Thursday, December 31, 2009
I've spent the past few days totally off-plan. I had the idea of getting my tax stuff in order, cleaning house, writing in my journal, etc. Instead, and thanks to the DH, I've been staying up late and watching movies, sleeping in, going for long walks, and doing nothing much. This is precious to me! I'm not very good at relaxing into doing nothing. Thank you.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The DH recently made a sweet potato pie. It tastes very much like pumpkin pie. I think most people wouldn't know the difference. He topped it with a sprinkling of black walnuts. They are strong flavored, and I like them!
I send to you wishes for happy holidays, with interesting and adventurous food treats. :-) Or your favorite traditional ones, whatever you desire. I'll be taking a few days off. I'll be back to writing shortly after Christmas. Cheers!
Friday, December 18, 2009
A few weeks ago, I had the joy of spending an afternoon with a friend, tasting 5 different teas. I wanted to compare Chinese and Japanese green teas. The difference between these two large categories is very broad, then within each category, the nuances and distinctions are quite interesting. We were using teas recommended in the Harney & Sons book. (And thanks to Angela for several of these teas! Some of them are hard to find!)
To start, we tasted two Chinese greens. Bi Lo Chun (Spring Snail Shell) and Lung Ching (Dragon's Well). The Bi Lo Chun had a hint of apricot in the aroma and the flavor was strong and roasted, but very pleasant. We both enjoyed this tea a lot. The Lung Ching is a very famous type of Chinese green. This one had a sweet aftertaste, especially as compared to the previous tea. Both teas were steeped at 175 degrees for 2 minutes.
As you can see below, the shape of the dry leaf is very different for each. The Bi Lo Chun is said to look like snail shells. It unfurls completely as it steeps, revealing two leaves and a bud. Lung Ching gets its flat shape by tea makers who press the leaves against hot metal with their fingers.
We tasted three Japanese sencha teas. Matsuda's Sencha, Kakegawa Ichiban Sencha, and Kagoshima Sencha.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I remember the first time I read of the concept of making everyday habits beautiful. It was from Alexandra Stoddard's book, Living a Beautiful Life. A good one if you haven't seen it.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
With the persimmons, I'm glad to return to the whole wheat, non-white sugar plan. (I used a mix of sourghum and honey, both local).
I boxed and shipped some gifts today. I was reflecting that most of the gifts were handmade or local. I can't say that I planned this strategy, but it shows how the buying local value has seeped into my life. I'm very happy about that!
We're going to help trim a tree at some friends' home tonight. I'm looking forward to this quiet, meaninful evening - minus the holiday hubub and expectations to be twinkly.
Here area few good articles I've read recently. Enjoy!
10 ways to enjoy the holidays that have nothing to do with buying presents
Recycled wrapping paper
E-how to a green Christmas - One caution; I work for a high-tech company and feel compelled to pass this along...be careful with those e-cards. Use only ones from very reputable sources. They are a common spyware carrier. If you're unsure about opening one, check first with the sender.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I used Martha Stewart's recipe, which is basically adding sugar to corn syrup, and bringing it to the soft ball stage. Combine with gelatin and beat the heck out of it. A candy thermometer and a stand mixer make this part really easy.
What's not easy is getting the marshmallow goo out of the whisk and mixing bowl (above) and onto the cookie sheet (below)! Spread it thick, so you have plump marshmallows. When this task was done, I had marshmallow goo in a lot of places. Tip: Once you've been victorious in this battle, use really hot water for cleanup. (I put the kettle on for boiling water.) The heat helps soften/dissolve the stickiness.
Let this sit overnight. It will still be spongy and stringy in the morning, but that's OK. When ready, you can cut into desired shapes. I started out being cute with these round shapes, but shortly after this photo, I switched to using a pizza cutter and made larger squares. Much faster and less waste. When you're done cutting, dust them with powdered sugar so they don't stick together.
