Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hello Everyone!  Since my last blog post did get some attention toward my Kickstarter campaign, I thought I’d come back and try again, since we’re trying again with a new Kickstarter Campaign!

52teas3The goal of the last campaign was a bit too big and I wasn’t able to attain that goal.  However, we have now reached the goal for the new campaign and if all continues to go well with it – we’ll successfully take over 52Teas!

As those of you who have read my past reviews are probably aware, I’m a bit of tea freak and this acquisition is a DREAM coming true for me.  I hope that you’ll all support me and help me make this dream a reality!

While we have reached the goal – we still could really use your help in reaching the stretch goals of the campaign.  We want a new website and we need some other equipment and the extra boost of those stretch goals will help make those things happen for me.

So PLEASE – visit my Kickstarter campaign and contribute what you can to help us!

I’ll reward you with some awesome tea!  And really, is there a better reward than tea?

I know I’ve been absent from this blog for a long time.  I kind of got more involved with my tea blogging and decided to devote more time to that than to my foodie endeavors.

52teas3As you are probably well aware, I’m very passionate about tea.  I love tea.  I drink it several times a day (actually more than just several times a day!) and I write about it daily.

Recently, I was approached by Frank of 52Teas (one of my favorite tea companies) who told me that he wanted to narrow his focus.  You see, in addition to owning the brand 52Teas, he also owns the brand Southern Boy Teas which is an iced tea business.  His passion is iced tea.  I love iced tea, but my passion is really for hot tea.

So, he is ready to take Southern Boy Teas to new heights and he is ready to let go of his 52Teas brand.  He offered to let me take it over!  Wow!

What a tremendous opportunity for me!  It’s also a tremendous opportunity for my daughter who is going to become my business partner, and well, it’s a great opportunity for my family.

Which brings me to the reason for this post.  PLEASE help me take advantage of this opportunity that has been presented to me.  I can only do this if I get the help I need through this Kickstarter Campaign!

Please take a moment to check out the campaign and contribute if you can.  Please spread the word about the campaign!  Please help me make this dream of mine a reality.

Also, please help Frank build his iced tea business – Southern Boy Teas – with his Indiegogo Campaign.

I truly appreciate anything you can do to help me reach this goal!  Thank you for reading!

I love tomatoes.  I call them my favorite “fruit” … not so much because they are technically a fruit but because my favorite vegetable is carrots, and I would have a difficult time choosing between the two if they were both deemed vegetables.

???????????????????????????????This summer, my big Costco discovery was these Symphony tomatoes (I’ve also seen a smaller “symphony” package in Chuck’s Produce, which suggests to me that you might be able to find them elsewhere as well.)  They are an eye catching array of colorful cherry sized tomatoes – with colors such as chocolate brown, white (which looks like a “greenish” white), green, orange, and the familiar red.  Most of the tomatoes are roundish in shape, but some are “Roma” tomato shape.

To make my tomato salad, I start with a colander full of these tomatoes with all the blossoms removed and the tomatoes washed thoroughly.  Then I cut them.  Most of the round tomatoes I cut in half, but some of the larger round tomatoes I cut into fourths … basically, I cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces.

???????????????????????????????Then I season with Kosher salt and ground pepper.  If I happen to have it on hand, I will substitute the Kosher salt with a gourmet salt from Woody’s Gourmet.  (My personal favorite is the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt)

Then I reach for my bottle of Smoky Bacon flavored Grapeseed Oil from Wildtree.  This is the MAGIC product in this salad, because it adds such a delightful flavor.  The bacon flavor is not an overpowering flavor, and I might like this even better if the bacon flavor was more pronounced (Bacon is a lot like chocolate in that more bacon = better.)  The bacon is best tasted when you taste the oil on it’s own, but, I still taste the bacon flavor when I make this tomato salad, and  love the way the smoky bacon and tomato flavors meld.

