Tag Archives: tea

Two for tea

9 Jan

Last month, there was a Living Social deal for high tea at a place in Hollywood, so I bought as quickly as I could. I’ve made no secret of my love of tea and other assorted fanciness. I have never actually been to high tea other than the one I threw myself back in 2010, so I was beyond excited to grab such a great price.

Chado has tea rooms/retail stores in several parts of LA, plus one in India.  The Hollywood location is walking distance from home, so we treated ourselves to their Celebration Tea service on Sunday afternoon.

We sat at a cozy table for two in the corner, which was preset with white linens and tea cups.

Hot dateThe meal started with a pot of tea each. We decided to share both and ended up with the Namring Upper SFTGFOP — a second flush Darjeeling — and Mate Carnival. We each also had an option of soup or salad. I chose the former, which was creamy tomato basil, and he had the mixed baby greens. The soup was really tasty, as was the bread that came with it. We both loved the tea selections as well. I slightly favored the delicate flavor of the Darjeeling.

Let's get startedThen the main part of the meal arrived.

PeekabooWow! The top tier was sandwiches: two each of salmon and chicken salad (for him), and two of egg salad and cucumber (for me). The sandwiches were standard but tasty. The next tier was two freshly baked scones with cream and apricot jam. The scones were incredible. I’m not normally a fan of the scone, since it’s a little drier and crumblier than I prefer my baked goods. These were more fluffy than dense, though, and had the perfectly subtle amount of sweetness. I slightly preferred the plain, but the blueberry was good, too. The final tier was dessert (because, clearly, scones are a healthy dinner). There were two little Madeline cookies, a tiny carrot cake, and an even tinier cheesecake. All were delicious, especially the carrot cake.

But wait. That wasn’t really dessert. I guess it was pre-dessert. The really real dessert was the Mauritius Tea Float.

photo 4(28)It’s exactly how it sounds: a scoop of vanilla ice cream floating in cooled black tea, plus a little cream, chocolate sauce and strawberry slices for good measure. It tasted light considering the ingredients, though I’m sure it was a calorie bomb. It was one well deserved, though.

The place was pretty noisy when we arrived, but the service was excellent, and those scones alone made the trip worthwhile. In fact, I can imagine going and just ordering a pot of tea and a scone or six to pass the afternoon. We will definitely go back to Chado!


Food all ova

5 Oct

What follows is random.

I finally went to the grocery store last night if for no other reason than to avoid eating white beans AGAIN. (But I’m having them for dinner tonight, so the joke’s on me.) I just did a quick shop through Trader Joe’s and whipped up another variation on Mexican Lasagna:

This time I layered tortillas, refried black beans, soyrizo (more on it soon), fresh hot peppers, and salsa. If I hadn’t been so tired, there would have been mushrooms and bell pepper, too.

Then I had a mug of tea:

Today for lunch, my boss brought in an all-vegetarian, semi-vegan lunch. Here are the dairy-free goods. Salad:

And vegan shepherd’s pie:

It was delicious! If I can get the recipe from her, I will share.

The end.

Creamy delicious vegan recipes

15 Aug

It appears the blender truly is deceased — or at least on its way — as much as I keep hoping it’ll change its mind. Time to whack it on the head, I suppose. Unfortunately, my financial situation prevents me from just buying a new one. Man do I envy others (or Past Brigid) who could buy $50 appliances whenever they want. Instead, I will probably hit up Goodwill to see if I can get my hands on something for $10 or less that’ll at least keep me pureeing for a little longer.

Speaking of kitchen mishaps, I had another one last night. Let me back up to say that I was home alone last night while my sexy Latin man was filming in Burbank. I spent the entire evening (not exaggerating) cooking for today. Now, it was mostly inactive, so don’t pity me too much, but there were a lot of steps, and it took FOR-EV-ER. The dish I was making was a slightly modified version of this Curried Rice Salad, and the only reason it took so long is that I made the garbanzo beans in the slow cooker and the brown rice in the rice cooker that night, too. So, you see, it was an evening of mostly hands-off cooking. Anyway, one of the last prep steps was peeling and chopping the mango. My husband has a mild allergy to the skin of tropical fruits, so I used our new vegetable peeler to remove the offender — and a little bit of my finger. I’ll spare you the photo, but at least we know it works! The completed version of my meal — hopefully without any of my DNA — will be on the blog tomorrow.