Monday, December 07, 2009
By the way, SO many of you asked about homemade marshmallows. I'll blog on that tomorrow!
And the winners are....
My prize winner:
- Steph at stephjacobsen (great name!)
- Nicole at Troyers
- Mara at kleio's belly
- AZ Tea Lover
- Angela at Tea with Friends (This is a thank-you. Angela just sent me extra catalogues that enable more envelopes!)
Again, thank you to all and know that I'm grateful that you visited.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Last night was the book release party. I was honored to read my story from the book at this event. (It's about my first bra.) My fullest gratitude to A and L for the hard work to make this happen, and always to B for being such a great teacher and facilitator.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
- Handmade envelopes/cards (like these)
- Homemade hot chocolate mix with homemade marshmallows
- Some very flavorful tea (coconut pouchong)
- A poem written just for the event
To enter, please leave a comment, and if you don't have a blogger account, leave me a way to get in touch (e-mail). Good luck! And thank you for your participation!
Winner announced on Monday, December 7th.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Big Clifty Falls
Little Clifty Falls
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I pushed the electric start and Stella came to life. She purred quietly, a sleek feline next to the large and loud canine-like Harley in the next parking space. The Harley rider gave me a collegial nod as he stepped over his ride.
Stella and I pulled out of the motorcycle lot and scooted across the parking area. It was 5:15 pm and workers were pouring out of the office building. People stopped and smiled.
I sold Stella this week. I wrote a letter to her new owner, sharing her story and my story with her. I will miss her tangerine orangeness and her coolness. I will always be grateful for my bravery that came with her.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I have a new breakfast favorite. This apple oven pancake is fantastic! Three things contributed to trying out the new recipe this morning:
- My friend Esme recently raved about a similar recipe.
- I stumbled upon the recipe in the October, 2009 Sunset magazine. (Thank you, Library!)
- We have lots of apples from the CSA.
This recipe delivered!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I like to make hot spiced cider. I just throw in whatever spices I have on hand. Usually, that includes a cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, always cloves, perhaps a pinch of nutmeg. Yum! What do you use to make spiced cider?
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
*Photo from Microsoft Images
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
In other tea news...Adagio has a new tea blend - Bacon Tea. They may be playing off the popular chocolate-bacon candy bar. The tea is blended with a lapsang souchong base and apple and caramel flavorings. I would try it, yes, but I'm not sure I'd like it.
Two tea-entrepreneurs in North Carolina and Tennessee are forming a society to reach out to organizations that support young women, such as Girls, Inc. Read more here.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
The taste of these cookies is pleasant, and yet somewhat unusual. The green tea paste is chewy. It definitely pairs nicely with a cup of green tea. While it's not a cookie I feel compelled to put away because I'll eat them all in one setting, it does make a nice tea-time treat.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
~Sharon Elizabeth Wood, 1997
At four o’clock, the day becomes liquid
casting a Darjeeling shadow on itself.
This is the time between,
an hour without destiny.
I must be careful
not to disturb the scent of oranges
that rests on the mist,
nor to veer off the steamy path
as I raise the china lip
to meet my own.
We are both survivors of fate,
this old cup and I,
adrift in the fortune of tea leaves.
Now we are held by tales’ embrace,
floating on vapors and shadows,
silhouetted by the ebbing day
as it sets over the oranges.
There is just enough light
for remembrance and forgetting,
the taste of cress, the touch of lace,
powdery scones lifted to powdery faces,
moments past now beginning.
This is a time of peace, a time of grace.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
The tea on the right, Jin Shan, was a wee bit darker in liquor. The flavor was lemony (we agreed with Harney on that) and very mildly astringent. This tea is grown in the cool mountains, in an ancient tea-growing area (between Zhejiang and Anhui). This tea is exposed to as little heat as possible, which allows it to stay sweet and light.
Harney also mentions a fascinating anecdote about the Jin Shan region. Monks from this area may have been the ones to introduce the Japanese to tea in the ninth century.