Make your own herbal tea

I’m a big coffee fan, but this year I’ve been cutting down on coffee and drinking more refreshing, hydrating herbal teas.  It’s really easy to make your own herbal tea.  This year in my herb garden this  I’ve started growing some herbs that I can use to make your own herbal teas.

While I do enjoy standard herbal teas from the supermarket, there is something quite therapeutic and relaxing about making your own fresh concoctions. There’s a lot of love going into growing and tending your plants, then picking and brewing them. Plus you can get the most benefits out of using fresh herbs and ingredients like ginger and manuka honey to add to your teas. The smell is also amazing as you brew them.

Growing your own herbs for a tea garden is super easy and you can use them for plenty of other non tea related uses too! The good news is you don’t need a lot of room and I grow mine in pots on the patio as it’s convenient to just pop out the door to grab a bunch (plus because I see them every day I’m less likely to neglect them!).

To get started on my garden I planted the following:

Lemon Verbena – this herb has a refreshing, lemony flavour and an amazing fragrance. It’s said to be good for digestion as it stimulates the production of bile . Keep protected from the cool in winter months. This herb can be grown inside too.

Stevia – up to 300 times sweeter than sugar but with no calories, stevia is an excellent natural sweetener for teas. Growing your own is fairly easy, but be sure to bring it inside in cooler weather as the cold will kill it. I left mine out in a frost and it didn’t make it!

Peppermint + Mint– Any mint plant seems to be super easy to grow. If it starts to look a bit shabby, just cut it all back and it will regrow. Peppermint is especially good for digestion and helps relieve bloating and nausea.

Chamomile – this is also super easy to grow and will in fact grow like weeds! Don’t buy roman (also known as lawn) chamomile – the variety you want to get is officially known as Matricaria chamomilla as it has medicinal properties. This herb is an excellent relaxant. I sometimes drink chamomile before bed to help me sleep. You use the flowers from the plant to make tea, which you can use fresh or dried.

Plant your herbs in good quality potting mix to get the best results.

My favourite drink to make at the moment is a lovely mixture of lemon verbena and mint, plus fresh ginger and honey. Lemon verbena  has a refreshing, lemony flavour and an amazing fragrance. It’s said to be good for digestion as it stimulates the production of bile.

Lemon Verbena, Mint, and Ginger Tea (for one serve)

1 tablespoon lemon verbena leaves
1 tablespoon mint leaves
1 thin slice of ginger, chopped in four
1 teaspoon manuka honey
1 slice of lemon


Home made quinoa sushi

Sushi would have to be one of my favourite lunch on the go options, but I do find I feel hungry early afternoon – likely due to the fact that it’s made with white rice.  So I decided to make quinoa sushi.  The high protein ‘super grain’ that makes the perfect substitute for rice in sushi.  I decided to give quinoa sushi a go in the weekend and it turned out really well.   Plus it kept me feeling full all afternoon.

Here’s how:


Nori sheets
1/2 cup of quinoa
1 cup of water
Reduced salt soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten free

Fillings of your choice
I used red capsicum, cucumber and chicken breast cooked with sweet soy sauce and chilli sauce

To cook the quinoa:
Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under running water. Shake out the excess water and place quinoa in a pot.  Add the cup of water.  Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.

When cooked, add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce to the quinoa and place in another bowl to cool.

To assemble

Spread the nori sheet with a thin layer of quinoa, leaving a gap at the edge with no quinoa.  Line up your filling ingredients. Keep these thinly sliced as you don’t want to overstuff your sushi roll as it will fall apart.

Using a mat, roll up the sushi.  Add a bit of water onto the nori edge to stick the roll together.
Cut into slices with a sharp knife.  Eat and enjoy!  Serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi

What are your favourite sushi fillings?


Healthy workplace lunch ideas part 2

After some new lunch ideas that are tasty, healthy and quick to make? Here’s a couple of new ideas following on from last week’s post.

Heat a Sun Rice quickcup brown rice in the microwave (they take less than a minute!). Add two large handfuls of baby spinach, 50g shredded chicken, some chopped red onion and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.   This is high in fibre, low GI, a source of protein and healthy fats.

Chop one pear into thin slices.  Add 1/2 bag baby spinach, a can of drained cannellini beans, a chunk of blue cheese crumbled over the salad and chopped spring onions. Mix well .  This will make 2 servings.  Drizzle over balsamic dressing just before serving.

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For when you’re needing a boost

Today I’m feeling a wee bit under the weather. As I write this I’m sitting in by big fluffy dressing gown lounging on the couch with a sore throat and head cold. I hate being sick in summer, but the sad news is that tomorrow is officially the last day of summer (not that we’ve had much of a summer anyway!). And cooler weather means more cold and flu bugs which we can help immune ourselves from if we look after our selves.

Part of keeping well means eating well – including lots of vegetables and fruit.  While it’s good to eat lots, to get a bit extra in, juicing can be a good option.  I found these combinations on Pinterest this morning and I’m so craving the carrot, apple and ginger one right now.  Ginger has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Apples provide vitamin C, and carrots provide carotenoids, and they both are sources of antioxidants. Just what I need right now.

Image via Pinterest

Roasted beetroot, feta and lentil salad

My mum is great at experimenting in the kitchen.  She cuts recipes out of the newspaper, copies them from magazines and also makes things she’s seen on TV.  So when I visit in the weekend I often get to sample some of her new creations.  This roasted beetroot, feta and lentil salad was one of those dishes.  The spices make it lovely and fragrant and the lentils, beetroot and feta make the perfect mash up of tastes and textures.  This is going to be my lunch for the next few days, along with a side of baby spinach salad.

Lentils are a mixture of protein and slow release carbohydrate, and they’re also high in fibre making them highly satiating.   Recipe adapted from slightly from Breakfast

Roasted beetroot, feta and lentil salad


1.5 cups brown lentils
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoon curry powder
7 spiced tablespoons vinegar
4 spring onions, sliced
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
250g bean sprouts
450g roasted baby beetroot, chopped
150g feta cheese, chopped
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds


Cook lentils in boiling water for 40 minutes, or until just tender.  Drain and place in a bowl to cool.  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for around 5 minutes over a low heat (you want them clear, not brown) Add ginger, spices and curry powder. Cook for around two minutes.  Stir in vinegar and bring to the boil. Pour hot vinegar mixture over lentils, stir and leave to cool.

Add spring onions, celery, sprouts, beetroot, feta, coriander, parsley and pumpkin seeds to the lentils and mix gently.  Serve warm or at room temperature.