Nepali Tea

A friend recently introduced me to this really amazing website called “Kickstarter.”  Kickstarter essentially is a place to raise funds for creative projects.  Case in point, my friend used Kickstarter as a place to raise money for an independent animated film she is making called “One Per Person.”  She recommended the site to me since she knows I would love to start my own business and also as a place to possibly raise capital for my jam making.  It’s really an amazing place to reach out and help the “little guy.”

Kickstarter is also one of those websites to get lost in.  It has everything from art, music, film to food!  Yes you got it food!  It is so inspiring and if you need to kick (pun intended) your creative juices into high gear this place will do it!  It’s refreshing to see people passionate about the projects and work they are creating.

During my perusing of Kickstarter, I came across a company called “Nepali Tea Traders.”  After reading about the company and their intentions I immediately sponsored them.  In return for my contribution I was rewarded with the most delicious tea.  I selected a set of black tea.  The first a Himalayan Masala black tea.  Incredibly tasty with a nice hint of black pepper and spices.  I’ve been partaking each morning with just a splash of milk.  The second is the Shangri-La Classic Organic Black Tea, this one I have yet to try but look forward to a cup when I get to work:)  I cannot wait to order more varieties and support a business that stands for so much more than the bottom line.

If you haven’t already please check it out.  It feels good to reach out to a small business and help support a dream!

Kickstarter

Nepali black tea

Jam with Tea

I started making jam about two years ago.  The first experiment was at my friend’s family farm house in Canada.  An amazing experience as well as intimidating considering her family cooks and cans all sorts of delicacies.  I found a pear/vanilla jam recipe in the New York Times and started my experimentation.

Today I made that same jam only I used Vanilla Chai tea in place of the water.  I also experimented with a tea/jam recipe from this months Tea magazine.  The jam is a cranberry/apple using a black tea.  I made the jam using a spicy Masala tea (a friend had brought me from Kenya.)  The jam came out delicious!  I was really happy with both considering my cooking experiments sometimes go awry!:)

jams

Pear Vanilla Jam

http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/3057/Chunky-Vanilla-Pear-Jam.html

I substituted water for brewed Gypsy Rooibos Vanilla Chai tea.

http://teamag.com/

Cranberry Apple Preserves (taken from Latest Issue of Tea Magazine)

This preserve is equally at home on the breakfast table or with your afternoon scones as it is on your Thanksgiving dinner table.  It can also be made with pears in place of apples or a combination of apples and pears. For the black tea, Darjeeling, Ceylon and Keemun are excellent choices, but any black tea should give you a very good result.  This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily, so make plenty to use and to share.

Yield: 4 cups preserves

4 cups peeled and diced apples

2 cups fresh cranberries, washed

3 cups sugar  (I also cut the sugar to 2 cups)

2 limes

3/4 cup triple strength black tea  (used a spicy masala tea)

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger root

1/4 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients except the lime and ginger to a heavy pan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and turn down to medium.  Simmer, skimming the foam after about 5 minutes.  Let simmer until the cranberries have burst and the apples or pears are tender, roughly 10 to 15 minutes.  Add lime juice, zest and grated ginger.  Simmer until thickened and remove from heat.  Let cool.  Process in a canner, or store covered in the refrigerator.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Big Bear and Tea

I’ve recently returned from a rather shortened sabbatical.  I was on the East Coast visiting family when hurricane Sandy hit.  Fortunately, my family is safe and well.. Unfortunately, my trip was cut a bit short due to the flight cancellations, and difficulties traveling.  I retreated back to LA and settled back into my Hollywood Hills retreat.  My little place is coming along and feeling cozier by the minute.

Heading back to work in less than a week, I made a very short escape to Big Bear Lake.  It is located a bit over 2 hrs outside of LA.  It is known for outdoor activities such as hiking, snowboarding and skiing.  The weather being still a bit warm for the latter, I decided hiking would be on the agenda.

