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lemon poppy seed pancakes + something funny

I made these gluten free and vegan pancakes rather spontaneously for my man and I a little while ago. Originally I just wanted to make some simple lemon cornmeal pancakes with sliced strawberries on top, but decided to add poppy seeds at the last minute to evoke that familiar and much-loved combo of ours. I made a syrup out of the sliced strawberries and some coconut palm sugar because (oops!) we were out of maple syrup. All the better. This combination was a total win. There’s that familiar crunch from the poppy seeds and the bright lemon zest  that brings out the luscious and sweet berries. I’m loving the glut of them right now at the farm stands, rows of ruby red jewels in green quart containers. The cornmeal makes the pancakes gorgeously lemon-yellow too. It’s sunshine for brunch.

Seeing as I’m hitting the one year mark on this blog (crazy!), I thought I’d get a little, teeny-bit more personal. I have to confess something to all of you. Something crazy in a funny kind of way, something silly that isn’t all that earth shattering, but it’s kind of big for me. No judgment here, right? Okay. I only learned how to ride a bike about 5 years ago. I know, kind of weird. One afternoon I rode around all wobbly, had an alright time, bruised and dirtied up my legs a bit, flew into a giant bush, laughed in a way that only a young adult riding a bike for the first time can, felt a bit sore, felt amazing, might have cried once. Then I kind of forgot about it for a long time.

By that I mean I didn’t pursue it in a serious way. Here and there I would remember that it was a little fun, wish that I could navigate tight streets like all of the cyclists racing by when I lived in the city, so fast and free. I dismissed the thought of trying to take it seriously from my mind. It was more than nervousness and embarrassment getting in the way. I was genuinely scared to put the work in to make myself good at something, that people would see my lack of experience with something so basic, that I could actually hurt myself… I thought it was too late to get the whole thing on lock.

Then a few days ago Mark sent me a text with a picture of a beautiful, royal blue bike that was all mine. Despite the fear and embarrassment I had felt for most of my adult life about the whole thing, I was really excited and motivated by his confidence. We went for a little ride that night, sky grey-ing over, a storm looming. Riding around in circles in an empty parking lot, practicing turns, braking, big smile on my face the whole time, laughing at all of the little wobbles. I was hooked right away, instagram-ing it (naturally), plotting when to go riding next, all of the little improvements we could make to my sweet new ride and on and on. The sun came out and set over the water. We watched it on some big, craggy rocks, waves crashing in. I could hardly sleep that night; the excitement, the change in direction, the new light that was right here. Ever feel that? It had been a while for me.

Similarly, I started this blog and opened up a big part of my life to anyone passing through about a year ago (first post here! Oooh boy). I had wanted to for a while, ideas of it bubbling away in the back of my mind, hesitation abounding (I thought it was too late to get on the food blog thing, but oh hey: here’s something recent from Shanna proving that totally wrong). A few friendly nudges here and there from amazing people, and here we are today. I’m so happy that we are here because it lets me connect with all of you over a few words, an image, a bite to eat… I know I’m really fortunate to have encouraging and wonderful people around, to live in such an inspiring environment and to have a partner that pushes me to not be afraid of anything. I’m also so grateful for all of you who read, who drive me forward to do better, those who say such lovely things at just the right time.. you’re all so great. I love sharing my life and little food anecdotes with you here. Hopefully we can ride along together for a while longer :)

All love,
Laura


GF and vegan lemon poppy pancakes with juicy strawberries
serves: 2-3
notes: If you have a trusty GF flour blend that you love, feel free to replace my listed flours (rice and sorghum) and arrowroot here with the blend (you’ll need a total of 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour). Or, you could replace the same amount with spelt, whole wheat, all purpose or other gluten-containing flour if you like (again, 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour total).

berries:
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
juice of half a lemon
tiny splash of vanilla extract

pancakes:
1 cup non-dairy milk (+ extra depending)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp rice flour (brown or white)
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil + extra for the pan/griddle
3.5 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced berries with the coconut sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Allow to sit and macerate/get juicy while you make the pancakes.

