WPC: Sweets

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Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
― Sam Gamgee, The Return of the King, Peter Jackson from J R R Tolkien

See more sweets here.

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Some Like It Hot

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I traveled this weekend, and gulped a mouthful of hot, steeped tea from my paper cup at the Rest Stop. I immediately spit it out, but it was too late. Within 5 minutes, the roof of my mouth started to peel in ribbons, and thus, I spent the rest of the weekend eating soft food and drinking tepid tea like this:

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It was not a smart move.

Some like it hot…but can it be too hot?

Most people assume when making tea that the water must come to a roiling boil, but in fact, water temperatures that are too hot can dissolve tannins, destroy compounds or burn sensitive tea, resulting in bitter, astringent, and unbalanced brews. Boiling water and then cooling it removes oxygen from the water and decreases the flavor of the tea. And not all teas benefit from the same temperature.

Green and yellow teas are the most delicate and should be brewed at a low temperature. Often the bitter or strong grassy flavour is a result of the water burning the tea leaves. Steep for 2-4 minutes.

White tea should be brewed with water that is well below boiling, but can be warmer than green tea. Tiny bubbles just begin to form on the bottom of the kettle and rapidly rising to the surface. Steep 4-6 minutes.

Oolong tea is best a little hotter than white or green tea. Larger bubbles form, and a moderate amount of steam is released. Oolong should be steeped longer than black tea (5-8 minutes).

Most black teas and red teas should be brewed at a high temperature in order to draw out the full depth of flavour. The water will have very large bubbles and a large amount of steam. Steep for 4-6 minutes.

Finally, tisanes or herbal teas have widely differing instructions. Yerba Mate, shouldn’t be steeped in fully boiling water.

So whether you like it hot or cold, or somewhere in between, be smart…

Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual. -Thomas de Quincey

…brew it according to the directions, and don’t gulp it down!

Happy Monday!

FORD

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“I’m so glad I’m not going that direction”, I muttered, as I passed an incredibly long line of cars creeping toward the main highway. Impatient drivers were tapping their steering wheels, while I flew by singing to the Classic 80’s station in my big, black rental car.

Famous. Last. Words.

It wasn’t until I got to work and reached into the back seat for my purse, that I noticed Little Guy’s lunch bag and books. I left a note on the door and headed back the way I had just come.

Ford owners be like…

Fry
Photo: http://www.memegen.com

…before my friends find out it broke again!

Did anyone notice, I mentioned a big, black rental car? Big Guy’s suffering with a car full of pain, not to mention his wallet.

When we returned from Christmas holidays, his car wouldn’t start. We got it boosted, but 5 minutes after he left to head home, he called to say it wouldn’t go over 20 km/hr.  He ended up borrowing my car for the remainder of the week. I hitched a ride with one day with the pastor, and the second day I drove his little blue demon.

Three weeks later, he discovered not only had they failed to put fluids in the car, but they had botched the whole job. He had to bring it back down to the same dealership to fix it, which incidentally is the same one where I had to eat Humble Pie. He has my car; I have the rental. No one has heard from the dealership.

Neither of us is terribly optimistic.

FORD – Fix or Repair Daily
FORD – Found On Road Dead

Happy Weekend!

 

Red Rooibos

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I’m seeing red a lot these days.

It might be because life is a little overwhelming and filled with stupid people.

Or because my hormones are raging like a hangry toddler in a candy store.

Or most likely, because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I just want to shout, “Bah Humbug”!

Good thing I keep my tea chest stocked with Rooibos Tea. Rooibos tea is an herb that comes from an evergreen South African shrub from the legume family. Sometimes it’s called Red Bush tea, and it is only grown in the mountainous regions South Africa, just north of Cape Town. Rooibos tea is red in colour and has a sweet, earthy flavour similar to black tea, and is prepared in the same way. Not all red teas are Rooibos teas. There is no caffeine and fresh leaves are high in Vitamin C.

Generally the leaves undergo an oxidation process, much like black tea leaves. As the leaves dry, chlorophyll in the leaves breaks downs and tannins are released. Tannins are responsible for the slightly bitter taste in tea.

My personal favourite is Tetley’s Red Vanilla Rooibos, but Day 13 of  my office tea parties (Day 1-4) (5-10), is a new favourite. You’ll have to wait until next Monday to read all about it!

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Red shoes. Red lipstick. Red hair. Red tea.
Always classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy!

There is a shade of red for every woman. – Audrey Hepburn

Happy Monday!

What’s in my Cup: Days 5-10

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Shakespeare wrote in the Merchant of Venice (Act II, Scene VII), “all that glisters is not gold” but when the morning sun slips through the window pane, those shafts of sunlight glister on my morning cup.

Two weeks ago, I shared the First 4 Cups of Tea  from a 24 day Advent Calendar my boss has been sharing with me during the work week.  On the fifth day of Christmas Day…

Gold & Glitter is a black tea from China, with lemon peel, cloves, and sugar sprinkles shaped like stars. It smells like a freshly baked apple pie, but the cloves give it a heavy carob flavour. The caffeine level is medium.

