A Time To Celebrate, A Time To Love, A Time To Drink Tea!

Perfect Holiday Tea

Perfect Holiday Tea

It’s that time of year again!   Scrambling for presents, decorating houses with Christmas trees, menorahs and/or snowflakes, and hosting holiday parties to gather friends and family in order to exchange gifts and share happiness.

Well, what kind of a “tea-o-phile” would I be if I did not prompt you to have a Holiday Tea Party?

There are plenty of cute ideas that you can do in order to make this holiday merry, bright and tea-rific!   Why not try to…:

  • Have an area where people can decorate their own tea mugs!   You might have seen the pin on Pintrest suggesting this fun activity.   All you need are some mugs (found cheap, about $1.29 at The Christmas Tree Shop), some assorted colored Sharpies and an oven to throw your mugs in once you are done decorating.   This activity is fun for both children and adults.
  • Stock up on some holiday tea.   Just go in Google and type, “Holiday tea” and watch the onslaught of tea!!!   Personally, I love Celestial Seasoning’s selection.   A green choice and all very tasty.
  • We all know about mulled wine, but what about mulled tea?   Check out Food.com for a yummy recipe.
  • Sit down and watch some tea-inspiring movies, such as Alice in Wonderland, or some nice Beauty and the Beast.
  • These recipes made with Bigelow Tea are bound to make you drool, whether you choose to serve appetizers, a meal or some sumptuous desserts.   Personally, I am contemplating persuading my family to let me try Jasmine Green Tea Truffles.
  • Make cute gifts for your party guests, such as a tea traveler pouch!   Need ideas?   Go on Tea Love’s Pintrest page.
  • And of course, relax, and enjoy your good company.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, however you choose to celebrate, make sure that it is a happy one!

Bubble Tea Pearls As A Carcinogen and How To Combat It

Now, those who read this blog know about my love for bubble tea.   Whether it be in a smoothie or iced tea, the taste of tea intermittent by the sudden gulp of tapioca balls is a nice surprise in a drink.

Cute Cups of Tea!

Cute Cups of Tea!

So, imagine my surprise when I saw news articles on how the bubbles in bubble tea are carcinogens!   Apparently, a German-certified government lab tested some tapioca balls coming out of an unnamed German bubble tea factory and found that the tea contains PCBs, a material that was once used in coolant fluids but, due to toxicity, was banned from the US in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.   On top of that, this organization argues, the balls pose a choking hazard.

Now, bubble tea’s history is no clearer than that of regular tea.   The exact origins are unclear but it is believes that bubble tea was started in the 1980s, possibly by a Taiwanese tea shop owner Liu Han Chieh who wanted to start a new creation.   Eventually, a Japanese TV show happened upon the intriguing drink and showcased it, releasing the beverage to the world.   Since its inception, there have not been any reported accidents of bubble-tea related accidents.   If there have not been any accidents in 30 years, I would argue that bubble tea’s drink-ability is fine.

Obviously, not being a scientist, I cannot argue with the PCBs.   However, as a tea fanatic, I have searched around and found a quick recipe online for making your own tapioca pearls.   The process is not difficult at all, is very forgiving and can prove to be a fun activity to do with the kids:

For this activity, you will need:

Tapioca starch

– Food coloring (if you want to have a bit of fun with it.)

Directions:

– Put your tapioca starch in a bowl (no measurement, as that will vary depending on how many balls you want to make) and slowly add boiling water.   Make sure your water is boiling, or this will not work.

– For a bit of fun, add in your food coloring.

– This is the part that you can have fun with.   Knead the starch until it has the same consistency of play-doh.

– Roll your play-doh dough into bite-size pearls on a wet towel.   Make sure they’re not too big!   If your dough starts drying, then just add a little bit of water.   If it gets gooey, throw in some more starch.

– Let the tapioca balls dry.    This will vary depending upon preference, but overnight should be perfect.

– In order to make the drink, throw your pearls into some boiling water and wait for them to rise.

– Depending on preference, you can leave them in for a few more minutes (since once they rise, they are only half-way cooked) or you can let them soak for longer.   Personally, I like mine a little chewy, so the shorter amount of time, the better.   Otherwise, they turn gooey and make me feel like I am drinking fish eyes.

– Drain your pearls and quickly put them on ice.

– Throw in your tea and enjoy!

