Fresh This Month: Chai Tea

Chai is a perfect winter scent with a warming grounding blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger. The warming spicy aroma of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg meld with the creamy richness of milk to create a delicious and soothing blend.

Chai is a phenomenally distinct yet versatile flavor and scent. Commonly founds mixed with black tea, chai originated in South Asia and can be traced back to India and China. While chai spices vary from region to region, traditional chai spices include cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, and peppercorn.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea

If you’re interested in making your own chai drink, here is a simple and delicious recipe that combines black tea, milk, and spices.

Ingredients:

2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
6 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea
2 cups of whole milk (or almond/soy milk)

Directions:

  1. Combine fresh ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom in a medium saucepan. While stirring, lightly crush the spices.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Discard tea bags, add your milk of choice, and simmer over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, strain chai into a teapot, and serve hot.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea Limited Edition Products

Want to include the deliciously aromatic smells of chai not just in your beverages but in your home and skincare routine too? You’re in luck! Etta + Billie just released a line of limited edition chai tea inspired bath and body products for those who can’t get enough of the stuff.

A perfect scent for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter, these chai bath and body products offer the perfect blend of warming cinnamon and ginger with spicy cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg:

Chai Tea Body Scrub
Chai Tea Room + Body Spray
Chai Tea Skin Balm
Chai Tea Soap

In the Kitchen: Fall Picnic Recipe Roundup

It happens every year: Summer goes by in the blink of an eye and it’s over before we know it. But just because fall is quickly approaching doesn’t mean we have to cease all outdoor fun and hide inside until spring rolls around. Autumn weather offers its own charming ambiance for outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to leaf peeping and picnicing.

fall squash

Don’t let the end of summer stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Instead, pack some of these great fall dishes, grab a picnic blanket (and maybe a sweater), and enjoy it!

etta + billie lip balm fall

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bread
Bacon, Fig, and Arugula Sandwiches
Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup
Apple Cabbage Slaw
Caramel Apple Cider
Lumberjack Julep

Makers Gonna Make: Bergamot

Bergamot is a citrus fruit from the tropical Citrus bergamia plant, which is commonly found in the Mediterranean, Italy, France, and other parts of Europe. The fruit is typically the size of an orange, yet is closer in color to a lime or lemon depending on ripeness.

Many people are familiar with Bergamot because it’s the fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its citrusy scent and distinct flavor. A highly fragrant fruit, Bergamot is also used to make essential oils (which can be used for perfumes, soaps, or oil diffusion) and can be used in a number of recipes. Bergamot flesh and its zest—which is tart, aromatic, acidic, and spicy—has been used as an ingredient in everything from cookies, custards, and marmalades to syrups, cocktails, and even pesto, mayonnaise, and other condiments.

etta + billie bergamot ginger bath + body oil

Bergamot and Lavender Reusable Dryer Sheets: Both environmentally friendly and easy to DIY, these dryer sheets will leave your laundry soft and smelling great! And with the added bonus of not needing to dispose of the dryer sheets with each load.

Bergamot Ginger Bath + Body Oil: With the invigorating combination of citrusy bergamot and spicy ginger, this bath and body oil is perfect for skin that is in desperate need of hydration or a soothing and relaxing bath. This oil can be used directly on the body as a moisturizer or in a bath, and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy! (If you prefer a standard lotion for moisturizing, check out the Bergamot + Ginger Body Lotion or Skin Balm.)

Bergamot Honey Frappe: This delicious frappe recipe only needs 5 ingredients, takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and is vegan! Perfect for a mid-morning pick-me-up or a refreshing evening drink this combination of flavors will have your taste buds singing.

Bergamot and Lime Deodorant: Whether you’re in a pinch and need to craft up some homemade deodorant or prefer to use deodorants with all natural ingredients (or without aluminum), this recipe will not only have you smelling great but is easy on your skin as well.

Bergamot Ginger Room + Body Spray: Need to refresh your kitchen, bedroom linens, car, or even yourself? This room and body spray can do it all in an instant! Made with simple ingredients that won’t damage or stain anything, you can spray this product on everything knowing its all natural ingredients aren’t harmful to yourself or your home.

Oyster Mushroom Salad with Apple and Bergamot: A unique combination of ingredients, this salad makes a perfect addition to any dinner or could be enjoyed on its own for lunch. With the apple marinated in bergamot juice, this winter salad will be sure to wow anyone who eats it.

Go-To Tips: Better Camping Meals

Camping, depending on your outdoor expertise and hiking level, can vary from “glamping” to completely roughing it in the wilderness. But being away from your home and its kitchen doesn’t mean you have to eat trail mix during your entire camping trip! Here are a few tips, tricks, and hacks to help you eat well while still being able to pack light and remain environmentally friendly on your next camping trip.

General Tips

Dutch Oven Vegetarian Chili and CornbreadPhoto by: Fresh off the Grid

Cookware

When camping, you always want to limit the amount of things you need to bring with you. When you are packing your cooking items, consider limiting yourself to multi-use items that can be used to cook in a number of different ways.

If you are camping in a car, trailer, or will not have to transport your gear far by foot:
Instead of one or several small- to medium-sized pans, consider bringing a wide, flat griddle or cast iron skillet that you can cook multiple items on at once (Being able to cook eggs, bacon, and pancakes at the same time will speed up your breakfast cook time!). A griddle will also likely pack much easier than a pan or two, which are rounded and have handles that stick out.l Dutch ovens are another great option. They can be used as both a pot for stews, soups, chili, etc. as well as enclosed ovens for baking meals over a fire. Dutch ovens can also be used over propane stoves if open fires are not allowed within your campground. And if you want to limit clean up efforts, dutch ovens can also be fitted with disposable liners (parchment paper or aluminum foil). Just be sure to take all your trash with you!

If you are camping in a tent:
If you will be traveling on foot, you won’t be able to carry heavy dutch ovens or cast iron skillet with you. Instead, pack a small, lightweight aluminum or titanium pot and pan. Your pot can double as a cup and your pan can also be used as a plate to cut down on what you need to fill your pack with. You’ll also want to bring aluminum foil. Not only does it not take up much room, but you can use it to wrap root vegetables like potatoes or carrots and even meat and fish, then throw them into the coals of your fire to cook without having to worry about getting a mouthful of ash when it’s time to eat.

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza NachosPhoto by: twopeasandtheirpod

Food

Before your trip, fill plastic squeezable bottles (you can reuse emptied and cleaned ketchup bottles) with pre-mixed pancake batter, soup broth, homemade BBQ sauce, and other ingredients you’ll want quick and easy access to. This can also help limit the number of utensils you’ll need to bring with you.

If you are camping in a car, trailer, or will not have to transport your gear far by foot:
You will basically have access to a full kitchen, so the sky’s the limit! You can decide on several meals before your trip, anything from pizza and pasta, burgers and ribs, to jambalaya and chicken noodle soup.

If you are camping in a tent:
You’ll want to pack high protein, higher calorie food options that don’t take up much room if you need to carry everything with you. Snack options like trail mix (with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate if you have a sweet tooth) or beef jerky are classic choices. You can also visit specialty outdoor retailers to purchase freeze dried or dehydrated meals that will limit their size and weight but can still provide you with tasty meal options.

Backpacker’s Blueberry CrispPhoto by: Fresh off the Grid

Fire

Nothing beats cooking over an open fire, but if you are unable to or prefer the control of having a stove, you have options too.

Cooking on a campfire:
A campfire may not offer you the temperature control of a stove, but nothing tastes quite as good as something cooked over hot coals! If you plan on cooking over a fire, it is a good idea to bring your own firewood in case existing log piles have gotten wet or rotten. Many campgrounds also have strict rules against collecting firewood, so this will help you bypass that completely.

Cooking on a portable stove:
If you are camping in damp, wet climate or are having trouble starting a fire due to rain or other environmental issues, having a backup camping stove will save you a lot of stress. They are not only reliable, but are often designed to be lightweight and pack away easily. Depending on how you will be camping, you can select a classic two-burner propane stove or a single burner stove that uses small canisters to provide a flame.

Recipes

  1. Camping Breakfast Sandwich
  2. Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Nachos
  3. Dutch Oven Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread
  4. Lemon Dill Salmon Packets
  5. Backpacker’s Blueberry Crisp
  6. 3 Easy Campsite Cocktails

Behind the Counter: The Making of Etta + Billie’s Room + Body Spray

Our Room + Body Sprays are intended to be simple yet versatile sprays, hence their multi-use purposes. Created with both home and beauty care in mind, Etta + Billie’s Room + Body Spray is designed to be fragrant without being overpowering. Perfect for freshening up your linens, car, and even yourself! But have you ever wondered just how we make this magical potion?

etta + billie room + body spray

All of our Room + Body Sprays are a mix of 4 simple ingredients: Spring water, witch hazel, non-GMO organic vegetable glycerin, and essential oils. Here’s how they’re made:

  1. Blend together a combination of witch hazel, spring water, and glycerin.
    2. Pour this blend into glass amber bottles, either 2oz. or 4oz.
    3. Mix with a combination of essential oils, depending on which scent is being made.
    4. Use a pipette to draw a measured amount of the essential oil blend and deposit into each individual bottle.
    5. Cap and seal each bottle with a spray top.
    6. Label the bottles.

Short, sweet, and simple! All of our ingredients are 100% natural, and since our Room + Body Spray is made in small batches, you always receive the freshest possible product. And not only are they easy to use (just shake and spray), but the bottles can be recycled or upcycled and reused!

Makers Gonna Make: Horchata Recipe

Horchata—a beverage typically made from ground rice, almonds, sesame seeds, barley, and/or tiger nuts—is popular in South America, Spain, and Puerto Rico. It can be made with countless different ingredients and the base will not always be the same, but the drink itself almost always resembles a creamy, cinnamon-flavored delicious milkshake!

This recipe is a great start for creating your own personal horchata. Feel free to spice it up with nutmeg, cocoa, or even other nuts like peanuts and cashews. Enjoy cold or hot; both are equally tasty!

horchata recipe
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • ½ cup of sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

Tools

Measuring cup, measuring spoons, blender or food processor, cheesecloth, pitcher

Let’s do it!

  1. Combine your rice with 4 cups of water in a blender, and pulse until it is coarsely ground up.
  2. Transfer your rice mixture into a large bowl, add another 4 cups of water, and soak at room temperature for 3 hours.
  3. Pure the mixture in a blender in batches until it is smooth.
  4. Strain through a cheesecloth into a pitcher and mix with sugar and vanilla extract.
  5. To serve, stir the horchata well, pour into ice-filled glasses, and garnish with a dusting of ground cinnamon.

In the Kitchen: Coconut

From coconut water to coconut flakes, and from coconut milk to coconut oil; the coconut is an amazingly versatile product! Used in foods, body care, hair care, and even dental care; the coconut not only smells great but includes a number of health benefits too.

coconut milk ice cream

Coconut is frequently used in a number of health and beauty products because it is known to be naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Coconut oil, in particular, can be utilized for cooking, oil pulling, and skin care. It also penetrates better than other oils, making it a powerful moisturizer for both hair and skin. Plus, you get the added benefit of smelling like a tropical paradise when you use it!

Ritual Roasters cold brew mint coffee soap bar

Here are a few of our favorite coconut-based recipes, beauty products, and more.

Coconut Gin and Tonic: Nothing says summertime like cool and refreshing cocktails enjoyed outside in the sun. The coconut water in this cocktail not only adds electrolytes and minerals to your drink, but it lends a great coconut flavor without being too overpowering. Garnish with some lime, mint, and a little umbrella and you’re all set to relax.

Ritual Roasters Cold Brew Mint Coffee Soap: The star of this show is Ritual Roaster’s cold brew coffee, but the main ingredient in this soap is a coconut oil base! The mint in this organic soap bar adds the just right amount of uplifting kick to the soothing and familiar aroma of coffee. Combined with coffee oil (for skin soothing antioxidants) and coffee grounds (to help exfoliate dead skin cells), this soap helps stimulate circulation, get you clean, and make your bathroom smell amazing!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Don’t have an ice cream maker? Don’t worry; you don’t need one for this recipe. This 3-ingredient vegan ice cream is not only easy to make, but it’s versatile too! You can use this coconut milk ice cream as a base to add your favorite flavors and topping to, or even make an “adult” version of it by spiking it with any booze of choice.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask: Coconut oil makes an excellent deep conditioner for your hair. This particular mask—combined with honey and heated slightly to help hair follicles open up and absorb the mixture—leaves your hair soft, shiny, and smelling like cookies! Just leave it in your hair for 30-45 minutes then shampoo, condition, and style as usual.

In the Kitchen: Negroni Week Recipe Roundup!

Negroni Week Recipe Roundup

Launched in 2013, Negroni Week was created as an effort to raise money for charities around the world. Participating bars and restaurants mix classic Negroni cocktails that result in donations to their charity of choice.

This year, Negroni Week takes place from June 4th to June 10th. Here are some Negroni cocktails for you to ask for the next time you’re out with friends (or to even try making at home)!

The Breakfast Negroni: Great for brunches or a late night pick-me-up, this drink combines orange marmalade and an Irish tea infusion for a the right amount of caffeine, sweetness, and kick.

Sparkling Negroni Punch: This sweet beverage is perfect for parties; light, bubbly, and delicious! You can serve in tall glasses with fruit for garnish or leave in a punch bowl with a ladle for guests to serve themselves.

FroGoni: This drink is half refreshing smoothie, half slushy cocktail. It’s perfect for enjoying at summertime BBQs, relaxing by the poolside, and even lazy hot nights on your balcony or porch.

Blood Orange Negroni: Blood oranges not only lend a stunning color to beverages, but a perfect blend of tartness and sweetness too. Add an entire slice to the finished cocktail for a real show-stopper!

Original Negroni: You can’t have a list for Negroni Week without including the classic Negroni. This simple and delicious cocktail includes just 3 ingredients—and an ice cold glass!

Makers Gonna Make: Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

This recipe combines the subtle aroma of lavender with the classic flavor of cold, refreshing lemonade. Its vibrant and beautiful hue makes this a fun beverage for the kids to enjoy on a hot summer day or for moms to turn into cocktails for a rejuvenating night in with friends. You can even consider serving this simple drink at your next BBQ, picnic, dinner party and more! The combination of citrus and floral undertones will make this drink a hit, no matter who you’re serving it to or what you’re serving it with.

When using lavender in recipes, I find it’s best to use fresh lavender (but you can easily use dried lavender for this recipe as well). Just remember; use lavender sparingly. Like rosemary, this highly fragrant herb doesn’t take much! Too much and your risk your recipe tasting like our Lavender soap (great for showers, not so great for beverages).

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of water
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 3 tbsp of lavender (pull the flowers off the stem before measuring)
  • 2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon slices and sprigs of lavender for garnish (optional)

Etta + Billie Lavender Lemonade Recipe for Spring and Summer

Tools

Measuring cup, measuring spoons, juice squeezer (if you don’t want to do it by hand), pot, pitcher

Let’s do it!

  1. Combine water and sugar in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil under the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Turn off the heat and stir in honey and lavender.
  3. Allow your mixture to steep for 2 hours (1 hour if you want less of a lavender flavor), keeping the heat off.
  4. Strain the liquid, removing the lavender, and mix in your fresh squeezed lemon juice.
  5. Pour into a large pitcher, serve over ice with some lemon and lavender as garnish, and enjoy!

Go-To Tips: Spring Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

Spring Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

Who else dreads yet loves a big “spring” clean?  The concept of a super clean kitchen/house is wonderful but not the reality of spending an entire day cleaning it. There is always the option to pay someone else to clean your house but my honey and I are on a money-saving bender right now so that is not an option. In an effort to make our lives a tad easier, I found some great tips for getting the various areas of the kitchen clean and organized in no time. Bonus: they all use natural cleaning methods. One of my favorite tips to make cleaning less terrible – add a mimosa break because nothing makes cleaning more palatable than an adult beverage. 😉

Get the Kitchen Clean

Spring Kitchen Cleaning Checklist from Wholefully with a printable checklist option (I do love a good checklist). Nice way to focus your cleaning efforts and you can always break the tasks up so you’re doing one set each day for 9 days.

The 11 Most Popular Kitchen Related Cleaning Hacks on Pinterest Right Now – from the Kitchn

DIY Natural All Purpose Cleaner – I share my easy and effective recipe here.

Keep the Kitchen Clean

Keep the garbage can, laundry basket, etc smelling fresh with this tip.

Brilliant list of ways to use command hooks to keep your kitchen organized from Apartment Therapy.

A few cleaning hacks to add to your daily/weekly kitchen list to keep your kitchen clean and save you some time too!