Tea and Book Pairing: A Cozy Replete With Delights

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There’s a type of cozy mystery where one figures out the basic whodunnitandhow pretty quickly, but the interest lies in the unfolding of the histories and characters involved. Katherine Bolger Hyde’s Arsenic With Austen is a delightful book in this genre. Though the setting is well-drawn and beautiful and the protagonist engaging, my favorite parts of the book were the places where the author clearly relishes the English language. Here are two of my favorite passages where the wit seemed in line with the Austen quotes throughout:

He preferred to be alone with his grief–though he wanted all the world to know about it.

and

Emily pushed open the door and paused to take a deep breath of thoughtful, well-educated air.

That air is, of course, in the beautiful and well-outfitted library that serves as the heart of the book. Besides the library, the house that Emily inherits holds other treasures, including cubbies hidden in woodwork and at least one secret passageway. Fans of the genre will understand how these details give one a little flutter.

Bonus Language Joy: Though it wasn’t low to begin with, my opinion of the story went up the first time the narration used the word “replete.” Most people these days have either forgotten the word entirely, or they imprecisely substitute “complete” in its place.

To go with this high-minded and literate murder mystery, I have chosen Tealyra’s Rosy Earl Grey loose tea. The floral aroma and bitter edge make for an indulgent afternoon pour that pairs well with cream and sugar despite its light liquor. The tea blenders were right to describe this blend as the tea version of rose Turkish Delight, but with a bite to it. I recommend that you brew it with an extra spoon of tea leaves added to the pot and serve with milk or cream and a little sugar in your favorite china cup.

Amazon Shopping List: Arsenic With Austen Kindle edition, Tealyra Rosy Earl Grey, a lovely teacup such as this Wedgewood Daisy Story Teacup and Saucer Set.

This post contains affiliate links. I did not receive a free copy of this book or any compensation for writing a review.

Tea & Book Pairing: Angela’s Tea Blend

Garden in the East review

I fell in love with Garden in the East after hearing Angela read an excerpt at a writer’s conference. I bought the book as soon as it came out, but I’m now reviewing it for one reason: This is the kind of book I like to savor.

There are certain books that mend the soul and soothe over the damage of self-criticism and the hostilities of the world: Jane Austen novels, Rilke’s poetry, and this book by Angela Doll Carlson. I keep it on my Kindle at the top of the queue, returning again and again to re-read passages.

Angela’s background as a personal trainer is evident in her deep awareness of the body. She uses her formidable skills as a poet to weave an engaging prose vision of the body’s graces: organic, dynamic, sacred.

This book brought me peace with my body and helped me understand the rich beauty of being created. I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles with their place in the world or who wants to grow deeper into a sense of their sacred selves.

A book like this deserves a custom tea blend that focuses on building up the body. I recommend that you make this blend by the pot.

Angela’s Tea Blend

You’ll need: rosehips, dried ginger, rooibos, and dried elder berries.

For one pot, blend:

  • 2 Tablespoons rooibos

  • 1 Tablespoon dried ginger

  • 1 tablespoon rosehips

  • 1 tablespoon elder berries

Steep in boiling water for 5 or more minutes. The mixture should not get bitter over time like traditional teas.

Amazon Shopping List: Garden in the East: The Spiritual Life of the Body paperback, ginger root, elder berries, rosehips, organic rooibos.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tea and Book Pairing: Recalibrate Your Vision to See God’s Love

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The Sweetness of Grace pairs well with a soothing and healing tea to enjoy alone or with small groups of friends and family. I recommend Numi Organic Tea Decaf Ginger Lemon Green.

I was gifted a free copy of The Sweetness of Grace in exchange for an honest review – several months ago. I started reading it right away and even purchased an additional Kindle copy for myself so that I could read more easily right before bed at night.

Why so many months till I reviewed? Because savory books take my speech away for awhile.

You know how you can hardly speak for a bit after eating a good meal? That’s how this book affected me.

It’s a nourishing book, the sort that will recalibrate your taste in stories, setting a new standard for how you believe the world works.

I read and enjoyed The Scent of Holiness a few years ago, and I highly recommend both that and this book that continues Presbytera Constantina Palmer’s collection of and reflection on spiritually upbuilding stories.

Like a modern-day Egeria (a 4th C Christian pilgrim whose writings give us a taste of devotion at her time), Pres. Constantina draws us into the places and lives of holy people well met in monasteries and churches and by God’s grace in all places. I savor her writing because it’s so encouraging and eye-opening. Like rich foods, I want a little at a time, but I want a lot of it!

The Sweetness of Grace is a perfect book for reading along with one’s daily scriptures and saints’ lives. It has much in it that could be read aloud to family members for encouragement. The stories are the sort that arise in awed “Guess what?” tones over coffee and dinner tables. I could see it forming the basis of conversation for a busy parents’ group at church; only a few pages are needed to come away feeling built up in the community of faith.

For seekers and people discerning and healing, this book is a godsend, as it draws attention to the way God is moving amongst His loved ones.

It’s a prophetic work in the sense of building up the people of God and testifying to the great love God has for us — all in accessible, very human stories, engaging real life characters and settings, and well-parsed narration as needed.

Get this book to keep by your knitting or in the kitchen while you wait for your tea. (I recommend that you drink it in calm times with a soothing, healing green tea like the Numi decaf Ginger Lemon blend.) Get it for your friends and family. Read a bit to your family. You’ll start to notice more that God is working in your life, too.

Amazon Shopping List: The Sweetness of Grace paperback, Numi decaf Ginger Lemon green tea. If you haven’t read it already, add The Scent of Holiness to your shopping list, as well.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tea & Book Pairing: Tumika’s Tea Blend

I’m revamping this blog to post allergy-friendly recipes and tea and book review pairings. Here’s the first pairing, based on a book I read at the beginning of this autumn’s reading binge.

*****

tumika's tea blend

I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some books heal by skirting the edges of pain, but this book dives right into it, bringing us healing through facing the truth. When a Man Loves a Woman by Tumika Cain answers the question a lot of us have from the outside looking in on situations of domestic violence. Many of the reviewers have already provided insights, but I would like to offer the feeling it inspired for me in the form of a tea recipe.


This tea, and this book, taste like catharsis.


When a Man Loves a Woman Tea
*makes one pot*
3 heaping tablespoons Harney & Sons Decaffinated Earl Grey tea leaves (or 3 teabags)
1/2 teaspoon ground organic cardamom
Steep in boiling water for 5 minutes. Serve with brown sugar cubes and maybe a little half and half.

The bite of cardamom echoes the sophisticated characters, and it gives a bite to the beautiful life that Alicia lives despite the troubles she endures. The blend of the two reminds us like the book that change does not happen alone.


I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a fictional account that brings them to the heart of both pain and healing.

Amazon Shopping List: When a Man Loves a Woman paperback, Harney & Sons Decaffinated Earl Grey teabags, Organic cardamom.

This post contains affiliate links.

Gluten-free Scones

My son and I both need gluten-free foods, so I adapted Sienna’s Southern Scone recipe from Tea & Crumples for the gluten-free crowd. I used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Artisan Flour Blend as the base flour, but you can try your favorite gluten-free flour blend. Make sure it already has added gums, or add your own.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
3 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
½ -1 teaspoon sea salt
½ Cup unbleached sugar (or coconut sugar)
3/4 Cup heavy cream, plus extra for coating
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 cup nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a cast iron skillet with ghee or butter, and set it aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars. Cut butter into little pieces and press with hands into flour mixture until it is incorporated. It will resemble coarse bread crumbs. Add nuts/fruit/choc. chips if desired. Add eggs, vanilla, and heavy cream. Stir with fork just until dough forms. It will probably take less than ten turns. Dough might be a little sticky.

Press into well-seasoned, greased cast iron skillet. Form into a large, flat disk at least an inch thick. It’s okay if the dough touches the sides of the pan. Coat top with a little cream.  (I add a tablespoon of creamto the measuring cup that held the egg and use that mixture for the tops of the scones, so it’s sort of like an egg wash). With a knife, score the unbaked dough into 8-12 triangles, but do not separate the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.  Check and return to oven for additional time as needed, checking at 2 minute intervals. Done when light golden brown on top, or about 20 minutes cooking time.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from bake sheet.

Serve warm or room temperature with clotted cream and fruit preserves.

Variations:  for cinnamon pecan scones, add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to dry ingredients. For cashew scones, remove granulated sugar and use an entire cup of brown sugar instead. For strawberry scones, add a little cardamom.

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I made a batch of these scones this morning, and these are the only ones left! I don’t think they’ll last the evening.

Enjoy! This weekend, Tea & Crumples ebooks are on sale for only $2.99 on Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Kindle. Make these scones, and enjoy with a good read!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Shopping through the links does not change your cost, but I might receive a small amount of money for referrring you. Thank you!*

 

 

Tea for Lent

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Mmm. Lenten high cuisine. Carrot slices with a rosemary sprig and plain tea.

Ah, Lent. Weeks when we avoid rich foods in order to feed our poor souls. If you usually take your tea with milk, Lent is also a time to switch to tea varieties that are at their best au naturel.

This Sunday is Cheesefare, the last day before Orthodox Lent. I’ve switched up the tea varieties at our house. Here are my two favorites (affiliate links):

Numi Cardamom Pu-ehr

Harney Chocolate Mint

These are perfect alone or with a drop of maple syrup or honey. If you favor Darjeeling, you already know it’s best without milk and steeped for only 3 minutes.

A holy Lent to those celebrating! For everyone else, enjoy these dairy-free tea and baking options:

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Christmas with Tea & Crumples

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A couple of weeks ago, I led a dozen or so kids in making homemade hot cocoa packets {recipe here} for their families. One of the joys of a good tea kettle is that the water makes instant cocoa as easily as tea. I took advantage of some of the leftover mix and sat down with a steaming mug of chocolate to give thanks.

I am grateful for the cooler weather that draws us closer around the tea table. I’m grateful for beeswax candles. I’m grateful that a book from my heart was published and has been well received by readers and reviewers alike. (See Texas TEA & TRAVEL’s Praise Here!) I’m thankful for stories that come and set a spell when I’m quiet.

I’m grateful for family and friends to sing and laugh with. I’m grateful to have a Christmas card list that outstrips my Christmas card budget this year. For the quiet communion of ink on paper. For the ability to write a smile into a note and stamp it.

I’m thankful for you, too. Thank you for sharing this journey of laughter, simplicity, love, and tea at the heart of it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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Tea & Crumples* is available through your favorite local bookstore or online retailers. The Orthodox Mama calls it a “perfect book club book.”

*amazon affiliate link