Kid-Friendly Teas and Almond Milk

November 05, 2008

Capetown Creme Tea and Home Made Almond Milk

One of the most difficult aspects of managing food allergies is when children are affected – they just want to be like everyone else and now they have to have special treatment at every meal and eat foods that seem bland and uninteresting compared to what's on their friends’ plates...
It's tough on parents too, who don't want to become constant party-poopers, continually monitoring what their kids eat - but there is a more positive way to look at this difficult situation - as an opportunity to give your allergy prone child some great nutritional choices as opposed to the usual sugar-laden, empty calorie snacks and fast food.
It is time consuming, just as it is for adults, but maybe there's a way to make a child feel special and unique instead of different and difficult; by getting them interested in homemade food and nutrition - which will then stand them in good stead later in life, when they begin making their own decisions about food.
A great introduction to something off the usual path are herbal teas which can be drunk hot or cold, with milk (dairy, nut, soy or rice) or citrus and sweetened to taste.
The Teaspot in Boulder, Colorado has a fabulous blend of Red Rooibos caffeine-free tea called Red Rocks; Red Bush (as it's also known) is mixed with vanilla and almond pieces creating a delicious brew that easily suits a younger palate and has a lovely aroma.
Rooibos is a wonder herb with a fascinating history - it is the spiky leaves of a shrub grown in South Africa and is actually a member of the legume family.
The tea has been drunk for centuries by the Khosian tribe and used for medicinal purposes. Red Rooibos was named for the rich mahogany color the leaves turn as they dry in the sun, becoming an amazingly beneficial and healthful tea.
Numerous studies have found that the herb contains 37 natural anti-oxidants, Vitamin C, minerals, alpha-hydroxy acid, is caffeine free and very low in tannins. (Tannins can block the absorption of iron in the body).
The herb has also been shown to soothe nappy rash, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, whether applied topically or as an ingredient in skin care products. It is even used in hospitals in South Africa in baths for children with allergic skin conditions as well as being given as a drink.
It has been found to soothe colic, restlessness and stomach cramps in babies and soothe the central nervous system, relieve stress and enhance concentration in adults.

Here's the Teaspot's recipe for Capetown Crème; a red tea latte which they say is a big hit with kids:

Steep an 8oz concentrate of 'Red Rocks' using 2 teaspoons of tea leaves boiling water for 6-7 minutes.
Steam or froth 4 oz milk or milk substitute to twice its volume, (or simply heat if you don't have a steamer).
Add tea concentrate to milk or milk substitute and sweeten with honey, agave or add vanilla if desired.
(This recipe also works well with mint tea for children or Earl Grey, green tea or Kukicha for adults.)

Almond Milk

3 Tablespoons raw organic almonds
2 Cups water
1 tablespoon Agave syrup

Soak the almonds overnight in the water in the fridge.
Remove the skins if you prefer.
Blend the almonds with the soaking liquid and the Agave on low for about 15 seconds and then on high for about 45 seconds, depending on your blender.
Strain the milk through a sieve and enjoy!
(If you don't have time to soak the almonds overnight you can cheat by roasting blanched, slivered almonds for about 6-8 minutes and then follow the same directions.)