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Cranberry-Meyer Lemon Scones….a favorite for a rainy day….

 

 

A huge bin filled with smooth skinned Meyer Lemons triggered a drooling response. Wiping my mouth, and stuffing a plastic bag with yellow fruit, I dreamed of our Oregon St. Tea Company signature Cranberry-Meyer Lemon Scones.

Rushing in the door, I plopped the groceries down….put away all items requiring refrigeration….washed the lemons and proceeded to stir up a batch of scones.

Add a little clotted cream…(which I found in our local market!)……

 

 

…a cup of tea…..

 

 

…..and enjoy those delicious scones….

 

 

 

Cranberry-Meyer Lemon Scones (an Oregon Street Tea Room Signature Recipe)

3 cups Self Rising Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
Zest of 1 small Meyer lemon
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add zest of Meyer lemon.
Add cranberries.
Mix in ¾ cup buttermilk, adding more if necessary to form dough. Do not over mix.
Turn onto floured work space and knead until easy to handle. (About 4-5 turns)
Pat gently to 1 inch thick.
Cut with small biscuit cutter.
Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. (Vegetable oil spray works great too)
Brush with egg wash (1 egg combined with 1 tablespoon milk)
Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Glaze with powdered sugar thinned to glazing consistency with Meyer lemon juice.

A fun Tea-Info-Graphic!

Wise Advice from a rural Sheriff….

When we lived on our rural ranch in the 1990’s, I was often alone with our children while my Sweet Husband traveled to Japan for his business. Our nearest neighbor was at least a mile down the road and the Sheriff’s Department was over an hour away.

 

It’s been said before, but it is true….rural people think differently than city people. We’re used to depending on ourselves or our neighbors. It’s not that we don’t appreciate “government” help, it’s just that it’s not always readily available. And most governmental agencies in rural areas expect their population to do what they can in the face of an emergency.

 

So, if there’s a fire on a hillside, we get our shovels, run up the hill and do what we can to contain it until the volunteer firemen get there.

 

One day my neighbor stopped by to tell me a convict, from our minimum security facility in the county, escaped from the crew working on our side of the mountain. I was home alone with our children. I called the Sheriff’s Department.

 

Deputy: Hello, how can I help you?

Me: I live in Surprise Valley and my neighbor told me one of the convicts on the work crew escaped. I’m home alone at my ranch. Can you tell me if this is true?

Deputy: Ma’am, I cannot verify that.

Me: You mean you can’t tell me if a convict escaped?

Deputy: That’s right ma’am.

Me: Well, let’s just pretend one of them did, what should I do?

Deputy: Leave your keys in your vehicle, load your gun and lock your door.

Me: Thank you. You’ve been very helpful!

 

 

See? I told you we think differently. Translation……

 

Leave my keys in the vehicle: Just in case the convict may want to use the car to escape. A car isn’t worth a life.

 

Lock my door: Why would he tell me to lock my door? Doesn’t everybody keep their doors locked? Normally we didn’t lock our doors, except maybe at night. On a ranch you sometimes have to go in and out several times a day or a neighbor might need to use your phone.

 

Load my gun: He presumed I had a gun and that I knew how to load and shoot it. (I did)

 

I’ll never forget his succinct, wise advice!

 

(My precious daughter-in-law took the above photograph at our ranch)

 

 

 

 

Are You a Tech-Savvy Grandparent? Not…

 

<Hi nammer this is Mitch>

 

Be still my beating heart!

 

I read the message twice. Oh my goodness, my nine year old grandson just texted me from his mom’s phone. (That phrase “texted me” still “sounds” funny when I say it out loud. I’ll get used to it I’m sure!)

 

I touched letters on my phone trying to compose a readable answer. My fingers refused to cooperate. Why was I hurrying, making mistakes, backspace, backspace,….what should I say?

 

I’ve had unsuccessful, well, more like embarrassing, forays into the “texting” world in the past. One day a young employee of mine was late. I admonished him for not letting me know he wasn’t going to be on time. Sorrowful big brown eyes looked up at me, and he said, “But I did. I texted you.” Oh geez.

 

“Honey, I don’t text! You’re gonna have to call me.” I hated to admit I wasn’t savvy. I didn’t understand the latest technology. Now he knew….the truth….I didn’t even know how to retrieve a text from my phone, let alone send one.

