You Know You Really Love Tea When…

So some people love tea and others love tea.

I’m in the second category.

1. Yep, you know you love tea when five minutes feels like forever!:

2. When cup sizes never please you:

3. Life just doesn’t feel right if you don’t have a cup in hand:

4. When tea pops up in your everyday conversations:

5. When you use it to calm down:

6. Or from saying things you shouldn’t:

This could get ugly, better stir my tea.

7. You aren’t even British, but because of your love of tea people assume you are:

8. Your idea of “going out drinking” is going to a coffee shop and drinking hot tea:

9. You drink tea no matter the time of day or temperature:

10. When it is your tea time you wait for no one and will not be interrupted:

11. You are always offering people tea to drink:

12. You have a huge collection of tea spoons, tea cups, tea tins, loose leaf tea, bagged tea, etc.

13. When you go out to Coffee shops or Starbucks, you are the only one not drinking coffee.

Yep, the Tea Life is the Life for Me

For more tea posts, go to Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

For more C.S. Lewis quotes, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

For more Wilkie Collins quotes, go to I Made My Own Teabags

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Triple Berry Salad

Advertisements

Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the following month; and it has worked out really well.

We only have four members in our club, so we have circled around them all and now it was my turn to pick a book again. I decided on:

The Darcy Monologues by various and edited by Christina Boyd

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of 15 short stories that retell the story of Pride and Prejudice but telling it from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Half the collection is set in the Regency period: taking place during the novel, tweaking a bit of the novel, or taking place where Jane Austen left off.

Hmm…

The second half of the collection tells the story, but isn’t restricted by having to be in Regency times. One story is set in the Wild West, another during WWII, the 1960s, and of course present times.

Hmm…

So we all know how I feel about Jane Austen:

And we all know that I spend a lot of time reading Jane Austen, watching Jane Austen, and reading and watching variations of Jane Austen. Pretty much my life is:

But the other members are not exactly at the same level as I am. One member, Jessica, has seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 film versions of Pride & Prejudice and read the actual book, but isn’t a fangirl. She likes Jane Austen, but is not a fangirl.

Don’t know why she isn’t.

Another member, Stella, loves Jane Austen but has never read the books. She only watches the films, and has seen both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice.

And our other member, Marissa, she has never read anything or watched anything Jane Austen.

So at first when we agreed to do this book I was excited:

But then I grew worried:

What if they didn’t get it, not being fangirls of the book? What if they didn’t like it? Maybe I should have had us read Pride & Prejudice first?

But I decided that we would just have to wait and see.

Hmmm….

So the day to meet came along and I decided to make the refreshments a regency-ish tea time. (Sadly I forgot to take pictures). I made some iced tea:

I had bough some chicken salad sandwiches and scones (I wanted to bake homemade ones but it has been too hot to turn on an oven) and then I made a berry salad, borriwing the recipe from my sister blog: Mysterious EatsIt is super tasty and perfect for a day of reading books or a tea time treat. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow, but you can also check it out here.

So everyone arrived and right away we had a problem. Stella didn’t get the right book. When she typed in The Darcy Monologues, the site sent her to a different book and she ended up buying The Darcy Connection. 

I’m going to lend my copy to her to read and then I will update this post with what she thought of it.

So first of all I just want to say that I have already posted what thought of the book (which if you want to read go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency or The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Erasand I loved it!

So I am just going to focus on what Marissa and Jessica thought of it.

Part I: The Regency

Both ladies were able to follow the stories and the thoughts of the authors, even Marissa who knew very little about what the story was based on. They also liked how it was from Darcy’s point of view and enjoyed the way the authors portrayed him, feeling as if they all captured the character. Jessica thought they did well in what Jane Austen wanted, and Marissa enjoyed being introduced to an introspective look of the character.

What Didn’t They Like?

Both ladies felt they would have enjoyed the book better if there had more variations of the story: such as when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy where older, stories with their children, or sights into areas not shown by the original novel-such as what Darcy does when he leaves Netherfield before he meets up with Elizabeth in Pemberley-things like that.

hmm…

They both did not care for the story Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams and they also did not like The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford as they thought it was too much Beauty and the Beast.

I KNOW?! How could they not like that one? I guess they just do not undestand how is Austenites find the works so similar. I mean:

To read more, follow this link.

Sorry for the tangent, moving forward.

What Did They Like?

Both loved From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft  as they found her portrayal of Darcy to not only be relatable but hilarious. In this story, Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth and been refused by her. He then goes home to write the letter against her objections to him, releasing his anger and frustrations out, until he has composed the best one to send her. We all thought she captured that the emotions of rejection and heartbreak perfectly.

