Tag Archives: herbal tea

Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter VIII

Chapter the Eighth

In which the author takes time to reflect on the busyness of life, the blessings of life, and the preoccupations of life…

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed the lack of tea reviews lately. The truth is I haven’t been drinking a lot of tea. (Gasp!)

Honestly, most of my days are spent at work, driving to and from work, going to the grocery store (300 extra calories/day translates to extra grocery runs), carrying grocery bags up our unfortunate flight of concrete steps out front, plopping myself down in front of the tube, spending time with my husband, researching baby registry lists, practicing my mothering instincts on the cat (giving him milk from my hand at breakfast–so spoiled), etc., etc.

6 months!

I have been drinking a LOT of water and lemonade. Water is being guzzled per my doctor’s instructions. My thirst has increased, so that helps me maintain my fluid intake. I’ve also noticed that certain things I’ve never cared for before have become completely delicious to me during pregnancy. Lemonade is one of these things.

If we’re eating out, I’ll order lemonade. If we’re staying in, I’ll buy lemonade at the store. When we were in Portland this Spring, we went to an outdoor market and tried the best orange lemonade I’ve ever had. Ever since then, Mike and I have been trying to recreate this delicacy with various mixtures of orange juice and lemonade. It never tasted like our rare find from the Portland market. Oh well. (If you have a nice orange lemonade recipe, please share it in the comments.)

Even though I’ve been telling myself not to indulge in expensive brands that ultimately increase the expectations of my standard of living, I am in love with Oberweis’ lemonade. At first, I thought this was an expensive, on-a-whim purchase that required a $1.50 deposit for the glass bottle. Now, on my second bottle, the extra charge has zeroed out and the price for good lemonade is more reasonable. Will I have the inclination (or the funds) to keep up this habit after Oliver is born? Maybe not. But right now, it’s deliciously fun.

There’s also the added environmental advantage of a glass, reusable bottle. It feels good to return the bottle and take home a “new” one that’s a little worn from use.

I’ve been tempted to sign up for their dairy delivery service (how amazing would that be!), but at $3 extra charge for delivery, I might as well drive to our very conveniently located grocery store for my milk and future (cheap) lemonade purchases with baby in tow.

Speaking of which, Mike and I recently tried on different types of baby carriers at a local store. And by “tried on” I mean fashion show. It was hilarious. I was surprised by how not silly Mike looked in these baby carriers. “Baby wearing” agrees with him.

Back to more focused ramblings…

When I’m not worrying about stuff that needs to get done, I’m too busy worrying about myself to write a tea review. Back pain has been creeping into this whole wonderful pregnancy experience. It hasn’t been too bad yet. Usually I just get a little pain in the evenings, so I take Tylenol and turn on the heating pad. This seems to help. However, some days (dark days), the pain starts early. Sunday, I started feeling back pain as soon as we got to church. This throws off the mood of the entire day. (Feel free to leave any back pain remedies in the comments as well.)

When days like this hit, it’s definitely important to remember that I have an excellent husband who is trying very hard to take care of his pregnant, sometimes irrational, wife. We had a lazy Saturday (by lazy I mean he slept in, I lounged around, and he ended up doing yard work outside–my increasing lack of bending ability and the uncomfortable heat kept me inside). It was the follow-up to a date night Friday, in which we looked around for a restaurant we hadn’t been to since we were dating, but couldn’t remember the name. When we found it, we realized the food wasn’t that great and the bill was expensive, but it was fun to get out, regardless. Spending time with my husband makes me appreciate the struggles of our ever-changing life for what they are: opportunities to grow our marriage, and preparation for this bundle of joy I can’t wait to meet.

A fun tidbit I’ve noticed in Mike through the pregnancy so far: My extra calories is throwing him off. He recently informed me that he usually eats about 20% more than I do, but now that I’m eating for two, an extra 20% on top of that is overeating for him. It could be the calorie confusion, or it could be seeing his wife blow up like a balloon, but he’s decided he needs to cut back and exercise more. I’m right there with him on that one! I even ordered a pregnancy workout video with my Amazon points. Maybe I’ll blog about this later…

I planned to post an iced tea blind taste test with several volunteers, perfect for summer. I also have some nice herbal tea on the shelf that I haven’t had a chance to blog about. With September upon us, hopefully you’ll see one or both of those in the coming weeks, but don’t hold your breath. As my circumference expands, I find myself more inclined to dream up blog posts than actually write them.

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Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter V

Chapter, the Fifth
*Special Edition*

In which the author divulges her secret and makes excuses for her lack of blog material…

If there are any readers out there, you may or may not have been disappointed by my recent lapse in posting. (Can I call a 3-month gap a lapse?) OK, it’s more of a hiatus.

I’m pregnant!

Now you know the reason I’ve been cutting back on caffeine and not feeling up to writing new blog posts. Whether you deem this a good enough reason for a hiatus or decide to stop following a blog author this flaky is entirely up to you. However, if you’d like to continue on this tea journey with me, I’d love to start blogging again!

I’m due December 13th, so I’m offically in my second trimester.

I don't care what your baby looks like, this is the cutest profile I've ever seen!

When we discovered our pregnancy, Mike and I were already planning our trip to the Oregon coast, so we decided to keep our reservations, despite the nausea. We considered it an early babymoon.

Oregon is beautiful, and hotels love their Stash tea. Our hotel in Portland (not technically on the coast, that was in the days following) had complimentary continental breakfasts and afternoon tea and cookies. I knew this was the place for me.

I tried to cut out as much caffeine as possible during my first trimester, just to be safe, so I stuck to herbal teas during the trip. Stash, of course, has some delightful herbals, including Lemon Ginger, Peppermint, Orange Spice, and Wild Raspberry. Stash is famous for their variety packs, so check them out if you’re interested in a flavor extravaganza!

We spent the rest of our trip exploring the Oregon coast, spending a few nights each in Newport and Cannon Beach. Our stay in Newport took us to the Sylvia Beach Hotel (seriously recommended for book lovers!), which offered Stash tea at breakfast every morning as well.

Overall, I felt really good during our trip, so I’m thankful I didn’t spend the whole time curled up with nausea. The excercise was also helpful. We walked everywhere in Portland, so it was a nice change from driving half an hour to and from work every morning, as per our usual St. Louis routine.

So I’m back in the blogosphere and I have some great teas lined up: summer iced tea, an iced tea blind tasting test, hot tea that’s good for the tummy, and some great decaf. Look for my next review soon, and keep brewing!

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There’s Snow Day Like a Snow Day for Tea

Cardamon Cinnamon
by The Republic of Tea

(Available here, or trudging out in the snow to a store where Republic teas are sold.)

What is it about cinnamon that warms our souls? How can a physical substance transform our inner countenance to one of peaceful reflection and thankfulness. It is truly a spiritual spice.

Maybe the 5 or 6 inches of snow blanketing the world outside my home has brought out the philosopher. Work was canceled. The roads were deemed unsafe to drive on this morning. This Midwest town is closed for the morning. My husband rolls over and goes back to sleep; I creep downstairs to start the kettle boiling. Dreams of cinnamon dancing in my head.

A snow day is really like Christmas in January or February. You stay up a little later than you normally would the night before, having almost convinced yourself that your company would be nuts to make you clean off your car in the morning and brave the hazardous highways. The alarm goes off (and in my case, goes off again and again). You walk to the window and behold the dumpings of last night’s weather phenomenon. And it’s still falling! A pre-recorded message waits for you, reassuring your giddy little heart that you won’t be going out today. You have a snow day.

OK, I guess I feel like a kid again, so the narrative above (which some of you may have skipped over to get to the good stuff) is to prepare you for a steamy, cinnamelicious experience.

The first sip of Cardamon Cinnamon only builds the anticipation for the next sip. The hodgepodge of steeped spices and herbs caresses your tongue and you feel the warmth spread to your fingers and toes. This is especially pleasing on a cold morning. Perfect, even if you don’t have snow on the ground. Most regions are experiencing “unseasonably” cold weather this time of year, or so the meteorologists have been telling us.

Citizens, The Republic of Tea really put together a nice line of loose-leaf herbals, including today’s feature. If you’re going to add pink peppercorns to the mix, it has to be loose-leaf. It’s a list of ingredients more commonly associated with culinary creations than herbal tea. Cinnamon (of course), ginger, carob, cardamom [spelled with an n in the name], chicory, pink peppercorns, star anise, cloves, and cassia oil. What a mouthful, literally.

The spice in this tea is delightful. The peppercorns really give it a kick, but the ginger and cloves tone it down just enough to kill the shock factor. It’s spiceful, not spicy. The canister reads “spicy depth and fresh perspective.” I think they nailed it. You can feel the burning spice in the layers beneath. The aroma of this potpourri is to-die-for. You know cinnamon smells good, but what about peppercorns and carob and star anise (oh my!) all steeping together. It smells like magic.

But, what’s a carob? (It’s always good to know what you’re consuming–and thrilling when you have to look it up to find out!) Carob trees are small evergreens that yield carob pods, which are used as cocoa substitutes. It’s the brown, chopped stuff.  Cardamom is easily identified as the large, green seed pod-looking things. The bright red of the pink peppercorns gives the mix some color pop. It’s overall very pleasing to all the empirical senses.

Have a warm, spicy day!

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Pink Thanksgiving

Herbal Unwind Citrus, Cinnamon and Spices
by Twinings of London
(Order here, or look for it at your local grocery)

Looking for a light herbal that will satisfy your taste for all things Fall? May I prescribe hibiscus, a touch of orange, and some cinnamon? For herbal tea lovers, Twinings’ Herbal Unwind collection will send you over the moon (or into the cornucopia). Good for any season, but particularly satisfying to me during this early holiday season, the Citrus, Cinnamon and Spices variety has a blend of flavors that will festively delight your taste buds.

Hibiscus flowers have a natural sweet, tangy flavor that is reminiscent of cranberries and raspberries (popular opinion is that it is more like cranberries–decide for yourself). Combine this with a hint of orange and cinnamon, and you’ve got the perfect Thanksgiving herbal cuppa.

If that’s not incentive enough, let me explain to you the genius of pitting cinnamon, peppermint, and ginger against one another so that you have a smooth blend of spices that doesn’t overwhelm and doesn’t distract from the hibiscus. Don’t worry about the orange overpowering; it’s just enough to give it a citrus flair.

Unlike straight hibiscus tea (see Republic of Tea), this blend makes for a pink tea, perhaps a magenta. Definitely not red, like you would expect from this “superflower.” The rosehips and rose petals also provide more flower to your cup. It’s a very romantic and charming mix.

Enjoy a cup with friends and family!

I’d like to wish all my readers a happy Thanksgiving holiday, full of good food, loving companionship, and, most importantly, tasty tea.

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