Monthly Archives: February 2012

It’s tea time… again…

Feb 27, 2012 // by admin // Blog, tea // No Comments

I drink both loose-leaf tea and teas that come in tea bags. And those tea bags have a variety of different styles of tea tags. Some just include the name of the brand and maybe even the name of the tea. One brand, Yogi, actually includes inspirational phrases. Lately, I’ve been finding some great inspiration and I decided to save my tea tags. I created a fun card with some of them, that I have put up in my office, at the last art journaling workshop I attended. But before I did that, I had fun capturing them with Instagram and sharing them. Normally tea time features teas that I have recently experienced. This edition of tea time will feature my ever-growing collection of tea tags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is how i've been displaying them at work (plus that one from a fortune cookie)

yes, these aren't exactly tea tags, they are candy wrappers from DOVE and also filled with inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you found some inspiration or a gentle reminder in these the way I have.

Do you ever find inspiration in your tea tags? Any tea tags that you’d like to share?

Adventures in cooking… chia what?

Feb 21, 2012 // by admin // Blog, creativity, food // 2 Comments

chocolate chia seed pudding

I have to say, I have been spending a little bit more time in the kitchen lately. During my Saturday afternoon of art journaling, I asked my friend Valerie about the chia seed puddings that I keep seeing her post about on her blog. I have often wondered about it and so I decided to give it a try. I bought the chia seeds a while ago, as I learned that they are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium, and decided I’d like to give them a try. Up until this point, I only put them in my smoothies. Knowing there were more uses, I decided to try out a chia seed pudding. After getting some tips from Valerie and re-reading her blog, I came up with the following recipe (to make 2 servings):

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (drinkable kind, rather than canned)
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened cocoa powder

Whisk the ingredients together and put in a sealed container overnight to chill and thicken. Next day, take out of the fridge and enjoy. You can add frozen fruit or other things if you so desire.

Chia seeds can absorb up to 9 times their weight in water. Since I’d never made this before, I was curious to see what was happening, and I checked on my pudding a couple times in the first two hours it was chilling and watched the chia seeds expanding as they were absorbing the liquid. I finally let it be and when I pulled it out the next morning, I had the above. It was a thick, tapioca-like pudding, which had the perfect amount of chocolatey-ness. I didn’t know what to expect when I tasted, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was fast, easy, and tasted good. I don’t think you can get a better combination in a recipe. I have learned that I need to adjust the quantities sometimes of the liquid to chia seeds, because it can be too thin, but overall, it’s been easy to make and quite enjoyable.

I’m excited to try different variations of this and to use different milks. Although I believe, I’ll likely make all of them some variety of chocolate. I’m always looking for healthier ways to enjoy my favorite sweet treat. With the right blends, this could make a great breakfast or lunch meal or made in a basic way, a really great dessert. Looking forward to making my next batch.

It’s tea time… again…

Feb 20, 2012 // by admin // Blog, tea // No Comments

My last tea time post featured 3 (Shooting Star, Sunset Oolong, & Golden Jasmine) of the 6 flowering teas that I received as part of a lovely flowering tea set for Christmas. I definitely enjoyed drinking and looking at those teas. This is the second flowering tea edition featuring Numi’s… Dragon Lily, Jasmine Lovers, and Lavender Dream.

Dragon Lily

Dragon Lily – white tea with orange lily petals has a velvety, apricot flavor.

When this tea “bloomed”, I was in awe. It was so pretty – a gorgeous orange flower, and a really full bloom. I was more than a little surprised. I actually resisted drinking the first pot for a little while because I wanted to stare at it and admire it. This is another tea that feels indulgent. It’s rich and silky. I’m definitely enjoying it and finding that I can get at least two pots of tea out of each bloom.

Jasmine Lovers

Jasmine Lovers – white tea leaves and string of Jasmine flower releases a honey nectar taste.

I probably let this tea steep a little too long, but it was definitely okay. This tea was beautiful to look at. The flowers bloomed big and fast. This tea has a smooth flavor and I could taste hints of the honey and nectar. It was very enjoyable to look at and to drink. I can say with certainty that I’ll be investing in more of this kind. It’s the type of tea that would definitely give me a pick me up during the day in more ways than just the caffeine boost.

Lavender Dream

Lavender Dream – white tea with crisp, aromatic Lavender flowers compliments a tangy Hibiscus flower.

I drink fruity, flowery teas a lot, as they are by far my favorites and this one does not disappoint. Short of it being one of the prettiest of the flowering teas I’ve enjoyed, it is flowery and tangy as the description promises. The afternoon I enjoyed it, it was right after lunch and it was definitely a great one to have after my meal. And it was really pretty to look at (took about an hour for it to fully bloom). It’s pretty to look at, has a nice tang to it, and doesn’t require any sugar to make it enjoyable, plus without over steeping, it has a light flavor. (When you over steep it, it gets a bit bitter, but most teas do.) I almost definitely want to invest in a bit of this. It was a very nice treat on a cool afternoon.

After enjoying all this flowering tea, I am definitely going to need to invest in some more to have when I would like more than just a pick-me-up from my afternoon tea time.

When was the last time you had tea time? Any recommendations for other flowering or blooming tea varieties and brands?

Adventures in Cooking… kale, peaches, and a blender

Feb 15, 2012 // by admin // Blog, food // No Comments

My last adventure in cooking found me experimenting with quinoa. A few weeks after that I decided it was time to resurrect my passion for the green smoothie (and it was more than a little bit important for me not to let the great kale I had bought go to waste). When I bought the kale, I had these hopes of making kale chips, which may be possible at some point, but smoothies were where it was at. I defrosted some of my summer peaches. (My money saving tip, when peaches are in season at $1/pound, buy lots of them, clean them, and cut them into bite size pieces. Freeze in freezer safe bags for use throughout the winter. I’m sad to say that I’m almost done with all of my summer peaches.) And the next morning, I decided i could not be lazy anymore and whipped up the following:

1 – 2 peaches
2 – 3 cups of kale
2 tbls chia seeds
1 – 2 tbls pure maple syrup to sweeten
1 – 2 cups water to adjust thickness

I placed it in my blender and that was it. 10 minutes later, I had a delicious and nutritious breakfast smoothie and I wasn’t wasting that beautiful kale I bought. The next time I made this smoothie, I followed some simple advice from my friend Valerie (she read the user manual, I did not). During our last afternoon of art journaling, we discussed how to load our high-power blenders. And I had apparently been doing it wrong. In the high-power blender, the fill order should be: liquid, powder, greens, fresh fruit, frozen fruit. I applied this principle the next time I made my “super” green smoothie (substituted wheat grass powder for the chia seeds) and it was finished in 2 minutes.

This is a modification of a staple smoothie that I wrote about a few months ago. I have found I really enjoy using the maple syrup for a sweetener. I like the taste and sweetness level more than any other sweetener. I still have some kale left, so maybe chips will be in my future later in the week or next weekend or maybe just a few more smoothies.

Do you have any favorite smoothie recipes with kale? What is your favorite sweetener? How often do you find your way into the kitchen?

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Feb 13, 2012 // by admin // Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care // No Comments

the contents of my ephemora packet... a fun take-away from the workshop

I actually started writing this post as I sat in Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station waiting for my 8:35 train back to DC, yesterday. I arrived in Philadelphia Saturday for a day of fraternity brotherhood and yogic tranquility. Yesterday, I headed home early in the morning so I could add an afternoon of art journaling creative play led by Kimberly Wilson to my weekend activities.

Sunrise in Philly - Sunday, February 12

I’ve been excited about this weekend for weeks. I got to do lots of the things that I love in two days. And after last Saturday’s art journaling afternoon, I’m completely ready for this one. My bag of supplies was packed before I left for Philly. And I was ready to make a quick transition of bags at my apartment after arriving to head straight out to the workshop.

my spread - images, magazines, ephemora, and supplies

 

 

As always, Kimberly started the workshop with a brief explanation and background on art journaling and our first prompt was creating a background, since a blank page can often by a bit daunting to start with.

creating backgrounds - the first prompt

 

 

Like the last workshop,  I followed some of the prompts, but not all of the prompts. I created a few backgrounds, which I did work with.

more backgrounds - i was drawn to the lines and the colors in this one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while, I ended up in my own world piecing together inspiration. While I had sought out to only find inspiration about personal style, I also found inspiration in words about finding a healthy life and personal transformation. Some images I was just drawn to and so, I used them where they seemed to fit.

inspiration for finding my personal style

color and shape inspirations, plus some 2012 bucket list items, that seemed to fit in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kimberly also prompted us to work with layering. There are various layering techniques. Some are as simple as adding the tags and writing on them or the card stock. Others are creating foldouts or inserting envelopes to create more private pages.  I was having fun playing with foldouts today.

inspiration for my personal style, using a layering technique

images and words that i was just drawn to, relating to transitions and a healthy life (the page on the left is the foldout page, folded in half)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also followed prompts on creating a self-care and gratitude list (not pictured) and my top ten (really 12, maybe even more takeaways). I used one of the backgrounds that I put in a few months ago for this top ten list.

Today’s workshop was a lot of fun as always. Some of my friends (Valerie and Christine) and fellow yoga teachers attended, which just made it that much more fun. And afterwards, Valerie and I went over to Cafe Green for a nice vegan/vegetarian late lunch.

It was a great afternoon of creative play and the perfect complement to Saturday’s exploration of tranquility. And it ended with an exchange of e-mail addresses, so that new friends could join in on our monthly scheduled afternoons of art journaling.

When was your last afternoon of creative play? When’s your next one? Mine will come in about 4 weeks and I’m pretty excited about it.