They also enjoyed Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory, espehially how she describes Darcy’s perfect order and way of life being completly thrown off kilter when Elizabeth enters his life. Both felt Mackrory was able to not only perfectly capture the character but describe what it is like when you aren’t expecting it, but meet the person who ends up changing your life.

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani, was another favorite of the two. Marissa enjoyed the recap as it gave her a stronger foundation into the story of Pride and Prejudice and what happened in the original novel. Jessica liked how this was something different from the other stories as it was a part that isn’t from Austen’s story, it is a part unseen of Mr. Darcy and shows his growth in character.

The Favorite?

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

Yes out of all the Regency stories, this one was both of the women’s favorite story. This story takes place when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are much older, with Darcy having a flashback to when Elizabeth gave birth to their first child and almost died in the process. Darcy becomes afraid of losing her and reacts with a rule of no more sex for them, something Elizabeth does not agree with.

Both women liked how it showed Darcy and Elizabeth still in love years later, and just how they have had a great life together. They also loved how it captured the uncertainty of childbirth and Darcy as a father not knowing exactly what to do. One of them found it to be relatable to something they had gone through in their own life with their spouse. And we all agreed it was the perfect end to the first compilation.

Part II: Other Eras

Both women were intrigued with this part as they had never read any modern adaptions of classic literature before, let alone ones that took the material and placed it in other eras.

What Didn’t They Like?

Marissa would have liked more variety in the time periods, she was hoping they wouldn’t be as concentrated on present time.

Both did not care for the story Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini. This one takes place in present times with Mr. Darcy as a principal, George Wickham as the literature teacher, and Elizabeth as the new art teacher. We all did not like how Angelini made the character of Darcy as he was too mean, temperamental, and dorky/awkward.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland was another one they did not like. In this Elizabeth is drunk after a disastrous date, so Darcy goes to give her a ride, the two talking during the drive home. Both ladies did not like how Oakland made Elizabeth drunk and they way she talked to Mr. Darcy. And we all agreed: How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have had a massive hangover.

What Did They Like?

They enjoyed You Don’t Know Me by Beau North, which took place in the 1960s. In this Darcy is sent to Buffalo, New York to take control over the company’s new radio station. He and the top D.J Eliza Bennet clash in the beginning as neither understands the other.

They enjoyed how this story was not only talking about the novel Pride & Prejudice, but actually infused more of a social prejudice introducing a conflict of playing African American music on the radio, life as a Jewish American, and even the trials of having gone through the concentration camps (Eliza’s father). We all enjoyed how North coupled those threads of pride and prejudice with the original types of pride and prejudice in Austen’s work.

They also loved I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox. In this story, Darcy hates that his mother named him “Will” Darcy as everyone mentions Austen’s book. He meets two women who challenges his ideas on the book, surprisingly running into them later when he is starting up his farm to food restaurant.

We all loved how Cox had Elizabeth school him in the literature, causing him to be interested in rereading the book and falling in love with it. We all agreed that incorporating the novel in that way was really cute.

The Favorite?

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

From beginning to end this story was just loved. Every part, every character, every single piece of the storytelling was beloved by us. Dandy Darcy? We all wanted him. Turning this into a full novel? We were all down for it. If this was sold separately from the others? All willing to pay.

For all of us Rose really knocked it out of the park!

Couldn’t resist

So what did they think of the whole thing?

They loved it!

Yay!

Yes, they may not have liked every story or every interpretation of Darcy, but that is why they and I loved it. Each author tried to capture the spirit of the character and succeeded in creating their own versions of Darcy that have everything we love about him, yet at the same time not making any exactly the same. By doing this you have many different Darcys to choose from, insuring that you will find the one best suited for you.

We all thought they did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and highly recommend you read this book.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more on these authors and Christina Boyd, go to I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more on The Darcy Monologuesgo to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

And I just want to thank Christina Boyd for sending us these cute charms, we all loved them. I put mine on my bracelet right away and have been telling people about the book whenever they ask me about the charm.

Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. I like to include ay recipes that go well with tea and books.

Even though Christmas is eight months away, I don’t care. I’m making them anyway.

Truth be told I don’t

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

Not good

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more recipes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more on cookies, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

So you know how much I love tea:

And then I got into loose leaf tea. That can take a lot of time and work. You heat the water, fill the little infuser, steep-thats the easy part. The hard part is trying to clean your infuser, it takes forever!

So much time

But then I went to Teavana and I saw the coolest thing ever!

An infuser that makes two perfect cups of tea and is so easy to clean-Perfectea.

And it really is perfect! I just love it so much! It is so easy to use, to clean, etc. Just watch it, you will want one too.

It makes two cups of tea- the perfect amount for tea time with a friend:

Or if you are like me- the perfect cup of tea. Yep, I love tea and a lot of it.