Before I gave a little piece of myself to today’s food, I had the second night of our taco salad. Behold:

That’s lettuce, black beans, roasted corn, avocado, and creamy dill dressing — all prepared lovingly at home. (X’s had cherry tomatoes, too.) I then added my friends Corn Chips and Pepper Sauce:

Effing. Awesome. Everything was prepared (and the first half eaten) Monday night and then stored separately, so making dinner took about three minutes. Let’s talk about the creamy green dressing . . .

You should make this. Yeah. For realsies. Unless your blender is broken. (Tear)

Creamy Vegan Dill Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (you can use whole cashews or pieces)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Large handful of fresh dill
  • 1/4-1/2 a jalapeno
  • Pinch of salt

Add all ingredients to blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Add as much water as you need to reach the desired consistency.

The flavor was rich with dill but, even with the jalapeno, was not spicy. If you want more heat, throw in as much jalapeno as you can handle. It tasted like creamy heaven on the salad, but I imagine it would be great on basically any veggie, especially as part of a potato salad. LOVE. If you’re allergic to nuts, you could probably sub in silken tofu or avocado in place of the cashews, but I haven’t tried it.

After eating the salad plus some more corn chips dipped in the remaining tablespoon or two of the dressing, I tried watching about a billion different shows on Netflix and Hulu but kept losing interest, so I whipped out the (totally ass-kicking) strength exercises I talked about yesterday. Phew. I also made an easy-but-delicious beverage last night:

It’s based on this recipe from the Global Table Adventure that I’ve been drooling over since May. My only tweaks were using almond milk instead of cow’s and cutting the sugar by half. I followed the directions of serving it in a silly mug:

Though this one was not handmade, and I actually drank it cold this way. It was a delicious treat after my run this morning, and the best part of all is that my husband won’t touch it — as in, won’t even try it because it seems too much like chai. More for me! Side note: Sasha is awesome, and if you aren’t following her culinary trip around the world, you really should. Her cooking and writing inspire me so much, and I even had the pleasure of meeting her once at a blogger event in Tulsa. Oh yes, she does all that global cooking from my hometown. Yay Sasha!

And yes, I ran again. Monday I logged 2.48 miles, but today I hit 2.62. It’s a little victory, but they add up.

Breakfast this morning took place at work and was a sad state of affairs:

A banana and a totally-not-healthy Chewy bar (from the office kitchen), with coffee. I intended to prepare regular overnight oats last night, but I was too exhausted from a combination of the cooking and picking up my husband in hideous traffic after 11:00 last night. Ah, Hollywood.

It’s time for tempeh soup, so I’ll catch you all soon!

Recent comestibles

10 Jul

Hello! I am fresh off a 10-day vacation and still working to settle back into normal life. I don’t have anything truly exciting to report at the moment, so instead I’ll share some recent eats.

We recently completed our (preliminary, I’m sure) tour of vegan brunch options with Real Food Daily (the Pasadena location), suggested by Hungry Hungry Hippie. I got the Ava B ‘n’ Cheez Scramble:

And my other half got the tacos that were on special:

Both dishes were good, though it isn’t my favorite of all the places we tried. Our bill was shockingly high. I would still eat there again, though I won’t be rushing.

Another night, I had a light ‘n local dinner:

It featured cherries, strawberries, and spicy guacamole from the farmers market, as well as chips that I made from corn tortillas that were in the fridge. It was joined by a cup of fresh mint (also from the market) tea. Delicious!

The tofu obsession I mentioned before has been hanging on strong. This lazy tofu scramble was completed by local plums and more fresh mint tea:

For the tea, all I do is pour boiling water over six or so mint leaves and let them steep. I like to lightly bruise the leaves first with my thumbnails to draw out the flavor, but it couldn’t be simpler.

On the last night of vacation, we enjoyed some leftover portobello chili on top of baked potatoes:

Then we doctored them up. His (with sharp Cheddar, salt, and pepper):

And hers (nooch, pepper sauce, and black pepper):

Perfectly filling and delicious.

