Tea Tuesday: Tea for PMS

5 Feb

Every month I dread PMS.  The pre symptoms I deal with are worse than the annoying bleeding itself. I posted a blog (PMS…Please Make it Stop) last year on ways to help with this unstoppable evil, but this post focuses just on teas that can help in relieving some of the misery.

Teas for Physical Symptoms

Chaste berry and skullcap teas can balance hormones and relieve other physical symptoms, such as tension. They also work well in a tea together. Feverfew eases headache pain and can start your flow if it needs a little assistance. Appropriately nicknamed “cramp bark,” guelder rose is used to relieve premenstrual cramps. This tea eases pain, water retention and pressure in the body. Hops, which are known for their role in beer, ease physical symptoms by helping a woman sleep and reducing retained fluid in the body. Does this give me an excuse to drink beer?!

Teas for Emotional Symptoms

Some of the teas that help physical symptoms can also alleviate emotional symptoms by regulating hormones and helping the woman sleep better. Specifically related to emotional symptoms, dong quai tea can brighten a down mood. It includes minerals zinc and calcium in its makeup, which help relieve depression. Hops may alleviate emotional symptoms such as anxiety and nervousness.

Just be sure to avoid any caffeinated teas, as they can prevent absorption of iron and zinc. 

Some store bought favorites are:

PMS Tea by Traditional Medicinals

Aunt Flo PMS Menstrual Support

Royal King PMS Release Lady Comfort Tea


Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”

25 Oct

When I found this recipe, I couldn’t wait to make it.  It sounded so delicious, but I was concerned about how good it would taste once I veganized the recipe.  It turned out so good, that my boyfriend loved it and never questioned it :)

The recipe called for brown butter, and I was wary about how well Earth Balance would brown, but it browned perfectly!


Any type of small pasta such as shells.  I used tortiglioni.

Butternut squash sauce. I used about a cup.

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk or similar.

2 tablespoons brown butter*

Vegan cheese.  I used Daiya cheddar and mozzarella shreds, as well as Galaxy Foods grated parm.

Breadcrumbs.  I prefer Panko.

*To brown the butter, put 2 tablespoons or a little more of Earth Balance or other vegan butter in a sauce pan.  Heat until it begins to bubble, and whisk continuously until it turns into a brown liqud.


Preheat oven to 375, and bring water to a boil for pasta.

In a large, cast iron skillet, combine the butternut squash sauce with the milk and cheese.

Stir until blended, then add in the brown butter.

Brown butter poured into sauce

Continue stirring, then once the pasta has cooked, fold it into the sauce until all of the pasta is coated.

Top with breadcrumbs and any parm if you wish.  Bake in skillet in the oven for about 15 mins.

You can add herbs to top it off, or fold in some veggies into the sauce along with the pasta.  Mushrooms, spinach, kale, or broccoli would be yum!

Pizza With Butternut Squash Sauce

24 Oct


While trying to come up with ideas of what I could put butternut squash sauce on besides pasta, I decided to try it as a pizza sauce.

The result was amazing, in fact, I like it much better than tomato sauce.

I topped it with mushrooms, green peppers, broccoli, and spinach, then sprinkled some vegan parm on top. Not only was this one of the best pizzas I’ve had, it’s healthy too!

Butternut Squash Sauce

23 Oct


I love all things made with butternut squash, but I’ve never cooked with it, I’ve only had soups, sauces, etc that were already made.  I actually spent a good deal of time in the grocery store the other day debating whether or not I should attempt to make butternut squash sauce myself, or just buy it pre-made.   I finally sucked it up and bought the ingredients to make it, only after looking at a jar and getting the ingredients off of it (Dave’s Gourmet).   I do that from time to time… Moving on.

First you have to prepare the squash, which honestly was the biggest deterrent from my wanting to make this from scratch.

  1. Preheat oven to 375F . Using a large, sharp knife, trim ends; halve squash crosswise to separate bulb from neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds and discard.
  2. Cut squash into 2-inch chunks and transfer to a baking sheet. Toss with EVOO  and sage season with pepper.  Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
  • In a food processor, add the squash, chopped red bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, some onion and some celery.
  • In a sauce pa, simmer the puree and add in 2 tablespoons or so of vegan butter, and some agave or organic sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer for 15-20 mins

Butternut Squash sauce will taste good on any pasta, but I put it over the pumpkin gnocchi.  I’m not sure I have the patience to make this sauce again, but unfortunately, the only jar in the store wasn’t vegan.  I’m sure there are some out there though, so I’ll probably hunt them down next time.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

21 Oct


I love gnocchi, and every so often think about trying to make it.  The thought of making it myself always seemed a little intimidating, but this recipe is so simple to make with just a few ingredients.   The best part is, it’s vegan and gluten free, so I can eat gnocchi again!

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Pumpkin Custard

19 Oct


Over the past couple of years, I’ve ended up baking at least 5 pumpkin pies every fall, and only eating one piece each year.  I’m not much of a pie person, mostly because I don’t like crust.  I found a recipe for these vegan pumpkin pie custards, and they’re perfect for anyone who doesn’t like crust.  They’re also a great way to portion control; since we all know the holidays are a time for indulging.

The original recipe calls for agar, which would give the custard a jello like texture.  Sort of like a pumpkin creme brulee.  I didn’t have any agar, so I added a touch of corn starch to thicken it some.  It came out nice and creamy, but I’d like to try it with the agar as well.


2 cans of coconut milk

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

2 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

2 tsps pumpkin pie spice

1-2 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tsps agar

Bring ingriedients to a boil in a sauce pan, then reduce and simmer for 15 mins.  Divide into 8 ramekins, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Pumpkin Smoothie

18 Oct



This smoothie tastes amaaaaazing! It’s semi-healthy too.  Pumpkin is a good source of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, Fiber, and Potassium as well, and combined with the banana in this recipe, the smoothie is full of potassium.   I like to think of it as a healthy milkshake.  Also, pumpkin is supposed to aid in weight loss :)

In a blender, layer 1/2 cup vegan yogurt (I used Almonde)

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

a dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger (I used a few dashes)

1/2 a banana


Add in some chia or flax seed for an extra health boost.  This smoothie is perfect for breakfast or dessert!

Pumpkin Butter

17 Oct


I think pumpkin butter is my new favorite pumpkin recipe. It’s delicious and simple to make. I want to put it on everything,  not just toast!

Bring a can of pumpkin, 1/4 cup of apple cider, some pumpkin spice and cinnamon to a boil in a sauce pan.  Reduce, then simmer for 30 mins until it thickens and reduces.

What will you put your pumpkin butter on?

Tea Tuesday: Pumpkin Spice Tea

16 Oct

Teapot from Etsy


You could buy tea that is already flavored like pumpkin spice, or you can easily make your own.  Here are two different ways to give your tea some fall spice.

Put the following ingredients into the bottom of a tea press, then fill with boiling water and let steep for 5-15 mins.

1/2 stick cinnamon (broken into about 3 peices)
15 -20 whole cloves
1 tablespoon loose tea
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 dash ground nutmeg
3 drops vanilla extract

Combine allspice, nutmeg, whole coves, cinnamon, and a touch of shaved ginger root and place in a tea ball or a coffee filter tied with a string, and steep in boiling water.

Mini Apple Pies

13 Oct



I’ll be honest here, it’s been about ten years since I last ate apple pie.  It was Thanksgiving time, and my daughter’s grandmother on her father’s side, had a homemade apple pie at their house that someone had given them.  I ate one slice, and spent two days on their couch with a stomach virus.  Since then, just the thought of apple pie has made my tummy turn.

Despite my bad experience, I’ve decided it’s time to get over it and try again.  I think making these mini pies is the perfect way for me to ease my way back into things.  They’re so cute, how could I resist?!


8 cups of apples cut into small bits

12 tablespoons of flour

1 1/2 cups of sugar

4 tsps of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

chilled pie crust from Whole Foods or Trader Joes

4 tablespoons of vegan butter divided into 24 equal parts


Mix the apples with the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Unroll the pie crusts, and cut out circles that will be big enough to fill the muffin tin and then some (about the size of a mason jar lid ring).

Line muffin tins with the pie crust circles, and pinch the edges to help them act as baskets for the apples.  Fill with apple mixture, then push the pie crusts down the rest of the way.

Put a dab of the divided butter on top of each pie.  Cover each pie with left over dough, and brush with melted butter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 mins.

I’m looking forward to making these this weekend and getting what will feel like my first taste of apple pie!

Thanks to little bit funky for this recipe :)