Best Friends!

FirstBird

I love making new friends, especially animal ones.  And especially when they just show up because maybe you need some company, or maybe they just want to hang out.

Or maybe…

Ah dot dot dot, or maybe they have ulterior motive and just want some snacks. Snacks are fun.  Who doesn’t enjoy empty calories on a sunshine day?

This brings us back to Pitango Bakery & Cafe, which you can read more about here, and how much calmness, stillness, and hope this place can inspire.

If I recall correctly, I had plans later on in the evening.  It wasn’t anything big or spectacular, which are my favorite kinds.  Because in kind those can and do become the big and spectacular.  But what I’m saying is, and what I think a lot of people can relate to, is that moment of peace and solitude before you join up with friends, family, and loved ones.  It’s those few minutes of time, that you cherish because you’re one with yourself, and everything around you.  Perhaps nothing at all, but just you and your thoughts.

JasmineIcedTea

The black jasmine iced tea was one of their fresh and cold beverages on hand.  It looked good on paper, and looked tremendous served. I adore the color.

Pastry

For this go around, I did get an almond and fruit pastry to go along with it.

JasmimeTea&Pastry

Neither had a chance, but for contrasting and endearing reasons.

JasmineTea&Pastry2

Sitting outside is one of those things that we do so much, yet maybe not enough of, and at least for me, I still don’t appreciate it enough.  I should not take this for granted.  I’m blessed to have eyes that can see the water ahead, and ears to hear nature (more on that shortly), and a nose to get all the smells, for better or worse, and a the functioning parts of my body to sit, and to just be.  What a gift that is.

Birds

And what a gift it is, to share this with some new animal pals.   I didn’t notice it right away, but my pastry was the draw.  Maybe in some alternate universe these charming birds were drawn to me.  In a way, it’s possible.  I hope they felt safe.  I hope they felt that this sweet treat was going to provide them with the happiest and harmonious nourishment, at least for that moment.

Birds2

With only one or two bites in, I had to wave the white flag here, and throw in the towel.  And that’s ok.   I wasn’t meant to much to have much of this.  And no, I did not eat any after the birds indulged.  That would be gross!

Yet, what was beautiful is this group of birds came together and shared this food with each other, like pals, like best friends, and like a family.

Birds3

It was beautiful thing to watch, and I got some great photos of this happening.  Hindsight being what it is, I wish I caught video.  Maybe I have it somewhere, and I’ll update this post again later.  Perhaps, the filming was not meant to be, and these photos are enough.

I hope wherever my new friends are, that they’re looking out for each other, sharing with one another, and protecting each other.  Because we can use more of that in this world.  I learn so much by watching groups of animals just be in sync with one another on so many levels.  It’s quite a spiritual and healing thing to see.

Birds4

The tea was great too, and no they weren’t interested in that one bit…

And not a knock on the tea, but when these birds arrived, I wasn’t interested in anything else but witnessing joy, happiness, rays of sunshine, and a moment in the summer and in time, that is one of those big things.

Peace Be With You…

Love,

Ideen

Add To Wishlist

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutDisplayWithDog

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutDisplayWithDog2

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutDisplay2

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconut

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutSachet

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutUpClose

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutDisplay

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.

HarneyGreenTeaCoconutDisplayWithDog3

This is a tea for now, and for….

Blessings to you..

Ideen

Love That Blue!

AuroraBlueHerbalTeaDisplay

The Spice & Tea Exchange continues their run of making amazing teas, limited time or not.  I mean you’ve got to be kidding me.  I mean we throw terms around a lot; calling things incredible, legendary, iconic, that we maybe shouldn’t.   Where am I going with this?  I don’t know.   But I would say at least one of the teas I’m going to discuss fits the mold of awesome.

This almost didn’t happen either.  Every tea, every discussion, and just about anything for that matter, can have a a backstory, if you allow there to be one, or if you pay attention.  I’m all for things just being or to ‘just be’, but not today, maybe next time.

