Matcha Green Tea Latte Desk View

We’ve all seen and heard of the Matcha Green Tea craze all over the news and social media lately, thanks largely to Starbucks’ popular Latte of the same name.  But it’s so much more than that.

What is it?

Traditionally, when you order a cup or buy a box of green tea, it comes in dried crushed tea leaves which you then steep and discard the tea bag.  With Matcha, those tea leaves have been ground into a fine powder and is not just steeped into hot water, it is whisked into your drink and no part of it is discarded; giving you more nutrients in each cup.

The process from growth to harvest to production is different as well.  Growing the shade, allows for better flavor and texture.  And once it’s hand-picked, it’s dried and aged which helps enrich the flavor, before it’s ground into a fine powder.

Why so popular?

Once you try it, you’ll find that this trend is here to stay; it’s definitely not a fad.  Because not only is it delicious, it’s healthy too!  This java lover has switched sides and is loving finding new ways to implement Matcha into all kinds of tasty dishes. 

You’ll see below, I linked my preferred Matcha which is made by Live Well Compass.  Some Matcha distributors add sugar or other ingredients, this one has none of that, no additional additives and/or preservatives.  Which is exactly what you want when looking for high quality tea.  Live Well Compass provides a 100% organic Matcha Green Tea product that has the caffeine that my body is so accustomed to, without any of the coffee jitters, it gives you tons of energy and there is no crash at the end of the day! How can you not love that!?!

Additional Health benefits are that it revs up your metabolism, is a weight loss booster, and is jam-packed with all kinds of nutrients that would take all day to eat one by one.  For example, did you know that drinking Matcha before  working out can burn up to 25% more fat and can increase the rate of burning calories from 8-10% to 35-43%?  I don’t know about you, but this gets me excited to hit the yoga mat!

So, after researching all the health benefits, tasting just how delicious Matcha is, and happily giving up my coffee addition, the first recipe I decided to try to make is the ever popular Matcha Green Tea Latte.  Because of course, if it’s harder to make than a cup of coffee, it wasn’t for me.  This did not disappoint!

Matcha Green Tea Latte

Ingredients for Matcha Green Tea Latte:

1 tsp Matcha Green Tea powder

8 oz. Almond Milk

2 tsp sweetened condensed creamer

splash of vanilla extract

Directions:

Place all ingredients in blender on high until powder is dissolved and serve over ice.

The next thing I tried making with Matcha was gluten-free bread to give me a bit of a pick me up for breakfast.

Matcha Green Tea Swirl Cake

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Marble Cake:

3 tbsp Matcha Green Tea powder

2 large eggs

3/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups gluten-free flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

a dash salt

1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

-Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter bread loaf pan.
Mix all liquid ingredients on low in mixer.
Slowly add in dry ingredients, except the Matcha.
When all ingredients are mixed, increase the speed for 1 minute.
Pour 2/3 of batter into loaf pan.
On low, mix Matcha into remaining 1/3 batter. Then increase speed for 1 minute.
Pour over the batter in the loaf pan and with a skewer stick swirl both batters.
Place in oven and bake 30-40 minutes until done.

This was a hit with the family!  Gluten-free, delicious AND healthy!  So staying with the breakfast theme, my family loves the overnight oats which I previously put up a recipe for, so I decided to make a Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding.

Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding

Ingredients for Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding:

1 tsp  Matcha Green Tea powder

2 tbsp Chia Seeds

2 tbsp sweetened condensed creamer

6 oz Almond Milk

Directions:

In a blender, mix milk, sweetened condensed creamer and Matcha until dissolved well.  Pour into container and add chia seeds.  Cover, shake well, and refrigerate overnight.

My little one has texture issues, so I was a bit worried, but she loved this as much as we all did!!!  This recipe is a single serving size because I wasn’t sure if everyone would love as much as I do, but all you have to do is double, triple or increase to whatever your needs are. 

Lastly, how could I not make Matcha Green Tea gummies!?!

Matcha Green Tea Gummies

Ingredients for Match Green Tea Gummies:

2 tsp Matcha Green Tea powder

2½ tablespoons gelatin2 cups coconut water, divided

1 tbsp sweetened condensed creamer (adjust the amount according to taste)

¼ cup coconut cream (the hardened stuff that floats to the top of a can of coconut milk)

Directions:

-First, pour 1 cup of coconut water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top, let it sit for 5 minutes to allow it to soften. 
Over medium heat, combine the remaining coconut water and sweetened condensed creamer.
Stir until it steams, not boils.
Pour over gelatined coconut water, stir well.
Then transfer into blender cup and add coconut cream and Matcha.
Blend on high for 1 minute.
Pour into silicone molds or 8-inch baking dish.
Last, refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until hardened.
Can be stored in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

If you love coconut and green tea, you’ll love this combo!  Keep in mind to taste before you pour into molds.  I made mine super sweet by adding some more sweetener because for whatever reason, when you refrigeration these, they lose some sweetness.

Matcha Green Tea Panna Cotta

As you can see in the picture (forgive my crumbling gummies, I was too anxious to properly take them out), I made this two ways.  In individual gummies and a “Panna cotta-style” serving size as well.  I covered that with a drizzle of sweetened condensed creamer for an after dinner treat. YUM!

There you have it. 

I’m still experimenting with Matcha Green Tea recipes, so I’ll have more recipes in a future posts.  You can click any of the links above or go here → https://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Culinary-Servings-Smoothies-Metabolism/dp/B01M0A10XA to get some of your own Live Well Compass Matcha Green Tea. 

Feel free to use any of my recipes above to fall in love with Matcha, or if you want to do some experimenting of your own, the bag has a link to the top 100 video recipes to try out as well.  Either way, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Matcha favorites and give those a try too!  Leave me a link below↓.

-Sandra

**Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company, and/or its affiliates in any way.

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I’ve been making Cheater Wraps long before I fell in love with PF Chang’s Chicken Wraps.  Of course, my version was without the lettuce, but it wasn’t difficult to add that to my recipe.  It’s one of the easier (lazier) gluten-free meals that I make and the kids love them!  Please note, this is NOT an exact replica of those famous wraps, but if you love cheap, easy, super quick and delicious, you have to try these…

Ingredients for Cheater Wraps:

1 pkg – lean taco seasoned ground turkey

1 can – 15.25 oz whole kernel corn

1 – 1lb pkg white rice

Directions for Cheater Wraps:

Turkey mixture:

-Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat and then add ground turkey.  Cook about 3-5 minutes, or until browned.  Use spatula to make sure to turkey is crumbled into the smallest pieces as it cooks.

-Stir in a drained can of corn and continue to sauté until thoroughly cooked.

Rice:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat then add white rice.  Sauté while stirring until just right before the rice browns.  The rice should go from slightly translucent to solid white.  Add water to rice, cover pan, lower heat and simmer until done.

To Serve:

Spoon one or two tablespoons of both the turkey mixture and rice into the center of a lettuce leaf, sprinkle some queso fresco on top, roll taco-style and enjoy!

Usually with ground meat, I drain the excess fat, but with lean ground turkey, there is no excess fat left over.  So not only are you eating healthy, this meal was cheap too! 

Here’s the breakdown:

Turkey – $3.88
Corn – $0.68
Rice – $1.16
Lettuce – $0.99


Grand Total – $6.71

How can you beat that?  Turkey Wraps a la PF Chang’s for under $7 for a family of four in under 20 minutes!?!  YUP! You read it right!  Try it, enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

-Sandra

Tomato & goat cheese soup
Goat cheese in my soup? How did I get here?

A couple of years ago, my Chicago native husband convinced me to take a trip and traipse around the city with him.  Never having been and knowing my love for travel, I jumped at the chance to get to know the city he so deeply loved.  Of course, being the conscientious adventurer, I delved into all things Chicago, especially the food and had a list for my must stop and dine places in the city before we even left L.A.

One of the places we stopped at after our improptu photo shoot at Wrigley Field, was the Standard Market Grill.  Being a mom of a child with Celiac Disease, I make it my mission to research places that have gluten-free menus in place for our next visit with the kids.  I wish I could say I sampled everything on the menu, but no, sadly.  Having had a hearty breakfast, I opted for something light and refreshing to hold me over until dinner, and went with the gf tomato & goat cheese soup.

I have to say, I was a bit apprehensive about goat cheese in my soup.  Although I love all things cheesy, goat cheese is not high on that list.  However, I was reassured it was an amazing dish and it did not disappoint.

So how does this bring me to this recipe? Did I steal it? Nope! I didn’t take enough money for bail, so I scoured the web until I found something similar and just as tasty.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp-olive oil
1-medium yellow onion
2-garlic cloves
1/4 tsp-red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp-dried thyme
1 – 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
1-cup vegetable broth
2 oz goat cheese
2 oz queso fresco
black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Over medium low heat sauté with olive oil, onion diced finely, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried thyme, for 5 minutes or so or until onions are soft. Stir occasionally until slightly brown.

Next, put whole can of tomatoes and vegetable stock in a blender (including the juice from the tomatoes). Add the sautéed mix to blender. Blend on pureed setting. 

Then, pour into soup pot and bring to a boil. Add water if desired for a thinner soup. Pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle on goat cheese and let melt before stirring.

Last, serve and top with queso fresco.

Side Note: if you’re not a soup person, use 1/4 cup less broth and use it over pasta for an alternate dish. Enjoy!

-Sandra

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Overnight OatsOvernight oats? Nope! Never heard of these before, as the only way oatmeal has ever been made in our home is the traditional way. However, when I saw these overnight oats pop up on everyone’s news feed, I just had to try them. Who knew they were so easy to make!?!

A little experimentation is in order to find just the right balance for your palate, as there are a many different ways of making overnight oats. Some people prefer to make these with just water. Others have dietary restrictions and use Almond Milk or Rice Milk. Gluten-free/lactose-free is yet another popular way to go. And last, milk, regular, 2%, skim etc.

Having tried them several different ways, I found what worked for me was just plain ol’ milk. As healthy as this all was, I figured a little regular fat milk wouldn’t tip the scales much.

Below is the recipe for the Blueberry Almond Oats pictured above. FYI – this is not the only recipe out there, but it is the simplest one for first timers. Also, keep in mind that many people have a bit of a texture issue with chia seeds if they’re not familiar with them. But it’s such a small amount of seeds that I would recommend trying it once this way and finding out for yourself if you can bare them. If not, leave them out of your next batch of overnight oats. It’s all about finding out what works for you. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland, painful, or horrible. It can be fun and tasty too!

Try them, experiment until your little heart is content, and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or whatever is your preference 
Directions for overnight oats: 

Combine all the ingredients in the order listed above. Next, tighten the lid and shake well until combined. Then chill overnight in the fridge. Overnight oats will keep up to 2 days, if made with regular milk.

Add any additional desired toppings in the morning,  such as brown sugar or maple syrup for a bit of sweetness. Then stir the oats, warm them up or enjoy them cold!

-Sandra

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Mexican beef stewWhat’s more delicious than a bowl of warm soup on a cold rainy day!? “Cocido” (Spanish for stew) was my mom’s go-to-meal on cold rainy days.  I grew up cuddling up on the couch, smelling this delicious scent, as my mom made this for us while we dried off from jumping in puddles all day.  Now my kids patiently wait for me to do the same.  What I love most about this dish is that it’s so easy to make, not to mention, gluten-free!!!

Ingredients for Cocido:

3 lbs. beef shank
4 carrots
2 onions
2 celery ribs
1 small head cabbage
6 red potatoes
2 zucchini (green & yellow)
2 corn on the cob

Season the broth with:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
cilantro
jalapeño (optional)
limes
onion
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves

Directions:

Boil meat in a pot full of water about in inch above the meat, for approximately 1 minute. Drain. Then rinse both meat and pot and fill again, bring to a boil. Not necessary, but helps for it to be a clear broth.  Next, add seasoning and simmer for approximately 2 hours or until tender.

While meat is simmering, prepare veggies by chopping in large chunks.  Too small will just fall apart.  Add all veggies except zucchini and cabbage (they take the least amount of time to cook), bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then add the zucchini.  Last, cabbage cut in fourths should be added and placed on top after the zucchini.  Once boiling again, lower the heat and simmer until the cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes or until done.

I plate this dish by adding red Mexican rice to the bottom of a bowl, then use tongs to fish out the veggies and beef, and last, I’ll ladle the soup over it all. Once at the table, I squeeze some lime juice over it all for a bit of flavor and as a personal preference I like to add slices of banana (a little at a time) to get that sweet and salty taste, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  Enjoy!

-Sandra

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gluten-free peach pie

I’m not the greatest cook in the world, but I love baking!  However, I’m not the greatest baker in the world either.  I wish I can say that I bake all the time, but after my little one was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I’ve been at a loss.  The learning curve has been extreme, to say the least. 

When we first found out gluten needed to be eliminated from her diet, we didn’t even know what it was, let alone just how many things it was in.  Our meals became boring and usually just consisted of protein, veggies, and rice.  Label reading was a new concept for me and gluten has so many alternative names.

Long story short, it’s been trial and error baking gluten-free goodies.  Some things I like making COMPLETELY from scratch, which is much easier now that there is gluten-free flour.  Before, I used to have to figure out the right mixture of brown and white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum to substitute for regular flour, for each recipe I was making.  Not to mention, bake times are different and it always left a copper penny taste in my mouth.

Other times, actually, most of the time, I take the cheater route (aka Betty Crocker).  It saves loads of time and between making dinner and helping with homework, I need all the shortcuts I can take.

The recipe below is just one of the quick, easy shortcuts for making Gluten-Free Peach Pie that I love!  Enjoy!

Ingredients for GF Peach Pie:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup Gluten Free Bisquick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of sliced peaches (“lite” syrup)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter up a glass pie dish.
  3. Drain juice from the peaches.
  4. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla together.
  5. Add peach juice and while mixing, slowly add Bisquick to avoid lumps.
  6. Pour the batter into buttered pie dish.
  7. Drop peaches evenly onto the batter.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Tastes great with a huge scoop of french vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

-Sandra

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charcuterie platterI had never heard of a charcuterie platter before.  I’m not fancy; I don’t go to fancy places to eat.  Most restaurants we go to have appetizers, not charcuterie platters.  However, put some cheese in front of me and I’m in heaven.

For those of you that don’t know what a Charcuterie platter is, I did a bit of research and here goes:

  • Charcuterie platters are primarily a variety of cold meats that are salted, brined, smoked, and/or cured, such as pâté, prosciutto, salami, chorizo, and mortadella, just to name a few.
  • Mild red wines are a great accompaniment, as it opens up the flavors of each meat.
  • Because it’s an appetizer of sorts, usually 5 oz or so of each meat should be plated per person.
  • Crackers are not typically invited to the party, as it takes away from the meat, so soft thin sliced baguettes with a bit of butter or olive oil will do and maybe some crunchy bread sticks for variety to balance out the fattiness of each meat.
  • A strong acid, such as pineapple bites, mandarins, or even grapes are great for in between meat tasting to clean the palate before the next bite.
  • Jelly and/or chutney add some flavor for those that like a bit of sweet and salty in each bite.

I’m sure I might be leaving out some stuff, but for the most part, that’s exactly what a charcuterie platter consists of, meats, not cheeses as most people assume.  Considering I’m an “appetizers and desserts” kind of gal, being introduced to a charcuterie board has got me hook!  However, do you know what also goes great with this!?!  A great cheese platter!!!

It’s a proved fact, cheese is addicting.  Long story short, it messes with the dopamine receptors in the brain and violá, you’re hooked!  This explains my need to have cheese with every meal, even if it’s just sprinkled on top.  What’s ALWAYS in my fridge?  Cheese, of course!

My love of cheese has magnified with the introduction of charcuterie platters into my life.  I love to combine the two and make adult versions of lunchables.  There are no hard rules; it’s whatever your little heart desires.  I combine some soft speadable cheeses with slices of others, a variety of salami, chorizo and prosciutto, maybe some grapes, or jalapeño jelly, honey drizzled almonds, and of course some bread and gluten free crackers for my little one.  Try it, enjoy it, fall in love and tell me what you think!

-Sandra

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In the spirit of the Irish, I thought we’d get punch drunk… on sugar!  Check out my cupcakes…

                                
No, they’re not from scratch, but they are made with love.  I ran out of time (and got lazy), so these are courtesy of the cheater’s route (a.k.a Betty Crocker).
-Sandra

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