Note:  If you really want to focus on the bacon flavors, I suggest seasoning with plain Kosher salt rather than the gourmet stuff, as the extra seasoning in the gourmet sea salts tend to distract my palate.

grapeseedoil

Photo from Wildtree
Click on the pic to go there.

I have fallen in love with Grapeseed Oil because I love the taste.  I used to be very devoted to olive oil, but, I like grapeseed oil even better, and I love the Wildtree brand (and not just because one of my dear friends sells the stuff!)   The taste of the grapeseed oil is not as heavy as the olive oil, and I find this especially desirable on a salad like my tomato salad where I want to taste the tomato.

I drizzle the grapeseed oil over the seasoned tomatoes, and then I follow that with a drizzle of vinegar.  I tried this salad first using this Champagne Mimosa Vinegar from Chapparal Gardens – LOVED it – but now I use balsamic vinegar and that is good too.  The Champagne vinegar is better … but it is also kind of pricey, Then again, so is a good balsamic vinegar, but since I always have balsamic vinegar on hand … well, you get the idea, right?

After I’ve seasoned and dressed the tomatoes, I toss the tomatoes well in the mixture to make sure that all the tomatoes get some vinegar and oil and seasoning on them.  And then I eat it.  YUM!

???????????????????????????????Yeah, I told you it’s easy.  So, if it’s a little too easy for you and my recipe is leaving you asking why I bothered to write this post … let me add this:  Tomatoes are very good for you!  They are an excellent source of antioxidants and help lower cholesterol.  They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K and potassium.  And they’re practically calorie free!  Now, the dressing on this salad isn’t calorie or fat free, of course, but, I suggest go sparingly with the vinegar and oil anyway and let the tomatoes be the star of the show.

You can find more yummy grapeseed oil recipes on my friend Jennifer’s blog!

???????????????????????????????Product Description:

Spinach, tomato and potato put a healthy spin on a traditionally not-so-healthy snack. Made with natural, wholesome ingredients, no preservatives or additives and 40% less sodium than regular potato crisps, these are chips you can feel good about eating.

I received a bag of these veggie crisps in my December Goodies Box.

Tea Suggestion:

Because I really wanted to focus on the flavors of these Veggie Crisps, I chose a pure White Tea … this White Peony Tea from thepuriTea turned out to be a nice choice.  While I wasn’t particularly crazy about Veggie Crisps overall, I found that the white tea did help make this tea-time snack a bit more enjoyable.

What I Think:

These colorful crisps make it easy to determine whether you are eating a potato, a tomato, or a spinach crisp.  The potato are a pale, off-white color (like the color of unflavored potato chips), while the spinach are a sage-y green and the tomato are a light shade of orange-y pink.

The potato crisps are kind of boring but then again, when it comes to chips, I’ve been eating the Wai Lana cassava chips and I didn’t realize how boring they made regular potato chips taste!  But even though the potato crisps are a little boring as far as taste, I like their crunch!

The tomato and spinach crisps are equally as crunchy as the potato, but they bring a little more to the party … and that is FLAVOR!  The spinach has a tasty note of spinach to the chip, and after eating two or three without eating any of the others, I find that the spinach flavor multiplies.  It’s a very interesting and unexpected flavor to find in a snack chip.

The tomato is actually a little disappointing … and I suspect this has something to do with the fact that I LOVE tomatoes.  When asked what my favorite fruit is, I will usually respond with “tomato.”  Especially the freshly-picked, homegrown variety that ripen on the vine in the summer sun.  They are so sweet and pleasantly acidic, and I love that contrast.  But I find that these tomato crisps lack that acidic punch.  They have a little bit of tomato flavor, but it’s a bit like drinking watered down tomato juice.  The tomato flavor emerges a little bit after eating more than two or three pink-ish orange colored crisps consecutively, but not really enough where I think “TOMATO!” after I pop one in my mouth.  It’s not a real obvious tomato-y flavor.

