Monday, April 20, 2015

My Snowball Tree and a Tea Recipe

My snowball tree is filled with an abundance of pristine, white blossoms. They grow in beautiful, clustered orbs. Each branch is heavily laden with snowballs.

My tree was a gift from Karleen. Each spring when it blooms, I think of her and appreciate my tree {and her} even more. Just seeing it reminds me of early childhood memories. My family lived in a barracks that had been converted into an apartment for university married students. Units were small and close, but the back lawns were all connected and all the neighborhood children had a wonderful time playing together outside. When the snowball bushes bloomed, we had wonderful snowball fights with the soft, pristine blossoms. 

The floral snowballs also remind me of real snowballs! The kind that are hard when they hit you and that melt when you try to bring them inside! And they remind me of the quintessential Hostess Snowball. Do you remember them? They were a concoction of chocolate cake covered in marshmallow and rolled in coconut. So tempting in the package at the store, but mother would never buy them {they are "just fluff" she'd say and "not good for growing kids"}. But how pretty they were! Instead we'd use the idea to make homemade truffles at home and sis and I would roll them in unsweetened, flaked coconut until they were as dense and pretty as the blossoms on the snowball tree!

And you can make some too! Here's a recipe I enjoy. Find the coconut and you can roll to your heart's content. The recipe even includes tea!

  • 2 cups heavy cream (or SILK soy creamer)
  • 1/2 cup packed, fresh basil
  • 2 tea bags, Earl Grey tea
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 lb. chocolate, bittersweet, chopped
  • Crushed cookies (gluten-free if necessary), toasted chopped nuts, shredded coconut or cocoa powder, for rolling.

Bring the cream to a low simmer over medium heat. Then remove from heat and add tea bags and basil leaves. Steep for 15 minutes. Then strain mixture and discard the solids. Return the pan of infused cream to the heat and simmer for five more minutes. Then, stir in chocolate until melted and combined. 

Cover mixture and place in fridge. Cool completely (2 hours or overnight). 

When ready to create truffles, place the topping or toppings of your choice in bowls. Use a spoon to scoop by teaspoonful and make a rounded 1 inch ball. Then roll in one of the toppings listed above. Each truffle should be well coated. 

Store truffles in a covered container in the fridge until ready for use.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Tea of Easter

"For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born."  
~ Alice Freeman Palmer ~

"'Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees 
Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
Spanish Student

 "Ye sleeping buds, break 
Open your green cerements, and wake 
To fragrant blossoming for His sweet sake." 
~ Margaret French Patton ~

 "Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time." 
~ Martin Luther ~

"Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter 
That maketh the leaf and the flower come out."  
~ Bertran de Born ~

"The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
~ Henry Knox Sherril ~

The tea today is Adagio Darjeeling Sungma Summer
The teacup and saucer are Noritake Blossom Mist.