All you do is:

  1. Scoop two teaspoons of whatever tea you love and place in the infuser.
  2. Add hot water and steep according to tea instructions.
  3. Place infuser over a mug and push it down, allowing the tea to come out and fill it.
  4. Add sugar, milk, cream, or creamer.

Fantastic! I love it so much I can’t stop using it.

For more tea posts, go to How to Make a London Fog

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more on C.S. Lewis, go to When A Willing Victim Who Had Committed No Treachery Was Killed in A Traitor’s Stead, the Table Would Crack and Death Itself Would Start Working Backwards: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

So when reading, especially Jane Austen, it is always nice to pair it with something. Of course tea:

But while on a literary adventure, it is always nice to have something to eat to sustain you in your “travels”.

So here is a delicious recipe borrowed from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Pistachios
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2/3 Cup of Powdered Sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 12-24 Medium Cherries with Stems

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Pulse the pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor or blender until finely grounded.
  4. Whisk the powdered sugar and eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the pistachio mixture until just combined.
  5. Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
  7. Bake until slightly puffed and just beginning to set, about 8 minutes.
  8. Place 1 or 2 cherries in the center of each cake and continue baking until the cakes feel springy and the edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan to cool completely.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar.

Thoughts After Baking:

It did not come out well…

Fresh cherries are not in season, so I substituted with frozen.

I should not have done that…they made too much liquid…it just did not work…

I will keep my tea cakes, and as soon as fresh cherries are in season I will remake this and give you an update.

For more recipes, go to How to Make a London Fog

How to Make a London Fog

As you can tell, this post isn’t about this:

Stay out of the forest!

But this:

StirsTea

So during the week I go to a coffee shop in the morning to kill an hour before work and while there buy a cup of Earl Grey tea.

tea

I drank so many that I had enough to get any drink free! I asked the barista what she recommended and they said a London Fog- Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and heated, foamy milk. I tried it and LOVED it!

joker-yum

I had to have more of it. So I decided to make it myself.

keepcalmputthekettleontea

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Ingredients:

  • Tea Kettle/Teapot
  • Earl Grey Tea (I use loose leaf but you can do bagged)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Creamer
  • Milk Frothier
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Tall Glass
  • Tea Mug or Teacup

Directions:

  1. Put your kettle or teapot on and heat the water.
  2. Prepare your loose leaf tea (one teaspoon per cup of water). [I typically drink out of a two cup tea mug.]
  3. When water is ready pour in mug over tea infuser or tea bag. (Tea should steep no more than three minutes.)
  4. When tea is steeping prepare the milk. This is something that might take a few trials until you find your perfect taste. I typically take 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of Vanilla creamer and pour both into the tall glass.
  5. Using the frothier, whisk the milk mixture until it is nice and airy. If you don’t have a frothier you can use a tall glass jar and shake it up.
  6. Heat the milk mixture in the microwave for a minute.
  7. When the tea has steeped, remove it from the mug and add sugar (if needed) and foamy milk mixture.
  8. Drink & enjoy!

teabookshotdate

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

It was delicious, and cheaper than forking over four dollars every time you wished to have it. Delicious!

youcan'tbuyhappinesscanbuytea

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more recipes, go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

For more Tea posts, go to I Made My Own Teabags

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

I Made My Own Teabags

PatrickjanementalistTEA

So I don’t know how many of you remember, but I went to Teavana and became addicted to loose leaf tea.

StirsTea

Yes, loose leaf tea is so much better than the bagged one. It is richer and just tastes amazing.

keepcalmputthekettleontea

Now there is a problem with it, unlike the bagged tea you can’t just stick the loose leaf tea in your purse or bag and take it wherever you go. You have to have the infuser, keep your tea dry and cool in an container, have a dish to hold the infuser afterwards, etc. It can be a lot of work.

tea

I mean a good infuser is hard to find, one that the holes are small enough the tea doesn’t come through. Once you find one, you protect it and make sure that it doesn’t get damaged. I like having my tea throughout the day and at work, so I’ve been buying loose leaf for home and carrying the packaged ones with me for travel.

teatimealiceinwonderland

But this was starting to rack up in money and I knew there had to be an inexpensive way to make tea bags. But what to do?

ThinkingHmmwriting

I checked online to see if there was anything I could do. I found a way to make teabags using coffee filters on The Make Your Own ZoneThe directions and guide were super easy to follow and do. I made two bags and thought I would test them out at the nearest tea time.

teatimewomeninwhite

I stuck the bag in, and I think I folded it wrong as it had a ton of air in it and floated to the top. I had to use a spoon to weigh it down so it would steep. It tasted alright, but not as good as a regular infuser. I think it is good of you want to take your tea on the go.

But either way, loose leaf or bagged: I love tea!

teamansfieldpark

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on tea, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz