Ahas on Final Day of Afternoon Tea Week

Today was the conclusion of Afternoon Tea Week. For the final celebratory day, I prepared a recipe that I’ve wanted to try for a long time…zucchini chips. I used fresh tomatoes and an avocado to make guacamole as an accompanying dip.

The recipes were simple.

Zucchini Chips

Thinly slice 3 – 4 small zucchini. Place slices in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.

Arrange slices on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes in 450 degree oven, or until crispy.

Fresh Guacamole

Pit an avocado and dice. Add one finely cut tomato, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Diced onion, cilantro and jalapeño can be added as well.

The zucchini chips were delicious. However, they were not crispy. I added additional baking time and a few crisped up. A few chips became little charcoal bites! I ate them anyway, using a fork, dipping each chip into the guacamole. I will have to try these again and experiment. Perhaps I had too many slices on the baking sheet. I enjoyed them, nevertheless!

I used fresh lemon grass from my garden for today’s tea. This fragrant herb makes a light, refreshing, aromatic tea with a taste similar to lemon balm.

I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating Afternoon Tea Week. It is a practice I intend to continue, in a somewhat unconventional fashion, now that I’ve discovered I can substitute healthy, flavorful plant based recipes. I truly have not missed the finger sandwiches, scones, sweet treats and shortbread cookies. It is the refreshing pause in the day that became important to me.

Lavender tea and banana nice dream with walnuts and fresh strawberries for yesterday’s unposted tea, that took place so late in the day that it could not be called an afternoon tea, by any stretch of the imagination! It was wonderful though.

My aha that occurred during this celebration was to marvel at the unfolding of life. I enjoyed the creative cooking time in the kitchen this week. I realized this was yet another manifestation of a desire that I expressed a couple of years ago…to cook more and learn new recipes. I did not foresee at that time that a healing journey would usher in opportunities to cook and eat in new, creative ways.

The way I live my life, connected to the Divine and immersed in the Flow of Life, has taught me that when I express a sincere desire and then let go of the outcome and remain open, that which I long for comes to me. It usually isn’t in the way I would have attempted to arrange it or make events happen. And yet, it is always perfectly timed and exactly right.

Here are some of my desires from recent years, expressed in italics, and the Divine’s amazing responses, in bold:

I want to live beyond my fears…Face your fears head on, by living alone for a while. I am with you. And as a bonus, once you move past your fear, you will tap into your creative heart more deeply. You answered that desire before I even asked…

I would love to create a backyard paradise…Here is a new yard, with two feet of fresh dirt, a blank canvas to create upon.

I want to write every day… Meet Lu Ann Cahn. And how about a year of firsts of your own that you can write a daily blog post about?

My desire is to live in the flow, and release resistance… Surrender…let go of the paddles to your canoe, trust that the flow will take you where you need to go. I am the Dream Giver, calling to you from just around the river bend.

I want to cook more! How about in healthy ways that heal your body?

I want to heal my body… Listen to what Anthony William says and you will heal. And, you get to cook more!

I want to travel more…How about a trip to Scotland with your cousins? How about Italy with your grandson and daughter? And another trip to Scotland, plus Ireland and England, with your mom, sisters and niece?

Do You want to play with me? Do YOU want to play with me?!

What an amazing journey life has been and continues to be. It is a dance with the Divine, this asking and receiving, this cosmic playing. My heart overflows with love and gratitude.

This week of afternoon teas, this week of creative play and dancing with the Divine, not only cheered and refreshed me, it spoke deeply to me at a soul level. As an adult, I have seriously under rated the power of playing. Engaging in play daily unlocks my creativity and teaches me new skills and meaningful life lessons.

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes,

“Only when we are at our most playful, can Divinity finally get serious with us.”

Do you want to play…dance, create, explore, discover, learn, cook, draw, write, garden, travel, become healthy, journey through life…with me?

Oh, yes!

Bee Balm Tea with Kale Boats

I was grateful today for left over chopped and sliced veggies in the fridge. My afternoon tea was very late in the day and with those veggies already prepped, creating tea time food was a cinch. In a few minutes, I had two large kale leaves trimmed and ready for filling.

As I was driving home this afternoon, I was considering what I might prepare today and those last two kale leaves came to mind. With the leftover veggies and dipping sauce from yesterday, the kale would become the foundation of my treat today. And I don’t like to waste food. My idea would bring together all those bits and pieces stashed in the fridge and create a colorful, health boosting meal.

Here is my easy recipe:

Kale Boats

Trim, wash and blot dry two kale leaves. In a small bowl, combine chopped veggies of choice. I used tomato, avocado, mushrooms, green pepper, carrots and jalapeño. Spoon filling down the center of each leaf. Top with healthy dressing, if desired. I used my dipping sauce from yesterday. Sprinkle on chopped walnuts.

My tea this afternoon was a first for me…bee balm. Although this prolific herb is growing in my garden, I had not tried it yet as a tea. Bee balm is in the thyme family. This aromatic plant is antiseptic and diuretic, eases digestive disorders, and soothes symptoms of cold and flu. I was looking forward to sipping on it tonight.

By the time the tea was finished steeping, my food was ready. Chunks of cold watermelon completed the meal. I carried my afternoon tea into my bedroom, where the laptop was open upon the bed. I paused in my tasks of looking up properties and answering emails, to savor my tea time.

And savor it I did. I picked up the kale boats and folded them like soft tacos. They were a bit messy to eat, but so delicious and extremely filling. These late afternoon teas this week have in truth become my early dinners. The crunchy, sweet watermelon was good too. And bee balm tea, I discovered, tastes much like thyme tea. I am sipping on a second cup.

I have so appreciated these times of refreshment during a busy week in real estate. I understand why the practice of afternoon tea became popular and has become a tradition. I think after a week of afternoon teas, combined with light flavorful, healthy foods, this will once again become a treasured time of day for me.

Lemon Balm Tea with Cucumber Rolls

I had no idea, when I decided to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, that this particular week would be so full. What a blessing to look forward to tea time late in the afternoon, after long days of showing property or taking care of other real estate business. It was no mistake that inspiration nudged me toward this fun celebration. I’ve had the opportunity to have creative fun and savor downtime while I sip hot herbal tea and enjoy a healthy treat.

It hasn’t been a coincidence either that interesting recipes and fresh ideas have found their way to me as well this week. Today I prepared a simple and scrumptious treat from a recipe by Anthony William.

Cucumber Rolls with Dipping Sauce

Peel one cucumber (one cucumber = one serving) and slice lengthwise into long thin strips. Add slices of veggies or fruits of choice. (Suggestions: avocado, tomato, melon, peppers, celery, carrots, mangoes…any fruit/veggie desired.) Tightly roll up cucumber slice with veggies/fruits inside. Secure with a toothpick and set aside.

Dressing

Combine in blender and blend until smooth: 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons raw, hulled hemp seed (available in baking section at Walmart or health food store), 1 cup zucchini, peeled and diced, 1/2 inch piece jalapeño, without seeds, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, 2 dates, 1 garlic clove.

I made the dipping sauce and refrigerated it in a small glass bowl while I made the cucumber rolls. I don’t own a wide vegetable slicer so I just peeled the cucumber and cut it into thin strips with a knife. For my rolls, I included slices of avocado, carrots, tomatoes, and green peppers. I secured each roll with a toothpick and placed the finished rolls in the refrigerator while the lemon balm tea steeped. When I arranged the rolls on my plate, I removed the toothpicks and placed them seam side down. They stayed rolled up.

Today’s herbal tea is a favorite of mine. Lemon balm is very easy to grow. In fact, I have to be vigilant or it will take over my garden and my yard! I love its lemony scent and crisp taste, plus lemon balm is so good for me.