Day 6 – Organic North African Mint, a low caffeine, green tea. It contains ginger, peppermint, cardamom, licorice root, fennel, clove, and black pepper. I like peppermint and spearmint, especially with chocolate, but it doesn’t like me. While peppermint is known to soothe many stomach ailments, it actually..ahem…creates some for me. My boss said it was good, and I’ll just have to take his word for it. This tea is kosher.

Day 7 – Organic Saigon Chai is 45% Fair Trade black tea from India, and is kosher. It contains ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pink peppercorns, and cardamom,  with organic vanilla cream. Did you know pink peppercorns are not actually peppercorns? They are dried baie rose or “pink berry” from a shrub commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree. While I liked the list of ingredients, I did not like this tea. It was extremely bitter, and as it cooled, it became even more bitter. I hate to waste tea, even not-so-good tea, but this was nearly inedible.

 Day 8 – Buddha’s Blend is a mixture of white & green teas, and contains jasmine pearls and white hibiscus blossom. It has a slightly higher caffeine content than most green teas. This tea had a delicate perfume and flavour, but like most green teas, becomes bitter as it cools.

 Day 9 – Forever Nuts is a personal favourite. This fruit infusion from Germany is caffeine-free. It contains apple, almond, cinnamon, and beetroot, which gives it a tempting rosy colour. It has a lovely fruity tang with just a hint of almond in every cup.

Forever Nuts

 And last, but not least, Day 10 – Walnut Orange Scone.

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Courtesy of giphy.com

It’s  bit nutty…but in a good way. This low caffeine white tea contains papaya, apple, rosehip peel, walnuts, orange peel and orange blossom. Sometimes orange can overpower any other fruit flavours, but not with this tea. The papaya and orange sang its own notes in harmony, only to be followed subtly by the nutty…walnut, that is. Definately going on my tea “The Wish List”!

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I think it’s safe to say whatever tea is IN MY CUP, “I would not wish any companion in the world but you”. – Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act III, Scene I

It’s time to put the kettle on – Happy Monday!

 

G’Day Mate

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Actually it’s pronounced Mah-tey, and it has nothing to do with Australia! Mate tea is a caffeinated herbal tea, which was once called “the drink of the gods”. Yerba mate literally means “herb cup”. Traditionally, dried leaves of yerba mate, a species of the holly family and a native plant of South America, are steeped in hot water and served with a straw in a hollowed-out calabash gourd. One day I will write about the Mate Gourd Ceremony!

While some studies are concerned that the high consumption of mate tea, especially when served hot, may be linked to esophageal cancer, the results are inconclusive. On the plus side, yerba mate shares many benefits with green tea. Research shows that yerba mate has significantly more active compounds than green tea and it has higher polyphenol and antioxidant counts than both green and black teas. Yerba mate tea has less caffeine than coffee, but still has the energizing effect of coffee, without causing the jitters.

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My boss had a few meetings last week and it didn’t feel right to “sample” his Advent Calendar without him. While etiquette may dictate that this tea be consumed in a group, I had a tea party for me, myself and I. On Thursday, knowing I was heading into a meeting too, “me, myself and I” indulged in Stash’s Salted Caramel Mate tea. It contains both black and yerba mate tea, along with cocoa shells, monk fruit and salted caramel flavouring. It smells like butterscotch, tastes like caramel, and satisfied my mid-morning craving for something sweet.

 

The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap. Eat cake. Stay safe.

Happy Monday!

7 Signs of a MLC?

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Author Laura Kemp was featured in The Telegraph today for her piece on having a Mummy Midlife Crisis. As it turns out, as of today, I’ve been a Mom for 28 years (assuming we aren’t also counting the 9 months of heartburn, weight gain and sleepless nights while someone partied). I’m sure if I thought about it, I could come up with way more than her 7 signs of a Mummy Midlife Crisis, but since it’s Friday and it’s been another incredible week of mayhem (plus I have a chocolate birthday cake to assemble), I’m just going to “go with the flow” and see if I fit in.

1. Savage haircut (after multiple discussions and agonizing with the question: is long hair ageing.) Hmm…

Check!

2. Intense exercise. I’m assuming this is to lose the “baby weight” (which you know is no longer linked to a baby but to baby-sized bags of potato chips). Hmm…

Check!

3. Go potty for crafts. Hmm… became a Stampin’ Up! representative. Currently looking up  on Pinterest and sewing “geeky” Christmas decorations.

Check!

4. New friends through social media. Laura calls it “banter, chit-chat, thought-provoking threads and funny pictures of cats, which frankly, is better than what your real life friend moaned about over coffee this morning”. Hmm…

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Check!

5. An unprecedented interest in world affairs. Nope!! Not world affairs, but if I can watch someone renovate their home, renovate their hot rod, or renovate their wardrobe, I’m in!

6. Getting a dog. Close enough?

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7. Caring about winter boots. Or “fashion has re-entered our lives”. Hmm…

Check!

Laura writes, “The mummy midlife crisis is about working out where you go next. And not giving two hoots if you look foolish doing it.” Do I like the way she thinks?

Check!

Happy Weekend!