Apple Spice Macarons Recipe

Copyright 2018-2022 by Lisa Maliga

Apples and autumn go perfectly together. Think of apple cider, candy or caramel apples, apple crisp, and Apple Spice Macarons.

Welcome autumn with Apple Spice Macarons!

INGREDIENTS:

160 grams powdered sugar, sift with almond flour
160 grams almond flour, sift with powdered sugar
150 grams egg whites
185 grams confectioners’ sugar, sieved
1 Tablespoon [8 grams] arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon [3 grams] cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
several drops Burgundy gel food colorant

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 300°F.

~ Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together into a bowl. Stir in the arrowroot powder and set aside.

~ Put a template on a baking sheet and place a silicone mat or parchment paper over it. Set aside.

~ In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until well combined.

~ Place bowl over pot with just enough water, as you don’t want the water touching the bowl. Heat on medium until meringue is hot. Test to make sure it’s hot enough by sticking your clean finger in the meringue near the center of the bowl. If using a candy thermometer the temperature should be about 130 F [54 C].

~ Remove from heat and place bowl onto stand mixer. Add the cream of tartar and vanilla bean paste.

~ Whisk on medium to high speed until firm peaks form. Egg whites should be glossy and if you flip the bowl upside down, nothing will come out.

~ Add food coloring and whisk until the color is incorporated.

~ Remove the whisk and add the paddle attachment [if using one].

~ Add the presifted almond flour and confectioners’ sugar mixture.

~ Turn mixer on low or medium speed and mix for up to 10 seconds. If that doesn’t mix the batter thoroughly, mix for another 10 seconds. Turn off mixer and with your spatula, run it around the sides and bottom of bowl to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

~ Test for the ribbon stage. When you lift your spatula above the bowl, the batter should fall back to the bowl as one continuous stream and create a ribbon pattern.

~ Pour batter into a pastry bag [14″ or 16″] fitted with a large round tip.

~ Pipe onto the silicone or parchment covered baking sheets.

~ When finished with each sheet, bang baking sheet on counter to remove air bubbles. If you see any air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick.

~ Let shells rest on a flat surface in a cool, dry area for about 30 minutes. The surface will change from glossy to matte. To make sure they’re done, gently touch the edge of one with your finger. There should be no trace of batter on your finger.

~ Bake for 15-20 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven. Carefully monitor the baking process and check your oven thermometer. After 8 or so minutes, rotate the tray to ensure even baking.

~ Macarons are done when you peel back the mat or the parchment paper and the shells don’t stick.

~ Remove from oven and gently slide the parchment or silicone mat onto a cooling rack. The shells should be cool enough to remove after 10 minutes.

~ Place macaron shells on a wax paper covered baking sheet or tray for filling. Match similar sized shells together. Pipe the filling on the flat side of one shell and gently place the second shell on top.

APPLE SPICE BUTTERCREAM FILLING

Apple Spice Buttercream Filling ready to pipe

INGREDIENTS:

115 grams [1/4 cup] apple butter
115 grams [1/4 cup] unsalted butter
150 grams [3/4 cup] dark brown sugar OR organic pure cane sugar
30 ml [2 Tablespoons] heavy [double] cream
2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice*
125 grams [1 cup] confectioners’ sugar, sifted

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the apple butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the cream, apple pie spice and cinnamon, whisking constantly, and return to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Whisk powdered sugar until smooth and it reaches a frosting consistency.

* Make your own Apple Pie Spice by combining: 1 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) allspice and two dashes of cloves. Add ingredients to a small container and shake until blended.

Video Tutorial

Click the picture to check out the book. Available in eBook and paperback formats.

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Mega Oatmeal Raisin & Walnut Cookies Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2022

Want to have a great big chewy cookie for a dessert, snack or even a meal replacement? The Mega Oatmeal Raisin & Walnut cookies will qualify. These big, chunky cookies have nice, plump raisins due to soaking them before mixing all the ingredients together. These aren’t just any oatmeal raisin cookies, they’re mega oatmeal raisin [and walnut] cookies that are sure to be a hit for cookie fans of any age.

Big cookies!

