Sunday, January 31, 2016

Take Time For Tea

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

Whether or not you consider yourself an intellectual, tea is a very pleasant pastime. Many consider tea a beverage you drink poured over ice, sipped on hot days to cool you down. It is so much more than that. 

It is a time to slow down and enjoy life. Take your time. Brew your tea. Pour it in a favorite mug or a cherished fine china cup. Sip it slowly, savoring the smell of it, the warmth of it in your hands. Sit. Curl up with a good book. Maybe enjoy it outside on your porch or patio, and listen to the sounds around you, knowing you are apart from any chaos. Have tea with friends over tea sandwiches and other dainty foods, laughing at stories and generally enjoying the time spent together. Tea reminds us of the finer things in life and how slowing down helps us to center and find home once again.

Vanilla caramel truffle black tea

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Why Green Tea Really Is So Healthy

I've spent nearly all of this month hawking the benefits of tea. I can't even do it enough, there are so many! So, needless to say, I have a little more to impart.

What is considered the crux of green tea's nutritional powerhouse position is an antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Sounds a little scary, doesn't it? But hear me out. Because green tea isn't fermented, it retains its EGCG, which allows it to be available to neutralize free radicals. This means it might reduce the risk of cancer, because studies suggest that EGCG inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells and interferes with tumor metabolism.

Those same antioxidants that are present in tea also help the heart by reducing levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and relaxing arteries to improve blood flow.

This antioxidant's antibacterial properties might also stave off gum disease and tooth decay and reduce bad breath.

The combination of caffeine with EGCG may also boost metabolism.

Aren't these all things I've said previously? They are. But maybe this explains it just a bit better.

So, drink up! Cook with it! Heck, bathe in it! But mostly, just enjoy it!

Green and white fusion tea.

And once the tea is gone, I get to see this at the bottom of the cup:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Herbal Tea

When you think of tea, what do you think? Green? Black? Oolong? Some people think of herbal. I have several herbal teas, myself. But herbal teas are not actually tea.

Herbal teas are usually a blend of herbs, spices, flowers, roots, and fruits, and for all of you Hercule Poirot fans, they are more accurately called tisanes. Most studies done on tea do not include herbal concoctions. Another tea that has become quite popular is rooibos, sometimes called red tea. It, too, is an herbal drink and not a real tea. Herbal teas by their very nature are caffeine free. Sometimes an herbal may be mixed with a true tea, so read labels carefully if you are trying to reduce or eliminate caffeine.

Rooibos with turmeric, cinnamon, and vanilla. The mug is a gift from a good friend.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Brewing Times

My oldest and I used to get into arguments about brewing times for tea. He worked for a coffeehouse, and knew the standard brewing times employees were told to use. I explained their brewed teas had added ingredients, therefore needed longer brewing times to be stronger, but that that didn't make it better.

Of course, I was right. ;)

Anyway, there are differing views on brewing times, but I have found these to be best:

Black and oolong teas - 3-5 minutes
Green teas - 1-3 minutes
Herbal teas - 5 minutes

You can always let your tea steep longer if you like it stronger, but I find oversteeping makes them bitter.

Green tea with lemon and ginseng.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tea and Aging

In preliminary experiments on 21 different plant extracts, scientists discovered that white tea outperformed all other botanicals in stalling the activity of enzymes that wear down elastin and collagen, two proteins that help prevent wrinkles.

It may not be a fountain of youth, but it can certainly taste like it! Drink up!

White tea with lavender.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tea Sandwich Tuesday: Peanutty Cucumber Sandwiches

There is just something fancy about eating tea sandwiches. Even ingredients you wouldn't think to put on a regular sandwich, once combined and cut into little triangles, just seem to work deliciously if you call it a tea sandwich. I'm not even joking.

Peanutty Cucumber Sandwiches

1/3 c. vegan mayonnaise
Handful of chopped cilantro
1 t. lime juice
1/8 t. black pepper
One cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
One carrot, shredded
2 T. unsalted dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Mix the mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, and black pepper together, and spread on a slice of bread. Sprinkle some of the chopped peanuts and shredded carrot on top. Lay a few slices of cucumber on top. Add a second slice of bread, and slice gently into whatever shape you like. Serve. Enjoy!

Today's tea is a green tea with cranberry and pomegranate.

Monday, January 25, 2016

White tea and fat cells

According to a report in Nutrition and Metabolism, compounds in white tea may stall the growth of new fat cells, as well as trigger the breakdown of fat in existing fat cells. Because it is also lower in caffeine than both black and green teas, as well as high in antioxidants, it can be safely sipped several times a day.

