my favorite hot drinks for cold weather + fighting viruses naturally

 

Cold weather and “cold” weather call for hot drinks, don’t they?

So far, we’ve managed to avoid the worst of the flu bug that’s going around and I’m praying it stays that way – or at least doesn’t happen around the time I’m supposed to head to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with two of my children.

Today I’m sharing three of my favorite hot drinks that are frequently in rotation plus at the end of the post, two of my favorite ways of fighting cold and flu viruses naturally.

 

 

Hot Lemon Ginger Cleansing Tea

For upset stomach or to help with detox, this lemon ginger cleansing tea is refreshing and soothing. I shared the recipe here in this post. Lemon boosts immunity, reduces indigestion and heartburn and soothes nerves. Ginger is inflammatory, encourages circulation and relaxes the intestinal tract which is why it helps with nausea.

 

 

 

Irish or English Breakfast Tea with Cinnamon

I’m a huge tea drinker, thanks to my English roots, and love flavored as well as black teas. But it wasn’t until I visited one of our local bakery and coffee shops that I was reminded that cinnamon with black tea is a rockstar combination. Cinnamon is inflammatory and contains antioxidants and also helps fight diseases and viruses.

There are two ways to make this: If you have loose leaf black tea, add a stick of cinnamon bark with the tea leaves while it is steeping. Or, if you’re using a tea bag, add a few dashes of cinnamon to your mug after removing the tea and stir thoroughly.

 

 

 

Green Matcha Tea

If you’ve never had matcha, it tastes like green tea (which it is!). But I like drinking it for its antioxidant, calming properties, yet it also improve energy and concentration. Occasionally, I’ll add in a splash of lime or lemon juice, but usually drink it straight up.

You can find matcha at Whole Foods or natural foods stores or you can get it here.

 

Besides these hot drinks, my favorite go to products for boosting my immunity and fighting virus are:

  • apple cider vinegar (ACV) Though I’ll occasionally sip a drink of diluted apple cider vinegar, I typically use it for sore throats by gargling with it. It’s most effective when used at the first sign of infection. If you’ve never tried apple cider vinegar before, it’s best to buy organic, raw ACV (Bragg’s is one of the brands I recommend). Cheaper, processed versions don’t have the same healing properties (and I think taste even worse LOL).

 

  • elderberry capsules Similar to ACV, elderberry capsules are best taken at the first sign of illness and are a natural way of boosting the immune system. I get mine through vitacost.com. If you want to see my other favorite products I buy at vitacost, click here to have it sent to your inbox.

 

  • essential oils My number one favorite is Thieves oil by Young Living which I get through a friend and my second favorite is Purification. I use both of these in our diffuser or apply to our skin. Another favorite for congestion is Olbas oil which usually can be found in natural foods stores. It contains a blend of oils including eucalyptus and I put it on our feet to suppress coughing, especially at night.

 

 

blueberry banana bread bars (vegan, no added sugar)

 

I love hard-working recipes – especially ones that can work as breakfast, dessert or a snack! And these blueberry banana bread bars are perfect for all three.

I have a particular soft spot for these since it’s one of the first recipes I tried (thanks to the inspiration of Angela’s muffin tops recipe at Oh She Glows) that didn’t require any added sugar. And didn’t end up a yucky gummy mess which can happen when you remove the dairy and the added sugar.

These blueberry banana bread bars are just one of the recipes featured in my 7-day plant-based refresh which you can sign up to receive for free here.

Not only do these offer a delicious way to use overripe bananas, but they are easy to make and can be made gluten free by using certified gluten free oats. Since they’re crowd pleasers, I’ve often brought them to potlucks and brunches.

Blueberry Banana Bread Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A versatile recipe that can be eaten as breakfast, dessert or a snack and is crowd-pleaser. Free of added sugar and can be made gluten free with the use of gluten-free oats.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/2 c. date paste
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 c. rolled oats gluten free if needed
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Add bananas, date paste and coconut oil to a food processor and blend well.
  3. Add the oats, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and baking powder and blend well.
  4. Press mixture into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish, then top with blueberries, gently pressing the berries into the batter.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and the middle is firm, but yields slightly to the touch.

  6. Cool then cut.
Recipe Notes

If doubling the recipe, you will probably need to break up the steps further. Here’s what I do: First, coarsely blend all the oats and set aside in a large bowl. Then blend other ingredients per instructions above (without the oats). Next, stir the blended ingredients together with the oats in a large bowl. Continue with steps 4-6. I think this recipe works best with ripe to slightly overripe bananas.      *     If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. 

 

 

 

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.

thanksgiving recipe roundup (vegan, plant-based)

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is one week away!! How did that happen?!

If you’re new(ish) to a plant-based/vegan diet, I’m guessing Thanksgiving can feel rather…intimidating. After all, the main feature of this holiday meal is the turkey. (Can you even hear “Thanksgiving” without picturing the turkey? I can’t!) And holidays usually mean eating with people who probably aren’t eating the way you at best or make you feel looney tunes for choosing a different diet altogether.

But I’m here to encourage you that Thanksgiving – and all other holiday meals – can still be looked forward to and even give you chance to share how amazing a vegan diet can be! After all the turkey is only one part of the meal…the rest is a delightful array of sides which let the veggies we love shine.

So let’s get on with the roundup, shall we? #inspirationloading

 

Lentil Walnut Mushroom Balls by Oh She Glows

Hands down this is my favorite dish that I look forward to every year. I use it as my “main” dish and love it because it reminds me of stuffing. I usually make a batch for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and have enough to last me until Christmas (since I’m the only one who isn’t eating the turkey).

photo credit: oh she glows

 

 

Classic Vegan Stuffing by Raepublic

Confession: the stuffing is the one part of this meal I do eat even though it’s been cooked in the turkey. Shocking, I know. But I eat a vegan diet for health reasons, not strictly for animal rights, and it’s a rare indulgence. If you’re eating strictly vegan, however, give this stuffing recipe a try.

photo credit: raepublic

 

 

Vegan Porchini Mushroom Gravy by Veganosity

I’m still working on a vegan gravy recipe that hits the spot. This one looks divine.

photo credit: veganosity

 

 

Easy Biscuit Recipe by Whole New Mom

Anytime you can squeeze “easy” into a labor-intensive meal is a win! Plus this one is made from whole grains and can easily be made 100% plant-based by using dairy free milk.

photo credit: whole new mom

 

 

Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish by Veggies Save the Day

I love this twist on traditional cranberry sauce which usually is loaded with added sugars – it wins be over by relying on the natural sweetness found in the apples and dates.

photo credit: veggies save the day

 

Jeweled Sweet Potatoes

These are my favorite side dish that I’ve added as a “must have” to my holiday menu. They even eat like dessert!

 

 

Savory Stuffed Butternut Squash by Emilie Eats

Usually, I prepare my squash simply with just a little Earth Balance butter and cinnamon, but if you’re up for a twist on the traditional, give this recipe a try. It could stand in for a main dish as well!

photo credit: emilie eats

 

 

Apple Cabbage Slaw with Apple Cinnamon Dressing

This is my new favorite salad because it’s so refreshing! A perfect contrast to the heavier dishes and spotlights how tasty clean eating can be. It’s one of the bonus recipes included in the Fall edition of my Perk Up Your Pantry recipe ebook, which you can get here.

 

 

 

Fall Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad by Emilie Eats

I love the looks of this “meatier” salad and all of the fall colors in one dish!

photo credit: emilie eats

 

 

Easier-than-pie Apple Crisp

With all the work you put into the main meal, having an easy dessert recipe in your hip pocket is a must. Bonus: you can make the filling and topping separately up to several days ahead of time!

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Caramels by Minimalist Baker

Here’s one way to spin dessert if you want to break away from the traditional pie. No added sugar, of course!

photo credit: minimalist baker

 

 

Pumpkin Pie-lets with Maple Coconut Whip

Although I was never a pumpkin pie fan (it’s a texture thing), I do love this vegan spin on a Thanksgiving staple. The pie-lets are free of added sugar and the coconut whip has only a teensy amount. These are coming at you Monday here on the blog…stay tuned!

 

weeknight spinach tikka masala (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)

My love for Indian food – especially south Indian – has grown over the years and my favorite go-to curry sauce is this one. It’s one of the often-requested dishes from my boys (although they like chicken to go along with it…sigh). But, my girl…she’s a tough one! So far I haven’t won her over to that recipe, so you could have knocked me over with a feather when she actually liked this one. Praise the Lord.

If you’re looking for a quick-ish fresh meal to make and one that rocks leftovers – this one is it!

 

 

The sauce is the epitome of comfort food, Indian-style, with its warming spices and rich creaminess of the coconut milk. It gets an added nutrition boost from quick-cooking red lentils, which makes them ideally suited for weeknights, and freshly chopped spinach. It can be spooned over chickpeas or quinoa for added plant-protein or served traditionally with rice (brown is best). For our meal, I served it with oven roasted broccoli and green beans since those are two family favorites, but you can easily adapt your veggie add-ons to suit your tastes. Weeknight tip: use frozen veggies to save on chopping time!!

 

 

For a quick weeknight meal, I recommend following the preparation steps outlined in the recipe. Alternatively, you could prep the sauce ahead of time and simply re-heat when ready to serve.

 

weeknight spinach tikka masala

Warm comfort food designed for weeknights and made for leftovers.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the tikka masala sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 tsp freshly minced ginger or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
For the rest of the dish:
  • chickpeas, quinoa or rice
  • veggies of choice
Instructions
  1. If you are serving with brown rice and don't have a rice- or pressure cooker, put a pot of water on to boil (like you would for pasta) and turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. If you are serving with quinoa, rinse thoroughly and add to pot with water. For less mushy quinoa use a scant 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. For example, if you're cooking one cup of dried quinoa, add only 1 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Cooks in about 10 minutes.

  2. Spread your veggies on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Rinse lentils thoroughly and set aside.

  3. Begin to chop the veggies for the tikka masala sauce. If cooking rice, at whatever point in this process your water starts to boil, add in the rice and cook uncovered as you would pasta. Set the time for 23 minutes.

  4. Finish preparing the tikka masala sauce and add in the lentils. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot, then reduce to a simmer.

  5. Chop spinach and take a peek at your veggies in the oven. When they start to brown slightly, turn the oven off. Keep them in the oven until ready to serve so they stay warm.

  6. When the timer beeps, test your rice for doneness, then either allow to cook for another minute or two or drain immediately and return to the pot.

  7. When the lentils are fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes), add in the spinach and cilantro and stir to combine.

  8. To serve, add quinoa/chickpeas/rice to a bowl along with the veggies and spoon the sauce over top.

  9. 9) Store leftovers in the fridge for up to several days or freeze for later.
Recipe Notes

Recipe Notes

  • I prefer buying my broccoli and green beans frozen to save me a step.
  • If you want leftovers, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe.

 

 

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  • I’m able to buy my broccoli organically and in bulk from BJ’s (a wholesale club). If you don’t have a wholesale club membership and want to check BJ’s out, click here to get details on a membership (if you sign up we both get $25!!). Or, if you’re not sure if a wholesale club membership is worth it, you can download an article here where I share my experience and steps in evaluating whether a membership made sense for us.
  • You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
  • I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.
  • I love Trader Joe’s frozen french-style green beans which is what I used here.