Sipping Joyfully

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I love fall.  I also love that I have all this time between now until the holidays to revel in all of these wonderful teas.  And believe the best is here and the best will still be coming.  It’s going to be a perpetual thing.  Well unless I find a stinker.

And this week is anything but a stinker.   But while I tend to do a decent amount of repeats from some of my favorite teas and companies, I’ve forgotten about my go to’s and my old reliable’s.  Old reliable’s sounds like such a demeaning term.  But that’s not what I’m intending at all.  But how on earth that the last time and only time I talked about Tazo was in January of 2015.

Just become something is so accessible and available doesn’t mean we should take it for granted.  As we know, Tazo is most likely in a store or shoppe minutes from you, and that’s something to be celebrated and appreciated.   I’m going to show my appreciation for two beautiful teas that I just discovered over the weekend, the Organic Baked Cinnamon Apple and the Sweet Cinnamon Spice. Yes these two gems not express what’s good about fall, but what’s good and beautiful about life.

First up, the Cinnamon Apple, once again demonstrates how good rooibos is as a tea.  My ever growing of rooibos teas posts can be found here, but before I digress, I want to explain just how amazing this tea is.   Not only is there rooibos but that other charming taste is chamomile.  To blend these two teas together to create something so delightful is a work of art.

But of course you can’t forget the two featured flavors, apple and cinnnamon.  If you’re into these flavors as a part of your daily breakfast, say via oatmeal, an apple on its own, or throwing cinnamon on top of anything (I absolutely adore cinnamon and try to add it to whatever I possibly can within reason), this is another reason to celebrate.

I enjoyed this in the comfort of my friends’ house, with no added treats necessary at all.  I’m all for pairing a tasty snack, pastry, or yummy piece of food with my tea, but sometimes a tea is best had alone.   I let the bag steep for a while, and kept in my cup, while drinking,  The chamomile and rooibos are the perfect counterbalance for the apple and cinnamon.  This tea is magical.

Not to be outdone is the Cinnamon Spice.  This one I liked but it had a little more kick to it, where it was one of those semi-rare instances where I had take the bag out of my cup because it was a little sweeter than I expected.  And don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this for different reasons.  This is perfect for the colder weather months as well.  And I suspect I will have a newer found appreciation for it then.   But it still warmed my heart, my stomach, and my soul.  There’s rooibos in here too, along with a whole bunch of other goodness such as licorice root, orange peel, almond extract, and of course, the cinnamon.

I think I would give the edge to the Cinnamon Apple just for the simplicity of it.  But I would highly recommend either for your peaceful, change of temperature, or any other celebration that makes you feel good, and makes you feel at peace.  Both of these teas did just that.  And being in the friendly confines of a pals house with some lovely company of dogs will make any tea that much better.   No dog pictures here.  I’ll save that for a Pet Blog, if I feel inspired to do so.

Tazo has so many incredible teas that there’s no time to get them all.  Well maybe there is.  But it won’t be that long before I get to them again.  If I discover some more gems that fit with whatever time of year it is, I’ll be sure to give them their proper due.

Here is more about Tazo, all the good that they do, and their contact information.

I adore fall, and I can’t wait to see what I get into next week.  I look forward to sharing it with you.

And never mind what I said earlier, here’s some fun dog pics!

Take good care and have a blessed one.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

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?

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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

 

 

This Culture Is My Friend

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Of course the culture I’m referring is the probiotics and all the goodness found in the Master Brew Kombucha by Kevita.

What else would I be talking about?

I have a few people to thank for getting me into Kombucha, and it has enhanced and expanded my horizons, and given me some more content for this blog.  And I’m all for new stories (here are my previous write-ups on Kombucha) and experiences

My mind was set on writing about this amazing beverage, but with which brand and with with flavor(s) was to be determined.  Even when I have some semblance of a plan, I rather still keep it fresh and as meaningful as possible.

So in browsing the natural and organic aisles of my local supermarket, I noticed the list of companies making Kombucha is rapidly expanding.  I’ve even met some folks that are in the process of brewing themselves.  That might be a topic for another time but let me not lose focus.