 

Since then, I’ve learned a little and practiced a bit.

 

One, lingering, nagging problem begging for a solution, though, is, how do I remember to keep my phone with me every moment of the day? That silly phone seems quite content to stay buried in the deep dark recesses of my purse where it never makes a peep.

 

And then, when I do think to retrieve it and set it out on the counter, I find myself walking by it several times a day, glancing sideways…checking it….just in case I have a text. BTW (that’s text message code for “by the way”….in case you didn’t know), I learned the “walk by and glance” trick observing expert texters! You can learn a lot by watching people. Of course, some of what you see, you wouldn’t want to imitate.

 

Anyway…..

 

Now, once out in the open, the problem becomes, remembering to find the thing before I leave the house on an errand. My poor phone is like a neglected lover, habitually ignored!

 

I text back…….

<Hi Mitch. How are you? Did you have

basketball practice tonight.>

 

<Yes I had practice>

I’ve read articles warning grandparents if “you want to stay in touch with grandchildren these days, you have to become tech-literate: texting, ichatting, and of course, you must have a Facebook page.” Email is passé.

 

I assumed the article referred to junior high grandchildren, not fourth graders!

 

<Hi nammer Its hay. I love you>

 

And, certainly not first graders…..my seven year old granddaughter Hayley sent me a message! Oh joyous day! Instantly in touch with my grandchildren….even if it’s just a one-line text…. is pure pleasure, especially when we live three hours apart.

 

<Hi Hay. Grandpa and I love you too. What

did you do today>

 

Impressed with my recent texting conversations, I underestimated the shock, the fear that gripped my heart, when my mind wandered off into the land of “curiosity,” and I anticipated the next wave of technology.

 

Oh no, could I possibly successfully negotiate more than Skype, iChat, FaceTime, texting, Facebook, Twitter….is tele-transport on the horizon? Help…who’s gonna help me?

Are your parents or grandparents technologically challenged? How have you been able to help them?

 

I like these websites offering assistance:

 

http://www.teachparentstech.org/

 

(I sent myself a few of these helpful videos…. It’s really a clever format, I just wish they had a “large print” edition..LOL)

 

http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp

 

(Very helpful in translating text messages)

 

http://www.aarp.org/technology/social-media/

 

(This site has a section devoted to technology!)

Once in a Blue Moon….A Paradigm Shift.

 

 

 

It has been my tradition since I was in high school to list my goals and resolutions every January first.

 

During the next year, on occasion, I sneak a peek at The List. Pulling it from an obscure hiding place, tucked haphazardly in a drawer, incorporated with miscellaneous receipts, business cards, notes to self, and outdated coupons, I steal a glance at the numbered contents.

 

Yep.

Yep.

Still working on this….

Nope.

Yikes….what made me think this was something I wanted to do?

Oops, forgot about that one.

Should I revise this one?

Ha, ha…

Yep.

Yep.

 

I stuff The List back in the drawer and forget it, but in a few months I retrieve it again for another review.

 

At the end of the year, I fetch The List for the final assessment. With pen in hand, I judiciously, and joyfully cross off those goals and resolutions accomplished.

 

I study the unmarked enumerated intentions.

 

Sometimes I experience remorse. Regret. Wishing I’d had more resolve to complete a task or commit more fully to a resolution.

 

Sometimes I chuckle. I am amused at my own naïveté.

 

I evaluate whether to add the unfulfilled ones to The New List, or trash them.

 

And, on January first, early in the morning, I find a lovely piece of paper, a nice pen, pour myself a cup of tea, and sit down to meditate on the coming year and write out The List.

 

 

I have repeated this process for over fifty years.

 

However, on occasion, Once in a Blue Moon (meaning “rarely”)…..but enough times in my life to recognize it now….I experience a “paradigm shift” creeping, crawling into my mind. Infiltrating my thinking when I am agitated or reflective.

 

Perhaps, because I am in the habit of striving and brawling like a thug to change my circumstances, I am not responsive to a knock upside the head, or a slap in the face.

 

Explosive revelation doesn’t seem to be part of my journey. No burning bushes, or parting of the sea.

 

A “paradigm shift” disclosure that I am able to embrace has come like a caterpillar….in an unhurried, nonchalant but determined forward stride.

 

I realize, in time, but reluctantly, that I must admit my attitude and my thinking need to adjust to a reality I had previously been unwilling to identify as unchangeable.

