Friday, May 31, 2013

More on Mint...

Ever since I planted mint, I've been doing a lot of reading about it on the Internet.  Links with the photo below of Mint and Lime Juice Ice Cubes came up numerous times, but without a recipe, so this is the recipe I'll use:  Mix together 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice [1 lime] with 1 cup water, and sprigs of fresh mint. Freeze in ice cube trays.  

[Internet Photo]

 June is National Iced Tea Month, so the ice cubes will be the perfect addition.

I was amazed at all the mint cultivars.  "Mint Julep" is named after the famous beverage using Kentucky bourbon.  Because of its excellent flavor, Mint Julep is one of the best mints for tea and sweet recipes.

Here's a recipe for a non-alcoholic Mint Julep
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup prepared lemonade
2 sprigs fresh mint
2 cups crushed ice
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Combine first four ingredient and let stand about an hour.  Discard mint and pour over crushed ice in a Mint Julep cup.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.  Yield: 2

A Mint Julep cup arrived in my mailbox today.  When not used for Mint Juleps they make beautiful mini-flower vases.

Give a boost to steamed vegetables [such as peas and carrots] by adding fresh chopped mint leaves just before serving.

Mint syrup:  Boil 2 cups of water and 2 cups of white sugar until sugar dissolves.  Add 2 cups of washed mint leaves; stir and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Allow the mixture to cool; strain syrup and pour into a glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid.  Syrup will keep in the refrigerator up to one year.

Mint tip:  Clipping the top leaves on mint plants causes them to branch and become bushy.

Thanks for all your comments on my earlier post about mint assuring me that I can grow it in spite of not having a green thumb!  I'll keep you posted!  ;-)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Great Gatsby and Tea!

I love going to the movies with my daughter.  Ideally we go once a month, but it's been  longer recently, since there weren't any movies worth seeing until The Great Gatsby came out.  We headed to our local theater this past Tuesday night for the 3D showing of the film.  

The film is based on American author, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 classic novel of the same name.  Unbelievable as it may seem, I have never read the book, nor seen any of the previous movies, so I had no idea of what I'd be seeing - only good recommendations.  

There are often great tea scenes in British movies, but it's a rarity in American films - or at least the ones I've seen [with the exception of some Disney movies].  So I was pleasantly surprised to see tea interspersed throughout The Great Gatsby. I would have liked the movie without any references to tea [what female doesn't like a romantic, drama film?], but I  liked it even more because of tea's presence.  Only a tea lover can understand that! ;-)

The film takes place in a fictional, prosperous town on Long Island's North Shore, in the summer of 1922, during the Roaring Twenties/Jazz Age.  Costume enthusiasts will love this movie too!

The main character is the young, mysterious, millionaire, Jay Gatsby [Leonardo DiCaprio], and the plot is about his passionate love for beautiful Daisy Buchanan [Carey Mulligan].

The movie is a narration by Nick Carraway [a cousin to Daisy who lives across the bay].  Nick has a Wall Street job, and lives in a small cottage next door to the lavish Gatsby mansion.

Nick learns that Gatsby had a relationship with Daisy five years earlier, before her marriage to Tom Buchanan, and that he is still deeply in love with her, even though they've had no contact.  

Gatsby, in an attempt to initiate a reunion with Daisy, asks Nick to invite her to his cottage for tea, without letting her know that he will be there.  On the day of the tea, Mother Nature sends a torrential downpour, but Gatsby still sends gardeners to cut Nick's lawn and fancy it up, so it'll be fit for Daisy's arrival.  Wouldn't you love having a forest cottage like this?

[Internet Photo]

Gatsby sees to it that the tea party is a lavish affair with copious amounts of fresh flowers, and trays of mouth-watering cakes, pastries, and French macarons.  In 3D, I felt like I could reach out and take a macaron right off the tray!  ;-)

At two minutes to four - just in time for "tea time" - Daisy arrives.  

