Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chocolate, chocolate

Years back, I drank coffee and little else. Then the caffeine began affecting my tummy so I began to explore the world of tea. All along, I drank decaf coffee, usually Starbucks or a flavored decaf in the evening whenever I could get it. I didn't really start to drink full-strength coffee again until I got my Keurig - for some reason, I can drink a cup or two from the Keurig without it bothering me in the least - yet, if I drank the same coffee prepared another way, it would make me sick. Apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed this - some are even wondering if the Keurig application somehow affects the caffeine content of the finished cup. Fortunately, there are plenty of flavors to try and it's nice to start the day with a cup of coffee. Nothing against tea - I do love it - but for some reason, I can't drink it first thing in the morning since it nauseates me. After I eat, I can enjoy a pot or two.
But all along, I've aways enjoyed the occasional cup of hot chocolate, usually on the coldest days of winter. This year, the cravings have arrived during the past week and I've been able to satiate them since I always keep a stash of cocoa on hand. This year, the cup of choice has come from a Canadian company, Gourmet Village. I have to recommend their Creme Brule and Maple flavors but I wish they still made my favorite, Chocolate Orange. Unbelievably good - just like a liquid chocolate orange. Other wonderful hot chocolates come from Ghiradelli (if you can find it), Nestle Noir and Tim Horton's makes a great hot chocolate that isn't all that expensive either. Since I've just run out of my Gourmet Village stash, I'll be having a cup of Ghiradelli today. I've already got an order in to replenish my supplies!

Monday, March 28, 2011

What would I do ...

if I had $1000 to spend only on myself. Oh my! I read about this on the Asian Pear blogsite (http://theasianpear.blogspot.com/) and the only qualifications was that it couldn't be used to pay bills or debt. Sounds like fun!
In actuality, I would probably use the money to buy a new iMac (mine's seven years old and getting really slow), but for here I decided to do one based on tea instead - and wow, you can really get a lot of stuff for a thousand bucks. Of course, most of the money would be spent online since there's virtually no choice around here. Here goes my list:
1. I'd head right over to www.tweedandhickory.com since they sell a nice selection of Metropolitan Teas and K-cups. I'd buy one pound bags of my favorites: grapefruit black, orange spice black, blackberry black, rhubarb cream black, pineapple black, decaf English Breakfast, decaf strawberry black, decaf peach apricot and decaf Earl grey (approx. $310), I'd then get about $200 in assorted Kcups and about $40 in hot chocolate flavors from Gourmet Village. I'd probably also break down and buy a Tassimo and some coffees and teas to go with that (another $200 at least) although I might be tempted to spring for a more upscale version of my present Keurig.
2. I'd then go to Harneys and buy some of my favorites there (Tropical green, Paris, Cranberry Autumn, Earl Grey and something new - preferably some greens or a pouchong ($100) and then to
3. Stash for a big supply of my favorite Orange Spice and some of their teawares - a Stump teapot, a new tea cozy and a selection of some new cups. Believe it or not, everything, with shipping and taxes, together would come to about $1000.
4. If I economized somewhere, I might be able to add a Shelley teacup and saucer to the mix - at some point, it would be nice to have one of these in my collection.
Fun to think about and I confess, I'm a little surprised at how quickly that money would disappear. What would you do with a $1000 in tea and/or coffee money?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sort of back

It's been a rough, sad few weeks. I guess it's time to start getting back to normal, although I'm not sure what that is any more. Some people return to work within a few days of a death while others work on through. I have no idea of how they do it. I'm actually glad not to be working right now since I would be absolutely useless in any workplace.
But next week, I do have a professional engagement one evening so I better start screwing my head back on. Don't want to break down in front of a room of strangers.
One thing I would like to point out is this - if someone you know experiences a death in their family, please send a condolence. It can be a phone call, a card or a one-line email. Don't worry about sending flowers or donations - just let them know that you're thinking of them. And the time AFTER the funeral is actually the best time to make contact - that's when everyone leaves you alone, and yet, that's the time when you need people the most.
And never hesitate to send food - even the most ardent chefs among us are too overwhelmed to do any cooking during those initial days. Any extras can always be frozen for the next week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bad time

Shortly after I wrote my last post, I received a call that my mother broke her hip. She died from complications two days later, and frankly, it was a horrible death. It's been an awful few days and I suspect I'll not be blogging for a while. It will take a while to understand why all of this happened.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Should Like This But ...

As you may have guessed by now, I love to eat. I also love trying new things. However, there's one part of foods which have confused me - the stuff we want to like but just can't.
When I read magazines, I immediately want to try such things as Lavender Lemonade, Lavender Shortbread and salads made with edible flowers - they just look so good to eat. And let's face it - few foods are more visually appealing than sushi.
Yet, all of these things turn my stomach. The only thing I like about lavender is the color - can't stand the smell of it and the taste is nauseating - so why would I ever think that it's going to be good in cookies or lemonade? And I don't like leafy greens, salads or fish much - so the fact that it's pretty isn't going to improve the flavor.
Some may believe that we eat with our eyes, but if you can't stand a food, making it look good isn't going to help matters. Maybe it's just me, but dressing it up in new clothes isn't going to change the essential nature and taste of the product.
But after saying that, I do confess to liking Lavender Butterfly Tea - it's a green tea blended with lavender. But I think it's a case of the tea blender having a clue and allowing good quality green tea to stand out, instead of the flower. And even so, this isn't a tea for the early morning.