Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Oh, it's time for the topic that I'm most eager to see!

January 22 – 31 Please share a favorite tea snack, especially if it is a treasured recipe!

Since I drink tea all day, I don't really have snacks I associate with tea. However, I do like to start my Saturdays with tea and some muffins or scones. My favorite recipe right now is a two ingredient muffin. Just grab your favorite box of cake mix and add a 16 ounce can of pumpkin. The hardest part is stirring in all that dry powder into the pumpkin. Then, fill 12 muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees (F) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, around 20 - 25 minutes.

I've tried chocolate cake mix and yellow cake mix, but my favorite is spice cake mix. Tastes like pumpkin pie, as you might imagine.

What is your favorite tea snack? I'd love the recipe.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get your fix!

Almost on time...

January 15 – 21 Do you have a favorite tea source? Do you shop online or in a local store?

I sure do! Harney & Sons is one of them. They were my first source for loose tea, and I'm a loyal shopper, so that's still where I go first. I'm accustomed to their way of defining the assorted qualities (briskness, body, aroma) in a blend, and I know I can trust their quality. They do offer each tea in bags as well.
Locally, there's only The Happy Cook for my loose tea purchases. Some of the grocery stores carry loose teas and premium bags, but the few I do buy locally tend to come from the store started by family friends long ago.
And you? Please link your post below so we can all learn about some new tea sources!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Time for Tea

Sometimes, you just have to make time for tea. I wish I lived in a society where the world magically stopped at 4pm for tea, but I don't. Forgive me for missing half of week #2 before I got around to the post!

Before I spout off on this week's topic, let me share the lovely button Monica made for us! (Photo by Ruth, my co-hostess for this event, used with her permission and blessing.) Thanks, ladies!

Please use proper blogging etiquette and save the photo to your own computer and then upload from there...

Back to the topic at hand!

January 8 – 14 Describe your perfect cuppa' hot tea. If you're like me and it depends, share as many different scenarios as you care to.

As I hinted in the topic, there is no single version of perfection in my tea house. Most often in the mornings, I go for a strong, black tea, tempered with milk and sugar (okay, Splenda, but that doesn't sound as elegant). I get water from our little doo-dad on the sink that dispenses double-filtered water, and then my special electric kettle does its thing. It has a dial on its base that allows me to set it for pre-determined ideal water temperatures for brewing black, green or white teas. (They are best at different temperatures, you know...) Then, it clicks loudly when the proper temperature is reached, and I pour the water into my teapot, with my favorite mesh filter already in place, with the loose tea of choice, which I measured out while waiting on my water.

Then, I set the timer. For black teas, I like the middle of the recommended brew time, so while I'm waiting, I get out some milk (because as much as I love real cream, calories and fat are an issue), and grab a big mug. Don't get me wrong; I love a pretty china cup and saucer, or even a china mug, but I have to really energetic, curious dogs, so for all-morning sipping, bigger and sturdier is better. I do like the mugs with lids too. Then, I grab a tea cozy for my pot. My favorite pot has THREE cozies to choose from... a pretty, thinner cozy perfect for those summers months (a gift from dear Ruth, pictured), a quilted fabric "drop over" version from Rosanne, and a thick, warm wool beehive from Grace, just right for these cold winter mornings.

The pot hangs out in the kitchen, on the island, while I sip on the sofa. I rarely eat with tea, but currently, I'm enjoying some cranberry marmelade on toast for breakfast at home. I add Splenda and milk to each cup as I go. Once that pot's done, I rinse everything and switch to green tea, but maybe I'll share that routine on my blog later.

Now, please link and share with us on your blog. (This week, a couple of ladies have linked below because I was tardy. I'll make every effort to update this site with a new link Wednesday sometime!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Plan

January is National Hot Tea Month, according to the Tea Association of the United States of America. While their campaign targets retails, Ruth and I think it's worth celebrating at the consumer's end.

Tea Etc. offers a brief article on the weight loss and germ-fighting potential of tea, but personally, I drink tea because it suits my palette better than coffee, sodas, or even water. (Gasp! I know, I know. Nothing is better for me that flavorless, plain water.)

Tea is a social icon in some cultures. There are formal – and I do mean FORMAL – tea ceremonies, and is there anything that says "linger and chat with me" like a pot of tea and cups on a tray? I still cling to my childhood image of the whole of Great Britain stopping at 4pm for a national moment of tea. In my little vision, blue collar and blue blood alike pause for a cuppa' with their companions, share a crumpet or scone or two, and return to the rest of the evening with a smiling, calm about them.

My fantasy is reality-based. As a very young girl, the lady of the next farm over – we'll call her Lady B – made afternoon tea a part of my reality. There was a small confrontation when my mother foolishly suggested that my toddler body couldn't handle tea. I don't recall it, but clearly, my mother lost the battle and my tea tradition began. Lady B was a schoolteacher, and when she arrived home in the afternoons, I would find my way to her house. We had tea in the enormous, country kitchen in the cooler months, and on the long back porch in the warmer ones. It was always the same black tea, served with a single sugar cube, and a splash of real cream. (The cream was delivered by a real milkman, thanks much.) I was taught on the first afternoon where to place my spoon, although I'm pretty sure Lady B allowed two tiny hands to grip her china cup.

I don't ever recall her daughters – all in their late teens by the time I came to tea – or any of my family being present for our tea parties. I remember watching birds and horses, and even before I went to school, I'd learned to flip through her bird guide until I found the matching image. There are no memories of discipline, although I'm positive I was expected to be a delightful young lady and was corrected if I wasn't. When I was older, I was taught to serve Lady B tea, and I remember feeling VERY grown up the first time I was allowed to pick up the saucer with one hand.

Don't let my prim and proper introduction to tea give you the impression that tea is a stuff beverage. At my house now, you're most likely to find me sipping from a chunky, extra-large mug, a room away from the teapot. The pot is hunkered down under one of many cozies, depending on the weather. That's the true beauty of tea. It's at home in cast iron and fine silver, bone china and plastic. I still take my hot, black teas with sugar and cream (or Splenda and milk), but I like my hot, green teas plain. Tea is perfectly content to be whatever you want it to be.

Stay tuned. I'm proposing a few topics for anyone so inclined to talk tea with me.

January 1 - 7 Please share your favorite hot tea memories with me. Who introduced you to hot tea?

January 8 – 14 Describe your perfect cuppa' hot tea. If you're like me and it depends, share as many different scenarios as you care to.

January 15 – 21 Do you have a favorite tea source? Do you shop online or in a local store?

January 22 – 31 Please share a favorite tea snack, especially if it is a treasured recipe!

Won't you join us? Please use Mr. Linky below, so that we can have a big ol' virtual, hot tea party!

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Fellow Tea Party Guests: Anyone for a Cup?

As the end of our tea party draws to a close we would like to ask that those of you who have yet to receive please let us know so that we can get in contact with your pals. It is a crazy time of year as we all know, but we don't want to let down our fellow guests in making them wait too long for their packages.

We hope that everyone has had a good time with this swap and that the knitterly friends and goodies that have come your way have made it all worth while.

Again for those of you still waiting please let your hostess know.

Many Thanks!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sincere Appreciation

Swappers, thanks so much for your kind words and in a couple of cases, gifts, to your hostesses. We started out with a goal of producing a swap that would be as much like a "real" tea party as possible, and it seems in many cases, we've succeeded. It really does warm our hearts to share your fantastic packages with you!

PLEASE, PLEASE let your pal and group hostess know if your package is going to be late. Also, I hate to sound like your Aunt Bertha (name changed because I do love mine dearly), but even if your pal missed the mark, please find thank her for her efforts and be kind. Sometimes, it's not thoughtlessness, but just a miscommunication, so be gentle and remember the golden rule. As much as I wish each of us could be thoroughly and perfectly spoiled, sometimes, it doesn't happen, despite good intentions by your spoiler.

So, enjoy your personal tea parties and hopefully, a new friend or two. Feel free to keep using the Google Group, as that will be the first place we make any announcements about the next swap, which will be in 2008.

PS - And just to abuse my powers a bit, I want to thank Nannette (link to the left) for spoiling me rotten. Her timing was perfect, and I'll have details on my blog later. She was a great pal, all the way through, with lots of emails and so much more!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

About Swap Packages!

Wow what a great Monday it was! A Bingo winner, again Congrats Jessi, plus after getting home from work hubby went for mail and my Tea Swap package had arrived! Thank you Amy for such a great introduction to tea :) Details posted on my blog for all those interested in checking it out :) I definitely feel spoiled!

Now in receiving my package, this made me wonder how many other had already gotten theirs?

I know there have been some packages received already, so now I ask if you have received your Tea Swap package, would you please (with CHOCOLATE on top), comment under this post and let us know! It would greatly help the hostesses in our administrative duties having it all in one spot. Not everyone chose to do the chat room and we want to make sure everyone in fact receives their swap package :)

I Thank you all in advance!

Now for a refill as I smell the aroma of freshly brewed tea and if Chan's not looking I'll turtle race you to the goodie table