5 oven friendly recipes to make with kids this Christmas

It is no secret that I love keeping all our Christmas preparations as simple (and fun!) as possible. The minute I begin getting consumed in the chaos, the magic of Christmas begins to fade away.

If you want to get the kids in the kitchen having some fun this Christmas, then this post is for you!

Here are my five kid friendly recipes this Christmas:

  1. Reindeer cupcakes

Use your favourite cupcake and icing recipe (or buy a packet mix if that is easier), bake the cupcakes and then ice them. To make reindeer, get your little ones to put two pretzels (as antlers), two candy eyes (I purchased mine from Woolworths) and a red M&M or smartie on each cupcake. The reindeer always look so sweet and are great to make to take to Christmas functions that have kids at them. These are easy, super cute and a whole lot of fun to make no matter the age.

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2. Grinch cookies

The recipe for these cookies comes from Katrina’s Kitchen (http://www.inkatrinaskitchen.com/grinch-cookies/).

This is the first year that we have made Grinch cookies and we really, really love them.  The recipe can be made super quickly – it’s a matter of throwing a cake mix, some oil, eggs and a drop of green food colouring all together into your mixer and mixing it for 2 minutes or so. The kids will love how slimy the mixture feels when you roll it in the icing sugar (so definitely give that job to them).

A few notes about this recipe:

  • I chilled the mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes instead of in the fridge.
  • I filled a bowl with icing sugar so that there was PLENTY of icing sugar to roll each tablespoon of mixture in.
  • I couldn’t find red love hearts in Woolworths (and it was late at night) so I bought ready made red fondant and cut out the hearts myself – buying red love hearts will be much easier.
  • I had to add an additional 4 minutes of cooking time for our oven.
  • I would put an extra drop of food colouring into the mixture to make it more green (be careful not to put too much).

grinch-cookies

3. Sugar Cookies

Use your favourite sugar cookie recipe and get baking – we used this one (http://makebakecelebrate.com/lets-talk-about-rolled-sugar-cookies/).

To decorate give the kids a bowl of green icing and some sprinkles and set them loose. If you don’t want your kitchen to resemble a sprinkle factory, you may want to have them do this activity outside.

biccies-resparkle

4. Puff Pastry stars

This is the easiest recipe to make in the history of oven friendly recipes! Tim’s mum introduced it to us and we are now obsessed. Cut your puff pastry into shapes (try stars or Christmas trees), spread melted butter onto each individual shape and then sprinkle raw sugar on top of them. Bake in a moderate oven until golden (approximately 10-15 minutes).

puff-pastry-stars

5. Bacon, Maple Syrup and Puff Pastry twists

If there is one recipe you HAVE to try – it is this one.  All you need is 1 sheet of puff pastry, 70g of streaky bacon and 1 TBSP of maple syrup. Cut the pastry into 10 strips. Cut your bacon into 10 thin long strips. Put each piece of bacon on top of a piece of pastry. Twist each strip 5-6 times (pinch the ends to secure the bacon). Place on a rack and brush with maple syrup. Bake for 15 minutes at 220 degrees until golden and puffed. As they come out of the oven coat them in additional maple syrup. Voila! Done.

cheesy-twists-resparkle

I hope these recipes are loved in your home as much as they are loved in mine. From my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year.

p.s. Take the pain and hassle out of cleaning your oven after a bake out with Resparkle’s 100% natural Organic Oven & BBQ Cleaner.

Apple, Coconut And Thyme Crumble With Coconut Sauce

Need some good, wholesome comfort food to cope with this crazy Melbourne weather?

Kavisha Jega has kindly contributed her delicious Apple, Coconut And Thyme Crumble With Coconut Sauce recipe!

