I Love Trader Joe’s

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A couple of things.  If I try too hard to come up with a creative title, it’ll likely end up feeling forced, inauthentic, and insincere.  And that has happened.  So I kept it simple. Because I love Trader Joe’s.  It has my heart and its had it for years.

So when I look back at my past posts and realize I’ve gone over six months (so nothing in the Spring up to now) without writing about them, it’s been long overdue.

What’s also been going on is like you, like me, like everyone, we get busy.   The places we love to go to, the things we want to do, and the people we want to see become a bit more challenging because life happens, it goes on, and new interests, new places, new things, and new friends emerge.

But a friend like Trader Joe’s you never want to take for granted.  It’s been there for me in the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, and all the good stuff in between and peripherally.

I’ve been back several times recently to do some shopping of course, seek inspiration for future posts, and to soak in all the good vibes.  Because it’s always been about the good vibrations.

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You know what always draws people in?  Free samples.  And TJ’s is always so generous with a charming sample of foods, coffee, tea, and a tea lemonade.   This is what introduced me to their Organic Tea & Lemonade.  And with its ever-so-charming golf inspired label, how can you not be drawn to it?

TraderJoesTeaLemonadeShelf

The reasons for the golf design are fairly obvious.  But even if you or I wasn’t aware, the art is still mesmerizing.  And you got some nifty golf terms on the back to impress some people with.  It’s all new to me!

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And how was the drink?  I mean it’s not going to set the world on fire.  But that’s just a personal opinion.  It’s a refreshing, filling, yet light summertime and anytime beverage.  I wanted to go this in town while its still Summer because it only makes sense.  But as long as you’re going golfing, or just enjoying life in general, this is as good as beverage as any.

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This is premature, and a bit sad in a way, but it may have been too soon for the Five Seed Almond Bars to be paired with this beverage, or any.  If you read the ingredients this will make sense.  I know to some that’s exciting, but to me its bittersweet in a way.  I love Summer, and wish it could go on forever.

As a bonus, I also discovered the Organic Green Tea Lemonade, not on any special display, but hidden in plain sight with a whole bunch of other tea and tea inspired beverages, that I hope to get to periodically.   I keep thinking that I”ll run out of idea and things to talk about when it comes to this store, but I should never doubt.

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I think I liked the Green Tea Lemonade even better.  Simply for the fact that it’s more my speed.  It’s not as sweet as the aforementioned Tea/Lemonade, and it had that genuine green tea taste that we’ve all grown to love.  Mix that in with a lighter (at least to me) tasting lemonade, you’ve got a winning combination.  No, not the most creative of labels, but this is why you should never judge anything by its over…

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…well unless you judge the Honey Butter Potato Chips, because they look even and taste even better than its portrayal on the bag.  What a perfect complement to a beverage that I think is even more custom made for all seasons versus the Tea Lemonade.

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Nevertheless, both drinks are only $3.00 for these 64 oz. bottles, so you’re not risking much for such a great reward.  The chips were only $2, and the almond bars were about $5-6.

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Ah this is so exciting. Oh how I’ve missed you and missed writing about you Trader Joe’s.

To find a store near you, click here.

Drinks like this, posts like this, and visits to one of my favorite grocery stores is always a treat and can be invigorating.   More is always coming and who knows what the future holds.   Who knows what next week holds, who knows what tomorrow holds.

More to come.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

May Is Beautiful

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We got here quick didn’t we?  It’s gonna be Summer soon.  And for man the month of May signifies this.   I’m good with that.  But I’m also good with appreciating each day and time of year for what it is.   I love this month so much.  The outdoor events have already been making their triumphant returns but this is the month where it becomes a weekly, and sometimes daily thing.  I also hope that means plenty of outdoor tea drinking, hot and cold.

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The one I’m going to discuss today, can be drank either way.   I’m assuming as such.

There are many teas I try that I never get a chance to write about.  Either that, or they are stored in my memory bank, with a new note taken, for future use.   The Pink Lemonade Herbal Tea from Eastern Shore Tea Company, which can be found at Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company (hope that doesn’t confuse you), is a gem to drink, a joy to watch steep, and a tea I thin even the non-tea drinkers would appreciate.

And the funny thing is this particular experience took place late last fall, but I wanted to wait for this time, this moment, and this part of the season to share it with you.

