Sunshine Brings Motivation

I can’t explain to you how excited I am that it gets dark after 5pm again. I really struggle with the shorter days, my body can’t function normally and everything seems to be off for about a month until once again I can leave work and get home with some daylight to spare. I think the thing that suffers the most during that month is my running. I won’t run in the dark, so that pretty much means that unless I go running between 7am and 4pm I am not running.

Yesterday was my first day back at it and it felt so good! I felt unstoppable and after basically taking a whole month off of running ran by best ever 5k and totaled 4 miles, which is a lot for me as my normal run is only 2.25mi. A few months ago (more like 8 or so) I told myself I was going to train for my first 10k. Then I got a new job, and moved and we went on a few vacations/work trips and then the holidays and then Riley’s knee and I never did it. But that changes now. I have been waiting for something to click in my mind, for me to find the motivation I need to start running again. I think I finally found it. So, here I go, I am going to do it this time. Please help by holding me accountable. My goal for training for the first month is to run twice a week- as far as I can, with no time goals. Just get out and run. Twice a week, no time or distance commitments. I can do that. Once I have created the habit, then I will start to challenge myself.

I think one of the things that inspired me was the sunset that was happening around mile 3. The sunsets over the lake are just beautiful. I am so thankful that we live where we do. The Southern California weather that lets a very picky runner like me get out and burn some calories and enjoy some sunshine. Sunset | Glitter It Gold

Just look at that sky! This photo isn’t from last night because I wasn’t about to stop in the middle of my awesome run for a photo, but it was taken about 6 weeks ago on a walk with my husband. Actually, it was the walk where Riley hurt his knee. He is recovering from surgery very well, it is mostly just difficult to keep him inactive and it kills me that I can’t play with him when he brings me a toy. Poor guy, he is so bored. Cone head Riley | Glitter It Gold

Good news though- He finally got his sutures removed and is no longer a cone head. Good for him, but less entertaining for me because everything a dog does is so much funnier when they are wearing the cone of shame (even begging for cake pops).
The Color Run - Happiest 5k Run

 

Subscription Heaven

I am a sucker for those monthly subscription boxes. There is nothing more exciting to me than getting boxes in the mail every few weeks with surprise items for me. It’s like a birthday present every month, except I have multiple subscriptions so it’s like surprise presents a few times a month. The two boxes I currently subscribe to are Birchbox and the Hatchery Tasting Box. I will share more on Birchbox in another post, this one is all about Hatchery.Hatchery Box Subscription | Glitter It Gold

The Hatchery Co. is a marketplace for trying new foods and has artisan products ranging from small batch salad dressing, spice blends, seasoned salts, rubs, hot sauce, syrups, infused honey and so much more. Each box comes with 5 items along with a card that gives ideas on how to use each item and some recipe ideas. I have had a subscription to Hatchery for over a year now and I still get so excited when I get my box. It constantly gives me new flavors and ingredients to experiment with. And a lot of the items can be incorporated into my routine recipes to jazz them up or give them a slightly different taste. Some of my all time favorite items from Hatchery over the last year are Formosa Chipotle Hot Sauce, Green Sriracha from Preservation and Co., Hepp Salt Applewood Smoked Salt, Chi Cho Sauce, and Saucy Sisters Rum Caramel Sauce, Wei Kitchen Shallot Oil, Wholespice Granulated Honey, Gourmegg Gracefully Greek Seasoning, Dave’s Homemade Sweet and Sassy Smokehouse Rub, and Savour This Kitchen’s Nomad Spice Blend. (And those are just the ones that came to mind right away).Hatchery Box Subscription | Glitter It Gold

The Hatchery Box cost $20 per box and you can pay monthly, they also offer gift subscriptions for 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions. These boxes make really fun gifts that keep on giving for anyone who loves to cook and experiment with new ingredients. Every time they get a new box it will remind them of the one who got it for them, you may even get a photo showing you what they made with some of the items.Hatchery Box Subscription | Glitter It Gold

