Thursday, December 18, 2014

World Market Tea and Treats

On our last visit to Savannah we came across a Cost Plus World Market store.  Since I don’t have one close to my home, I decided to do a little shopping. 

IMG_1560I’d never tried Typhoo tea and since I like British teas (London Cuppa and PG Tips) I decided to try a box.  When I got to the check out line there was a 75% off table with Thanksgiving things.  I thought the Republic of Tea Maple Pecan and Pumpkin Ginger black teas sounded delicious and would be  nice for Christmas too, plus $3 a tin sealed the deal.

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The Lila Stix cookies and Tunnock’s Tea Cakes also ended up in my cart.  The Tea Cakes look interesting in their red and silver foil wrapping, don’t you think? 

IMG_1563Of course, I should have paid more attention to the label and read that they are a biscuit base topped with marshmallow – not one of my favorites.

IMG_1564 These look like a treat that my grandkids would really enjoy.

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The Typhoo tea is quite good and so are the Lila Stix cookies.  I’m looking forward to trying the other flavored teas over the holidays.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cross-stitch Christmas Cards

I’m not the only one in the family who is behind schedule on preparations for Christmas.  Hubby is still working on his cross-stitch Christmas cards for this year.

This is a sampling of what he’s been working on.

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He stitches them on aida paper, instead of traditional cloth.

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Then he mounts them in Christmas cards that have the opening precut (for displaying photos).

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He has been doing this for many years now.  One old friend, who has been receiving his cards from the beginning, displays them all on her mantle each Christmas.

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Hope I can get the cards going to Canada mailed out soon.  ☺  How about you – do you send any hand made cards? 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Macarons in Savannah, GA

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My schedule lately has included a lot of traveling back and forth to Savannah to visit my grandson in hospital.  While I’m there, I can enjoy one of my favorite tea treats.  I’ve mentioned Maison de Macarons in a previous post here.  On my last visit I discovered that the name had changed slightly and that there may be a franchise opportunity in the works.

I have fond memories of my Mom’s homemade coconut macaroons (pronounced mah-kah-ROON) that she made at Christmas, but the French macaron (mah-kah-ROHN) is a whole different ballgame.  They both contain whipped egg whites, but the similarity really ends there.  One is homey and easy to prepare, while the other takes the skill of a pastry chef.

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You’ve probably noticed how trendy macarons have become lately, popping up in all the magazines.  Even my “Complete Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer Cookbook” features these pretty treats on the cover.  I was also surprised that Sam's Club is selling authentic French macarons for the holidays.  Not sure how they can preserve these delicate confections that are best refrigerated and eaten within a few days.

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This was the luscious variety that I brought home on my last visit to Savannah.  I’m ashamed to say that I only shared two, but at least they are a low calorie indulgence with around 100 calories each.  If you’d like to try making your own, Bed, Bath & Beyond is selling a kit with everything you need, although I would probably want to invest in the special baking trays as well.

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I was a little disappointed that the Matcha flavor was dropped at Marche de Macarons to make room for more seasonal varieties (like pumpkin), but some new favorites are beckoning. 

Between trips to Marche de Macarons and Goose Feathers CafĂ©, I can see a diet will be in my near future.  ☺

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Japanese Tea Ceremony Clutch

Japanese Tea Ceremony Pouch

You can find a free pattern for the Tea Ceremony Clutch here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nassau trip

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

- St. Augustine

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We recently traveled to Nassau in the Bahamas for a week of much needed rest and relaxation at Blue Water Resort on Cable Beach.  Our spacious, fully equipped, three storey resort condo was wonderful.

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The tropical look rattan furniture, tiled floors throughout and cool blue color was lovely.  It was a great contrast to the bright yellow exterior of the buildings.  The ocean view from the third floor deck was gorgeous and it was great having two enclosed first floor patios.

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We spent a lot of time lounging on the beach or around the pool, but did manage to fit in some fun activities.  Don and I really enjoyed our “Tru Bahamian Food Tour” in the heart of historic Old Nassau.  I was able to sample conch fritters and conch chowder – both delicious, especially the spicy conch chowder at Van Breugel’s Bistro and Bar.

Graycliff Chocolatier had some excellent treats and of course, one of my favorites was the pretty pink chai tea chocolate – hubby loved the key lime, which was also on our sampling tray.  I took a variety box of sixteen plus extra hand painted salted caramel chocolates  back to the condo to share with our friends.

