Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Travels & Matcha Tea Break

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.  We had all our kids, their spouses and grand kids here on Christmas Day.  Only our eldest grandson was not present.  We traveled to Vidalia, GA to visit with him on Christmas Eve.  We took him to Savannah for a little shopping and lunch.

It was great to see him, although I became ill the day before and spent most of our visit lying in the back seat of the car while they walked around River Street and when they had lunch at Olive Garden.  Seems to be a lot of it going around right now.  


One of my gifts from hubby was a matcha tea bowl and some organic Kenko matcha green tea.  


I already had a bamboo whisk and measuring utensil. I've found that it will take a little practice to master the whisking technique and the proper measure of tea for my taste.  It is very relaxing though, to sip from the bowl and know that I'm doing something positive for my health at the same time.  

Do any of you matcha drinkers have any tips on preparation or the tea itself?  One thing I forgot to do was sift the powder before adding water and I found it difficult to remove the lumps.  


Here are some good reasons to try matcha tea:

(as printed on the Kenko tin)  
- 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea
- boost your metabolism
- improve focus & clarity
- natural energy boost

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Drink Tea Campaign


The Tea Council of the USA, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of a #DrinkTea Campaign representing a consumer-friendly, business-friendly, social media-friendly approach to promoting the benefits of tea consumption in the USA.


You can read about the Drink Tea campaign here.




Monday, December 21, 2015

Downton Abbey article and wish list

I couldn’t resist asking Santa to bring me a couple of Downton Abbey items this Christmas.

This t-shirt featuring a quote from the Dowager Countess is one of my favorite items available at the PBS store. My list also includes a couple of the Downton tea blends. Do you have any Downton Abbey items on your Christmas list? 

If you are a fan of the much loved Downton Abbey television series, be sure to check out Barb's Tea Shop blog and her terrific article "A Visit To The Real Downton Abbey" published in the January/February 2016 issue of Tea Time Magazine.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Preparations

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m getting nowhere fast with my Christmas preparations.  The only decorations in place are on my fireplace mantle.  I don’t even have my trees up yet. 

I did find an easy eggnog pound cake recipe on Pinterest and thought it might save some time.  Plus, I love eggnog and freshly grated nutmeg.  I seem to use nutmeg a lot more at this time of year.  You might like this interesting video about spices and nutmeg in particular.  Not sure if I’d drink the punch after one hunting party host tasted it and then stuck the ladle back in the punch bowl.

You can find it on You Tube - Nutmeg: Natures Perfect Package - The Spice of Life - BBC 1983 series

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You can find the eggnog cake recipe on my Christmas board at Pinterest (see link on side bar).  It was quick and easy to put together with a boxed pound cake mix, organic eggnog, eggs and freshly grated nutmeg.

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I was ready for a little tea break after a morning of baking, cleaning and wrapping presents.  The cake is quite good, although I over baked it by a few minutes (I think my oven is running too hot).  It would make a lovely Christmas party dessert served with peppermint ice cream or some hot spiced fruit.

Tower of London tea blend

Every Christmas I treat myself to a tin of Harney & Sons Tower of London Blend tea.  This black tea has the most wonderful fragrance. It is blended with pieces of dried stone fruit and oil of bergamot and honey.  You can order it online at Harney & Sons or Amazon.

Do you have a favorite tea that you enjoy at Christmas?  I know several of you like Candy Cane Lane tea by Celestial Seasonings.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

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As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  JFK 

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pretty Tea Towel and Minions

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Happened to see this pretty Laura Ashley tea towel at Kohl’s recently.  The $9.99 price was a little steep, but with Kohl’s cash and a 30% discount, the check out price was a more reasonable $2.98. 

Also, I found several items for my little granddaughter who happens to love Minions.  She wanted to dress up as a Minion for Halloween, but Mom couldn’t find a costume in her size, so they did the next best thing and dressed as Minions to take her out for trick or treat. 

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Kaleigh was happy with her Minnie Mouse costume.

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Minion tea

This is one Minion that I can relate to, especially in the morning. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Christmas Books 2015

Because my burgeoning collection of Christmas books is taking up way too much space, I’m trying to cut down on new purchases.  Although, there is always at least one that I can’t resist.

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This Teatime Holidays book (a Hoffman Media Publication)  is just packed with beautiful photos, recipes and decorating ideas.  There is even a handy tea steeping guide with basic guidelines for brewing the perfect infusion.

