The oven timer is on and I thought I should get to work on this wrap up, in addition to sharing how I ended up baking instead of reading yesterday and today.
Reviews published this week: The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
What I finished reading
This week feels similar to last week; I finished one book, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, a historical fiction book about female friendships. Last week was a similar reading trend, but the women in this book are much different. Mi-ja and Young-sook become friends at a young age, trained by Young-sook’s mother to become haenyeo, women divers on the island of Jeju in Korea.
Mi-ja and Young-sook’s lives are changed when they experience loss, when they leave home to work as haenyeo to take care of their families, and later marry. With the volatile political changes due to Japanese colonialism and wars, both women face some of their biggest obstacles, affecting their friendship and changing their lives forever. I enjoyed this book and want to read some of See’s older books. Thank you Scribner books for the free review copy!
What I have been drinking
Tea Challenge Update: Week 2 and I’ve finished 3 more teas. Of course I could have finished a few more but decided for some fun and creativiTEA with one of my favorite cuppa’s this week.
☕ The Cup: Chocolate Peppermint | 🍃 Tea Type: Black + Herbal| ✉ From: Harney and Sons
One of my brewTEAful friends gave me some a chocolate flavored black tea I’ve enjoyed in the past. Since I recently restocked my favorite Peppermint tea from Harney and Sons, I figured I’d make my own blend which was absolutely a perfect start to the day.. Mixologist in the making.
☕ The Cup: Matcha | 🍃 Tea Type: Green
I finished my Matcha! Too bad I figured out the perfect way to make a latte especially with my cupcakes from last week. I will have to finish more tea to make room for Matcha on a more consistent basis.
What I’m Currently Reading
I’m still savoring my travels to Italy via armchair in The Enchanted April. There has been some laughing but also a measure of introspective reflection as I think about the lives of the 4 women in comparison to my own. Would I be brave enough to take a vacation with perfect strangers for an unforgettable holiday? Lady Caroline said this and I have been laughing all week when I think about it.
“People were exactly like flies. She wished there were nets for keeping them off too. She hit at them with words and frowns, and like the fly they slipped between her blows and were untouched. Worse than the fly, they seemed unaware that she had even tried to hit them. The fly at least did for a moment go away. With human beings the only way to get rid of them was to go away herself. That was what, so tired, she had done this April; and having got here, having got close up to the details of life at San Salvatore, it appeared that here, too, she was not to be let alone.”
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield is still making an appearance because I read one story every other day, well, almost. One sad glimpse into the life of the character and story, Ma Parker was so sad,.
“Oh, wasn’t there anywhere where she could hide and keep herself to herself and stay as long as she liked, not disturbing anybody, and nobody worrying her? Wasn’t there anywhere in the world where she could have her cry out—at last?”
Is anyone else adding more books to their currently reading stack? I really should finish a few but I’m enjoying everything. Take a look at my stack that doesn’t seem to be shrinking! I finished one but added 2? How do you manage your current reads? Especially when they’re all books you’re enjoying?
I started Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer by Lisa McCubbin. Thank you Gallery Books for gifting me this book. I’ve already learned quite a bit about Betty Ford in just the first few chapters. She was a trained dancer? I had no idea.
The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman is another one I picked up and already I’m completely taken by the subject matter. Emma Lou Morgan is a young black woman who experiences prejudice within her own race because people think she’s too dark. She’s tried bleaching her skin but that has been unsuccessful. This is one I’d like to spend the whole day reading. Thank you Penguin Classics for gifting me this book.
A Mountain of Crumbs is my last carryover read from March. I’m going to spend some time reading several chapters while I sip tea and tell you about what I did this weekend instead of catching up on my reading, like I planned.
I wanted to try another recipe with tea based on a suggestion from some comments last week. I recently ordered a black tea from Harney and Sons called Diamond Jubilee. It’s an Earl Grey with more citrus zest which I believe, feels and taste like a new favorite. I thought it would be nice to infuse the tea into a lemon tea bread recipe I found online, especially since I’ve had success using Earl Grey in the past in a cupcake recipe. Here’s tea loaf number one.
It wasn’t a bad first attempt, but there were a few things I wanted to do differently, especially with infusing the tea. I sliced the loaf up and gave it away to my pool of taste testing friends in exchange for some feedback. While visiting one friend this afternoon, she enjoyed her piece so much, she ate her piece and one I was planning to deliver on my way home! Needless to say, I had more at home to share and deliver as planned. That delivery was a good friend; an amazing cook and phenomenal baker, who gave me some specific feedback on dry and wet ingredients. I thought the texture was off but this is a loaf, not a cake right? So what did I do this afternoon instead of writing this post?
Loaf number 2!! I replaced the oil in the recipe this time with butter, infusing the butter with the tea leaves. I also infused the milk with the tea leaves. I strained the leaves from both before mixing into the batter. I steeped a cup of tea to infuse one tablespoon into the mixture for the lemon glaze to brush on after the loaf was finished. I have some tweaking to do but I think loaf 2 has more of a zesty flavor, enhanced by the tea. I’ll share with my taste testers for more feedback.
I also spent some time organizing the blog! Check out the new menu options and let me know what you think!
What I’m Planning
Buddy reads and readalongs for the spring! I’ll share what I have planned for the April – June. Hint: one of the books has a flower in the title, the other is a chunky classic about an innocent man wrongly imprisoned.
A tea event: These last few weekends of baking have allowed me to experiment with some possibiliTEAs for my next tea event! Now, I just have to plan a date! I planned to visit a tea shop for a tasting next weekend with a friend, only to find out the shop will be closed for a private event! Oh well, maybe we will visit another tea shop instead. But first, let me try to finish reading some of these books!