In related news, I’m now on a new vitamin regimen prescribed by my doctor to combat my migraines. I love having a doctor who doesn’t jump straight to “medications” and instead experiments with vitamins. Here’s the daily swallow:

In addition to my once-daily multi (the brown-ish one), I am now taking 400 mg of magnesium (the two big white ones) and 400 mg of riboflavin (the four little yellow ones). It takes two gulps, but it’s natural and has no side effects — well, other than neon yellow urine (TMI, and thank you, riboflavin!). So far, mostly good, though I know it takes three months to judge whether or not a medication of any kind is working.

So that’s my edible update for today. How have you been?

Tea with the queen

19 Jun

Good morning! I started my day with a booty-kicking courtesy of the Fitnessista. I did Workout 1 and will do the HIIT component this evening after work. I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed any earlier than 6:45 to get my sweat on, so the fun will continue.

I showed you breakfast yesterday (and had the same thing today, except that I tucked the tofu scramble into corn tortillas this morning for a little extra oomph). I was going to show you lunch, too, but it became cheese pizza . . . times four. Yikes. I can just never say no to a free lunch.

Dinner, however, was perfectly healthy and delicious:

As I mentioned, on the menu was a variation on this soup. Here are the changes I made:

  • Used spray olive oil instead of the 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Swapped in one yellow squash and one round zucchini for the medium zucchini
  • Bean cooking liquid and water instead of vegetable broth
  • Freshly cooked chickpeas instead of white beans, plus I almost doubled the amount (and I have to note that my husband cooked the garbanzos successfully without murdering either them or one of our pots)
  • Rainbow chard instead of baby spinach (I don’t like how wilty spinach gets in soup)

I followed the same directions, though, and kept the most important parts: lemon juice, zest, and the mint leaves. Seriously, this soup can’t live without ’em. They take what is a fairly hearty soup and transform it into something bright and enjoyable, even on the hottest summer night. It also put my husband into a coma:

(Here’s hoping he doesn’t read this post!)

After a run to the grocery store, I decided to snuggle up on the couch with a book and a bedtime snack. You know what’s better than tea in a mug? Tea in a cup — with the queen:

As a belated wedding present, my boss gave me a set of two teacups from 1953 that were released to celebrate Elizabeth II’s coronation. Pretty sweet, huh? I made a full pot of tea from fresh mint leaves and chamomile blossoms, both purchased from the farmers market. It was delicious and soothing, especially paired with this chocolate — times two pieces.

How do you relax after a long day? Tea and a book are my perfect combination.

Lunching out

30 Jan

I apologize for my brief hiatus, but basking in the glow of my new engagement was something I couldn’t pass up. We’re actually getting married in 26 days, so this period will be very short-lived. I’ll be a married lady before I know it!

Anyway, I do have some foodie pics to share.

I was naughty last week and didn’t cook a single lunch for myself. So much for saving money!

On Monday, it was Rainbow for a juice (apple-cucumber-ginger), lentil vegetable soup, and a small salad (lettuce, mushrooms, carrots, beats, red bell pepper, sunflower seeds, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Lemon Herb dressing.

Wednesday brought me a delicious Yo Amigo Taco Salad from Native Foods Cafe: “A blend of romaine, cabbage, Native Taco Meat, and salsa fresca. Topped with corn, green onion, cilantro, and tortilla chip croutons. Served with our original creamy chipotle dressing on the side.” I added avocado for a buck. This salad was huge and heavenly and took me almost an hour to eat. Normally I consume my meals with the abandon of a ravenous wolf, but this salad was so dense and filling that I had to slow down. I couldn’t even eat all of it!

On Friday, I went back to my friend Rainbow for some hot-bar action. More than half a pound of roasted Brussels sprouts, tofu chili, and a Hansen’s root beer. I brought some fine aromatics into the office, fo’ sho’.

Um, yeah, Fatburger fat fries may have been dinner one migrained night.

There has been plenty of tea, too, with happy messages. So timely. 🙂

I was back to the kitchen this weekend, however, so I’ll have some homemade yummies and a recipe to share starting tomorrow.

This one’s for the girls.

