How To Make Your Own Caffeine Free Spicy Chai Syrup

How To Make Your Own Caffeine Free Spicy Chai Syrup

After a couple of weeks in lockdown going through a couple of bottles of store bought chai syrup, I decided it was high time I made my own.

I previously posted this homemade spicy chai syrup recipe which has been popular over the years, but I wanted to see if I could make it even more delicious and a little healthier.

To start with, I swapped out the raw cane sugar for coconut sugar to make it completely refined sugar free. Next I swapped the black tea for caffeine free rooibos tea, and lastly I changed up the spices.

The resulting chai syrup has a deliciously rich flavour while not being too sweet or spicy. To serve it warm as a chai latte, simply add your favourite steamed milk. And to serve it cold either pour it over ice and add your favourite milk, or blend it up to make a chai frappé.

Enjoy!

Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)

Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/Caffeine free)

Serves: 20
Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 1 hour

4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice e.g. raw honey/pure maple syrup)
10 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
6 cardamon pods, cracked open
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
pinch cayenne pepper
4 rooibos tea bags

Place all the ingredients except the tea bags into a medium sized pan and bring to a boil. If you’re using raw honey leave this out and add at the end when you take it off the heat.

When the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down until it’s barely simmering and leave to infuse for 45 minutes to an hour.

Turn of the heat, add the tea bags and leave to infuse until the syrup is cool.

When cool, you can choose to strain the syrup through a piece of muslin, nut milk bag or fine sieve to remove the spices, or transfer the syrup including all the spices straight to a glass bottle so they continue to infuse. If you choose the second option, you’ll want to strain the syrup before you use it.

 

To make a chai latte: place 30ml of chai syrup into a mug and top with your favourite steamed milk.

To make an iced chai: place 40ml of chai syrup into a blender jug with a handful of ice and 1 cup of milk of your choice, blend until smooth.

To make a chai frappe: fill a glass with ice, pour in 40ml of chai syrup followed by your favourite milk.

 

Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)
Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)
Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)
Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

 

When it comes to smoothies I’m team green all the way, and preferably with as little fruit as possible. This hemp seed & kale green smoothie is the perfect example. The only fruit it contains is lemon, yet it has a beautiful mellow flavour and is still one of my all time favourites.

But every now and then I get inspired to create something different and it’s usually something much more indulgent like this super creamy hot cross bun smoothie, or this spicy warm apple pie smoothie.

Recently I saw some spectacular looking pink dragon fruit in our local grocery store and knew I had to make a smoothie with it.

 

Immune Boosting Pink Dragon Fruit Smoothie

 

Aside from being one of the prettiest fruits around, dragon fruit (or pitaya) are packed with so many amazing goodies.

They’re a source of prebiotics which boost the good bacteria in your gut, and they’re abundant in antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, which supports your immune system and is amazing for your skin.

Dragon fruit are high in fibre which is great for digestion and helps balance blood sugar. They’re a good source of iron and magnesium, and pink fleshed dragon fruit is particularly high in betalains which are responsible for the pink pigment and can help reduce LDL cholesterol.

Makes you want to eat dragon fruit every day right?! Luckily for those that don’t have access to the fresh version, you can also buy it in dried form as pitaya powder.

 

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

 

Given all the COVID-19 craziness going on at the moment, what better time to fill your body with as many of natures immune boosting goodies as possible. So I decided to create a supercharged, immune boosting smoothie with pink pitaya.

To keep your smoothies looking beautiful it’s best to stick to ingredients with a similar colour palette. I also like to keep my smoothies on the low sugar side which means choosing low fructose fruit. Raspberries and blueberries fit the bill perfectly and blend beautifully with pink pitaya. Also, by using frozen berries you can create a lovely thick texture.

Lastly I added fresh turmeric and ginger root for their amazing anti-inflammatory properties, and a little unsweetened coconut yoghurt for creaminess and probiotics.

 

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

 

If you’d like to turn this immune boosting pink pitaya smoothie into a more filling meal you could add a spoonful of hemp seeds or hemp protein, the seeds being the milder flavour choice for those who like their berry smoothies to remain tasting like berries.

You could also add a spoonful of your favourite nut or seed butter, and if you’re a green fanatic like me you could also sneak in a handful of spinach leaves for some extra antioxidants.

 

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

When you make this Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie let me know!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or Facebook.

Looking for even more smoothie inspiration? 

Check out Swoon Food’s drinks recipe section, download my free Inspired Smoothies ebook, or join my free 5 Day Green Smoothie Challenge.