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There are so many scone recipes that I’d love to try – onion poppy seed, apricot white chocolate, pistachio cream, candied fruit (my pick for Christmas morning), coconut orange, white chocolate peppermint (above) and more. 

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These cinnamon date scones look seriously yummy.

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There is even a recipe for pistachio French macarons.   There are lots of recipes for savories as well.  I thought the lobster cheesecakes and beef wellington canap├ęs looked very appealing.

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Oh yes, I know I’m going to enjoy this book.  It was available at Sam's Club with a 30%  magazine discount.

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I also picked up this book at Kohl’s.  It is only $5 and 100% of the net profit is donated to support kid’s health and education initiatives in communities nationwide.  It was also a good pick with lots of recipes, crafts and gift ideas.

I’d love to hear about the Christmas publications that you all added to your collection this year. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Travels in Mexico, Canada and Florida

It’s hard to believe that it is already November.  Some of you may have noticed that I have been MIA on my blog for several months.  I’ll not make any excuses or offer an explanation, but just hope that things will get much better from this point in time. 

Since April I’ve traveled to Mexico, Canada and Orlando.

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The Grand Bahia Principe Coba was a lovely resort, with lots of dining choices, a nice beach and lovely accommodations.  It is an extremely large resort and I was thankful that we had Privilege Club transportation to shuttle us to and from some of the restaurants and the beach.  One of my favorite activities was snorkeling with the sea turtles in Akumal. 

P5130118  There was always lot of entertainment options and beautiful landscaping around the resort, which enhanced the long walk from our room to the main lobby.

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My trip to visit family in Canada this summer was even more special, since I was able to meet the newest member of our family, Christopher, and spend over a week at my brother’s summer home with my sister (above), eldest brother and sister-in-law.

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Our family trip to Orlando in October was great and we had all our children, their spouses and grandchildren with us.  We were only missing our daughter-in-law and our eldest grandson Christian (who is away at a private school in Vidalia).  My favorite day trip was Discovery Cove.  We snorkeled, swam with the dolphins, fed the birds in the aviary, traveled the lazy river, saw the marmosets, ate, drank and had a blast. 

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I’d highly recommend renting from Contempo Homes in Davenport, FL.  We had a five bedroom, fully equipped home with a private backyard pool – plenty of room for everyone.  It was a good home base for trips to Sea World, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens.

I haven’t forgotten about the TEA in Tea and Talk.  I’ve watched several interesting tea related videos lately.  Hope I can share them with you and visit all my favorite blogs soon.

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tradewinds – St. Pete’s Beach, FL

We spent a week in March at the Tradewinds Island Grand resort in St. Pete’s Beach, FL.  This was our first trip to that area of Florida and I’d definitely recommend this resort to anyone looking for a fun Florida getaway.

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What a treat to look out the windows of our room and have this view of the beach.  Our unit was like having two rooms with one side having a kitchenette, dining area and two queen beds and the other side having a kitchenette, dining area and living room. 

There were several nice restaurants on the property.  My favorite dinner was at the Guy Harvey RumFish Grill just down the beach at the Guy Harvey Outpost resort.

The main attraction at RumFish is a 33,500 gallon aquarium that fills an entire wall of the room.  It is filled with many of the fish that are found in Florida gulf waters.  The giant tank was built by Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Animal Planet’s hit series “Tanked” and was featured in an hour-long episode on May 16.

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Our dinners were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the RumFish bouillabaisse.  It was filled with lobster, scallops, mahi, and P.E.I. mussels all in a tomato saffron broth.

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Our waiter said that the big green eel that resides in the tank is affectionately know as Frankie.  I think I’ll pass on the restaurant “Swim with the Fishes” program.  ☺

There was also a shop that sold Guy Harvey art, clothing, jewelry, etc.  Of course I had to purchase a t-shirt and a Tervis cup, both with his favorite sailfish motif.

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I actually joined hubby in trying out the High Tide Slide. ☺ We both think that a return visit to the Tradewinds will be in our near future.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Soap With Tea Leaves

Seems like a lot of us tea enthusiasts are on the lookout for new products using tea.  My latest find is Fresh Lime Massage Bath Soap.

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The packaging is pretty and the soap has a lovely fresh citrus scent.

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You can see the bits of tea leaves all through this extra large (10 1/2 ounce) bath bar.

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The soap lathers well, is gentler on the skin than I thought it would be and you can smell a hint of lime.  The only negative for me is the awkwardness of holding such a large bath bar, but that will be temporary.  ☺ 

This soap is made by CST Fall River in the USA.  I found mine at Marshalls, but you can also find this brand on Amazon.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Page-A-Day Digital Calendar

In a previous post I told you about my Downton Abbey Page-A-Day calendar.  Since then I’ve been thoroughly enjoying all the Downton photos, quotes and 1920s trivia. 

My favorites are quotes from the Dowager Countess.  I particularly like this one from the new season (not the calendar) “A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears”.  Mary really deserved that piece of advice.   ☺

pink macaronsMy Downton Abbey desk calendar came with a perk, a free digital calendar.  I chose 365 Days in France.  I look forward to seeing some wonderful scenery, architecture or foods of France each day. 

After seeing todays photo of the lovely pink macarons, I’m more determined than ever to find a baker in my area that makes these delicious treats. 

The calendar page today stated “Traditional French macarons are made from almond flour and whipped egg whites—plus an array of delicious flavorings like rose and coconut. The delicate treats were created in the town of Nancy.” 

If you’d like to check out what subjects are available in Page-A-Day calendars you can visit their website here - (and they’re on sale!). 

 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teavivre–Tea For Life

I’m always excited when my mail includes a box of tea from Teavivre.  I know that there will be some excellent new teas to sample.  I really like how the tea is packaged for optimum freshness.  The detailed information on where the tea is grown, processed and the proper water temperature and steep time is great. 

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This shipment included some Pu-erh and black teas. 

The company website contains so much valuable information on the different types of tea, as well as interesting pictures and videos.  If you look under Pu-erh tea, you will see: 

“ A unique form of tea, named after the town of Pu Er in
Yunnan province, that has a completely different processing
method,and usually taste, to other teas. Made from a broadleaf
variety of the tea grown in Yunnan, it is initially processed like a
green tea. However things then change radically! The dried tea is
then aged in a dark location – often for many years. During this time
the tea undergoes a form oxidation caused by the growth of yeast on the tea – in just the same way that wine is produced. Though the tea appears like a black tea, this secondary oxidation produces a tea
that has an absolutely unique taste. When done right – again just
like wines – it results in a tea that has an amazing bold, strong
taste and aroma!”

I sampled the Yunnan Palace Ripened Pu-erh Loose Tea 2005 first.  It is made from Yunnan large leaf tea trees.  It is mentioned that these trees are up to 100 years old!  I’m a Pu-erh newbie and have not tasted very many of these teas, but I found this particular one to be very smooth and it had a rich dark liquor.  I appreciated that the flavor was not extremely earthy, which is a characteristic that, for me, is an acquired taste.

For my morning tea, I sampled Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea.

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Look at all those lovely golden tips.  The brew was refreshing and mellow, with just a little astringency.  I added a splash of milk, but I will try it without next time.  This was a very nice tea to start off a day of tea drinking.

I’m definitely looking forward to tasting the other tea samples, including Superfine Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea, Fengquing Ripened Tribute Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 and Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Wild Tree Black Tea. 

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Check out this terrific tea retailer website for yourself here.

 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

PUGG Teapot

The latest addition to my teapot collection is a 24 ounce Pugg teapot by Tea Forte.  I was looking for a small versatile teapot and this pretty little “Cherry Blossoms” pot seemed to be just right.

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This teapot includes a stainless steel infuser basket for loose tea and an interesting removable stainless steel lid.  I read somewhere that you can take the lid off and put the ceramic pot in the dishwasher.

IMG_1575The large loop handle is great and easy to get a good grip on when pouring tea or rinsing out the pot.

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I like being able to take the infuser out in the morning when I mostly use tea bags, and then replace it in the afternoon for my loose tea.  My only complaint would be how this pretty teapot pours.  It seems that whether I pour my tea quickly or slowly, the spout dribbles tea – maybe because of the unusual narrow shape. 

So, I guess I’d recommend this teapot.  You can check out the other pretty colors and patterns on the Tea Forte link above.  And for those of you who love yellow – that pot is $10 off today.  ☺

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Downton Abbey Calendar

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Don’t you just love a gift that can be enjoyed all through the New Year?  To go along with the excitement of a new season of Downton Abbey on GPB, I have a new Page-A-Day Calendar.

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This calendar is filled with wonderful photos, history of the times and quotes by the characters.  There are some great quotes by the Dowager Countess – she cracks me up.

My favorite wall calendar is The Collectible Teapot & Tea Calendar, which I’ve been purchasing every year since 1998.  It’s amazing to me that this calendar has featured so many gorgeous teapots for so many years.  How about you – do you have a favorite that you purchase year after year?

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