I had seen Kevita in many grocery store refrigerators, and paid it plenty of mind.  It’s been in head to sample a couple of there Master Brew’s to see if they’re in fact masterful.

For this post I decided to make it a two for one and try two of the more summery flavors. We still got a long season to go ladies and gents so I want to make the most of it.

First up is the Pineapple Peach.  Seriously, does it get any better?  It’s quite possible, no. Now many of us have had fruit cocktails or fruit punch drinks that tend to mix one or more fruits too many.  And that’s drinking unnatural and products likely high in sugar, among other nasty additives.  And with all that sometimes these big companies still tend to mess up something so simple.  Not here.

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This was awesome.  And this is one of those kombucha drinks that if you’re not careful, you can finish off rather quickly.  I’m of the belief that these drinks are meant to be savored, not chugged and rushed through.  My body is still getting used to drinking this, so I believe in taking it slow as it gets adjusted to change.  That’s just an opinion and observation I’m making for myself.  You may think and feel different, and that’s what makes this tea and kombucha journey so exciting.

Pineapple and peach were merged together to create something so colorful, so delightful, and so invigorating.  I had about half of my bottle.  The other half I will enjoy soon.  But I want to appreciate the beautiful color and texture of this Master Brew.   Seriously, isn’t this so radiant?

Kombucha can go with anything but sometimes I like to have it with nothing.  This time I had it (again slowly) with a couple of equally fruitful and powerful health bars, perhaps you heard of them.  Yes Larabar is awesome too.

Next up was the Raspberry Lemon.  This tasted more like what you’d expect from a kombucha.  It’s not as easy to drink in my opinion.  And while I still thought it was alright, it’s nowhere near the Pineapple Peach.  Some going are going to love it, but this is one that took a little more time for me.  And in a way that’s a major point of this.  It’s not supposed to be rushed, but something about this flavor combination didn’t hit me like the first one.  And that’s quite ok.

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This was more for display, but you can see the Raspberry Lemon is paired with purple heirloom chips.  The Larabar’s is what I truly feasted on.  They’re so yummy.

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Since the kombucha thing is still so new to me, I want to revisit Kevita much sooner rather than later.  They have a plethora of flavors I want to try, and there’s no time like anytime, or something.

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Kevita is easily accessible in your area and here’s the link to find it near you.

Here’s a little local culture for you, and the live stuff too.

This is all good stuff.  Culture can be your friend, and this is one instance where it absolutely is.  I’d love to go it again.

Come to think of it, there will be likely be more kombucha next week from a different source, and source energy.  And I’m so excited.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Something Sacred

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In the midst of all the tea posts I have pending, many to fall by the wayside.  Others have an expiration date or statue of limitations that would make no sense to see the light of day.  Maybe I’ll explain that another time, or maybe give you an example in the future. But then there’s others that I feel are so personal and so inspiring that either it’s a memory I want to retain just for me and the amazing people I shared it with (and in many instances I was alone), and then there’s growing businesses and the fantastic people behind it that you feel a personal responsibility to share it with as many people as possible.

Back in October I was at one of the many festivals that makes Baltimore so unique and so special.  And at many of these events I keep in the back of my mind about something I could write about in the future.  Little did I know that I would discover one of those incredible food and tea combinations I’ve ever had.  And this pairing is always going to be at the top of my list.

I wanted to give a huge thank you and hello to The Sacred Kitchen.

At many a festival food trucks and the usual food stands are all too commonplace.  The options for something different have become lost in the shuffle. What’s different now is basic meals and what’s become the norm is sometimes businesses being too cute for their own good.

And then there’s The Sacred Kitchen.

On this one day I just couldn’t make up my mind on what to eat.  I wanted something healthy, something that wouldn’t blow me up, and something out of the regular options.

These guys came through without having too try to hard.  And their booth was so much more welcoming and approachable than just about anything I’ve come across in a while.

Their mobile vegan operation is one that I’m fortunate to have discovered in the early stages of this growing venture.

I got the pleasure to meet the owners Harpreet and Kelly, and we were chatting like we had known each other for years.

But wait just a minute.  What does this have to do with tea?  Look at the menu below.