Stir the non-dairy milk and lemon juice together. Set aside and allow to curdle while you mix up the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the rice and sorghum flour, arrowroot powder, cornmeal, baking powder, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Add the coconut oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract and the non-dairy milk and lemon juice mixture. Stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined. I had to add an extra couple tablespoons of milk at this point to get it to that typical pancake batter consistency, but yours might be different depending on whether you use different flour.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush the skillet surface with melted coconut oil. Drop 1/4 cup portions of the batter onto the pan and gently spread the batter out with a small spatula. Once you see little bubbles in the batter and the edges look a bit dry and golden, flip them over, about 1/2 minute. Cook the other side until golden. Remove and set cooked pancakes on a warming plate. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve warm with the juicy strawberries spooned on top and a dollop of yogurt if you like.

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janet @ the taste space13/06/2012 - 3:30 pm

Hey Laura, Here’s to a another great year! I learned to ride a bike as a child but dropped it for 15 years. Picked it back up again 3 years ago, with the same bike I had in grade 4 at that, and practiced in the cemetery by my house. I started to commute to work and bought a new bike after a summer of commuting. A year later, I cycled 320km in a weekend. The following spring a hilly 356km over 2 days. Cycling with a great bike can change your life. :) I am signed up for another 320km ride this weekend but woefully undertrained this year so it will just be 180km, maybe a bit more. Anyways, keep at it. I love hearing about biking, so keep it up! :)

Amanda13/06/2012 - 3:33 pm

I only somewhat recently found your blog, but it’s one of my favorites. Congrats on your one year! Also, I can totally sympathize on the bike riding thing. I learned as a kid, but pretty much didn’t ride between the ages of 12 and 26. I finally bought a road bike last summer and definitely had those wobbly moments. Also, the whole switching gears thing threw me for a loop. I nearly rolled back down my first hill. haha

I can’t wait to make these pancakes! They’re so pretty!

Melissa // thefauxmartha13/06/2012 - 3:57 pm

Happy blogoversary! I can’t believe it’s only one year. You are an ole pro at this! Love seeing what you come up with, especially these lemon poppyseed pancakes. Yuuum! Cheers to many more blogoversaries!

Lisa | With Style and Grace13/06/2012 - 4:14 pm

I’m not sure how I’m JUST now discovering your site – it’s beautiful!! love these gluten-free pancakes, they’re going on my must make list!

Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn13/06/2012 - 4:17 pm

Congrats on hitting the one year mark! I gotta say that your first ever blog post was none too shabby – so, clearly, you hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since!
Your pics are fab – those poppy seeds dotted throughout the pancakes gave me an afternoon smile. The strawberries look like they came from a cartoon – they are so perfect. {Oh, and I am borderline scared of bike riding and therefore always avoid it – but your story is encouraging. Chances are I’ll make these pancakes before I go bike riding, though….}

Katie13/06/2012 - 4:31 pm

Those pancakes look amazing! And I just so happen to have some poppy seeds in my cupboard right now, which is pretty unusual. I love the bike riding story! I’m a bike commuter year round and have been for a few years, and I just love the adventures my bike can take me on.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar13/06/2012 - 5:01 pm

These are so pretty! Awesome idea!

Shanna13/06/2012 - 5:42 pm

These pictures are so crazy gorgeous I can’t handle it!

Heidi @foodiecrush13/06/2012 - 7:54 pm

Woo hoo to a fellow one-year-old! Congratulations on your many talents and accomplishments, not to mention learning to ride that blue bike. The blog is awesome, love it and your photography. I think the addition of poppy seeds to the pancakes is BRILLIANT and will be stealing the idea this weekend for breakfast.

Meister, Running While Smiling13/06/2012 - 8:54 pm

1) Lemon + poppyseeds + pancakes? I. Totally. Can’t. Handle. All. The. Delicious.

2) I am terrified of bikes, and so jealous of people who aren’t. Congratulations on your shiny new bike! Take an extra spin around the block for me? (Maybe one day I’ll get over this fear…)

3) I’m so glad you blog, and I’m even gladder (is that a word?) that I found you on this crazy big blogosphere. Yours quickly became one of my favorites, and I am so thrilled to share part of my day with you, reading your stories and looking at your beautiful photos. So thank you, and keep it up, por favor.

Kathryne13/06/2012 - 10:57 pm

Hooray, Laura! Way to ride that bike. My bike is my favorite form of transportation, short of airplanes. I’ve never seen such fluffy, beautiful vegan, gluten-free pancakes. They really are sunshine on a plate. Lastly, so glad you joined the food blog scene. It’s never too late, huh? Thanks for the reminder.

