Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do You Prefer Hot or Iced Tea?

Depending on the part of the country or the world where you live, you may be more accustomed to hot or cold tea. Hot tea is my preference, although I don't mind iced tea, especially in hot weather.

However, I find a cup of hot tea more refreshing, relaxing and reviving than a glass of iced tea. Perhaps that's because hot tea was more common in our household and my grandmother's when I was growing up.

I have found that when we travel in southern regions of the United States, it's more difficult to get hot tea served in restaurants. In fact, some don't serve it at all.

"We can heat up some sweet tea in the microwave," one waitress told me.

I appreciated her attempt to be helpful but that's not what I wanted for my breakfast. I also don't like sugar in my tea, so it heated sweet tea did not appeal.

If I travel with my own tea bags, I generally can get a cup of hot water when hot tea isn't served. So that has been one solution.

Which do you prefer, hot or iced tea? Or don't you care? Perhaps you don't drink tea at all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tea Time Notes Blogger Published

Tea Time Notes blogger, Mary Emma Allen has stories featured in the new release, Eternally Yours, an anthology of poetry, light essays, devotions and meditations, edited by Mary Ellen Grisham and published by Xulon Press.

Featuring some of the best Christian writers on the Internet, this book represents work that has appeared in the Eternal Ink E-zine since it’s inception in 1999.

In addition, Mary gives presentations and teaches workshops at schools, libraries, writers’ conferences, and for other groups. Some of her talks include topics such as Alzheimer's and caregiving, quilt history and quiltmaking, New Hampshire history, and writing.

I was pleased when Ms. Grisham selected some of my stories for inclusion in this anthology. It's exciting to encourage and inspire others with my writing.

Tea Parties of the Boston Type

Tea as a beverage for drinking and tea as a's been used both ways in American history.

Today, tea is brewing as a protest against President Obama's policies, reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party, when colonists rebelled against British rule and taxation without representation. Tea parties are cropping up all over the U.S.A. as citizens speak out against policies that will lead to greater taxation.

The power of tea! As a calming beverage when you're stressed, a social beverage for gatherings among friends or a symbolic one with overtures of protest as exhibited by the American colonists and citizens today.

Groundswell of Obama Opposition Called a "Tea Party"

More Tea Parties Are Brewing Along with Investigations into Obama's Birth

Friday, February 20, 2009

Will You Grow Herbs for Your Teas?

I came across an article today that says seed and gardening supply sales are up in spite of the hard economic times. Probably it's because of these hard economic times.

Backyard gardens are especially popular and more people are planning to raise their own vegetables. It's predicted that gardening supply sales will jump 40%. Also, vegetable seed and plant sales are squeezing out the flower sales.

This reminds me even more of the Victory garden era of the World War II years.

For tea drinkers, this might mean that more will raise herbs in their gardens or in window boxes and make their own beverages from them.

What types would you try for tea? Do you have any favorites?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tea & Party Fare from the Food Bloggers

The Food Bloggers are a group of us who write about food, recipes and related topics. I hope you enjoy our selection this week and find something that will accompany tea, whether afternoon tea, breakfast or lunch.

A Homemade Fruit and Yogurt Parfait Use fresh or frozen fruit to make a midwinter healthy treat.

Busy Family Meals The best chocolate cookies Cyndi has ever had. Ever!

Butterfinger Buzz A review of Nestle's new caffeinated candy bar -- a twist on an old favorite!

Cooking Gadgets Cyndi has two Smith's Edge knife sharpeners to give away this weekend!

Mardi Gras Cocktail Recipe A delicious recipe for your Mardi Gras celebration

Quilled Pastry Hearts with Key Lime Curd You can make quilled hearts out of paper or get really creative and make them from frozen puff pastry.

School Lunch Variations Mary Emma at Country Kitchen chats about school lunches past and present and gives you a recipe for Mayonnaise Cake.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

More About Tracy DiSabato-Aust

I mentioned Tracy DiSabato-Aust's book launch tea party in a previous idea I thought fascinating. There Tracy was introducing her new book, 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants.

I recently wrote about Tracy's gardening blog and her ideas for designing a garden if you don't know where to start. You'll find this on my Gardens Green & Glorious blog under, Learn Gardening Design from Tracy DiSabato-Aust.

So if you enjoy gardening, as well as tea, you'll find Tracy's post of interest.

Happy Valentine's Day from Tea Time Notes

Happy Valentine's Day!

May this be a special day for you.