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It took me a second to figure out what this Blueberry Tulsi Mauby Tea is.  I’ll tell you what and I’ll be honest, I still don’t know.  What I do know is this was so refreshing, so enlightening, and such a healing drink.  I can’t tell you why exactly.  Part of is for me to appreciate but part of it I truly think doesn’t need to be explained.

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Meeting the great souls who made this tea and having this for the first time instantaneously is one of those truly remarkable things that I appreciate just for what it is. Nothing more and nothing less.  Well hopefully more.  I’m craving a cup right now.

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You might be asking what this visually pleasing plate of food is.  That would be the Armitsari Chole made of garbanzo beans and spices, that yes, do uplift the senses and the soul.    Throw in some Punjabi Puri Bread and this is one of those life-changing meals that will well, change your life.

This entire experience raised my spirits.   Why it took me nearly five months to write about this is something I can’t explain, other than this is the time that it was supposed to happen, and…

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Spring is approaching and that means more festivals, more events, more parties, and hopefully more opportunities to try amazing tea and food like this.

I need to get myself to the Kent Island Farmers’ Market on a Thursday at the very least.  If you’re anywhere close by, I would highly recommend you do the same.

If you’re interested in having them cater your event or be a part of your party or festival, you can contact them here or email them at sacredkitchencatering@gmail.com.

When and when the opportunity presents itself I hope I get to share another amazing tea and food experience with these genuine and down-to-earth souls again.

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Everything about this was beautiful.

Ideen

We’ve Only Just Begun

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I was looking back at my previous posts from this Summer, and a little over a third of my write-ups have been Annapolis based.  If you’re not from the area that may not mean much to you.  And even if you are local, this may not resonate with you much.

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And whatever the reason this Summer for me has largely revolved around this beautiful town.   Beautiful towns mean beautiful cafes.  And just when I think I’ve done ’em all, here comes The Red Bean Cafe.

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Downtown Annapolis is full of so much activity.   I’ve mentioned this a multitude of times and my intent is not to repeat itself.  It has so much that you could do a daily blog of all the wonders this town has to offer.  I’m not giving myself any more ideas just yet.

It’s easy to get distracted and to get lost.  The organic and community nature of all this is what keeps bringing me back.  I would imagine that quaint locales all over the country, and the world for that matter, is the main allure for most people.  It hits us at its most genuine, and our most genuine.

And The Red Bean is a fantastic addition to the area.  I believe it’s been only open approximately a year.  The 2015 in their logo might give that away.  So any crack research I might have hinted at is out of the window.

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If the weather was a tad cooler, I’d opt for one of their loose and hot teas.  But present tense being what it is, I’m still embracing what amount of Summer we have left.  And to me, there’s plenty more to go.    Instead I noticed the Berry Cabernet Herbal Tea listed, and it came highly recommended.

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Hibiscus and berries is what sticks out here.  And drinking it over ice was a gem.  I’ve stated before that some teas work better for me warm.  I would say this is the contrary. I can tell this is organic because the flavor isn’t as overwhelming if artificial flavors and preservatives were injected into the tea.  It’s light enough to appreciate the flavors, and doesn’t give you a headache as some similar teas with more sweetener have done.

That might be what I nitpick about this. Maybe it’s lacking some more of what I expected. And this may all stem from my exposure to additives that have no business in a tea.   I didn’t love it at first but it was a grower.  And I wouldn’t even call it one of my favorites. But it was a grower and definitely an acquired taste.  A lot of this review is based on my limited experience of drinking iced tea,, and none quite like this.   That just means I need to try some more.

The staff was friendly, the environment was friendly, and the space is massive enough to have a quite conversation or to relax (or do some work, ew work) in solitude.

Their website is as accessible and approachable as it gets.  Everything is on the same page. I did the analogy, or could this be some meta?  Oooh.

Location, menu, and contact info is all there for your enjoyment. And this place screams enjoyment.   How about those views?    How about that pastry pal?

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Here’s a history of my posts in one our great state capital.

As I said they have a plethora of hot teas, so this is only the beginning.  I’ll be back soon.

Thank you Naptown as always!

Love,

Ideen

 

 

 

Harris Tea-ter

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I know, I was looking for a more captivating title, but the Organic Peppermint Herb Tea from Harris Teeter is anything but.

Maybe it was an off-week, but not every tea I have is going to inspire me and make me throw every superlative in the book at it.  This won’t be that post.

A lot of energy and emotion has been thrown at some of my recent stories that this come-down might be necessary.  I’m just surprised it came from this one.

Dear friends of mine are aware I do this blog and always suggest certain brands and flavors to choose from.  They’ve given me carte blanche to rummage through cupboards and pantries to discover some hidden treasure.

This tea has only one ingredient, organic peppermint. I’m immediately thinking this is going to be one of the more natural and genuine cups I’ll have or something abysmal.  This wasn’t the worst but it’s disappointing.  There’s nothing to it.

I’ve had plenty of store and name-brand teas that have been so memorable that I still think about to this day.  I’m thinking about a few just as I write this now.

Peppermint is a flavor that might only be suited for winter or colder weather months.  I say that if a tea is good, it’s going to work year-round.  And I technically did have this cup right at the change of seasons, and still relatively cooler temperatures.  If a tea is great, it’s going to be taste magnificent any time you have it.

Of course some teas work better during certain months and certain times.   This was just bland and felt soulless.  The peppermint tasted inconsistent.  Sometimes I tasted it more than others.  There was powerful sips and some that tasted like nothing at all. There’s not much more to say.

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Well, at least the cookies were good.

I’m a big fan of Harris Teeter, so this will not deter me from trying more.  I just hope future teas won’t be tasting as ordinary as this one.

More times than not, the second or third go around usually meets or surpasses expectations.   I’m confident the same thing will happen here.   And as we approach the warmer months, I’m looking forward to having some more inspirational experiences.

Take good care,

Ideen

 

You Know My Steaz

I went on another adventure or scavenger hunt in search of another tea, cold or hot, to write about.   And in keeping with this warm weather, I happily went with the former.

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I had never heard of Steaz until earlier this week.  And shame on me.  But at the same time, this is what this blog and learning new things is all about.  If it wasn’t for writing about one my favorite things, I may not have crossed paths with their products for a while. I probably saw them on grocery store shelves but were just a part of anything else in my view.

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I am really digging these organic iced teas that these companies are concocting.

In traditional fashion I grabbed two cans that I wanted to try.  And I did a taste test in the comfort of my home.   I went with some different flavors for this incarnation.

I went with the Super Fruit and Blueberry Pomegranate.  The links associated with both flavors are the same, but this website is so user-friendly, you should have no trouble finding your way.

And speaking of the same, they both taste very similar.  If you gave me a blind taste test, I would say they were both fruit punch of a medley of some sort.  I wouldn’t be able to get all the correct fruits for two respectively but I’d give it a shot.

With that being said, I liked both very much.   After a couple sips each, I wasn’t in love with either right away.  But with time they both grew on me.  It might have been my palate or taste buds at the time.  But I think the bigger picture is I am unfortunately used to drinking sweeter and artificial beverages in the Summer that I may not have been fully appreciating a natural and organic treat. That’s my educated guess on this.

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In looking at the ingredients of both teas, I saw to a degree, that they are very similar.  Had I been had? Ha, I don’t think that to be the case. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to pour each can into a glass with ice to get a better feel for what I was working with.

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At first blush both drinks look very similar. But as you look closer the Blueberry Pomegranate does have a darker tint to it. And yes it does have a little more power than the Super Fruit, which I did not expect at all.  I expected the Super Fruit to hit me like that comic book hero you may have heard about. All kidding aside, I enjoyed both very much. And I would love to try more of there selections in the future.  They have plenty of them.

And best of all, they are a Fair Trade ingredients so I know I am drinking something that represents good.  And hopefully I am bringing my good energy from this purchase back into the world.   And my other favorite part of researching these organizations is their role in helping the community or communitea if you will!

And information on where to buy their products can be found here.

I felt good drinking their stand-out iced teas and look forward to more in the future.   I felt so good trying them out that it made this post that much more easy to write.

More to come!

Best,

Ideen