Jul 26, 2008

Gracious Hospitality Blog Hop

WELCOME! La Tea Dah of Gracious Hospitality is hosting a Blog Hop. It's simply an invitation—and a lovely excuse—to peruse some beautiful blogs.

As you stroll through some of my posts, I would love for you to take something delicious back with you. Here is a beverage recipe that is sure to douse the summer heat. Here, also, is a tea quote that is apropos.

"He boils milk with fresh ginger, a quarter of a vanilla bean, and tea that is so dark and fine-leaved that it looks like black dust. He strains it and puts cane sugar in both our cups. There's something euphorically invigorating and yet filling about it. It tastes the way I imagine the Far East must taste."
-Peter Hoeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow

Mango Chai Lassi
Recipe from Eat Tea - Joanna Pruess with John Harney

In India, lassi is a cool, refreshing drink made with yogurt and ice. Chai by this time is fairly well known as an Indian tea drink made with sweetened black tea leaves spiced with cardamom and cinnamon and boiled in milk. By combining the yogurt with Indian spiced tea and a puréed mango, you have a truly satisfying drink for hot summer days.

Serves 2
1/4 cup light cream
1 tablespoon Indian Spice (Harney and Sons) or other chai blend leaves
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into pieces
1 cup vanilla yogurt, preferably not non-fat
6 to 8 ice cubes
Mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

Bring the cream just to a simmer. Stir in the tea and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into an electric blender, pressing down on the tea to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the mango and yogurt and purée until smooth. Add the ice cubes and process until thick, and frothy. Pour into 2 tall glasses, add a mint leaf to garnish, if desired.

Harney and Sons is a great source for tea!

Jul 25, 2008

Today's Bouquets

I’d rather be a ‘could-be’
if I cannot be an ‘are’;

Because a ‘could-be’ is a ‘maybe’
who is reaching for a star.

I’d rather be a ‘has-been’
than a ‘might-have-been’, by far;

For a ‘might-have-been’ has never been,
but a ‘has’ was once an ‘are’.”

—Milton Berle, American comedian (1908-2002)
(Thanks, Mom, for sending this to me.)

Jul 23, 2008

Buried Treasure

I like this ship of seashells. It's threaded with golden cords and sailing a vintage map. It makes me think of treasure.

It's the same when I'm combing the beach for shells. I wonder if the water lapping at my feet came to me through portholes and over the splintered wood of sunken merchant ships. What treasures did the water touch? What secrets do the waves whisper?

Today I don't have to forage the ocean floors for treasure. Judy from Fabric Art and Crafts bestowed a treasure upon me in the form of an award. It's called the Brillante Weblog Award.
It's given in recognition for blogs that stand out for one or more reasons. I am honored to have received it and I thank my friend Judy for thinking of me! (Check out Judy's fused fabric Tablescape series!)

The rules for receiving this award are as follows: 1.) Post the logo on your blog. 2.) Add a link to the person who nominated you. 3.) Nominate 7 other people for this award and add links to their blogs. 4.) Leave a message for the people you've nominated.

I the name of adventure, I decided to select some individuals that may not be as familiar to you. With that said, here are my selections...
  1. I met Mike of Crafty Dad through a Giveaway! I won a watermelon print fabric tissue holder and sweet scented soap! Mike has his own sewing machine: a $23.00 Kenmore picked up from the Goodwill. His Etsy Shop includes handmade soaps, functional fabric goodies, and vintage collectibles. He's a family man and he enjoys life!
  2. Angie of the The Downtown Boutique is a sweetheart with a passion for "handmade products from all over the world." She hosts perpetual Giveaways on her site by connecting with and interviewing gifted people. I would suggest signing up for her emails so that you will always know about her Giveaways.
  3. I have seen the comments of BJ of SWEET NOTHINGS while visiting other blogs. Finally, I linked over to her and found a down home blog with homemade Pecan Pie and a vintage Corning Percolator (like my folks used to have.) I love her spirit!
  4. There is beauty spilling from the pages of Agnes Shabby Chic, orchestrated beautifully by Eva Agnes. She includes English in the tour. I adore her vintage photos and gorgeous florals.
  5. The mixed media art of Angelika of toscania is amazing. She truly has an eye for collage. She is on summer break at the moment, but her archives are overflowing with creativity. When you scroll to the bottom of each page, just click on "Ältere Post" to see more.
  6. I also met Anja from Slovenia through a Giveaway earlier in the year. I was blessed to be a winner of her sweet handmade whimsy. Her inspiring blog is called Drobtinice.
  7. Feel like a trip to France? Check out Tongue in Cheek. Corey is an American who has lived in France for 20 years. She celebrates life from the French point of view and her approach is refreshing.

3-2-1 Giveaway - 200th Post!

Cuddles (left) & Cranky (right)

What's DebraK up to now?

Cranky: Does it matter? Ever since she called us "bad, bad, brazen bunnies" and "destructive, nasty little buggers," I haven't been talking to her!
Cuddles: And you let that bother you?
Cranky: Only after she lured me into a bunny trap with an apple, and then her "dear hubby" hauled me to a field one mile away and left me!
Cuddles: But you ate the clematis in her garden.
Cranky: What do you want me to do? Work for a living?
Cuddles: Well, you obviously found your way back.
Cranky: True, but now I'm seeing a "Hare-apist." It's going to be a long bunny trail...
Cuddles: Well she's having a fantastic Giveaway and you're not one of the prizes.
Cranky: Great. I'll become a carnivore...

DebraK at the Bunnies Bungalow is having a 200th Post Giveaway and 3 winners will be chosen. She has put together 6 tempting vignettes. The first place winner will get to select 3 of those 6; the second place winner will then choose 2; and the third place winner will be more than satisfied with the lovely gift that's left! All of the prizes are awesome.
The Giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 30th. BE SURE TO MENTION "KJ FROM EYE-DYLLIC!"

UPDATE: The winners were chosen on July 30, 2008


True Grits

We had a Limerick Writing Contest here at Eye-dyllic not too long ago. It was a hoot! I might even have another one up my sleeves; but for today, I'm using a Southern limerick to introduce today's topic.

A lady from South Carolina,
Was eating her brunch at a din-ah.
She wolfed down the grits,
And then licked her lips,
And muttered, "my grits are much fin-ah."

The Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina
Sarah Copeland of "Behind the Scenes" at the Food Network Blog

Here in California, I didn't grow up with grits: just cornmeal. Adulthood acquainted me with polenta. In the last 5 years or so, I've begun to eat grits for breakfast. I like them.

Cornmeal, polenta, and grits are related. Each product starts with corn and the classification depends on how finely it's ground.

My awareness of grits came through the TV show Alice, where Flo, a frank waitress, became famous for her comic exclamations, "Kiss my grits!" (Listen to the sound clip HERE.) Although polenta and grits are staples all over the world, Southerners are territorial about the food. GRITS has even become an acronym for "Girls Raised in the South." Does Southern California count?

The subject of grits can stir up quite a controversy. Just like the limerick implies, Southerners each have their own way of cooking things and each method is right.

If this didn't butter your grits, perhaps sharing your favorite grits recipe will. I am accustomed to eating grits with butter, honey and a little cream. PLEASE INSPIRE ME WITH YOUR FAVORITE GRIT RECIPES.

Jul 22, 2008

"The Winds of Fate" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales

Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
‘Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,

And not the calm or the strife.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Jul 21, 2008

Today's Bouquets

I told a wise friend of mine that our lives had been turned upside down in the last year and a half. She replied, "That's usually when God is turning your life right side up."

Entry: Saturday, July 19, 2008

I've been driving since 1976 and I have always had a car of my own; that is until a year ago. After Bear lost his business, I reluctantly said good-bye to my van. Bear now uses an old station wagon which I occasionally get to use. My daughter, Briana, graciously lends me her car; but she will be attending college full time this fall and getting married in January.

My vehicles have always represented more than transportation to me. My car is my prayer closet, rehearsal hall, think tank, and a vital part of my organization. Things are where I need them.

Both vehicles are older so I deal with pesky things like an automatic shoulder strap that stops a foot in front of me, visors that swing out and hit my face, cup holders that are too small, a steering wheel that's too low, and an optimistic gas gauge. Add Mental Pause to the equation and, well, it isn't pretty.

Although I protected my personal credit, the losses have hurt me. We've made several attempts to purchase new and used cars only to be offered sympathy.

Entry: Monday, July 21, 2008

Two months ago, one of my credit card companies sent me a pre-approved offer to buy a car. I was interested but I misread the expiration date. Last Thursday, I got the bright idea to reapply with the lender online. On Friday, they notified me that I was turned down. I was still licking my wounds when yet another pre-approved offer, from the same lender, arrived in Saturday's mail. Elmer fudd would say,
"That's pwetty scwewy!

My husband and I were on this like it was a game of Monopoly. When we arrived at the Nissan dealership we glanced at the expiration date. The deal was for next weekend. Nevertheless, on Sunday evening, I drove my new Nissan Versa home!

God can do ALL things! I have named my Nissan "Nissi" for Jehovah-Nissi meaning "...
The-LORD-Is-My-Banner" (Exodus 17:15). When Moses stood with uplifted hands on the hilltop while Israel prevailed over their enemies the Amalekites, this was the title given by Moses to the altar which he erected.

It came to pass, it didn't come to stay.

Jul 20, 2008

Husband Appreciation Day

Last Friday was Husband Appreciation Day. Wait! Don't run to your calendars. I was waving my scepter and decreed the holiday myself. To prove my devotion to Bear, alias Mr. Milkman, I even volunteered for dairy duty.

Off we flew at
O-dark-thirty into the sleepy villages of the Newport Coast. Well, not exactly villages... Try palatial estates. Bear's Friday route includes mansions on coastal ridges, surrounded by more modest homes that are still valued at over 2 million dollars!

While shagging—a milkman term used to describe a helper—I was looking forward to sharing a sunrise with Bear. Sadly, our sunrise was upstaged by a thick cloud layer that arrived before we did.

One of Bear's deliveries is to a prominent Orange County family.
Not far from their property, we have some friends who reside in a multilevel Romanesque home on a northwest facing slope. Their backyard vista includes the Newport Harbor, Catalina, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

I was quite impressed with Mr. Milkman! He knows his customers well and makes classy milk-truck-turns. As a personal touch, he carries the morning newspaper up to the porch and props it beside each milk delivery. Only one thing could have made the presentation better: glass milk bottles...

On the way home, we stopped at the Filling Station in Old Orange for a yumcious breakfast. By the time I arrived home, sleep deprivation had set in. How does he do it? So, we both ZZZzzz'd the Day!