Immune Boosting Pink Pitaya Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 5 minute

1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 fresh pink pitaya or 1 tsp pink pitaya powder
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt (I’m loving Coyo vanilla)
2 cm fresh ginger root, peeled if not organic
2 cm fresh turmeric root, peeled if not organic
+ a little water to get the blender going

Place all the ingredients into a blender. Note, if using a fresh pitaya (dragon fruit) cut it in half, scoop the flesh out and discard the skin.

Blend on high speed until smooth and then pour into a serving glass.

Notes: 

Consistency: If you like your smoothie extra thick only add a tiny bit of water to get the blender going, and for a more liquid smoothie be generous with the water.

Lemon: If you like your smoothies tangy, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or if you’re really keen add a whole peeled lemon. Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and is also very cleansing for the liver.

Extra protein: Want to turn your smoothie into a meal? Simply add a spoonful of your favourite nut or seed butter, or a spoonful of hemp powder or seeds. Note, hemp seeds have a much more neutral/mild flavour than hemp powder.

Greens: If you want to sneak in some extra greens by all means add a handful of fresh spinach leaves. Just don’t go too crazy or you’ll lose the pretty pink colour and end up with a murky brown.

Storage: If you won’t be drinking this smoothie straight away, store it in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 2 days.

 

Pink Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)

Hemp Seed & Kale Green Smoothie with a dash of Coconut Yoghurt

Hemp Seed & Kale Green Smoothie with a dash of Coconut Yoghurt

 

Spring is finally here and as if by magic, the change of season has also reignited my desire for green smoothies!

Something happens during the winter months that makes green smoothies become less and less appealing. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re cold and my body is craving something warm, or whether it’s because their ingredients are raw and my body wants something cooked – perhaps it’s both.

Either way, I tried to keep up my routine for a little while, but after pouring one unfinished green smoothie after another down the sink, I finally listened to my body and gave them a rest for the remainder of the winter months.

But now that the weather has started to warm and the days are getting brighter, I’ve jumped back on the green smoothie train and have created some inspired new recipes I think you’re going to love!

 

 

I’ve written quite a few posts about why these green drinks are so good for you, and this most recent post sums it up nicely.

If you’re like me and green smoothies have taken a back seat lately, here’s a quick reminder of why they’re so amazing:

 

Green smoothies are a simple way to give your diet and health a boost!

They’re an amazing way to get a lot of nutrients into your body in one go and are a really simple and inexpensive way to boost your diet naturally.

Green smoothies get your digestion flowing!

Just about everybody who does my 5 Day Green Smoothie Challenge reports back they’ve never been so regular, thanks to all that amazing fibre and hydration.

Green smoothies leave your skin glowing!

Good digestion is one of the keys to having glowing skin, the other is hydration which green smoothies provide in volumes. They also contain an abundance of antioxidants which protect your cells from free radical damage and ultimately the ageing process.

Green smoothies can boost detoxification and healing!

Because the ingredients are already partially broken down by the blender, your digestion doesn’t have to work quite as hard, so your body can put more time and energy into detoxification and healing. Also because the ingredients in green smoothies are plant based and raw, the nutrients and enzymes in those ingredients remain intact and unaffected by heat. As a result your body is better able to digest and absorb them, which can help boost the body’s natural detoxification and cell renewal pathways.

Green smoothies can help keep you healthy!

These fabulous green drinks contain an abundance of phytonutrients, which are the chemical compounds unique to plants that give them their vibrant colours, tastes and smells. In humans phytonutrients have the ability to promote healthy cell function and have some very unique roles in preventing disease.

 

 

 

So now that you’re completely sold on all the reasons why green smoothies are amazing for you, lets talk about this hemp seed & kale green smoothie recipe I know you’re going to love!

It’s completely raw, plant based, dairy, gluten and sugar free. This green smoothie doesn’t contain any fruit except for lemon, and just happens to be one of the delicious recipes from my 10 Day Sugar Cleanse program. Despite the lack of fruit, it’s surprisingly sweet thanks to the lemon and coconut water. Of course if you disagree, feel free to add some green apple, kiwifruit or mango.

What this green smoothie does contain is hemp seeds which are one of my favourite ingredients. They have a unique, beneficial fatty acid ratio and are a great source of dietary fibre and plant based protein. In fact, hemp is one of the few complete plant based protein sources which means it contains the 9 essential amino acids that your body can’t make.

Hemp is also a fantastic source of vitamin E, phytosterols, carotenes, lecithin and chlorophyll – and you can read a whole article about hemp here.

If you make this Hemp Seed & Kale Green Smoothie with a dash of coconut yoghurt – let me know!

