Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Recipe Attribution Policy

I've been thinking a lot about recipes and appropriate attribution (source citation). I plan to someday publish a tea cookbook of my own - and so I am sensitive to using others' recipes without proper attribution. I've also been doing some research. Here is the best summary I've found.

Here is my Recipe Attribution Policy, based on how I would like others to treat me:

  • I won't publish the recipes from newly released magazines or cookbooks without direct permission from the author. This is, after all, a part of people's livelihood and I don't want to interfere with sales.

  • For recipes that come from sources that are not new, I will attribute the source. For example, if I am using a recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, I will say so. If I've altered that recipe slightly, I will say so (or say "inspired by" or something similar).

  • For recipes that are my own, I will not provide a citation.

Does this policy make sense to you? I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

*Image from

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Aunt's Privilege

The happy toddler and her enamored aunt, Christmas morning at my Mom's

It get so tickled with my 1-year-old niece! She has the most infectious giggle and smile. A year ago, she was a pink and perfect infant, and now she's a busy, busy, busy toddler.

Notice the bows in our hair - thanks to the creative styling of the little one. "Bow" is one of her favorite words, and she loved the bows more than any present (except, maybe, for the electric fish bowl).

The DH and I had a good Christmas, and on the way home we got the chance to have an extra 2 days of vacation. The car decided it needed a new transmission as we were on our way home. But we made the best of it and saw movies and walked all over the town where we landed, until the rental car shop opened this morning. Thanks to the nice service people who helped us - the tow truck driver, the mechanics, the hotel owner, the car rental gal...all of them were cheerful and kind.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tea for Quiet Times

My cheeriest tablecloth on a very wintry day

This is my last tea party of the year, and I've entitled it Tea for Quiet Times. I've had two chances in the past few days to sit with a friend, in front of a fire (be it real or electric), and relax. Quiet conversations and tea. Heaven! This quiet time prepares me for the busy Christmas visiting ahead.

With Sweetcakes, I enjoyed the best-ever chai and the most amazing gingerbread cookies.
See the adorable gingerbread reindeer (and recipe) here.

Today, I enjoyed lunch and tea with a friend in my home. It was a dreary day, but those are perfect for tea. The weather was sleeting and windy, and I brought out my cheeriest tablecloth. Time slipped by quickly and I am grateful for the peaceful time with friends!

Happy Holidays to you! I be back to blogging in a few days. Wishing you joyful and peaceful times.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


A Dragonfly

Your delicate wings rapidly beat the air
The sleekness of your weightless body hovers
Curiously observing as though you care
Steadily searching for lifelong endeavors

Do you bring a message of a tranquil destiny?
Does your evolving maturity convey wisdom?
If I follow, will I find harmony or perplexity?
As you disappear… I am serenely lonesome
-- 12/1/07 Theresa Moore

This gorgeous tea bowl came to me from a friend in NM. Gorgeous, thank you!

Roasted Beets

After two of my friends sang the praises of roasted beets, I decided to give them a try. Wow, they are delicious! I just washed them, lightly peeled them (leaving some skin on), chopped them into big pieces (which was kinda hard to do), and tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Baked for about an hour. Yumm!

Do you have a special roasted beet recipe?

Happy Winter Solstice!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wishing You a Cup of Tea...

I'm wishing you a cup of tea during this season of holidays. May it bring you cheer, peace, warmth and renewal. Cheers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lupicia Holiday Tea

My friend, CW, sent me this gorgeous holiday tin of Nilgiri tea, from Lupicia. The tin is so cheery and pretty, and I smiled brightly!

My smile broadened when I opened the tin and saw the packaging written in Japanese. There is an English instruction card, too. Lupicia is very clearly a Japanese-based company, with a US presence. It offers over 400 varieties of tea. CW has been to one of its retail store in CA and says it's amazing.

My senses continued to be pleased as I inhaled the aroma of the dry leaf. It's hard to describe - somewhat like a Darjeeling, but yet different. A sweet and very pleasant aroma. Also look at the lovely color variations in the leaf. From copper to deep brown.

My taste buds were rewarded for their wait - the tea brewed up nicely. The aroma stayed with it, tho more subtle in the brew. The taste was smooth - neither weak nor bitter. This is a very nice tea and a wonderful gift! I do recommend it. Based on this tea and one other from Lupicia, I give the company the thumbs-up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eating and Drinking with Jane

And, oh, by the way - Happy Birthday, Jane! (Dec 16, 1775).

"You must drink tea with us tonight." --Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen.

Many of us know about (and have enjoyed) the book, Tea with Jane Austen. I also discovered another book at the library, The Jane Austen Cookbook. It makes a nice companion to the first, for anyone who is a Jane Austen devotee.

Both books give a sense of what it would have been like to eat and drink in Jane Austen's day. The books also share recipes from that period (thankfully, updated for today's standards, too.) A note about tea in Jane's certainly was an important social beverage, as you will see in these books. However, Jane probably never attended a "tea party" exactly as we know it. She may
have experienced an earlier version, but the idea of afternoon tea didn't get officially named until the 1830s or 40s.

There are two other books I wish to explore, from my library. Cooking with Jane Austen and In the Garden with Jane Austen. If anyone has read these, please share your review!
And for the passionate Jane Austen lovers, check out the Austen blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Etsy Dreamin'

Necklace (and photo) by poetsummer, found on Etsy

I blogged recently about how I was reducing my holiday consumption this year, and I'm sticking to it. But I do like to go window shopping now and then. Here are my favorite tea-themed Etsy finds. Enjoy!

Librarian tea print (would go so well with the Dewey Decimal mug!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did you see the moon?

Did you see the moon last night? It was full and closer to the earth than it has been for 15 years. Read more. If you didn't see it last night, get yourself outdoors tonight. It is spectacular!

The DH and I bundled up for a nice walk through the University, enjoying an art exhibit. But nothing could compare to the moon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tea Towels

Isn't this cute? I made it recently, from a flour sack towel (thanks, NM Tea Lover!). Flour sack towels are my fave. I love how they don't get full of lint and how they dry quickly.

I was inspired by some tea towels I saw recently at ANTHROPLOGIE. At $18 per towel, I thought, "I can do that myself!" Well, this is a happy ending. Not all of those thoughts end happily. Ha! Mine isn't quite as fancy as ANTHROPOLOGIE, but I do love it.

First, I used disappearing ink (sold at sewing stores) to sketch my teacup.

Then I used the sewing machine to embroidery. I was going for the whimsical, imprecise line drawing look. I went round it twice, to give it an extra bit of color. I finished by adorning the top and bottom hems with ric-rac.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Cup of Christmas Tea

This is a repeat post from a few years ago, but I have new blog friends and wanted to share it again. Enjoy!

A Cup of Christmas Tea, by Tom Hegg

Listen to the touching poem, read by the author, here. My Mom gave me the book a few years ago. It's one of my absolute favorites. (The reading will start after a few seconds.) Tissues recommended.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Old Fashioned Sauerkraut

The DH and I took a class on lactofermentation and we recently made our own sauerkraut, the old-fashioned way. Lactofermentation uses no heat. It relies on naturally-present bacteria to break down the food and provide probiotics. Lactofermented foods are good for you like yogurt and other "live" foods. The kraut tastes tangy, slightly salty, and is such a pretty color! I've seen red cabbage used, as well, for a lovely pink hue. Next up, I hope to make some kimchi and try kombucha.

Below I share our general process of making sauerkraut. These steps are meant to be informative, but not instructional. If you want to try this, find yourself a good book. I suggest Wild Fermentation by Katz.

Step 1: Grate the cabbage. We have a handy-dandy hand-crank tool that makes fast work of this. We used nearly an entire head of cabbage.

Step 2: Crush the salt, if it's not in small particles. It's important to use natural salts that don't have additives. (Hand modeling by the DH.) We used 2 tablespoons of salt. The recipe called for between 1 and two tablespoons. Next time, I'll use a bit less.

Step 3: Toss in the salt, and "tamp" the cabbage. Yes, tamp is a technical term. It means beat the heck out of the stuff. You can see here we are using a pasta measuring device for its flat bottom. Tamping starts the cabbage along its journey, and in combination with the salt, releases the juices. Tamp until the cabbage looks shiny, or lightly cooked.

Step 4: Place into jars (or, traditionally, a crock) and tamp some more. You need to ensure all the cabbage is below a layer of juice.

Step 5: Cover and let it sit. Test regularly, until it gets to your level of tartness and then refrigerate. Ours sat about about a month.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Twig

The Dear Hubby and I don't do much for Christmas decoration. We're non-traditionalists there, I suppose. Some fresh greenery is my favorite. We've had a Christmas tree - and I use that term loosely - twice in thirteen Christmases. One was a rubber tree, one was a cactus. This Christmas Twig is tree #3. It came from our lot (where we'll build a house) and is simply decorated with spiral ribbon. I love its barrenness. I don't plan to put presents under it. We've also named it the "Solstice Sprig" to celebrate the coming longer daylight hours!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Serendipity, Panettone, and Holiday Tea

Serendipity was the word that Katie entered into my giveaway contest, and so I had to choose her as my winner! I doubt that Katie knew, but Serendipity Teas is the name of my tea biz. (And that's a story for another day.) So when I saw her word, it made my heart glow. Congratulations Katie! I will ship the holiday cards out soon!

I was at TJ Maxx last night and I picked up this panettone box. I'd just read about these Italian holiday cakes, but have never had one. It's good! I had it for breakfast today. The texture reminds me of a sweet roll, tho the cake itself was very lightly sweet. I'm glad because that allowed the dried fruit to really shine. The cake was a little dry - I should have sprinkled with water and warmed. I had the panettone with a very nice cup of Harney & Son's Holiday Tea (black tea), blended with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wow! and Skirt

Wow - I got more comments yesterday for the giveaway than I've ever had before! Thanks to Sew, Mama, Sew! for the grand idea and to all those who played! I am having such a ball reading all the one-word holiday wishes! I will announce the winner tomorrow.

In the mean time, here is the skirt I mentioned a few days ago. The fabric is corduroy. It's Butterick pattern 3134 and I'm LOVING this pattern! I made view B, the blue one on the left. The skirt went together easily for me. I think I'm getting a little better at understanding patterns. Still, it seems like they leave things out, like finishing the inside edges! Oh, well. Thank goodness I have good sewing coaches who teach me well! And I promise to blog about something tea-related soon.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Cards Giveaway

I'm participating in the Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway today! My gift is a group of handmade holiday cards. They may not look exactly like these, but they will be cool!

To enter, leave me a comment with a one-word holiday wish. (Like my favorite, "Peace.")

Cheers and good luck!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

Endings: I took yesterday off from blogging, as a reward for successfully completing NaBloPoMo, where I blogged every day for a month. It's fun and it's tough! My hat is off to those of you who do so regularly. I'm a frequent blogger, but I like to be able to take some days off, too. And to those of you who did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), may you be published!

Beginnings: I have a new job at work. The job itself excites me. I also struggle with the fear that it's too big of a job - can I keep it within the bounds of time that I give to work, and no more? That is my task - to keep it right-sized and reasonable.

*image from