Mega Oatmeal Raisin & Walnut Cookies Recipe

All the ingredients

Ingredients:

2 sticks [8 ounces] butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup 2 tapioca starch OR corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins, soaked in water for 30 minutes
3/4 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans

Equipment:

Hand or stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Spatula
Sieve
Cookie/ice cream scoop
Large baking sheet
Baking/cooling rack
Parchment paper/Silpat
Kitchen scale
Oven thermometer

Oven temperature: 400 F

~ Whisk dry ingredients [flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon] together in a large bowl.
~ Mix sugar and butter in a hand or stand mixer until well creamed.
~ Add eggs one at a time.
~ Add vanilla extract.
~ Add the dry mixture until well mixed.
~ Drain the raisins into a bowl and save raisin water for later.
~ The oatmeal, raisins, and walnuts should be added last. Mix until it’s stiff, which makes it easy to form into balls.
~ Measure out dough in 4-ounce balls. Lightly pack them and place on cookie sheets.
~ Let sit in the refrigerator for about one hour. Midway through the cooling off phase, preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
~ Bake for about 10 -11 minutes.
~ Cool on cookie rack for about 10 minutes before removing.

Yields:

One dozen 4-ounce cookies

  • You can store in a cookie jar or airtight container for about 5 days [if they last that long]. They can also be frozen and heated in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes on 350.
  • I used tapioca starch because I had more of it than I did corn starch. Either works well to soften these delightful oatmeal raisin & walnut cookies.
  • Substitute pecans or go nut-free if you choose

Healthy Tip! You can save the raisin water in a mason jar and refrigerate overnight. Drink the next morning on an empty stomach. Raisin water is a healthy way to eliminate toxins from your body and give you natural energy. Some people drink raisin water before doing a workout.

Bite into this mega oatmeal cookie!

Check out the video tutorial:

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Jumbo Chocolate Chip & Ruby Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe

Two halves of a jumbo Chocolate Chip & Ruby Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Copyright 2022 by Lisa Maliga

This recipe is similar to the big, 6-ounce Levain-style cookies, but there are distinct differences. My recipe calls for ruby chocolate, the cookies are slightly smaller at four ounces, and I used three different types of sugar to enhance these distinctive cookies’ flavor. I also used a good amount of Neilsen Massey’s pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract. I had a difficult time refraining from eating the batter because it was so tasty!

Below is a photo of my newest addition: a Kitchen Aid 5-quart stand mixer with a white bowl. I also have the original shiny bowl. Two bowls are better than one, especially when making cupcakes and frosting. Even better, I invested in a flex-edge beater attachment which thoroughly creams the sugar and butter in seconds. I only had to scrape the bowl once. If you have a 4.5 or 5-quart Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I highly recommend this helpful, time-saving attachment. Kitchen Aid flex edge beater attachment link: https://amzn.to/3K99aGl

New 5-quart Kitchen Aid stand mixer with white bowl and lots of chocolate and other baking ingredients.

JUMBO CHOCOLATE CHIP & RUBY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES RECIPE

Oven temperature: 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius

Bake time: 11-12 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, cold, cut into cubes
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 ounces chocolate chips
3.2 ounces chopped ruby chocolate bar OR ruby chocolate callets
1/2 cup chopped walnuts [optional]

Equipment:

Hand or stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Sifter
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Spatula
Cookie/ice cream scoop
Large baking sheet[s]
Baking/cooling rack
Parchment paper/Silpat
Kitchen scale

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, corn starch, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, and sugar until it’s well-combined, which will be a paste-like texture. You can also use a hand mixer or mix with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Blend well.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips, ruby chocolate chunks [or chips], and walnuts.
  • Form into balls approximately 4 ounces [120 grams]. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate for one hour.
  • Preheat oven.
  • The cookies should be at least 3 inches apart. Bake on center rack for about 11-12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES:

This recipe made a dozen [12] 4-ounce cookies.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

If serving the next day, bake in oven/toaster oven for about 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can also heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Chilling the dough in the refrigerator before baking helps to keep the cookies higher so they won’t spread a lot. You want dry dough. Mix minimally but mix enough to ensure that everything’s well incorporated.

Adding nuts makes cookies healthier, more rustic looking, and helps hold the shape better. If you don’t like walnuts, substitute pecans, macadamia, cashews, etc. Or don’t use any at all.

Watch the recipe video!

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

“Nuts About Shea Butter” eBook 2022 Edition

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2022

I’ve finally got around to updating my first book about shea butter. I’ve added more photos, resources, and a new cover.

