Saturday, February 27, 2010

Take the Tea Test

When was tea discovered?  What country consumes the most tea per capita?  What three countries produce most of the tea consumed in the United States?  Find the answers to these and many more tea questions.

Teapot from German

Click here for a fun way to test your tea knowledge.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Silicone Tea Infusers

Every once in a while I receive a bunch of catalogs from a new Avon representative trying to drum up business in the neighborhood.  The last product I ordered was a lipstick from a rep who is no longer selling Avon.  I did look through the latest batch of catalogs and was surprised to see a couple of tea related products.

Avon tea infusers

These silicone tea infusers were new to me.  I have several silicone tools that I really like.  My favorite is a silicone coated whisk that I use when making lemon curd – no weird flavor transfer like you get with some metal whisks.

The infuser is 7 1/2 inches long with a 4 inch diameter lid.  You can use the lid to help keep your tea hot while it brews.  It is dishwasher and microwave safe and I think it looks cute.

Avon glass tea pot

They also offer a teapot with a built in infuser.  It holds 29 ounces and is made of tempered glass and stainless steel.  I like the shape of this teapot.

Both these items are reasonably priced.  From now on I’ll be looking for more tea products to appear in the Avon catalogs.  If anyone has tried the silicone infusers or the teapot, I’d like to hear what you thought of them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Truffles & Tea

Harry and David makes the most incredible “gingerbread truffle secrets” chocolates. 

P2221204 They are a smooth creamy chocolate truffle with a little bite of gingerbread cookie covered with white chocolate hidden in the center.  They are so good with a cup of hot black tea.


Thank goodness I finished the box this afternoon.  They are a seasonal item so I don’t think they have them at my local Harry and David store anymore.  I picked up my box at Marshalls as an after Christmas bargain treat.

It is rather shocking to see how much fat and calories each piece contains.  I’ve been working hard at the gym five days a week and I don’t think gingerbread truffles fit into my bone density health makeover.  But I’m secretly hoping that they will be available once again for Christmas 2010.

Speaking of the gym, I went to my Zumba class this morning.  It is such fun and surely wriggling your hips around that much must build bone density, right?  Have any of you tried this Latin dance aerobic fitness yet?  It is quickly becoming a worldwide craze, with Zumba fitness centers opening in most major cities.  It burns calories and strengthens the core, but more importantly – it’s fun.   

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lidless Teapots

It won’t be long before yard sales start popping up in the neighborhood.  When you see a pretty teapot that is missing its lid, do you pass it by?


This one cost me 50 cents.  It is “Nature Garden Society” fine china by Enesco Japan.   A friend put this arrangement together in a few minutes with some old leftover silk flowers.  I like the way she made the most of the materials by using pieces of the stem in the arrangement.

So I’ll be keeping my eyes open for lidless teapots and cups without saucers.  There are a few other crafTea ideas that I’d like to try.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vintage Teacups Clock

I’m always clearing out magazines to make room for new issues.  Of course, I leaf through them to see if there are any pictures or articles that need to be clipped before passing them along.  Look what I found in a Country Living magazine from 2008.

P2161212Isn’t this a fabulous wall clock?   It is a large piece (5” x 30” diameter) featuring vintage teacups.  Since it was a limited edition of 500, you will probably only find it on resale sites.  This was part of the U+ Design Collection from Umbra.  They have some other very interesting clocks, such as one made with men’s neckties. 

Wouldn’t it be great to fashion a similar piece, perhaps with a lightweight tabletop as a base.  I’m not sure that I’d want to use vintage cups, unless they had slight cracks or small chips that wouldn’t affect their use in this wall art.

It would certainly make an impressive focal point on a large dining or breakfast room wall and I think it would make me feel delighted every time I saw it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

English Breakfast Tea

tea label

English Breakfast black tea is one of the most popular blends.  It usually contains Assam and Keemun teas.  Both of these Indian and Chinese teas are good on their own, but together they make a delicious blend.  I like the brisk flavor and dark coppery color.  It is perfect to accompany a meal and takes a splash of milk quite well. 

This tea originated in Scotland and was sold by Drysdale tea merchants and simply called Breakfast tea.  Queen Victoria, who often spent time in Scotland with Prince Albert at Balmoral estate, developed a taste for this tea.  It soon made its way to London, where the name was changed to English Breakfast tea.

I’m still trying to drink more green teas, but I always start my day with a robust black tea, preferably one like English Breakfast that contains Assam.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thai Coconut Curry Culinary Broth

Since the weather continues cold and wet today, I decided to make some Thai soup with a new product from College Inn – Thai Coconut Curry culinary broth.  It doesn’t fit exactly into the vegetarian category (it is a chicken based broth), but I didn’t add any chicken meat to the soup and added extra veggies.  You can have this soup on the table in less than a half hour.P2061217 The broth is flavorful to begin with, but with the addition of veggies, fresh ginger and curry powder it is delicious.  It was easy to find the light coconut milk at Publix – they had Thai Kitchen brand.  The only thing I altered was the amount of veggies and I left out the red pepper flakes.P2061219This was so simple to prepare, especially since I used my Pampered Chef chopper on the veggies – very fast.  I really liked the vermicelli noodles in the soup. P2061216 Seriously, this soup is delicious – much better than it looks in the picture.  In fact, it was so yummy I couldn’t stop at just one bowl,  so now I guess it’s salad and fruit for dinner. 

I also picked up a carton of College Inn White Wine & Herb culinary broth.  It comes with a recipe for Vegetable Risotto that also sounds good and only takes about 35 minutes to prepare.

Has anyone else tried these culinary broths?  They sure are a great time saver.  For some other recipes and product information check out their site here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


It is interesting to see what little snippet of tea information I’ll learn each day from my Tea calendar.  Did you know that Josiah Wedgwood’s introduction of cream-colored earthenware was of great benefit to Britain’s tea drinkers.


It was first produced in 1763 and with its superior texture, beauty and durability, it soon became an important domestic item.  At that time most British porcelain would crack on contact with hot water.  This new earthenware solved that problem and further enhanced the growing popularity of tea drinking.

The Wedgwood cup and saucer above is Queen’s Ware in the Edme pattern.  In 1765 Josiah sold cream colored earthenware to Queen Charlotte and called this pottery created for royalty – Queen’s Ware.  I’m so glad that, thanks to Josiah Wedgwood, I never have to worry when pouring hot tea into my pretty cups.

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