Friday, January 30, 2009

Kitchen Akin to Poetry

I'm thinking about kitchens today and have been browsing through a little book I love called Kitchens by Pat Ross. I found a quote that just speaks to me, and I think it will to you as well. It was written by Mrs. S. D. Powers in 1884. More than one hundred years later, her words still evoke an emotional response and the desire to create a kitchen just like hers!

"When the western sun shone broad and merry over the sparkling window, yellow floor and white tables; when a savor of sweet marjoram and lavender from the window boxes was in the air and the shining stone with its bright teakettle and simmering pans was a shrine to good cheer, I have taken portfolio and books out into my kitchen to the lightstand and little Shaker chair to enjoy the sparkling humor, the warm home radiance, the neatness and seemliness which made the place akin to poetry and clear thoughts."

Kitchen photo: Paula's kitchen at Elm Street Antiques

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oatmeal, Date, and Cinnamon Scones

Oatmeal, Date, and Cinnamon Scones

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup soy milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, blend together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add margarine and cut in until the mixture has a uniform crumb. Gently stir in oats and chopped dates and walnuts. Form a well in the center of the mixture and add soymilk. Blend together until a soft ball forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and flatten until it makes a circle about 1/2" thick. Cut into wedges and place each on an ungreased baking stone. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve with tea.

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Love & Tea

I'm sending you love and tea,
To warm your winter's day.
Think of me as you pour your cup
And all the good things we would say.
If we could be together now
Instead of miles apart,
We'd sip our teas and memories,
The sweet warmth fills the heart.

Susan Young

This is the last week of National Hot Tea Month. Have you had your cuppa today? Our drawing ends on Saturday. For details, please check the sidebar and link.

This verse is especially for Becky in Florida. Thank you, Becky, for brightening my day today. Be blessed!

Tea towel --- stitched by me for my friend, Karleen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Learning to Love Green Tea

By now you have probably heard many reports of the health benefits of green tea. It has been credited for many things, including reducing cancer risk, enhancing cardiovascular health, and strengthening the immune system. However, many people who are unaccustomed to green tea find its vegetal flavor difficult to drink. So without further ado, here are some tips for the reluctant green tea drinker.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons people dislike green tea comes from improper brewing techniques. With a little practice you can get perfectly brewed green tea every time. Here are some tips.

Start with fresh, cold, filtered water.

Water is, of course, the base of tea. If you start with chlorinated water, the taste of your tea is going to reflect that. I find that either using a purification system, such as a Brita, is an easy and economical way to filter water. Alternatively you can purchase containers of purified water from the grocery store.

Do not use boiling water.

Green tea leaves are much more delicate than black tea leaves, so using boiling water can ruin the brewing process. Using boiling water also effects the level of tannins present in the tea, which could make it bitter. A good technique is to bring your water to a boil and let it stand for ten minutes before use. If you have a teakettle with a thermometer, your target temperature should be between 160 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use loose leaf tea.

Tea leaves need room to expand, so using teabags usually results in a subpar cup of tea. Teabags are usually filled with dust or lower quality tea leaves, so using loose leaf tea will result in a better tasting cup.

Don’t let it steep too long.

Brewing the tea leaves for too long will result in a bitter and vegetal flavor. To avoid this, use a tea timer. Japanese green teas should be brewed for 1-2 minutes, while Chinese green teas should steep for 2-3. Japanese green teas are usually stronger, while Chinese green teas have a delicate flavor.

Try some blends.

If you don’t find straight green tea delicious, you might want to try some blends. These have the same health benefits of green tea while providing some additional flavors for variety. Green tea with mint is a favorite among many.

Written and Copyrighted @ Rylan 2009

Photo copyrighted @ LaTeaDah 2009

Thanks to Rylan for allowing me to repost his thoughts on green tea. Rylan writes on his own blog at

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its' fragrance,
There is solace in its' taste;
And then laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

Author Unknown

Sunday, January 18, 2009



Hatred paralyzes life;

Love releases it.

Hatred confuses life;

Love harmonizes it.

Hatred darkens life;

Love illuminates it.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo copyright @ LaTeaDah 09

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Six Picture Meme

Lori from Lori's Story tagged me today. It was a good thing, because winter's bleak days were not inspiring me to write about anything. Now I have something to write about. Thank you, Lori!

Here are the rules to her photo meme:

6th Picture Meme!

1.Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.

2.Go to the 6th Folder, then pick the 6th picture in that folder.

3.Post that picture on your blog and the story that goes along with the picture.

4.Tag 6 other peoples that you know or don’t know to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog or an e-mail letting them know you chose them.

My picture story: We've had a snowy winter. When I heard that a melt was due after the last snowfall, I decided to take my doll's size tea set outside to the snow and take pictures. I added some sugar cubes, a few candy's, and some miniature Christmas balls and set a tea tray. They looked quite pretty set out on the fresh, white snow. I had a fun time trying different settings and poses with my tea set in the snow.

Today I'm tagging these friends from blogland:

1. Katherine at Yellow Rose Arbor

2. Nikki at The Scarlett Rose Garden

3. Susan at Inspired by Nana

4. Sandra at Ravenhill Cottage

5. Lallee at Lallee's Cottage

6. Becca at . . .of Bluebirds and Roses

7. Marilyn at Delights of the Heart

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Busy Hands

Busy Hands

A woman shall be satisfied with good
by the fruit of her mouth:
and the recompense of a woman's hands
shall be rendered unto her.

Proverbs 12:14 KJV (modified)

Photo: a cozy quilt shop nearby

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shoo-Fly Pie

Living with special dietary needs can be challenging. Those who are diagnosed with celiac disease quickly discover that life will never be the same again. Life completely without wheat, barley, and rye is difficult at best. Wheat or components of wheat are found in many foods. Successfully converting a recipe for a favorite food to 'gluten free' is exciting! And to convert is to vegan as well is a double success. Brent was most pleased to be able to have a slice of his favorite Shoo-fly pie again; gluten-free and plant-based.

Shoo-fly Pie


* 1 gluten-free pie shell, unbaked
* 1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup Spectrum non-trans-fat vegetable shortening
* 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/2 pinch of salt


* 1 cups hot water
* 1/2 cup mild molasses
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp. EnerG egg replacer
* 1/2 tablespoon gluten-free flour of choice
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Combine all crumb ingredients and mix until an even crumb is achieved. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine hot water, molasses, and brown sugar. Stir and add egg replacer, gluten-free flour blend, and baking soda.

3. Pour 1/2" of the liquid filling into the pie shell. Cover with crumb mixture. Continue to alternate between the filling and the crumbs until pie shell is full.

4. Bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes. Insert a toothpick and test for oneness. It should come out clean.

5. Cool and serve with tea to celebrate National Hot Tea Month. Enjoy!

*Don't forget to sign up for our blog give-away! Your comment enters you to win. I'm enjoying your thoughts on posts and learning how you implement the tea tips being given this month. Thank you!

Sunshine for Your Soul

Nothing brightens a winter day like a flower! Each winter I plant Amaryllis and Narcissus plants. It's amazing how quickly they grow and how prolifically they bloom. What cheer they add to winter days!

Enjoy a wonderful day! May you find sunshine for your soul today!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lifting the Doldrums

School teachers know that the period between Christmas and Easter is a long-haul in the classroom. Weather is often cold, dreary, and breezy. Students get restless and teachers get tired. But, students aren't the only ones that experience the malaise that comes during these winter months. Mental health professionals report that depression and anxiety are often experienced during the time period right after Christmas. I know there are many professional solutions to this problem, and they are excellent. Sometimes common sense has solutions as well. Here's a folk-list of ways to cope with winter doldrums.

1. Experience light! Because some days the sun doesn't shine, other ways must be found to get the full-spectrum light that the body requires. Check out the light bulb section at a nearby store and look for bulbs that are advertised as "full spectrum light" bulbs. Replace the ordinary bulbs in your light fixtures with the full spectrum bulbs and enjoy a dose of sunshine in your home! They are available in both florescent and incandescent bulbs. You can also find grow lights in garden centers that offer bright "full spectrum" light. Sitting under a "full spectrum" light for 20 - 30 minutes as soon as you wake up in the morning will help start your day off right. It's a real mood lifter, as it stimulates hormones that promote happiness.

2. Eat nuts! Nuts and seeds contain Omega-3's, an essential nutrient for healthy and happy brain function. A handful of walnuts each day will help combat the winter blues. Additionally, freshly ground flax seed daily supplies a high dose of Omega-3's. A small coffee grinder does a great job of grinding them. Be aware that if not ground, these seeds may benefit the colon, but the Omega-3's will stay bound up inside the hard shell, therefore not giving you brain benefit.

3. Exercise! A daily walk does wonders for the spirit. Bundle up during your favorite time of day. Walking when during the peek of the day when the sun is shining gives double benefit, but don't discount the soothing effects of a "nighttime" walk. Walking by moonlight (in a safe neighborhood) is relaxing and a wonderful mood lifter.

4. Eat right! Resolve to eat plenty of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. These are the core ingredients of a healthy lifestyle. Use the other foods to garnish and enhance, but not as the main ingredient in the foods you eat. Not only will eating this way life your mood, but it will make you feel lighter and brighter too.

5. Think of others! Getting your mind off yourself does wonders for mood enhancement. Deliberately do something nice for someone else every day. Visit a shut-in neighbor, offer to babysit for a young mother for an hour or two, or pitch in to help a friend with an overwhelming project. By being of service to someone else, you'll find that your mind is taken off yourself and your blue's.

6. Listen to music! Music is a great mood enhancer, especially certain types of music. Classical music has been shown to enhance mood because of it's rhythms, patterns, and cadences. Spend some time with Mozart, Bach, Brahms, or Beethoven each day.

7. Sip a cup of tea! Tea relaxes the muscles in the body that cause tension. And it signals to your body that it's time to kick back for a moment and enjoy being in the "now". Forget the troubles of the past and the worries of the future. Concentrate on "being" in the moment and enjoying the life you've been given. It seems there really is a reason why January was selected as National Hot Tea Month!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cups of Love to Fill

"Seldom can the heart be lonely
if it seeks a lonelier still;
Self-forgetting, seeking
only emptier cups of love to fill."

Frances Havergal

Brewing a Perfect Cup of Tea

National Hot Tea Month
is the perfect time to learn to create a perfect cup of tea:

1. Select fragrant and fresh, full-leaf, loose tea leaves.

2. Fill a kettle with pure water and bring to a full boil. Then remove from heat.

3. Pour hot tap water into teapot and then pour it out. This is to warm the teapot.

4. Place one teaspoon of loose leaves per cup of tea desired into a teapot. Add one extra teaspoon for 'the pot'.

5. Pour hot water over tea leaves in teapot.

6. Steep tea leaves for 3 - 5 minutes, using a timer for accuracy.

7. Decant by pouring tea through a strainer into another warmed teapot.

8. Place teapot in a tea cozy to keep tea warm. Pour by the teacupful as desired.

Photo: Tea Plantation/Indonesia
Copyright @ LaTeaDah 2009

Overflowing to Warm the Soul

May your life
always be like a pot of tea….
to warm the soul.

Irish Blessing

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tea Away from Home

Ten Ways to Enjoy Tea When Away from Home

1. take a thermos of hot water and tea bags with you in a tote

2. brew your favorite hot tea, then chill and place in a water bottle

3. keep a portable hot pot that plugs into a cigarette lighter and brew tea in your car

4. tuck a tea bag in your pocket and make tea at the convenience store by using their hot water dispense and hot beverage cups

5. stop at Starbucks or your favorite coffee shop and ask them to brew you a cup of black tea

6. learn about courtesy cups of tea available at places you visit (tire store; beauty shop; hardware store)

7. buy black tea in chilled bottles from the supermarket or convenience store (find ones without high fructose corn syrup)

8. keep a hot pot by your desk at work and brew up a cup at a time

9. make a local tea room a part of your weekly routine; you can skip the food and go right for the hot cup of tea

10. cultivate friends who enjoy tea and stop by to visit them and share a cuppa

Enjoy National Hot Tea Month!

Reduce Stress with Tea

We live in a stress-filled culture. Technology, responsibilities, traffic, jobs, chores, difficult people, and life's fast pace keep society on a pretty tight string. Uptight and stressed, it's easy to become short-tempered and grumpy, even with those we love the most (or maybe especially with those we love most because we know they will give us the most grace). For years it was thought that coffee and tea accelerated the stress cycle, as caffeine is a known stimulant that is thought to elevate stress. Recent studies have shown that tea may be exempt from this conclusion. National Hot Tea Month is a good time to take a closer look at this phenomenon. According to a study by the University College of London, a regular cup of tea can help you recover from the everyday stresses of life more quickly. They found that black tea helps cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol that circulates in the blood. Cortisol is a hormone that negatively affects the body in many ways. It raises blood sugar, increases blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, quickens pulse, and stops digestion. A simple cup of black tea can help reduce these effects. Some might say that the simple act of sitting down with a warm beverage is what produces this calming effect, but research shows that herbal teas and coffee are not effective. In studies, it was shown that within 50 minutes of a stressful experience, black tea-drinking participants cortisol levels had dropped 47%. In comparison, those who drank 'fake tea' had a cortisol reduction of only 27%. Additionally, blood platelet activation, which is linked to blood clotting and heart attack risk, is lower in tea drinkers. It appears that black tea has very important health implications, reducing the effects of stress and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

More information on this subject can be found here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Camellia Sinensis

Tea comes from an evergreen shrub called Camellia sinensis. It grows in eastern Asia and has beautifully shaped, glossy leaves and fragrant, nodding, cup-shaped white flowers. The leaves of this fragrant evergreen are harvested during various stages of growth, thereby producing white, green, or black teas. Each comes from the same plant, but are processed by different methods. When brewed, tea leaves create an aromatic and slightly bitter beverage. Tea leaves grown in different regions will have differences in flavor and aroma. It always amazes me that such a wide variety of tea choices can come from one simple little leaf. During National Hot Tea month, I encourage you to expand your tea horizons and try a new kind of aromatic and tasty tea. What will be in your cup today?

Photo: My sister, Judy, and a friend visiting with tea ladies in Indonesia.
Copyright@LaTeaDah 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dutch Treat

It's National Hot Tea Month. Hot tea has been a popular beverage for hundred's of years. Although we think of tea as coming from China to England, it actually is the Dutch we can thank for bringing tea to Europe and later America. In the 1600's, Holland and Portugal were politically affiliated. The Portuguese would ship tea to Lisbon, and from there the excellent Dutch navy would transport the tea to France, Holland, and the Baltic counties. Eventually it's popularity made it's way to England as well. During this time, tea was very expensive. Being a lucrative commodity, the Dutch established many tea plantations in Indonesia where they grew tea for commerce. It was not unusual for it to cost more than $100 per pound. Only the wealthy could indulge in this amber liquid. The Dutch capital, the Hague, became a fashionable center for tea consumption. As imports increased, tea prices fell slowly. Eventually it was made available in shops throughout Holland. Dutch culture endorsed the consumption of tea with some controversy. Physicians and academics debated over the merits and detriments of tea consumption, but the populace mostly ignored them and consumed tea in great quantities. The first known coupling of milk with tea has been traced to 1680 when Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, the Marquise de Seven first mentioned it. About this time restaurants started serving tea to guests, some of them even providing personal tea service with warmers so guests could prepare their own tea out in the establishment's garden. The Dutch were key in trading tea throughout the West. American joined the tea craze about 1650 when Peter Stuyvesant brought the first tea to the colonists in New Netherlands (what is now known as New York). Americans took to tea so well that before long the small settlement in New York was consuming more tea than all of England! Of course, a few years later the Boston Tea Party changed all of that. So, although we may think of tea as an English beverage, I think we need to thank the Dutch for establishing tea as a part of mainstream Western culture.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

January National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month

New York, NY, January 1, 2009 - January is National Hot Tea Month and is also the height of the dreaded “cold and flu season”. The CDC estimates that there will be more than 200,000 Americans affected by the cold and flu this year, which leads to missing work, school and even social gatherings. So what can one do to avoid the cold and flu?

The CDC strongly recommends an annual flu vaccine as the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu. In addition, drinking hot tea may also help you stay healthy during the cold and flu season.

Published research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University indicates that theanine, an ingredient found naturally in tea, supports the immune system. A cup of tea contains an average of 20- 25 mg of theanine. Drinking tea throughout the day may strengthen the immune system which is something important to do during the cold and flu season.

Drinking five cups of Black Tea a day for two to four weeks boosted the body’s immune defense system by four times, according to the results of a human clinical trial. According to this study, the data suggests that drinking Black Tea boost’s the body’s natural resistance to infection.1

Tea also contains flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, which scientists believe damage elements in the body, such as genetic material and lipids, and contribute to many chronic diseases.

The CDC states that healthy adults have a 30% chance of contracting the flu even with an annual flu vaccination, and the vaccine may be somewhat less effective for children and the elderly. And while drinking tea may not keep you from getting sick this season, it can help your odds of staying healthy.

So why not do something good for your body while having a hot beverage…help stay healthy this cold and flu season and drink your tea every day! For more information about the role of tea in a healthy diet and lifestyle, please visit

Press Release From: Tea Council of the USA

1.1 Kamath AB, Wang L, Das H, Li L, Reinhold VN, Bukowski JF. Antigens in tea-beverage prime human Vgamma 2Vdelta 2 T cells in vitro and in vivo for memory and nonmemory antibacterial cytokine responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 May 13;100(10):6009-14. Epub 2003 Apr 28.

Photo: Tea Ladies of Indonesia
Copyright @ LaTeaDah 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Lifting my teacup to you. . .

. . .and wishing you the very best in 2009

Happy New Year!