ready to start again

rainy  waiting wheels

this is a weekend with

rain

waiting

and wheels

 a weekend

that rejoices in a hot cup of chai

…or three

a weekend where arguments are refereed,

and ensuing hugs compulsory

a weekend where plans were made

and then rained upon

but the oven runs hot

and bellies are filled

and finally

there is a snatched moment to think,

plan and ignite a few creative brain cells

…ready to start the week again

cityhippyfarmgirl

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what did you get up to this weekend?

(and a big thank you for everyone’s lovely birthday wishes from my last post)

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a tiny garden of hope

cityhippyfarmgirl

cityhippyfarmgirl

There’s a warmth to the early morning air already, and a soft hum of distant traffic. The buzzing of a far off hovering helicopter, is balanced out by the squarks of the overhead parrots starting their day, shrieking from branch to branch.

A stillness to the air, that is appreciated and quietly charges me.

A sleepy sun begins a slow climb upwards, wet washing gets pegged out and plants watered, ready for the heat of the day.

The pause, a moment. A flick off of a reluctant caterpillar. There’s hope in this tiny garden of mine. Tiny bubbles of hope, that at 6am I can feel sitting around me. Hope in more forms than I can count. I like it, in fact I love it. It feels sometime since I had taken the time to fully absorb the morning in my tiny potted garden. Perhaps even some time since I had truly taken in those bubbles of hope.

The kettle has boiled, there is a pot of chai tea waiting inside. Precious minutes, before thoughts are returned to someone or something else for the day.

Maybe just one more moment, with my tiny garden of hope.

tea love…and a giveaway

cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s dark outside when the steaming kettle flicks off. Pouring the hot water into the little green pot, I wait, and I stretch. Then pour again. This time into my empty cup. The smell of the deep spices hit and I slowly breathe them in. Add a little milk and take a tiny satisfying sip.

My morning, my chai.

This is how I love starting the day. With most of my day being fairly unpredictable, I like the very start of my day to be predictable. A simple ritual of a small pot of chai.

When we were in Byron Bay at the end of last year. I came across a tea at the local markets. A tea, that I instantly fell in love with. Loose leaf, and chunky just the way I liked it. It was the best one I’d found so far. I’d never considered that I was fussy with my chai tea, but it turned out, actually I was.

DSC_0158 copy

I wanted loose leaf, (tea bags really are a needless waste of resources when you are drinking at home- plus it tastes better.)

I didn’t want my tea to look like someone had just scraped the bottom of the barrel, lining my teapot with a vague tea smelling dust.

I wanted spices in there and I wanted to see them.

I didn’t want an excessive amount of annoying packaging.

I also wanted to know my chai tea was fairtrade, organic and local (as much as possible).

(And I certainly didn’t want any chai powder or syrup… pffft!)

So there it was, all in my cup. I had found exactly the kind of tea I had been looking for. Simple happiness.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Branching out into some of the company’s other tea and I wasn’t disappointed. Each one that I’ve tried is lovely, really lovely.

Skin Glow– while I can’t attest to my skin actually glowing, it certainly felt good drinking. With ingredients of spearmint, calendula, burdock, echinacea and red clover- how could it not be beneficial?

cityhippyfarmgirl

Floral Love– this one intrigues me. I don’t know what it is, but I’m completely drawn to it. I can’t keep my nose out of the box. It’s got beautiful soft floral tones to it, without being too heady and over powering. It’s subtle enough to draw you in, making you want more, and to take another sip. This tea really is, a late summers picnic with a loved one- balmy warm weather, with a laden picnic rug, sitting in a field of beautiful flowers. If there was ever a tea that could be a soft finger being traced up an afternoons sun kissed arm, or tiny kisses at the base of your neck…well, this would be it.

(Rose petals, chamomile, lavender, rose hips, calendula, corn flower.)

Immunity– Was well timed after a run of three separate family illness over the last three weeks. I was taking anything I could get hold of.

(Echinacea, rose hips, ginger, licorice root, nettle, lemon balm.)

cityhippyfarmgirl

Calming– Goodnight kisses for small kids tucked in bed. Book by my side, and an exhalation. Mentally and physically letting go of the day and all she held. Long slow sips…

(Chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm and lavender.)

I love supporting companies like this. Knowing where my shopping dollar is going is always incredibly important to me. A local small family run company that offers ‘all natural, certified organic and fair trade tea, chai, naturopathic blends and herbal tissanes.’ The teas are designed by a naturopath, are hand blended and packaged, the company give one percent, believe in sustainability and…

…above all, it’s just really, really lovely tea.

*************

If you would like to try some of Love Chai, Love Tea‘s blends. I have some different blends to give away to three people. To win, I would love to hear what your favourite brew is and the setting in which to drink it, (real, imagined or perhaps a memory?)