We have been enjoying Valentine's Day flowers, cards and candy. This was a fun day at school yesterday with the Valentine parties.

Today the children in our household are enjoying it, too.

As far as tea...I've been drinking Assam tea today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Will Obama Increase Tea Drinking?

Apparently Obama prefers tea, hot and cold, to other beverages. Will this increase tea drinking and tea sales?

According to the Bigelow Tea blog, President Obama Favors Organic Tea, especially chilled Berry Teas. So they and other tea companies apparently are introducing new organics.

Now I have questions...How are organic teas different? What's so special? Where are they raised? How are they processed?

If you have answers, let me know.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Flowers for Valentine Teas

Have you considered decorating with flowers for a Valentine's Day tea? Or giving a Valentine arrangement to your hostess?

A friend who works in a florist department of a supermarket as a floral designer says that Valentine's Day is the biggest and busiest "flower" day of the year. It starts for them at least two weeks before Valentine's Day when the flowers start coming in.

They must prep the flowers, getting rid of leaves and stems and preparing them for bouquets and arrangements. They must make sure they have enough vases and Valentine related decorations and embellishments.

My friend is very creative, so she's often requested to design special arrangements using her ideas. Flower arranging is an art and not simply putting a mass of flowers into a vase in a hodge podge way.

Silk flowers also are in style and popular because they'll save. Some florest departments work with these, too. However, look for craftspeople who specialize in silk flowers for special occasions.

Craft stores also usually handle silk flowers. They may even hold classes on silk flower arranging.

Are you including flowers into your plans this Valentine's Day...either to give as a gift or to decorate your tea party?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What Are You Planning for Valentine's Day?

Are you planning any parties? Do you have a special tea party in mind? Is there a particular tea you're going to serve?

This was an exciting time when I was a youngster, with parties at school and at home. My mom made this an occasion for us four children, even though she was busy with farm work and housework.

The schools still have Valentine parties. Where I substitute teach, the youngsters in grades K-5 are looking forward to a special afternoon on the day before Valentine's Day because they won't be in school on the 14th.

Adults often celebrate with a special dinner for two, giving flowers and gifts. A friend, who works in a florist shop, says this is the busiest day of the year for them. They start preparing and taking orders two weeks ahead.

At senior centers and nursing homes, they may plan a special Valentine's Day tea, with special decorations. Heart-shaped treats might be served. Valentine's given out to each one attending.

What are you doing for Valentine's Day in your family and your life?

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Delights of Tea Infusers

Tea Infusers

Tea infusers actually consist of almost any container that holds loose tea you can immerse in boiling water. Some of the more recent ones are glass or plastic inserts that fit into the glass container. My daughter Beth gave me one that has small slits in the bottom of the glass insert for the water to seep through into the glass cup.

I’ve been experimenting with tea bags, loose tea, and tea flowers, trying to decide what works best. I’ve enjoyed using some Earl Grey loose tea I had on hand. The tea flowers Beth gave me also are delightful.

Infuser Facts & Suggestions

In my research, I found a few facts about tea infusers.

*Infusers come in many sizes. Some fit tea pots and others are made for individual cups.
*Infusers are made in many materials.
*Infusers should be fairly large for your teapot or cup.
*To make good tea, the tea needs to have space to “swim” and the water to circulate.
*Tiny infusers made in novelty shapes will crowd your tea so the water doesn’t circulate through the tea leaves well.
*You should have at least twice as much space as utilized by a heaping teaspoon of dry loose tea leaves.

Now I wonder about those cute little tea infusers (sometimes called “tea balls”) I’ve been collecting. Some are no larger than a teaspoon of loose tea. One that I have is shaped like a teaspoon with a snap over top and will only hold a teaspoonful of tea.

Tea Infusers & Tea Flowers

I like to try different types of tea and collect tea accessories.

For Christmas, my daughter gave me a glass mug with tea infuser. I’d seen one of these…a glass tea pot with infuser when Jim and I had dinner with friends. But I hadn’t realized they came as individual tea makers.

Tea Flowers

The package also included a “tea flower” consisting of green tea scented with jasmine flowers. This made delicious tea, actually cup after cup to keep me going the whole afternoon.

In checking out information about tea flowers, I discovered they’re tea leaves hand sewn together in various bud shapes using different types of tea. When these flowers are steeped in hot water, they unfurl into attractive leafy arrangements. If you use glass tea pots or cups, you can watch the flowers take shape.