Not Mint for Me

In keeping with last year’s monthly review of Christmas teas on the 25th of the month, I would like to present Christmas in Paris by Stash Tea Co. This herbal tea contains cocoa shells, peppermint, lavender, natural chocolate flavour, and vanilla extract. While I don’t like the taste of mint, the promise of chocolate was enough to tempt me into trying this blend. I was very thankful that it only contains trace amounts of caffeine since I ended up drinking it at almost 8:00 p.m.

The teabags are individually wrapped, a plus in my opinion as I like to share tea 3F4EC034-D756-4D00-A493-0278A622F8CBwith others and find that it’s much easier if they’re each in a nice little sealed packet. I didn’t have to tear the top off of the packet very far before smelling mint. In fact, the aroma that wafted out of the packet instantly reminded me of those round peppermint patties that I used to win for perfect attendance in Sunday School but never got to eat because I didn’t like them. Odd how some aromas bring back age-old memories. Once steeped the tea had that same familiar smell, so I had no doubt that I’d be tasting the mint, like it or not.

I tried the tea without sweetener first and knew immediately that I needed to add honey in order to drink this tea. The addition of honey did indeed help. I could definitely taste the mint and the chocolate but not so much the lavender. Overall it was a nice tea for a cold evening. I can’t say that I didn’t like it, but the verdict is still out as to whether or not I’ll drink more of this blend. The remaining 17 teabags might just find their way to a friend who I know does enjoy mint infused teas. Now if you enjoy mint teas, or those round peppermint patties, then you’ll no doubt enjoy this tea. It is a smooth warming tea that I’d easily classify it as a dessert tea.

Since the tea had chocolate in it, I decided to also try a new Keto friendly cookie that I’d picked up at HomeGoods. I bought the Chocolate Fudge Cookies complete with chocolate chips. My hope was that the chocolate chip cookie would intensify the chocolate flavour of the tea while downplaying the mint flavour. It didn’t. If anything, the tea had a more chocolate taste than the cookies. The cookies are made by Too Good Gourmet. While the front of the package says they’re under 2 grams of net carbs, I cannot figure out how they’re making their calculations. According to the nutritional facts on the side of the box, one cookie has 7 grams of total carbs. Some folks subtract from that dietary fiber which in this case is only 1 gram. So as I understand it, one cookie, which is the stated serving size, would end up having 6 grams of carbs. The cookies are nice and soft, about 2” across, and made with almond flour. The chocolate flavour was pretty mild. At $4.99 per box, and that was HomeGoods price, for only 8 cookies they’re a bit pricey. I enjoy having cookies with my tea but I’m also trying to follow Keto guidelines. Having a box of these on hand would help keep me from feeling deprived of my cookies, but at the same time I could only have one since it appears that the carbs in each cookie is about a third of my daily allotment. I think I’d rather make the chocolate cookies in Maria Emmerich’s Comfort Foods book that I mentioned before. At least with those I can have two per serving, they taste better, and I get 25 cookies out of one batch. I’ve not calculated the cost, but I’m pretty sure they’re less expensive than these store bought cookies.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Swiss Hot Chocolate Flavoured Tea

An e-mail from the English Tea Store yesterday reminded me of their Swiss Hot Chocolate Flavoured Tea. Being a chocoholic from childhood, this tea caught my eye last year around Christmas time. When I say “last year” I’m really referring to the end of 2018. Not only do I love chocolate, but I also love hot chocolate. By the way, I make mine with half-and-half. It’s delicious!

The English Tea Store has managed to combine two loves into one drink. How awesome is that?! This blend comes in a loose leaf format, so you can adjust the strength WP-ETStore-Swiss Chocolate Teato your preference. Just opening the bag gives you a hint of pleasure to come when the smell of chocolate sets your olfactory receptors to tingling. Paired with honey, this tea is dessert in a cup for those who aren’t supposed to be consuming a lot of calories that tend to go along with chocolate. I especially enjoy combining this tea with the chocolate cookies from Maria Emmerich’s Comfort Foods book. Put those two treats together and you’d never know you’ve embarked on a lifestyle change. Keep in mind as I’ve pointed out before, honey is not allowed on a Keto diet. I cheat!

The only negative that I’ve found with this tea came from steeping it too long. I’m a slow drinker. By the time I’d gotten to the third cup, it had a somewhat bitter taste because I’d left the tea in the pot instead of removing it after it had initially steeped.

If this blend sounds like something you’d enjoy, visit the English Tea Store’s website now to save 15% on this and other selections. That e-mail I mentioned at the beginning of this post said you could save 15% on ETS brand teas, including January’s featured teas, of which this is one, through January 21st. Use code DEAL15 at checkout.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use.

Photo Credit: English Tea Store

Freebie Friday!

