I'm sorry... I know it's been another long time since I posted, but it is quite hard to post regularly when the server won't let you on!!!
It's true. I tried to post 3 days ago about a little shindig I had, but to no avail.
In any event, I'm here now, so it will all be okay soon. ;)
So, on Wednesday night this week I had my much anticipated (by me at least) Tea Party! Now, this wasn't a typical afternoon tea with lanterns, sandwiches and fancy hats (although maybe it will be next time...) This tea party was a home party, like PartyLite, Pampered Chef, Stella and Dot, etc. It's a newer company based out of Stettler, AB, which has gone Nationwide using the home party model. They get all of the ingredients shipped to their warehouse in Stettler, and they mix the blends themselves! It's all loose-leaf tea, very fresh, and veeeerrry yummy!
The company is called Siplicious and I first heard about them at a trade show I popped into a few weeks back. I was lazy, so instead of looking up contact info and hunting down vendors for a fundraiser show I'm putting on, I just went to a similar show and took the cards for every vendor I wanted at my own fundraiser! Well, there was a girl selling loose leaf tea, which is quite popular in our house, and when I found out that they made Matt's favorite variety (Earl Grey Cream), I was sold. Matt and I had a taste test that night, and despite the fact that "I made it wrong" (seriously. He's a tea snob), it was very delicious. We bought 100 g of the Earl Grey Cream and we've nearly run out of it now. So I knew I had to book a show to get more tea. And Matt agreed.
My rep came and set up, and she brought everything: a kettle to boil, thermoses, pots, little sample cups, honey sticks, and a spice rack filled with tea samples to smell. I was already excited before the demo started, and I actually was quite arrogant in thinking that the demo wouldn't be too critical for my wishlist needs, so I had already made a list of things I wanted. But, there's a reason they do demos: you think you know about the product, but you really, really don't. PartyLite has special rules about proper candle burning so they stay safe and look pretty the whole time. Pampered Chef has tips and tricks to make your cooking better and easier. And Siplicious tells you why disliking a Starbucks Matcha Latte doesn't necessarily mean you dislike Matcha, explains how their hot chocolate is really quite good for you (all natural sweeteners and no dairy products so I can give it to my milk sensitive boy) and how they are coming out with flavored agave sticks to add to your tea!
Needless to say, my list grew after sitting in the room with the samples and hearing the demo.
The largest change of note was that I'm now going to be ordering some Green Tea Matcha powder. Really, I've never been a huge fan of it. I used to really enjoy the Starbucks Green Tea latte, but only when I added two pumps of melon syrup, and two pumps of raspberry syrup - neither of which are in regular rotation anymore. I couldn't embrace the 'grassy' flavor and gave up trying.
Now, if you remember, a few years back Green Tea was all the rage. The 'discovery' that it contained antioxidants was a huge bolster for sales, and everyone switched to green. Then it transpired that some nutritionists and sciency-types felt the need to inform the world that one cup of green tea a day hardly made a difference, except that it was decidedly better than black tea. In fact, experts were giving numbers anywhere from 3 - 7 cups a day of green tea before it was effective for weight loss, and lots of the time people were adding so much sugar that it was actually quite counter-productive even if they were consuming the 3 cup minimum.
Thanks for that science/history lesson, you say, but I promise it's relevant. Turns out, the reason Matcha is supposedly 'so good' for you is that since it's the entire tea leaf ground up and consumed, instead of merely steeped, you actually get up to 10 times the amount of antioxidants from one cup of Matcha tea as you do from a traditional cup of green tea. And since steeping is actually quite effective at extracting caffeine (80 - 90% of it is steeped out in the first 30-45 seconds), you don't get the same increase in caffeine. So while drinking at least three cups of tea in one day might seem daunting to some people, drinking one latte is much more cost effective, and easier on the bladder!
But, like I said, I've never been a huge fan of the Matcha at Starbucks or Second Cup, which has been my only exposure to it. So I assumed I didn't like Matcha. Well, my rep could relate. She didn't like the stuff at Starbucks much either. But she LOVED this stuff. And it turns out, there are smoother varieties. So I went ahead and order a tin of the Kenya White Rhino, which is apparently ideal for "blending into iced matcha lattes, matcha smoothies and green tea ice cream." You see, I did go through a time in my life when I drank 5 cups of green tea a day. I was working at a law firm, and had the leisure to sit and sip hot drinks all day. And actually, I noticed that I started losing weight when I hadn't changed my diet or exercise routine really. I miss that. But I'm going to give this higher-end matcha a try and see if I can't get the same results. And really, if I'm not crazy about the flavor, I'm sure I can make myself a syrup remniscent of melons and raspberries.
The best part? I got it for 50% off through my hosting rewards!
What else did I order? Their Monk's Blend (a black tea with a sweet hint of grenadine - sweet enough that I didn't need to add anything, which is weird for me), their Detox blend (a yummy smelling chamomille - which would normally be an oxymoron to me), their Red Raspberry Leaf tea (for later in this pregnancy), an assortment of Honey Sticks for stocking stuffers (assuming I can hide them from Matt until then), some of their Milk Hot Chocolate (which doesn't actually contain dairy, so Nathaniel can have it, and they are low in complex sugars which give the whole high/low sugar rush so it's much better for kids, and diabetics), and of course some more Earl Grey Cream. Oh, and a friend booked a party from me, so in a month I'm going to go to her party and order a few more varieties! Next up: Green Walnut, Sweet Peches, Creme de la Creme and Lemonberry Mist!
Well, this is already a long post, but I feel responsible to give you a full recap: I made Almond Espresso Bars (also called Coffee Crunch Cookies, from Bon Appetit - they have a smokey, addictive flavor), Earl Grey Cookies, and Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava. Matt brought me home a gigantic and gorgeous orchid the night before that stood proudly on my table, and Gabe was so excited that Mommy had a tea party, that he decided to have one of his own! So today, I invited our whole Mommy Play Date group over for a tea party for the little ones. There were 7 moms, and 12 kids, and that's after 2 regular families couldn't make it, and 2 other newbies had to cancel last minute! I'm just glad we've got play areas on each floor! We had kids downstairs, in the kitchen, in playpens, in Gabe's room... But everyone had fun!
And now, my house is surprisingly clean, given the chaos that ensued this week, and I'm looking forward to a fun weekend with my family, and in a few short days, plenty of yummy tea!
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)