Sunday, January 31, 2010

Raw Honey- It is supposed to look that way!

Recently I had a friend come over for tea and when I put the honey on the table she seemed hesitant to add it to her cup. I asked if she liked honey and she told me that she loves honey but wondered if my honey was spoiled because it was not clear. I realized that she had never used raw honey before- and when I asked she told me that she never heard of raw honey. I explained that raw honey is unprocessed and unheated so it can appear white and creamy instead of clear and golden in color. Raw honey contains 27 minerals, 22 amino acids and 5,000 live enzymes that work together to boost immunity and aid the digestive system. The honey found in supermarkets (and in that little bear) has been heated and filtered to be more attractive to consumers. Unfortunately, when honey is heated the yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body system are partially destroyed. Raw honey is also a powerful anti-bacterial that can help coughs and upper respiratory infections. I buy my honey from Fruitwood Orchards in NJ but you should look for your most "local" source. For a natural cough remedy try this(it tastes much better than the stuff in the pharmacy):

In a clean glass jar (with lid) mix:

4 Tablespoons of raw honey
6-8 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (with Mother)

Shake until mixed. Take 1 tsp at least 4x per day.

For some honey statistics check this out:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Amazing Chocolate Chai

Yesterday my husband and I went to the Max Brenner restaurant in downtown Philadelphia. We visited the one they have in Union Square (in NYC) and really enjoyed it so we were excited when they opened in Philly. The restaurant is at 15 & Walnut in case you want to try it. They are a "chocolate" restaurant and most everything has some type of chocolate or cocoa in it. When we had our store in Chestnut Hill our most popular drink was the chocolate chai so I always get excited to try choco chai whenever it is listed on a menu. I ordered the chocolate chai at Max Brenner and was surprised (and delighted) that they use loose leaf tea! I was also surprised at how good it was. I spent most of today trying to recreate it. They used little pieces of chocolate instead of the chocolate sauce we typically use. This is definitely a dessert drink- and is so delicious it is worth the trouble to make! Below are the directions to make 1 mug. You can make a large batch of the tea and spice mixture and store in an airtight glass jar.

To make a 16 oz mug:

1 tsp Assam
2-4 peppercorns
2 cardamom pods broken in 1/2
pinch ginger
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
5-7 Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
Splash of milk
1 teaspoon honey

Steep the tea and spices in 16 oz. water for 4-5 minutes. Strain into a mug and add the chocolate and stir. Add honey and milk to taste.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Check Out Lemons & Limes in Chestnut Hill

When in Chestnut Hill stop by Lemons & Limes at 8133 Germantown Avenue
(215-242-3080). Not only do they have unique gifts and fabulous accessories but they also carry The Hill Tea Bar's "Bestsellers". Mark your calendar for March 20th (2:30pm)- we will be holding a complimentary tea tasting at Lemons & Limes. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Upcoming Tea Events

I wanted to let you know about some upcoming tea events. I hope to see you!

Diamond Spa in Chestnut Hill
Enjoy a sensory tasting of 6 teas blended for health and wellbeing
Girl's Night Out- Wednesday, February 3rd at 6pm

Philadelphia Community College
The workshop's CRN is 15644 (Tea, History and Health Benefits) and it's scheduled to run on Saturdays, 4/10 & 4/17/10; from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Detox For The New Year

It is that time of year again when we are starting fresh with new diets and resolutions. Kick off the new year with a detox that will flush harmful toxins from your system. Detoxing is important for improving body functions, overall health and jump starting any weight loss program. The following tea detox can be made at home and will give you a boost of powerful antioxidants while providing a digestive flush.

Spicy Green Tea Detox

1 teaspoon Gunpowder Green Tea
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried peppermint
1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger root
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Steep all herbs and tea in 8 oz. boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain. Add lemon juice. Drink. Repeat 3 times in 24 hours.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year ..New Tea!

I knew I had gallstones for the last few years. I decided to try to control the gallbladder attacks by eating a fat-free diet and drinking lots of green tea. This worked- until Christmas Eve. A gallstone lodged in my pancreas and I found myself in the local hospital. When I arrived at the hospital the surgeon told me that they would feed me only water for a week and after my pancreas "rested" they would take out my gallbladder. Wait- feed me only water? Yep, for a week I did not eat anything by the mouth, they gave me fluids through the IV. You can only imagine how happy I was this past Friday when they said I could start having liquids by mouth. I kept waiting for some type of menu to arrive with my choices of liquids. No menu ever came, and when the liquids arrived, puree of beef barley, I let the food service person know that I don't eat meat. They seemed confused so I asked if they had vegetable broth and I eventually did get some type of broth but it tasted suspiciously like those chicken bullion cubes my Mom cooked with when I was a child. They also gave me tea. Well, it was Lipton but I was thrilled to get any type of tea at that point. When I was waking up from surgery I heard someone asking if I was the "tea lady"- I usually don't love that endearment because it makes me feel old but it was comforting given the situation. When I was fully awake the recovery nurse who recognized me told me that they really needed some good tea at the hospital. I agreed, I was never hospitalized before and had always just assumed that the food and beverage choices would be aligned for health...and taste. Anyway, I am happy to be home with my family and tea. I guess the upside is the 10 pounds I lost on the week of water.