To get Maria Makes updates delivered to your inbox, subscribe via email here.
Introducing, Loving Lately; where every once in a while, I'll share some of the things I've been... you got it... "loving lately!"
Is it just me, or did summer come and go in the blink of an eye!? Today, in the inaugural installment of Loving Lately, I'm talking tea, running apps, chicken tikka masala, and tomatoes!
TEA ON TEA ON TEA
I've been soooo into tea lately! Which might seem a bit weird for summer, but one of the teas I'm loving is ICED, and the other has been a great way to kick off even the warmest of summer mornings from the chill of my air conditioned office!
When ZB and I were in New York City for our 10K at the end of July, we stopped in the DAVIDsTEA in Greenwich Village and I was immediately like, yep, buy me this tea for my birthday present! I asked the nice ladies behind the counter for a recommendation -- something red-ish, fruity, hint: I like Tazo Iced Passion Tea. They pulled down about 6 tins from the shelf, let me smell them all, and let me sample the ones they had brewed!
Me to We is my new favorite iced tea! It's kind of kool-aid-esque but in the best possible "adult" way, and it's naturally sweetened with fruit AND it's caffeine free, so really you can drink it at all hours of the day. And... each 50 g purchase gives two weeks of clean water to a developing community in Kenya.
I also bought this AMAZING iced tea pitcher and have already gone through a full gallon of iced tea in the last week :) You will need something like this if you're brewing from loose-leaf tea as opposed to tea bags!
Tea Drops reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in trying their tea - and after seeing how cute and unique their product is, and after reading about the quality ingredients they use, I was like um, yes please! They make tea into little pressed shapes that dissolve instantly when you add hot water, and they are all made with organic ingredients.
I had never tried Turmeric tea before this, but it has such a unique flavor, earthy and warm, and since this variety is lightly sweetened with coconut palm sugar, it paired PERFECTLY with coconut milk for a Turmeric Tea Coconut Milk Latte.
Good news - you can use coupon code TEADROPWITHMARIA for 10% off your entire purchase! (I don't get any kind of commission from this, just loved the tea).
ACTIVE.COM's RUNNING APPS
In February, I started using Active.com's Couch to 5K to train for my first EVER 5K. Then I moved right into their 5K to 10K app to train for my first EVER 10K (which I am proud to announce that I completed at the end of July, without dying!).
Up until very recently, I thought that running just wasn't for me. It always just felt so... well... AWFUL. Is torturous to strong a word? But in February, my husband (ZB) and I decided that we wanted to run a 5K together. Bless his heart, though he could already run a 5K easily, he supported me the entire time. I'll write more about this running journey in a separate post, but for now, a quick recap on the apps...
I bought the Couch to 5K app for $2.99 (even though there were some other free ones), and I was ready to roll. Day 1 workout was, "Brisk 5-minute warmup walk. Alternate 1 minute of jogging and 1 1/2 minutes of jogging for a total of 20 minutes." And I kid you not, that 90 seconds of jogging was enough to make me question whether I had made a terrible mistake by embarking on this journey. And on the first day that I had to run 20 minutes, Week 5 Day 3, my phone died mid-run and I about lost my shit.
Throughout my 5K and 10K training, there were LOTS of terrible runs, and some runs that surprisingly felt pretty good, but the nice thing was that the apps had my back either way. I knew that the increases in time and distance would be manageable (challenging, but doable). They led me step-by-step, literally giving audio cues for "walk" and "jog" all along the way (because let's face it, when forcing myself to run, the tiniest little extra thing to worry about, like timing myself, is about enough to push me over the edge).
I HIGHLY recommend these apps if you are trying to get into running, or even if you are simply trying to hate running LESS. (that was me)
SKINNYTASTE'S INSTANT POT CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
I made Gina's Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala for lunches this week and YOU GUYS. It is SO GOOD. I'm far from an Indian food aficionado - I've actually only eaten it maybe 3 times in my life! But the guys at work recently went to a local Indian restaurant for a lunch buffet and it has just been sounding SOOO good to me. When the email from SkinnyTaste dropped into my inbox, and I looked at the recipe only to discover I was only missing a handful of ingredients, it felt like fate and I was sold!
Instead of adding cauliflower and peas into the dish, I served the chicken tikka over cilantro cauliflower rice, and it is perfection. The chicken is fall-apart-tender, the sauce has just the right amount of spice -- and this recipe is going in my keeper pile FOR SURE. Just trust me; go try it now.
ALL THE TOMATOES
If you've been following me on Instagram, you might know that my blog posts have been few and far between lately, and I've been spending quite a bit of time in my garden! I loooove me some good old fashioned garden therapy; and for some reason, this year, even weeding has been transformed into an enjoyable activity thanks to my Jaybird Sport earbuds and podcasts/Spotify.
Some plants are doing super well, and some are suffering; but hallelujah it's finally late summer and the green tomatoes weighing down my plants are finally starting to blush and ripen! My friend Bruce, who is the genius green thumb behind Cramer Farm & CSA, was generous enough to give me a bunch of leftover tomato plants in the most beautiful varieties you could imagine.
As they start to ripen, I'm enjoying them daily - in salads, with fresh mozzarella and basil, tomato sandwiches, and even just sliced with salt! I might actually turn into a tomato soon, so if you don't hear from me...
Anyways, go see what tasty varieties you can find at your local farmer's market!