While I must say, I do not think that this tea is a carcinogen nor do I think it poses a choking hazard, having a recipe on hand is fun and handy, allowing there to be no question what you are putting into your body.   Since you can roll the pearls to whatever size you would like, you can also avoid a choking hazard.   Have fun, make a night of making delicious tapioca balls and then spend the next day reaping the rewards by sipping on a nice, cool cup of bubble tea.

Homemade: Thai Bubble Tea

I always love reading Le Zoe Musings’ blog.   Her writing style is unique and informal, like talking to an old friend, and her photos are amazing, to say the least!   If I remember correctly (and please Kellie, correct me if I’m wrong), she has not had formal photography training.   Looking at what she does, I think she’s fibbing 🙂

Like me, Kellie is a huge tea fan, posting pictures of her chai matcha green tea that she makes, as well as her latest, Homemade: Thai Bubble Tea.   Take a look, learn how to make it yourself and indulge.

The Fountain Of Youth – Found

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known for getting men on the moon, enduring astounding training sessions that few are capable of and – beverages?

Today, NASA announced that a drink that was initially developed to protect astronauts from the sun’s radiation can also noticeably reduce wrinkles and signs of aging in as little as four months!   One of the components included in the drink known as AS10?   Green tea.

The Now-Famous AS10

The Now-Famous AS10

The drink, a blend of fruit and plant derivatives, including cupuacu fruit, acai, prickly pear, yumberry, acerola, grape, pomegranate and, of course, green tea.   Not only does the blend provide a rich array of vitamins and antioxidants (exactly what green tea is famous for), but it also has a high dose of phytochemicals, a chemical that naturally occurs in plants and cause the lush, green color that we love to see in the spring.   This chemical also acts to shield cells from the harmful effects of radiation.

When researchers at the University of Utah tested the effects of nearly 200 people drinking two ounces a day, they found that the drink had a dramatic effect on the people’s faces.   30% of the people’s dark spots were reduced and 17% had less wrinkles!

The drink is thought to be so effective because it helps to destroy free radicals, which damage skin cells.

This drink can be bought as 2.5 fl oz. bottles for $29.95 per six pack.

While this time, I cannot say that tea is the only beverage worth mentioning, the fact that this super-drink could be a part of such a powerful blend is absolutely astounding to me!   Green tea has been toted as a miracle beverage for centuries and now, it can be added to another blend to create a scientifically proven elixir of youth, reversing the damage of the sun and giving people back their baby skin from years ago.

Would you buy this drink to get back your baby bottom face?

UPDATE:

One of my Patch.com readers commented saying that he found the whole idea preposterous and wanted details.   Not one to disappoint and leave my readers hanging, I went on a search and found oodles of news articles on AS10.   However, I did find two that said that the whole ordeal was, in fact, fake.

I am keeping in mind that out of all the websites searched, two said the drink was fake and then the rest still keep to the idea that it is real.

I’ve attached some of the articles below but what are your thoughts?   Is AS10 really the miracle drink it claims to be?   Or is it just another beauty product hoax?

Article stating the issue is a false claim:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.rss.spacewire.html?id=1654

Other news sources fooled:
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12260200-as10-nasas-cure-for-radiation-wrinkles

http://theweek.com/article/index/228525/nasas-wrinkle-erasing-space-drink

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nasa-astronauts-space-drink-reverse-signs-of-ageing/1/197821.html

http://www.counselheal.com/articles/1887/20120528/nasa-s-drink-astronauts-fight-wrinkles-sun-spots-blemishes.htm

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/nasa-space-drink-can-reverse-signs-of-ageing/261911-17.html

Organic Tea Versus Regular Tea

Organic certification

Organic certification (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I wish to issue an apology to all my readers.   The past few days have been a hectic, cold blur.   In fact, I am still fighting off this darn cold that is trying to take over!   But, no matter.   With plenty of matcha tea and water by my side, I’ll muscle my way through.

And now, for the reason that you came to this blog in the first place – tea.

At work last week, my employer came into the office raving about these wonderful organic almonds that she bought and the delicious organic green tea she was sipping on.   Now, I am sure that, just like me, you hear the phrase “organic” being thrown around constantly.   I have personally seen organic toothpaste, organic band-aids and even organic dirt.

I am not knocking organic anything.   However, I am curious – what’s the difference between organic tea and regular tea?

Turns out, organic tea is better for health benefits.   It does not have the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which means that less of that gunk and junk goes into your body.   For those that are earth-conscious, it also allows a friendlier farming strategy as well, allowing us to also be a bit kinder to the earth.   Rather than rely on ineffective solutions, organic farming allows for farmers to do green methods, such as using “green” manure to fertilize crops.

Either way, Tea Gschwendner, a tea store started in Trier, Germany, states that, “tea, whether grown organically or conventionally, is one of the cleanest foods on earth.”

With the miracles that tea provide, I don’t doubt this.   Though, to help Mother Nature every once in a while, it can’t hurt to imbibe a bit of organic tea.

Green Tea Bobas { Homemade }

I love Le Zoe Musings’ posts and photos but this one, I think I adore!

Boba tea (popularly known as bubble tea is delightfully tasty, gives you a bit of a pleasant surprise when you slurp up a tapioca ball (found at your local Asian food market) and is chock full of health benefits if you make it using matcha like Le Zoe Musings recommends.

Matcha green tea uses the entire tea leaf.   It is ground into a fine powder and is used for Japanese tea ceremonies.   It is also believed to have that many more health benefits since you do use the whole leaf.

Read more about Le Zoe Musings’ great blog here:

Green Tea Bobas { Homemade }

Re-Using Your Tea

Hello fellow tea sippers!   While reading my daily Google Alerts on tea, I came across an article detailing how the organic tea company, Honest Tea, is launching an initiative called “The Great Recycle” on Monday, April 30th, in Time Square, New York, to get people to recycle more.   People can recycle products and receive points towards Broadway plays, tee-shirts and, of course, tea.   All products will be turned into gardening supplies that will then be donated to an urban garden for PS 102, an elementary school in Harlem.   Good for them!

Such A Charming Array!

Such A Charming Array!

This got me thinking, though.   This initiative focuses on how to recycle bottles.   How does one go about recycling tea and tea bags?   That’s why I decided to list a variety of different ways to recycle and repurpose this amazing drink!   Some are silly, some are made up from the top of my head and others are taken from various sources.   Comment and let me know other ways that you can use your spent tea bags and tea!

– The website Apartment Therapy recommends using unused tea bags as air fresheners (shown above).   This is perfect for any stale tea that you might have lying around the house.

– Make a pair of earrings.   I will be trying to do this now by varnishing some tea bags, hanging them on thin chains and connecting them to an earring hook ^_^   If this does work, I will post pictures!

– Composting!   Tea leaves are great for that.   Make sure you check the pH balance of the tea in accordance with the plant, though.   Some teas are more acidic and thus would not be good for certain plants.

–  To treat bags under the eyes.   This is a pretty popular one.   According to eHow, chamomile might be the best tea to use for this method.

– Tie two tea bags together and make yourself a pair of organic nunchucks.

– Reader’s Digest published an article on 22 ways to use tea for the home, beauty and gardening!   Everything from cooling sunburns to reducing razor burn to even getting rid of gray hair.

– Reader’s Digest is not alone – Fox News published an article about 49 ways to re-use tea!   The uses are endless, including cleaning carpets and polishing furniture.

– I referred back in a previous blog about making bath tea.   Why not give this delightful mixture a shot?

– On Facebook, I posted an article that I found on how to make sugar cookies in the shape of tea bags.   So cute!   Maybe take some of those old tea bags and use them as a template to cut your cookies out?

– How does a green tea marinated steak sound?   Get cookin’! (If you have a recipe to share, feel free to do so!)

– Sprinkle the leaves around for a brand new decor in your home that also smells amazing.

– Use it as a perfume.   After all, tea smells great.   Why can’t you smell like tea?

– Some internet sources are saying that tea would be good for dying anything ranging from wood to fabrics.   After all, tea does stain.   Why not?

Do you have any good uses for tea?

Bath Tea? Too Good To Be True!

Hello everyone!

My sister-in-law gave me this recipe during Superbowl Sunday and I thought I would share it 🙂

Veronica Silva published a snippet on how to make Bath Tea (I am still trying to find the source, in case anyone knows where this particular article came from!   Please feel free to leave the URL in the comment so that everyone can view and enjoy).

The recipe calls for:

– 1 1/2 cups of Epsom salt

– 1/2 cup sea salt

– 1 cup dried lavender blossoms

– 30 drops of lavender essential oil

– Small muslin bags

Mix all the ingredients together.   Spoon 1/4 cup into each bag.   When ready, toss one bag into a hot bath and enjoy a soak in some tea!

I would say happy sipping, but I am not sure if that is totally appropriate in this case!