How To Make Matcha Powder From Green Tea Leaves

Why Is Matcha Green Tea So Expensive?

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Certain products, such as artisan foods or fine wines are usually ridiculously expensive. Matcha could be considered the ‘wine’ amongst teas. Basically, most green teas are just machine picked, and that’s it. No more further processing. This is what makes Matcha different, and more superior. Similar to white tea, Matcha is made of the youngest, finest leaves that were carefully handpicked and grounded slowly to ensure that it retains its nutritional value.

The whole process is quite similar to wine-making, because you have to use the best leaves to ensure optimum quality; then, blend and ground these leaves to achieve the jaded powder that’s filled with wonderful goodness.

Simply put, it needs stringent care to produce these leaves, and only a few are qualified to become matcha. Likewise, only experts could determine if the leaves can be used or not. That’s why Matcha green tea is very expensive. In fact, even in Japan, any decent blend Matcha would cost more or less $25. The more exclusive ones could reach $80 an ounce. If you were successful enough to spot cheap Matcha, then that’s too good to be true.

Cheap matcha powder can easily be produced by simply pulverizing the leaves, and this would take away their nutritional content. On the other hand, top-grade tea are easily distinguished based on its color, taste, and mellow smell.

Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out a lot of cash just to enjoy Matcha’s goodness, because it’s very easy to make one your own, and we’re going to discuss that shortly.

The Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

Believe it or not, one serving of Matcha tea is equivalent to 10 cups of regular tea! That means, drinking Matcha allows you to enjoy the entire leaf and receive 100% of its nutrients. Furthermore, it contains 137 times more antioxidants as compared to regular tea.

Aside from that, here are the other benefits you can enjoy from drinking match:

– Improves metabolism
– Rich in antioxidants
– Rich in fiber
– Detoxifies the body
– Provides vitamin C, chromium, selenium, magnesium, and zinc
– Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels

DIY Matcha Powder

You can use a blender to pulverize the green tea leaves. Simply pulse it for 3 seconds, shake a little, rest, and repeat. If the powder seems too course, just grind it up in a bowl using a pestle. Don’t forget to sift the powder, and keep on grinding until it gets very fine. I bought matcha tea to compare and it really turned out quite the same!

How to Make an Authentic Matcha Green Tea

Making a cup of matcha is very easy! Stay away from the instant powder ones, and just buy a traditional bamboo tea whisk.

Simply whisk matcha and hot water vigorously using this, or you can add milk to make the taste more mellow, and that’s it!

Enjoy your tea!

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Where is their safe haven?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where is their safe haven?

This morning I woke up to a news story which has me reeling.

A fellow special needs mom, a brave woman who fought tooth and nail for her daughter’s education and placement in a top notch residential facility has been charged with attempted murder and suicide.

When I first read the news story I was speechless.  I know this mom.  I have spoken with her via private message, on twitter, and we have read and commented on each other’s blogs for more than two years.

So many of us are asking why this keeps happening in our community?  What drives a parent or caregiver to consider murdering an individual with special needs?

More importantly…..I want to know how we keep it from happening again?

In most states there is a Safe-Haven Law.  Here in Maryland this law reads as follows:


The problem with this law is that it only applies to infants up to ten days old and the law varies from state to state.

We need a nation-wide law that permits a parent or caregiver to relinquish a child (regardless of that child’s abilities) at a hospital or with any first responder without fear of civil liability or criminal prosecution.  We need a law such as this to save not just the life of the child but quite possibly the life of the one relinquishing them.

I can’t help but wonder how many who have murdered their children would have made another choice if an option such as this existed?  One?  Two?  Maybe all of them?

Making the choice to kill your child because caring for them has become too much has to be the most extreme form of selfishness imaginable.  With that final violent act the person is saying no one on this entire earth is capable of caring for their child.  That no one else could possibly have the solution to a what they as an individual consider insurmountable.

They’re wrong.

There is always a better, safer option.