[Internet Photo]

[Internet Photo]

[Internet Photo]

There's an electric kettle on Nick's kitchen counter boiling water for the tea, and Nick serves Gatsby and Daisy from a gorgeous silver tea set, with equally beautiful china teacups.  I searched far too long on the Internet looking for photos of them, with no luck. I did, however, find a Gatsby inspired Arts and Crafts silver tea set by Tiffany.

I'll leave you in suspense with the rest of the film  in case you haven't seen it yet.  

As I was driving home from the theater, I thought about the theme teas that will probably transpire as a result of the movie, and a Google search proved that Gatsby theme teas are well underway.  

In celebration of the film, the New York Plaza Hotel [which is featured in a scene in the movie] has unveiled its Fitzgerald Suite.

[Internet Photo]

And in their Palm Court, a Fitzgerald tea is served, consisting of 1920's favorites:  Curried Lobster Salad; Deviled Quail Egg Salad; Smoked Salmon with Wild Sturgeon Caviar; Pate de Fruit; Amarena Cherry and Chocolate Sachertorte; Banana Financiers; Hazelnut Napoleons; and Jazz Age Chocolate BonBons.  There's also a Gatsby Hour in the Rose Club complete with a live jazz band.

As for tea room or home Gatsby tea parties, Pinterest provides lots of ideas and inspiration. Nick supposedly served lemon cakes at his tea party for Daisy and Gatsby [chapter 5], and Mint Juleps are in the film, since Daisy was from a prominent Louisville, KY family. [Make mine a non-alcoholic Julep, please! ;-)]

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie with my daughter, and now my mind is spinning with thoughts about planning a Gatsby tea party myself!   Have any of you hosted one?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

E-bay Deliveries

I don't go on E-bay often, because whenever I do, I always find things I want!  It's fun when the bidding isn't contested, and winning an item is a sure thing.  It's even more fun when the item arrives in the mail!   I received two such packages yesterday, so I'm sharing them with you today.

Ever since my visit to Holland, MI I've been drawn to Delftware and windmills, so I went on E-bay to see what items were listed.

Two 6 x 6 hand painted Delft tiles from Holland caught my eye.  They were reasonably priced, with reasonable shipping, so I bid on them and won the auction.   I want to use them as teapot and hot plate trivets.   I haven't asked my hubby yet, but I'm hoping he'll frame them to protect the edges, and make them prettier for tablescape items.

Won't this teapot be perfect sitting on the windmill trivet?  

I'm not sure how I even came across the item below - a Fitz and Floyd Nutcracker teapot. It isn't the time of year when I typically think about Nutcracker items, but when I saw the teapot listed for only $6.99 [plus shipping], with no bids, I couldn't resist! ;-) Since I like Nutcracker theme teas, I placed the minimum bid, and amazingly won the teapot!

Won't he be cute at a Nutcracker tea party this Christmas?  You can read about my Nutcracker theme tea here.   With E-bay it was Christmas in May!  ;-)

Do you shop E-bay for tea-time items?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day at Comerica Park

My hubby bought tickets for our family to attend a Detroit Tigers baseball game together on Memorial Day.

Remembering that no tea was available at the stadium last season, I bought some to take to the game.  I knew glass bottles weren't allowed inside the ballpark, but thought disposable, plastic bottles were okay.  I had never tried So Be ready-to-drink tea [by PepsiCo, Inc.], so decided to give their Green Tea a try.  

Imagine my momentary disappointment when the guy at the gate who inspected my bag  told me water bottles were okay, but I'd have to drink the tea outside the park, or throw  them into the trash can before I could enter.  What?  Throw two good bottles of tea away? Thankfully, the man at the gate next to us overheard the instruction, and said to let me enter, tea and all!   

The tea was good, with a citrus taste.  It contains guarana and ginseng, which makes it an energizing drink.

Pansies at Comerica Park entrance.