I was not raised to believe “it is what it is.” I was raised to believe that what “is” can be changed with prayer and hard work. And, while I wholeheartedly subscribe to this view, I have experienced circumstances that are NOT alterable:

 

The responsibility of caring for someone 24/7.

 

The death of an unborn baby.

 

The death of a son.

 

The theft of a trust.

 

The betrayal of a friend.

 

The ravishes of a disease.

 

 

Once I capitulate, once I surrender, once I yield to the understanding of “it is what it is” I am free to let go of the fight to change something outside my ability to alter.

 

2012 is a Once in a Blue Moon kind of year for me.

 

The List is ready. I’ve written down my goals and resolutions, but on this New Years Day, I have no strategies, no plans, no ideas of how to accomplish what I want to do.

 

The List is ready to be superimposed on the “it is what it is” reality page.

 

I will have to adjust, tweak, and rearrange this overlay to accommodate pursuing my intentions on The List.

Of course, the process doesn’t happen in a day. It may take the first six months of a New Year…..but, just as the caterpillar emerges from the cocoon a butterfly, I believe my adjusted reality will allow me to achieve my goals and resolutions.

 

Do you have a List of goals and resolutions for the New Year? Have you experienced a “paradigm shift” recently?

 

Wishing all of you a blessed, joyful, prosperous New Year!

 

Kathryn

http://tea4kate.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m dreaming of a…………..House Guest with Manners!


 

An invitation to stay with someone is a great honor. Your host wants you to be happy, to be comfortable and to feel welcome. If you’ll be a house-guest during the holidays here are eight easy tips to ensure you’re host will be dreaming you’ll be back again next year!

 

 

1. Arrive with a gift. Know your host. Don’t bring wine, if they don’t drink. Purchase something neutral like a tin of gourmet flavored popcorn, a holiday-scented candle or if you know they’re avid golfers, a box of top-notch golf balls. If you’re staying more than two nights, plan to treat them to a nice dinner at their favorite restaurant.

 

 

 

2. Lend a hand. Help in the kitchen. Volunteer to walk the dog. (Don’t forget the “doggie doo-doo baggies”….don’t want to make enemies in the neighborhood!)

Wash any dishes you’ve used or put them in the dishwasher. Keep common areas (like the bathroom) neat and tidy.

 

3. Be considerate of their work schedule. It may not be their vacation time. Although they are happy to have you stay, remember not to keep them up too late, and don’t expect them to take time off to be your tour guide or babysitter.

 

 

4. Ask about house rules: “Do you put your knifes in the dishwasher?” And don’t just show up with your pet. Ask first! That even includes checking with family members if it’s convenient to bring an animal to their home. Sometimes it’s just not a good time to have Rover at a family gathering.

 

 

 

5. If you’re on a special diet, bring the groceries you need. It’s always good manners to supply a few snacks or something special you’ve baked. (You know you’re from the South if you stop at a fruit stand and buy a “lug” of peaches or tomatoes to divvy up!) If you have a preference for soaps and toiletries, pack them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. If you have babies or children…..please don’t take a “vacation” from parenting. Get up with them in the mornings! Entertain them and keep them as quiet as possible until everyone else in the house wakes up. Don’t expect the “older” children or your host to “babysit” them. Grandparents might be an exception, but ask, be sure to clarify expectations. Keep an eye on your children and help them understand the “house rules.”

 

7. When departing, straighten the bedroom and bathroom. Ask if your host would like you to strip the bed. If so, leave the sheets in a pile or take them to the laundry room. Any towels or washcloths you used should be included in the pile or in the laundry room.

 

8. Send a handwritten thank you note once you are home. People often underestimate what a host goes through to have guests for a few days or longer. It takes a lot of time, money and energy, even if it is a joyous experience! Express your gratitude with a note!

 

May your Christmas and New Year be full of joy!

Kathryn

http://tea4kate.com

Waste not, want not…..Muffin Heaven….

I was raised by parents who endured the depression. Both grew up on farms. They learned to “make do” and to find a use for everything. Reuse, recycle, reduce, repair, restore, and how to be a good steward of land and possessions was a way of life, not a “movement.” For most of my life I have lived by these principles too.

I do admit to a few extravagant years….but considering the economy and this season of our life, I’m more and more inclined to resurrect my “back to basics,” and “frugal is fun,” thinking.

