):


3. Throw in a couple of squeezes of this delicious french chestnut puree:
(yes there is sugar in it...but hey, it's the holidays! I'm sure you could use unsweetened if you can find it)

3. whisk whisk whisk some more.
4. When milk is at the desired heat, turn stove off,
5. use a handheld electric foamer for even more foaming action!
5. Pour espresso into cup, then milk, then foam, and top with cinnamon if you like.
6. Swoon:

Merry Christmas everyone.
May you find peace, happiness, love, and bliss.

Great Eats This Past Week


Mmmm....so instead of spending my time blogging this past week, I spent my time preparing, cooking, and enjoying delicious food.

Starting out with last weekend, here are some photos:

Unfortunately (fortunately...hehe) I enjoyed a delicious latte, made with unsweetened almond milk, dark italian espresso, and flavoured with a bit of honey and cinnamon.


I then moved onto what looks like a typical macrobiotic breakfast: greens, squash, veggies, and rice with seaweed and seeds! Macrobiotic breakfasts are definitely wonderful at re-balancing the body (especially after indulging in a massively wonderful latte).

Posting the photo reminds me of how much I enjoyed that latte, but also how CRAZY I felt after drinking it! I drank that bad boy down, and then did a quite intensive yoga practice at home. My body was definitely not used to such a large amount of caffeine, and while in some ways I felt that it made me more open in my practice (easier to bind in some poses), I was sweating like crazy, and actually felt quite light headed. I tried to just move through the coffee-party going on in my nervous system, but I actually got so light headed and jittery that in the middle of the seated postures I had to get up and eat a bit of brown rice I had in the fridge, just to calm my body down. So...lesson learned: coffee tastes wonderful, but should be enjoyed in SMALL quantities, or perhaps not very often at all, or at least eaten with something hearty to balance it out.

Hmmm...here are a few snacks I enjoyed:


Yes. That's right. When I get desperate I snack on frozen veggies. And you know what? They are DELICIOUS! Frozen corn and peas taste wonderfully sweet, and are crunchy enough to trick my mind into thinking that i'm eating something bad for me. You should try it!

Looks like I also made some cocoa-oats, with some pear cooked in with it.
Step 1: Mix up cocoa powder, spices (i'm guessing my usual: loads of cinnamon, and a sprinkle of cayenne). Add a bit of water or cold liquid, sometimes I used almond milk or amasake until it can be stirred into a paste.

Step 2: Then boil pears/apples on the stove, after ~5 mins add in oats and oatbran and cook until desired thickness. Then stir into cocoa-liquid-delicious-paste in bowl, and top with whatever your heart desires:

Looks like this one had some COCOA BLISS thrown on top. I can't keep my paws off of that stuff (see previous post). It is SOOOO good. It melts into the oatmeal and blends perfectly. And it also tastes great off the spoon, for a morning kick before yoga!

Looks like the next day I also had a macro-oriented breakfast (I really do need to branch out):

Ooooh!! Then I had a China Town Adventure and came home with some great goods:

Check out the monstrous bag of Dried Mushrooms (Witches' Butter or Snow Fungus): mushrooms have great healing properties in Chinese Medicine, and are known to balance blood sugar, detox the liver, and stimulate T-cells (relating to our immune system).

I also picked up some longan berries which are great for calming nerves and helping sleep problems. And how could I resist the best priced, and FRESHEST, softest, reddest goji berries in town!?? Goji berries are wonderful for the liver, eyes, and digestion!

The next morning was ABSOLUTELY perfect:
While I was doing yoga, some beautiful bunnies (correct term: hares) decided to spend some time outside my balcony eating grass and playing. As if yoga couldn't get any better!? Yoga plus bunny-watching!? A match made in heaven.

Then I decided to cook up one of those weird dried mushrooms I bought the day before>. You just soak them in some luke-warm water for 5-10 minutes, then steam or boil for a few minutes. If I remember correctly, I added them ontop of my usual quick-boiled breakfast veggies. Although it wasn't displayed, i'm sure my usual rice bowl was lurking there somewhere.

Looks like I also had to have some COCOA-BLISS oats with COCONUT BUTTER on top. As if Artisana Cocoa Bliss wasn't the best thing ever!?? Well, it was so good that I went back to the store and bought the coconut butter. I'll post a picture later of it. It is 100% coconut. Not just the oil. All it is is blended coconut, and it tastes FABULOUS!

Later on, sometime in the week? Can't remember when exactly, I made a green smoothie Even though it doesn't look green, it was filled with delicious ingredients.

"Green Smoothie"
Blend up the following, and enjoy out of a fun-shaped glass:
Large handful of spinach
1 banana
1 pear
handful of frozen berries
squeeze of lemon
a bit of water
1/4 of an avocado

SATURDAY MORNING markets are my favourite!
I woke up and looked in my fridge. Although my brain was telling me otherwise, what I really and truly wanted was something simple, and satisfying, to take me through the yoga class I had to teach. So I ate some brown rice with flax oil. Nothing fancy, but truly great.

I was just about to leave, but my HORRIBLE chocolate addiction won out, and I tasted some great chocolate I picked up the night before.

I am a chocolate snob---I can only enjoy dark chocolate. I usually don't even like 70% too much because I find it too sweet. But I was at an earth-friendly store the other day, and I had never seen this brand of chocolate before, so I thought i'd give it a whirl. It was truly delicious, and the cocoa nibs on the bottom were DIVINE.

This little beauty gave me some glorious yoga-teaching energy, and I can't wait to try another one soon!
Before my class, I had time to run to the Saturday Farmer's Market.

I forgot to take a photo of my stash right away, so the photo is from now, with half the stuff gone. I left with:

* a GIANT buttercup squash, which I am so excited to try
* 2 beautiful blue bowls handmade by this cute couple
* some THAI basil (which will show up in the stir-fry photos next)
* some new green called tat soi, which is kinda like bok choy
* a big ass bag of carrots
* some beets
* and a bag of baby red potatoes for my boy-wonder


I came home from class, and for lunch me and my guy made another "green smoothie" and decided to use my glorious new bowls for a light lunch of organic blue corn tortilla chips, homemade guacamole, and salsa. The lovely glass of milk in this photo was for my guy. It looks so good---sometimes I do miss that creamy consistency that milk provides. Nothing can really replace dairy and get that same texture.

We went for a LOVELY walk through the river valley, and camped out on a blanket in the sun for hours. After spending 5 hours outside, we were ravenous, and came home to make a thai-inspired stir fry:

In the mix was:
- ginger
- lemon grass
- cayenne
- canned straw mushrooms
- canned baby corn
- canned bamboo strings (they were out of the shoots)
- LOTS of fresh thai basil from the market
- a can of light coconut milk

We enjoyed this served over lots of brown rice! mmmmm sooo good! nom.nom.nom.
so much good food...