Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January is National Tea Month - New Calendars, New Beginnings

Did you know January is National Hot Tea Month? (Amazing what tidbits a new tea calendar can provide.)

Well, dear TEA friends, it is and I was uninformed until I flipped the page this morning. But, this IS January and a time for new calendars, fresh beginnings, inspiration and motivation. And - seriously, do we even have to ask? - what better drink to accompany all this than a good cup of hot tea?

As much as I love the flurry of activity of the holidays, there is something special about the start of the new year. The possibilities are all in front of us and we no longer have the "excuses" of decorating, baking, shopping or shipping to stand in our way. I don't make formal resolutions, but I do have a rather large list of things I hope to do, or at least try, by the end of the year.
So far, things are moving right along. In just the second week of this month, I've already cleaned one large closet (the first floor coat closet that was so jam packed, some jackets didn't even have hangers!), signed up for a knitting class for beginners and booked two tea events. In less than 14 days of the New Year, I've already made entries into my new calendar and am keeping "Hoarders" at bay. I must admit, I'm feeling pretty good about this new year.

Barb's TEA Shop is also getting caught up in expanding its routine in 2010. Look for more contests, more reviews, more links and more interactive fun.

Of course, back on the personal side, there's the obvious New Year's goal of shedding a few of those holiday pounds, but do we need to address everything in January? Because I was gently persuaded to go to The Cupcake Station last week and then, indulge in a deep-fried twinkie dessert this past weekend, I think I'm going to save the weight reduction for February. Right after Valentine's Day.

So, Cheers to the New Year, New Beginnings and National Hot Tea Month.

Yours in TEA and Friendship,


No Fried Twinkies in February

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year, Y'all!

Hey Y'all Dear TEA Friends, Happy New Year!

Starting off the new year with Paula Deen's signature greeting. For those of you familiar with Food Network's delightful southern cook, who possesses as much charm and warmth as the generous portions of butter in her recipes, Paula is an inspiration to her legions of fans of which I count myself as one. Julie Powell had "her Julia" and I have "my Paula".

It's not just her delicious food I embrace, but the way she prepares it is just downright fun to watch. When she takes the finished product out of the oven, fridge, pan or bowl, I can't wait until Paula goes in for the taste and gives us a knowing smile that confirms what we can only visually speculate - - "this is sinfully good stuff!"

Not surprisingly, it was a bit of a Paula Deen Christmas for us this year. I gave my daughter, Rachel, the "Paula Deen Celebrates!" cookbook with some of our favorite recipes . (I'll save you some time, go right to page 73 for Creme de Menthe Brownies. They are fabulous and last Christmas' big hit!) This book is so authentic, you'll perfect your southern drawl just thumbing through the index.

But wait, there's more!. . . my husband, Chris, another of my favorite cooks, treated me to a Paula Deen teakettle. With its "colorful porcelain exterior" and "secure handle and lid", it is sure to be a treasured addition to my tea collection. However, it's what's on the box that says it all - Paula's note to us tea drinkers:

"I have always said that the heart of the home is in the kitchen. No kitchen would be complete without a teakettle. You can spend hours upon hours with a good cup of tea and a cherished friend."

And, so, I share with you, a scene from my own kitchen this morning: fresh baked scones from my dear Mr. Gulley, "the" teakettle, a beautiful "new" teacup, kitchen chair pulled out and the fire blazing from the family room fireplace. So take your shoes off, sit a spell, have a cup of tea and we'll look forward to the many hours we'll spend together with cherished TEA friends, with the kettle on and so much to share in 2010!

Y'all come back now, ya' hear!

Yours in TEA (and a bit of butter),


P. S. Check out the Paula Deen teakettle and other fun things on her website.

P. S. S. To my family: anything on the Paula Deen website is welcomed.

P. S. S. S. New goal - to stay in the beach house!