Mint Tea with Stuffed Mushrooms & Melon

Day three during Afternoon Tea Week, and to celebrate I prepared a wonderfully satisfying treat today. I had the brilliant idea of making stuffed mushrooms for this afternoon’s tea. As I moved through my day, I couldn’t wait to play in the kitchen and see how my idea turned out.

For the mushroom filling, I adapted a brown rice and lentil recipe for the pressure cooker. Here is the recipe for my simple and healthy treat:

Stuffed Mushrooms

Prepare filling:

Rinse mushrooms and pat dry. Remove stem by cutting around edge of mushroom on the underside, leaving the cap. Place mushrooms in a small bowl, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Place mushroom caps hollow side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Fill each mushroom cap with brown rice and lentil filling, mounding slightly. Cook in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

As the stuffed mushrooms baked, I snipped sprigs of mint from my garden. While the mint tea steeped, I prepared the rest of my afternoon treat.

During the summer months I enjoy the juicy goodness of watermelon and cantaloupe. Chunks of chilled melon with sprigs of mint seemed like the perfect accompaniment to the mushrooms.

The mushrooms were perfect, tasty without being too heavy. This afternoon tea made a great early dinner when paired with the melon. And the mint tea was an excellent pick me up. And as with the other teas this week, everything was plant based, healthy and nutritious.

Greg walked into the kitchen as I was finishing my preparations. “You are having fun, aren’t you?” he asked. The answer is, I am. Being creative in the kitchen is great fun for me. And finding new ways to enjoy afternoon tea has been extremely rewarding, along with being fun.

Henry James wrote, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

I wholeheartedly agree!

Day 300: Herbal Concoctions

Herbal skin serum 2

Being a bit under the weather today, I stayed close to home. It was easy enough to work on my laptop, since I didn’t have any showings or listing appointments scheduled. I needed a first that was just as easy. I turned to the garden and my love of creating my own beauty products, teas and potpourri. For my first today, I created these concoctions, using fresh and dried herbs from my own garden.

I usually buy loose dried herbs at my local health food store. And I’m sure I’ll continue to pick up herbs that I’m not growing in the garden and essential oils, at least for now. What a joy, though, this evening to make some of my favorite products, using herbs from the apothecary garden in the backyard. I picked fresh spearmint and peppermint and brewed a cup of mint tea first of all, to sip on while I worked. The light, refreshing tea cleared my stuffy head and settled my stomach. Perfect!

Herbal mint tea

I’ve been making my own facial serum for almost two years. It is a simple recipe that only takes minutes to make. I melt coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave, add two capsules of vitamin E oil, 10 drops of calendula essential oil, and tonight, I added a bit of dried crushed lavender blossoms from the garden. One of the things I’ve noticed is that my dried herbs are so fragrant. I loved the way the scent clung to my hands as I worked. The serum is stirred with a wooden toothpick and popped in the refrigerator to cool down. It congeals as it cools, unless it is very warm in the house, in which case it remains semi liquid. I dab a small amount under my eyes and over my face, blending it in gently. I love how the serum liquefies as it touches my skin and disappears. I also love how soft and smooth my skin feels.

herbal skin serum

As described in a previous blog post, I’ve also been drying herbs and storing them so I’ll have an ample supply. Tonight, as I crushed dried leaves and flowers and placed them in airtight containers, I mixed snippets of basil, lavender, lemon balm, mint, thyme and lemon grass in a glass bowl, creating my own herbal potpourri, and set the mixture aside. Before I cleaned up, I lit a small charcoal briquette, also purchased regularly at the health food store, and let it turn “ashy” in a fireproof holder I bought years ago. Once the briquette was ready, I added the potpourri. As it burned, it released a pungent smoke that rose in wisps to scent the room, and indeed, the whole house. This is my favorite thing to do with my herbal potpourri. I love the fresh, earthy smell and how it cleanses and energizes my living space. I let the herbs smolder until they are consumed and later toss out the ashes.

Herbal potpourri

The mint tea, the satisfying ritual of making the face serum and the cleansing aroma of the burning potpourri soothed my head and sinuses and elevated my spirit. I felt better immediately! And I look forward to discovering more products to make with the herbs from the garden.

Herbal potpourri 2