Crazy TimesSorry for the absences in the past week. Things have been a bit rough as my husband lost his job a little over a week ago, went on a job search, found a new job, and is now waiting to start that job on Monday. He's back to working in Raleigh again, though this time the commute is a tolerable half hour rather than something more crazy. We thought he'd be working in Durham for a long time when we decided to move here, but we at least moved to an area that's close to the research triangle and not too bad for getting to north Raleigh, where his new job is at.
We've been through the wringer emotionally this past week and in some ways are glad he'll have some time off. But we're using a lot of the time to take care of doctor's visits and things before we have to figure out what we'll do for health care next year since we'll have to buy our own plan under the contract position Bryan has landed. But I won't bore you with the details, on to the fun!
Matcha Green Tea
Culinary GradeSo I tried cooking with matcha green tea powder for the first time about a month ago. I'd had pastries and other great green tea items at restaurants, but hadn't really found a great green tea to enjoy at home until then. I used a recipe for making a matcha glaze, which was intended for use on brownies, but I used on cinnamon rolls instead. The results were a bit ugly, but tasted wonderful.
The logical next step after using culinary grade matcha powder in cooking was to try the better ceremonial grade varieties that are the type made for drinking. I got a little help from Midori Spring and Kenko brands (affiliate link) who let me try some of their products for free in exchange for an honest review. I even bought a little whisk and scoop set made for making the matcha with. Here's what I did:
I heated up a mixture of milk and water knowing the tea might be a little bitter at first, but the milk would help with that. While I had the liquid heating up in the microwave I took one scoop of the powder and added it to my little tea bowl. Once the water and milk was hot I added a teacup amount, with a touch of space for the whisk to move. Here are photographs of both brands:
The Midori Spring was more finely sifted, but they both performed about as well as the other. I really enjoyed them both. I think I ended up with a slight preference for the Kenko tea, but they were both fantastic.
A peek at the powder inside the tins.
The Kenko looks a bit darker, but it's really not, between the photo's exposure and the slight difference in heat since my first cup was probably not as hot as it needed to be I had to stir it a little more after the picture was taken. The trick is you pour the for water over the scoop of powder and whisk it until it froths. I found that with the milk added in I didn't even need to add sugar. But if you're more sensitive to bitter tastes you might want to try that too. Overall I find tea is one of my favorite things about cooler weather. I'm really glad to add green tea as a new option. At this point I have a whole drawer dedicated to tea, plus a bunch more looseleaf teas I keep in a section of the cupboards. Here's a shot of my tea drawer, just because.
As you can see I really enjoy Stash brand teas too. If you'd like to try them out they make a really great herbal sampler box you can find here, which has the Cinnamon Apple Chamomile Tea or their Breakfast in Paris blend if you'd like a more traditional black tea that's similar to earl grey with a hint of lavender (both links are affiliates).
Another fun thing I was given to try by a company was this origami paper by Orchid. With a value pack this size I don't think I'm going to run out anytime soon. There are 10 fun colors, which work well for most projects. You can buy a pack here (affiliate link). I found it to be a pretty great deal for a 500 pack, and the paper itself it pretty good quality, holding up well to what I put it through for each of the three projects I tried.
I had fun creating some fun seasonal things, and plan to work on some more to make things festive. I might even make some Christmas ornaments!
I tried my hand at a pumpkin, turkey, and Christmas tree. The links go to instructions for each so you can try making them too. I think the pumpkin is actually a really versatile shape. You could turn it into an apple or a beach ball easily for various occasions. It was really fun to make because once all the folds were done you have to blow into the hole on top to inflate it! None of these were too hard, though the turkey and perhaps the pumpkin could be frustrating for younger kids. The tree is a really easy one that it would be simple to make a large set of for decorating.
Well, here's hoping I'll be around more this week than last week. Thanks for reading!