My Final Thoughts:

I like the idea of these veggie crisps; I like the concept of a healthier approach to crunchy snack chips.  But, I find these to be just a little … off.  They don’t taste bad, really, but, the potato crisp is kind of boring and well, like a potato chip … and that’s nothing really very original.  The tomato lacks a substantial tomato taste.  The only crisp in this pouch that offers a real unique approach and some interesting flavor is the spinach crisp, and I’m just not that big a fan of spinach to say that this is something I’d buy again.  I’m glad I got to try them, but, am I a big fan?  Not really.

Contest Announcement!

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

OK, so you’ve read about the first-ever Goodies Box from Goodies Co, right?  You haven’t?  You can check out my blog post about it here.  This is an all-new tasting box that offers delectable goodies like Cherry Berry Crunch and crunchy, delicious Somersaults.  When you subscribe, you receive a box of tasty goodies delivered to your doorstep every month … all for just $7 per month.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s SEVEN dollars per month!

This is easily the lowest priced tasting box that I’ve found … and while the old saying of “you get what you pay for” is often very true, I’ve got to say that I think that this box offers unbelievable value.  I don’t know that I could have walked out of the store with the seven items that I received in the September box for under seven dollars.  And this was sent to me with no additional cost for shipping!

The September Goodies Box

The only way this deal could get any better is to offer the box free … and that’s just what I’m doing right now! 

The nice people at Goodies Co., recently contacted me and offered me the chance to send one of my readers (like YOU!) the September Goodie Box absolutely FREE!  Sounds awesome, right?

Well, there’s a catch.  There’s always a catch, right?  But with this offer, the catch is simple:  Just comment on this blog post.

Yep, that’s it.  Just comment on this blog post.  Hey, I told you it was simple.

Just comment on THIS blog post, and tell me which of the seven items in the Goodies Box interests you the most, and why.  Don’t know what’s in the September Box?  Here’s the link to my article about the box, which includes a list of everything that was in the box!  So, if you count reading the previous article, that’s really two things that you have to do to win the September Goodies Box.  But, you should read the article anyway, so I’m not counting that.

You MUST comment on this blog post before October 23rd, which is when I will conduct a random draw of all those who commented on this blog post, and will announce one lucky winner who will receive the September Goodie Box free of charge!

When you comment, please be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.  I will, at that time, email you to get your name and shipping address, I will forward your information to Goodies Co., and they will ship you your free Goodies Box!

What a deal!

Product Information:

When we began our quest to make scrumptious, healthy snacks out of seeds, we developed our original flavor, Pacific Sea Salt. The touch of sea salt on these crunchy nuggets is sourced right here in our own backyard, the San Francisco Bay, and highlights the nutty taste of sunflower and sesame seeds. Pacific Sea Salt is sure to twirl your taste buds.

Tea Suggestion:

With salty snacks like this, I want iced tea!  I brewed some of this Organic Korakundah Green Tea from Butiki Teas and served it iced with these Somersaults, and it was a great pairing.  The slightly smoky, sweet yet bitter taste of the green tea offered a nice contrast to the nutty crunch of these salty snacks.

What I Think:

I received a small package (1 ounce) of the Pacific Sea Salt Somersaults in my Goodies Box for September.  I was pretty certain I’d enjoy them, as I have loved the other flavors that I’ve tried of this snack.

In comparison, though, this one is just a little bland.  It is basically like eating roasted, salted sunflower seed kernels … only more substantial.  They have that very satisfying crunch and substance to them, and I find that this small package made for a nice between meal snack that kept me satiated until dinnertime.

They’re salty, but not too salty.  Tasty … nutty.  I like them, and they seem to satisfy that empty feeling between meals better than something less healthy like potato chips.

My Final Thoughts: 

If I were to shop for snacks, I might choose Somersaults because they’re healthier than something like potato chips, and I’d feel better about my daughter snacking on these.  For my daughter, I’d probably select this flavor because I think that the salty pepper would be a little too peppery for her taste… but for me, this is probably not the flavor that I’d select.  I enjoyed them, sure, but after sampling the salty pepper or the cinnamon crunch Somersaults, these Pacific Sea Salt Somersaults left me wanting a little bit more flavor.

If ever there was a foodie holiday, this is it.

Most people in the United States right now are busily preparing their feasts.   But not me.  Whats this, you say?  I claim to be a foodie and I’m not cooking a Thanksgiving feast?

Nope.  Not today anyway.  My husband works today, and for the last ten years has worked every Thanksgiving (save one or two, I think).  The line of work that he is in requires him to be there on this day, as it is one of the busiest days of the year for the company.

So, we generally postpone the holiday until it’s convenient for everyone in our household.  Which is just fine with me.  To me, Thanksgiving is more about gathering with those you love:  family.  It doesn’t really matter which day you choose to serve the turkey and all the trimmings, does it?

Photo from Wikipedia

But this IS a foodie blog and Thanksgiving is a foodie holiday, so I thought it would be appropriate if I share with you one of my favorite holiday recipes.  In my opinion, it’s the one overlooked dish on the plate:  the cranberry sauce.

While growing up, the cranberry sauce was so overlooked that we were served that jelly stuff out of the can, sliced haphazardly using the markings from the can to cut the slices, which were still imparted on the can shaped, jiggling ruby-red jelly.  I’m sorry, that stuff is alright if you’re a kid, but, one of the first things that I changed about my own Thanksgiving when I became an adult is the cranberry sauce, because… gross.  Just… gross.

Now, I am not one to go and get a bag of fresh cranberries and cook them down.  I wish I were, but, on Thanksgiving, there’s a lot of stuff to do, and that much work is not something I want to pile onto the list.  So I do utilize the can, but I use the canned whole cranberries instead of that jelly stuff.

Here’s a basic recipe, keep in mind that when I cook I do it primarily by eye and taste, not so much by measuring:

Cranberry Compote

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of cranberries (whole cranberry sauce)
  • canned pears
  • 1 orange
  • Dried Cranberries (I usually use Craisins, because I they’re my new raisins, I use them all the time)
  • Loose Leaf Chai  (your favorite brand, I think that a black tea or spice only blend works best in this recipe.  If you only have teabags, use 2 teabags instead of 1 for this recipe)
  • Nutmeg (freshly ground)

~*~

Start by steeping the chai tea strong.  If you generally use 1 1/2 teaspoons of loose leaf chai to make a cup of chai, use 3 teaspoons.  Steep 1 cup of the chai using boiling water and steep for 3 – 4 minutes.  Add a handful of dried cranberries to a bowl and strain the chai over the cranberries.  Set the bowl aside.

Open the can of cranberries and put in a small saucepan over medium to medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer.  In the meantime, slice the pears into small chunks (I generally use the equivalent of 1 1/2 pears in this compote.  You can use more or less according to your own preference), and zest the orange.

Once the cranberries are brought to a simmer, add the chunks of pear and about 3/4 teaspoon of orange zest.  I don’t measure the orange zest.  I just eyeball it, and this is an estimate of how much I add.  Then cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice and pulp (no seeds, please!) into the sauce.  Stir.

Now add the dried cranberries which have reconstituted slightly in the chai.  Pour off the excess chai (don’t discard it though), and add the cranberries.  By this time, it’s probably getting a little thick and could use a little liquid.  Add the remaining chai by tablespoons until it is a little liquid-y (as it will continue to reduce down a bit), but not too much.  I generally find about 3 tablespoons is about right.  Just remember that you can always add a little bit more, but you can’t take it away once its in there, so add it slowly until you reach the ideal amount of liquid.

Allow to continue to simmer and reduce down a bit.  Once you reach a pleasing consistency, remove from the heat and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top and stir it in.  Then I put it in the fridge to cool because my family prefers it served as a chilled salad, but, it is also quite nice served warm.

~*~

This is my absolute favorite way to serve cranberries, and while cranberries aren’t as popular with the rest of my family as they are with me, my family actually eats them when prepared this way (they don’t like the cranberry sauce as is).  It also tastes great on leftover turkey sandwiches the next day.