Have you sipped chai at first light as the sun rose over the Himalayas?

Is it a quiet moment to your self sipping green tea before the family get up?

Do you wish you could go back in time- sharing a cup of hot sweet black tea with your grandmother aboard a Canadian bound ocean liner?

Paint me a picture, tell me a story.

(Giveaway ends 12pm Sunday 26th May)

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EDIT- winners are… Amber, Anne, Rose

cityhippyfarmgirl

Love Chai Love Tea

and where to find it if you would like to buy some.

loving this week


each bead representing it's own beautiful birth

Loving this week…

after bed time meet ups for coffee and cake with my girls

crossing things off lists

rediscovering cooking tasty food, (I had lost my mojo, but Friday saw it swinging back)

my internet connection coming back… I feel human again

wonderful visits from my wonderful midwife

knowing that my time is close… knowing that so many women have gone before me with their own birth journey, and are now sending that love on to me for my journey

Saturday morning cafe visit…chai tea. In a pot…and the paper

soothing massages from hands that know just what to do

early morning walks with the sun rising over misty grounds

giggles with The Monkeys and

chuckles with Mr Chocolate

*******

What have you been loving this week?


spiced warm hug

Brown slop. Thats what I hear you say. Brown slop in a pretty bowl….Actually you are right, it is.

But, it’s good brown slop.

Had a light dinner and need a little something else to ease you into the evening?

One spiced warm hug coming up. That’s what this dish is, or that’s what it feels like when you eat it. Warm, nourishing, you can feel those spiced milky arms envelope you. Feeding your inner soul with its goodness of spices and hint of lemon. Giving you the quiet sugar kick that you were after with out crushing all your taste buds in one mighty swoop. Some nights don’t suit chocolate, some nights are a simple curl up on the couch with a spiced warm hug.

Some people might say brown sloppy rice pudding, I say spiced warm hug please.

Spiced Warm Hug

2 cups milk

150mls cream

1/3 cup muscavdo or molasses sugar (or any other dark unrefined sugar)

6 green cardamom pods

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/3 cup any short grain rice

1/4 cup sultanas

1 large strip of lemon rind

Bring milk, cream, spices to a simmer, turn it down a little lower, so it doesn’t bubble over. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir continuously on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes. Then put the lid on the pot, turn off the hot plate and leave it for 20 minutes. Don’t peek, it’s still doing its thing.

Eat on the couch, with a blanket on your lap, and a book by your side.

chai and raindrops

Looking out at the fat rain drops quickly soaking my washing on the line. I was thinking two things. One, well that was a really bad call. Apparently it wasn’t going to fine up and the washing would not be ok to put out as I had confidently told Mr Chocolate. Two, how can a man with just a slight raise of the eyebrow say so many things, namely… I told you so, so easily?

Actually make it three… how do those raindrops get so big?

It’s been a bit of a tiring week.

There has been a lot of comfort taken in that green tea cup filled with chai this week. The dangling tea infuser is one of those little things that I enjoy filling and then quietly plopping it into hot water. Watching the water slowly change colour. A tiny thing where it’s as much about the process as it is the taste.

It’s a warm hug in a tea cup.

A double hip spica cast on a 2 year old is not fun. A double hip spica cast on a 2 year old, that is still getting pain and muscle spasming constantly is not fun. It’s also not fun when he gets a rip roaring virus on top of that, which sends him back to Emergency and with high temperatures for days on end.

Counting down the days until I see the skin of my boy’s little legs again.

I’m looking forward to easter, as that’s when those little legs should be showing again. Looking forward to seeing his little legs run around looking for tiny chocolate eggs in a garden. Temperatures will be gone, cast will be gone, and Mama should have some terribly well toned biceps from carrying the not so Little Monkey around.

 

Once upon a time in Chocolate Land…..

Once upon a time in a far off land. There lived two bad tempered chocolatiers who try as they might just couldn’t seem to get the hang of tempering chocolate. The first chocolatier had a go at making chocolates for Christmas one year. Lovingly done, creatively produced, and beautifully presented. But little did she know that chocolate wasn’t meant to be just re-melted and added ingredients to if you wanted a consumable product. How they all laughed when her proud presentation of chocolate was unwrapped and before her very eyes the chocolate turned to powder. You see ‘temper’ wasn’t a word that was heard of much in their Kingdom of Chocolate.  Despite mass consumption of it. That was a lesson learnt very quickly by Chocolatier 1.

Then came along chocolatier 2. In his fancy apron, wild ambition, and chocolate making course voucher he spent a lovely afternoon learning from the best. How proud he was as he brought home the glossy, beautifully tempered chocolates. Tasting of honesty, truth and happiness, the two chocolatiers vowed that between the two of them that they would conquer the chocolate tempering dragon. Owning it, as they rightfully thought they should be.

With wild ideas, and more than a few fancy books, they embarked on the mission. Only to be met with frustration, disappointment, apathy, and frowning faces. What are we doing wrong? They said to them selves. Is it the chocolate? Is it the utensils? Is it the method?

Is it us?…

Just at that sorrowful point when they were thinking a tempering machine via the surrounding kingdom of E-bay was sounding pretty enticing, a hand reached out….

A hand of an angel.

The hand of Matcha Chocolate. She had heard their whispered tones of disappointment, their various comments of rue and decided that she would help the little ones. Help them with a long instruction list.

Throwing caution to the wind they embarked again. They eyed off the instructions, and chocolate bowls at the same time. They closed their eyes, crossed their fingers and dipped them in… streaky. Streaky chocolate. Which could only mean one thing, untempered. They seemed so close. There was the snap, it tasted good, the flavours were working, but still it came down to the tell all streak.

Sighing between themselves. They shook their heads, and silently packed away their tools. With whispers of another day… maybe we are only meant for consumption and not production? They took consolation in the loving arms of Whittakers. They knew there would be another day for a rematch, but who knew when that day would be?

One hundred years passed in the Land of Chocolate, and Chocolatier 1 was getting a little anxious. She still felt the weight of not being able to make tempered chocolate. Wringing her hands together, she whispered to Chocolatier 2 that she thought tonight was the night, tonight was the night they would redeem themselves…hopefully.

They side tracked the elves, and got busy. With Matcha Chocolate’s instructions firm in hand again they commenced. It was a full 5 degrees warmer in the little kitchen then the last few times they had tried. Thinking that this could well have been the downfall of them last time, they were hopeful. With bowls full, spoons stirring and molds awaiting. They worked through the night. The elves grew tired and took themselves to bed, the Chocolatiers worked on. With chocolate drying on every surface, as the sun rose and spread it’s sunny fingers over the land, a bleary eyed Chocolatier stumbled to the kitchen. Before her lay a chocolate. Chocolate that looked glossy, had a snap, and not a streak to be seen. Sure it was a little sloppy looking but the Chocolatier had given up trying to be dainty with the last lot of chocolate coated truffles they had made many moons ago.

They had done it!

They had tempered! Hooray! With a spring in their Chocolatier boots and a quick wipe of their dirty chocolatey mouths, they hi-fived themselves…and they lived happily ever after.

1/ Picture one is of properly tempered chai slab.

2/ Assorted ‘streaky’ truffles. Chai, Rum and Raisin, Chilli, Orange flavours.

3/ Streaky chai truffle.

4/ Tempered Rose Apple and Strawberry, (albeit a little sloppy.)

5 drinks to dunk in while watching the World Cup

Here are 5 hot drinks to dip biscuits in to while watching the World Cup in South Africa.

Why are they hot? Because here in Australia it’s winter, and especially cool here in Sydney this week. Also with the time difference the games are being shown at rather unattractive times. 2.00am and 4.30am are fine when you have been out all night and you just want to ‘keep on truckin’, but not so friendly when you have two pint sized people that like to wake up for a cuddle, drink of water, toilet stop, snuggle in your bed, snuggle in their bed etc etc. Sleep is precious and continuous hours together even more precious.

HOWEVER, it’s the World Cup and there just might be a few games that would be worthy of going to bed a little earlier and then getting up to watch in the cold and dark. Now if I am going to do that, then I sure as eggs want something to warm my belly while I watch Mr Chocolate get all excited, silently pump the air and muffle groans in couch cushions. (Actually that’s reason enough to get up, if only for the entertainment in my lounge room.)

5 hot drinks to dip biscuits in while watching the World Cup


Chai Tea

black tea (either loose leaf or bag)

cinnamon

nutmeg

cardamom

knob of ginger

milk

honey

water

Cook all ingredients up in a pot. Adding amounts to suit taste. Let simmer for awhile to let all ingredients infuse together.

Spiced Hot Chocolate

50gms dark chocolate

2 cups milk

1 large strip orange rind

cinnamon

1 small fresh chilli, split and deseeded

Vanilla Milk

1 cup milk

1 dessert spoon muscavado sugar

1/2 tps vanilla

Ayurvedic Milk

1 cup milk

1/2 tps tumeric

1/4 tps nutmeg

Green Ginger Wine

* Now this one is quite often dismissed as an old persons drink of choice. Its cheap and its good! It warms you on a cold night, it keeps colds at bay when you have a niggly sore throat that could get worse, and it’s perfect as a little night cap and to get dunked with biscuits.