What bliss to relax with a steaming cup of lemon balm tea and let the busyness of the day ebb away.

The cucumber rolls were easy to prepare and not only delicious but fun to eat. And that dipping sauce was wonderful…slightly spicy and full of flavor! I’ll be making it again for use as a dip with veggies and to top salads. I sliced up a sweet juicy pear to complete my light meal.

I had ahas and deep thoughts during tea time today, about the flow of life and the manifestation of desires and the playfulness of this beautiful dance I am engaged in with the Divine. I’ll save them to share at the conclusion of Afternoon Tea Week.

Tomorrow is another early start to a full day. Although it is barely dark outside, my bed is calling to me. I think I will answer that call.

Mint Tea with Stuffed Mushrooms & Melon

Day three during Afternoon Tea Week, and to celebrate I prepared a wonderfully satisfying treat today. I had the brilliant idea of making stuffed mushrooms for this afternoon’s tea. As I moved through my day, I couldn’t wait to play in the kitchen and see how my idea turned out.

For the mushroom filling, I adapted a brown rice and lentil recipe for the pressure cooker. Here is the recipe for my simple and healthy treat:

Stuffed Mushrooms

Prepare filling:

Rinse mushrooms and pat dry. Remove stem by cutting around edge of mushroom on the underside, leaving the cap. Place mushrooms in a small bowl, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Place mushroom caps hollow side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Fill each mushroom cap with brown rice and lentil filling, mounding slightly. Cook in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

As the stuffed mushrooms baked, I snipped sprigs of mint from my garden. While the mint tea steeped, I prepared the rest of my afternoon treat.

During the summer months I enjoy the juicy goodness of watermelon and cantaloupe. Chunks of chilled melon with sprigs of mint seemed like the perfect accompaniment to the mushrooms.

The mushrooms were perfect, tasty without being too heavy. This afternoon tea made a great early dinner when paired with the melon. And the mint tea was an excellent pick me up. And as with the other teas this week, everything was plant based, healthy and nutritious.

Greg walked into the kitchen as I was finishing my preparations. “You are having fun, aren’t you?” he asked. The answer is, I am. Being creative in the kitchen is great fun for me. And finding new ways to enjoy afternoon tea has been extremely rewarding, along with being fun.

Henry James wrote, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

I wholeheartedly agree!

Thyme Tea with Baked Pears

I am enjoying this week long celebration already. It has reinstated a custom I love, having afternoon tea. Creating a plant based tea time, rather than one featuring sweets and sandwiches, engages my imagination and allows me to try out healthy recipes. And taking time out late in the afternoon, to prepare my herbal tea and nutritious snack, and then sit and savor it, is a wonderful self care practice.

My goals are simple: During this Afternoon Tea Week, enjoy a different herbal tea and healthy treat every day. And have fun.

Today I chose thyme for my cup of hot tea, picking a sprig out of the garden. For my treat, I prepared a recipe from Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William. This simple, wholesome treat is easy to make, using only four ingredients.

Cinnamon Baked Pears with Toasted Walnuts

4 pears, any variety

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pears in half length wise and remove seeds. Arrange pear halves face up on baking tray. (I lined with parchment paper). Drizzle each pear half with maple syrup, brushing over the face of the pear, and leaving some inside the center. Divide the walnuts evenly into the centers of the pears and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 20-30 minutes until pears are tender and cooked through. Serve warm from the oven.

With blustery clouds filling the sky, I moved tea time indoors, setting up the cup and saucer and the food plate on one of my vintage metal tray. What bliss, to quiet my body and my mind and sip healing tea.

I added slivers of celery. The crunchy, salty tasting celery complemented the pears beautifully. And those pears? Delicious! They smelled wonderful as they baked and tasted as good as they smelled.

Tomorrow I am trying something new, involving rosemary flavored brown rice, lentils and mushrooms. Conventional tea time fare? Not hardly. Comforting, creative, healthy and delicious? Absolutely!

I am loving my unconventional afternoon teas.