14 Jul

No, but seriously, gents, if you’re the type to be squeamish about lady talk, you’ll want to high-tail it on outta here. Of course, if you’re one of those guys, I seriously recommend getting over it if you plan to live with, love, marry, or befriend any of us with the longer life spans.

Caveats aside, I want to talk about menstrual cycles – ‘cause really, who doesn’t?! I spent many years suffering through the cramps and bloating and crankiness and general ickiness associated with that most special time of the month. Over the years, I have found some tricks that really, really help, so I wanted to share them all with you. I’m sure you all know this, but of course, I’m not a doctor, so do not use my advice in lieu of a medical professional’s.

Anyway, here is my lady-time kit of choice:

Let’s go through it starting with the purple tea bag at far left.

Allegro Organic Queen Bee Balance Tea: Also known as Cranky B*tch Tea, as my co-worker and I affectionately call it. If you’re into teas or herbals at all, you’ve probably read about raspberry leaf and its role in helping with menstrual cramps. I couldn’t find any good studies on it (other than its controversial use during pregnancies), but hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence support its use. Add mine to the list. I feel a lot better when I drink this stuff around my period. In addition to raspberry leaf, it also contains alfalfa (a mild diuretic to help with bloating), spearmint (which helps to regular menstrual cycles), chaste tree berry (which helps with a whole host of menstrual ailments), and dandelion leaf (another diuretic).

Calcium: Did you know that calcium helps to alleviate menstrual cramps? Yep, the science says so, and I can attest to it first-hand. I generally try to get vitamins and minerals through a varied diet, but during my cycle, I pop a few extra calcium citrate supplements (never carbonate, because it upsets my stomach). I take one every morning with my magnesium and then one or two more during the day if cramps strike. It’s like magic!

Magnesium: I take a powdered supplement for migraine prevention (and someday I’ll actually do a post about this, too), but I find that its muscle-relaxant quality helps with cramps, too. Did you know that women are more prone to blood-sugar crashes during their periods, too? Magnesium helps to alleviate spikes and drops in glucose levels. Again, I like to eat magnesium-rich foods, but as a migraine sufferer, I need a higher dose than the average person. I’ve read that it’s beneficial to take 350-360 mg in supplement form for three days at the beginning of your period. Just be warned: it can have a laxative effect, so if you aren’t used to the stuff, proceed with caution!

Water: Water, water, water. Seriously. It’s the cure-all for everything, right? When you’re dealing with bloating, the answer is a resounding YES. Drink it constantly. Embrace the constant bathroom trips as breaks from the work day.

Alter Eco Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Quinoa Midnight Crunch Bar: Awwwww yeeeeeeah. This chocolate is amazing, seriously. It’s fair trade, organic, vegan, and tastes like HEAVEN. Not only that, but it’s full of fiber, protein, and iron. Clearly, chocolate bars are not a health food, but when the craving strikes, this is the bar to grab. As I mention above, your blood sugar is less stable during your period, which means, in part, that I become a ravenous beast. The protein (2 g per serving) and fiber (4 g per serving) help to regulate the roller coaster. Also, women are prone to anemia due to blood loss, and this bar boasts a whopping – get this – 30% of your iron needs per serving. Wow! Did I mention it’s also delicious? The bar has 2.5 servings, just the right amount to get me through the worst two or three days of each period.

Sensible Foods Organic Soy Nuts: This product, once again, helps with the glucose drop/ravenous beast thing. It does so with only 110 calories and 7 mg of sodium per serving, plus it has a whipping 8 g of protein and 5 of fiber. Plus, they’re crunchy and satisfy your craving for saltiness without all the sodium. The bag has two servings.

Things that are noticeably absent from my list:

Sodium: Speaking of the soy nuts, sodium is no bueno during your menstrual cycle. It causes the bloaties, and I have noticed a link between eating too much salt and more painful cramps. I try to eat out less during my period because I have no idea how much sodium is lurking in my food.

Caffeine: Well, other than the chocolate bar. Caffeine exacerbates a whole slew of PMS symptoms, including cramping, headaches, breast tenderness, irritability, and pretty much everything else you can think of. Skip it and opt for herbal teas for a few days.

So that’s my list. Who has things to add?