The setting was their Annapolis location.  I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love our state capital,  And even though their location is away from the heart of Downtown Annapolis, it still has its own aura and charm that always feel good and omnipresent when I visit.

And even though it was months ago I still think about this tea.  Yeah it was that good.  No, it’s nowhere near the best tea I, or most tea drinks, will ever have.  But there’s something about it.  It has a universal appeal.  If you’re not a tea drinker,  you may find this enjoyable anyways, especially in the warmer months.  This will be perfect for any outdoor party, cookout, birthday, or any other event of celebration.  And there will be much to celebrate.

I wish I had the opportunity to try this iced, but in a tea shoppe, they gave me some hot water (which I assume I asked for) and I just steeped a bag.  And even that color will remind you of that perfect seasonal drink.  It radiates.

Lemongrass and hibiscus flowers are the ingredients.  You probably wouldn’t know it unless you looked at the label.  It’s a naturally created pink lemonade that’s better than your fountain soda, or your artificially enhanced flavored drink on your grocers shelf.

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When I look back at the picture above I’m reminded of the fact that I almost didn’t sip this tea.  I almost didn’t sip a lot of teas.  This also means that there’s still teas in this display and others that have seen been created, that I must and will get to sample.

That’s the charm of their stores.  You may have a tea in mind off the bat but another one is just waiting for you to try.  And that’s how I got to try the Pink Lemonade for the first, and what is still my only time.  It was beautiful in so many ways.   And the atmosphere is throwing down a gauntlet.  Which one should I try next?

I forgot I had a sandwich with my tea.  I do recall these beautiful flowers though.  So while this was all taking place in autumn, it was a charming preview of where we are now.    Time is accelerating my friends so whenever there is a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature and life around us, we should do just that.   I would say this tea is in that conversation.  It’s been months but I’m salivating for another cup right now.

Here are some links if you’re interested in purchasing this or any of their teas.  You can order online or stop by one of their stores if you’re in or visiting Maryland sometime soon.   They do list a phone number as well.  Yes some places still take phone orders!

And here’s a few of my past posts related to Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

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Say the opportunity presents itself, and I do pour myself a glass of this (yes we’re talking iced) and it works out, I will do a follow-up to this post.   But for now, I will feel nostalgic over a moment that may have been trivial at the time, but is now charming and endearing memory to me.  Even if it is just tea, it’s those little things that make me happy.

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I promise you this tea will make you happy.

Happy May to you!

Ideen

 

Organic Olympics Party, I Think

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It’s not hard to believe,  but we’re in the homestretch of the Olympics.  Time is flying and ordinarily I’d be sad, but I’m ok this go around.  In addition, I have so much to keep me occupied, including my blog.

With the limited amount of time this event provides us, I wanted to take advantage with some posts that somehow connect to this storied and iconic spectacle.

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My summer tea posts would not feel complete if I didn’t incorporate lemonade.   I wasn’t aggressively seeking it out, more so I was hoping it would it present itself without it feeling like a chore.   Thankfully, while I was at my local Wegmans, I noticed this display case which just looked like lemonade to me.  Upon a second look it was a tea & lemonade duo, and as an added bonus, we have an organic combination.   The Tea It Up (which I find quite charming) is as refreshing and delicious as it presents itself to be.

I’m always hesitant of the organic label.  It doesn’t guarantee a product tasting any better, and it in many cases it may have the reverse effect.  But I liked this so much, I had to stop myself from overdoing it and getting an unnecessary sugar high.

To counterbalance my glass, and to keep the healthy theme going as best as possible, I paired my drink with some healthier eats.  At least that was my intention.

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As an appetizer, we have some pretzel thins brought to us by our same grocery gurus. Wow I just said that.  Initially, I was hoping for a little more salt, but I preferred this. The duo worked well of of each other and I had to stash the bag away or the whole thing would have never had a chance.

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I wish I could say I made this salad.  I can pretend I did but that would take away from the authenticity of what I’m presenting.  To complete the trifecta, this is from Wegmans salad bar, which if you’re not careful, will hit your wallet.  At upwards of $10.00 a pound, you could easily find yourself purchasing a meal at double that amount.  Luckily, yours truly is fiscally responsible and got mine at three digits.   Go Team!

