Matcha, Matcha, Matcha

“Well all I hear all day long is how great Matcha is or how wonderful Matcha is, Matcha, Matcha, Matcha!

So Matcha tea is amazing, if you have been following me on Instagram, you know how much I love it.

For me I have always loved the Green Tea Frappucinos at Starbucks, but I didn’t know there was any Matcha in it.

Oh?

No, my obsession started with a book.

I know, don’t they all.

I picked this particular book up at the library, The Tea Ceremony by Seno Tanaka. It was a fascinating book that went over the history of the tea ceremony, along with discussing Matcha tea, it being the one used in the ceremony (no wonder it is so expensive).

Wow!

One part of the book really stuck in my mind, and that was when they described this one…I guess for lack of a better word, tea party, that had a ton of people and they had to keep getting new dishes and used over 200 of them. Wow, that’s a real tea party.

Wow!

Anyways, I know a lot of people like it because it is supposed to help you loose weight, help keep your brain & heart healthy, gives you healthy energy, stop bad breath, burn calories, build your immune system, help with memory, bring relaxation, help your skin, lower cholesterol, detox, etc. I just like it because it tastes good.

So I had been drinking Matcha for years with the green tea frappucino, but I didn’t start buying my own Matcha until three years ago. My niece used to come every year for the Summer, and on Mondays, my day off, we would go on trips around the world.

Let’s go!

Of course, we didn’t really go around the world. We would travel around the bi-county area recreating famous places/landmarks. She would pick a country, I would do the research on it, and then plan out the day. We would then travel and have the different places “stamp” her passport I printed off.

She wanted to go to Japan, so I planned out our trip. First we made Chocolate Oat Crackles; then we headed to the oldest building in our Gold Rush built town-a Japanese Market (no longer open though), saw the Buddhist Temple Gardens (lucky as they hardly are ever open), the local art gallery (supposed to be the Mori Art Museum), the pet store to pet cats and the cafe next door (supposed to be the Japanese Cat Cafes), Imperial Park, a Cat Bento Box, and ending with the tea ceremony.

Now I live in a small town, so it took some doing to try and hunt down some Matcha. I could have ordered it online, but she wanted to do it the next day, and she was visiting for the summer so I was going to make it happen! I finally tracked down a tiny, and I mean tiny, container for $15 at the health store. The things we do for the ones we love.

We did the ceremony, with what we had (I of course didn’t have the proper tools). But after that, we had Matcha left over, so she and I made our own Green Tea Frappucinos (I’ll post the recipe later) and lattes.

I know some people think Matcha is coarse or gross, but I love it. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend it.

So here is a recipe to make your own Matcha Latte hot or cold:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tsp of Matcha Powder
  • 2 Tsps of Sugar
  • 3 Tbsps of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Milk (Hot or Cold)

Directions:

  1. Put the Matcha powder, sugar, and water in a cup or mug
  2. Whisk together to ensure no lumps (use a matcha whisk or electric stirrer. (My dad was given one and it just somehow ended up in my home.)
  3. If doing hot, warm the milk and pour into the mug. If doing cold, just pour in the mug.
  4. Use the whisk or electric stirrer to combine everything until it is a light green color.

For more Tea posts, go to I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway

For more recipes, go to Cheese Round

For more on Matcha tea, go to Tea Chocolate

 

I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about free things.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

So I just cannot resist a giveaway-anytime I see one I have to enter it.

They are calling to me…

So with the Regency Marketplace, I love their stuff and when I saw the giveaway I had to enter.

I don’t remember if I was tagged first and then tagged others or if I saw it and then tagged friends, but however it happened, I entered and won.

So with the giveaway, I won two teas and a tea infuser. Of the teas, I had the option of:

  • English Breakfast Tea Bags
  • Jasmine Green Tea Bags
  • Irish Breakfast Loose Leaf Tea
  • West Indies Citrus

I can have a hard time making choices…(you should see me in restaurants)

Which way should I choose?

So I asked the proprietress to send me any of them and then settled in to wait.

I was a little anxious about when it would come as it has been soooooooo hot here. Like EXTREME heat, 98 to 100s, and I didn’t want it sitting in the mailbox all day.

It took about a week to get to me from Colorado to California, which is really great for a giveaway (others I have won have taken much, much longer.)

So, I love receiving mail!

And I was so happy to see this package, it was wrapped in a beautiful flowered envelope:

And when I opened it (video on facebook, twitter, and instagram) I saw I had won two Oliver Pluff & Company teas: Jasmine Green and English Breakfast.

So I decided to try them out with my mom and get her opinion as well. I even pulled out my teacups for the special occasion. First came English Breakfast Tea

My mom loved it and thought it was good, even though black teas aren’t her favorite. I LOVED it!

I don’t really drink a lot of English Breakfast Tea as a lot of the ones I have tried in the past have had a strange, acidic aftertaste.

Meh.

But this one was fantastic. I drank two cups, and ended up taking the tea canister to work so I could have it on my break.

The second one was Jasmine Green Tea.

My mom tried this one and really loved it as green tea is something she drinks often. I poured the tea for myself and put some sugar in and drank it, and wowee, boy was that sweet.

The tea was very good and didn’t need any added sugar as it was plenty sweet on its own. I am currently using it to cold brew some iced tea.

The tea infuser was beautiful and so easy to clean! Those of you who brew loose leaf tea know what I am talking about. I scooped out the leaves, rinsed it, and it was good to go for another brew. I also love how it has a little cup to set the infuser in and capture extra water/tea and keep it from staining your plates or counter.

So I love what I won in my giveaway, and I know for a fact I will be entering any future ones and will be checking out the store.

For more tea posts, go to Clean Cup! Clean Cup! Move Down, Move Down, Move DOOOWWWNN!!!!!

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea. I decided to repeat it with these two teas. After all:

Tea #1: English Breakfast Tea

So like I said, I’m a bit wary/particular with my English Breakfast Tea as in the past I haven’t had the best ones. But I was WOWED by this one. Hmm…so a book that I didn’t think I would like, but just absolutely loved?

I have never been super interested in epistolary books or books written in diary format. There are a few I have enjoyed, but that format isn’t really my taste. When I read this book, I was WOWED by it. I couldn’t stop reading and enjoyed it so much I made my book club read it. (I promise that I will do a full review soon!)

Juliet is an author in post-WWII London trying to figure out her next book, but having terrible writer’s block. She receives a letter one day from a Dawsey Adams on Guernsey Island who is writing to her as he purchased a used book and it had her name and address in it. The two exchange letters and Juliet learns about life on Guernsey Island and how reading and the literary society saved them during the German occupation. Soon she is receiving letters from all the literary members and their stories have such an impact on her she heads to the island to meet them and write about them.

Like the English Breakfast Tea, this book happily surprised me!

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Tea #2 Jasmine Green Tea

So this was harder…this tea was sweeter than I thought it would be, extremely tasty, and Asian…after thinking on it I went with

Rachel Snow has never had a good relationship with her father, and when he kicked her out as a teenager-her relationship with her sister suffered as well. Now her mother has dementia and Rachel is declared the power of attorney-she finds herself at odds with her father again, but closer to her sister as they try to solve a mystery about a book her mother keeps talking about. In between the sisters of Snow, the book tells the story of the legendary female samurai, Tomoe Gozen who lead the army in Yoshinaka’s military, along with being his concubine. When Yoshinaka marries a girl from court, Yamabuki, Tomoe resents everything about her. But as the two spend more time together, they grow to become sisters of the Heart; and discover that both hold traits that help each be stronger.

Just like the tea, I didn’t expect the book to be as sweet as it was and enjoyed both.

For more on Sisters of Heart and Snow, check out my sister blog From Print to Screen

 

 

Clean Cup! Clean Cup! Move Down, Move Down, Move DOOOWWWNN!!!!!

So most people watch Disney films and they find a character they connect to. Disney princess:

Maybe an animal:

Now that Star Wars is in the Disney family it opens more choices:

 

Marvel characters…

But sadly no. Since living on my own, I have discovered that the Disney character I am most like is the Mad Hatter.

So first of all I’m not mad from Mercury poisoning.

*whew* I know you are all relieved to hear that. And no it isn’t how he dresses, although I love wearing hats.

It’s not even his love of tea-which I do share

It’s his mess of tea cups everywhere.

I’m a mess

 

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: ‘No room! No room!’ they cried out when they saw Alice coming. ‘There’s plenty of room!’ said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table…

‘And ever since that,’ the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, ‘he won’t do a thing I ask! It’s always six o’clock now.’

A bright idea came into Alice’s head. ‘Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?’ she asked.

‘Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: ‘it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.’

‘Then you keep moving round, I suppose?’ said Alice.

‘Exactly so,’ said the Hatter: ‘as the things get used up.’

That’s my apartment. Now, I’m not saying that I’m a total slob, it’s just I’ve noticed that since living on my own 70% of my dishes are tea cups/mugs.

So as you can see-when it comes to dirty dishes 70% of them are tea cups/mugs. I also live in a very small apartment with a tiny sink, so as to not damage my cups/mugs they tend to line the counter next to the sink.

The real problem comes if I miss a day washing the dishes. Then oh no-it really looks like the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

How ’bout you all? Do you have this problem?

For more tea posts, go to Literary Tea Parties

For more Alice in Wonderland, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more Lewis Carroll, go to Past is Past

Literary Tea Parties

So I few years ago I did a post on a tea party that we had at my church. Of course, you know how I love books…I just had to tie them in together!

To read the whole post, click here. So every year at my church we do a Christmas Tea Party, and the past three years my friend and I had a table that I’ve been in charge of decorating. And if you think I just had to feature a book each year, than you are right! I love books!

In 2016, the theme was “Our Journey”, and shoes were the center as it was about “the paths we take”. Of course shoes made me think of one thing:

As Dorothy and all her friends go on a journey, along with having a magical pair of shoes,  it was PERFECT! We did a:

  • Yellow Brick Road Runner: Canvas that we painted with three different shades of yellow
  • Poppy Magnets as our favors: I used this one from Hometalk and did button centers and glued magnets on the back.
  • Mason jar water glasses with gingham ribbons and red mugs for coffee or tea.
  • Wicked Witch of the East candy straws: I got the straws from Wal-Mart and made the shoes from Swedish Fish.
  • We painted our own Emerald City on glasses.
  • And I sewed a sock monkey king of the flying monkeys, out of black and white socks (just like the ones the Wicked Witch of the East wears). Yes, I sewed it-help from Madsen Creations and my mom.
  • We made our own Dorothy’s magic red shoes, but they weren’t ready when I took the picture, so I put my own red shoes in there.
  • And of course, a copy of the book.

The next year the theme was “Friendship”

So my friend and I choose to do:

Last Christmas the theme was Holy Ghost…hmmm ghosts. Which book? 🙂

  • We used a holly and cranberry patterned runner on the table.
  • Sheets of music as place mats, with red chargers over them.
  • The centerpiece was a Christmas Tree, as those became popular in the Victorian era with Prince Albert, that I strung with popcorn.
  • I also placed a basket with the Christmas gifts/favors as that was how Victorian tables were set up. Each package was a different copy of A Christmas Carol. I got them all by swapping on PaperBackSwap.com I wrapped them up in brown paper and red yarn.
  • We had chestnuts on the table and each place setting got on orange, as they were very popular gifts, but I didn’t put cloves in it as you can’t eat them when you do that.
  • We had Earl Grey Tea, Hot Chocolate, and candy canes.
  • Each person received a homemade Christmas Card (made by me), and each had a little token in it, my version of the Christmas pudding.

This year the theme is gifts and I have to admit, I’m a bit at a loss. Any ideas of a book that gifts plays a role?

Please help me!

For more on The Wizard of Oz, go to Bookish Thank You

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

For more tea posts, go to I Ran Out of Milk So I Put Buttermilk in My Tea

For more book-filled posts, go to Stranded at the Bookstore

I Ran Out of Milk So I Put Buttermilk in My Tea

So buttermilk…I have never really drank it or used it except when making Irish Soda Bread for Saint Patrick’s Day.

Next year I promise to do a post on it, for now if you want to make it yourself, head over to my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.comAnyways, every year I am leftover with buttermilk and have no clue what to do with it.

I know most of you are thinking: pancakes.

I’m not really a big pancake fan, so I’m not into that.

Meh.

The other day I ran out of milk, and I LOVE milk in my tea. I don’t like to drink my tea without it.

Now normally I would just go to the store and buy more but its been raining.

Actually, that’s not an accurate description. It has been storming-windy, sheets of water, etc. The type of weather that makes you want to just stay home in pajamas with a good book or movie…

 

And tea!

But I had no milk!!!!!

So then the idea came to me…what about buttermilk?

I had never even drank buttermilk before, I mean I know you can make a substitute using vinegar so I’m pretty sure it isn’t sweet. And I know in the one Ramona book they call it “sour”

“How else am I supposed to reach things?” Ramona successfully broke the egg and tossed the shell onto the counter. “Now I need buttermilk.” Beezus broke the news. There was no buttermilk in the refrigerator. “What’ll I do?” whispered Ramona in a panic. “Here. Use this.” Beezus thrust the carton of banana yoghurt at her sister. “Yoghurt is sort of sour, so it might work.” The kitchen door opened a crack.“What’s going on in there?” inquired Mr. Quimby.” Ramona Quimby, Age 8

But then in Westerns they always have the men drinking it when they come back from working the fields and such.

So I tried it and…

It is so sour! It’s like drinking plain greek yogurt.

I can’t imagine drinking a whole glass of it. But I thought maybe a few drops…?

It came out…okay. I only did a tiny bit and put in quite  lot of sugar. I don’t recommend it for everyday use, but only in a tight squeeze and only a little bit.

Well in the end it worked out, and I got my tea.

For more tea posts, go to I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Infused Facial Cubes

For a recipe that uses buttermilk (which I had completely forgot about), go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

For more rainy days, go to A Water-Logged White Christmas

For more C.S. Lewis’ quotes, go to Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Infused Facial Cubes

So last month Tea & Me did a post on freezing tea, and then placing these cubes on your face. (You can read about her experiences here.) When I read that I was like:

But hey, I’m down for trying it out, at least once.

