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Two for tea (or 36)

Two for Tea (or 36)

Looking for an idea for a small gathering of friends and family? Afternoon tea is a civilized, elegant affair that has been appreciated for centuries in countries throughout the world. Afternoon tea can be an all out traditional affair, or as simple as a cup of tea and sandwich.

Despite the noble appeal of the formal afternoon tea, it need not be a stuffy or formal affair. While other meals are generally served in the kitchen or dining room, a traditional English tea is often offered on a small linen covered table in the living room, family room or library. When winter winds are blowing icily, there is nothing like a good cuppa in front of a roaring fireplace!

It is very easy to accommodate extra guests at tea, and it is a wonderful, relaxing way to enjoy the company of visiting friend and relatives.

If you are a true traditionalist, you may want to host a semi formal affair. Usually it goes like this: When tea is placed out on the table, the eldest usually pours and serves the tea. Finger sandwiches are served next, then traditional scones with jam and clotted cream. Finally, delicate pastries complete the tea.

I have included here some recipes and serving suggestions for your next tea, be it a formal gathering or just a casual event with the girls, these recipes are equally as good for either.

Sandwich Suggestions: Afternoon tea is meant to be a light snack between lunch and dinner. Hot heavy food should never be served. Opt for thinly sliced bread rounds or wedges, which are used as a base for a variety of spreads and open or closed sandwiches.

Cucumber sandwiches are very popular, as there is very little preparation involved. Use a 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut out bread slices. Spread with a teaspoon of flavored butter such as dill butter. (Soften a half a cup of butter and beat in two tablespoons fresh dill). Top with a cucumber slice and garnish with a sprig of fresh dill if desired. For another variety, spread bread rounds with shrimp, crab or lobster salad. Any sandwich ingredient can be used. Experiment with different flavors and come up with your own unique specialty. For a fancier take, try slicing quick bread, like banana bread or apricot bread, into HORIZONTaL slices. Spread whipped cream cheese between the layers. Chill until firm. When you slice these vertically, it looks as though they are ribbons.

Apricot Bread Ribbons

2 cups dried apricots

1-cup hot water

? stick butter

1 ? cups sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

3 cups flour sifted

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans

Cream cheese, softened

Sliced Strawberries

Fresh Mint Springs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325F. Cut dried apricots into small dice. Cover with 1-cup hot water and let stand 10-15 minutes. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and the water/apricot mixture. In a small bowl, sift the flour and baking soda. Stir into the apricot mixture along with chopped pecans. Pour into two mini loaf pans, or one large. Bake for 60 minutes.

When the bread has cooled, trim off the side crusts and cut horizontally into thin slices. Spread 3 slices generously with cream cheese. Layer together and top with the last slice. Slice vertically into ?-inch sandwiches. Decorate with a slice of strawberries and a spring of mint, if desired.

Basic Scone Recipe

1 ? cups of flour

Pinch of salt

1-tablespoon sugar

2 ? teaspoons baking powder

5 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions: Preheat oven to 450F. Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Beat eggs, setting aside one tablespoon beaten egg. Add heavy cream to eggs. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in egg and cream mixture. (Any stir ins such as blueberries, dried cranberries or raisins can be added at this time.) Turn onto a floured surface, gently knead 7 or 8 times and pat into a ? thick circle. Cut into small round with a cookie cutter or cut into wedges. Brush tops with reserved eggs and sprint with a pinch of sugar. Bake 15 minutes. Makes 8 scones.

The four agreements (samovar-style)

The Four Agreements (samovar-style)

Tara, one of our esteemed leaders from the Yerba Buena location recently inspiredus with her book recommendation The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz:

1. Our Word is Our Power. Love, truth, and jook with tofu. When mouths open at Samovar, it’s either to sip or taste something scrumptious or to serve our customers with the utmost integrity. Gossip and conflict is out, resolution and integrity is in.

