The sun has finally been out for the last few days. The first bit of extended, uninhibited sunshine we’ve had in a very long time. I have been hearing the drips of the snow melting off of the rough and feeling like this is finally the thaw we have been waiting for. Eliza exclaimed yesterday, “The birds and the squirrels are back!” as she gazed through our window with excitement plastered across her face. This morning it is snowing again, but still it feels as if something has shifted. The days are longer, the temperatures are creeping; this must be winter’s last breathe. The long winter has undoubtedly made all of us more thankful for and celebratory of spring. Long days of sipping on the patio, digging in dirt, and watching the girls run and play framed by blue sky and green grass are in our future and it is so close we can taste it.
The mornings are still crisp, which is always welcome, and recently I have been trying to not be quite the level of caffeine fiend that I have become. I have gotten into a groove of making one frothy latte each morning and then calling it. But I don’t at all like to be mug-less while wrangling the girls. “I’ll make my own herbal tea,” I thought. The concept seemed easy enough and I loved the thought of being able to choose my own ingredients and try out different flavors and combinations. I wanted a tea that would warm me up on still chilly mornings, but was light and fresh enough to hint at the coming season.
One of the greatest discoveries I have made while doing some research and finding ingredients is Mountain Rose Herbs. They are located in Eugene, OR and have a huge selection of herbs and spices, teas, essential oils, and other goodies that are all organic and sustainable. If you are interested in any of those things, I highly recommend taking a peek at their website. After perusing their site and looking at some of the herbal blends I have liked in the past, I settled on a combo that is soothing, warming and a little bit citrus. Just what I was after and such a treat for my cold, spring-craving bones.
Here’s what I settled on for my “Dogwood Winter” herbal tea (Which means a cold snap in spring and I thought I was so clever :))
- 1 part peppermint leaf
- 1 part cocoa nibs
- 2 parts cinnamon chips
- 2 parts dried orange peel (I used peel from oranges the girls and I ate, cut them up and dehydrated them in the oven on the lowest temperature it can be set at. It only took a couple of hours.)
- Squeeze of lemon
- Splash of cream (optional but so good)
After measuring and pouring all of the ingredients into a bowl. I think I ended up with a 1/2 cup of cinnamon chips, 1/2 cup of orange peel, 1/4 cup of peppermint leaves and a 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs. I tossed it all together and then spooned it into the container pictured below.
I use about two teaspoons of the tea mixture for an 8 oz cup of tea and I steeped this tea for a bit longer than normal, maybe 10 minutes or so. Herbal teas need a bit more time to get all of that great flavor extracted. A little squeeze of lemon and splash of cream and it was just right.
Happy steeping and sipping! And welcome sunshine! MEB