I always look forward to a new season, which usually means the Spice & Tea Exchange is going present to us their Limited Time Offer Teas.  And is just out of this world, and out of this stratosphere, literally.

I know I don’t get to the point right away.  And that happens a lot.  But as I say that, I will attempt to shortly.  A serendipitous return to their Annapolis location, meant good times, good vibrations, and hopefully a discovery of their seasonal teas.

And I got ’em down to the wire.

Spice&TeaExchangeSpringTeaDisplay

I was told that they were down to what was left on display, and they had only had them for a short while.   Maybe I lost track of time, not realizing that they’re already in preparation for their summer teas.  I know Summer sounds great.  Everything about it is great.

But first things first.  And yet I completely understand…

AuroraBlueHerbalTea

The Aurora Blue Herbal Tea is one of the cosmos.  Yes I said that on purpose.  After seeing it, smelling it, and staring in awe, I wanted to love this that much more.  And this is way before prepping, steeping, and infusing.  I wanted magic, and I got magic.

And with this new Stainless Steel Tea Mug Infuser I purchased, everything fell into place, just like it was always going to.

The ingredients are presented to you up above, and here,  so I don’t need to elaborate too much.  However, what can be said about this color?  Even when I originally got a smell of it at the store, I sensed something incredible was going to come of this.

AuroraBlueHerbalTeaOpen

That’s what I’m talking about.

AuroraBlueHerbalTeaInfuse

The fact that there’s a tea that can mimic the colors of the Aurora Borealis, is stunning on so many levels.  It’s hard to comprehend and fathom, but then it doesn’t see, crazy.   We’ve seen amazing teas, amazing things in general, amazing anything that we throw out that word ‘amazing’, that it loses it’s value and shine.  But this is magic, and yes it’s amazing.

The transformation while infusing in the tea mug is magical.

AuroraBlueHerbalTeaReady

The love is blue, and the love is golden.  Holy moly seriously, who came up with this?  Am I overrating this?  I don’t think that can be applied here.  This is five stars and then some.  Who knew butterfly pea flowers would be the reason for all this.  I would be lying to you if I told you I knew what those were before last week, but be that as it may, I’m not giving this tea enough credit.

My words won’t be enough.  The citrus and ginger are understated yet there that it makes this blue concoction that is one to worship, that will resonate, and will make you coming back for more.  Hurry before its gone.  I should’ve bought more than I did.

So how does the Lemon Drop Mate Tea follow up?  It’s almost not fair, as it’s put in the  come down position.  I went by what I saw first, purchased first, and in a nerdy sense, alphabetical order.  So fun and funny I know.

LemonDropMateTea

When I got my first scent, it was candy, more akin to a lemon Jolly Rancher, so that was exciting.  My next sentiments were this would be just as good cold, as hot.  And I was right.  And while it’s not quite on the level of the Aurora, this has its own charm, its own identity, and a beautiful yellow tint that will leave its own lasting impression on you, if you let it.

If the Aurora is five stars or ten out of ten, the Lemon Drop is no worse than a 9 or a 9.5.  The combination of green tea, Matcha, and Yerba mate (which all make me happy) with a understated amount of lemon, is a a dream sequence.   My own worry was the lemon I smelled before steeping, would be too much in taste, but it was the complete opposite.  Everything became absorbed and one with my cup, and with myself.

What else needs to be said?

LemonDropMateTeaDisplay1

These are both fantastic teas, and I’m so grateful that I got the chance, at almost the eleventh hour, to try them.

Spice & Tea has been so good to me, as you can see my my past write ups of them here. and I’m fortunate to be a part of something so wonderful for several years now.  I only hope it continues.

For more on The Spice & Tea Exchange, here are their teas, which are available for purchase online; their growing list of store locations, and their contact information.