I’ve been juicing for awhile. We love the freshness, the healthy ingredients and the unexpected pleasure of varied combinations of fruits and vegetables. ( And although it’s not fancy, this Jack LaLanne juicer is great! http://www.powerjuicer.com/ )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But….it’s always difficult for me to throw away the pulp.

 

We don’t have chickens anymore. We aren’t growing an urban garden. Although, we probably should. I don’t have a compost pile.

 

A couple of friends and I have tossed around a few ideas on how to use the leftover pulp…muffins, breads, filling for tarts, layering for cookie bars.

 

This morning I juiced apples, oranges, one lemon, a cucumber, and a few carrots. Delicious and refreshing. Invigorated by the wafting aroma, I resisted no longer and gathered everything to stir up a batch of muffins.

 

My new favorite recipe, Buttermilk Pumpkin Muffins, ( http://tea4kate.com/2011/10/06/mini-buttermilk-pumpkin-muffins-a-fall-tea-party-favorite/ ) adapts easily, substituting the pulp for the pumpkin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It worked! These “pulp” muffins are full of flavor, hearty and perfect with tea!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I feel a little better being able to use some of those fresh ingredients.

 

Now, I wonder what to do with the pulp from our afternoon broccoli, beet, carrot and cucumber juice? Bread? Stock for a soup or sauce? Hmmmm…..

 

Happy juicing, happy infusions!

Kate

 

 

Mini Buttermilk Pumpkin Muffins…a fall tea party favorite…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning a fall tea party? A Book Club gathering? Or maybe you want to be ready when a friend drops by to share a cup of tea. These delicious mini muffins are full of healthy ingredients…. pumpkin, raisins and pecans. I found this recipe in my wonderful “old” Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm Cookbook (http://www.bishopspumpkinfarm.com/index.htm).

Happy Infusions and enjoy!

 

Mini Buttermilk Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c pumpkin, mashed
  • 1/3-1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 cs flour
  • 1 t soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 c raisins, pecans or walnuts

Directions

Beat together oil and sugar. Add eggs and pumpkin: mix well. Stir in buttermilk. Combine dry ingredients and mix into batter, just until all flour is moistened. Stir in raisins and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 16-18 regular sized muffins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H.O.S.P.I.T.A.L. Etiquette

Last week my father had to be hospitalized. His condition required more than an overnight stay. I am thankful for hospitals and the staff who work tirelessly providing quality care.
Yet, hospitals aren’t usually happy places. Of course, it’s a different story if the visit is to welcome a new baby. But most of us will eventually find ourselves traipsing through those sterile corridors to visit a family member or a friend coping with stressful circumstances. And while our focus will be on the well being of our loved one, practicing a few common courtesies can ensure the experience is a bit less upsetting.
H-—Honor the visiting hours designated by the hospital. Call to make sure the patient is up to having visitors and don’t be offended if the answer is no. Try again the next day. And honor the hospital staff. They are providing care for patients facing trauma, pain, and distress. Whether making a bed, emptying the trash or taking a pulse, a simple smile and a thank you are very much appreciated.
O-–Offer to help the patient. Sometimes a patient may need a pet fed or plants watered. Or offer to drive the patient’s spouse, especially if they are elderly. My brother drove my mother to visit our father, and it was so helpful. She could be dropped off at the hospital entrance and didn’t have to walk, in the heat, through the vast parking lot.
S—Short visits. Keep your social call brief. Watch the patient for signs of fatigue…be sensitive about leaving, even if the person asks you to stay. Promise to come the next day. Also, be careful about wearing perfume when you visit. A strong scent can be nauseating to the patient.
P-–Pleasant, be cheerful. Keep the conversation pleasant and upbeat. Don’t tell horror stories about Uncle Wilbur who had the same thing and ended up with a staph infection from his hospital stay. Don’t make comments about terrible hospital food. Negative talk is hard for a patient already dealing with the anxiety of being hospitalized. Light and uplifting conversation makes you a welcome visitor.
I-—If you must use your cell phone….leave the patient’s room, and do not stand around in the hallway making phone calls. Most hospitals have rules posted about cell phone use. Be respectful of other patients and staff regarding cell phones.
T—-Touch the patient only if it’s okay. Find out first. Be careful about physical contact. Holding a hand is almost always comforting. Also, don’t sit on the patient’s bed or ask the staff to bring you a chair. Stand if there is not a vacant seat, after all, you’re only there for a short visit.
A-—Ask a family member or the nursing staff before taking a gift. Some patients may have allergies to plants or flowers. Latex balloons fall into the same category. Food is usually not a good idea, especially if the patient is on a restricted diet. Alternative gifts might include magazines, books or a gift card to a favorite coffee shop.
L—-Leave the room when a nurse or doctor comes in. Respect the patient’s privacy. However, if the patient is a relative, it might be helpful to have a designated family member also “hear” what is being said. Often a patient is under duress and can’t process information or recall what was discussed. I remember a very traumatic hospital visit. The doctor kindly spoke to our entire family group. It was so helpful; we could compare notes, remind one another about forgotten details, and be encouraged.
Hopefully, remembering these few common courtesies will make an unpleasant situation bearable.
May all your days be tea-lightful,
Kate

Alfresco Etiquette Refresher

picnic_basket

Alfresco Etiquette Refresher

Have you been invited to a pool party or barbecue? Going on a picnic? Heading for the lake as a guest on a boat? Grab that tote, throw in the sunscreen, mosquito repellent, hand sanitizer/ wipe-ups, towels, and you’re ready to roll.

Wait…wait…wait…don’t forget your manners. Just because you’ll be alfresco doesn’t mean you need to be etiquette-less.

A few reminders:

Ask what you can bring. The host of a picnic or barbecue might have a specific theme or menu in mind. If you’re hosting, be sure to have suggestions ready. A dear friend of ours said, “Please just tell me what to bring. I’m willing to make anything, if someone will give me an idea. I hate having to think up something.”

Of course, it helps to know your peeps…some like to surprise everyone with the latest gourmet dip. (See the fresh corn salsa my daughter made for our last pool party.)

Bring your food ready to serve…unless it’s absolutely necessary to prepare it right before serving. Don’t impose on your hostess the need for space and tools. Some kitchens are small and it’s hard to move around or find implements with the “hang out” and visit crowd hovering about. (Think kitchen galley on a boat) It’s also nice to bring the serving utensils necessary for your particular dish…a big spoon or salad tongs. Others might have forgotten and the hostess may not have enough extras for everyone.

Hint: Label your utensils and dishes in case you forget them when you leave. Your host can easily identify the owner. I once discovered a casserole dish…two years later…that I had left at a 4-H potluck. If I’d labeled it, someone could have contacted me.

Be generous; bring enough for your family and more… to share. A family of five arriving with a solitary bag of chips looks suspiciously like “mooching.”

If you have special dietary needs, bring what you need, don’t expect others to know. And make enough for others to sample. My mother, in her octogenarian years, has become a vegetarian. Fortunately, she isn’t finicky and there’s an abundance of whatever she’s cooked up.

Ask if you can come a little early to help set up or offer to stay and help clean up. Extra hands make the workload lighter. I especially love hosting an event when I know my grown children will be there. They read my mind and are experts at sensing what needs to be done. Could be because we spent so many years working together on the ranch…you have to anticipate what comes next…not a lot of time for explanations and verbal communication when there’s a herd of cows needing immediate attention.

Be mindful of how much you pile on your plate…there is someone in line behind you . You can always go back for seconds.

And for goodness sake…NO double dipping! Put that dip on your plate and scoop from there. Help your children learn to practice the NO double dipping rule.

For water events…Bring your own towels. Your host probably has a few extras, but maybe not enough for everyone.

If the event isn’t at home or in a designated picnic area, please bring trash bags…and clean up your area.

Of course, in public settings or at a friend’s home…please…

1. Limit your alcohol consumption.

2. Keep from imposing your music on neighboring outdoor enthusiasts.

3. Refrain from using foul language.

4. Be sure to thank your host before leaving. A handwritten thank you note after the event is much appreciated.

Here is the link to the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Fresh Corn Salsa I mentioned above…this is easy to adapt according to your taste.

Getting the corn ready is a family affair at our ranch…..

fresh_corn_salsa

 

Happy outdoor living!

Kate

And if your mind isn’t reeling with the Do’s and Do Nots……

Check out this video clip for some hints I didn’t mention:

Minding your manners: Outdoor etiquette: MyFoxBOSTON.com

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