Friday, January 30, 2015
Goodness, I almost let January slip by without offering a giveaway! Now I should have done this one earlier because I know many of you already have a copy, but if you don't, I'd love to give one of you a copy of this new special issue from Victoria Classics, Tea Pleasures.
If you'd like to be entered to win, just leave an "Enter me" comment to this post between now and 7 a.m. Monday, February 2. (U.S. and Canada only, please.) Good luck!
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Menghai Golden Buds Tribute Ripened Puerh Cake 2009. The package said to brew it at 212 degrees for 3-10 minutes, and I opted for the 3 minutes. I loved the extra earthy taste of this puerh. I like the flavor of puerh anyway, but this one had a richness to it that I especially enjoyed. Later, I tried the pyramid tea bag containing Ripened Loose Puerh, and I noted it said to steep it at 212 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes. Okay, I thought. We'll see … But you know, after 9 minutes I had a tea that looked as dark as coffee and another great, earthy tasting puerh, not oversteeped and not bitter at all. I still consider myself quite a puerh novice and haven't yet developed my palate enough to call these teas anything but "earthy," but I do recommend trying any tea at least once. These teas are very different from my usual flavored teas, but it's nice to shake things up once in a while, and I'm grateful Teavivre allows me to do just that!
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I was looking up some interior design articles online when I happened upon a real estate listing in Washington state that caught my eye. It was for this $26.8 million home on Mercer Island, Washington. It's huge and gorgeous, naturally, but what most intrigued me was the next to the last line in the description: "Scone and tea room by the putting green." Now that's a luxury I could live with!
If you click here you can see the gallery of photos, but unfortunately the individual photos are not labeled. Now I am quite eager to know which one is the scone and tea room. It's the one "by the putting green," but I see lots of photos that I suppose could be by a putting green. (Any golfers reading today?) I'm guessing it's one of those pretty white rooms, but I don't see teawares or tea-themed art in any of the rooms to help me out here. Your thoughts?
Please let me know if you figure it out. Or if you decide to buy the house!
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
I think I see a pattern here. On Sunday afternoons, I like to make a sweet treat to enjoy while watching "Downton Abbey" later in the evening. This week, I saw I had an extra bag of cranberries left over from holiday baking, so I looked online for a simple cranberry muffin recipe. I found one from Ocean Spray here, and I liked the fact it included blueberries as well.
But naturally I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit. I used fresh cranberries instead of dried, I flavored the milk with a berry-flavored tea, and I added slivered almonds. The result was exactly what I was hoping for, and it couldn't have been any easier to whip up. I think even Mrs. Patmore would be pleased with the delicious results!
Double Berry & Almond Tea Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar, divided use
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 berry flavor tea bags (I used Celestial Seasonings' Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, chopped in half
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Heat milk for 2 minutes in microwave (or boil on stovetop), add berry flavor tea bags, and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags, then combine egg, milk and oil in small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Add cranberries, blueberries and almonds. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until brown around the edges. Yields 12 muffins.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Thursday, January 22, 2015
here if you want to read about these teas.) The new bottled Guayusa teas are from the Simple Truth line of organic products at Kroger, and I decided to try both the Lime and Guava flavors.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Monday, January 19, 2015
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Put a Lid On It
It’s another snowy morning here in Cleveland, Ohio, as good a time as any to sort through that box of stuff that belonged to Grandma Prescott. I’m still unsure why Mom gave it to me. There are some old letters Grandpa wrote to Grandma during World War II. We’re lucky Grandpa came back since so many men didn’t. Think I’ll set those letters aside to read this afternoon.
Here’s one of those cardinal figurines Grandma used to collect. She did love her pretty red birds.
What’s in this old pillowcase? I don’t remember seeing this when Mom gave me the box. A tarnished silver teapot. Hmm. The lid doesn’t come off. Oh, it’s got a hinge. Guess you’ll never misplace the lid that way. What does it say on the bottom? “The Heery Brothers Tea Room.” Hey, that’s the old tea room where Grandma worked when she first met Grandpa. Or at least I think that’s what Mom always said. I’ll have to ask her about that next time we talk.