I will be sharing one recipe a month that uses a Hatchery Box ingredient over the next few months so be sure to follow along. Every item I use can be purchased in the Hatchery Marketplace even if you are not a subscriber. If you decide to purchase any items and use any of the links I provide, I will receive a small commission. All opinions expressed in these posts are my own, I would never share a product with you that I didn’t actually love.
Hatchery Tasting Box

Chocolate Chai Tea – National Hot Tea Month

I am sitting here on the couch watching “Decoding The Ancients” sipping chai tea, and keeping an eye on my dog to make sure he doesn’t lick. I am bored, until I think to myself, hey, it’s tea month, you’re supposed to be sharing tea and chai tea is on the list, so let’s do it! Viola! I am no longer bored.Chocolate Chai Tea | Glitter It Gold

One of my favorite beverages is chai tea. I love the warmth of the spices, it is the tea I always want when it is rainy and gloomy and I need a mood booster. Please make this tea, it has a lengthy ingredient list but it really isn’t hard and it is SO worth it. Today I made it with cacao nibs and I believe this is my new favorite version. When possible I try to make my chai tea completely from scratch, the difference in taste is incredible.Chocolate Chai Tea | Glitter It Gold

I also like to use whole spices in combination with ground spices, you can get a strong flavor with ground spices but they can be difficult to strain out making the tea gritty. If you use whole spices, you need to simmer longer and use a little more than with ground spices. Most of the spices you probably have most of the spices on hand anyways. I make sure to always have freshly minced ginger by peeling my ginger and pulsing in a food processor until minced. Then I spread it out on a baking sheet and freeze it, then place into a freezer bag so I have it on hand at all times.Chocolate Chai Tea | Glitter It Gold

This specific recipe is for the spices I have on hand and uses both whole and ground spices, but feel free to mix it up. I like a lot of ginger and black pepper in mine, but that’s not your thing then cut back a little. Try adding in other flavors, or using different sweeteners for subtle differences in flavor. I like to use cashew milk, raw sugar, and Honeybush Tea because it is caffeine free and has a natural sweetness to it. Black, green, and other red or herbal teas will also work. Chocolate Chai Tea | Glitter It Gold

Honeybush tea is another one of my favorite teas, one that I also get from Mountain Rose Herbs.  It has a flavorful and sweet almost honey like taste and is caffeine free. I highly recommend this tea to anyone just starting to drink teas or is wanting to switch from artificially flavored bagged teas to natural loose leaf tea. It is great iced too, I once added pureed mango to ice honeybush tea and it was delightful. Anyone else a fan of this tea?Chocolate Chai Tea | Glitter It Gold

 

Chocolate Chai Tea
Print Recipe
A warm and spicy chocolate chai tea made with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and honeybush tea.
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Chocolate Chai Tea
Print Recipe
A warm and spicy chocolate chai tea made with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and honeybush tea.
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. Place the spices and the water in a small pot and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes or until it is reduced by half.
  2. Remove from heat and add the tea. Steep for 5 minutes, then strain into a tea pot using a fine mesh sieve.
  3. Heat milk in a pot over medium/low heat, being careful not to scald the milk or boil it. Add the sweetener of choice and stir until dissolved. Then pour it into the tea pot with the tea, stir to combine and serve.
Share this Recipe
 

Hot Tea Month- Rose Tea

It’s National Hot Tea Month! A few days ago I shared with you my go to tea- a bagged green tea from Costco. Today I am sharing a milk tea made with a blend of matcha, sencha, and rose petals is a sweet and creamy afternoon tea. One of my new favorite teas is rose tea. I first tried a version of this at a place called Half & Half Teahouse. Their version was a little too sweet and had boba in it. I have decided my favorite way to enjoy rose tea is with a little milk and honey.

Rose tea has a beautiful delicate flavor and is already somewhat sweet so be careful not to over sweeten it. I sometimes like to make it into a latte and add a tiny bit of vanilla as well. Sometimes I mix it with the Ito En green tea blend I mentioned in my last post.Green and Rose Tea with Milk| Glitter It Gold

There are some benefits to drinking rose tea- many studies have found that rose tea helps reduce menstrual cramps and can ease the pain of heavy periods. It is also good for the digestive system and urinary tract and it is caffeine free and works to reduce stress so it makes for a great drink after dinner before bed time.Green and Rose Tea with Milk| Glitter It Gold

I have only used dried petals to make my tea, but fresh petals can be used as well. If you use fresh petals, they are best harvested in the early morning, and you should remove the white base part of the petals as they have a bitter taste to them.  I get my rose petals from Mountain Rose Herbs. I love this website because their products are all high quality and organic with a large number also being certified fair trade, sustainable, kosher or wild harvested and you can buy in bulk or in smaller quantities for very reasonable prices. You could also try making a blend of rose hips, rose petal, dried strawberries and jasmine for a sweet and aromatic cup of tea. Maybe I will experiment with a recipe for that blend soon, but for now enjoy this rose tea the way I typically make it.

Green and Rose Tea with Milk| Glitter It Gold

Rose Milk Tea

  1. Steep 1 TBS dried rose petals in 4 oz of boiling water for 5 minutes. Then add 1 tea bag of the matcha/sencha blend mentioned in previous post for 30 seconds. Strain tea using a fine mesh strainer. If you are using a different type of tea check the steep time and add it to the water when there is that amount of time left (5 minutes minus steep time is when you should add the tea).
  2. Add 4 oz of steamed or warm milk (I use cashew milk), and 1 tsp of honey or sweetener of choice.

“Ruff” times for Riley- TPLO surgery recovery

As many of you may know, my sweet little pup had surgery this week on his knee. He injured it about two weeks ago while we were out on a walk. He was chasing the mud hens as usual which is one of his favorite things to do. I happened to record a video of this, so it’s crazy that I got this injury on tape. He is such a tough little guy that you can barely tell he is injured, his bark goes a little high pitched for a second, then he runs a little further before turning around and limping back to me.

After talking to several vets we decided to go with TPLO surgery for him. This surgery is more expensive than other options but it is the recommended option for younger, more active dogs, and Riley loves to run so we didn’t see much of a choice, really.

His surgery went well and there were no complications (praise God). He is now on the long road to recovery. He can’t run for 12 weeks following surgery, I know he is going to go crazy without his walks and runs and play time with his friends.Dogs in engagement photos | Glitter It Gold

It is hard to say exactly how he is doing right now as he is mostly sleeping from the heavy duty meds the vet put him on. He is taking an opiod for pain, a sedative, an anti-inflammatory, and an antibiotic. I was hesitant to give the sedative but after hearing the vet use words to describe him such as “springboard,” wiggly,” and “drama queen” I acquiesced. Especially because the best way to prevent complications and ensure a quick and successful recovery is to limit activity and movement as much as possible, especially in the first two weeks.Riley's surgery recovery | Glitter It Gold

I will give updates occasionally throughout his recovery, if anyone has been through this before I would be very thankful for your support and tips on what to do with a very active and high energy dog that can’t do anything more than a 5 minute trip to the grass for a potty break.

The first night/day post surgery

Bringing Riley home last night was one of the most stressful things I have recently experienced. I don’t respond well to people in pain, I fainted after bringing Eric home from his ACL surgery. After walking him to the car with this sling thing the vet gave me, I lifted him into the car, got in and sat there for about 5 minutes just to make sure the whole fainting thing wasn’t going to happen again.

Once I was sure it was safe, I drove (probably annoyingly under the speed limit) all the way home, which was maybe not so annoying because the traffic was already terrible. It took me 1.75 hrs to go the 56 miles home and the occasional whimpers and moans from my little baby just killed me inside.

use code: AMAN609918
Buy Pet Food & Supplies at Wag.com

New customers to Wag.com, Look.com or other Quidsi sites only. $20 maximum discount. Subject to change or cancellation.

Once we got home and I got him situated in his little play pen I had set up that morning I ended up laying there next to him for the rest of the night. At one point I thought I was going to have a breakdown and/or have to take him back to the emergency room. He began whimpering softly, then shivering as the whimpering slowly increased to crying. I called the vet and they said to wrap him in a blanket and give him his sedative and call back in 30-60 minutes if he didn’t stop. Luckily the meds only took about 10 minutes to kick in and he stopped shivering, which is what was causing the pain I believe, and went to sleep. I have kept him wrapped up since then, I think having half his body shaved along with the lack of activity and the meds are making him cold.

I keep thinking about how the vet called him a drama queen, I laughed when she said that because it is so true. Riley is always making himself out to be so pathetic and in need of so much love and attention. I actually thought when he first hurt himself that he was just pretending so he could get some attention. The vet also said that the sedatives have a tendency to makes the eyes droopy and watery, making the animal look extra pathetic. Combine that with the pathetic look Riley ALWAYS has on his face and you have a recipe for a dog mom who absolutely cannot stop babying and loving on her boy.

The swelling has gone down significantly since last night, and he ate, drank and urinated this morning so I am feeling much better about this. He also loves the warm compress which is also good news. I will give another update soon.

xoxo,

Amanda

National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month, which is awesome because I needed a reason to like this month  because, let’s face it, I am a total wimp in cold weather and my skin gets all dry and painful because of the weather and then there’s the holiday hangover from all the fun festivities of the prior month(s). So as much as I hate the cold, dry holiday hangover month, I love hot tea. I have it almost every day.  A hot cup of tea is like a hug on the inside, it warms the soul, brightens the mood, and calms the nerves; especially in the cold winter months.

I was trying to come up with a posting plan revolving around tea for this month, but that was before my dog tore his ACL and I had to help my sister move home from Colorado and take a last minute trip to the CES show in Las Vegas- all within the first 10 days of the month. Now, here we are at the 12th and I am just sharing my first post. So, in order to not over burden myself I am going to share just a few of my favorite teas and ways to enjoy it.

There are so many kinds of tea, I almost don’t know where to start. There is a tea for every time of day, for every mood, for every ailment, and for every person. The ones I am sharing are just my absolute favorites, but I encourage everyone to try a few new teas this month. If you need a recommendation please leave a comment and I would be happy to help you pick one.

The first tea I want to share with you is my absolute favorite tea, the one I drink 3-5 times a week: green tea. There are so many varieties of green tea and ways that it is dried and prepared that it can be overwhelming to find your favorite. Mine is a blend of sencha and matcha that I buy at Costco. It comes in a box of 100 and it takes me approximately 9 months to use the box (completely on my own as my husband doesn’t drink tea).Favorite Green Tea | Glitter It Gold

This tea is similar to the kind often served as Japanese sushi bars and restaurants. I usually drink it plain and hot but I have also turned it into a green tea latte with a little bit of vanilla and also had it iced and no matter how you make it it is delicious. I always prefer loose leaf tea over tea bags, but this tea is my exception. Having a good tea in individual tea bag form is convenient for work or travel and with this tea I don’t sacrifice as much quality and taste as I would with many other types of store brand teas. If you don’t have a Costco membership you can still buy this tea on Amazon, although the price is higher.Favorite Green Tea | Glitter It Gold

I love that this tea only takes 30 seconds to brew in hot water, and can be brewed with cold water in about 3 minutes. It has no bitterness to it, even if it is over steeped. And look at that bright green color! That is the color green tea should be, not brown like it often is with cheap low quality tea. These are my three favorite ways to drink this tea. Enjoy!

  1. Hot- according to directions on each tea bag.
  2. Cold- Fill a mason jar 3/4 full of cold water, add a tea bag and steep for 3 minutes, shaking/stirring in between. Remove tea, add coconut sugar or agave to taste, top with ice and enjoy.
  3. Tea Latte- Pour 4 oz boiling water over 2 tea bags, steep 45 seconds then remove. Add 2 tsp vanilla syrup, then pour 4 oz steamed milk into glass, sprinkle top with powder leftover in the tea package.