New NUTS ABOUT SHEA BUTTER eBook cover

In NUTS ABOUT SHEA BUTTER the reader will discover shea butter’s benefits, its numerous applications, and how to get optimal use from this healthy and natural nut fat. Learn about the differences between East African and West African shea butter. What is the right kind of shea butter for your needs? Various types of shea butter and shea oil are described in this cutting edge e-book.

Used in African countries for centuries, shea butter has been an ingredient in medicines for the preparation of skin ointments, and to treat inflammation, sunburn, chapping, rashes and more. Written for the consumer and the bath & body products crafter, NUTS ABOUT SHEA BUTTER contains fascinating facts and effective explanations. Shea butter is an ancient African beauty secret that is becoming more popular everywhere.

This new 2022 edition includes several color photos, more varieties of shea butter, interviews with shea butter suppliers and more shea butter resources.

The author has worked with shea butter for more than a decade and named her company after this star ingredient.

The price of NUTS ABOUT SHEA BUTTER has remained the same! I strive to keep all my book prices affordable.

To Buy Links:

Amazon: Nuts About Shea Butter
Amazon UK: Nuts About Shea Butter
Apple/iTunes: Nuts About Shea Butter
B&N Nook: Nuts About Shea Butter
Kobo: Nuts About Shea Butter
Smashwords: Nuts About Shea Butter

Nice ways to package your shea butter.

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies Review

By Lisa Maliga copyright 2022

The chewy center of a lovely Levain cookie

I’m a huge fan of Levain style chocolate chip walnut cookies. Yes, I refer to them as style, as I’ve never tasted the large six-ounce cookies from the New York City bakery. Even if I ordered them online, they’d still have to be heated up in the oven to get that bakery fresh goodness.

Instead, I make them myself. I’ve learned how by watching dozens of videos and reading baking blogs and cookbooks. I’ve not duplicated them in size as mine are slightly smaller, four ounces, and I add pure vanilla extract to make them even more flavorful. But when I learned that Levain sells their cookies in various supermarkets, I simply had to buy a box and give them a try.

Right out of the box

I bought this box at Whole Foods for only $7.99, as it was on sale. The cookies are sold in packages containing eight, two-ounce frozen cookies. They are also available in Two Chip Chocolate Chip and Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip.

Since I had other errands to run, the cookies arrived back at my place thawed out. That’s okay, I was able to taste one as-is. In a way it reminded me of a packaged Chips Ahoy! Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. I’m joking, because even at just-below-room temperature, that little cookie was thick and chewy and tasted so good I didn’t bother to heat it up.

After dinner, I put a piece of parchment paper on a small baking sheet, placed a cookie on it, and baked it in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Some of the chocolate chips melted and the color darkened up just like a freshly baked cookie. I weighed it and was pleased to see it was 2.3 ounces, so I got even more Levain goodness.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie ready to eat

For best results, don’t heat cookies [or any other food] on aluminum foil. Heated aluminum will get into your food and, of course, your body. Parchment paper or a silicone mat [Silpat] are your best options.

There are many pros to these cookies, especially if you don’t live in the New York or Washington DC area and can’t access the freshly baked ones. The smaller size is perfect if you’re watching your weight or aren’t very hungry. Three of these boxed beauties compare to one standard Levain cookie. Obviously, it’s much easier to warm these up than bake them from scratch.

WHERE TO BUY:

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3B1cChw

Whole Foods link: https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/product/levain-bakery-chocolate-chip-walnut-cookies-16-oz-b08j5mbvnd

Want to make your own? https://lisamaliga.wordpress.com/2022/01/12/jumbo-chocolate-chip-walnut-cookies-levain-style/

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2022

What can be healthier than a vegan chocolate dessert with coconut milk, fresh raspberries and chia seeds? A thick, rich, and creamy pudding that contains high quality cocoa powder. This vegan chocolate raspberry chia seed pudding tastes decadent and satisfies your chocolate cravings. It’s my go-to dessert several times a week. Best of all, you can whip up this dessert in less than five minutes!

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:

1 can [13.66 oz.] coconut milk https://amzn.to/3Ar2COi

5 Tablespoons chia seeds https://amzn.to/3KMZMIi

6 ounces fresh raspberries, washed and dried

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted https://amzn.to/3qls56e

1 Tablespoon organic coconut palm sugar https://amzn.to/3KDTfzm

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract https://amzn.to/3qls56e

EQUIPMENT:

Large bowl [with lid if storing overnight]
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Sifter
3 8-ounce glass mason jars with lids

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and dry raspberries and place in a covered bowl. Store in the fridge.

Pour coconut milk into the medium bowl.

Add sugar [optional] and vanilla extract. Whisk well.

Sift in the cocoa powder. Whisk thoroughly.

Add the chia seeds. Whisk until well combined.

Cover and let sit for two hours at room temperature. Or store in the refrigerator overnight.

When solidified, whisk one more time and add to mason jars. Alternate a row of fresh raspberries with a dollop of the pudding.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

You can top with whipped cream and or nuts, granola, or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Note: The above link to the coconut milk is for the more flavorful organic coconut milk, which is even better than the one pictured here.

Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Maliga is an American author of contemporary fiction and cozy mysteries. Her nonfiction titles consist of how to make bath and body products with an emphasis on melt and pour soap crafting. When researching her cozy mystery, she discovered the art of baking French macarons. She has written three dessert cookbooks, including two on macarons. When not writing, Lisa reads an assortment of books, takes photos, skates, and is working on a series of baking and soaping video tutorials. Visit her website at: https://www.LisaMaliga.com

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies [Levain style] Recipe

by Lisa Maliga, copyright 2022

If you like big cookies, have I got a recipe for you! These jumbo chocolate chip walnut cookies are similar to the famous Levain Bakery cookies. But they differ in two ways: the cookies are just over four ounces, [Levain’s are 6 ounces], and contain pure vanilla extract. They are still big, thick and chunky — yet soft on the inside due to the cake flour and corn starch. Another key is the short baking time on a higher temperature than conventional chocolate chip cookies.

With Valentine’s Day coming soon, these will be a sweet and thoughtful gift. Bake someone happy with these delightful jumbo chocolate chip walnut cookies!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut in cubes

1 cup organic raw brown sugar https://amzn.to/3zNFh99

1/2 cup granulated cane sugar https://amzn.to/2JLTRrX

2 large eggs, cold

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract https://amzn.to/3qls56e

1 cup all-purpose flour https://amzn.to/3mJ8TNu

1 cup cake flour https://amzn.to/34AzGrj

2 teaspoons corn starch https://amzn.to/3Fg2xOi

1 teaspoon baking powder https://amzn.to/3r2FTDP

3/4 teaspoon baking soda https://amzn.to/3tg5qfK

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt https://amzn.to/2Vymifl

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips https://amzn.to/39KAVEL

1 cup chopped walnuts https://amzn.to/333p6bU

EQUIPMENT:

Stand mixer or hand mixer
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Spatula
Cookie/ice cream scoop
Large baking sheet
Parchment paper/Silpat
Oven thermometer

A stack of freshly-baked chocolate chip walnut cookies

INSTRUCTIONS:

Oven temperature: 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius

Bake time: 11 minutes

* In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, corn starch, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined.

* In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, and sugar until it’s well-combined, which will be a paste-like texure. You can also use a hand mixer or mix with a whisk or wooden spoon.

* Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Blend well.

* Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended. The dough will feel quite stiff.

* Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

* Form into balls approximately 4.2 to 4.5 ounces [119 to 127 grams]. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate for one hour.

* Preheat oven.

* The cookies should be at least 3 inches apart. Bake on center rack for about 11 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES:

This recipe made nine [9] 4.2 to 4.5-ounce cookies.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

If serving the next day, bake in oven/toaster oven for about 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

I’ve added links to some of the ingredients. They are only suggestions, of course.

Chilling the dough in the refrigerator before baking helps to keep the cookies higher so they won’t spread a lot. You want dry dough. Mix minimally but mix enough to ensure that everything’s well incorporated.

Adding nuts makes cookies healthier, more rustic looking, and helps hold the shape better. If you don’t like walnuts, substitute pecans, macadamia, cashews, etc. Or don’t use any at all.

I used callets [Callebaut brand chocolate chips] and some chunks of a chopped up 70% cacao chocolate bar.

Happy baking!

Freshly baked and split in half to show the inner goodness. Bake someone happy with these cookies!

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Recipe & Video

By Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2021

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

There is something very comforting about having a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. When I was a child, I had two options for drinking hot chocolate: Swiss Miss packets with mini marshmallows, or the “homemade” type heated up in a saucepan with milk and a scoop of Nestle Quik powder. No sugar was added as that was the main ingredient, followed by cocoa and some anti-caking agents and preservatives. Topped with a generous swirl of Reddi Wip, it was the best hot beverage to sip while I sat on the couch and read.

The Swiss Miss hot cocoa packets might have been labeled as “rich chocolate”, yet they always contained stale mini marshmallows. Hot water was poured into my pink porcelain mug. Even if my mom mixed it for me, there were always little clumps of unmixed cocoa powder.

This year, I decided to try genuine European hot chocolate. Thick, but not quite like chocolate pudding. Unlike those packets, this delicious hot chocolate contains rich melted chocolate with a touch of cocoa powder and pure vanilla. I adore the Chocolove brand which contains 55% cacao and real peppermint oil. As always, use whatever brand you prefer and if it isn’t peppermint flavored, just add peppermint extract.

Garnishing with candy canes makes it look more festive. Peppermint Hot Chocolate is perfect for celebrating the Christmas season.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Ingredients
Excellent chocolate bars make for excellent hot chocolate!

PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:
2 ounces peppermint dark chocolate  https://amzn.to/3dFqMd7

5 ounces whole milk

½ Tablespoon coconut palm sugar https://amzn.to/3rLBlnq

1 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted https://amzn.to/3lPk4Wv

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract https://amzn.to/33fpuUr

1 mini peppermint candy cane, crushed https://amzn.to/3rOtzch

1 large peppermint candy cane for stirring https://amzn.to/3ECNGxW

8-ounce mug OR two 4-ounce mugs

DIRECTIONS:

Crush mini peppermint candy cane and set aside.

Chop up the peppermint chocolate.  

In a small saucepan over medium heat, pour in the milk and sugar. Using a whisk, mix constantly once it heats up to a simmer.

Add the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate. Cook for about 4 minutes, whisking constantly. If using vanilla extract and/or peppermint extract, add that just before you’re ready to pour. Put a candy cane into your mug and pour in your hot chocolate.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and top with the crushed peppermint candy cane.

SUGGESTIONS: You can also use your favorite chocolate bar and just add a dash of peppermint extract as the last step so as to retain the flavor.

By all means substitute a plant-based milk if you wish. However, it won’t be as thick as it is when made with whole milk.

I made the whipped cream by pouring 8 ounces of whipping cream into a chilled 16-ounce mason jar and shaking it for about 10 minutes. Then I stirred in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of powdered monkfruit sweetener.

Enjoy your hot chocolate and have a very Merry Christmas/Holiday Season!

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Hibiscus, Blue Butterfly Pea & Pine Needle Antioxidant Tea

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2021

hibiscus blue butterfly pea tea jasmine green tea fresh pine needles and fresh lemon
Hibiscus, Blue Butterfly Pea, Jasmine Green Tea, Fresh Pine Needles, and Fresh Lemon

I’ve experimented with drinking various types of teas for many years. But in March of 2020, I wanted more than just my usual jasmine green tea. I wanted to make sure I was getting all the health and antioxidant benefits in my daily breakfast tea.

I began adding more herbs such as blue butterfly pea tea. Blue butterfly pea is a tropical flower from Southeast Asia and India. It’s caffeine-free. Due to its color, it contains loads of antioxidants. Many attributes are listed such as how it’s supposed to help blood flow to the eyes, lowers blood sugar, and helps rejuvenate skin. I make no claims and just love the fact that it’s a vivid shade of royal blue and turns to royal purple when a squeeze of fresh lemon is added to the tea. The taste is very mild.

For flavor, hibiscus is my favorite. The aroma and taste are reminiscent of cranberries. As with most plants, there are different varieties and colors, but the most common is the vibrant red flower [Hibiscus rosa-sinensis]. Drinking these petals lowers high blood pressure and may assist in weight loss. I’ve also seen well-steeped hibiscus flowers used to condition and color hair. Found in Asia and the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Mexico, Africa, India, and the warm regions of the United States. Like any tea, it can be served hot or cold.

The most recent addition to my tea is now my new main ingredient: pine needles. Yes, they smell like a Christmas tree. They have that distinctive herbal taste but since mixed with hibiscus, the taste is lighter. Pine needles are abundant in vitamin C, so they’re the perfect addition to this healthy combination. They are also rich in suramin, which may help prevent blood clots.

Another benefit from pine needle tea may be improved eyesight and intuition. Think of how the words pine needle and pineal are similar. The pineal gland is your third eye and when it’s open, your intuition and creativity flows.

Also, pine needles can be very easy to find if you have certain types of pine trees in your area. In America, the most common are the Eastern White Pine, the Scotch pine and red pine. Pine tree needles from tops of mountains and hills are considered better than those at lower altitudes. You shouldn’t gather the needles if near a road or street as they’ll contain pollution.

Yew, ponderosa, and Norfolk pine are NOT recommended for consumption. It’s also advisable to avoid drinking pine needle tea if pregnant. To find the right type of pine needles in your area, contact a  botanist or consult with someone who knows how to identify edible plants. This is also helpful if you live in areas where blue butterfly pea flowers and hibiscus flowers grow. Both lovely flowers can be brewed in fresh or dried form.

For sweetener, I use fresh lemons. As most of you know, lemons are renowned for a high concentration of vitamin C. The colors I drink every morning include bright red, forest green, lapis lazuli blue and sunshine yellow.

What could be better than drinking a rainbow?

Product links:

Blue Butterfly Pea Tea [dried flowers] https://amzn.to/310BoAM

Blue Butterfly Pea Tea [powder] https://amzn.to/3CTrTQH

Hibiscus flowers, dried https://amzn.to/3DPe0nY

Hibiscus flowers, [tea bags] https://amzn.to/32yZNxQ

Pine needles [tea bags] https://amzn.to/3HTfWOC

Jasmine green tea bags https://amzn.to/310DzEs

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

September Harvest ~ Nightmare or Prophecy?

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2021

I’ve finally returned to writing fiction. It’s a great feeling to have completed a novella. There was nothing to bake or melt and pour. In other words, no sweets were made and I only made a few batches of soap for an upcoming book.

The first draft of September Harvest was written in a month. It was the easiest and hardest book I ever wrote. During it, I was doing online retail therapy. I’d watched many videos about malls, dying malls, dead malls and abandoned malls. I watched and listened to the soundtracks of the past. Whether you call it Muzak or elevator music, it was wordless and brought back memories. Yet listening to it made me write better and helped create that long ago and far away era. And as I wrote the Northbrook Mall section, I thought it should live up to its name with an exotic landmark center court area. The Palm Beach Mall was my inspiration. Although photographed circa 1968, I imagined being in that mall back then. People dressed more formally than they do nowadays. Salesmen and managers wore suits and ties. Customers and retail employees had a more stringent dress code than that of 2021.

Being able to use the photograph wasn’t an option as it wasn’t in the public domain, and I’d already decided to change the “wonderfall” fountain to a standard cascading type of fountain. But the bridge over the pond surrounded by tropical foliage was an element that had to be in the Northbrook Mall. It was the landmark centerpiece and most noted feature.

The photo that inspired the cover.

Finding a cover artist to recreate the mall wasn’t an easy task. The first person I found via a search had the promise that all emails were answered in 24 hours. To date, my email has been ignored. I contacted another cover artist, but my suggestion wasn’t deemed possible. I kept looking and found a talented artist who had several images of buildings and people in her portfolio. I had quickly learned that some artists specialized in drawing animals, others in portraits, and some in drawing fantasy landscapes. Would I like a watercolor, oil painting or colored pencil rendition?

I wrote out detailed instructions and even included an excerpt from my novella which described the fountain area. I asked that the ladies on the bridge be changed to the main characters in the novella. A few days later, I received the image and here it is…

What is September Harvest About?

Laurie Caswell loves her life… but a nightmare leaves her terrified of the future…

It’s 1979 and Laurie’s living a great life as a bookstore clerk at the Northbrook Mall. She’s excited to go out with her boyfriend to see a movie, have a drink, and spend a happy evening together. When he leaves, she’s rocked to her core by a nightmare.

A nightmare of a future where her mall is dead, overweight, black-clad people cover their faces like common criminals.

People seem more focused on their light-up book-like devices than her, but the year 2021 holds darker, more sinister dangers. Dangers she desperately wants to wake up from and escape. Laurie just wants her normal life back… but whatever she’s experiencing might not be willing to let her go so easily.

Where to buy:

Amazon: September Harvest
Amazon UK: September Harvest
Apple: September Harvest
B&N/Nook: September Harvest
Kobo: September Harvest

Scribd: September Harvest
Smashwords: September Harvest
Vivlio: September Harvest

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books, gift cards and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9