I wonder why Grandma kept this old teapot?
* * *
Alice Fay Davidson loved her job at the Heery Brothers Department Store Tea Room in Cleveland. She’d worked there a year now, hired the same week she graduated from high school in 1942.
Heery Brothers was Cleveland’s most upscale department store. Women were eager to work there for many reasons, not least of which was the employee discount. Alice liked knowing she could always afford a new scarf or blouse each payday, proudly taking each new purchase home in one of the store’s famous shopping bags with salmon-colored geraniums on them.
The other reason Alice enjoyed her job was that like most 19-year-old women, she was eager to get married and start a family, and a lot of handsome men shopped at Heery’s. She had dated the boys in high school, but that was the problem—they were just boys. Alice was looking for a man.
One Wednesday afternoon, some time between taking Cobb Salads to two ladies at Table Three and delivering the check to a mother and toddler at Table One, Alice saw a man at Table Four who nearly made her drop her order pad. She was about to place it back in her apron pocket when she glanced up and saw the man in uniform boldly watching her. He didn’t even try to hide his interest.
Alice quickly looked away, but she couldn’t forget that face. Those eyes.
She headed to the kitchen to pick up another order, and when she got there, Blanche Monroe, the manager, whistled at her.
“What’s that for?” Alice asked.
“Don’t pretend you didn’t notice the good-looking Air Force guy at Table Four,” Blanche said. “We all think he looks like a young Nelson Eddy. You should go after him.”
Alice laughed. “Don’t be silly. Men like that have more girls than they can shake a stick at. I think he just wants a hot meal, that’s all.”
“Sure,” Blanche said. “If you say so.”
Alice had to admit the man was good-looking. She composed herself before going over to take his order.
“Hi, I’m Alice.” A blush rose on her cheeks. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“I’ll have a small pot of tea,” he said. “By the way, I’m Frank Prescott.”
“We don’t usually have men order tea here,” Alice said. “Most men order coffee.”
“My mother was British, so I grew up drinking tea,” Frank said. “Old habits die hard.”
“Well, that explains it then,” Alice said, smiling a little more than she meant to. “I’ll be right back with your tea.”
Filling one of the small silver teapots in the kitchen, Alice was grilled by Blanche and her fellow waitresses.
“What did he say?”
“What’s his name?”
“Where’s he from?”
But Alice didn’t have time to waste. She took Frank’s tea to his table and poured him a cup before taking his lunch order of Almond Rarebit, a popular cheese and toast dish. No one joined him for lunch, and when she took him the check at the completion of his meal, he was extra friendly, telling her he was in town on business from Wright Field over in Dayton.
“How long have you worked here?” Frank asked.
“A year. I couldn’t decide whether to go to secretarial school or not, so I thought working here would help me earn some money while I decide where I want to go in life.”
“I’ve got an idea of where you can go,” Frank said, his blue eyes twinkling.
“Yes, there’s a great new band playing over at the country club Friday night, and I’m invited and can bring a date. I think we’d have a swell time. Unless …”
“Unless you’ve got a fellow.”
“No, I don’t,” Alice said. “And thanks. I’d like that.”
Frank pulled out a small notepad and pen. He asked Alice for her phone number and address and said he’d see her at seven p.m. Friday.
“It was nice meeting you,” she said as he rose to leave. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw two of the waitresses watching them.
“You too, Alice. And by the way, that’s some of the best tea I’ve ever had. You make it nice and strong here, just like my mother always did. Or maybe you’ve got a magic teapot. Is that it?”
“Could be,” Alice said. “You’ll have to come back and try it again another day.”
Blanche, who had suddenly decided she needed to refresh the flowers on Table One, overheard the whole conversation.
“Give me that teapot,” she told Alice once Frank left.
“I’m putting it up on the shelf and saving it for your wedding gift. You’re going to marry that man.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Blanche. You can’t know something like that.”
“Just hand me the teapot and put a lid on it, will you?
Friday, January 16, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
this quilt a try!