White tea with passionfruit and guava.

And like the green M&M, here, embrace your sexy!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Herbal Tea and Blood Pressure

There is some research to show that drinking hibiscus tea can significantly lower blood pressure. A study presented to the American Heart Association showed that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily can lower systolic blood pressure readings by an average of 7 points. That might not seem like much, but studies have shown that any decrease is a good thing. So drink up!

Hibiscus Mint tea.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Some like it hot!

There is some research suggesting that adding capsaicin and green tea to your diet could quash your hunger and cut your calorie intake. The reason is because capsaicin in stimulating to taste buds, and may help you from overeating. Adding capsaicin and green tea to your diet may rev up your metabolism without adding too much caffeine.

Oh, and for what it's worth, the research didn't say you had to mix the hot peppers in your tea. Whew!

I'll take my green tea with some passionfruit and apricots, thank you!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Roses aren't just for Valentine's Day

Rose petal tea can also soothe sore throats and coughs, something all too common during the winter months. Treat yourself to something lovely. You deserve it.

White tea with roses, jasmine, and orange.

And because the back of this mug is as cute as the front:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chamomile Tea

Hubby and I have these occasional bouts of insomnia. I try, and often fail, to drink a nice cuppa something herbal in the evenings. My excuse for not doing so is I'm busy. And that's the very reason I need to! Anyway, I mentioned this to my hubby about drinking herbal tea, and suggested perhaps some chamomile might help us both. I, of course, enjoyed mine. He said his made him have to go to the bathroom. Ah, well.

Naturally I chose a mug with a scene that brought a sense of security when I was a child. Seemed fitting for a nice chamomile.

I wondered what other possible benefits there might be to chamomile. According to the article 9 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chamomile Tea:

1. Treats Cuts and Wounds – Chamomile tea was used by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians as a salve for wounds to expedite healing. In a recent study, rats given chamomile flavored water healed faster than those who were not given the elixir. It worked especially well for burn wounds. This is because Matricaria chamomilla has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.
2. Helps with Diabetes – Some research has shown that chamomile can help those suffering from diabetes. It also helps with hyperglycemia.
3. Antibacterial – The antibacterial effects of drinking chamomile tea can help to prevent and treat colds while protecting against bacterial-related illness and infection.
4. Calms Muscle Spasms – One study from England found that drinking chamomile tea raised urine levels of glycine, a compound that calms muscle spasms. Researchers believe this is why chamomile tea could prove to be an effective home remedy for menstrual cramps as well.
5. Soothes Stomach Ache – Further adding onto chamomile benefits, the herb is a wonderful for soothing an upset stomach. Helping to soothe and relaxes the muscles and lining of the intestines, chamomile can help with poor digestion and even those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
6. Promotes Sleep – Drinking chamomile tea soothes the nervous system so that you can sleep better. It has been used as a solution for insomnia for centuries.
7. Natural Hemorrhoid Treatment – Chamomile ointment can help to relieve hemorrhoids.
8. Fights Cancer – It’s very likely that chamomile tea can help reduce cancerous cells, although research is still ongoing to see exactly how chamomile reverses abnormal cellular growth.
9. Promotes Healthy Skin – With it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, chamomile helps in clearing up skin irritations such as eczema, acne, and allergies.

I have never tried chamomile for any of these other reasons, but it is a very nice nightcap.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tea and Cancer

There is always something new on the horizon about how this or that will fight cancer. Having had family fight - and win! - against the raging beast, it is not something I take lightly, nor mess around with. I still believe modern medicine is the best fight we have against most ills, cancer especially.

That being said, it is still nice to read how tea may have some part in helping to fight cancer. A study by Boston University School of Medicine found that green tea reduced the size of cancerous breast tumors in rats. It is believed that the antioxidants in tea may stop carcinogens in their tracks. Another study by researchers at the University College London say that caffeine and its related compounds may block the functions of enzymes that spread cancer cells. Yet another study by the University of Minnesota of more than 35,000 postmenopausal women found that those who drank two or more cups on non-herbal tea a day were 68% less likely to develop urinary tract cancer, and 32% less likely to develop digestive tract cancer. Increased tea consumption has been linked in separate studies to lower rates of esophageal cancer in China, pancreatic cancer in Poland, and stomach cancer in Japan. And then one more study by Brigham and Women's Hospital of 66,940 women found that women who had diets high in kaempferol (found in black and green tea and broccoli), had a 40% lower risk of ovarian cancer than women with the lowest intake.

Good news, but a long ways away from a cure. What it really says to me is lifestyle choices can and do make a difference, but are not the be all to end all when it comes to cancer. The best gift you can give yourself is to live as healthy a life as you can, and see your doctor regularly. Talk about anything you are concerned about, and especially if it is embarrassing. Your life may depend on it!

Whew, enough on scary stuff. Today I am drinking a happy tea:

A green tea with orange blossoms and ginger root.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tea Sandwich Tuesday: Lightly Spiced Cucumber Sandwich

I may have mentioned before how much a fan I am of mysteries. I have amassed quite a collection by this time in my life, and thoroughly enjoy reading them. However, my love began years ago, thanks to my local PBS channel. They would air episodes of my two still favorites, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Periodically, they would have fund raising campaigns, and one of the items I always wanted, but couldn't really afford to donate at the time, was a mug. Imagine my surprise while out junk shopping, as my dad calls it, I found one of those mugs.

It just totally made my day! So I sit here and type, as I sip a lovely herbal peppermint tea from my much loved new mug.

So, on to the sandwich for today!

Lightly Spiced Cucumber Sandwich

One container vegan cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. vegan mayonnaise
3 chopped green onions
1/8 t. hot sauce
1/8 t. ground red pepper
One cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
Bread of choice

Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Spread lightly on one of the slices of bread, and layer the cucumber on top of this. Cover with another slice of bread. Cut, gently, into whatever shape you like. Serve. Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tea and Pregnancy

Pregnant women are often warned about their caffeine consumption, and with good reason. Caffeine can reduce the blood flow to the placenta, and research is mixed regarding caffeine and miscarriage risks, but the risk seems to be small if moms consume small amounts of caffeine.

But what if you are trying to get pregnant? Again, research is mixed. However, one study discovered that women trying to conceive that drank more than 1/2 cup of black or green tea were twice as likely to conceive as those who did not. Some researchers have speculated that some compounds in tea may inhibit chromosome abnormalities, while others help eggs to mature.

Of course, it could also just be that tea drinkers lead healthier lives.

Who knows?

What I do know is tea is a wonderful beverage.

My mug and tea for today:

Appropriate mug, right? It was a gift after the birth of my first child. The tea, while not black or green, is white tea with blueberry and cranberry.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

With Lemon, Please

I've talked a lot about antioxidants, and the potential health benefits of drinking tea. I've said you should never put milk in your tea, and some of the benefits of tea exclude using sugar. But one thing I don't think I have talked about is lemon in your tea.

It is not uncommon to see a beautifully filled cup with a sliver of lemon on the side. There's more to that than you may realize. Studies have shown that adding citrus juice to your cup of tea increases the amount of antioxidants your body absorbs from the tea!

That is just delicious in so many ways!

My mug and tea of the day:

English Teatime, with lemon, of course!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tea and Your Breath

Personally, I find the smell of coffee, and especially coffee breath, nauseating. But tea? It always smells like heaven.  It is no surprise, then, that it may banish bad breath.

Research from the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago discovered that the polyphenols in tea hamper halitosis by eliminating odor-causing bacteria. They also wipe out foul-smelling sulfur compounds in the mouth.

Of course, this means drinking tea without sugar, because the sugar can breed bacteria. Fortunately for me, I haven't used sugar in my tea in years. I like stevia. I get the sweet without the sin.

Today's mug and tea are:

Black tea with key lime.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Food on the Fifteenth: Green Beans with Garlic and Tea

Now that I've been adding tea sandwiches, I decided to up the ante a bit. I have been salivating over using tea to cook with for awhile, looking at recipes, pinning to my Pinterest board, etc., and have decided to, at least once a month, actually cook with tea. This should be interesting.

Continuing first with  my mug and tea collection, though:

Black and green tea with eggnog flavoring. It's still winter, right?

So, without further ado, let's talk cooking with tea. I have been reading a series of mysteries set in a tea shop in Charleston, by Laura Childs. Each book has recipes in the back, and I have duly noted them because there are several I want to try. That's how I chose the one for today.  This book is called Shades of Earl Grey, and it just now occurs to me I should have used earl grey in this recipe, but I didn't. :(

Anyway, the recipe is adapted from this book.

Green Beans with Garlic and Tea

1 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 or more cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
2 teabags of chosen tea (I went with a plain black) brewed in 2 c. of water
Almond slivers

Place green beans into a large skillet and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans start to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain, and place in a serving dish. Saute the garlic in the olive oil until slightly softened, then pour in the brewed tea. Let simmer gently just a few minutes. Pour this over the green beans, then top with the almond slivers.

When the beans are gone and you have the tea sauce leftover, save it. Use it to cook rice. It gives a nice subtle flavor to the rice.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Save those used green tea bags!

I never throw away used tea bags. I let the bags or loose tea dry, then add them to a ziploc baggie of used tea. I use mine for gardening.

However, another use is to take the used green tea bags and stash them in the fridge. Apparently they make good cleansing pads for the face, as they not only help to exfoliate, but the anti-inflammatory properties can even out blotchy complexions.

Tea is awesome!

Today's mug and tea:

Green tea with ginger. This mug was a joke gift from my husband for my first Mother's Day. It says Yo Mama.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tea and Strokes

The other day I mentioned how drinking tea may reduce your risk of heart attack, but did you know research also indicates it may reduce your risk of stroke?

Nine studies had led researchers to determine that drinking 3-5 cups of either black or green tea a day may cut the risk of stroke by 21%. They believe it is the antioxidants in the tea that appear to fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which helps to maintain normal blood pressure. I wrote earlier about how it may prevent plaque buildup, (which can lead to strokes), but may also promote healthy function of the blood vessels.

Even decaf is okay, since much of the antioxidants are retained.

Today's tea mug and tea:

Black tea with cherry vanilla.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tea Sandwich Tuesday: Dill and Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches

Today's sandwich is dill and roast beef. Last week everyone but me raved about the sandwich. This time I think I liked it more than everyone else. They liked it, but had varying reactions. My dad couldn't taste the dill, but loves cream cheese, so liked it. Asked me for some of the leftovers. My mom liked last week's better. My husband was indifferent.

Personally, I thought the dill and garlic in this one made it much more flavorful, and the lettuce added a nice little crunch.

Dill and Roast Beef Tea Sandwich

Half a container of vegan cream cheese
1 t. dill
1/4 t. garlic powder
Tofurky Roast Beef Style Deli Slices
Lettuce (I used iceberg because that's what my mom likes)
Thinly sliced tomatoes
Bread (I used whole wheat)

Mix the cream cheese, dill and garlic together until well blended. Spread on one slice of bread. Layer a slice of the roast beef, some lettuce, and a tomato slice, then top it with a second slice of bread. I sliced mine into quarters, and left the crust on.

Today's tea mug and tea are:

Black tea with pomegranate.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Tea and Your Teeth

Here I have been posting all about tea and its health benefits for the metabolism, the heart, cholesterol, etc. But did you know there may also be a connection between tea and your teeth?

The Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported a finding that drinking tea may protect against dental caries, and even osteoporosis. Why? Tea contains fluoride. That explains the teeth, but what about the bones? That came from a British study of women 65 to 76, and found that the women who drank tea had a greater bone density than those who didn't drink tea.

Do I still have to try to convince you of the wonders of tea?

Today's mug and tea are:

English Breakfast Tea. Well, the study was done with British women, after all, so why not?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Green Tea and Your Heart

Well, since I'm on a roll about tea and weight loss, I'll just continue this with a post about heart health. It is January, after all, and typically this is the month more people decide to make changes regarding their health. True, most don't even last the month, but this is tea!

A study in China discovered that giving consuming more green tea extract lowered cholesterol and triglycerides. Now, again, this is green tea extract and not the actual tea, so please don't run out and buy pills. Remember how I said a couple of days ago that researchers believe it is the polyphenols, and not the caffeine, that affects metabolism. This usually means, and many doctors suggest as much, that the best way to get the benefits from plants is to consume them as food, not pills.

Everyone knows high cholesterol and high triglycerides can damage the heart. So researchers have also begun to study how tea may improve heart health. A study in Boston found that drinking one cup a day (or more) may reduce the risk of heart attack by 44%. Another study, this one done in the Netherlands, found that people who drank four cups of tea a day had significantly less plaque buildup in their arteries than those that drank two or fewer cups a day. Many population based studies have also indicated that people who drink black tea have lower total cholesterol, lower ldl and higher hdl cholesterol. Some doctors suggest folks should drink at least three cups of tea a day.

Now, please, please, please, I am NOT a doctor, or even a medical professional. I am just a lover of tea. I post these studies as something for you to think about and maybe share with your doctor, but in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, do I believe you should forgo seeing your health professional to discuss your state of health.

I am ONLY suggesting that you drink more tea because it is delicious. If there really are health benefits associated with this very pleasant pastime, all the better.

In that vein, my daily mug and tea:

Constant Comment. Because it is divine.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Green Tea and Your Appetite

Continuing from yesterday about weight loss, a study conducted at the University of Chicago found that mice given green tea polyphenols consumed 50-60% less food than mice who didn't get them. Now, I'm not a fan, AT ALL, of animal testing, and animal testing doesn't necessarily translate to the same results in humans, but when it comes to tea, I'm more willing to bet the results will be quite similar.

So today, my mug and tea are:

Green tea with ginger and pear

Friday, January 8, 2016

Drink Up and Slim Down

I drink tea for the pleasure of it. However, there always seems to be research into the health benefits of it, and I just see that as a plus. Notice I did not say cream on the top. On tea, that would just be gross.

Last year, in my post, Tea and the Exercise Connection, I mentioned two such health bits:

"...a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that people drinking five cups of oolong tea each day burned an average of 87 additional calories. Not just while they were drinking their tea, but throughout the day."

Today I came across something in the Journal of Nutrition about a study that followed people who drank five 10 ounce servings of oolong tea for three days. They increased their metabolism by 3% more than people who drank water. This translates to 67 calories per day, or 6-1/2 pounds weight loss in one year.

And this, again, from the same post:

"Researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences determined that mice on a high-fat diet that consumed decaffeinated green tea extract and exercised regularly experienced sharp reductions in final body weight and significant improvements in health. After 16 weeks, high-fat-fed mice that exercised regularly and ingested green tea extract showed an average body mass reduction of 27.1 percent and an average abdominal fat mass reduction of 36.6 percent."

Today, again, about another study, this time in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that researchers found a 4% increased energy expenditure when they gave people green tea extract, instead of caffeine or a placebo. What they believe is that it is the polyphenols in tea, and not the caffeine, that may stimulate metabolism.

This differs slightly from another earlier post, Green Tea and Your Metabolism, that suggested, "...while green tea has about one-third the caffeine as coffee, other metabolically active substances, called catechins, compound the actions of the caffeine. "Caffeine activates metabolic pathways that release stored body fat from your fat cells into your bloodstream," says Paul Arciero, PhD. 

A 2005 study, entitled,  "Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men" concluded that "Daily consumption of tea containing 690 mg catechins for 12 wk reduced body fat, which suggests that the ingestion of catechins might be useful in the prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases, mainly obesity."

Polyphenols, btw, are a type of phytochemical found in plant compounds, like vegetables, fruit, and red wine.  A professor of nutrition at Tufts University, Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg. was quoted as saying that, "Two cups of tea provide as many phytochemicals as one serving of vegetables." Both black and green tea are excellent sources of dietary polyphenols.

Catechins are a type of antioxidant found in the greatest abundance in the leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis

So, today, for my daily mug and tea:

I'm sipping an oolong and green with jasmine!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January is National Hot Tea Month

I first mentioned this on my January 1 post, but at the tail end. So, it's definitely worth mentioning again. I am still celebrating with my daily mugs and teas.

Today it is a black tea with mango, pineapple, passionfruit, and lime. This mug was a gift from my daughter when she went to Cabo. So, I could say something like, "My daughter went to Cabo and all I got was this mug," but that would imply I am disappointed. Clearly, I am not. My daughter knows me quite well, and a new mug for tea is the perfect gift for me!

So, back to this magnificent national monthly celebration. There are so many way to celebrate, but I found this article, 31 Ways to Celebrate Hot Tea Month, to have plenty of great ideas. Now go and enjoy a hot cuppa!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea is an Indian tea, and can come in different varieties: black, green, white, and oolong. The one I'm drinking is of the green variety. According to the article Why You Should Drink More Darjeeling, Darjeeling tea is known as the "champagne of teas". Well, now I feel all kinds of posh.

Maybe I should have chosen a fancier cup! But instead I chose a sweet little birdhouse themed cup. Hey, green birdhouses, green Darjeeling! Guess I did get a sort of theme going there.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tea Sandwich Tuesday: Cheddar Walnut Tea Sandwiches

My husband and I visit my parents every Sunday, almost without exception. When I decided to get back to my tea blog, I wanted to do more than just post about my amazing tea collection. I figured tea sandwiches would be good. I mean, c'mon, what is tea without tea sandwiches, right? Okay, okay, fine, you don't need tea sandwiches, but they are kinda fun. So, back to my parents. I told my mom I was going to start bringing over a different one each week so they could be my guinea pigs. They have turned out to be very willing participants. Which is good, because they'll tell me if the sandwiches are delicious, or if they are better suited for the garbage can.

But first, my tea mug and tea of the day is:

Black and green chai. No, really, I'm not addicted to chai or anything. I just have a lot of different ones!

Okay, now for the tea sandwich.

Cheddar-Walnut Tea Sandwiches

1-1/2 c. vegan shredded cheddar
2 T. chopped onion (I used green onions)
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. vegan mayonnaise
Half a container of vegan cream cheese
1-1/2 t, vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/8 t. red pepper
Bread (I had Texas toast on hand, so used that)

Mix everything except the bread together, until well mixed. Spread on the bread, edge to edge, then cut off the crusts. I cut mine into triangles.

Personally, I thought it needed something more, but my parents, my husband, and my daughter-in-law all said they thought they were really good just as they were. My dad, in fact, loved them. I gave him all the leftovers to nosh on.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Keep Calm and Drink Chai

I love chai. Seriously. But too often when I drink it, I am reminded of a woman I know who swears it gave her diarrhea. Not a pretty picture, I know, but I guess that what happens when you drink too much of it. I wouldn't know. I drink a cup or two at a time (which, okay, equals about a pot of the stuff, but hey), and stop there.

I laughed, though, because I found a site, appropriately titled Keep Calm and Drink Chai (I didn't steal the name, I swear!) that provides a recipe to make your own chai. It has milk in it, and as I noted on my January 2 post, THAT IS SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS! I am content to just buy mine in teabag form and brew it up, no milk allowed.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Please come to tea, anytime you like!

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea – any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!” - Bilbo Baggins

I have been a fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books since high school. Of course we own the incredible movies based on those books! So, despite my general rule of not re-reading a book, I have decided to re-read The Hobbit. Am and finding I am thoroughly enjoying it all over again!

Today is appropriate to discuss it, because it is Tolkien's birthday. If you are so inclined, you can find some suggestions on ways to celebrate it here. For myself. today, however, I am going to enjoy a nice cuppa in a related mug.

A green tea with Persian mint and spices.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wild Women Drink Chai

Chai tea is one of my favorite teas. There are so many varieties of it; black, green, white, even herbal. It's all about the spices in it. I particularly like to drink it on cold days. The spices are so warming and the smell so divine.

I have never made my own brand of chai. Because I have so many different kinds available to me, I probably never will. But anything is possible.

However, I DO NOT LIKE CHAI LATTES! Yuck, yuck, yuck! The first time I had one was by accident. I had ordered a chai tea at a bookstore teashop. I was convinced something was dreadfully wrong with my tea. I took it back, explained I believed a mistake was made, when the clerk told me it was a chai latte. I will point out the menu only listed it as chai tea, not chai latte. I  know many people who adore this milky corruption of a heavenly tea, but I detest it. Give me straight up chai tea, please.

Chai is the Hindi word for tea. Legend has the tea being concocted by a king as a healing beverage. Healing or not, it makes me feel happy. I hope you will try some chai, too. AND NOT WITH MILK!

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Tea Adventures

I started this blog at the urging of a friend who insisted I needed to do so. I have neglected it terribly. Initially, my friend wanted me to start a tea blog because she was convinced that I own at least a year's worth of mugs and different teas. While I don't think this is true (okay, maybe the variety of teas is true), I decided this year I would test this theory.

So, every day I will post a picture of a different tea mug. Should I prove right (and my friend wrong) about the number of mugs I have, I will then post pictures of the different tea items I also have, from teapots to tea art.

But, so as not to be completely boring, I will also try to add something about tea. Quotes, recipes, books, etc. You know, to make it a little more interesting. And, if like I said in my very first post, "...even if no one but Susan ever reads my blog" , I will still enjoy posting for my own love of tea.

I begin with the mug that started the whole thing off.

I decided to start the year off with a smoky Chinese Fortune oolong. Seems entirely appropriate.

So, what is oolong tea? It is like a mix between black and green teas. The leaves are oxidized for half the time of black tea. What you get is a reddish brown brew with a full and developed flavor with less caffeine. According to Why Drink Oolong Tea, by Dr. Andrew Weil, there is some research on the positive effects of oolong tea on blood sugar and fat oxidation, but that more research is needed.

If you have never had oolong tea, give it a try. Start your new year with a new experience! By the way, January is National Hot Tea Month. So, what better way to begin the adventure?