It was my first time visiting the area and was pleasantly surprised to find two tearooms.  One unfortunately was closed however, the other was suggested to me.  It appeared to be more of a coffee shop, however, when I entered I noticed quite an impressive lot of loose leaf tea.  Also many interesting tea accessories.  It was really such a treat considering that I missed out on shopping my favorite tea shops in Toronto.  Also, I was happy to find that all of their teas can be ordered online.

Have a look for yourself and if ever visiting the area, I highly recommend a visit to

The Tea and Coffee Exchange.

PS: They also made a To Die For pumpkin chai with fresh pumpkin puree!

Hiking Big Bear

This tea house was closed:(

The Tea & Coffee Exchange

 

 

 

Yoga and Gypsy Tea….

Last night after a long day of training on new software at work, I dragged myself to a 7:30pm yoga class at Yoga Blend.  It is a mixed level class taught by Christy, the owner.  She is one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had.  She has such a warm and welcoming personality.  She always does something different with her class and presents a flow that is inspiring and creative.  Upon leaving her class I feel grounded, happy, safe and secure.  She always gets the energy and juices flowing that really open the mind and the heart.  I was completely exhausted from all the mental powers I had to utilize during my day but leaving her class last night I felt my body and soul cleared out and room made for more that was to come.  I’m thankful to have found her studio and happy to be back in her warm presence.

While practicing at Yoga Blend last year I discovered Zhena’s Gypsy Tea.  I am also thankful to have found this tea because I really do love it.  Christy keeps a wide variety of flavors out and available for pre/post yoga class.  It is a perfect way to finish a class and bask in the glow of doing something good for our bodies.  If you haven’t tried Gypsy tea I suggest checking it out!  The woman behind the company also has an inspiring story which will make you feel glad that you support her tea and her business.

Regardless of how tired or mentally fatigued you feel, do something good for yourself today:)

http://www.gypsytea.com/

The Goji Cacao Berry and the Coconut Chai are two of my favorites!

 

 

Sweet Dreams…..

Lately, I have been hearing from many friends of their inability to sleep at night.  There are times in my life where I’ve had bouts of insomnia as well as being someone who suffers from anxiety (should explain my yoga and tea connection:)  In these situations I’ve always tried to take a more natural approach to healing my body whenever possible.  I am not a doctor or a holistic healer by trade, however, I’d like to share a few things which have helped me when I’m finding it hard to snuggle up at night and get a restful sleep.  As always, go by what your body tells you and do your own research into the matter and if you have a doctor/natural practitioner who you trust consult he/she as well.

TEA

In the later part of the evening I usually try to avoid caffeine or a tea with very low caffeine content, some alternatives which are naturally caffeine free to try would be an herbal infusion or a Rooibos tea.

Chamomile an herb which has a long history as a relaxant as well as other health benefits.

Valerian Root was recommended to me last year when I was having a lot of trouble sleeping.  I swear by this herb.  I take the Gaia brand capsule.  I haven’t found the ingredient in tea as of yet but I’m sure it must exist:)

Lavender is another “magic” herb for me!  I keep Aura Cacia Lavender calming oil in my bedside table.  I sniff it or place a couple of drops behind my ears.  Lavender also pops up in many tea infusion.

Many tea blenders are beginning to also recognize the connection between yoga and tea and are coming up with their own unique blends.

Elmwood Inn Fine Teas– has recently launched their Ayurvedic Blends.  Which are low caffeine, soothing teas that promote relaxation.

http://store.elmwoodinn.com/search.aspx?find=ayurvedic+tea

I also keep a variety of Yogi Teas around.  One of my favorites is the Yogi Tea Bedtime tea.

http://www.yogiproducts.com/

***When looking for a “tea” keep in mind that any blend which contains the tea-plant, “camellia sinensis” will have caffeine, unless it specifically states that it is caffeine free, decaffeinated or low caffeine.

Yoga

One of my favorite yoga poses to promote a calm mind which in turn helps with sleep is legs up the wall.

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

Also a great article I have come across in Yoga Journal giving some tips to help with calming the mind and having a peaceful night sleep.

http://www.yogajournal.com/dailyinsight/yjnl_20110217.html?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=site&utm_campaign=dailyinsight

And if all else fails.. snuggle up with your favorite sleeping companion:)