Main gate at Comerica Park.

Jerry next to the bronze statue of beloved Detroit Tiger announcer, Ernie Harwell.

Tiger carousel inside the ballpark.

Baseball ferris wheel.

Tiger scoreboard

Play ball!   Attendance was 41,416. 

Son, Steve, and daughter-in-law, Sharon.

Granddaughter, Brooke, with sign she made in hopes of TV cameras seeing it.

Granddaughters Brianna, and Marissa.

Granddaughter, Tiffany, and boyfriend, John.

Jerry [Papa] and granddaughter Ellie, in her cute Detroit Tiger outfit.

Daughter Lori, and daughter-in-law, Samantha.

Youngest son, Jeremy, with his 4 year old son, Landon.

Granddaughters Isabella, and Brooke.

After the game got underway, a light rain started falling, and the temperatures began to drop. The rain wasn't heavy enough to delay the game, but the damp, 50 something temps were chilling, so we left at the bottom of the 7th inning.  The Tigers played nine innings and beat the Pirates 6-5.

It was a fun family day even though Mother Nature didn't totally cooperate!  ;-)

[Partial Detroit skyline as seen from the ballpark.]

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone, as we honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces to preserve our freedom!  I'm proud to be an American, and there's no place on earth like the U.S.A.!  May God bless, and protect our military.

[Internet Photo]

"Our dead brothers [and sisters] still live for us..."
1884 Memorial Day speech by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Every Memorial weekend my city hosts a huge garage sale in the municipal parking structure. This was the 8th year for the sale.  After church and Sunday dinner yesterday, I went to the sale to see what the sellers had to offer.

[Parking Structure]

There were lots more people this year, but fewer vendors and booths.  I saw a red transferware demitasse cup and saucer, but it had a lot of crazing so I came home empty-handed.

I did find a 34" x 34" tea-themed, hand embroidered tablecloth at an antique shop a couple of days ago though. It has an embroidered teapot on one corner, and a teacup on the other three corners.

The sales lady said she had just put it out minutes before I came into the shop.  At $12 it was good buy.  The teapot embroidery needs two slight repairs, but they'll be an easy fix.

The teacups in each of the three corners are identical.   The cloth will be perfect for covering a card table.  I wonder what the lady who embroidered it used it for?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mint in a Teapot

My blogging friends always inspire me.  On May 13th, Angela, at Tea With Friends, wrote a post about several kinds of mint she planted.  I'm not a gardener like her, and I don't have a green thumb, but I've wanted to plant some herbs for a long time, so her post was just the nudge I needed to get going.

So far I've only planted two kinds of mint - Peppermint and Spearmint - in a teapot planter I acquired from a friend when she closed her tea room. I also have a couple of oversized teacup planters, so I'm going back to get some thyme and rosemary plants.  I hope I can keep them alive and growing!  I wish I lived closer to another blogging friend, Nancy, of Rosemary's Sampler blog. Her sister owns an herb and spice shop next door to her tea room, that recently offered classes on growing herbs.

Wish me luck!  ;-)  

I would love to be able to make my own Moroccan mint tea.

[Internet Photo]

To close out this week's posts I'm sharing some photos of my grandchildren taken last night. We visited our youngest son and daughter-in-law so we could attend granddaughter Isabella's 2nd grade music concert and art exhibit.  There she is... all ready to leave for school, and her evening performance.

I had to get a photo of younger brother, Landon, and baby sister Ellie too!

Isabella and classmates singing one of the nine songs in their program.

Izzy is the fourth one in the row of xylophone players below.

Plato once said that music "is a more potent instrument than any other for education."  

After the concert we went to the media center where the children's artwork was displayed. In the photo below Izzy is holding the piece of blue and white pottery she made.   Her very own creation of Delftware!  ;-)

Izzy seated at her desk in her second grade classroom.  

It was a fun evening.  Great job, Izzy!   We're all very proud of you!