Vegan. Gluten Free. Grain Free. Dairy Free. Refined Sugar Free. What more could you ask for?
apple-coconut-and-thyme-crumble-with-coconut-sauce

Ingredients: 


Apple mixture:

6 large apples

1 cup of filtered water

½ Tablespoon cinnamon

Crumble mixture:

2 cups of almond meal

1/4 cup of chopped macadamias

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup of shredded coconut

1 teaspoon of vanilla powder or essence

1 Tablespoon of chia seeds

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

⅓ cup of maple syrup

⅓ cup of coconut oil (melted)

Pinch sea salt

2 Tablespoons thyme leaves (optional)

Coconut sauce:

1 can coconut cream

2 Tablespoons coconut sugar

Pinch sea salt

– Heat all ingredients together in a small saucepan over a low heat. Mix until well combined. Pour sauce into a jar and store in the freezer to chill.

*Coconut sauce is optional. You could instead serve this crumble with vanilla ice cream or coconut yoghurt.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples. Place them in a large saucepan along with 1 cup of water, ½ tablespoon cinnamon over a medium heat. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to simmer for at least another 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.
  3. Empty the stewed apples into a baking dish and then set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, chopped macadamias, chopped pecans, shredded coconut, vanilla, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, coconut oil and thyme. Once combined, spoon it all over the top of the stewed fruit.
  5. Place dish back in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the crumble is golden.

*This crumble mixture also makes a great bliss balls! Simply roll the crumble mixture into balls and store in the fridge.

The Perfect Salad: Sweet Potato + Quinoa + Avocado

 

 

Spring’s rebirth of greens means you can put in-season salads back on the menu and reap their many health benefits. Eating salad almost every day may indeed be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt, and perhaps one of the simplest!

Here is a delicious looking salad recipe, contributed by Food and Wellness coach, Kavisha Jega, that you can easily put together at home.


the-perfect-salad

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 1/2 cups quinoa

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 a lemon

1 bunch coriander, finely chopped

1/4 cup sultanas

2 avocados, cut into small squares

4 small spring onions, chopped

1 cup slithered almonds

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Chop sweet potatoes into small cubes and coat with the coconut oil and some salt. Spread out on a lined baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 180c oven.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to the package or in a rice cooker. When it’s done cooking, rinse and set aside to cool off. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon and add the cinnamon into the quinoa. Mix well.
  3. Throw the coriander, sultanas, spring onions, avocado, almonds, roasted sweet potato, salt and pepper in with the quinoa and toss it around until all the flavours are well combined. Serve in bowls or pack into containers ready to take for lunch.

*Option: Add some feta cheese, chicken or hard boiled eggs for an extra protein hit!

Nut Free Bliss Balls by Happy Tummies

Here’s our third and final healthy kid snack recipe contributed by Lisa from Happy Tummies!

With two simple instructions, these nut free bliss balls could not be easier to put together. What’s more, its also FREE of the top 8 allergens and food additives!

happy-tummies-nut-free-bliss-balls

Ingredients:

100g desiccated coconut

50g sunflower seeds

8 medjool dates (deseeded)

1 tbsp raw organic cacao powder

1 tsp quality vanilla extract

2 tbsps quality full fat coconut cream

Pinch of salt

Extra desiccated coconut to roll bliss balls in

 

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients into food processor or Thermomix and process until smooth
  2. Roll into balls, coat in extra desiccated coconut if desired and place in the fridge to set

 

For your free handy baking chart and something special from Happy Tummies, click here.

5 Key thing of Importance when Food Shopping for your Children by Baby Bistro

Written by Sevi from Baby Bistro

The fact of the matter is, we can’t always believe what we read or are told by governments, media, doctors or major food corporations. Unfortunately, in this day and age, majority of companies and society as a whole, have been consumed with dollar signs and will, a lot of the time, tell us that something is “good for us”, just to make a buck.

The good news is, society as a whole is slowly starting to ask questions again. We are looking for real answers. We are questioning the “higher powers” and we aren’t just rolling with the reasons they give us and claim to be correct.

This might sound quite contradictory coming from a small family business, whose livelihood survives on the people buying our products, however, if you are reading this, you have probably worked out, or will soon if you are a new customer, that Baby Bistro, is ‘not about the money’, but rather making wholesome healthy food for children, and teaching parents and their children how to make positive healthy food choices for a healthy, happy home.

Today, we wanted to share some information regarding food labels and what you should look out for when buying off the supermarket shelves.

baby bistro

Five things to keep in mind when food shopping for your children:

  1. Steer clear of any labeling where preservatives/Colours and additives are present.
  2. Natural and Organic Labels don’t necessarily mean the products are 100% Natural and Organic
  3. Salt and Sugar Content should be as low as possible per serve
  4. Check the Vegetable Content on the label – Some are cheeky and are less than 5% vegetables.
  5. Pouches are convenient, however nutrients are lost when they are hot sealed

Food on the supermarket shelves, as you are more than aware, are jam packed full of Colours, preservatives, flavors, salt and sugar. Majority of these, are included on food labels as a number figure, rather than the entire name of the product…Namely because these are chemicals.

We believe the below are some of the many we really do need to stay away from as much as possible

1’s: 102 –Tartrazine, 104 – Quinoline, 110 Sunset Yellow, 122 Carmoisine, 123 Amaranth, 124, Ponceau 132, Indignity, 143 fast green, 151 Brilliant Black,  127 Erythrosine, 160b Annatto – Some of these have been linked  strongly to Asthma, and hyperactivity disorders.

2 ‘s are all Preservatives: 200-203 – Sorbates, 210-219 Bentotes, 220-228 Sulphates, 249-252 Nitrates, 280-283 Propionates – Some linked to Eczema, dermatitis

3’s are all Synthetic Antioxidants 310-312 Gallates, 319-321 TBHQ, BHA, BHT

6’s – Flavor enhancers: 620-625 –MSG, 627- Disodium Guanylate, 631 Disodium Insinate, 635 Ribonucleotides, Yeast Extract, HVP

These are all unnatural chemical based substances, placed into our foods, which can contribute to and cause long life illnesses and diseases, such as Asthma, and hyperactivity disorders. These substances are primarily used to keep foods looking fresher and lasting longer- Longer shelf life, more return for the manufacturer. Never mind our health and wellbeing along with the cost of healthcare down the line.

Along with this, please keep in mind that even if labels state the products are “All Natural” or “Organic”, there are loopholes in legislation those enable products that are not completely natural or organic to be labeled as such. Please ensure the labels are checked to ensure you are paying top dollar for an actual natural or organic product. If it does not have the Australian Certified organic logo on it- It’s not organic.

Low sugar, Low fat, Low Sodium are always on the front of a product, be skeptical. Read the label and check the quantity- it may well be low in fat, but has it been loaded with sugar or salt so that it still tastes great and vice versa? We cannot tell you how much salt or sugar is or isn’t acceptable. Every- body has different needs and wants when t comes to food on any given day.

We encourage you to do your research. Look at different resources online, visit a naturopath, read books.  Please don’t believe or disbelieve just one source. Find the right balance in all of your research which sits well with you for your body and for your families growing bodies.

We will however recommend steering clear of mass produced foods and beverages as much as you possibly can and loading your fridge, cupboards a freezer with as many organic products and produce as possible.

We urge you to research learn and discover as much as you can, and would love to hear back from you with any information you would like to share with us and fellow Baby Bistro Customers.

baby bistro

Gluten Free Chocolate Biscuits by Happy Tummies

 

Just as we have mentioned in the previous post, we understand how difficult it is to find safe food and snacks for kids with food allergies or food intolerance.

So here’s another healthy snack recipe for your little ones that is easy to put together at home!