Actually there was no team, this was a party for one.  Maybe next time I’ll gather some more folks but this was impromptu, which is how some of the best parties turn out.  The salad (which featured buffalo chicken) turned out alright, yet not my favorite, but nevertheless, in the spirit of the Olympics, I seek for the positives wherever I can.  I’ve had plenty of dishes from the salad and hot bar, that one misstep is not going to stop me from coming back. It’s been overall a magnificent experience.

This tea/lemonade is simple and quite delicious.  You might think the black tea and lemonade may clash but this works here tremendously.  Throw in a few ice cubes and you’re golden. And speaking of which, does it win a similar medal?  That’s up to you to decide.

If you’re like me, you get lost in Wegmans and find yourself there as much as possible. There’s a store minutes from me, and that tends to happen every time.  For a store near you, click here.  If you’ve never been I’ll think you’ll find it a magical place.  It may not be quite the hysteria of the Olympics, but there’s plenty of inspiration.

Here is my original post on one of my favorite stores.

I hope you’ve getting your fix of the Olympics, while enjoying some great tea and accompanying eats.

All The Best,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Lemon Aid

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There is a bit of planning that goes into these reviews but that doesn’t mean they remain in place.   I had several ideas about what to get into for today but those can wait.  None of them made sense for a myriad of reasons.  The season has yet to fully break and certain teas and tea-related contraptions don’t feel right to be recapped, at least not yet.  Their time is coming but not now.

With that being said, I didn’t panic or freak out.  I knew a place would find me. I say place because it just felt right to venture out of the comfort of my abode and seek out something inspiring.   And this brings me to Sidamo Coffee and Tea.

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A chance visit to to our nation’s capital and even more specifically, the revitalized H Street, brought me to this cozy and charming shoppe.

I just knew I was in for something special.

Now the place also says coffee so that’s their bread and butter.  Oh wait.  The venue only had about a half-dozen tables which is right up my alley. There was a gentleman grinding coffee beans on sight and what a sight to behold.   It felt as authentic as DC can get.  And if you know Washington, you understand why I say that.

SidamoTeas

Behind the counter is a magnificent array of loose-leaf teas and since I’ve been on such a lemon kick lately I decided to go with King Tut Lemonade.  I had no idea what I signed up for and that’s what I love about this thing.

The lady behind the counter was on her own and demand was starting to accumulate. However, she still made my tea at a fastidious pace.  I had requested a large cup but had not realized I got the most amazing teapot and cup display.

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You see it posted at the top but this deserves multiples pictorials.   And she brought it to me.  I didn’t expect that.  It’s always the little things.  Notice how I’ve even yet to describe the tea.

SidamoTea

This tea really hit me where I needed it most.   The benefits of lemon have been documented greatly and a nice brewing pot of tea opens up other nooks and crannies of this spiritually healing fruit.

You’ll likely know it right away.  The main ingredient is lemon peel.   For sure I’ve had a plethora of cups that contained lemon peel integrated with other herbs and gems, but not like this.  The lemonade means something else entirely different and I’m grateful for that.

My stomach has had issues for a while and this is just what the doctor ordered.  It rejuvenated me from the onset.  If I could get more than four 4 cups from this, I would have taken double.  Can you have too much of a good thing?  In this scenario I’m not so sure.   I took my time savoring what I could.   And 30 minutes later I felt revitalized.

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That infuser teapot is a work of art, don’t you think?

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I really didn’t need anything to snack on but a fruit and nut bar was a proper sweet treat to counter the bitterness of this tea.  And I mean bitterness in the best way possible.  I loved it more than these words can articulate.

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I love figuring out the ingredient before reading up on it.  And I’m blessed to be from an Iranian heritage where lemon peels have been used in some dishes.   That is the main reason I knew it was the peel.  Even as distinct as a flavor is, a sentimental memory from the past makes the discovery all the more joyous.

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Life is something grand.   I had a sense that this place had a familiarity about it.  It wasn’t until I looked the place up that I recall visiting their second location in Fulton, MD.  That experience was left so much to be desired.  The barista or team-member could not be a more polar opposite than the DC location.  I’m not big on being too negative so I honestly never thought to write about that experience until now.  And I may get into full details another time but for now I give major love and thank you to Sidamo, and I look forward to doing it again.

To purchase King Tut Lemonade Tea, I have posted a couple of links here and here!

Stay healthy,

Ideen