2. Nothing’s Personal. We aren’t at the center of the center of our own little Universe. Instead, our customers are. That said, we value your opinions and watch our actions, all without being too attached to outcomes. That way, we never take things hard, and always take it easy.

3. Assume Not. We live the questions and work our way toward answers on a daily basis. Communication is key, so our customers aren’t ever afraid to express what it is they want. With all eyes on our assumptions, misunderstandings, sadness and drama simply disappear.

4. Our Best, Always. Our best always looks the same, but we always give it. While circumstances change from moment to moment, our commitment to excellence never wavers. We’re simply too busy being the best that we can be, all day every day, to find room or time for judgments. Or, better yet, regrets.

Japanese weight loss tea and the tradition behind it

Japanese Weight Loss Tea and the Tradition Behind It

The Japanese weight loss tea has also gain popularity. This is not only because of the Japanese tea ceremony but because the tea actually works effectively. What makes this tea stands out among others?

In Japan, there are three variations of Green Teas. These are the Bancha, Gyokuro and Sencha. Gyokuro is considered the best among these green teas. This is because it is rare and it also has the highest qualities. Its leaves are “fresh flush”, which is the reason why it is limited. This kind of plant is grown in the shade and is harvested in 20 days.

The Bancha tea is a good beverage for the children. It contains very minimal amount of caffeine. This tea though said to be low-priced, but it contains an immense dosage of vitamin A, Iron, Calcium, and Niacin. Sencha on the other hand is excellent in preventing heart diseases because it contains higher amount of antioxidants. Not only that but it has also a very good anti aging effect. Drinking these varied teas gives a superior load of health advantages aside from the weight loss benefit.

Now even if tea did not originally come from Japan, and that accordingly some Buddhist priests brought it either from China or India, Japanese has embraced tea as part of their own culture. In fact, it is only in Japan that the tea has been ceremonially prepared and which is done only in a traditional room. The kind of tea used in this Japanese custom is the Mancha tea. This type of green tea is in powdered form.

Drinking tea is not only a tradition that people in Japan showcases but they live it and observe it by heart everyday. This also contributes to their very fine, radiant and beautiful skin. This is because this specific beverage contains 5 times more vitamin C in comparison to lemon fruits.

In addition and as per statistics, you can check that Japan has very low mortality rate of people who have been suffering from cancer. That is also due to the habit of drinking tea, and because of that the Japanese weight loss tea is desired by consumers because studies showed that it can defend your body from having cancerous cells.

Check out this 100% natural weight loss tea which is certified organic by both CERES and USDA at http://www.weightlossteas.info

You can be sure that it is pure, organic, safe, proven and delicious.

The story of tea drinking

The Story of Tea Drinking

The story of tea begins over four and a half thousand years ago. According to Chinese mythology, in 2737 BC the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung, scholar and herbalist, was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water. A leaf from the tree dropped into the water and Shen Nung decided to try the brew. The tree was a wild tea tree.

From the earliest times tea was renowned for its properties as a healthy, refreshing drink. By the third century AD many stories were being told and some written about tea and the benefits of tea drinking, but it was not until the Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 906 AD) that tea became China’s national drink and the word ch’a was used to describe tea.

Tea drinking has been practiced throughout the world for hundreds of years. From the imperial court of ancient China to the Russian tea room, from the Japanese tea ceremony to British village tea shops, the soothing, healing and invigorating effects of tea have been appreciated and understood by many peoples.

Tea is a naturally refreshing drink and taken on its own it has no calories, so it’s the perfect drink to keep you looking good and feeling fit. When taken with milk, four cups of tea a day can provide you with significant amounts of the following nutrients: approximately 17% of the recommended intake for calcium, 5% for zinc, 22% for Vitamin B2, 5% for folic acid, and Vitamins B1 and B6.

A cup of tea is also a good source of manganese, which is essential for general physical development, and potassium which helps to maintain your body’s fluid balance.

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