Gluten Free Chocolate Biscuits recipe, specially contributed by Lisa from Happy Tummies.


happy-tummies-gluten-free-chocolate-cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup (45g) desiccated coconut

½ cup (70g) sorghum

½ cup (60g) arrowroot starch

¼ cup (30g) cacao powder

1 tsp xanthan gum (or guar gum)

100g rapadura sugar (or sweetener of choice)

pinch of salt

40g coconut oil, solid (place in freezer for a few minutes if not solid)

3 tbsps (60mls) cold water from the fridge

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170° C
  2. Line a tray with baking paper
  3. Grind together all dry ingredients in a food processor (if using a Thermomix grind on speed 9 for 10 secs)
  4. Add solid coconut oil and blitz for a few seconds until it resembles breadcrumbs (if using a Thermomix mix on speed 5 for 5 secs)
  5. Add cold water and mix again until thoroughly combined and nice and smooth (if using a Thermomix combine on speed 5 for 5 secs, scrape down and repeat if necessary)
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until cooked
  7. Leave to cool on the tray (if you can…..)

 

For your free handy baking chart and something special from Happy Tummies, click here.

Common Food Allergy Triggers in Kids Snacks and Gluten Free Banana Bread recipe

Finding safe food for kids with food allergies or food intolerances can be hard, especially if there are multiple allergies or intolerances involved. Luckily, we’ve managed to get some help from our friend Lisa from Happy Tummies to provide us some advice on this!

Kids snacks

The top 8 food allergies are wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. Sesame is also becoming a big problem and many manufacturers are also labelling food that contains sesame.

One of the biggest problems with labelling in supermarkets is that many labels are unclear. Parents need to be vigilant and look for common allergens with different names. Labelling is getting better with many manufacturers labelling products with allergens if it’s in the ingredients list, however many labels now have ‘may contain’ statements, none of which mean the same thing and can be confusing for parents. In my experience, manufacturers do keep a record of this information and are happy to share it, however it does require quite a lot of work to follow up every manufacturer.

The other problem of course with a lot of supermarket snacks aimed at children is the food additives and preservatives in them. Just because the manufacturers are allowed to put it in the food, it does not mean it’s safe to consume. Parents need to educate themselves about food additives and decide what foods they are happy for their children to eat. There are heaps of books and apps available on this that make it easy for parents to make better choices when doing their grocery shopping.

It’s really easy to bake or prepare some simple snack foods for kids. I like to bake recipes in rotation and freeze so that there is a constant supply of healthy snacks that the kids like to eat and that I am happy for them to eat.

CLICK HERE for your FREE handy baking chart and something special from Happy Tummies.

Feel free to swap ingredients as required to suit your family’s dietary requirements!

If you need more information on food allergies you can find it here at Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia.

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Here is Lisa’s Gluten Free Banana Bread recipe.

happy tummies gluten free banana bread

Ingredients:

½ cup (45g) desiccated coconut

1 cup (140g) sorghum (or rice flour)

½ cup (90g) potato starch

½ cup (75g) rapadura (or coconut sugar / sugar)

2 tsps xanthan gum (or guar gum)

4 tsps baking powder

2 tsps cinnamon

1 tbsp Nutra Organics C Berry Blast (optional)

½ cup (110g) coconut oil, melted

½ cup (125mls) coconut milk – or any dairy free milk

2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed (approx. 280g of banana when peeled)

 

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 160°C
  2. Prepare loaf pan 22cm x 14cm
  3. Put dry ingredients into a food processor or Thermomix and blitz until well combined and desiccated coconut is fine like flour (10 secs, speed 9 in Thermomix)
  4. Add other ingredients and mix until combined (10 secs, speed 4 in Thermomix)
  5. Pour into prepared pan, place in pre-warmed oven and cook for 35 minutes or until cooked through
  6. Turn off oven and leave the cake in the oven for about 5 minutes with the door open so it cools slowly
  7. Remove from oven and sit on wire rack. After about 5 minutes remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely

 

This month’s GIVEAWAY

Purchase any of Resparkle’s baby products (Organic Nursery, Toy & Everyday Cleaner or Natural Baby Laundry & Soaker) and receive a FREE Reusable Food Pouch from Happy Tummies and/or FREE Skin Balm, Baby Oil or Belly Butter samples from BasiK Organics.