More is coming.  It’s always coming.  But for now…

I wish you a Happy Holiday weekend, and peace be with you.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

Festively Flavored

TJSpicedAppleCranberryKombuchaDisplay

I teased it last week and knew I was going to go back for a couple more from my old pals at Trader Joe’s.

When browsing their tea section, and looking for anything new I can get my hands on,  something told me to just walk around some more.  And when you’re at a store as captivating as Trader Joe’s, that’s not hard to do.

But after grabbing some free samples, at the corner of my eye in in the refrigerated beverage area, I spotted something new, something hopefully something inspiring, and most important of all, something perfect for the holiday, and the season.

They have recently introduced Kombucha to their already impressive repertoire of teas, and for that matter many of their food and drink products.   It was only a matter of time.  It never crossed my mind to think they would carry Kombucha until now.

TraderJoesKombuchas

When I saw the two on display basically begging to be purchased, I didn’t hesitate one second.

TJGentlyGingerbreadKombucha

I will admit that when I saw the Gently Gingered Kombucha Tea, I thought it read Gently Gingerbread, which would be quite ambitious.  Could you in theory make gingerbread flavored Kombucha?  Of course you can.  But that’ll have to wait.   This is…

TJGentlyGingerbreadKombuchaDisplay1

This wasn’t good.  This is about as flat as a Kombucha I’ve ever had.  And it’s not that it was terrible.  Take out hoping that this would taste like the flavors of the season you love so much, it doesn’t take like much.

TJGentlyGingerbreadKombuchaDisplay5

If you’re not into fermented drinks, this is not where you want to go.  These are meant to be sipped, savored, appreciated, and and drank slowly like you would have a cup of tea.  But this was a struggle.   I usually save my Kombuchas for a while if they’re in protected packaging.  This is the first I’ve had in a can, and I don’t think that’s anything to really expound upon, other than the fact is I’m going to have a hard time wanting to drink this again.  But if was able to be sealed I may give it another chance.   And  you know what, I still might?

You taste ginger but it’s light, it’s lacking, and it’s missing the heart and soul I want from a tea and now the Kombucha I drink.   This was about $2-$2.50, so I wouldn’t dissuade you from not trying it.  You might love it.  But I would say proceed with caution.

TJGentlyGingerbreadKombuchaDisplay4

The Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s you see here and in the next display of sweet treats are mainly for display, as I still want to celebrate all the deliciousness that Trader Joe’s has to offer.

TJSpicedAppleCranberryKombucha

All is forgiven and all is glorious, because their current offering, just in time for the holidays, the Organic Cranberry Spiced Apple Kombucha represents everything that’s right with the world, and that includes Christmas.  Especially Christmas and the holidays.

This makes me so happy.  The color tells one story, but the combination of cranberry juice, apple juice, and cinnamon within this black tea work-of-art is just what you want this month.  I would say you could have this year round.  Yes you can.

TJSpicedAppleCranberryKombuchaDisplay

Again, while this one is easy to drink, it’s one you take your time with.   The amount you see poured here is the amount I had.  Yet this one was kinder to my stomach , so you know the probiotics are working! I can’t rave about this one enough.   And at a little under $3, it’s worth splurging a bit on this.

TJSpicedAppleCranberryKombuchaDisplay2

Can’t forget those Peppermint Joe Joe’s.  Again, this is not really a pairing but more so an homage to all the joys of this holiday.

This will not be it for Trader Joe’s, as my history has shown, I will always be on the lookout for whatever awesome item they will introduce next.  Just when I think I’ve done it all, I know I never will, nor do I want to.

This is a journey, it’s a marathon, and anything but a race.  It’s not a race against time or anything else.  Though the holidays may feel like all of the above and then some, it’s about enjoying all the moments you can, with amazing food, drink, and of course the people.   We’ve got a lot holiday left and I look forward to what’s next.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Springtime Feelings In The Middle Of…

WegmansJasmineGlobeTeaDisplay2

So this felt quick.  Well when you do three posts in three days, it feels about right and it fells relative.  But I think I’m just getting started.

