Tuesday
Nov252014

Tuesday Tea - Jasmine Blossom Flowering Tea - The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

Tea Description:

Our beautiful Jasmine Blossom tea is a smooth jasmine-scented green tea that uncovers a beautiful pink flower, with fruity and floral notes.

Ingredients: Organic Green Tea, Amaranth Flower

 Other Information:

Leaf Type: Green (flowering)

Where to Purchase: The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

Promotion: Not Starving Yet readers use code TEABLOG for 20% off your next order from The Persimmon Tree Tea Company.

Suggested Brewing Tips:

Serving Size: 1 Blossom

Water Temp: 180°F 

Steep Time: 3-5 minutes

Review:

I don't know about you, but so far this week I've been rushing around like a mad person getting ready for Thanksgiving. With all the planning that revolves around getting three people out the door and on the road without forgetting anything important like underwear or toothbrushes, I've not really had much time to sit down and enjoy a pot of tea. I decided that needed to change immediately so my husband bundled up our son and took him out for lunch. Now I have the whole house to myself, something that rarely occurs. Even though I know I should be cooking, cleaning, or packing I decided to make some tea and enjoy the peace and quiet before my house decides to descend into madness again.

Today's tea, Jasmine Blossom Flowering Tea from the Persimmon Tree Tea Company, is something I've always wanted to try. Every fall when our local stores start decorating for the holiday season and lining their shelves with gift boxes I drool over the packages containing little glass teapots and hand-crafted bundles of artisan flowering teas. Up until today I'd never had the chance to try one, but it seemed like the perfect choice to help me enjoy the bit of quiet I've found myself with.

I no longer have a small teapot, so I filled a glass with hot water, then added the ball of tea. The next five minutes were spent watching it come alive as the water softened the dried leaves. I'm not sure if words can explain how much fun it is to watch this tea bloom. It almost made me wish I had someone home to share it with. Almost. I'm really enjoying having the house to myself and some peace and quiet for a change. Once the tea had steeped I found the taste to be very delicate. Rather than having the grassy, almost vegetal flavor many green teas have, I found it to be slightly sweet with a hint of floral flavor. This took me by surprise, since the tea is called Jasmine Blossom I expected the tea to have a much stronger floral flavor, but I found the delicate taste pleasant and relaxing. It was exactly what I needed today, now that I've had the chance to relax I can get back to all of the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays.

Not Starving Yet readers use code TEABLOG for 20% off your next order from The Persimmon Tree Tea Company.

My Rating: 80/100

Would I order this again? Yes. Whether you're new to tea or have been drinking it for years this is a fun way to experience tea. I can't wait to share it with my friends, I'm sure it will be an excellent conversation starter, especially with those who have never tried tea before.

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that The Persimmon Tree Tea Company has provided me with two tins of tea for review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Friday
Nov212014

DIY Christmas: Vanilla Sugar

It's less than a week until Thanksgiving, which means that Christmas is coming up fast. If you're at a loss when it comes to gifts this year, then why not consider giving something edible. Trust me, I don't know a single person who would turn down a tasty treat they didn't have to make themselves. If I'm honest, gifts like these are always my favorites and sometimes it doesn't seem like Christmas without them. My aunt always brings me a huge plate of cookies when she comes to visit, but since I've missed coming home for the holidays the past few years I've missed out on the cookies too. I'm pretty sure my little brother decided to eat my share, because that is what little brothers do.

I've been giving home made treats for gifts as long as I can remember. It's such a long standing tradition that on the odd occasion I haven't been able to send them, I get a few phone calls wondering what happened. Last year my husband was in the hospital during the holidays which left me little time for baking. I received no fewer than a dozen phone calls, not asking how my husband was doing, but asking what happened to the cookies I normally send. I'll be honest, it was nice to know they were missed.

While I normally send cookies to the people on my list I've decided to switch things up a bit this year. I made a huge batch of vanilla sugar that I'll be including in what I've dubbed my Christmas cookie care package. It's something that is incredibly easy to make and adds a ton of flavor to otherwise simple foods. I'm partial to sprinkling it on toast or in my coffee, but it's a great addition to fresh strawberries as well as crème brûlée. It's the kind of gift that has limitless possibilities.
Vanilla Sugar
makes 4 quarter pint jars 

 Ingredients

2 Vanilla Beans
2 Cups sugar
4oz Dry Herb Jars, 4pk 

Directions

  • Open the vanilla bean pods with a knife and scrape the insides into a large container filled with sugar. Add the vanilla bean pods to the sugar, close the container, then shake until the vanilla bean seeds are well distributed.
  • Let the container sit for 2 - 3 weeks allowing the sugar to infuse with the vanilla. Make sure to give your jar a good shake every few days so the vanilla is evenly dispersed.
  • After several weeks you can divide your large container of sugar into smaller jars to give as gifts. 

Notes

I use a large canning jar to make my vanilla sugar so there is plenty of room to mix the vanilla pod scrapings. When I'm ready to give them as gifts I separate them into quarter pint jars (4oz) with shaker lids so the sugar can be easily used. You can purchase a 4 pack of these jars on Amazon for under $10, just use the link I've included above.

Don't throw away your vanilla bean pods. You can either cut them up and put it in the smaller jars so they continue to infuse or start a new batch of vanilla sugar.

If you need a last minute gift, but waited too long to start this project, don't worry about the 2-3 week wait time. Put a "use after" date on your jar so your recipient will know when their vanilla sugar will be ready to use.

Disclosure
This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Please keep in mind that this is a necessary evil to cover my expenses in running this blog so I can continue to provide you with quality content.
Tuesday
Nov182014

Tuesday Tea - Tea Co-op November Box - Simple Loose Leaf

The New Tea Co-op:

This is the first month for the new format of the Simple Loose Leaf box, now called the Tea Co-op. While the bones of the subscription are still very similar to the previous plan there were a few changes made. Most importantly, you now have the option to reorder the teas you've enjoyed from your monthly box. When you sign up for your subscription you're provided with a membership ID number. When you're ready to reorder you enter that number in the discounts section at checkout and you receive 50% off your teas. It's a pretty straightforward process and a huge step forward for Simple Loose Leaf. My biggest complaint about their previous subscription plan was that I couldn't reorder the teas I had enjoyed from my monthly box.

This month the box included five ¼ ounce samples as well as some pretty nifty reusable tea filters. If you've subscribed to the box before you'll notice the amount of tea has decreased significantly from the pervious plan, but then again so has the price. I find that the smaller amount of tea doesn't bother me like I thought it would. It is enough to have several cups of tea and determine if it is something I want to reorder and doesn't leave me with a lot of leftover tea if I don't care for it. I'll be honest, there have been plenty of teas I've been sent that I just haven't loved enough to drink more than a few cups of. Now I can enjoy trying something new every month and not worry about what to do with the leftover tea that wasn't to my tastes.

Where to Purchase: 

You can use coupon code NotStarvingYet for a 50% discount on your first month’s membership at Simple Loose Leaf 

November Selections:

Kukicha Green
Four Horsemen Black (see our previous review)

Large Leaf Masala Chai
Magnolia Oolong (see our previous review)
Seven Seas Herbal

Seven Seas Herbal

Review:

I didn't enjoy the herbal tea included in the box this month, so I'm glad the sample size was small. It means I didn't feel as bad about immediately sticking it in my swap box. The mixture of cinnamon chips, ginseng root, peppermint, echinacea, sarsparilla root, licorice root, and organic south african rooibos may have smelled wonderful, but had a flavor that is what I imagine dirty gym socks would taste if I had decided to boil them up and make tea out of them. It wasn't entirely pleasant, but if you're a fan of "detox teas" then this is probably right up your alley. 

I may not have enjoyed the herbal sample this month, but I have previously reviewed several of the other teas that were included in my box. Magnolia Oolong and Four Horsemen Black both happen to make the list of Top 5 teas I've wanted to reorder from Simple Loose Leaf. 

My Rating: 41/100

Would I order this again? No. I wasn't impressed with the flavor of this herbal tea.

Not Starving Yet readers, use coupon code NotStarvingYet for a 50% discount on your first month’s membership at Simple Loose Leaf 

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Simple Loose Leaf has provided me with a free subscription to their service. As always, all opinions are my own.