Kombucha! or Kombu-what?

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. While we love a traditional cup of tea, we also enjoy spicing it up with a masala chai and adding rose petals for a floral touch.

Kombucha seems to be a drink that can divide a crowd. People either love it or hate it. Sarah and I are strongly in the love camp! I drank my first bottle about a decade ago, knowing nothing about it, but being drawn in by the cute bottle (and wanting to taste anything named “Wonder Drink”!). The flavor of that first bottle was odd, yet addicting, and ever since I’ve loved trying new flavors and brand.

liveseasoned_winter2016_kombucha1

Fast forward all these years, imagine my delight when I was biking down the bike path in Boulder and sidewalk chalk signs pointing me toward’s Rowdy Mermaid‘s kombucha taproom! During Sarah’s first visit to Boulder, we stopped in to sample the goods. Fast forward a year, and during another of Sarah’s visits, we were introduced to Upstart Kombucha while walking down Pearl Street. We’re partial to Upstart’s rose bud variety, but will take any bottle in a pinch!  Needless to say, kombucha culture (haha!) is going strong here in Boulder. We’re lucky to have some many local brands at our fingertips and love them all! Even so, we couldn’t help but get in on the DIY kombucha craze, and the nudge to do so came when our mama gave us this book for Christmas. 

The internet is full of information about kombucha, including many sites and youtube videos that walk you through the process of making a batch at home. Consider this post an introduction to kombucha and a starter brewing guide. If you have questions and/or comments, please get in touch!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Bubble Tea

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter, and we are a big fan of using it in sweet treats, like these ice cream sandwiches, this milkshake, and these matcha-frosted cupcakes!

Bubble, or boba-milk, tea was always one of my favorite treats when I’d pass through Chinatown while going to school in Philly. Although, admittedly, in those days I would usually substitute coffee for the tea, but a theme’s a theme, so we’re talking tea today.

Live Seasoned Winter15 Bubble Tea-1

Have you had a cup of bubble tea yet? What do you think? Have you seen it and just wondered what the heck was going on with those gelatinous black balls and the extra-large straws?

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Tea-Infused Vodka

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. Looking for another cocktail with tea? Check out our Garden Gin. And want to experiment with more infused vodkas? We love this hazelnut liqueur and this rosemary vodka.

Today we’re here to provide a warning : tea-infused vodka may be an acquired taste… and we haven’t quite acquired it yet, but we’re trying (I’m drinking some as I type!). On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re giving this one an “ehh”.

liveseasoned_winter2016_teavodka3

So, the idea is simple, take some vodka, add some tea, let it sit, then strain, and then make a cocktail. But for how simple it is, and for how much we love tea and vodka, somehow we aren’t loving the results. And this isn’t some crazy idea schemed up by us, Absolut sells a tea-flavored vodka!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. If you like combining matcha with your desserts, check out this milkshake!

Lately I’ve come across so many dessert recipes that combine the flavors of black sesame and green tea, and I’ve been so intrigued. As you may know, I’m already a fan of having my matcha green tea as a dessert rather than as a hot tea, so extending that passion to cakes seemed like a no-brainer. And since we liked the chocolate chip cookies with tahini so much, I was excited to experiment with another sesame-flavored baked good. It only took me a week and an embarrassing number of hours to hem and haw over recipes before deciding on these black sesame cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting.

livesesoned_winter2016_sesamematcha8

In this post Molly Yeh provides a roundup of beautiful black sesame/green tea combinations (the subject of that post happens to be a green tea cake with black sesame frosting – the opposite of what we have going on here today!)… and if that weren’t enough, both of today’s recipes come from Molly’s site. What can we say, we’re fans.

Extending our search farther into the interwebs, the black sesame-matcha combination is nothing new.  From what I’ve learned it originates in Japanese cooking, where you’ll find many desserts that use flavors not extremely common to American treats, think beans, seeds like this sesame, and sweet potatoes.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Tea for Two

Just popping in to share some of our favorite tea accessories with you. Most are perfect for a pair of tea drinkin’ fools. XO

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 11.58.46 AM

If your valentine loves tea, start by simply buying them their favorite blend (or the luxury blend that’s a splurge) and give it to them in a beautiful storage tin.

We love this electric kettle for our tea, coffee, and hot chocolate needs. There are a variety of cute designs out there, but if you know a tea aficionado, get them one with temperature control.

Thinking about flowers for Valentine’s Day? This poppy drink cover puts a smile on Katie’s face every time she uses it.

These Numi organic blossoming tea sets with a glass steeper pot make the sweetest gift too.

For someone who loves lose-leaf tea, an infuser is always useful. Win them over with this pixelated heart infuser.

Valentine’s Day = chocolate + tea. AMIRITE? We’re excited about these matcha dark chocolate bars from a company that’s working hard to produce chocolate with high ethical and environmental standards.

Can’t find a tea-flavored chocolate bar in your market? Try infusing their cup of hot cocoa with tea.

Serve your sweet their tea (or infused cocoa) on these beautiful marble coasters or this marble tray.

How about something for their apartment? A simple tea print for the wall? Or you can go for the absurd 

There are so many great mugs out there, we had to do a little round-up:

  • Have a Star Wars sweetheart? Why not tell them “yoda one for me“?
  • Katie’s one for understated love. You too? Get a “Meh” mug.
  • And she’s totally over hearing that moms love their kids “to the moon and back” (sorry if you’re one of them!). So this mug made her chuckle.
  • If you want to get all the adults chuckling, pick up this Animates mug.
  • Or if you want to keep it PG and stylish, grab a Haand cloudware mug.