Leave me a comment below and be sure to tag your creations with #swoonfood @swoon.food.

 

HEMP SEED & KALE GREEN SMOOTHIE

Makes: 1 large or 2 small smoothies
Prep time: 10 minutes

3 to 4 kale leaves
1 handful fresh parsley
1/4 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
1 lemon (peeled if not organic)
4 slices fresh ginger
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
pinch cinnamon
250ml unsweetened coconut water

To serve (optional):
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut yoghurt

 

Wash the kale leaves and parsley well, then leave to drain while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Peel the cucumber and lemon if not organic, and place in your blender jug along with the remaining ingredients.

Blend on high until smooth.

If you’re using the coconut yoghurt, dollop two spoonfuls into the bottom of your serving glass and pour the green smoothie on top.

Enjoy immediately or if saving for later, store in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

 

I thought the idea for a hot cross bun smoothie was rather inventive, but a quick google search showed me 16 million results in 0.25 seconds!

So although not overly original, clearly a lot of people also thought it was a great idea.

Someone recently asked me on Instagram what a hot cross bun was. This threw me for a minute as even though we’ve eaten them every year since I can remember, I’ve never had to describe one before!

If you haven’t come across a hot cross bun yet, the best way to describe them is a spiced fruit bun dotted with raisins and peel, with a white cross usually made from a flour paste baked on top. They’re usually served warm and spread them with butter which slowly melts as you eat it.

 

 

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie 

How would this translate into a smoothie?

Well think of all the flavours of a hot cross bun….but in liquid form…and without any dairy or gluten.

Or in other words, a deliciously thick, creamy smoothie, laced with hot cross bun spice and a subtle hint of raisins.

 

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

 

 Like a hot cross bun, this smoothie is delicious eaten any time of the day – breakfast, brunch, a mid afternoon snack or even dessert.

If you’re feeling creative you could also freeze this hot cross bun smoothie it into ice pops or gently heat it and turn it into a warm plant latte. 

 

 

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

 

If you make this hot cross bun smoothie, let me know!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

HOT CROSS BUN SMOOTHIE

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

2 cups coconut milk
1 cup ice
1 frozen banana
2 Tbsp macadamia or cashew butter
1 Tbsp raisins or currants
2 Medjool dates or 2 Tbsp pure maple or rice syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch cardamom
pinch vanilla powder or 2 tsp vanilla essence

 

Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth.

Pour into a two serving glasses and drink while still chilled.

Any leftover smoothie can be stored in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

 

 

This mulled wine spiced beetroot and berry smoothie is essentially my morning smoothie with a Christmas makeover!

My last couple of posts have all been Christmas themed, so I thought it would be fun to give my morning smoothie a makeover too. But don’t worry, it doesn’t actually contain any wine! I just used the beautiful flavours and aromas of mulled wine as inspiration.

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

Usually I have a green smoothie in the morning, but lately there’ve been so many delicious berries in season (our organic raspberry bush has been churning them out too), that I switched from a green to a berry.

Berries are an amazing source of antioxidants which fight off harmful free radicals and prevent ageing on the inside and out. They’re also lower in fructose than many fruits so are perfect if you’re keeping an eye on your sugar intake or are a person who can’t tolerate a lot of fruit sugars.

Of course I still like to sneak a few greens into my berry smoothie too, so to avoid ruining the beautiful red colour I use either purple kale or red chard.

I also add beetroot, either grated or in powder form. Beetroot goes beautifully with berries and has amazing detoxifying and blood pressure lowering properties, which are exactly what many of us need during the festive season!

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

To make my beetroot & berry smoothie taste like Christmas I used mulled wine for inspiration and added fresh orange, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, which all combine to give it a beautiful festive flavour and aroma.

So before you make these indulgent Cinnamon Bun pancakes on Christmas morning, whip up one of these nutrient packed red beauties to sip on while exchanging presents, and your body will love you for it!

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

If you make this mulled wine spiced beetroot & berry smoothie, let me know what you think!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

 

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries

2 tsp beetroot powder or 1/2 cup freshly grated beetroot

1 large stalk of red chard or purple kale

1 orange, peeled

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

pinch ground nutmeg

4 ice cubes

To serve:

2 Tbsp coconut yoghurt

Place all the ingredients into a high blend blender and blend until smooth.

Spoon the coconut yoghurt into a serving glass or jar and pour the smoothie over top. Serve immediately with a straw.

This smoothie also keeps well in the fridge overnight if you want to prep ahead and make it the day before.

Mulled Wine Spiced Beetroot & Berry Smoothie

5 Reasons Why You Need Green Smoothies In Your Life!

5 Reasons Why You Need Green Smoothies In Your Life!

5 Reasons Why You Need Green Smoothies In Your Life + Fennel & Cardamom Green Smoothie Recipe

 

Before I talk about this fennel & cardamom green smoothie recipe, I want to share 5 reasons why you need green smoothies in your life!

If you already drink green smoothies on the regular that’s fabulous! You may want to skip down to the recipe, or read on to reaffirm why you do it.

If green smoothies are an occasional or even non existent thing for you, the following 5 reasons may just persuade you otherwise.

Here are my top 5 reasons why you need green smoothies in your life:

 

1. Green smoothies are a simple way to give your diet and health a boost. 

Green smoothies are an amazing way to get a lot of nutrients into your body in one go and are a really simple and inexpensive way to boost your diet naturally.

Think of how many greens go into a green smoothie compared to piling that same amount on a plate. It’s a lot easier to drink a green smoothie than it is to eat a huge plate of raw vegetables…wouldn’t you agree?

 

2. Green smoothies get your digestion flowing.

Green smoothies are packed with fibre and hydration which are essential for good digestion. Just about everybody who does my 5 Day Green Smoothie Challenge or the 10 Day Sugar Cleanse reports back that they’ve never been so regular!

And let’s face it, no one wants stagnant food hanging around in their gut. It slows the metabolism and can cause unpleasant gas.

A healthy digestive system means a healthy body that’s less prone to illness.

 

3. Green smoothies leave your skin glowing.

As I discussed in the previous point, green smoothies get your digestion flowing and this is also one of the keys to having glowing skin. Green smoothies are also very hydrating and as any good beauty therapist will tell you, adequate hydration is the first step towards reducing those fine lines.

Green smoothies contain an abundance of antioxidants which protect your cells from free radical damage and ultimately, the ageing process. Antioxidants are found in all fruits and vegetables, but are particularly abundant in the green variety.

 

4. Green smoothies can boost detoxification and healing.

This happens in two interlinked ways. Firstly, because the ingredients are already partially broken down by the blender blades it means less work for your digestive system which means your body can put more time and energy into other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

Secondly, because green smoothies are predominantly plant based and raw, the inherent nutrients and enzymes in those plants remain intact and unaffected by heat. This means your body is better able to digest and absorb these nutrients because often the plants enzymes aid in this process. Also, these intact nutrients can help boost the body’s natural detoxification and cell renewal pathways.

 

5. Green smoothies can help keep you healthy!

Green smoothies naturally contain an abundance of phytonutrients, which are ‘magical’ chemical compounds unique to certain plants. Phytonutrients give these plants their vibrant colours, tastes and smells, and their role is to help the plant thrive or fight off competitors, predators or pathogens.

In humans, phytonutrients have the ability to promote healthy cell function and have some very unique roles in preventing disease. Some examples of phytonutrients you might be familiar with are carotenoids (e.g. betacarotene which makes carrots orange), flavanoids (e.g. anthocyanin which gives blueberries their blue colour), resveratrol (found in red grapes, aka red wine!) and glucosinolates (e.g. sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower).

These compounds have been shown to collectively support cardiovascular and cognitive health, regulate inflammation, support the immune system and help prevent and fight cancer. However, the research is only in it’s infancy and I’m sure a lot more will be discovered about these compounds in the years to come.

But all the more reason to ensure you eat a wide variety of plants in abundance today!

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

 

That sums up my top 5 reasons why you should include green smoothies in your diet, and if you get the recipe right, they taste pretty damn amazing too!

So without further ado, here’s one of my favourite green smoothie recipes, Fennel & Cardamom Green Smoothie. Fennel has a beautiful mild anise flavour which combines beautifully with fragrant cardamom. If you’re not a big cardamom fan go easy at first and slowly increase the amount to your taste.

If you try this green smoothie recipe, let me know!

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think, and be sure to tag a picture #swoonfood on Instagram. Enjoy!

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

Makes: 1 extra large or 2 small smoothies
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 large handful of spinach leaves
1/4 -1/2 bulb of fennel (depending on how large your fennel is)
1/2 green apple
1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp coconut yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup filtered water

Wash the spinach leaves well, and leave to drain in a sieve.
Wash the fennel well and chop in half.
Peel the lemon and apple (if not organic) and place in the blender jug along with the spinach and fennel.
Add the coconut yoghurt, cardamom and water and blend on high until all the ingredients are well blended and smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy.
This smoothie will keep in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE