Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Drinkin' O' the Green

I'm Irish. I have many happy memories of St. Patrick's Day celebrations: Irish step dancing, vibrant Celtic music, shamrock plants, cold beer, Irish soda bread, and always wearing green so as to not get pinched! Post cancer and focusing on caring for my body, I've switched my focus from the "wearin' o' the green" to the "drinkin' o' the green," green tea that is!

I drink about three cups of green tea every day. I prefer either Trader Joe's Organic Green Tea or Tazo Zen tea, a green tea, lemongrass and spearmint mix. I've read that to get the full benefit of the antioxidants in green tea it is necessary to steep the tea for ten minutes. The problem is that in ten minutes the tea is no longer hot. Humph.

Nancy Snyder

The problem was solved for me by my friend and potter Nancy Snyder of 5th St Clayworx. Nancy makes, among other things, beautiful hand thrown mugs with lids. The lid sits on top of the mug while the tea is steeping and keeps in the heat. The lid then makes a handy place to put the bag. The bonus is that this mug is truly beautiful. The shades of brown and touches of green and blue are a visual feast and make the ten minute wait tolerable.
Mug and fitted lid

Gorgeous and functional

Today's breakfast of green tea and Irish Soda bread (recipe below) was good for the soul because I thought of my friend and her passion for her art. All those antioxidants are good for my body. And starting my day with something beautiful sparks my creativity.  Slainte!

Here's an easy recipe for Irish Soda Bread. I used organic sugar, butter, raisins, and milk but couldn't find organic self-rising flour. Next year I'll figure out how to replace the flour as well.

Irish Soda Bread

4 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. sugar
4 T. butter
8 oz. raisins
2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans.

Mix first three ingredients well. Slowly add in milk. Blend in raisins. Shape into two loaves, place in pans and bake 50-70 minutes until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out clean and the top is beautifully browned. Best served with Irish butter!


  1. The camera is a winner! And I love the mug, too. :)

  2. Thanks Dani. This mug not only keeps the tea warm while steeping but if I want to reheat a cup I abandoned before finishing I pop it in the microwave for thirty seconds and the tea heats. I always thought that earthenware mugs would take too long to heat, especially to reheat, but I was wrong!

    I am pleased with these pictures from my new digital. I'm even going to read the manual and find out what tricks the camera can do...

  3. Slainte to you, Judy! Seems like you settled on a camera that works for you, one that makes the transition to digital easy. Love the soda bread and the mug, too!

  4. Lovely mug, lovely recipe, lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  5. And the mug is just as beautiful in blue like the one I have. Your soda bread looks so good. I'll have to give the recipe a shot. Maybe I'll try it gluten free. The photos are wonderful.

  6. Joyce and Lori, thanks so much for the encouragement, especially about the photos! I'm working hard to improve my photography skills to make my blog as interesting as possible!