After the first two posts (you can find them here and here respectively) from one of my favorite places of all time, Wegmans, (click here to find a store near you).

I’m feeling a tad emotional. Why I don’t know.  I just tend to get emotional.  It’s not like the teas and store is going anywhere. If anything this is only beginning.   I feel like we use that term, ‘it’s only the beginning’, or ‘we’ve only just begun’ a lot, but it’s true.   There’s so much tea and so much time to talk about it.

Absolutely.

The Jasmine Globe Tea is exactly that.  It’s shaped like a globe and during steeping it blooms into a flower.  Well that was the intent.

WegmansJasmineGlobeTeaBeautiful

I just love the look of this tea.  It’s almost too beautiful for it to be brewed.  But then again, I can always save another piece or two to admire.  I mean look at this thing. How this was fused in the way it was is a marvel.  I bet it wasn’t that difficult, but I like to think this was done with such precision to get every herb, flower, spice, and everything else to look like perfection.

It smelled like perfection.  However, during infusing it didn’t quite break up to be like the flower it was meant to be.  I tried with and without the infuser.  Maybe it was me, maybe the water wasn’t hot enough, or maybe it was something else.

WegmansJasmineGlobeTeaDisplay3

But the smell of jasmine takes me back to my childhood.  I just recall it being in parts of potpourri, air fresheners, and even parts of various foods my parents could cook up.  It’s those scents that remind me of you holidays and celebrations past.  It’s not always the best of memories, but this one reminds me of many other people, not just relatives, going back in time.   I’m sure you have familiar scents and tastes that remind you of something from growing up, or maybe even more recently.  That’s my take on it, and this tends to manifest itself more so this time of year.

WegmansJasmineGlobeTeaDisplay

The taste was not at profound as the aroma, but it was just right.  Too much jasmine might not work on the mouth at times.  This was meant to be exactly how it was intended.  I celebrate that spring time feeling with one of my favorite cups and we segue and tease future holiday celebrations with some more of my favorite decor, and some pumpkin spice oatmeal.

WegmansApplePieChaiDisplay5

One of my most favorite birthday presents ever, the beautiful black labrador retriever plate, is back for an encore.  It should be part of the main set and every encore!

WegmansApplePieChaiDisplay6

Last and certainly not the last (for now), is the Apple Pie Chai Rooibos.  Try saying that a few times without messing that up!

WegmansApplePieChaiBag

This was the only tea that listed the ingredients on the bag.   Did every other tea have nothing except what was in the tea itself?   I still enjoy the vague, wine like descriptions of these teas, and will always find unintentional humor in them.

There’s ways to describe tea and then there’s ways to describe tea.

The Apple Pie might have had my favorite tint after completion.  It looks more orange but that’s due in part to orange peel and orange lemongrass.   The inclusion of apple pieces, cinnamon and hibiscus flowers make this the happiest of teas for the season.

WegmansApplePieChaiDisplay

I love this one so much.

WegmansApplePieChaiDisplay2

I didn’t have any apple pie but some apple cider and pumpkin pretzels is just as viable as an alternative.   There will be more mentions of apple cider and similar teas as we progress.

WegmansApplePieChaiDisplay3

But right now there’s still plenty of time to celebrate autumn, November, Thanksgiving, and all the good that comes with it.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and the celebrations that will ensue makes me warm inside.  It gives me butterflies and makes me thankful for good family, good friends, and good health.

WegmansApplePieChaiDisplay4

I hope you enjoyed this trilogy.  This is it for now.   But there’s so much time for me to seek out some more approachable and welcoming holiday teas.  The traditional weekly post will be back, but not just yet.

I got a few more things in mind starting this weekend, into next week, and leading in to the big day.

I wish you good health and a happy holiday season.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen