‘Tis The…

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Well I doubt anyone is going to raise a fuss that I’m changing the subject matter this week.  Just a little…

The pumpkin season is still going but then it feels like it’s going…. away… This is happening a lot faster than I remember.   Maybe it’s just me?

Something feels different.  But to you maybe it feels like par for the course or business as usual.  For me, I know what has changed.  A lot of has changed this year for me.  So the sentimentality has grown yet it feels different.  I’m not that young yet I still feel like a kid around this time of year.

I write this as my cat lays on my lap.  As she usually does.  She’s a bit older now too, but is just as cute if not cuter than ever.  We’re a week from Thanksgiving so a lot of this is heightened.  The love and sadness is growing all at once.  Maybe this is how it was always meant to be…

While I love tea, and I will always love tea (and many holiday themed posts are coming the rest of the year), something about fresh apple cider warms my heart too.  There’s no pun here.  As much as I love warm cider, and will be having my fair share in the weeks to come, something about it being cold just does it for me as well.

Trader Joe’s does it for me too.  It always has and each time I walk into one, I just feel good.  I feel like a kid, and it feels like the holidays all year round.  I wonder if that’s what they intended, or is it just me?  I think I just said that.  Maybe it’s all encompassing.

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Their Organic Cold Pressed Spiced Fuji Cider containing just three ingredients (organic apple juice, organic cinnamon powder, organic dried clove) is an absolute hit.  I mean that’s it.  I could stop writing now and leave on a high note.

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Yet sitting outside at the time I sipped this, it was warm, it still felt autumn like, dare I say spring like.  This was just a few weeks ago.  Now here we are and it’s the first signs of wintry precipitation.  That makes me sad to say.  But it’s symbolic of so many things.  I live in an area where we get four seasons, and that’s a cool thing that not everyone gets to experience.  The great memories we have as children tend to resurface now.  We reconnect with people we don’t always see, don’t see enough, and wish we could see more.

While I was sitting out on this day, I was thinking about things.  When you’re by yourself that can tend to happen.  I was thinking about people, friends, family, animals, and so many other things I love.  Sometimes thoughts can drive you up the wall, but sometimes they can keep you humbled.  I like the latter.

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What also keeps me humbled and honest are the treats that Trader Joe’s comes up with.  You’re getting things here you’re not getting anywhere else.  The Spiced Pumpkin Madeline Cookies might still be on a shelf at a store near you.  If you can, get them all!  They’re habit forming for sure.

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As an added bonus, I also sampled their Green Cold Pressed Juice.  I know this has been a thing for a while, with juice cleanses, and to assist in physical and spiritual healing.  I’m no expert on that.  It had a great taste to it, and I hope that whatever you’re drinking is bringing you joy, no matter what time of year.

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Maybe that’s for after the holidays when more of us will be wanting to get back into a healthier lifestyle.  I would say that we can enjoy food, drinks, life, friends any time of year without having to worry too much about trying to make up for it in the new year.  This is not meant to be sermon.  I’m just getting sentimental as I tend to do.

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We’re not even at Thanksgiving yet but my mind like this post is all over the place.  I hope it brought you some joy, just like the cider has and will hopefully do for you.

More to come and Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Love,

Ideen

 

Matcha The Year

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Everything has a reason, has its place, and has its well something.  I think I’ve said this before and said it in these exact words in this universe or another.  I can’t say for sure.  But what I do know is it feels good to be noticed, and it feels good to be acknowledged, and then it feels good to noticed.  I know I just said that.

I had my eyes set on writing about iced tea today, and this may go on for a while.  I make no promises or guarantee, but that’s what my heart is telling me.  So there may be more than just the weekly post at some points.  I can only hope.

But today just felt right and felt so good.. At my local supermarket the choices are endless, the possibilities might make you freeze a little (if you let it), and overthinking may lead to the wrong, or sometimes the best decision of you life.

Yes that was meant to be as dramatic as it sounded.

Someone noticed how intense I was with my bottled tea search. I mean I could not make up my mind.  This is where the multiple posts may come in.  I love what I ended up with.

And it was this suggestion that made the answer easier for me.  I’m all for ideas.  Sometimes they come to me, sometimes I do flip a coin, and sometimes it’s the outside world that say just go with it.  Here we go…

So this person, who requests they remain anonymous, was intrigued by the bottled teas from ITO EN (which I did write about in a different place and time nearly three years ago, but the article seems to have lost something, literally).

I love how things work out like how they should.  I have a love for many things Japan, I love Matcha, I love this brand, and per everything that’s been going on the past few weeks, I hope someone gets the not-so-obscure reference of my title.  If you’re curious, don’t hesitate to ask.  No, I mean you can really ask me! 🙂

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The two drinks I’ll discuss are the Matcha Love Japanese Matcha & Ginger,  and then the Ice-Steeped Cold Brew Slightly Sweet Lemon Matcha & Green Tea.

All the ingredients and information has been presented to you in the links above and in pictures.

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I do think that if you aren’t a fan of matcha and ginger, you aren’t going to love the former.  This is best served iced, and served cold.  I’m overstating the obvious but it can only help if you are looking to try something else.  I enjoy it but understand this is an acquired taste, and if you can’t drink it then I wouldn’t force the issues.

I don’t know what else to compare it too. I like it, but that’s because I love matcha and all the properties and benefits that come with it.  That harsh taste comes with so much goodness on the other side.  And I’ve grown to adore it.  No sugars necessary. The best ingredients in the world (purified water, organic green tea, organic matcha, and ginger root) will do anyone a world of favors.  So if you want to try, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.

Yet at $2.50 it may be steep for some, but it’s worth a little extra investment.

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Same can be said for the slightly sweet. The cane sugar and organic lemon make this perfect for the spring, summer, and yes right now.  I say that a lot, but it’s true.  This is for the moment.  The sugar content is low enough, yet just sweet enough that this will make any sweet tooth happy.

Both these drink are to be savored, appreciated, and should be consumed in a way that makes you feel good, otherwise there’s no point.

There’s a soul and magic to this that I want to explore further.  And as you can see, there’s no shortage of products from this charming company.

To find them at another store near you, click here. 

Additionally, you can order everything online.

Beautiful. All of this is beautiful.  Five stars and above.  This is a matcha and would be a main eventer at any party or gathering in the world.

Take good care.

Love,

Ideen

 

 

The Magic of Tea

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Some things just get better with age, with time, and with anything.  Change is constant, constant is constant.  What is will always be, moving in form, through form, and out of form.   And all that other metaphysical, cosmic, and uplifting stuff that sounds good on the surface, but doesn’t always register or resonate.

But often times it does.

Celestial Seasonings is worthy of all the praise, all the lauding, and all the love I can bestow upon it.    It’s only been a few months (all my stories can be found here) since the last time, but it honestly feels like so long ago.  So much has happened that it feels like it;s been ages.  And in a way that’s ok.

As time is moving rapidly, it also feels slow.  I know we’re in late July and that may feel sad for some (I’m one of them), yet there’s still plenty of the summer, the season, and of course life to celebrate.

They just continue to dazzle and impress with all their amazing flavors and newest creations.   Some seem to have passed me by via limited release, but nevertheless, there’s plenty of good to share with you.

And I’m grateful to be sharing two summery and wonderful blends with you now.

The Watermelon Lime Zinger and the Tangerine Orange are the kinds of teas I should have started having back in the Spring, but here we are, and it’s never too late and it’s no time like well….

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I’ll start with the latter.   The blend of tangerines, oranges, passionfruit, and hibiscus creates a masterful looking tea, and that pinkish-reddish color makes it all the more a picturesque sight.

For my own edification and maybe yours too, I made both teas hot and iced, and the results are exciting.  Yes I found the discoveries to be a bit of a surprise, but it all leans towards the positive.

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Yet I enjoyed the tangerine orange heated over chilled.  I feel the iced version lost a little bit of its flavor.  Maybe I put too much ice, maybe my taste buds and mood were altered a bit, but I’m going to lean and say that this just feels right under higher temperatures.