My skin and I do not get along. As I have said before it is dry and oily-making it so hard to try to figure out what skin care/products to use.

Besides that I have very sensitive skin. It is so sensitive I don’t even know half the things I am allergic to. Sometimes I am just going about my life and my skin gets irritated, hives break out, and next thing you know I’m scratching and breaking the skin.

It burns

Like my post on a Tea Hair Rinse, I waited so long to do this review, because I wanted to try out at least three different teas.

  1. Boil water.
  2. Make a cup of tea.
  3. Steep until tea has cooled
  4. Once tea has cooled pour in clean ice trays.
  5. Freeze for two hours or until completely frozen.
  6. Try and open pores by putting a warm clean washcloth on or using steam from shower.
  7. Wash face.
  8. Using a washcloth, grab an ice cube and rub all over face.
  9. Rinse face with warm water.

So first I tried the Kukicha Green Tea.

“Green Tea [contains] antioxidant and disinfects.”

The second time I did the lavender tea.

“Lavender Tea soothes irritated skin and disinfects.”

The last one I did was Earl Grey, my favorite to drink.

“Black Tea disinfects.”

So I’m not sure I did it right, but I just used the cube around my face until I couldn’t stand the cold, after rinsing my face with warm water. I loved doing it in the morning as I have to get up 5-5:30 and that really woke me up as it was freezing cold!

The first one I did, Green Tea, I felt was the best. Like I said in a previous post, Green Tea is great for soothing irritated or dry skin, which I had been struggling with-more than usual. You know this weather.

Ugh!

The lavender and black tea I didn’t see an immediate response like the green tea, however, the other day my period came and was awful.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

And I got this giant zit on my chin, that ended up popping. It hurt so bad and when I bleed, I bleed a lot. I put the Earl Grey iced cube on it, which not only numbed, but disinfected and helped stop the bleeding.

For more on Tea & Me, go to I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Hair Rinse

For more tea posts, go to Use Tea to Soothe Dry or Irritated Skin

I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Hair Rinse

So a couple weeks ago Tea & Me did a post on things to do with your tea bags and loose leaf tea, after you make your cup.

Something that has always bothered me about making tea is throwing the leaves away after you use them. Even though you can’t make endless cups with them (that would be SUPER weak tea), if only there was something you can do with them.

A MYSTERY!!!

She gave out a list of things you can try to do with tea, and one was to do a hair rinse.

Hmm…

My hair and I have a “special” relationship. Basically it does whatever it wants and I hope that I can do something with it.

Even my hairdresser has said she has never seen such contradictory hair. If I want it to be dry-it stays wet. If I want it wet-it dries instantly.

When I get it a way I want it-DONT MESS WITH IT!

Lately my scalp has been driving me crazy. I have been switching from product to product-trying to find something that would help-but to no avail.

Ugh!!

So I was psyched about the tea rinse. I waited so long to do this review, because I wanted to try out at least three different teas.

  1. Make a cup of tea-as you usually do.
  2. When you finish steeping your tea, put them in another cup and steep in hot water for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Allow the tea to cool completely before using.
  4. Detangle your hair before you step into the shower to avoid knots and breakage.
  5. Wash and clean your hair well with your usual shampoo.
  6. Proceed to condition your hair. …
  7. Rinse the conditioner out of your hair.
  8. Pour your hair rinse through your hair and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  9. Do not rinse hair any further.

So first I tried black tea, Earl Grey, my favorite!

“Black Tea [is supposed to] strengthen hair roots [and] darken hair.”

The second time I did the green tea, Kukicha Green Tea.

“Green Tea prevents early grey hairs, [along with] strengthen[ing] and shin[ing] hair.”

The last one I did was this calming Lavender tea that my friend bought me.

“Lavender Tea moisturizes and conditions hair.”

So after the black tea I didn’t feel any different. I’m sure this is something you would have to do over time to see a difference. I’m not sure I will as I do not want to darken my hair.

With the green tea-I don’t have a grey issue, I think the strengthening would take time, and my hair is always shiny looking-so I couldn’t really tell a difference.

Hmm…?

I did see an improvement with the lavender tea as I needed my hair to be moisturized and conditioned.

Above all, I really enjoyed this as I loved using the tea bags and leaves. It was great not just throwing them away-it definitely felt less wasteful and that I was recycling.

For other things to do with your tea bags and leaves, check out Tea & Me’s post, I Made Tea…Now What?

For more tea posts, go to Use Tea to Soothe Dry or Irritated Skin

For more hair posts, go to Why the Princess Leia Crown Hairdo is Awesome