February 4th marks the four year anniversary for this blog! Where has the time gone? As the date approaches, I find myself thinking back on the time I decided to start this little piece of my web, and why I started this. I stumbled on a few blogs early on and loved how they were written or I loved their photos but more than the recipe, photos or the writing, it was the stories these bloggers wrote about their everyday life and adventures. To me it was not just reading, it was conversation, an interaction with another being.
Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is not a talker (unless its about comic books and SciFi, then you can’t shut him up), I on the other hand don’t know what silence means. I will ask you a million questions and I will remember every thing you tell me because I am genuinely interested in you!
I find it amusing that in the last 6-8 months I have been doing my cooking demonstrations at my husband’s store, I’ve gotten to know the guys and gals who work there so much better than he knows them! And it’s purely because I talk…a lot.
Anyway, I digress, as always. I started the blog to write, mainly for myself. After years of children, diapers, baby talk, and play dates, my mind was frazzled. I read as much as I could or as much as time would allow me but there never seemed to be any time. The minute my head hit the comfort of my pillow at night, I was out.
Once my youngest started school, all of a sudden I had all this time, and no friends. We had just moved back to Colorado and all my friends had moved away. I had to make friends again. That’s not so easy when you are a stay at home mom and ready for bed at 8pm! I started to read more blogs and managed a book here and there. Even with kids in school, time was a luxury.
A few months into having the house to myself, I realised I was starving for conversation and adult time. After heated discussions with myself, I started my blog. I just wanted to write…something, anything. As I visited other bloggers, they visited me and I soon realised that these were the friends I needed, the ones with my likes and dislikes, and so many interesting stories to tell.
Most of my reading then became online. Visiting all my blogger friends and reading their stories doesn’t leave me much time to read books and I do feel sad about that because I love to read, especially classics. Bedtime is the same story, I barely get in and relax and I’m asleep. Recently, I read an article that mentioned that reading on your iPad or phone at bedtime disrupts your sleep. I was doing this all the time, especially catching up on my blog reading. I decided then to stop reading on my iPad and start reading a proper book even if it was for just 5 minutes. I am doing pretty well. I will actually finish a whole book here in about a couple of days!!
My favourite shops, apart from glamorous, gourmet kitchen and food shops, are usually little book shops, preferably with a coffee shop inside. I especially love the book shops with oversized comfy chairs and rustic tables that smell a little musty from all the books and dust. We have a few in Colorado, my favourite back when I lived here before was the Tattered Cover Book Store. I would grab a big cup of coffee and find a big chair and spend hours in there. We came across one in Fort Collins over the weekend, The Bean Cycle. It is such a cute little shop with little rickety chairs and tables on one side and huge worn leather chaises on the other. I saw the most ingenious idea on a poster in their shop; they have a letter writing club every last Sunday of the month where you can get together with other members and hand write or type letters (on old typewriters) How cool is that? Unfortunately, Fort Collins is an hour away fro me so I may not be joining that club anytime soon. But that idea just oozed all kids of nostalgia for me.
And I know it’s the nostalgia I miss and crave. I miss holding a book that is falling apart, all weathered and worn in it’s binding. I want to sit in a reading nook or a cubby surrounded by knowledge and wisdom that’s preserved in the pages of history, science and culture. I want to read poetry by the light of a flickering candle or a crackling fire. I know somewhere in this highly technological world, all glittery with high resolution screens, buttons and touch pads, it exists some where. I just have to find it or create it.
Until then, I suppose I will have to make do with my window seat. It’s not an ideal reading spot, but it’s an ideal spot to watch the snow fall, or the rain drops linger on the eaves or the golden leaves swirling on a blustery autumn day. It’s an ideal spot for your imagination and a place to sit and write your thoughts.
These thoughts about writing and reading have been on my mind for a while, especially when I walk down the stairs in my house and I can see the inviting window seat. Usually I’m in some hurry to get some where and that yearning is never fulfilled. The feelings have intensified somewhat after I received some tea in the mail. Wonderful Andy from Plum Deluxe teas emailed and asked me if I’d like to try some of their organic teas (I think he was trying to convert a coffee drinker) Little did he know that I am an avid tea drinker as well!!
Plum Deluxe did not ask me to write a review or what have you, Andy just wanted me to sample the teas. I thought it would be nice to introduce them anyway and tell you to try their teas because they are delicious! One of the tea blends I was sent is called The Reading Nook Blend, and as soon as I read that title, I’ve been wanting my little reading and thinking space and a moment to actually sit and do it. The tea itself is a black tea with soothing flowers and warm flavourings. Not only is it a wonderful blend to enjoy with friends, it’s also a great blend to cosy up in a corner by yourself and let your imagination run wild.
The other blend Andy sent me is a Chocolate Chai Decadence. It has warm chai spices, vanilla and bits of chocolate. This is the tea blend that inspired these doughnuts. All the flavourings are in the tea already, I just brewed a strong cup in milk and use the infused milk to make these tea doughnuts. They have such a lovely warm flavour with a hint of the black tea. Make another cup and dunk the doughnuts in and enjoy with a book in your favourite corner of the house.
- 3 cups/450g all purpose/plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup/100g granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, large
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup/175ml milk, maybe a tablespoon or two more if needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons Plum Deluxe Chocolate Chai Decadence tea blend or any other chai tea blend
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
- Grease two doughnut pans.
- Warm the ¾ cup milk and add the 2 teaspoons tea and let steep.
- Allow the tea to cool before using.
- Strain out the tea leaves and keep the infused milk to the side.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
- Mix the eggs, melted butter, vanilla and sugar together in another bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mix.
- Mix slowly and then add the strained, infused tea milk.
- If the mixture looks too dry, add another two tablespoons of milk or as needed.
- The batter should be a thick dropping consistency.
- Fill the doughnuts pans with the batter, divide equally between the cavities.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the doughnuts are golden brown, risen and firm to the touch.
- You can glaze them with a tea sugar glaze or dust them with powdered sugar.
Where’s your favourite corner to read? Do you have a place at home or do you prefer coffee shop and book stores? And what are you reading at the moment, besides my blog that is :)?
Have a wonderful week, my friends!