(while stocks last)

resparkle baby products

 

Healthiest Sangria Ever

You know what we love about the holiday season? The happy buzz we get from sipping cocktails with family and friends, the endless days of festivities. It’s just such a joyful time to be.

The only problem: You may be pouring on the sugar and calories if you’re not paying attention to what you’re sipping through at parties.

BUT there’s ALWAYS a healthier solution yes?

So we’ve done a healthy makeover of the refreshing sangira without sacrificing any of the buzzy delights!

Start with a red wine base, which contains healthy antioxidants & then add fiber-rich fruits like berries, pears and oranges. Top it off with sparking water instead of the usual soda or syrup.

As healthy as it sounds, it’s still alcohol and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Summer Sangria

Serves 10

Sangria1.5 bottles red wine
1/4 cup triple sec
2 cups sparkling lemon/lime/orange-flavored water (get brands that has no added sugar)
1 pear diced
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
2 oranges diced or sliced (not peeled)
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup orange juice

 

 

Directions

  1. Combine everything (except the sparkling water) in a large pitcher, and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  2. Before serving, add the sparkling water to the pitcher, stir completely, and serve!

Think Pink Go Green (October Special)

BCAThumbnailIn 2015, approximately 42 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast cancer each day. Globally, over the last two decades, breast cancer rates have risen from a lifetime risk of one in 20 to one in eight.

The fact is the average women are exposed to 168 chemicals daily from cosmetics, skincare and cleaning products. Cancer News Australia reports that breast cancer risks were found to be twice likely with women who use cleaning chemicals and air-fresheners the most than those who use them the least.  Cleaning chemicals may contribute to breast cancer because it contains mammary gland carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals. These chemical cleaners contain many toxic ingredients – such as Alkylphenols, Phthalates, Triclosan, etc. – that are endocrine disrupters, and are known to alter mammary gland development in rats. The list of household chemicals that contribute to breast cancer risk is long and we encourage to have a read here.

thinkPinkGoGreenThumbnailYes, we live in a toxic world but don’t let that overwhelm you into in-action. The goods news is eradicating your home and daily life of toxic chemicals is easier than it may seem. So let’s all take the opportunity of Breast Cancer Awareness month to Think Pink & Go Green. To share this important message to your family and friends simply click on the facebook/twitter/pinterest button to the left of this page.

To help you go green for breast health, we’ve compiled a little directory of safer choices. The founders of these brands all share Resparkle’s commitment to being 100% honest and creating products that are truly natural & safe. They are also tried and tested by Resparkle’s founder – Pearl. These are products she uses daily.

 

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SKIN-CARE/Cosmetics

  1. DNA Elements
  2. Simple as That
  3. 100% Pure 
  4. Jacqueline Evans
  5. Luk Beautifood Lipstick
  6. Nourished Life: One-stop for non-toxic skincare, cosmetics & home-care products.

TOOTHPASTE

  1. Grants of Australia 

SHAMPOO

  1. Weleda Hair-care 

GO PLASTIC FREE

  1. 4 My Earth: Lunch boxes, Food Wraps & all things non-plastic
  2. Biome Eco Store

Organic Cotton

  1. Bhumi Organic Cotton : Bedsheets, Quilts, Towels, Throws.
  2. Pure Baby: Organic baby clothes

Food for Every Day Health

  1. Matcha Maiden : 100% pure organic green tea leaves ground into powder. Up to 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea!
  2. Remedy Kombucha: A super healthy alternative to frizzy drinks!
  3. Whole Kids: Healthy snacks for kids and adults too!

Household Cleaners

Resparkle of course! We’re the only home-care brand in Australia that is truly 100% natural and hold a organic certification by NASAA.

There you have it. All you need to KEEP CALM & QUIT CHEMICALS.

Totally do-able isn’t it?

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Resparkle October Special – Breast Cancer Awareness Home-Care Pack 

Only $49 + Free Shipping to all Metro Cities!

Breast Cancer Awareness Australia

 

 

3 Healthy Post-Workout Smoothie Recipes

After a good work-out when you just can’t be bothered to cook up a elaborate meal, smoothies are the perfect option for a instant nutrient pack meal.

Make-Ahead-Frozen-Fruit-Smoothies

The best part about being on the smoothie wagon is that you can prep 1 week’s worth of smoothies in under 1 hour! Simply cut up the fruits & veg, pop them into jars and freeze. When you’re ready to enjoy, just add liquid (no need to defrost) & blend.

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3 Healthy Post-Workout Smoothie Recipes

health_profileKim Ong, founder of power blender – Spectablend shares 3 Sweet Smoothie Recipes that would make for a easy post workout meal. These recipes provide a powerful boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidant without bogging down your digestive system.

 

Reward yourself after a hard workout with some sweet yet healthy recipes.

Consume protein within an hour after exercise to fuel muscle growth. It’s called protein timing, and the idea behind it is this: Resistance training increases amino acid delivery to muscles as well as absorption. Therefore, the sooner you consume protein post-exercise, the bigger the stimulation in muscle protein synthesis. 

Recipe #1: Power Green Smoothie

Green SmoothieIngredients

  • Frozen banana
  • Fresh spinach
  • Fresh mint
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Linseeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut water
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein

 

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients in your blender until smooth, serve and enjoy.

Recipe #2: Banana-Choc Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of organic pure coconut water
  • ½ cup of organic coconut milk
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of acai powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 frozen ripe banana

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients in your blender until smooth, serve and enjoy.

Recipe #3: Raw Chocolate Berry Cream Pie

Spectablend Raw Chocolate Cream Pie

Ok, Recipe 3 is technically not a smoothie but who can resist the sound of Raw Chocolate Berry Cream Pie! It follows the same easy prep-ahead and pop everything into a blender method.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • 2 bananas
  • 3/4 cup salted cashews
  • 5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (if cashew nuts are not salted)
  • Dessicated coconut
  • Frozen raspberries

 Method

  1. Add all ingredients into your blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a pie pan. Smooth out with the back of a spoon.
  3. Cover and place in freezer. Freeze overnight to firm up so that it can be sliced perfectly.
  4. This raw chocolate cream pie recipe should always be kept in the freezer as it will get soggy if in the fridge.
  5. When you serve, top with dessicated coconut and raspberries.

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SPECTABLEND $150 DISCOUNT OFFER!

These healthy and sweet recipes are brought to you by Spectablend high-powered blender. Check out www.spectablend.com.au for more information.

Type in “RESPARKLE” to get a $150 discount off Spectablend BL-001 Blenders worth $399 each.

Winter Warming Spicy Chai Smoothie

Love smoothies but finding it too cold to have them in winter? In fact, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s so important to keep our insides warm especially in winter. That means cold drinks are not ideal.

That said, you’d love this Spicy Chai Tea Smoothie, tasty, warming and healthy all at the same time.  What’s more this vitamin- and antioxidant-packed smoothie will give your immune system a boost so you stay healthy during the cold winter. Enjoy!

Spicy Chai Smoothie photo credit pinterest
Spicy Chai Smoothie
photo source: pinterest

SPICY CHAI TEA SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk and coconut almond milk)
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1 very-ripe frozen banana
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 inch ginger
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Instructions
  1. Heat your milk on the stove for for a minute or two in the microwave, just until it is hot and steam.
  2. Put the tea bag in the milk and place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  3. Combine the tea milk, banana (cut into chunks), ginger and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth.