Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mexico vacation

aerial of HTR

We’re leaving tomorrow for our trip to Mexico.  The resort we chose sits on 326 acres and is a beautiful nature park near Playa del Carmen.   


The Hacienda Tres Rios looks like a wonderful place.    There are pristine cenotes and rivers for kayaking and snorkeling, an equestrian center and a yacht club.

beach bedRelaxing on a beach bed with my Kindle sure sounds inviting.

hacienda-tres-rios-dining-experience-all-inclusive-150x150With gourmet cuisine at the resort’s restaurants (Mexican, Asian, Italian and more) including Café de Paris Patisserie and made to order brick oven pizza by the pool, it will be hard not to indulge too much.  There’s even afternoon tea each day.

The resort offers yoga and Pilates in their fitness center, two beautiful pools, as well as many outdoor activities – that should help us burn off some of those extra calories.

tres-rios-resort-pool-150x150The suites feature lovely native materials and Hacienda Tres Rios is very focused on sustaining the region’s  natural beauty and culture.

I’ll have much to share when we return Easter weekend.  See you then. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

eteaket–The Perfect Cuppa

Recently I received a package of teas from eteaket, a company that is new to me.  eteaket is based in Edinburgh at 41 Frederick Street.

The tea samples included Blooming Marvellous (flavored green tea), Bouteaque Jade Sword (green tea), Strawberries & Cream (fruit infusion), Bouteaque Blue Mist (black tea) and Chocolate Abyss (flavored black tea).  What great names and the tea itself is lovely to look at.


I know I’ll have very little time this week because of travel preparations, but I couldn’t resist trying the Chocolate Abyss blend right away.

P3253823What a lovely fragrance escaped from the bag when I opened it.  This blend does have a subtle chocolate flavor and a lovely smooth sweetness.  I usually don’t drink black tea without milk, but this was perfect without milk or sweetener. 


My hubby, the coffee drinker, was also impressed with this tea.  He said “this is good and it has a sweet taste”.  How could it not be yummy - it’s blended from quality black tea, real chocolate pieces, cocoa bits and coconut flakes.

Their website states “eteaket aims to rekindle Britain’s passion for tea”.  I sure wish that I could visit their Tea Boutique and Café in central Edinburgh where they serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.   


Meanwhile, I have four more teas to try - a cup of Strawberries & Cream at bedtime tonight sounds inviting. 

I hope to post more on my eteaket tea samples when I return from Mexico.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quilt Shop Hop

Last Thursday I spent a pleasant morning with a couple of friends visiting two of the quilt shops participating in The Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop – Quilts & Fixins and A Scarlet Thread.


I love to see all the bolts of colorful fabrics and all the wonderful patterns for quilts, clothing, tote bags, etc. 


It’s strange that there always seems to be an abundance of coffee theme fabrics, but few with a tea theme. 


The overall theme of the Shop Hop this year was A Day At The Fair.  Quilts & Fixins shop theme was Dog Show.  This cute quilt with the little Scottie dogs reminded me of my Mom.  When I was little and would ask her to draw a doggie, she’d always draw a Scottie.



A Scarlet Thread had the shop theme Midway Games.


The selection in the Bundle Mania was great.  It is really nice to buy a bundle of fabrics that all co-ordinate in color and pattern.


There were so many tempting patterns that I’d enjoy making for my little granddaughter.


This alphabet quilt was really cute.


Visiting these shops certainly makes me want to dust off my sewing machine and get busy. 


How about you – do you have any special sewing projects in the works this Spring?


This cheerful red teacup fabric was added to my stash.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Catechins in Green Tea

teacup with azalea

It’s wonderful to drive around the neighborhood and see the beautiful azalea bushes in bloom.  It really feels like spring now.

Today I was reading about catechins (antioxidants) in green tea and how they help protect against cancer.  Did you know that when you add lemon juice to tea you absorb 80 percent of the catechins, versus 20 percent in tea without lemon. - from Publix Greenwise Market magazine.  Next time I enjoy a cup of green tea I’ll be adding a slice of lemon.

It’s nice to know that a cup of green tea has more antioxidant effects than broccoli, spinach, carrots or strawberries and protects the body against free radical damage.

What better time than Spring to enjoy the delicate flavors of green tea.

green tea with teapot and tea leaves

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Tea

Did you know that the Irish have the highest per-capita consumption of tea in the world?  They like to drink it with sugar and lots of milk and it has to be strong.  That’s how I like mine, but minus the sugar.

There is an Irish saying that a good cuppa should be “strong enough for a mouse to trot on”. 


The most well known tea store in Ireland is Barry’s.  I’ve had this brand of tea and it is delicious.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to visit Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street in Dublin.  They have been in business since the 1840’s.


Today is a good day to bake a lovely loaf of Irish soda bread to enjoy with a robust cup of black tea.  I can already taste the warm thick slices spread with plenty of butter.

Irish Soda bread

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Coronation Chicken Tea Sandwiches


While reading about the upcoming Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in June 2012, I came across the mention of a recipe called Coronation Chicken. 

It’s always nice to find a new chicken salad recipe, that can also be used to fill sandwiches.  The most difficult part of this simple recipe was dicing all that chicken.  I think next time I’ll use the food processor and make a finer mixture.


Using limes and lime zest, instead of lemons, was different.  I also like chicken salad with curry, although I think I’d add a little more than 1 teaspoon next time.  The only brand of mango chutney I could find at Publix was Crosse & Blackwell – Major Grey’s Chutney.


This made a tasty filling for sandwiches, but I also think it would be delicious served as a salad over lettuce leaves.


Since I love fresh basil, I added some leaves between the filling and bread, instead of just using it as a garnish.  The recipe I used can be found at All Recipes UK.

In case you’re interested in the history of this recipe, it is credited to Constance Spry (florist) and Rosemary Hume (chef) who invented it for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  It may have been inspired by another recipe called Jubilee Chicken that was prepared for the silver jubilee of George V in 1935.


The tea was Yun Nan Dian Hong a black tea from Teavivre and it was delicious.  Mi-Del Swedish style ginger snaps are my go to dessert when I’m trying to behave and not go over the top with sweets.  I’m still recovering from my Belgium chocolate overdose, and it’s a good thing my hubby won’t be traveling there again for a while.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two-Tone Cheesecake

As I was looking through my Winter 2012 copy of Tea A Magazine (which is an excellent issue), I came across a recipe for Two-Tone Cheesecake.  This looks like the recipe my Mom made when I was growing up I thought.

P2173771 - Copy

I was sorry to find that I didn’t have the recipe written out by my Mom, but one that I’d typed out.  After checking both recipes, the only difference I could find was that my Mom used a little more crushed Graham crackers in her crust.

P2173772 - Copy

The cheesecake in the magazine photo looked delicious.  I decided to make it with my Mom’s recipe.

P2173768 - Copy

This is an easy recipe and goes together pretty quickly.  You do need some time for cooling in between baking the two layers.


I’ll serve the sliced cheesecake with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a nice hot cup of tea, of course.


Now I wonder what a tea sommelier would serve with this?  What kind of tea do you serve with cheesecake?

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