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The Watermelon Lime is even that much more spectacular.  It’s good iced or hot, and the flavors remain.  This tastes even more like summer and I can’t get enough of it.  If I had to pick one, I would go with this, but you can’t go wrong (and it’s all right and amazing) with either.

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It tastes like candy, it tastes naturally sweet, and it taste like it’s from somewhere or something bigger than us.  I know that’s a bit much, but I felt transformed and felt rejuvenated.   Like I said, these are the teas I should be having more often and what I grew up on.

These are the teas that have helped this blog and helped me learn more about tea, learn more about myself, and to just feel good in general.  Tea is good, tea is fun, and tea is so beautiful.

I took my time sipping as I took my time writing this.  There’s moments where I feel like, is this all worth it?  And the answer is yes. The answer is still yes.  It will always be yes.

Celestial Seasonings teas are easy to find, at a store near you, and are quite affordable, for under $3, and even less than that in many places.  In a world where teas are going up in price, for what may or may not be higher quality, Celestial Seasonings has been that constant and consistent brand that you can trust, depend on, and will always be there for you.

It’s always been there for me.

Where do we go from here?  There’s so many flavors and so many styles I could tap into.  And I just might.

I just might.

Peace as always be with you.

Ideen

Mochi Ice Cream Party! Yay!

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I’m glad I discovered this now.  But what took me so long to notice or even try Mochi ice cream.

To be late to the party is ok, I did show up.  I have friends that raved about this decadent dessert for a number of years (or so they told me), and it either never registered, or it just didn’t register.

It didn’t resonate.   And I’m all about trying new foods, new beverages, and new anything.  This is what life is all about.   A always joyful and welcome drive to Trader Joe’s (I may have written about them once or twice…) means sampling some new food and drink (the free sample area used to be called the Tasting Oasis, yay free samples!), and of course purchasing so many of their great items, usually brand exclusive to them.

Then there’s the Buono Group, which I had also never heard of until a few days ago.   I thought for sure they were exclusive to TJ’s (find one near you), but if you do a search (couldn’t find on their site), there in more stores than just the one.   It’ll always be at where I found it to me, along with this incredible aftertaste that’s still with me after a few hours later.

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Strawberry and Matcha Green Tea were the flavors available and I was happy to grab both…

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All the info is presented to you in the pictures above, so there’s no need to me to go on an elaborate diatribe about the texture and depth of Mochi Ice.  I love so much about this.  What a great dessert idea, and in a world of unlimited ideas and creations, this is well done on so many levels.

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Both are Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free.  Vegan, no trans fats, and made with coconut milk.  If I ate both of these without knowing that, I wouldn’t notice the difference, aside from a lighter and healthier feeling, so maybe.

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But I loved these both so much.  The strawberry tastes exactly how you would want it to, and it’s lower on calories and all the bad stuff that there’s no guilt and only pleasure in eating this.  Not that you should ever feel bad about eating something that makes you feel good, as long as it’s done in a fashion that makes you feel good.

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The matcha as always is an acquired taste.  There’s a sweeter element to this that takes that (to some) rough green tea taste and makes it all the more merrier.

Speaking of merrier, the packaging and pictures will charm anyone.  I find these images adorable.  Everything about this is fun, and it’s the big and little things that always make a an experience that much more memorable.  It separates the meals from the out of this world experiences.  This one leans towards the latter for me.   There’s a first time for everything and I’m grateful this was my first encounter with Mochi Ice Cream.

Of course while we’re in the summer, this is something for now.  Yet it’s something for any time.  This is it to be enjoyed, be entertained by, and appreciated.

It’s all in the same of good food, good times, and feeling good.

This was fun.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

I Felt Transformed, Transported…

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Some time ago, I had stumbled upon SPORTea at one of my favorite places, Baltimore Cofee and Tea Company, and it was on a display table along with many other teas to select for your brewing and steeping enjoyment.

It just didn’t feel right at the time.  Sometimes it just doesn’t.  It didn’t stand out to me.  I drank it hot.  It literally felt like a tea that was just there to me.  I ordered it, I drank it, and then I left.  Maybe it felt forced.  If it sounds like I’m talking badly about it, I don’t mean to.  There’s a reason I never felt compelled to write about it.  I have so many teas like this on backlog, and these stories will sadly (or not) never see the light of day.

But then something magical happened…

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A couple of weeks back I stopped in at Baltimore Coffee and Tea’s newest location, at the Annapolis Towne Centre, I already knew I was going to walk into something special.

I could tell from the outside looking in that this has that place to be kind of vibe.  And I don’t mean in a pretentious sense.  I mean in a place to feel like you’re in your world world, or your own universe, but still feel same to be near your home or loved ones.

In typical fashion, I stopped in alone and already felt at peace about things.  It’s all your perception, and I could have felt like I was just there or in a funk, like I was in a previous visit I alluded to, but I felt good.  The gentleman at the counter literally read my mind.  I asked for an iced tea recommendation and without any hesitation, he said SPORTea.

There was a blast from the past and a flashback but right away.  I had heard that name from somewhere, but it didn’t register right away.

All you need to know about SPORTea can be found here & here.  I’ve done my job and now I’ll just tell you how great this tea is.  The dichotomy is like night and day.  This is meant to drank iced.

 

I don’t think words can describe how healing and uplifting this drink is.  It hit the spot on so many levels, and I don’t have the words for that either.   Being in a good mood and in a good place helps.

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I started off admiring the inside, but a drink like this and a place like this screams sitting in the courtyard that faces the Towne Centre and the rest of the world.  But inside I felt safe, I felt protected, and I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  I’ve often said this in previous stories, but it’s true.

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The skies and the sun were looking picturesque, and it was a perfect day for doing nothing or anything you want.  That can apply to just about any day if you think about it, or better of not.  This felt like a go with your own flow kind of day, and I’m grateful I ended up here.

Baltimore Coffee & Tea has always displayed the best, brightest, and most inspiring stories to me, for not just tea, but life life in general (previous visits from all around the area can be found here) and for this to be in Annapolis (My past Annapolis memories for your viewing pleasure are right here) makes it that much sweeter.

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Speaking of sweet, I can’t help myself but include a sweet treat with my teas, but SPORTea can be enjoyed alone or with anything you want.

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I’ve yet to see SPORTea outside of Baltimore Coffee & Tea but this link to shop online seems like a good start.

I hope you have a great one and as always, peace be with you…

Love,

Ideen

 

From The Heart to the Soul

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Literally next door, and I mean literally next door, from where I spoke on last week, is another charming and I’ll say it, adorable spot in West Annapolis, Rutabaga Craft Juicery.

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I had no intentions of writing about this wonderful place, (here is their menu, some eco information, more about them, and their contact info) and that’s not meant in a disparaging way.  I just came for some cold-pressed juice, a smoothie, and some peace.

There’s plenty of places I walk into that I’ll never write about because either it doesn’t fit the context of what I’m saying, I like the break, or I just don’t think about.  I’ve been doing this for a while now, that I don’t always think about what to discuss or not discuss, without a little research, preparation, but my favorite is always the spontaneous.

As would be with Rutabaga…

West Annapolis is its own entity, its own island, and own universe within such a tiny and beautiful universe of Annapolis (my past posts on this wonderful place are here), that the joy just continues to compound.

With such a cozy space, it’s a blessing I had an outside table to myself.  I came around lunch hour, and while people were in and out, it once again felt like I was the only person on Earth.  That’s a good feeling, and while it may feel egocentric or narcissistic, it feels like peace to me.  And there’s more of where that I came from, and more at our disposal then we know.

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I went with the Berried (a blend of apple ,strawberry, blueberry raspberry, and banana maple chia) and it went down smooth, went down easy, and went down a little too fast.  The weather warranted it.  Which also means I could’ve used a glass of water or two.  I did get around to that eventually.

But as I was leaving, I noticed they had kombucha on tap and available for sampling.  Since I already bought a drink, I feel like I had some immunity and didn’t feel as greedy or as cheap by trying all three samples.

One stood out above the rest.

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The Green Garden from Federal Brewing Company based out of Federalsburg, MD, was one of the more refreshing kombucha’s I’ve had.  It was the perfect contrast to my fruit drink, that I loved trading a sip of each back and forth, while cleansing my palate of course.   Even without a sip of water in between, I got all the beautiful tastes and flavors from each.

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I honestly forgot what was in the Green Garden, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to know or remember.  I just knew it was great, and I would love to have some more.

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For the warmer climates, you can’t go wrong with either of these.  You can’t go wrong with supporting local business, and any chance to sit outside, be with nature, enjoy my surroundings, and enjoy not one, but two amazing beverages is something to be truly grateful for.

If you’re local to the area, and have not visited Rutabaga’s, I highly recommend it.  The staff is so friendly and accommodating. Many tourists will visit this summer, and because of its location it may be overlooked, but I wouldn’t.  It’s a gem among gems, among more gems.  While open for less than three years, it looks like it’s going to be a mainstay for years to come.  It’s another great reason to visit and love our state capital.

Have a good one, enjoy your day, and peace be with you.

Ideen

 

 

Add To Wishlist

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With all the writing that I do, it’s hard to not sound repetitive.  I’ve only recently started looking back at stories from the last year, and I’m proud that many of them have a different slant on teas, similar teas, and just life in general.  While I do see similarities, every story is different, and every story feels significant and feels real.

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Harney & Sons continues to be one of the standard bearers for tea, and it’s highly sought after by many of my friends and peers, that it’s the one tea they prefer, and some they only sip exclusively.

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They’re doing something right.  That’s an understatement by the way.  All their teas are available for purchase here, and here is my Harney history lesson.

Speaking of exclusive, I first had the sense that Harney & Sons teas had this stigma of being unapproachable and only available to the elite and high society types.   My presumptions were false.  However, over 10 years ago I worked in a typical corporate environment where their teas were served at parties, luncheons, and other events, where I thought this tea was out of my league.

Don’t ever thing something is out of your league.

But I would grab the leftover bags, and of course the free food when everyone left, (hey free food is free food), and when I would have their teas, I thought I had struck gold.  It’s gold alright.

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And free tea is free tea, but this is worth paying a little extra for.  While most teas are $2-$4, to only have to pay $6 for the Green Tea Coconut tin 20 pack of sachet’s, is a bargain.  That is more than welcoming, more than inviting, and feels like home.

This tea takes us back to February, where the weather was different, and the teas are all going to be hot.  They’re still going to be hot, here and there, as the weather gets nicer.

Everything about this is great.  I was on a mini vacation, and while I was isolated, I really wasn’t. I had the company of some amazing dogs, beautiful nature, and a selection of teas where you throw in that kid in a candy store analogy.  Just a little healthier of course.

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Green tea, coconut, vanilla, ginger, and lemongrass is a memorable melange, where my words are not going to be enough.  When I opened up the tin, the immediate sensation and feeling of all the goodness hit me.  I knew the steeping and brewing process was going to be just as special.

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Perhaps it’s because I was away from home, yet I was in a home where I felt comfortable and at ease, that this might be more romantic then if this were somewhere else.  A tea like this deserves all the romanticizing in the world, yet doesn’t need me or anyone else to do so.  This is a masterpiece.

I’m glad I had this, where I did.  The three dogs I shared this time with (no I didn’t give them any tea), made this all the more memorable and my heart feels so big right now.  The pups did it, this tea did it, and something just made my spirit so big.

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This was 3 months ago and I remember it like it was well, I don’t know.   It’s beautiful.

I’m glad I decided to write this today.  It’s Be Kind To Animals Week, and I’m so happy and grateful that some caricatures of animals are on display with this incredible tea.

Where do we go from here?  I almost want time to stand still or I would love to go back to this story.  I’m glad I have this written out, and I have this memory that will last with me forever.

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This is a tea for now, and for….

Blessings to you..

Ideen