Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Southern Sweet Tea Part II

When I was very, very little, my dad would let me drink coffee with him.  My dad drank his coffee black and way back then I didn’t have a problem with that.  Now, I need all the additives to drink coffee--flavored creamer and Splenda to sweeten it.

Last year our daughter Kelly and our one and half year old grandson moved in with us while our son-in-law Kyle was deployed.  The baby is very attached to his papa and they sort of took over the living room each morning to read the paper and have coffee.  The little guy would crawl up on papa’s lap and get his two sips of coffee while they talked and read the paper or played a game on papa’s phone.  Just two sips of coffee that was the limit.

Now you may be wondering what coffee has to do with southern sweet tea.  Kelly and the little guy returned home right before Kyle returned from deployment.  Kelly usually has a batch of sweet tea or sun tea on the counter during the hot months, which would be most of the year, and began filling the little guy’s Sippy cup with iced tea for an afternoon treat.  He would take his sip of tea and say, “coffee.”   It has been almost a year since they returned home but the little guy still has his occasional Sippy of tea in the afternoon and still says, “coffee.”

Kelly said she needed to start him off right learning to drink and appreciate southern sweet tea, part of his heritage. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

studio remodel part I

Well the whole house has been painted, updated, remolded, and spruced up except my art studio.  Since the kitchen/multi room expanded remodel took more time and lots more money, my studio will have to wait for new lights to replace the fluorescent ceiling fixtures, a new chandelier to replace a fan that I never use because of paper, trims, gold leafing, threads, etc. layered on most surfaces in my studio.   Someday I would like to replace the old cupboards with a better system from IKEA.  And last but not least would be a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling in a bright white with a metallic shimmer and maybe paint the countertops something other than green.
For now I am starting small by removing art, decorative items, and things that don’t appeal to me anymore.  Phase I of this transformation is a new china hutch that we bought today on Craig’s list.  I will move the chest I have owned since my parents bought it for me in fifth grade to one of the bedrooms upstairs.  The new piece needs a coat of paint to make it more updated shabby chic.  I am going to use the new chalk paint by Annie Sloan that everyone is blogging about because it can be applied directly to the finished surface already on the hutch without sanding, primer, or any other prep work.  I will need to paint the hardware or find a suitable replacement.  I have time to decide on that.
The nice couple we bought the hutch from had already stripped the paint from the hutch which in its former life was green and now is typical oak.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an oak person and yet there are still several pieces in our home that have yet to be painted or replaced.  More time, more money.  The hutch is going to be “old white” (referred to as lead white but contains no lead).  I didn’t have the heart to tell the sellers after all their hard work stripping the paint off, that I was going to paint it. 
With three clear leaded glass doors on the upper part of the hutch I can now display a small collection of my wooden thread spools and industrial thread/yarn spools.  Photos, collectibles, and treasures will now have a home without dust.  The hutch also has two lights in the top which will be nice to highlight the items displayed on the glass shelves.  The base has six drawers and two doors with shelves to hold art supplies. 
I am excited to begin painting and more excited to see the finished product in my art studio.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Southern Sweet Tea

Family time reminiscing about relatives, places, and food bring back so many memories.  I grew up drinking Southern sweet tea known in some places in the south as “house wine.”  I can’t ever remember a time when mom didn’t have a pitcher of sweet tea on the kitchen counter or a pan of tea brewing on the stove top.

Because my children grew up with Friday night dinners for the whole family once a month, special holiday dinners, special weekends with the grandparents, and let’s just stop by grandma’s because we are out running errands, they learned also that grandma always had a pitcher of iced tea.

All three of my children drink tea cold and hot.  Jim likes his hot tea without sugar and cold tea sweetened.  Michael drinks mostly hot tea and uses honey or drinks it straight, but always likes his grandmother’s tea.  Kelly drinks her tea hot but usually fixes cold tea and likes making a batch of sun tea which she learned from my mother.

Growng up, soda was something we only had for special times and then we always went for Dr. Pepper, orange, grape, or strawberry Nehi.  My grandpa Harry and grandma Chloe owned a small stone county store and gas station in Missouri when I was little and it was a treat to visit and they let us pick a soda.  Sometimes, if we were visiting their home, we would get soda with our meals.

My aunt Elma was a soda girl.  She loved her RC Cola (Royal Crown Cola) until she became Coke girl and always had a little area near the freezer where she kept it stored.  Aunt Faye loved her RC Cola also but probably became a coke girl when her son Ron delivered Coke to the local stores.  My cousin John also delivered for Coke,

Now, when mom makes tea she makes two batches, one sweet tea with sugar and one without sugar that we can add Splenda to sweeten it with.

Red Rose tea is my preferred tea to use and I remember mom always giving me the little ceramic Wade animal figurines which have became very collectible and the older figurines can now fetch several dollars to several hundred dollars for just one figurine.

Lipton Tea was my mother’s other tea of choice and the two brands were interchangeable and mom would usually buy which ever was on sale.

 Mom also bought green glasses known as Boopie, Bubble, Berwick, Inspiration, or Anchor Hocking in the grocery store filled with loose tea in the 1950’s.  I don’t know the brand of tea but I have several pieces in two sizes that mom has given me, now displayed in our new hutch in the kitchen.

Southern Sweet Tea

 4 family size tea bags or 8 regular tea bags
4 c. cold water
1 ½ c. sugar (use more for a sweeter tea)

Place water in pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and add the baking soda and tea bags.  Cover with a plate and let steep for 5-7 minutes, then remove teabags and discard.  When tea has cooled down to warm, empty into a gallon container and add sugar until dissolved then fill remaining pitcher with cold water.    Pour over ice…do not refrigerate.

 Makes ½ gallon

Optional:   add ¼ tsp. (a pinch) of baking soda (the soda takes out the bitterness and darkens the tea, but does not change the taste).
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