Michelle13/06/2012 - 11:46 pm

I feel like we’ve watched a child grow up! So happy that the year or so of nagging you to start this thing worked out:) You have inspired so much in me, and brought so much deliciousness to my life!

xoxo

la domestique14/06/2012 - 10:27 am

What a great story! As a kid I was constantly on my bike. It was the key to freedom from a troubled home, and I would ride all day during the summer until the sun set and I had to go home. It’s so interesting for me to think of you just discovering the bike as an adult- how wonderful! Thanks for sharing that, and those fantastic pancakes. Congrats on a year blogging!

Jacqui14/06/2012 - 11:18 am

Congrats on learning how to ride a bike, I think that’s awesome! And pretty bike you have there too ; ) I had the same exact rush of feelings when I learned how to surf for the first time, it’s an incredible feeling. Looking forward to more of your recipes and words.

sara14/06/2012 - 4:33 pm

so lovely. nothing as gorgeous as a hearty stack of pancakes. I love your space here, keep at it, little lady ;) for you and me both, it has it’s days, but you are full of great stories and recipes!

Ashlae14/06/2012 - 11:34 pm

I like you a little better now that I know you just learned how to ride a bike ;) I, however, know how to ride a bike.. but don’t own one. HOW PATHETIC IS THAT?

Gorgeous photos, as always. The pancakes look delicious! Perfect for a one year anniversary.

Reb15/06/2012 - 6:57 am

Congrats on the 1-year mark and your new mad bike skills! Absolutely love your blog and am constantly inspired by it to incorporate more raw/seasonal/vegan-ish into my own diet and blog : )

Kristy15/06/2012 - 11:19 am

Happy blog-birthday! Gorgeous pancakes! I often make lemon cornmeal pancakes, but I’ve never thought to put poppy seeds in them! This is wonderful! Thank you, and I’m so happy to have found your blog! :-)

Jeanine15/06/2012 - 11:48 am

Congrats on 1 year! and the bike riding!

I love cornmeal, these look delicious!

Kasey15/06/2012 - 12:34 pm

We all have to start somewhere! I think it’s fun to learn something like riding a bike later in life, and prove to yourself that you can totally get the hang of things, even when you’re not a kid. I started my blog in much the same way…I don’t think there’s ever a right time to start anything, just when you’re good and ready…the world will be ready for it, too. Gorg pancakes, btw. Happy 1 year anniversary to this beautiful space you’ve created!

Rachel15/06/2012 - 6:30 pm

Wow, only a year old? That’s more surprising than learning to ride a bike 5 years ago! Your blog is so gorgeous, put together and wonderful for being so young.
I can imagine your excitement over your new blue bike. There’s nothing like connecting to something that opens up a whole world you never knew about before. Enjoy your ride : )

myfudo16/06/2012 - 12:17 am

Love the pictures. This is a real healthy breakfast option. You inspire me…Keep posting =)

Breakfast | Meizac16/06/2012 - 9:46 am

[...] original recipe is here, and doesn’t it look beautiful/delicious? Plus, she’s local to my area of the province, [...]

Becs @ Lay the table17/06/2012 - 1:43 pm

The pancakes looks divine! I too am loving the strawberries – the British ones in season taste so much better than their European counterparts which are just huge and have no flavour!

I wouldn’t be embarrassed about the bike riding – I’m still not very proficient and I’ve been riding for years!

sarah18/06/2012 - 10:48 am

Oh, Laura, you are so lovely. I am so proud of you, for getting back on that bike! And so happy you have someone in your life who will nudge you to keep at it, and who encourages you.

Congrats on one year! I love coming to this space, to visit you and read about your musings and beautiful creations. Love.

art and lemons19/06/2012 - 7:06 pm

Laura, So happy for all your accomplishments, for getting on the bike again and again until look at you, you’re riding and for creating this wonderful space that is always inviting and a real treat to enter. These pancakes are exactly the sort of thing I crave, as ever, so so lovely.

Yes Please | Let's Get Happy!22/06/2012 - 5:51 pm

[...] and recipe found on TheFirstMess. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in food. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

Mere17/11/2012 - 3:05 pm

Hi Laura!