Here it is, Friday yet again. While it’s the first Friday in December I bet the last Friday in December will be here before we know it, and definitely before we want it to be. Being that it’s Friday I thought I’d share a few more freebies that I’ve found either through e-mails that I’ve received or while surfing the internet. It’s true that surfing the net can be fun and entertaining, but it’s equally true that it is one of the biggest time sinks now known to man, or woman as the case may be. Sit yourself down in front of the computer and before you know it that hour that you were going to spend sewing just got spent on surfing instead. If you’d spent that time sewing you’d probably have more to show for it, but then again, on occasion, you do have something to show for surfing. Like the following…

I’ve already shared Peck’s Pieces with you before, but when I went there today to get the last of the Halloween blocks (are you surprised that I’m behind on that? Didn’t think so…) I found that Miss Marjory is offering a new free project called Santa in the Pines. This is a four block wallhanging that should go together fairly quickly. You’ll need to scroll down to November 13 to get the beginning instructions and first block. If you scroll down to October 16 she shows you a mug rug that she made using one of the blocks. That would make a great, quick gift for the coffee or tea drinking fan on your list. Pair it with a mug, a half-dozen cookies, and some coffee or tea samples and you’re all set.

Speaking of cookies, I got an e-mail from Better Homes & Gardens with a link to lots of cookie ideas and recipes. Of course, the chocolate ones grabbed my attention immediately. I kept thinking, if only I had another cup of tea (yes, I’ve already had three cups of Barry’s Gold this morning) and some of those chocolate cookies. What a grand lunch that would make! I am definitely a cookie-holic, and I’ve always blamed it on my great-grandmother who would give me cookies and a glass of water when I walked next door to her house. Oh, the memories…

Anyhow, I was thinking that a body could spend every day of December baking cookies just from this one website and never get through all those recipes, but wouldn’t it be fun to have the time and energy to try. Maybe one of these years we’ll spend the whole month of December baking cookies here at the shop. We could have a giant cookie exchange! Think you’d be interested? We’d have to diet all year long before and after in order to do it relatively guilt free. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever felt guilty when eating cookies, only satisfied and comforted, so maybe I wouldn’t have to diet after all. As they say, any excuse will do when you don’t want to loan out your mule…

Last, but not least, I thought I’d share another quick and easy project that would have the added bonus of allowing you to practice your machine quilting while making something for your own holiday table or to give as a gift. This pattern comes from Linda Visnaw by way of Fabri-Quilt’s blog. Click on the link and you’ll be able to download a PDF file for the pattern. It would be a great way to use up scraps of fabrics for the backgrounds, the stars, the binding, and backing. Oh yes, let’s not forget to mention batting scraps as well. Shrink the idea down and you could make mug rugs to match. Get those creative juices flowing and see what you can come up with. For instance, how about a feather tree design. I can see it, can you?

Now for a biggie…how about a FREE week in France?! Paris to be exact! If you win, I get to go too! Thank heavens I took two years of French in high school… How do you win such a wonderful trip? All you have to do is share your needlework story in 250 words or less between now and January 31, 2013. DMC will be collecting submissions and a panel of judges will select the winner. All you need to do is fill out this DMC Memories Contest Form. In order for me to join you, and play interpreter (please quit laughing…), you’ll need to mention the name of the shop on your form. In addition to getting to go to Paris we’ll get to tour the DMC factory. Can you just imagine all the wonderful colors we’ll get to see! I’ve heard Paris in springtime is lovely, maybe that’s when we’ll get to go. Start writing!!!
Holiday Lane Rooftop
Before I leave you I want to share a little more of my Holiday Lane project from last week that I’m still working on. It’s always challenging to me to decide just how to finish the edges of a raw-edge appliqué project. I can blanket stitch the edges, but that’s not always the best way to finisheverything. In this case, I started with the rooftops of my houses. I wanted them to look a bit more interesting than what plain old blanket stitching could do, so I borrowed and idea from Stacy and did this instead. I used the Ricky Tims Stable Stuff on the back because I shrank the stitch down to as small as it would go. I tried one rooftop without it and while it did all right it seemed to pucker just a bit whereas the ones with the Stable Stuff stayed nice and flat.Holiday Lane Roof Close Up

It takes a bit longer to do this type of stitch of course, but I think the end results are so much better. If you have a good imagination you canHoliday Lane - Snow on sill just see the snow piled up on the roof of each of those houses. I did the snow on the window sill as well. It gives it a 3-D effect. Now to decide what to do with the tree and window. I have a new stitch that I’ve not used before that I want to try on the houses. I’ll show you that in a future post. Since I’ve never done it before I need to practice a bit first before I try it on my project. Taking out decorative stitches is not always easy and rarely fun. Trust me on this one…

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