Sunday, September 30

Tea Time Research

An Afternoon Tea for Two

One of my birthday presents was a tea service at our only Tea Room in town. 

I took this time to take a break, have a treat, and I jumped at the opportunity to consider it research ^-^
We got a tea service for two including a pot of tea (Winter...Palace, I think; very almond-y and sweet, reminded me a little of cough syrup unfortunately, but I was still quite happy with it) and a service of desserts, scones, and sandwiches.

The salmon sandwiches were okay (just salmon and cream cheese on a bagel), the chicken salads were perfectly light, and the scones with clotted cream were my favorite (just because of the cream!). I also discovered that I adore Treacle tarts, but only in small amounts...

This is not something I'd want to do often (particularly because I'm not sure the quality/quantity was worth the $30 price-tag) but it was calm, relaxing, and tasty. And definitely inspired me to work on beginning the transition.

Afterwards I grabbed a few things to slowly build my afternoon tea supply.
Pocky (strawberry, almond)
European crackers (possibly cookies; I haven't tried them yet)
Green Tea
Spicy Chai Tea

along with some veggies and bread.

I've made a box for the dry things, so they stay in one place for me! Yay Organization!

Saturday, September 29

Beautiful Books :: The Fault in Our Stars

Beautiful Books

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green

"Even then, it hurt. The pain was always there, pulling me inside of myself, demanding to be felt." {142}

I don't think I ever created a post about Looking for Alaska. It's a very good book, and I was happy to get through it, and really liked it. It has one of my favorite quotes in all of literature. The image to the right. Absolutely beautiful.
However, as much as I was impressed by Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars really really blew me away. 

"'It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing.'" 
{page 20}

The entire book is wonderfully written. It (and its characters) are insightful, beautiful, and so very quotable. The story is about a girl who has cancer, and a boy she meets. It's both funny, quirky, fun, sad, and incredibly moving.

"I liked Augustus Waters. I really, really, really liked him. I liked the way his story ended with someone else. I liked his voice. I liked that he took existentially fraught free throws. I liked that he was a tenured professor in the Department of Slightly Crooked Smiles with a dual appointment in the Department of Having a Voice That Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin." {31}

Some people might be disappointed with an ending that doesn't "solve" everything, however, but I feel like that is part of the realism of it, and I'm okay with that.
"...I felt robbed. I would probably never again see the ocean from thirty thousand feet above, so far that you can't make out the waves or any boats, so that the ocean ins a great and endless monolith. I could imagine it. I could remember it. But I couldn't see it again..." {305}

I don't want to talk to much about it, or hype it up too much. But the writing is beautiful and I was genuinely happy with it. 
It's also being made into a movie, apparently, which is kind of cool. I'm not sure how well it would translate into film, but since Green is involved in the creation, I've got good thoughts.

"We're as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we're not likely to do either." {312}

Read it. It's lovely.

Thursday, September 27

Instituting Afternoon Tea

I've been working almost full time for the past two weeks (the state won't let me work proper full time- they'd have to pay more than minimum, or give us benefits) and there are two constants when I get home, regardless of how my day went.
I am always sleepy.
And I am always hungry.

It's time to remedy this with a new tradition/habit.

Tea Time!

Tea Food Ideas:

[sandwiches] cucumber & herbed cream cheese. salmon & herbed cream cheese. ham & butter. curried chicken salad. pimento cheese. apples & cheese. avocado & cheese or turkey. tomato & mozzarella or avocado. veggie.

[savories] cheese biscuits. cheese croissants. crackers & spread. veggies & dip. shrimp toasts. meat slices. rice balls with nori. tomato bites.

[sweets] cake minis. pastries. scones with clotted cream & jam. tartlets. fruit & chocolate croissants. muffins.

[easies] toast with butter & jam. crackers & cheese. fruit. cookies.

Inspirational images follow. The internet is FULL of them, and I can't wait to get started. 

My boy and I both get home at 3 almost every day, and he never eats unless food is provided (-.-) and I am looking for a new and fun tradition-- and desperately need a pick-me-up every afternoon-- so this is perfect.
My plan is afternoon tea every weekday between 3 & 3:30. And on weekends (if we feel like it) at 4.
To save myself time, I will (theoretically) prep most of the week's menu on Sunday nights. Pre-cut breads, toppings, etc. Slice & store fruits and necessary fillers (meat, veggies, etc). Also, make bulk things like chicken salad (have I posted that recipe yet? it's amazing), cucumber cream cheese mix, etc.

My first week starts Monday, so I'm looking through pictures and recipes and working on an early menu. I'm probably not really going to stick with it, but since I'm so broke right now, I need to have a plan for affordable and reusable things and stick to it. This list should run about $15 for the week, assuming any time I use "meat", it's whatever meat was eaten for dinner the night before. This is my base idea for Week 1.

Cucumber Sandwiches
Fruit Bites
Cheese Squares

Crackers with Herb Spread
Meat Slices
Veggie Bites
Fruit Bites

Savory Sandwiches
Toast with Jam

Dinner Bites (leftovers)
Apples & Cheese
Fruit Bites

Week's Leftovers
(most likely Cucumber Sandwiches, Cheese & Crackers/Apples, Toast with Jam)

I'm excited.

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