I literally JUST discovered your blog (via Love + Lemons) today and do not know how i haven’t come across it sooner. Your recipes and photos are absolutely stunning. I really appreciated reading this post because I am actually right in the midst of starting my own food blog–after being an avid reader of many for almost a year and having all too many reservations about doing it myself. It is so reassuring to be reminded that the bloggers I look up to and gain such inspiration from, like you, all started somewhere. So I just wanted to say hi and thank you for that. x

Inés13/07/2013 - 12:02 pm

Hi Laura,
I made these yesterday and they tasted very summery – I like your combination!
I used wheat flour and cornmeal and a bit less honey than the amount of agave nectar you used.
They tasted very good and are perfect for summer, thank you :-)

Laura Wright15/07/2013 - 9:32 pm

Loving your feedback on using honey, Inés! Glad you liked them :)
-L

[…] 2. Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes (gluten-free) from The First Mess […]

Cynthia24/08/2014 - 12:56 pm

Wow! My new favorite pancake recipe! I used blackberries instead of strawberries, because they were on sale. Delicious!

raw chard salad rolls, spicy mango sauce + regrouping


I find that getting back from New York is always a bit heavy. I have a hard time psyching myself up to leave and get back home (aside from reveling in the thought of sleeping in my own bed). Packing up some new acquisitions into our bags was a little fun (especially the stuffed paper bag of Milk Bar treats and this incredibly awesome little innovation). Walking to the subway from the hotel is always a little sad, seeing all the buildings and shops waking up and buzzing in the morning, knowing you’ll be away from it so soon. We went in and out of sleepiness on the long subway ride to the airport, heads resting on our bags. We sipped coffee together in the bustling airport pretty quietly, watching the travelers hurry by. Rain droplets streamed horizontally across the window during takeoff, grey and rainy city falling away behind us. Home feels a bit different. There’s more purpose and inspiration in the every day, ultimately great things.

One thing I really looked forward to while we were making our way back home (cozy comfy bed aside) was a giant heap of vegetables. We ate pretty amazingly on this trip. We went to all of our favourites, had a really special dinner here, tried the brand new NY outpost of this restaurant, so many treats, delicious coffee from Mud Truck, INSANE cocktails at Booker & Dax and completely fabulous potluck contributions from so many inspirational women at Veronica‘s rooftop oasis. In sum: we ate great food. Probably too much of it. Like probably-definitely.

I originally developed this recipe for the Toronto Vegetarian Association (their website here), a pretty rad volunteer-driven organization. I look forward to their Veg Fest on the waterfront in September every year. Lots of goodness and wonderful people, gorgeous scenery, it’s perfect. If you would like to read some accompanying nutrition facts about chard, you can read my little contribution right over here. I love using greens as a wrap for all kinds of things. In this version, I give you a few ideas for fillings and a BOMB mango dipping sauce for dunking. It’s like dipping a tidy salad into fresh, sweet, lightly spiced mango goodness, something totally called for after 5 days of indulgence for me.


raw chard salad rolls with spicy mango dipping sauce
Serves: 2
notes: If you don’t have access to chard, collard or boston lettuce leaves work wonders in the same application. In the event that you are transporting these (say for a summer picnic), I would recommend stabbing each one with a little toothpick to keep them together since chard lacks the natural “glue” of rice paper rolls.

rolls:
6-8 leaves of chard (depending on how big they are)
3 cups finely julienned/sliced fruits and vegetables such as:
-carrots
-bell peppers
-apples
-sprouts
-jicama
-shaved asparagus
-strawberries
-beets
-radishes
-sliced avocado
3-4 sprigs-worth of mild fresh herb leaves such as:
-mint
-basil (regular or thai)
-cilantro
-parsley

spicy mango sauce:
1 cup diced, ripe mango (or nectarine! or peach!)
juice from 1 lime
1 small jalapeno, veins and seeds removed
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tsp nama shoyu or tamari soy sauce
¼ cup filtered water

Cut the stems out of the chard leaves: With a paring knife, carefully cut around the stem, on both sides, up to about the halfway point in the leaf. Repeat with other leaves.

Lay the cut leaf on a cutting board. It should look like the top half of the leaf has two little legs sticking out from under it. Cross one of the “legs” over the other one to form a unified oval-shaped “wrap.”

Place a good handful of julienned vegetables/sprouts onto the center of the oval-shaped leaf. Garnish with a few herb leaves. Carefully wrap the chard around the vegetables, starting with the crossed over/overlapped leaves end and working your way up. Once you’ve reached the end, place the roll seam side down onto your serving plate. repeat with remaining chard and vegetables/herbs.

Make the sauce: Combine all of the mango sauce ingredients in a blender. Turn the blender on to medium-high and puree the mixture. Once smooth and slightly watery, stop the blender. Taste for seasoning. Place sauce into a bowl and serve with the chard spring rolls.

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sarah05/06/2012 - 2:46 pm

These photos are gorgeous Laura!! The third one is making me want to come over to your house and eat some of this goodness.

I am going to New York for the first time next week! We’ll be there for 4 days, and I can’t wait to experience the city. Glad your trip was so great!

Marissa | Pinch and Swirl05/06/2012 - 3:35 pm

I relate to ‘looking forward to the giant heap of vegetables.’ I often feel that way at end of a trip. These rolls look just fantastic! Thank you for sharing…

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar05/06/2012 - 3:41 pm

I seriously love everything about these! They sound so awesome!

Kristy05/06/2012 - 4:27 pm

Simply gorgeous! Beautiful colors and the photography is breathtaking! The recipe for the mango dipping sauce looks mighty tasty- can’t wait to give it a try!

Cookie and Kate06/06/2012 - 12:55 am

Oo girl, I am with you. After all those Milk Bar treats (I have a paper bag in my pantry containing the last few bites of a couple of cookies), I’m ready for produce-packed, vegan recipes like this one. I had the best time hanging out with you at Veronica’s—what a night! Here’s to hoping we can find another excuse to hang out again soon.

Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn06/06/2012 - 8:21 am

I can just imagine how the mango sauce and sliced fruit offer just enough sweetness to make you think that you are eating something far more naughty than raw veggies. So colorful and inviting – and it’s an added bonus that you don’t have to cook anything!

Ally06/06/2012 - 12:16 pm

Wow this looks like the perfect summer dinner to me!
xo
http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

Katie06/06/2012 - 2:45 pm

I love that you’ve used greens for the wrapper here, what a great idea! I’d love to try these out with marinated tofu or tempeh inside them in addition to the veggies, and even possibly throwing the entire wrap on the grill. Does that sound totally crazy? Thanks for the recipe!

[...] raw chard salad rolls, spicy mango sauce + regrouping [Thefirstmess.com] [...]

Rachel07/06/2012 - 12:53 pm

These rolls are so beautiful – like little vegetable bouquets! What a great way to pack “salad” in a lunch. I’m totally making these with my next batch of csa greens.

sara07/06/2012 - 5:09 pm

yum! so beautiful. I am really hoping we can make it to NY this fall. I miss it and your trip sounds fabulous!

Yossy | apt2bbakingco08/06/2012 - 9:21 am

Aw man, I have wanted to go to Blue Hill for a long time. I am so glad you enjoyed your trip to NYC and it was so nice to meet you in the flesh. And these salad rolls, they are on the top of my list of things to make. I could use a bit of a detox myself…

Katie08/06/2012 - 6:04 pm

Your photos are stunning Laura! I’ll have to check out Blue Hill when I’m in NYC in a few weeks. Thanks for the recommendation :)

kelsey24/06/2012 - 10:43 pm

I missed this one in the hullaballoo of traveling/moving. so beautiful! my chard rolls always look absurd…

[...] eat raw, but I’m excited to use them in a spicy sauce for salad wraps! The First Mess’ recipe calls for raw chard, but you can use a lettuce leaf instead, or even a gently-boiled collard green [...]

[…] later in the day these little Raw Chard Salad Rolls from The First Mess, look so colourful and fresh! What yummy way to begin a healthy Christmas meal, […]

Marianne17/07/2014 - 10:41 pm

Discovered you and am I happy!!!
Made the Rolls this evening as a part of the appertiv and was so delighted. Enjoyed the rolls with avocado, pepper, strawberries, carrots, beets. And….the mango dipping sauce. Just delish!!!
Looking forward to trying your recipe with Zucchini noodles & pesto.
Thank you

a primer on real-deal iced tea + a sweet mix


Sometimes there are these tiny clues in the every day that let you in on something really, really big. I love going on long drives with my love in the summer, in any season really. We laugh about everything, talk on some real grit stuff, enjoy the silence when it arises, simultaneously get outraged at some bad driving in the next lane over, relax and sip on coffee when it’s back to normal again. It’s a transition period to the next thing/destination, but it’s totally premium together-time if you ask me.

Best of all, Mark knows what I want to listen to as soon as we settle in to get everything moving on. He has a certain intuition and a breadth of musical awareness that keeps me happy wherever we go. Sometimes it’s dance hall, or it’s Midnight Marauders (my go-to summer driving album of choice), some stand up for a really long drive is usually called for, he’ll never EVER go wrong with Bruce (and he knows this), Talking Heads when it’s late… Those sweet and perfect little selections reflect the ridiculous-good harmony I feel every day in our life. It all works just right every time. Happy, silly, smily-faced gal right here.

So naturally I asked him to scheme up a little summertime mix for this post. What am I bringing to the party? A tutorial and three recipes on wholesome, delicious iced tea to keep you hydrated all the way through to Labour Day. A very necessary summer mix and a mega refreshing beverage (that isn’t loaded with high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavourings)? That’s a happy union for sunny days on end, guys. I hope you all love it as much as I do. That soft clinking of ice cubes lazily floating around in some home brew is synonymous with summer for me.

The essential formula I go with is as follows: tea (black, green, herbal or my fave-rooibos) + herbs/spices + citrus juice of some kind + fresh fruit if you feel it + appropriate chilling time (+booze if you wanna get tore up crazy). That’s it.  I’ve offered up three fairly choice recipes but this technique is up for plenty of variation and wildness on your part.

One more thing: with at-home iced tea making you can go the hot or cold-brewed route (I’ve included instructions below). They both require the same amount of tea when all is said and done. Cold brewing results in a more clarified beverage with more subtle nuances taste-wise. I love this method if I’m using green tea. If you need iced tea immediately, the hot method is gonna be your jam: brew, sweeten, add ice and go.

Link for the lovely mix is below (just click on the picture). Listen to it when you’re driving to the beach, coming home from a barbecue, getting on a plane to NY for some early summer fun (we leave Thursday!) or when you’re fixing up a cold drink for someone you really, really like.

basic iced tea formula + hot and cold brewing methods
serves: makes 1 litre (32 oz.)
notes: I’ve included a basic frame of ingredients, 3 specific recipes and hot + cold brewing methods for your convenience :)

BASIC INGREDIENTS:
6 tsp loose leaf tea OR 5-6 tea bags
fresh herbs, fruit & whole spices if using
water (amount depends on method used)
1/4 – 1/2 cup citrus juice of your choosing
1/4 – 1/3 cup liquid sweetener (agave nectar, raw honey, maple syrup, simple syrup etc)
ice (if using hot-brew method)

RECIPE 1: strawberry vanilla bean rooibos iced tea
Rooibos is like nature’s gatorade (electrolytes!), so I love sipping on this when the heat rises.

6 tsp rooibos tea or 5-6 rooibos tea bags
4 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 vanilla bean pod (I save the leftover pods when I bake with the seeds)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup agave nectar (I like light agave here)

RECIPE 2: iced green tea with lemongrass, mint and lime
So fresh, light caffeine and all the antioxidants/good stuff you love about green tea.
6 tsp green tea leaves or 5-6 tea bags
1 stalk of lemongrass, cut in half and bashed up with the back of your knife
2 sprigs of mint, leaves removed
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup raw honey

RECIPE 3: not-super-sweet sweet tea with orange and spice
My man’s insane love of Southern-style sweet tea finds its healthy match right here (adapted from Bryant Terry’s amazing recipe in this book).

6 tsp ceylon orange pekoe tea or 5-6 tea bags
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup dark agave nectar

HOT BREWING METHOD:
1. Place tea, fruit, herbs/whole spices in a non-reactive pitcher
2. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over top
3. Add citrus juice and sweetener, stir to combine
4. Brew (2 minutes for green tea, 3-5 minutes for black tea, 5+ minutes for herbal or rooibos teas)
5. Strain out tea and herbs/whole spices
6. Return brewed and sweetened tea to the pitcher
7. Top up to 1 litres-worth with ice
8. Stir to rapidly chill and enjoy!

COLD BREWING METHOD:
1. Place tea, fruit, herbs/whole spices in a non-reactive pitcher
2. Top up to 1 litres-worth with filtered water
3. Cover and leave in the fridge to brew slowly overnight
4. Strain out tea and herbs/whole spices in the morning
5. Return brewed tea to the pitcher
6. If using honey or maple syrup, dissolve it in 1/4 cup boiling water before adding to brewed tea to sweeten. Any other liquid sweetener should dissolve just fine in the cold tea (like agave or simple syrup).
7. Add citrus juice, stir to combine and enjoy!

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Lemonade is one of those things that I definitely crave in the heat, but once I have a glass, I’m good for a whileView full post »

spicy chai concentrate + holiday warmth

Aside from the odd book or kitchen do-dad here and there, I am a homemade gifts kinda girl to the hilt. I haveView full post »

black cherry syrup + fizz ed

Staying hydrated in the summer heat is one of those obvious and important things to keep in mind. Water with a squeezeView full post »

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sarah29/05/2012 - 10:12 pm

Nice!! Your post feels like summer. I like it.
And thank you for all the ice tea options! I always drink black tea lemonade, but finding good tasting lemonade concentrate with out corn syrup is next to impossible. I’m excited to try some of these.

[And I can’t wait to check out your mix!}

Eileen29/05/2012 - 10:47 pm

Yay, it’s finally iced tea weather! I love your different fruit & spice variations. Right now I have plain mint and plain green iced teas in the fridge, but I certainly feel some further experimentation coming on soon!

jaime @ sweet road29/05/2012 - 11:18 pm

I’ve never actually made iced tea before… I guess I could say that one too many times I have let my tea go cold, so instead of reheating it I add ice, but I’m not sure that counts. I love how you add herbs, juices, and fruits. I can’t wait to try!

Elenore Bendel Zahn30/05/2012 - 2:26 am

Ahh, I love that you let us in on your car adventures;) Sounds superfun! (Downloading the list now!)

Also, great recipes of course!

Have an amazing time in NY!

Love
Elenore

Michelle30/05/2012 - 3:21 am

Ooh brilliant. As a South African living in London rooibos is my staple drink in the winter but I just can’t drink hot things in the summer. Hadn’t thought of icing it. Doh.

art and lemons30/05/2012 - 8:55 am

I’m a big fan of the cold brew method for it’s low maintenance stick-it-in-the-fridge-overnight breezy attitude. Perfect for summer. I like the twists in each of your recipes too, a hint of vanilla bean, a bit of lemongrass and mint, cinnamon and citrus. I think Bruce and the Talking Heads are a must on summer driving/flying mixes, look forward to listening to yours. Enjoy New York!

Sarah30/05/2012 - 9:21 am

Love iced tea; love your attention to method in making it. Most of all, love how smily-faced you are :) Cheers to that—S

Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition30/05/2012 - 1:14 pm

There’s nothing better than homemade ice tea on a hot summer’s day!

The Pink Leopard04/06/2012 - 7:20 pm

this IS the real deal. Its going in my filing cabinet for when summer rolls around
T x

kickpleat05/06/2012 - 2:05 pm

I grew up making iced tea from scratch. My mom’s was always the same style: few bags of black tea, sugar, lemon. But I like to be a bit more creative and try something new. I love your variations and I can’t wait for warmer weather to get started on some ice tea experimentation! And downloading your summer mix now!

[...] And for those of you who do not or are unable to enjoy one of these fine cocktails, you need to head over to The First Mess and check out Laura’s awesome post on all things ice tea! [...]

Kate09/06/2012 - 9:43 am

I am a stickler for real brewed iced tea and could drink it by the gallon every day of Summer. Much like it should be.

I’m also a stickler for that alone time, shoulder to shoulder in the car, just him and I, the ribbon of road unwinding beneath us and no agenda. A stop for coffee, an open window, the right words or the perfect silence. Sometimes it pulls us together like nothing else.

[...] Iced Green Tea with Lemongrass, Mint and Lime from The First Mess [...]

[...] Morning Tea: An of Strawberry Vanilla Bean Rooibos Iced Tea from The First Mess. [...]

[...] “Not-So-Traditional” Sweet Tea Recipes [...]

[...] Real – deal Iced Tea from The First Mess is the perfect refreshment on warm Summer nights. [...]

[...] Iced Green Tea has a fresh taste that will keep you cool in the heat. Packed with lemongrass, mint leaves and [...]

[…] plain tea lightly sweetened with simple syrup, but for the past two years I’ve been loving Laura’s iced tea tutorial – especially the green tea with lemongrass, mint, and […]

[…] blend, boil and grill away from yummy supper on the porch/balcony/kitchen counter with a cold beer (or iced tea!) in your favourite cut-offs. Hope you’re all eating well, loving each other, and adventuring […]