Friday, March 24, 2017

England's Motto and Philosophy

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a dear friend who lives in Michigan, but is from England.  Her mother and sister still live there.  

Her sister e-mailed her the link to a METRO NEWS article that was published yesterday, and she sent it to me.  [Click on Metro News above for actual article.]

The headline reads: Fake tube message speaks for whole country after terror attack, says MP.

The message was left on a London Underground public notice board following Wednesday's attacks.

Despite being a fake [not written by authorized station personnel], the sign which emerged on the Internet yesterday has been praised as a 'wonderful tribute' by Prime Minister Theresa May. And Tory MP Simon Hoare said 'whoever wrote it speaks for the whole country.'

My friend said, 'In times of adversity nothing can beat a good cup of tea!'  Amen to that!

May God comfort those who lost loved ones in Wednesday's attack.   Raising my teacup in tribute to the victims, our Mother Country, England, and the restorative beverage of tea.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tea Time and Lunch

I had a morning doctor appointment today, and when I returned it was time for lunch, so I decided to try the third and final tea I received from Adagio Tea - Keemun Rhapsody. Lunch at my computer desk isn't the most elegant place to eat, but I was home alone, and decided to multi-task.

Keemun falls in the category of robust, full-bodied tea, but I found this tea very smooth and palatable without the addition of milk or sugar.   It would be great for starting the day,  but was just as lovely at mid-day.

This black tea is from the Anhui Province of China.  I ordered the 0.8 oz./23g sample bag for $8, that yields 10 cups.

The long, dark brown, slender processed tea leaves have an earthy smell before steeping.

The steeped leaves yield a bright coppery/brown color, with a delicious mild and smooth, smoky flavor that isn't the least bit overpowering like Lapsang Souchong. The slight taste of cocoa reminded me a bit of the Golden Monkey tea I sampled yesterday.

The infused leaf is pictured below. I tried giving it a second infusion, but found it too weak. Multiple infusions weren't in the description.

While I was in the waiting room at the Dr.'s office this morning I came across an article about the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate.  I've always preferred milk chocolate to dark chocolate, despite the fact that it lacks health benefits.  When I stopped at the produce market on my way home, a display of dark chocolate candy bars were positioned right in front of the check-out lane. They were 70% cocoa [the minimum requirement for antioxidant properties], so I decided to treat myself.  At .75 cents a bar I figured it wouldn't be much of a loss if I didn't like it.  To my surprise, I liked it. Could it be that it paired well with the chocolatey notes in the Keemun?

I ate 1/3 of the bar [which figured out to 87 calories], and will make the other 2/3's last for two more days.

This concludes my review of the three teas from Adagio Tea.  I highly recommend all three, and will be ordering more.  Thank you, Adagio Tea!

As I close today's post I want to share a quote I saw on Facebook.  It's too relevant and thought-provoking not to share.

Those who died yesterday
had plans for this morning.
And those who died this morning
had plans for tonight.
Don't take life for granted!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tea and Toast

I played yesterday instead of blogging.  I drove down to the city of Wyandotte where I grew up to meet-up with five girlfriends I graduated from high school with.  But I'm back to blogging today.

I love the quote "Bread and water can easily become tea and toast."  I'm not having scones or cookies with my tea these days, but buttered toast points [Smart Spread not butter] was perfect with the second Adagio Tea that I sampled today - Golden Monkey.

This is an 0.8 oz. [23g] sample bag that will make 10 cups of tea.  The price is $6.

The tea has received 1,172 reviews so it's definitely been ordered by a lot of people.  The website stated Golden Monkey's leaves are said to resemble monkey paws, hence its name. It originated from the Fujian Province of China.

Notice the dried golden strands of tea mixed among the black.  The dry leaf gave a very good earthy/fruity aroma when I opened the bag. 

The unflavored black tea has a chocolatey/cocoa and savory rye flavor profile [according to my taste buds].  The description also said roasted apples, but I didn't taste apples even though I smelled a fruity aroma in the dry leaf.  The tea is very smooth with no bitterness.  I would classify it as a semi full-bodied tea, because it's not an in-your-face robust tea as some unflavored black teas can be.  It was delicious without the addition of sugar or honey. I highly recommend this tea and will order more.  The website said it yields multiple infusions which is uncharacteristic of many black teas. I'm anxious to try steeping the leaves more than once.

~ Infused tea leaves ~

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy First Day of Spring!

It's 42 degrees with gray skies on this first day of spring in Michigan.  There's no snow on the ground, so I'm happy!

My girlfriend brought me a beautiful spring bouquet [which I just photographed moments ago] when she came to Bible study on March 7th, and I'm still enjoying it.  The only flowers that wilted and had to be removed were the day lilies.  It's perfect for sharing on this first day of spring.

I recently received an e-mail from Adagio Teas asking if I'd like to sample $25 worth of their teas to review on my blog.  I eagerly accepted.  The teas arrived in today's mail. Isn't it fun to receive packages in the mail!

The three teas I chose were:  Lemon Meringue Green Tea [3 oz.], Golden Monkey Black Tea [0.8 oz.], and Keemun Rhapsody Black Tea [0.8 oz.].

Since I'm trying to lose weight, and green tea is said to boost metabolism and aid with weight loss, I spent the largest portion of the gift card on their Lemon Meringue Green Tea. I am more than pleased with my choice.  It's absolutely delicious!  [Clicking on the name above will take you right to the page on Adagio's website where it can be found.]

When I opened the bag, the lemony aroma of the dry leaf was wonderful. 

~ Closer look at the dry leaf.  ~

~ Infused leaf. ~

The tea has a smooth, light lemony taste - not tart, nor does it have any grassy or vegetal notes. The wonderful aroma of the dry leaf carries over into the steeped cup.  This could almost be a dessert tea it's that good.   If someone thinks they don't like green tea, this is definitely the one to change their mind.  The package says: "Blended with green tea, and the natural flavors of lemon, vanilla, and cream.  It's the perfect springtime treat."   How fitting that it arrived on the first day of spring!

It received 77 favorable reviews, and was listed as a favorite on the page among Adagio's green teas.  The ingredients are:  Green tea, apple pieces, orange peels, natural lemon flavor, marigold flowers, natural vanilla flavor, and natural creme flavor. I will definitely be ordering more of this tea!  It's $8 for 3 oz. which figures out to .21 cents a cup, and since it's green tea it yields multiple steeps.  Thank you Adagio, for the privilege of reviewing this great tea!

Reviews of the other two black teas will be forthcoming.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I've put together some collages from past St. Patrick's Day posts.  I hope you enjoy them.   The china is mine as well as the tablescapes from past teas I've hosted.

 ~ My mom, aunt, and me in 2009 - Irish Sullivan sisters.  ~

~ Emerald Isle by Royal Albert in the Ancestral Series ~

"If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough!"

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eating Pumpkin Year-round

I typically think of eating pumpkin in the fall when I see them growing on vines in farm fields, or for sale at produce markets.  And I usually associate the "fruit" [that's right- it's technically a fruit and not a vegetable] with desserts - pies, cakes, cookies, or bread, muffins, and scones, more than a main course. But I do have some wonderful recipes for pumpkin soup, white chili, and creamy pasta.

I was surprised when I went through all my posts since I began blogging in January 2012, and discovered I had blogged about eating pumpkin at least 20 times.  Most of those posts were in the months of September, October and November.  When I was doing monthly teas at Ardmore Park Place, October was designated as "Fun in the Pumpkin Patch", using a variety of pumpkin recipes in the tea menu.

Two days ago I received an e-mail from Jesse Miller who found my blog by Googling pumpkin.  The post he found was here.  Jesse recently posted "The 13 Health Benefits of Pumpkin According to Science" plus 8 pumpkin recipes.  He asked if I'd be willing to share the link to his review on my blog.  Of course, I would!  You can read it here.

If you've been following my blog lately, you know I've changed my eating habits and am on a semi-plant based diet now.  I've practically eliminated sugar, a lot of dairy foods, red meat, and foods with empty or unhealthy carbs. So Jesse's e-mail came at the perfect time to remind me that pumpkin is a good year-round food and not just for fall consumption.

I made a creamy pumpkin pasta for dinner tonight, using 100% whole wheat Penne.  Instead of a tomato based sauce, it was pumpkin based - with sauteed chopped onions and minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil, and ground chicken [breasts without hormones or antibiotics], chicken stock, one [15 oz.] can of pumpkin puree, and 1/2 cup lowfat milk.  The seasonings were freshly grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon, sage, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Since mushrooms are a super food and low in calories, I added them to the pumpkin sauce too.

Topped with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, a salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, and a cup of Pumpkin Cream Black Tea our healthy and tasty dinner was complete. My hubby declared the menu a "keeper" anytime of the year!

Do you eat pumpkin year-round?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring Forward...

The clock sprung forward to daylight savings time yesterday, and there's only 8 days until spring officially arrives.  The stores all have their Easter/Spring d├ęcor displayed, and I found two cute bunny plates at Marshall's recently, and am searching for two more.  At $3.99 each, the 222 Fifth porcelain dishes in the pattern, "Bunny Party" are a deal.  They come in pink and blue too, but I like yellow best.

My granddaughter, Brianna, was home all last week on spring break from college. I took her to lunch on Saturday at one of her favorite restaurants - Panera Bread.


They have a great Greek salad with Quinoa Tomato Sofrito blend, Romaine, Kale, diced Cucumbers and Kalamata Olives tossed in Greek dressing and topped with Feta Cheese and toasted Almonds. It was so good, and definitely one to recreate at home.  I enjoyed a glass of hot Ginger Peach Black Tea with it [by Republic of Tea].

The forecast yesterday was only a high of 30 degrees in southeastern Michigan, but the sun was shining, and I'm antsy to get outdoors and back to a consistent walking regime.

What's it like where you live?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Isabella's School Play

Our granddaughter, Isabella, is in her middle school's drama club, so yesterday we traveled to Chelsea, MI to see her performance in last night's play.  They were without power at their home due to Michigan's high winds on Wednesday, but her school and downtown Chelsea still had power.

We had dinner at Cleary's Pub.  I ordered hot tea [Lipton's was the only choice] and a Mesquite Grilled Chicken Wrap with Sweet Potato Fries.  Yum!  [Sorry, I forgot to take a photo.]

~ Play Program ~

Izzy was Lady-in-Waiting #1  [third from left in purple dress]

~ Curtain Call ~

~ Family photos after the play ~

[Nana, Izzy, Ellie, and Papa]

Jerry treated all of us to desserts at Big Boy's restaurant after the play.

Our "Star"

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Food for Soul and Body

Yesterday was the fifth ladies' Bible study at my house.  We meet every other week and are focusing on women of the Bible, but a few men make their way into our studies too. We began right at the beginning of the Bible in the Book of Genesis with Eve, then progressed to Sarai/Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, and yesterday was Leah and Rachel.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Even though centuries have passed, women still face the same challenges today that they did 'way back then', and God's Word is just as relevant today as it was in Biblical times.

After Bible study I serve a light lunch which is always a homemade soup and bread of some sort, and a dessert.

I don't want lunch to be the emphasis of our gathering, so it's never anything fancy.  There's no fussy tablescape because we sit around the dining room table for the Bible study first, but I do have a different menu and use different dishes each time we meet.

Since we'll be celebrating St. Patrick's Day on March 17th I used my shamrock china yesterday along with a coordinating menu.  Reuben Soup with Irish Soda Bread.  I have blogged about the soup before and you can find the recipe here.  The bread is Grandma Clark's Irish Soda Bread from the Silver Palate cookbook.  I didn't intend for the menu to have an association with our Bible study, but I smiled when it occurred to me that Reuben was Leah and Jacob's first-born son.

Of course, no meal would be complete without hot tea.  The ladies enjoyed the Snowflake Black Tea the last time we met, so I served it again this time.

Dessert was an Angel Food Cake and Creamy, Pistachio Pudding Parfait.

When we met on February 22nd I served a Creamy Minestrone Soup, pull-apart Cheddar Ranch Rolls, and I got brave and made Rice Pudding from a new-to-me Mediterranean recipe.

I wish I could invite all of you into my home for our Bible studies.  Feeding our soul is just as important as feeding our body. In times like these we need the secure foundation of God's Word to gird us with peace and hope.  The ladies left with the promise God gave to Jacob in Genesis Chapter 28 verse 15a:  "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go..."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Saturday Happenings

Last Saturday was a leisure day at our house with nothing specific on the agenda, so Jerry and I went out to breakfast and afterwards went to two antique shops in Mt. Clemens, MI.  I didn't see anything I couldn't live without, but on the way home we decided to stop at an estate sale.  

The deceased lady had a collection of trios, and when I showed interest in one, my hubby bought it for me.

It's made in Germany rather than England.

A friend recommended the movie, Hidden Figures, to Jerry, so we went to the matinee showing of it.  It was released on December 25, 2016.

It's the true story of Katherine Johnson [played by Taraji P. Henson], Dorothy Vaughan  [Octavia Spencer], and Mary Jackson [Janelle Monae] - brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA, and served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.  The trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

It's a 'must see' even if there aren't any tea scenes in it.  There was enough tea in the final episode of Queen Victoria on Sunday night to make up for it!  ;-)