Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Making a Blogging Change

I'm now into my fifth year of blogging, and it's been an activity I've thoroughly enjoyed.  For a while now, however, I've noticed 'blogland' has been changing, and my blogging friends have noticed it too.

There are more blogs than ever, but life's busy, fast-paced living hasn't decreased. Internet time is shared between e-mails, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Consequently, blogland [for the most part] isn't as active as it used to be.  

As a result, I've re-evaluated posting six days a week, and will be limiting posts to events I feel will have the greatest interest and appeal to readers.  Posts will no longer be daily, but periodic.

To those who've been faithful supporters since I began my blogging journey in January 2012, thank you so much!  

As always, I wish you the best in tea!
~ Phyllis

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Springtime and Fitness

I used to be very diligent about walking 3-4 miles outdoors every day, but with age, inclement weather, and procrastination [laziness], it fell by the wayside.  On March 16th, however, I decided to get serious about losing weight, and that includes walking again.

After walking 14 consecutive days, I had hoped I could call it a habit, but then I read that the generally accepted theory is that it takes 21 days for a new behavior to become a habit, and newer studies say 66 days.  I'm sticking with the old theory - 7 more days and it's a habit, but either theory requires self-discipline. 

I prefer outdoor walking to a treadmill, and last week I took my camera along to capture some sights of spring.  Robins are everywhere, but I haven't spotted any cardinals yet, and they're my favorite. The robin below reminded me of the old 1926 song Doris Day recorded and made popular again in 1953:

"When the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' along, along
There'll be no more sobbin' when he starts throbbin' his old sweet song...".

Do you remember it?  Robins are indeed a sign of spring, and this one posed so willingly for my photo!  The robin is Michigan's state bird.

The only flowers I've seen are wild, and look like violets peeking through ground cover.

Below is a patch of daffodils in a yard I passed that are waiting to blossom.

At the moment the only flowers blooming in southeastern Michigan are in garden centers.

On Saturday I bought myself a Fitbit to keep track of the number of steps I take in a day, and a new pair of walking shoes.  

So far my daily outdoor walks are only 2 miles which is just 4,000 steps, but 10,000 steps a day is the recommendation, so I need to get movin'!  The average time for walking 2 miles is 30 minutes, and currently my best time has only been 45 minutes - Yikes!  I'm 7 1/2 minutes below average. Does that mean I'm out of shape?  ;-)  

The good news is tea has 0 calories if consumed with no additives, and green and oolong tea are said to boost weight loss, so guess what tea I'll be drinking!  

Happy Spring Everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Sunday with Family

Our entire family wasn't together on Easter, but we spent the day with our middle son and his family.

Granddaughter, Brianna, was home from college in Nashville for the holiday, and it was great to see her again.  Brooke was also very happy to have her big sister home.

 ~ Brooke [L] and Brianna [R] ~

After church we went to Steve and Sharon's for dinner - grilled chicken and steak kabobs with family favorite sides.  Yum!  Mother Nature gave us beautiful weather - it climbed up to 60 degrees.

After dinner we went to see the newly released movie, Miracles from Heaven - a first for me to go the movies on Easter.  

The movie is a true story based on the 2015 New York Best Seller book of the same name, written by Christy Beam about her daughter, Annabelle.

It's a message of hope, reminding us that miracles are everywhere if we open our eyes to see them. Annabelle's diagnosis with a painful, incurable digestive illness was very sad [it's impossible to watch a child suffer and not cry], and when she was miraculously healed through a terrible accident, I cried tears of joy over God's goodness.  In other words, take Kleenex because you'll definitely need them!

On Easter Sunday it was good to be reminded that God is all about the miraculous, not only the resurrection of His Son over 2,000 years ago, but a 2012 documented healing miracle that occurred in a small Texas town with Annabelle Beam.

To bring this post around to tea - iced tea was the family's beverage, since the setting was Texas where iced tea is consumed in copious amounts.

After the movies there was still time to get my walk in before evening set in. More on that tomorrow...

I hope your Easter was happy and joyous!  

We will travel to Chelsea next week to visit our youngest son while the three youngest grandchildren are on spring break from school.  Even though Easter has passed, I bought all the items to make the fun treats [pictured below] with them.  Peeps and Twinkies are good anytime! I read that over 700 million Peeps are consumed every year.  The people at Peeps have to make 5 million a day just to keep up.  A bit of trivia in case it should ever be included in the Trivial Pursuit game.  ;-)

[Pinterest Photo]

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Reflection...

The Resurrection

On the first day of the week [Sunday], very early in the morning, the women [Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others who were with them] took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to  the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He has risen!" Luke 24:1-6

"He Lives"

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

He lives,  He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!

May God bless your week!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Easter!

I naturally think of chicks and bunnies at Easter time since all nature bursts forth into new life during spring.  Below is my small collection of spring and Easter things.

My little chick teapot reminds me of a live Easter chick I got when I was around four years old. Its 'new home' was a large cardboard box with a bed lamp attached to the side to give it warmth, located in my bedroom. Unfortunately it didn't live very long away from its natural environment, and my brother and I had a burial service for it in our back yard under a willow tree.  Amazing how something that happened so long ago is still such a vivid memory today.

~ A bunny tea set purchased last year. ~

~ Bunny candle holders. ~

~ My mother's Lefton bunnies ~

~ Resale shop bunnies ~

As much as I enjoy chick and bunny decorations at Easter time, I love the graphic posted on Facebook this year stating "Easter's not about the bunny, it's about the Lamb." When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him he said, "...Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." [John 1:29]

Harney & Son's Celebration Tea is perfect for wishing everyone a blessed Easter!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Extended Christmas and Birthday, and Girls' Night Out

It's hard to believe three months have lapsed since Christmas.  My girlfriend and I didn't have an opportunity to get together before Christmas, so we've had each other's Christmas gifts, and we also exchange birthday gifts, so Sandy had my birthday gift too.

A group of girls that we went thru school with [Jr. and Sr. high] meet once a month for Girls's Night Out, which is simply dinner at a different restaurant each time.  The gathering for March was last Tuesday night at Olga's Kitchen [Greek cuisine].  Both Sandy and I had the evening free, so I drove down to my childhood stomping grounds to meet Sandy an hour before the other gals arrived to exchange our gifts and get caught up on each other's news.

My gifts were lovely, and it was actually fun getting them later as it extended the occasions. I received a pretty sweater and scarf [which I didn't photograph] for Christmas along with a tin of Harney & Son's Celebration Tea.  Ironically, we gave each other the same tea!  Don't they say great minds think alike?  ;-)

For my birthday I received a personalized red apron, and a Jim Shore birthday angel. It's a lovely addition to my angel collection.  Thank you, Sandy!

Our group was minus four gals, but the five of us who made it had an enjoyable evening. 

Raising my teacup to friendship!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sesame Chicken Recipe

I really like P.F. Chang's Sesame Chicken.  I order it every time I go, so it occurred to me recently to Google a recipe for it.  I found a 'copycat' recipe at  It's very close to what P.F. Chang's serves and after tweaking the recipe to my taste, I'm now able to make it at home.  Now I just need to know where I can purchase their White Tangerine Tea, and obtain a recipe for their lettuce wraps, and I'll be all set!

~ Below is my re-creation ~

Sesame Chicken

Prepare brown rice according to package directions for 3 cups of cooked rice.

Batter for Sesame Chicken:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 

In a bowl mix together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder.  Add soy sauce, sherry, water, vegetable oil and sesame oil, stir until well blended.

Cube one large [or two small] boneless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. If chicken breast is thick, pound to 1/2 inch thickness before cubing.

Fold the chicken pieces into the batter until all are well coated.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Sauce for Sesame Chicken:
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water

In medium saucepan, bring chicken broth, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce to a simmer over high heat. Dissolve 1/4 cup cornstarch into 1/2 cup of water, and stir into boiling sauce. Simmer until sauce thickens.  Keep sauce warm over low heat.

If frying, heat sufficient oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 375 degrees.  Drop half of chicken pieces into oil and fry until golden brown - 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel, and cover to keep warm.  Fry remaining chicken pieces.  

[I pan-seared my chicken pieces in a Dutch oven in a small amount of hot oil for 1 minute on each side, then simmered them for about 10 minutes with the lid on.]  

While the chicken pieces are cooking, cut broccoli, red bell pepper, and onion into pieces and steam until tender.  

Combine chicken and vegetables and pour sauce over them until coated.  Serve over hot rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

Servings: 3

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2nd TV Program at WBRW

Yesterday I returned to WBRW TV for a second program filming - Dining at J.L. Hudson's Department Store.

I thought since it was my second program and I knew what to expect, it would be easier. Wrong!  It was actually more difficult.  I have a whole new appreciation for TV personalities. Their jobs are a lot harder than it looks. The program will be edited and available for viewing in about two weeks. I'll keep you posted.

The set crew did an awesome job of simulating Hudson's Mezzanine Tea Room.  Since no one in all of greater Detroit seems to have an actual photograph of the Mezzanine Tea Room [although I'm sure one must exist somewhere], they didn't have to duplicate the actual tea room.

The format was the same as last time - I was interviewed by Nannette Gibson [the station's program coordinator], while seated at a table in the tea room.  Very creative and fun!

It will be another 30 minute program.  At the conclusion of the 'interview' the Operations Manager, Paul D'Angelo, played the role of a server, and brought each of us a Maurice Salad, Hudson's famous signature dish.

I brought all the ingredients for the crew to have Maurice Salad when the filming was done.

For local readers, you will recall Hudson's distinctive green color - which was the color of my outfit. I wear it almost every time I do a Hudson's presentation. Pictured with me below is Nannette Gibson.

I brought all my Hudson's memorabilia so individual photos could be taken of each item which will be scrolled on the TV screen throughout the program.  Below is the crew: L-R: Nannette, Ed Horn, Me, Paul D'Angelo, Tara Humphrey [Producer/Editor] and Dillon Murray.

Mr. Horn and Mr. D'Angelo took several pictures too, so if I'm able to get copies from them, I'll add them to this post later.

Monday, March 21, 2016

March Program at Shore Pointe

Yesterday was the monthly tea and program at Shorepointe Assisted Living.  Since St. Patrick's Day had just been celebrated three days earlier, my program focused on Ireland and all things associated with the Emerald Isle including, of course, St. Patrick.

I always like to take the residents a treat so this month's treat was a bag of peppermint patties.

I took a leprechaun flag and statue of St. Patrick for my display table.

The photograph below was taken as the residents began arriving.  Clara, in the lower right is 101 years old and very sharp.  Last month [when the topic was American Presidents] I turned facts into questions and made the program a game. Each resident who answered correctly got a Hershey chocolate kiss. Clara answered correctly several times and accumulated quite a stash of candy to take back to her apartment.

Since they enjoyed the format last month, I repeated it again this month only this time I gave individually wrapped pieces of Chocolate Easter candy for correct answers.

We had 12 attendees, including a new male resident.  He was also pretty sharp, and gave Clara competition.  Both of them won several pieces of Easter candy.  

Did you know...
  • The island of Ireland is just slightly larger than the State of West Virginia?
  • Ireland gets up to 225 days of rainfall every year.  The rain makes the island landscape lush and green which is how it got it's nickname, Emerald Isle.
  • Over 400,000 people kiss the Blarney stone every year.
  • St. Patrick really wasn't Irish - he was born in a Roman ruled province of Great Britain.
  • St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th because that's the date he died.
  • St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity to the pagan inhabitants of Ireland.
  • It's estimated that 80 million people claim Irish ancestry world-wide.
  • The people of Ireland are the second largest consumers of tea in the world.

They also had fun discovering what their Leprechaun name was. Mine was 'Playful O'Gratin'!  ;-) 

My Irish uncle [recently deceased] used to love to tell Irish jokes, so I concluded my program with an Irish joke. Ironically the name of the priest in the joke is the same last name as my uncle's!  Hopefully it'll bring a smile to your face.  The residents laughed.

As soon as she had finished convent school, a bright young girl named Lena shook the dust of Ireland off her shoes and made her way to New York where before long, she became a successful performer in show business.  Eventually she returned to her home town for a visit and on a Saturday night went to confession at the Catholic church she always attended as a child.  In the confessional Father Sullivan recognized her and began asking about her work.  She explained that she was an acrobatic dancer, and he wanted to know what that meant.  She said she'd be happy to show him the kind of acrobatic stunts she did on stage.  Stepping out of the confessional, but within sight of Father Sullivan, she began a series of cartwheels, leaping splits, handsprings and backflips. Kneeling near the confessional waiting their turn, were two middle-aged ladies. Witnessing Lena's acrobatics with wide eyes, one said to the other:  "Will you just look at the penance Father Sullivan is givin' out tonight, and me without me bloomers on!"

It was a fun afternoon and the residents said they had a good time!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday Reflection...

Last Friday while running errands, I passed a church that had an Easter message on their sign.  It was good and I thought it would be great to share on my blog, but I didn't have my camera with me. I returned yesterday with my camera, only to find they changed the sign. Not to worry, I came home and Googled it and found the image.

Since we just celebrated St. Patrick's Day last Thursday, and I've been researching his life to share with the residents at Shore Pointe Assisted Living this afternoon, I found a quote of his that I really liked too.

May God bless your week!

Friday, March 18, 2016

WBRW TV Tea Program Airs

The first airing of the tea program, Afternoon Tea with Phyllis Barkey, at WBRW TV, was Tuesday afternoon.

You can view the program by clicking here.   The graphic of Chinese Emperor Shen Nung [who Chinese legend credits for discovering tea] will appear on your screen.

I return to the station this Monday, March 21st to film a second program, Dining at J.L. Hudson's Department Store.  I'll let you know when that show airs.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today I'm sharing photos from previous St. Patrick's Day Celebrations!
I'm thankful for all my tea-lovin' friends in blogland!

Below is a St. Patrick's tea I had for my mother [on the right who passed in 2014] and my aunt who is 87 and still going strong. She is the only one left of 7 siblings.  Their father immigrated to Canada with his boyhood family during Ireland's great potato famine in 1840. So I do have some Irish blood in my veins.  ;-)

The Daniel Sullivan family - my mom is standing on the right.

A Reuben Sandwich at O'Blivions - a Detroit Corktown [Irish] Cafe

 ~ Irish Soda Bread ~

~ Shepherd's Pie because in captivity St. Patrick was an Irish herdsman. ~

~ Potato Soup and Green Salad ~

~ My Mother's Trio ~