Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  It's 33 degrees in Warren, MI today, and a great day for counting our blessings and expressing gratitude to God.  

The turkey's in the oven for our Thanksgiving dinner later on today, and Detroit's 91st Thanksgiving Day Parade is on the television.

[Detroit News Photo]

Jerry spent yesterday previewing and organizing old family videos for the 'Grands' to watch today [at their request].  The videos make us realize how quickly time passes, and the value of family time.

Blessings from our house to your house!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Victoria and Abdul... and Plum Deluxe Tea

Ever since I heard about the BBC film, [Queen] Victoria and Abdul, released in the United States on September 22nd of this year, I knew I wanted to see it, but I had to wait until a theater within reasonable distance of my house was showing it.  It finally came to AMC in Sterling Heights, MI, and Jerry and I went to see it yesterday afternoon.

Have you seen it?  If not, I highly recommend it.  It's a true story about a young [24 year old] Indian clerk, named Abdul Karim, who was one of two clerks/servants chosen to go to London to present Queen Victoria with a gift from India [a ceremonial coin] commemorating her 50th year on the throne [Golden Jubilee] in 1887.

He intended to return to Agar, India after the coin was presented, but he found favor with Queen Victoria, and stayed until her death in 1901 [a 14 year stay].  The two forged an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle tried to destroy.  

It stars Judi Dench and Ali Fazal, and is described as a Drama/Biography, filmed at one of Queen Victoria's residences - Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.  The movie, which began filming in 2016, runs 1 hour and 52 minutes. 

[Internet Photo]

It's based on the book, Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu, published in 2011. It took her five years to research and write.  Abdul's diary/journal was presented to her in 2010 by a descendant of Abdul's, over 100 years after Queen Victoria's death.  Her son, King Edward VII, attempted to eradicate their platonic relationship from royal history by burning all correspondence between the two of them upon her death, and promptly deported Abdul back to India.   

There are interesting and informative Internet articles about Queen Victoria and Abdul to follow-up the movie, as well as the book.  It is said Abdul was edited out of the Queen's own journals by her daughter, Beatrice.

There are tea scenes in the movie from the get-go [both in India and Great Britain], as well as humor.  I promise, this movie will not disappoint you.

[Internet Photo]

[Internet Photo of Queen Victoria and Abdul]

And speaking of tea... I brewed myself a cup from the second tea sample I received from Plum Deluxe Tea - Comfort Blend black tea, and am sipping it while I type this post.

The organic Ceylon black tea is blended with Cinnamon Chips, Orange Peel, Ginger, Cloves, and Orange extract.   The citrus aroma when the packet is opened is wonderful, and carries over into the finished cup.

I've had some orange spice teas that are bold and overpowering, but this blend is very subtle, with a pleasantly mild lingering aftertaste. Plum Deluxe website describes it best as a 'gentle balance.'  It sells for $7.00 an oz. and will be perfect for your holiday and winter enjoyment.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Peach Cobbler Tea from Plum Deluxe Tea

Towards the end of October I received an e-mail from a Plum Deluxe Tea [Portland, Oregon] representative asking if I'd like to sample their teas and write a review on my blog.  It's been  awhile since I've done that  [Oct. 2015], so I consented.  The sample I chose was Peach Cobbler Dessert Tea.

Right before my trip to Chicago two samples arrived in the mail.  Peach Cobbler Dessert Tea and Comfort Blend Black Tea.  

Blog posts about the trip, my grandson's wedding and other happenings delayed reviewing the teas.  

The aroma of the dry leaf as well as the infused leaf is pleasantly fruity.  Tiny reddish flicks of Honeybush Tea from So. Africa are visible, and add an interesting element of flavor to the tea.  

The Apricot pieces and natural Peach flavoring is detectable, but not overpowering.

Though referred to as a dessert tea [probably because Cocoa Nibs and Caramel Essence are blended with fruit pieces], it makes a delightful cup anytime of the day.  

My hubby was in the backyard raking leaves when I made the tea, so I took a cup out to him to enjoy.  He gave it the A-OK symbol!

I don't normally add sugar or milk to my tea, but their website states it's good with a splash of milk, so I'll try it that way next steep. The website declared it a dreamy and guilt-free treat.

I noticed Peach Cobbler was a limited edition and is no longer available, but they do have two other dessert teas available:  Chocolate Hazelnut and Coconut Macaron.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Shirley Temple at the Purple Door Tearoom

Yesterday was the amended date for Afternoon Tea at The Purple Door Tearoom in Ferndale, MI.  The last time I was there was shortly after they opened in their new location in 2014. It's a lovely 'by reservation only' tearoom, and I highly recommend it for readers who live locally.  

I arrived a little early to set up my Shirley Temple memorabilia and take some pictures of the tearoom.

Below is the Shirley Temple doll I purchased at an estate in April this year.  She's dressed in the costume worn in the 1935 movie, The Littlest Rebel.

My friend, Linda, who coordinated the event, brought her Shirley Temple doll from the 1934 movie, Stand Up and Cheer.  She passed out envelopes for ladies to put an amount of money of their choosing inside for a needy family this Christmas.  They wrote their name on the envelope for a drawing, and that lady got to take the Shirley Temple doll home.

~ Tearoom Interior ~

Loved the quote sitting on the fireplace mantel.

~ One of my dearest friends, Lori ~

23 ladies were present.  The tearoom can accommodate up to 30.

~ Lovely Jennifer ~

Me, Christine [former owner who turned the business over to her grandsons], and Linda.

Christine's grandson, Matthew, explaining the menu.

The menu was in a booklet for each lady to take home.

~ My place setting ~

Yummy Miniature Muffins and French Macarons were on each table. 

~ Tea prepping room ~

~ Each table had a pot of Pumpkin Spice Tea ~

~ Bourbon Butternut Squash Soup ~

Fresh Green Salad with Raspberries & Blueberries with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

I began my Shirley Temple presentation before the savories were served.  Everyone loves Shirley Temple and the ladies seemed to enjoy hearing about her life.

I decorated flat lollipops with Shirley Temple's picture as a favor for each lady in keeping with the song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop" sung in her 1934 movie, Bright Eyes.

Savories were English Cucumber Sandwich on White Bread; Cajun Turkey with fresh Strawberries & Guacamole on Raisin Bread; Wedge of Spanakopita [Spinach & Feta Pie]; Sundried Tomato, Artichoke with  Olive Tapenade Flatbread; and in the center, Chicken Pasta Salad.

Dessert was Strawberry Cake and Lemon Double Cream in a Chocolate Cup.

Our great servers, James and Brandon.

It was a lovely afternoon and we'll be going back in February 2018 when the program will be Lucille Ball/I Love Lucy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Studying the Book of Ruth

Yesterday five ladies gathered at my home for our monthly Bible study.  The two women we studied were Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth.  The Book of Ruth is only four chapters long, and one of only two books in the entire Bible named after a woman [the other being Esther].  

It's a beautiful story of loyalty and love.  We discovered again that no one is unimportant in God's eyes.  On the surface, few saw Ruth as an important person.  She was a poor widow living in a foreign land away from her birth family.  Yet God had a great purpose for her.  Even though Gentile by birth, she became a part of the chosen line through which the Savior of the world would come to redeem both Jews and Gentiles alike. In God's perfect divine plan both Gentile and Jewish blood mingled in His Son's veins. [Jewish blood from Ruth's husband, Boaz]. One of the ladies sent me an e-mail afterwards saying she felt like she went home with wings on her heart, and if she were to have another daughter she'd name her Ruth.

Afterwards we had our soup luncheon, with a recipe I had never made before.  Normally it's a 'no-no' to experiment on guests, but since the Roasted Butternut Squash soup recipe came from a friend, I knew it would be good.   I served it with slices of French bread, and Pumpkin Spice black tea from Culinary Gourmet Teas.  I swirled a drop of Maple Balsamic Vinegar in the center of the soup, and the ladies seemed to enjoy it.  It's a hearty soup perfect for the 40 degree weather we've been having lately.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner I used my new 'Harvest Bounty' dishes made by Queens  in England.  Amazingly, I purchased them at the Christmas Tree Shop.  What a bargain!  As you can see, I don't do a fancy tablescape for our Bible study luncheons.  I keep it simple with the emphasis placed on our Bible study.

Originally I had planned to make a pumpkin roll for dessert, but since I had 3/4's of a bakery Cassata Cake left from Jerry's birthday dinner on Sunday, I decided to serve that instead.  It was delicious!

We're taking the busy month of December off, and will resume our study on January 9, 2018 [seems strange to be typing the new year already].  We'll be studying Hannah in I Samuel.

Today is opening day of deer hunting season in MI.  May God keep the hunter's safe, and give them a deer to bring home!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wedding Bells

Last July, my firstborn grandchild, Brandon, came over with his fiancée, Venessa, to show me her engagement ring, and to say their wedding would be in November.  Of course, I took pictures of their happy announcement.

Four months have quickly passed, and their wedding was last Saturday, November 11th.

Venessa is of Serbian descent, so the ceremony was held at St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church.  When we arrived the bells were tolling the announcement of their 3:00 p.m. ceremony.

The church was beautiful and ornate. Below is the domed ceiling in the center of the sanctuary.

Our daughter Lori, and granddaughter, Marissa [Brandon's mom and youngest sister.]

~ Granddaughters Marissa and Tiffany [Brandon's oldest sister] ~

~ Brandon awaiting his bride ~

~ Mr. & Mrs. Brandon [Venessa] Duplessis ~

~ The pretty bride ~

God bless Brandon and Venessa, and may they make Him the foundation of their new life together!