Monday, February 28, 2011

Springing into March

February is nearly over and the only good thing I can say about it is that it is the most consistent month of the year.
The weather is ALWAYS crappy in February. Even in years where there has been plenty of good weather, February always manages to stick in a few blizzards and ice storms just to keep those arm muscles toned (from all the driveway shovelling). This year has been no exception. As I write, there's a blizzard blowing outside.
Yet, earlier today, the sky was blue and sun shone like nothing I had seen in a while. It even seemed warm, in a wintery-sort of way. I went for a long walk. When I came home, I made a batch of double chocolate chip muffins and drank lemon tea.
Maybe spring is coming. One thing's for sure.
March is definitely coming in like a lion this year ...
Let's hope it owes up to the second part of the cliche.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Online Shopping Woes

There are times I wish the internet had never been invented. At one time, I was content to buy my tea at the local grocery store and purchase the occasional tea mug or cup at a nearby shop, usually when my last one was broken.
Now I can buy whatever I want whenever I want.
And there are times when I want a lot!
Case in point. Today I discovered Stash Tea ( has introduced their new spring lineup of teawares. It wasn't long before I had my shopping cart loaded up with three new teapots, three teacup and saucers, two tea mugs, two cozies and two of their newest blends. And I could have kept going. We're talking cups decorated with violets, toile, chintz ... all the good stuff! Tea flavored with Meyer lemons!
Fortunately, I finally managed to force myself off the site. So I went to, drooled there for a while and managed to get away from there before I spent any money. Then I went to ... well, you get the point.
I don't need any new teas. Nor do I need any new mugs or teapots. I'm quite well-stocked, thank you very much.
But for some reason, I still crave more.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Food, glorious food!

I did lose 17 pounds - and now I'm afraid to weigh myself because I'm back to baking and eating! One thing about being off work - it gives you plenty of time to bake up goodies. Today, I made brownies with a lazy chocolate icing - just take two milk chocolate bars and place them on top of the hot brownies from the oven. The bars will melt and you can spread the chocolate all over the brownies. It will harden when the brownies cool and you will have the best tasting icing ever - without messing up any dishes! I also made carrot pineapple muffins, which are as tasty as they sound. We might be having a pizza for supper but I might just make a cheese and mushroom quiche anyway - if we do have the pizza, we can always have the quiche tomorrow.
I do need to make some tea and it's either going to be a coconut black or a plum black tea. Both are favorites and today I feel the need for something tasty and familiar.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kindness works!

The sun is finally out after our most recent two-day storm. I slept in, partially because I was tired and partially because I was afraid to look outside and see how much snow there was in the driveway. When I finally got out of bed, there was a nice surprise - someone had plowed the bottom end of the driveway. There's still work to do around the car, the walkways and steps but by clearing out the bottom half, including what the city usually dumps in our driveway when it plows the street, my secret snow plower has lightened my load by at least 50 per cent. I have no idea who you are but THANK YOU!
A little bit of human kindness has gone a long way in restoring in my faith in people - I needed that - and not just from a physical standpoint.
I tried one of my new teas last night. Tangerine Orange Zinger from Celestial Seasonings is delish! It's an herbal tea with a wonderful orange flavor - when the weather warms up, I can imagine it making a wonderful iced tea. Definitely worth trying.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Storm weary

It's now past mid-February here and the snow is stacked high outside. The temperatures has finally gotten back up to around 0 C and the sun came out yesterday and even hung around a bit today. Of course, that makes the fact we're expected to have two snow storms this weekend seem even more dreary.
Winter has officially overstayed its welcome. Yeah, I know it's Canada but still, in a place where storms usually leaves amounts measured in feet, enough is enough.
I planted a pot of herbs today - parsley, basil and chives. I'm drinking more green teas, probably more of a reaction to the heavier black teas of winter. But today, I did receive two new ones - Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger and Zhena's Gypsy Rose Black tea with rose petals - they both seem pretty springy to me! Here's hoping they're good.

Friday, February 11, 2011

18 bottles of jam on the wall, 18 bottles of jam ...

I've been reading everything in sight, including cookbooks. I came across a few recipes to try and today, I got the ingredients. After three hours, I had 10 bottles of lemon pineapple jam and eight bottles of white grape jelly made. The ingredients cost about $14 so that works out to around 77 cents per eight ounce bottle - definitely a bargain, if you don't count labor costs. Plus, homemade jam is always better - even if it looks like the grape jelly isn't gelling - grrrr. And I even followed the directions for a change ...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good N Cheap!

For the past while, I've been wanting to try Tetley Earl Grey Vanilla but I've always managed to talk myself out of it. Well, on Saturday, it was selling for $2.49 for 24 bags and I thought - if you're going to try it, now's the time.
I've gone back to mostly loose leaf teas but this stuff is great for when you can't be bothered dragging out the infusers, filters or what have you. The Earl Grey flavor is strong enough not to be overpowered by the vanilla, and all in all, it's quite a nice cup. One bag will handily do a small teapot or two cups. I'm comparing it today to my Upton's Earl Grey Creme and it stands up surprisingly well. This is definitely one of Tetley's better offerings.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day!

The snow fell fast and long yesterday - leaving us to shovel a foot of the white stuff off our walkways and driveway today!
Everything's pretty much shut down and understandably so. A good day for hot chocolate and a pasta, cheese, tomato and hamburger casserole that I found in the freezer. Since shovelling burns off tons of calories and I was out there for a least an hour, I'm not too worried about the calories on this meal.
Tried that Lipton Mandarin Orange Green Tea - not bad. Not my favorite but certainly very drinkable. The orange flavor is fairly light and not too artificial tasting. Probably wouldn't buy it again but I'll finish off the box.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The fun never stops - please?

The last half of January is just something I'd rather forget, between losing my job for no good reason, finding out that the person who I recommended for a part-time position has now taken over my former position (ouch!) and accidentally eating one of my back fillings while consuming an otherwise delicious homemade apple crisp.
OK, enough with the bad luck please - it's now time for a break.
I went out today to run a few errands and while downtown, bought myself a beautiful handmade tea cup in the most gorgeous shade of pale mauve. Just looking at it cheers me up. Of course, what's the point of a new cup without some new tea to put in it? So I bought a box of Twinnings Lemon Green, which I am drinking right now and a box of Lipton's Mandarin Green in the pyramid bags, which I plan to try later. The Twinnings Lemon Green is really nice - fresh and lemony without that icky weedy taste that lemon teas often fall victim to.
A storm is apparently on its way here - at least I don't have to worry about getting to work! There are some advantages to my new lifestyle ... and I plan to enjoy every last one for as long as I can. I raise my pretty new teacup towards a better future - not just for me - but for you too!