Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You'll be "Russian" to make & drink this tea! YUM YUM

When I was a kid, I was blessed to have MANY wonderful Christmas memories.  Many of them made by my Mom and my "other" Mom, Martha.  She's my second Mom, because her daughter Angie and I have been best friends since we were little babies.  It's funny how smells can take you right back to a spot in time. Like you never left, and make you feel so warm and fuzzy, (or glad that you are in the present and NOT back in time. I like the first one better)  For instance the smell and taste of "Nilla Wafers" takes me back to the church nursery, where Angie's grandmother, Ma, took care of all the little ones during church. The smell of candle wax reminds me of the home made candles Mom and Justine use to make for the Christmas decorations at church.  Angie and I would go round after the Christmas service and dip our fingers in the melted wax so we'd have lovely painted fingernails, or so we imagined!  Another of those memories has to do with Russian tea and thankfully I have been able to carry that memory with me into the present. Going to Angie's house during Christmas was always a special treat because there would be Russian Tea (not to mention popcorn in a paper bag with cheese! yum yum).  The smell of oranges and cloves always takes me back to their kitchen and the little mason jar of Russian tea.  The jar was all swirly with colors of orange, brown, cinnamon and pale yellow, with a square of Christmas cloth tied around with a ribbon. Excuse me, when I get back from fixing myself some Russian Tea, I will continue.  Ok, I'm back.  Here is the recipe, I hope you all will enjoy it.  My little boy LOVES this tea, he wants it every night before he goes to bed now!
I will include some medicinal information at the bottom, as this tea is not only good, but good for you too! Can you believe it? Of course you can, I wouldn't lie to you!

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp. of cardamon
1 1/2 cup sugar

1 2 qt. scoop of lemonade mix (I get the large lemonade mix and measure it out in the cap. I've never tried pink lemonade....if anyone does, let me know how it compares, ok?)
3/4 c instant black tea (I use decaf so I can drink it before bedtime)
1 1/4 cup Tang mix

Adjust the ingredients to your taste.  I always add more cinnamon and cloves.  Sometimes I leave out the cardamon, although it is a soothing flavor.

If you want to give some away as a gift, put it in a glass jar and layer each ingredient into the jar.  It is so pretty, even if it's all swirled together.  You could leave the mixing to the recipient though, since the presentation is so pretty with the ingredients layered. 

Store in an airtight container, as this will clump terribly if you don't.  Always shake it up a  bit before you get some out, since the heavier ingredients will sink to the bottom. 

Take 2 to 3 teaspoons (adjust to taste, duh) and add hot water.  You will love this tea.

Ok, medicinal stuff.  I didn't know this until I read an article in the March 2003 issue of  Prevention magazine, by Laura Goldstein. There was a recipe very like the one I gave.  Here is a summary of what she said regarding Russian tea as a cold cure:
Black tea and Cinnamon can reduce congestion and are "...antimicrobial and capable of inhibiting any bacteria that may be in your throat." , Lemon juice thins mucous secretions, Tang has 100% viatmin C,  cloves can deaden sore throat pain and are also antimicrobial. 

My sister is a bee keeper (she has a blog as well, Jam Cakes and Juleps) and she told me that honey is also antimicrobial as well as a humectant.  What's that you ask, well so did I?  Humectant, she told me, means it holds in moisture.  So if you have a cough or sore throat, you can take a teaspoon of honey. It will soothe the throat, keep it from drying out and getting all scratchy, as well as kill any germs.  If you have a cut and nothing to put on it, dab a bit of honey on it to keep it from getting infected until you can get a topical ointment.

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