Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish-

Twelve. That’s how many fish I have. One week ago the Tea Drinker gave me an Aquarium for my birthday. I have always wanted one, but never expected to actually own one. We have had many conversations back and forth over the years that went much like this---“You can’t have one, who would clean it, who would feed the fish, who would take out the floating ones?” Okay, we both know the answers to all of those questions. The same person that waters the plants, mows the lawn, feeds the cat, and cleans out the litter box- the Tea Drinker. So, how could I argue with that? Instead, I continued to decorate our bathroom with all things fish. Maybe that is what finally pushed him over the edge. And that’s why, this gift was so special, because it came with the caveat that my husband was agreeing to all the reasons why he told me we would never own an aquarium.

We were like expectant parents. Staging the baby room. First, came the aquarium stand, and choosing where we would put our crib. It had to go some where that was stable, and with out sunlight beating down on it, and needed to be easy to get to. Next, came choosing the gravel and plants, and filling the 14 gallon tank. Then we proceeded to get up three times a night to make sure we had not flooded our living room. Plus, the temperature and the GH, KH,pH,NO2, and the NO3 of the tank water had to be just right, before we could put little fishies in it. So, we waited a week while our tank sorted itself out. We could hardly stand it, we were so excited to go live! How many fish could we have? Our trusty local fish expert pointed out that size does really matter. The tank could probably hold only ten to fifteen fish. We chose five different types, and were told to start with one species, and add a new one each week.

We chose the first species- Balloon Mollies. I chose three- one black, one white, and one a blend of black and white. I must have issues if I am color coordinating my fish! Dan humored me and we left the store proud parents. We put our fish directly into the tank on Friday night, and on Monday morning discovered that we had a family of twelve. How does this happen? Pandemonium broke out. What were we to do? We weren't prepared. We were new aquarium owners. We aren't experts in the mating rituals of fish. We still don’t know who the culprit is, and no one has fessed up. They are just going about their business, while we try to figure out how to feed and nurture nine little baby fish smaller than the tip of my pinky nail. After much reading, surfing the net, and consulting the fish guy, we now have a mini-aquarium floating in our 14 gallon tank. Each morning, we wake to grind fish flakes to a fine powder and feed the babies on a regular basis. And, yes, we are still getting up in the middle of the night, and reporting to each other the head count every day.

Next up is cleaning the tank. As I write this the Tea Drinker has a tube, a bucket, a towel all in hand, and is about ready to tackle this next task. The gift that keeps on giving. I haven't had the heart to tell him that I read that our Mollies might make this a habit and give us a gift every 60 days...I am lucky girl.

What does all this have to do with tea? Nothing. Except that Dan told me that if I hurry up and write this he will offer our readers a fish discount for a limited time only. Enter “Twelve Fish” in the coupon code, and receive 20% off any Drink the Leaf products. I recommend trying White Peony this week. (remember to click recalculate to apply discount)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bored? Think of Loose Leaf Tea Clues

The opposite of black is brown. Well, not exactly. But this was the clue that I gave last weekend while playing the board game Taboo with friends. Typically, I do not like board games, and this one was no different. Taboo is a game where you break up into teams, and try to get your team member to call out the word on the card drawn from the stack. Scenarios, thoughts, words and ideas are tossed around, all without using any of the obvious taboo words(also listed on the drawn card). The entire time, an opposing player looks over your shoulder making sure you do not give away any of those taboo clues, resulting in an unfair advantage. Ticking in the background is a timer, reminding you that you better get a move on with your witty self.

My aversion to board games stems from childhood. Doesn’t everything tie back to childhood? I remember panicking during Scrabble, Battleship, Pictionary, and even Mr. Potato Head! The only game that I did enjoy was Clue. This classic murder-mystery game set in a mansion, revolves around one of the guests who was killed. Telling…The idea was to solve the mystery, and answer the questions who, where, and with what. I think I liked the idea of solving a mystery, as well as, being a guest at a party that was held in a mansion.

Back to Taboo, I have to admit that I did have some fun, mostly at the expense of myself, and the wine consumed was a huge plus. However, here’s a card that I wished that I had pulled- Tea. Of course, I probably could not have used any of the following Taboo words: Black, Green, Oolong, leaves, bags, caffeine, China, coffee, English, water, steep, herbal, Camellia Sinensis, or Drink the Leaf. But, I am sure I would have confidently rattled off the following non-taboo clues to my teammate:

  • 2nd most consumed beverage in the world
  • All types are born from the same plant, which is native to Asia
  • Has existed for almost 5,000 years
  • High in anti- oxidants, helps with digestion, insomnia, and appetite
  • Not just for afternoon, can be consumed morning, noon, and night
  • Healthy, natural, organic, clean, refreshing, and soothing
  • Much like wine, sight, smell, taste, and touch are important when evaluating this beverage
  • Color, fragrance and flavor are enhanced by the varietal, season, elevation, climate, soil, geographic location, and creative hand of the grower
  • A single pound yields 180 cups
  • You do not need to raise your pinkie in the air when drinking this

Alas, this did not happen, and I pulled other cards like, crème de menthe. Doesn’t everyone know that my Mom enjoys this over her ice cream? Where’s a clue when you need it!

Comment here about your favorite board game. I will forward it to my friends…

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Can You Say Rooibos?

Rooibos, pronounced “Roy-boss”, is very fashionable these days. It’s attractive to look at, healthy to be around, and makes you feel cool. You would think that I am referring to the latest trend in work out wear. Nope, Rooibos is tea, well, not really tea, but something similar to tea. Hard to follow, I know. I decided I needed to know more about this popular beverage. My research started this weekend at the Farmer’s Market, as I watched the Tea Drinker sell one bag of Citrus Rooibos after another. He had an iced-version of this tea on hand for consumers to try. It was refreshing, cool, and flavorful. A hint of lemon and sweetness, but with out being sugary. All natural. The sample was certainly a hit, and Dan quickly sold through what he brought to the market.

Rooibos is attractive to most, because it’s healthy, caffeine free, and tasty. It is also packed with anti-oxidants, and has low tannins. Not as astringent as black tea, and there is no worry of “over steeping” Rooibos, as it does not become bitter. Studies have shown that drinking Rooibos can help with digestive problems, insomnia and even allergies! Sign me up.

This popular “tea” hails from Africa, and is also known as African Red Bush. However, the bush is actually green! Found in the heart of South Africa, in the Cedarberg region near Cape Town. I can feel a “research” trip coming on…Like tea, the leaves are harvested, oxidized and fermented, before being left out to dry in the hot African sun. This is where the color of the leaf turns to that deep reddish hue. Steep this tea, an it will result in a striking orange-reddish color, and give you a beverage that is all natural. No coloring, additives, or preservatives. Sign me up again.

Drink the Leaf offers three types of Rooibos, all are flavored with natural ingredients. Citrus, Blueberry, Masala Chai. Drink hot or cold. Either way its refreshing, and healthy.

Start today!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day- Charleston, SC

USA Today ran an article in this weekend’s edition named 10 great places for memories with Mom. It just so happens that I am in one of those fabulous places -Charleston, SC- and Mom is with me. We are celebrating her birthday, as well as her being the best MOM worldwide. She is my number one cheerleader, and President of the Drink the Leaf Fan Club . Mom has never been to Charleston, so it was a perfect meeting spot. I spent the week leading up to our getaway working the Hilton Head and Charleston market. It was productive, successful, and encouraging. Wine sales were great. I love the South- it's rich with history, and the hospitality is warm, genuine, and refreshing. Charleston has a way of transporting you back to another time, and I find myself daydreaming of what it would have been like to live here during the 1700’s. However, being a Yankee, I’m not so sure I would have been allowed to stay!

Our weekend was filled with experiences like strolling through cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings, all the while taking in the confederate jasmine-scented air. It’s truly intoxicating. With the warm breeze against our skin, surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in our nation’s history, we felt honored to be able to spend the weekend in this charming city. We spent most days planning what and where to eat, and then wandered the town until nap time! A highlight was a Mother’s Day horse drawn carriage ride through the residential areas. Our tour was conducted by “Rebel St. Clair”. “Rebel” hails from Washington; she moved here 8 years ago, and is a tour guide by day and romance novelist by night. Rebel and her trusty horse, John, led us up Church Street to the Battery, and back down Meeting Street. She shared Charleston’s memorable history and left us with having a greater appreciation for this truly unique city. I highly recommend the carriage tours.

Today, as we ducked into a bar to avoid an impromptu downpour, we recapped our weekend festivities. We enjoyed lots of fresh seafood, all with a southern twist; food highlights were fried oysters, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, parmesan crusted flounder over lemon risotto- of course, all chased down with loads of delicious wine. We did not have any tea, but I did share stories about the Tea Drinker joining me for a weekend here a few years back. We basically ate our way back and forth through this city, and then back again. The highlight of that trip was visiting the only tea plantation in the United States, located just outside of Charleston. Dan and I had the pleasure of attending a Tea Festival celebrating the harvest. It resulted in a funny experience. We set out in our rental car armed with a GPS. I punched in the location -Wadmalaw Island. We got lost in conversation as we followed our trusty GPS, traversing through roads lined with moss covered oak trees, and ended up in the depths of a dense marsh. Our GPS chirped, “You have arrived at your destination”. Without a Camellia Sinensis in sight, we realized that our GPS had taken us to the dead center of Wadmalaw Island. Oops. Hey, who do you know that has actually been to the exact center of Wadmalaw Island??

I digress. The weekend with Mom was great, and tonight we look forward to dining at a well-known Relais & Chateaux restaurant. Last time I dined here, I devoured the tempura fried soft shell crab served with pimento cheese grits. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be on the menu tonight.

To recap, Mom told everyone she met, "From my first step onto the gorgeous tree-lined streets of Charleston, I was already planning my next trip back!" I have to agree. We will definitely be back.

So, go ahead and pour yourself a cup of soothing Drink the Leaf Organic Jasmine Pearl and dream of the fragrant, confederate jasmine-lined streets of this beautiful city, and plan to take your Mom to Charleston. Do it this year. Great resource:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Farmer’s Market – Napa Style

Yesterday kicked off the Farmer’s Market season in Napa Valley. There is a new location, new vendors, and a new found enthusiasm. We look forward to each Saturday morning mingling with our community, and hearing direct feedback about Drink the Leaf loose leaf teas. There is no better focus group than your community!

The Tea Drinker will need to put sleeping in on Saturday mornings behind him until the end of October. Moving forward the alarm will be set for 6am, the truck loaded with tea and props, the kettle on- all ready for lift off at 6:45am. The market opens at 7:30am, and goes straight through until noon. Yesterday morning was cool and rainy, and in our opinion, a perfect day for a steaming cup of Keemun Hao Ya A.

After my early morning torture, I stopped by the booth to offer my congratulations and support to my husband. Wishing him another successful summer filled with loads of new tea fans and ambassadors all spreading the word about As I chatted with Dan, it was great to see past customers, and win over new friends with tea. Everyone is there for the same cause- to support local businesses. Or maybe they just don't feel like cleaning the house or mowing the lawn. That works for us, too.
This will be our 3rd market, and every year we walk away with new loyal customers that continue to seek us out the rest of the year. We look forward to continuing this trend. So, come by and see us, and bring your friends . Pick up fresh and locally grown produce, a bag of your favorite tea, and head home and make a tasty brunch for your family.

Farmer’s Market Frittata
Serve with a side of mixed greens tossed with olive oil and white wine vinegar. Treat yourself to a handful of Organic strawberries. Chase it all down with a mug of Jade Oolong. Or if you are like me, a refreshing glass of Sauvingnon Blanc will suffice.

4 eggs
1/8 cup non-fat milk
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Feta Cheese- crumbled
**Whisk the above ingredients in a bowl

Organic cauliflower – thinly sliced, 1 cup
Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in pan, cook cauliflower about 5 minutes until golden. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add egg mixture- stir to combine. Heat for 3-4 minutes- transfer to oven (heated at 350) and cook for 15 minutes. (Make sure your pan is oven proof. If not, pour mixture into oven proof dish.) Remove pan from oven, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. Delicious, and healthy.

Serves 2
Recipe adapted from Food Network
Support your local farmer's market today!
Napa Location- Napa Valley Wine Train parking lot. Website coming soon.