Tea on the go is our favorite. How nice is it to open a steaming jar in the middle of a meeting or class? Pick up some biodegradable Tea filter bags, fill up your ball jar and throw an American made Holdster leather jar holder on it and you’re good to go.

 

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Garden Gin

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. Check out the entire tea archiveThis post, in particular, is another one that calls for the use of Earl Grey (in ice cream sandwiches!).

I can’t believe that it took us two months to combine tea and alcohol, but the day is finally here! Today we’re sharing our take on this delicious cocktail from Sugar & Charm. As you’ll see, this drink is a complex mix of a variety of botanical flavors. The Earl Grey tea provides a dark tannin-filled foundation, and then it’s layered with lavender, lime juice, and just a hint of citrus, both from the tea and a sliver of zest. Honey adds just a touch of sweetness. Needless to say, this drink is far from the Long Island Iced Teas we all had one too many of in college.

liveseasoned_winter2015_gintea3 copy

I mentioned that the drink gets a hint of citrus from the Earl Grey tea. Traditionally, Earl Grey is a black tea that is scented with the addition of bergamot essential oil. The bergamot orange is an extremely sour fruit with a rind the color of lemons. It is not considered edible, but with the addition of sugar can be turned into marmalade. Earl Grey tea was first produced in England in the early 1800s in an attempt to reproduce the flavors of more expensive Chinese teas. Perhaps surprisingly, combining gin and Earl Grey, as we do below, is not a unique idea. Although it’s not as fashionable today, it was common throughout the UK, particularly in the late 1800s.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Earl Grey Tea Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. Check out the entire tea archive and all our Valentine DIYs here.

live seasoned winter 15 earl grey tea cookie ice cream sandwiches-2 copylive seasoned winter 15 earl grey tea cookie ice cream sandwiches-5

Hey sweethearts! We’re baking with tea today. You can enjoy these earl grey tea cookies alone or with ice cream as a sandwich – that’s the route we’re taking.  The toasted tea adds a warm, sweet flavor to the buttery cookies.  They’re so simple you don’t even need a mixer.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Rose Tea

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. If you’re looking for another way to spice up your black tea, check out our masala chai. Click here for our archive of Valentine DIYs.

Hey there, thinking about surprising your Valentine with breakfast in bed and a side of tea? No? How about just surprising him/her with an afternoon cup of tea? Either way, we have an idea for making that Valentine’s Day cup extra special ~ add some dried rose petals.

liveseasoned_winter2015_rosetea1-1024x768 copyDoesn’t that look beautiful? Think about letting your sweetheart add the dried tea and petals to the boiled water themselves, that way they can see the delicate pink petals before they go in the kettle and lose their color. #itsthelittlethings

liveseasoned_winter2015_rosetea3

The rose petals will add a light floral aroma and flavor to any variety of tea. I prefer a black base, but this would also go well with the lighter flavor of a white tea.

All rose petals are edible, but not all are created/tended equally; be sure to purchase dried rose petals that were grown and processed without any pesticides or additional chemicals.

liveseasoned_winter2015_rosetea2

So simple, but so sweet for your special someone on Valentine’s Day.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Matcha Green Tea Milkshake

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. I’m not sure which I like more today’s milkshake or this old favorite.

How does that saying go, it’s 5 o’clock summer somewhere? At first I felt funny suggesting a milkshake recipe in the middle of January, but Sarah and I are such shake fans that we never pass one up, no matter the time of year, and I’m guessing we have a few readers with the same priorities.

liveseasoned_winter2016_matchashake3-1024x768 copyliveseasoned_winter2016_matchashake1 


I know this is going to sound absurd, but I remember everything about the first time I tried a Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino (GTF). I was in Boston during a hot summer struggling to do my research on a Saturday, living on a meager grad student budget, and decided that I needed a treat. The GTF it was, and I swear it was the most delicious thing I had in weeks… possibly a reaction to how grey my life was feeling? Dramatic much? Anyway, to this day I love GTFs, but admittedly I still rarely order them. They are never as good as that first one and I still don’t like paying that much for a drink. BUT I have found the perfect homemade alternative : a green tea milkshake!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Masala Chai

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. Also, if you find my talk of spices interesting, you may like this post where I use a karha mix to spice up our pumpkin popsicles.

I was stumbling over my computer keys this afternoon while starting this post because I keep wanting to just write chai, but I know that’s not correct, so let’s get some vocabulary out of the way and then get on with this post.

liveseasoned_winter2016_chai2

Chai is the word for tea in India. Masala means spiced or spice mix. So technically, when we Americans are drinking a “chai”, we’re really drinking a masala chai, a spiced black tea, not just a tea. Somewhere along the way we shorted masala chai to chai, and so I’ll stick with that abbreviation throughout this post, even though I’m focusing here on the masala. Or is it the karha?…

There’s nothing I like more than a warm cup of chai in my hands on a chilly winter afternoon. In the past I’ve always purchased either the concentrated liquid chai from the grocery store or tea shop’s chai blend for brewing. Today I want to share a beautifully simple and delicious chai recipe that you can use as the base for personalizing your cup of tea.

Traditional Karha

Another new word: karha. It’s the name for the spice blend used for making the masala chai. Traditionally, the karha begins with a combination of warming spices. This is commonly cardamom with some ginger, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, or nutmeg; all spices that we are familiar with when baking. In addition to those spices, some karha may include black pepper, fennel seeds, or coriander. You can also add spices like tumeric for their medicinal value. And those lists are not exhaustive, if there’s a spice you like, it’s fair game!

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the spice mixture. In India, the karha varies by region and even by the time of year. And likewise, outside of India, different regions of the world add different spices to their tea depending upon a region’s access to different spices and its palette.

liveseasoned_winter2016_chai3

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone