Relax. Now there’s a word for you. I love that word: Relax. I love it like one loves anything that seems unattainable. Like a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting while on a diet. Like North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner when on a Shaefer budget. Like High Tea at The Plaza when you’ve got Lipton and a gas station tuna salad sandwich.
The only way I’ll reach that dreamy state of Nirvana where my blood pressure drops below panic level and I don’t have that ever-so-slightly crazy look in my eyes is if I manage to at least triple my income and find a way to afford lessons once again so I have access to those heavy bags. I never had to picture anyone while round housing, jabbing and crossing, or my favorite, throwing a good, wound-up back-hand. Just kicking the crap out of them left me with a dreamy, blissful feeling afterwards. I’m a simple, slightly off, but simple lady.
Since my stress level has been unusually high this month, here are a couple of ways I enjoy (trying) relaxing and lowering my heart rate with a little culinary comfort.
Would you like to join me for a cuppa?
I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of tea, but let’s be frank here. Until recent years, you couldn’t find a good cup of tea in most parts of the United States for love nor less than a lot of money at a British tea shop. There are a few places to get some very nice tea, or you can just buy a box of Barry’s . Also, you really should learn how to properly brew tea. This tea bag in a cup of water in the microwave thing is just wrong. This restaurant bringing you hot water out of the coffee maker for you to pour over your own cheap Lipton tea bag at the table after the water cools off thing is really wrong. This non-dairy creamer in anything thing is just so very wrong. Use milk or cream for the love of all that’s caffeinated!
My new favorite tea vendor is Adagio Teas. They have wonderful teas from all over the world, lots of flavors, their tea bags are some of the best I’ve tried, and they are not expensive at all, especially considering the quality you get. They also love to give you a deal. If you know someone with an account, that person can give out $5 gift certificates every 24 hours: hello, cheap? You can also try any of their teas by buying very generous sample sizes for $2! Hot tea samples are usually enough for 10 cups (10 cups is a sample? Yummy!) Iced tea has a $6 size – enough to make 6 quarts, which is pretty cheap, too. Combine this with a $5 gift certificate from your buddy, and that’s how they get ya. Addicted.
I just love their Blood Orange tea iced, and the Mango served hot with milk is about as yummy and comforting as you could ever want. Better than a stupid blanket with sleeves. My only suggestion about the iced is for the non-black teas, I let it steep longer than 8 minutes. Black and green teas should not steep longer than they suggest or it gets bitter. Also don’t squeeze your tea bag when you take it out of the cup! It also makes your tea bitter. Just take it out, lay it on a plate or in the trash and forgo those extra drops.
C is for Cookie and that’s good enough for me
Nothing is as comforting as smelling fresh-baked cookies and making a cup of tea to enjoy with them while they cool. Buying good cookies is expensive. Buying cookie dough at the store usually means high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and other preservatives, plus it’s not all that cheap for what you get.
In summer I hate turning the oven on, and because I live with a non-cookie-eating cat, baking a whole batch is silly. What I do is make dough that will keep in the fridge and then I cut a couple and bake them in the toaster oven as I want them. I did it at work last weekend. There were some very happy men eating little French cookies in the studios. Also, I must point out to the guys: this is easy to make, and if you want to impress someone and make them feel special, baking up a couple of cookies for them as an impromptu treat will win major points. If you tell them you make it to keep in the fridge for a treat, they might even be impressed with your practical take on comfort food. And come over more often.
I have been experimenting with one of my favorite cookies, Chocolate Sable. They’re lovely salty-sweet French cookies that are delectably rich and flavorful (and full of butter). I haven’t quite perfected my personal take on them, yet, but I’ll share when I do. It may never happen. It’s a simple recipe that is already near perfection. Meanwhile, try that recipe up there. You won’t disappointed.
Running at break-neck speed through life can get awfully exhausting. Keeping the spirit whole and emotions light and happy is even harder when keeping your head above rough financial waters is your overwhelming concern. Make sure you take time for yourself. Saying that you just don’t have time is a bad excuse. It is easier to budget in a sacred “me” time a couple of times a week, or every day if you can, than it is to trudge along with empty batteries. Or without cookies.
Cheap, relaxed Love,