Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Senspiration: Mad about Mint

Sunday means it's time for a Senspiration! Over the past week I have been particularly excited about mint. Mint is an aromatic herb that grows quickly and spreads easily. It’s full of powerful antioxidants, and there are hundreds of mint varieties. According to www.organicfacts.net, mint has a slew of health benefits including stimulating proper digestion, relieving nausea and headaches, relaxing respiratory channels, clearing up congestion, cleansing and soothing skin, and promoting alertness (among others). 

I didn’t know about all of these benefits before writing this post. However, I have long enjoyed mint because of its multi-sensory appeal. I find both the scent and the taste of mint to be refreshing and relaxing, especially during the heat of summer. And, to me, it’s fascinating how it combines, often in surprising ways, with a variety of other scents and flavors. Each combination is delightfully different from the others. 

So I’ll share with you a few minty senspirations, starting with drinks: 


1. Watermelon-Strawberry-Mint Smoothies (above left) - I was looking for a way to use watermelon that is disappointingly not-so-tasty, or maybe the texture was off. This smoothie is a great solution. Freeze the watermelon, add a few strawberries and some fresh mint leaves, and blend. The watermelon that I didn't want to eat is suddenly delicious.

2. Blackberry Lemon Mint Cocktail Shrub by Heirloom Bottling Co. (above right) - @heirloombottling is a local St. Louis company that makes fine syrup mixers and cocktail shrubs. A shrub is a concentrated syrup made with fruit, vinegar, and sugar. Sometimes spices or herbs are also incorporated. You can use a small amount of the shrub to mix a drink. I like to keep it simple (and bubbly) and use this shrub with sparkling water. The mint is subtle but is definitely present and blends perfectly with the sweetness of blackberries and tartness of lemon and vinegar. Heirloom Bottling Co. sells their shrubs at farmers markets throughout the city and  also at some local shops, including one of my favorite Maplewood spots, Larder & Cupboard.  

3. Iced Green Tea with Lime and Mint (bottom pictures above) - For the ultimate thirst-quenching mint beverage, I brew green tea and refrigerate until cool, then add several mint leaves and squeeze 2-3 fresh limes. Any kind of green tea works, but I especially like Green Tea Tropical by @mightyleaf. I often take a big pitcher of this concoction to pool gatherings. The citrus, green tea, and mint means this drink is packed with antioxidants.


There are also a few bath products I love with some unique mint scent combinations. 

4. Eucalyptus Mint and Grapefruit Mint Soaps by SeedGeeks - @seedgeeks is another St. Louis company that sells at farmers markets. This heirloom seed company makes these all natural vegan soaps by hand. Using the Eucalyptus Mint is a sensory escape that makes me feel like I'm at a spa, and the Grapefruit Mint is an equally pleasant aroma, perfectly light and fruity. 

5. Lemon Mint Sugar Scrub by Apothecare Co. - This scrub is handcrafted by a good friend of mine here in St. Louis. Apothecare Co. is her line of artisan botanical skincare made with active natural ingredients, and it’s specifically formulated for sensitive skin. The lemony minty concoction is a wonderfully appropriate scent for exfoliating – it simply smells very clean in a way that is not at all overpowering. 

6. Coconut + Mint Cooling Mineral Mist  by @littlebarnapothecary – I mentioned this in my coconut post a few weeks ago, but it's worth mentioning again. Coconut and mint may sound like an odd combination, but the blend is light and fresh, and the mist creates such a nice cooling effect.


The unique finds at farmers' markets never end. One day when I was looking for fresh mint to buy, I came across another surprising mint treat at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market.

7. Sorrel Mint Pesto by Stuart James Specialties - Located in New Haven, MO, @SJMicrogreens grows their microgreens organically, and at the market they offer a dozen or so different pestos. In addition to micro sorrel and mint leaves, the ingredient list for this pesto incudes olive oil, parmesan, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Eaten on warm fresh bread, this pesto is a flavor explosion with a delicious hint of mint.
 


I also revel in the color, especially in summer time. I often have minty nail polish colors and accessories. 

8. Thanks a Windmillion by OPI - This darker shade of mint brightens my toes!


And of course, there’s the classic combination of mint and chocolate. 

9. Dove Mint & Dark Chocolate Swirl - There are plenty of great options, but this is my favorite. Not only is it creamy in texture and quite tasty, the chocolate itself has a beautiful swirled pattern, and you get the fun little bonus of a Dove Promise.

Do you have any mint products you'd recommend? What scents and tastes are you in the mood for this summer?

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