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Yes, they even had a signature bacon flavor chocolate.  ☺

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Pure Caribbean was a tea merchant and specialty store on the tour, and sadly I didn’t get a picture to share.  We also saw lots of the historical buildings and churches along the way.  I’d definitely recommend “Tru Bahamian Food Tours” to anyone going to Nassau.

The “Sandy Toes” tour was also fun and included lunch and snorkeling at one of the reefs.  The weather at the beginning of the week was so rough that the ferry captain wouldn’t go out on the day we booked, but luckily they rescheduled for Friday and the weather was much nicer.  It was interesting to see all the beautiful homes on the trip to the island, including ones that had been owned by Elvis Presley and Mary Kay Ash (no longer pink though).

Another fun outing was lunch at “The Fish Fry” on Arawak Cay.  There were so many restaurants, but we finally settled on Twin Brothers and had a delicious seafood meal.  I had Bahamian fried snapper, served whole - head and all, and it was so fresh and very tasty.  

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We had an interesting guided tour of Fort Charlotte after our lunch at Twin Brothers.  The main part of the fort was completed in 1789.  Since no enemy ever came to threaten Britain’s West Indian possessions after that time, Fort Charlotte was never needed to resist an invasion.

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If you are arriving by cruise ship for a day in Nassau, you’ll be hard pressed to pick only one or two restaurants or activities.  We didn’t visit Paradise Island (seen behind this mega ship) on this visit. 

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There was good bus service for going downtown and it’s a bargain at $1.25 each way.  Some of the trips were pretty scary, with crazy drivers, fast traffic and having to drive on the opposite side of the road.  If we had been braver, we might have rented a car and seen more of the island.

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Between the two of us, hubby and I took over four hundred pictures and I kept a journal, so we’ll be able to relive the trip for years to come. 

If any of you have visited Nassau, I’d love to hear about your experience.  ☺

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cake Mix Cookies

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When I was visiting Canada last August, my sister Donna introduced me to Cake Mix Cookies – so quick and easy to make.  All you need is your favorite cake mix, an egg, half a cup of melted butter and your add ins. 

I’ve tried a few different kinds.  I think the Coconut cake mix with added coconut flakes was yummy.  My hubby liked the cookies I made with Spice cake mix and walnuts.  Today I’m having German Chocolate cake mix cookies with milk chocolate chips as my add in.

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Try some with your afternoon cup of tea.  Just mix 1 cake mix, 1 egg, 1/2 cup melted butter and whatever add in you like (nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, etc.  Depending on the mix, you might need a splash of water.

I use a 1 1/4 inch scoop to place the dough on cookie sheets and then bake at 350 degrees for around 12 minutes or till done (cracked on top).

These were delicious with a cup of Golden Tips Goomtee Darjeeling tea. 

 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Golden Tips Tea Company

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Recently an unusual looking package arrived in my mailbox from India.  I could see that it contained a box and was wrapped up in fabric that appeared to be hand sewn. 

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Each corner had sealing wax applied to it.  I carefully unstitched the package and found that the inside box contained a wonderful assortment of tea from Golden Tips Tea Company.

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Golden Tips Tea Company produces one of the oldest and most reputable brands of tea.  Their tea is 100% Pure Single Origin Unblended Tea from India.

The tea comes well packaged, with lots of valuable information included on the label, such as - origin, estate, date picked, flush and season, grade and useful brewing information.

Right now I’m enjoying Castleton Moonlight First Flush black tea.  I’m definitely not a connoisseur tea taster, but even I can taste the fine quality and flavor of this Darjeeling tea.  I really like the mild astringency, delicate flavor and bright golden liquor of this black tea.

I’ve also sampled the Okayti Silver Needle  white tea.  It has a lovely fragrance and a delicate sweet taste which I enjoyed.  I was also happy to see that this is an organic tea.

Golden Tips offers several terrific sampler packs of exotic tea for just $15 including shipping from India.

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The photo above is Halmari Gold black tea from Assam, India.  Look at all those gold tipped leaves in this superior hand picked tea.  As soon as I opened the package I could smell the rich maltiness and the brew is full bodied and perfect with a splash of low fat organic milk. 

I’m looking forward to tasting more samples (such as Arya Ruby Darjeeling, Giddapahar Muscatel, Goomtee Darjeeling, Avaata Supreme Nilgiri and others) over the next couple of weeks.

You can check out Golden Tips large selection of teas for yourself here

 

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