Perhaps this unfortunate event which has hit so close to home for those of us in our community will be a catalyst for major changes ahead?  I don’t know what the first steps are to changing and/or proposing new laws.  But, I know there needs to be one.  I’m  going to start asking the hard questions and seeking out those who can help me answer them.

I want to see a Safe Surrender Law.

I think you would all agree our community needs this. The children need this.  Their caregivers need this.

Issy needed this.

God, please join me in making this happen.

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A letter to my sons' neurotypical friends

A letter to my sons’ neurotypical friends

Dear friends,

Please don’t ever change.

At lunch time you ask to sit with Sam and you bring your joke books from home because you know he’ll laugh even when he doesn’t get the punchline.

You play chase with Noah on the playground even though he’s the only one being chased and you always have to be “it”.

During science and social studies you applaud Sam when he raises his hands and answers one of the teachers questions.  When he does the same for you you don’t get embarrassed and tell your friends you wish he’d stop.

You don’t mind that Noah’s idea of playing is asking for “tickles” and “squeezes”.

When you see Sam in the hallway you put your hand up for a high-five and you really want him to give you one.

You ask questions about my sons that are simple and direct and yet kind.  Better yet, you really want to know the answers.

When Sam perserveates on the subject of musical instruments or breaks out in a beat-box routine you join right in and don’t mind that what you wanted to talk about never gets mentioned.

I hope you know how much your friendships mean to Sam and Noah.  Even though they can’t express their gratitude in words their devotion to you is evident in their actions.  I watch them scan the lunchroom and playground for you.  When you play together their personalities truly shine and I get a better look at who they are and who they will be as they grow up.

Fact is, you have no idea how much they will need your friendship in the coming years.

Right now being friends is easy.  Getting along and playing well together is part of growing up and what you may not realize is that as you enter middle and high school friendships become both stronger and harder to maintain.

Today the quirkiness you see in my boys is funny and it makes you laugh with them as you tell jokes, have tickle fights, and beat-box during recess.  But, in a few short years what was once okay may suddenly shift into something that has others around you laughing at them and you will have a very important choice to make.

You will have to choose to stand by my sons and embrace their unique differences or bow to the social pressures around you and shun them for it.

I hope that when that day comes you remember the fun you had with Sam during the school dances in elementary school.  How when you told a joke he was the first one to laugh and ask you to tell him another.

I hope you remember how cool it was when Noah sought you out on the playground and you chased him to and fro for so long that you both had to lay down on the cool grass and watch the wind blow through the trees to catch your breath.

I pray you have the compassion and the wherewithal to stand up for those who are so easily swept aside.  I hope you recognize those who have a tendency to bully others and that you make it your personal goal to ensure my sons are never victimized by them.

I cannot promise you that Sam and Noah’s interests will mature in sync with your own.  I can’t predict if their favorite movie will always be Madagascar or if they will be teenagers still blowing bubbles and beat-boxing to Yo Gabba Gabba tunes.

What I can promise you is that you will always be their favorite.  When they enter high school and they’re surrounded by new faces from different schools yours will be the one they seek out and find comfort in having with them.

When the time comes for school dances and football games your choice to include them within your circle of friends shows compassion and a level of maturity others will always be drawn towards, not against.

Please think long and hard about what it means to be kind.  Strive to think for yourself and not be influenced by others with promises of popularity and grandeur.  Choose to do the right thing.  Especially when someone’s feelings are at stake.

In closing, I want to say “Thank you” to each and every one of you that have befriended Sam and Noah this year.  I thank you for the laughs I have heard from Sam as he repeated the jokes you told him at lunch.  I thank you for the giggles I heard from Noah in the lunchroom as you tickled him on his hands.

I thank you most of all for not seeing what makes them different but for what you share in common.

Sincerely,

A mother of two special sons.

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Special Needs Ryan Gosling

Special Needs Ryan Gosling

We’ve all seen the hilarious new meme going around featuring random photos of the actor Ryan Gosling with the words, “Hey Girl” written on them.

Currently there is a Ryan Gosling on Homeschooling, Crafting, Feminism, Publishing, Museums, Libraries, Poly Sci, NPR, and even Home Birthing.

But as far as I know this right here that I am about to do is a first.

I present you with Special Needs Ryan Gosling.

Oh yes, I did.

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Of Tattoos and Ampersands

Of Tattoos and Ampersands

For over a year I have been itching to get a new tattoo.  I wanted to get my boys’ names but I couldn’t decide where on my body to do it and picking a font I loved seemed nearly impossible.

And then I saw this picture on Pinterest and I knew I had answered both questions at once.

So on Friday night I picked up my friend Nic and we made the trek into the District to visit the awesome Jinx Proof tattoo studio.

I paid my money, proofed the artwork the artist had done freehand and before I knew it I was laying down on the table and giving my left arm over to the names of the two people who have shaped the woman and the mother I am today.

The artist asked me why I had chosen such a prominent place to put my tattoo and so I told him the story of my boys and I.   I explained to him about how my boys are such a profoundly huge part of who I am, about their shared diagnosis of autism, and how I feel like we’re the three musketeers taking on the world one day at a time.  I remember saying that Sam and Noah are two halves of my heart walking around outside my body and for the rest of my life they will be one with me.

And then he told me he wanted to shake my hand.

And so he did.

It wasn’t until I got home that night and took the bandage off my arm that I realized their was a wee bit of a problem with my new ink.

Can you see it?

Wanna hint?

The ampersand that should have been between Samuel and Noah’s names was backwards.  Instead it looks like a cursive “S”.

And then it hit me.

He didn’t mess it up.  Arguably I messed up by proofing it and not catching the error before it was tattooed onto my arm.

But deep down I don’t think it was an error on anyone’s part.

I do believe that cursive “S” is there because it was meant to be there.  Fate intervened and duped both the tattoo artist and me into never noticing it.

My first name, as most of you know, is Sunday.  So if you look at it from this point of view it makes a lot of sense.

I will always and forever be linked with both Samuel & Noah.  Truly I cannot see a day when I will not be standing between the two of them, holding their hands, and leading them through the years to come.

So, its rather fitting that my first initial is seated firmly, and permanently between the two of them.

And I rather like it that way.

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If we are what we eat I should be dead

If we are what we eat I should be dead.

On Sunday night I watched the documentary Food Inc. for the first time. To say it was enlightening would be an understatement.

I have always been the type of consumer who has blind faith in my government and its agencies.  I believed that if a product is sold, whether it is a medicine or a food item, it has been tested and proven to be safe for consumption.

I could not be more wrong.

Instead it seems the only people the government is looking out for is the large corporations and their interest in making more money faster, easier, and at the expense of our health.

Don’t believe me?  Watch Food, Inc. for yourself and make your own decision.

I know I have.

Its not going to be easy….or cheap.  But, from here on our when my family eats meat its going to come from a certified organic farm with free-range, forage-only, animals for our beef, pork, and poultry.  If this means we eat 1/4 of the meat we used to then so be it.

Our fruits and vegetables?  Those are going to come from local organic farms and I’ll travel a bit further to shop at local farmers’ markets.

Eggs, milk, and cheese?  Same story.

I can’t help but think that this way of eating is the best choice for our family.  Many years ago I used to bake my own bread from scratch every week and while labor intensive I was sure of exactly what went into it and most importantly…what did not.

These choices are not altogether radical to me.  For quite some time I have held this dream of someday living more simply.  Ideally someday I would love to have a home “off the grid”.  While it is somewhat out of the ordinary here in Maryland it is quite commonplace in the Northeast and also in Colorado where I lived for seven years when I was younger.

Solar is sexy!

Living off the grid consists of living self-sufficient thanks to solar, wind, or hydro-power which allows you to remove your home from one or all public utilities.  Imagine the power going out due to a thunderstorm or a blizzard?  You’d still be toasty warm and with electricity power thanks to your solar panels, wind turbine, or a water wheel.

Right now its something of a pipe dream.  Its not cheap to build an ecological house and its nearly impossible to do so where I am living right now.  Still, its something I want for myself, my children, and my planet and so I’ll hold tight to it and take baby steps to making it happen.

But starting today I can make a real difference in my life and that of my family by changing the things I put on our dinner table….and I plan to do just that.

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I'm losing weight but not my mind

I’m losing weight but not my mind

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who left comments on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter last week after I wrote this post. I wasn’t in a very good place and I was overwhelmed, lonely, and stressed. Your words of support and validation really made me feel less alone in this crazy world of raising children with special needs.

Thankfully, today I have some good news to share with all of you to balance things out a bit.

A little over 2 weeks ago I reached an impasse with myself.  I had hit an all time low punctuated by a vicious pattern of self loathing that I just couldn’t live with anymore.  I was self-medicating with food and alcohol and together those two vices had landed me a good forty pounds overweight.  Every day I would wake up promising myself I wouldn’t eat & drink my feelings and my loneliness away.  And every night I would go to bed a failure hating myself.

For those of you wondering I am 5’9″ and have a larger frame than most women.  
A healthy weight for me is 160 pounds.

That look I am making?  That would be called disgust.
Also, clean your damn mirror woman!

Then I read my friend Veronica’s blog and heard about a not-so radical eating plan she had researched and had found success in.  Its called the 17 Day Diet and when I first read the title I was not impressed.  I really thought it was just another “fad” diet that required you to eat six grapefruits and drink 120 oz. of cabbage water per day for six months.  Been there, done that, not doing it again.

I did some research on my own and found that the diet had been endorsed by quite a few professionals, including the doctors on the show by the same name.  But, I still wasn’t sold.  So, I bought the 17 day diet book from Amazon for my Kindle and figured I’d give it a couple hours of time and see what it said.

And that is when I knew it wasn’t just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

The plan is pretty damn simple.  There are 3 stages and each stage is split up by 17 days.  The first stage is the most regimented and requires you to cut out  carbs, processed sugar, alcohol, soft drinks and many of the overly sweet fruits.  It is very rich in low proteins (such as chicken and turkey breast, pork tenderloin, and fish/ seafood) and lots of vegetables (but not those heavy in starch, such as potatoes, peas, lima beans, etc).  Its important that each day you eat at least one serving of  yogurt high in beneficial bacteria and two servings of low sugar fruit (such as berries, apples, or peaches).  To some this may sound extreme but to me it just sounded healthy.  It sounded like the way we are supposed to be eating, but in my case, seldom did.

In the first 7 days I lost 9.7 pounds!  And lest you think that was all water weight I know for a fact it wasn’t because I was drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day and I wasn’t living in the bathroom.

Today, is my last day in Phase 1 and I have lost 15 pounds.

15!

This is including the dinner I had on Father’s Day at Bonefish Grill which was in no way whatsoever friendly to any of the rules of the 17 day diet.  I totally blew that day out of the water but the very next day I was back on track.

I already feel more confident and positive.  Last week I took more pictures of myself then I think I have taken in the past two years combined.

Here are a couple:

I really like these pictures.  In each of them I look hopeful.  I look patient.

I think that is because I am.  Because I know I’m worth it.

I still have at least 30 pounds to go and 2 more phases to complete but I am confident that the positive vibes I have been getting from stepping on the scale and watching the numbers fall and the clothing I couldn’t wear one month ago that is now starting to sag with keep me on track towards reaching my goal.

And what is my goal you may ask?

I can tell quite matter of factly that it is not a specific number on the scale.  It is a dream I have held for a very long time.  Its a state of mind and a presence of person that will tell me when I have finally made it where I want to be.

And this is it:

I want to be able to walk into my favorite store and buy an article of clothing and have it FIT!  I adore Anthropologie and their clothing is whimsical, romantic, and entirely too damn small for a gal my size.

But I aim to fix that and I have never been one to back down on something I am passionate committed to finishing.

So, I’ll keep you all posted on how I am doing and hopefully by Christmas this Mama will be rockin a sweet little cocktail dress from her favorite store.

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