Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Pumpkin! Happy Fall!

We are certainly into the Autumn season. And if you haven't noticed by now, I LOVE pumpkin! I have been enjoying pumpkin tea, pumpkin scones, any pumpkin item I can get my hands on! Me and my roommate have a little pumpkin display on our mantle right now with some faux Fall leaves. In between school and rehearsals today, I decided to calm my nerves and do some baking. I prepared a lovely pumpkin bread, and with the remaining batter, added chocolate chips and baked some delectable pumpkin chocolate chip muffins! The smell of pumpkin and spice is weaving its way through my apartment right now. Delicious! Browse the internet and find your favorite recipe. There are so many. I'm using a secret recipe that I LOVE! Oh, also, those awesome pumpkin kitchen towels that go so well with the baked goods are from K-Mart! Cheap and perfect for the season. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the change of colors!



Monday, October 19, 2009

Tea is for the Soul!

Sorry for the lack of updating lately!

This will be short, because I am really am so, so busy at this time in my life! Not only am I working on two shows (the first goes up in one week!), I am also singing at Lincoln Center on November 2nd, for NYU's annual Tisch Gala. I am more than thrilled, but with all of my school work, on top of rehearsals, on top of everything else that happens in this crazy city, it sometimes feels like too much. But there's an easy solution to rid myself of this fear, of course. A nice, hot pot of tea. It always does the trick. After a 9 am to 9 pm day at the studio and rehearsal, a cuppa never hurts! Right now I am enjoying a pot of Yorkshire Gold, one of England's favorites for your pot!

I will hopefully be updating more frequently soon!

Until them, Tea Dreams!!!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

High SocieTea and Set to a Tea, Wayne and West Milford NJ

Yesterday I had the honor to enjoy a delectable afternoon tea with Kathleen Rogers, owner of Set to a Tea. I am proud to say I am a new consultant of the wonderful business that brings the joy of afternoon tea straight to you. For tea lovers and novices alike, Set to a Tea is a wonderful way to gather a group of close friends at your home and enjoy a relaxing conversation over a pot of tea and fresh scones. We want to share our passion with everyone interested in learning about it! I am more than thrilled to start hosting parties. If you are in Manhattan and are interested, don't be shy to contact me! I was so touched to learn of Kathleen's beginnings in the tea world and how that shaped her business. This isn't about moving quickly and pushing for sales, but really about relaxation, joy, sharing, and the love of tea. It's a connection of people who want to take a break from the hectic world that many of us live in. The Set to a Tea shop in West Milford is beyond adorable and filled with the goodies you see in the catalog, designed so nicely around the store. I was in heaven from the minute I walked in and saw the teas, pots, and scone mixes! The shop is located at: 1616-H Union Valley Road, West Milford, NJ 07480 973-728-3300 and you can of course visit the website at: http://www.cascadedata.net/stat_dnn/default.aspx

Before I went to see headquarters though, Kathleen and I enjoyed such a delectable "Queen's Tea" at High SocieTea in Wayne. As soon as you step in, you are surrounded by a gift shop of to die for tea goodies. I was so tempted to make purchases! They have wonderful cups, china plates, teas, tea stationary, and more! We were promptly shown to our reserved table. The room is very nicely decorated, not overly done, and quite a nice size. The table was adorned in nice linen, and had a three-tiered tray sitting on it, with china set properly, tea cups, and two pots with cozies on them! A beautiful setting.

I ordered Taste of Blarney tea which was a full bodied mixture of Assam and Ceylon. I quite enjoyed it, however because the tea leaves were in the pot and not decanted at any point, the tea became too bitter after a while, so we had to change our teas after a bit. Kathleen had the caramel chai, which I tried and really enjoyed! The taste of caramel was not too overpowering, but was just enough. I really loved both teas!

Our first course was a delectable salad with nuts, dried cranberries, and feta over a bed of spinach leaves dressed in an AMAZING homemade maple vinagrette. I am never usually a fan of vinagrettes, but this dressing was delectable! The salad course was served with a warm asparagus quiche which was very yummy.

Next came the scones course! Homemade and delectable! My mouth is watering just thinking about them. There were two warm caramel apple scones, and delicious maple cinnamon scones. They were served with fresh cream and lemon curd, and plated with watermelon slices and oranges.

Then came sandwiches followed by sweets. The sandwich plate was great! Cucumber and cream cheese done just right, sliced thin on white bread, egg salad on light wheat, and chicken salad with apple on dark wheat was accompanied by Parmesan crostini and mini quiches. I was in heaven and already getting full, but of course we had some sweets to devour with the rest of our tea.

The shortbread hearts were light and buttery, the peanut butter brownie bites were chocolaty and rich, and there were apricot crumble bites that I didn't try, but the leftovers are eagerly awaiting me in my kitchen!

Kathleen and I were both too full to enjoy the plated desserts, so we had them wrapped up to go. I am so excited to taste my carrot cake triangle sitting in my refrigerator. The cream cheese icing looks so rich and tasty!

Overall, High SocieTea is a definite five stars! I loved it from start to finish. And it was of course made better that I had such wonderful company. Kathleen and I shared wonderful conversation both tea and non-tea related and took time to really relax and enjoy our tea, something that we all sometimes take for granted. Thank you Kathleen, for such a terrific afternoon!

As a new member of the Set to a Tea family, I invite you all to browse the catalog online and feel free to contact me. I am so excited about starting to share something that I love with others. Enjoy your Sundays and relax before the week starts up again!

Peace and Tea Blessing!

-Ethan Nicholas