Sunday, September 20, 2020

Currant Conversation Oolong Tea by Karen Rose Smith

 


Drinking tea was a past time long before I began writing cozy mysteries that take place at my sleuth’s business establishment, Daisy’s Tea Garden. When I was a child we lived with my grandfather and aunt. I remember nights in front of a black and white tv/radio/phonograph combination. My mom would brew tea.

                  Burton Teapot for One 


This week I tried Plum Deluxe’s Currant Conversation Oolong Tea. 


                                                     Currant Conversation Oolong Tea

Since my next Daisy’s Tea Garden mystery release is Murder With Oolong Tea, I’m especially interested in oolong flavors. Oolong is neither a Green tea or a black tea. It has characteristics of its own depending how it’s oxidized. The taste can also depend on where it’s grown. Its origins are in China and Taiwan.  This Currant Conversation Oolong Tea has more of a woodsy taste than fruit taste.  The smoothness comes from vanilla. It is organic. I used 1 teaspoon for each cup with boiling water, steeping it for about 4 minutes.

I hope you can relax and enjoy a time-out for a cuppa tea!

 

Tidbit about MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA

A spring house on a farm is almost a thing of the past. But not for Daisy Swanson. A spring house could save her life!

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MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA

Release Date: DECEMBER 29, 2020


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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Hot #Cinnamon Tea for #Fall by Karen Rose Smith

 



Are you looking for a fall tea? Or just one that’s a little different in taste?

At Daisy's Tea Garden that my sleuth Daisy Swanson and her aunt Iris run in an old Victorian house, they are constantly mixing and discovering new flavors.  So am I.


This week I’m drinking Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Tea. Last winter when my throat was scratchy, I looked for a different type of tea to soothe it. At first I found the caffeinated tea. I like the sachets that look like delicate silky bags. Since I prefer this tea lightly brewed, I use them twice. 

 


Both caffeinated and decaf are sweetly spicy. They remind me of the taste of “red hot” candies that I sometimes use in baked apples. The tea sachets hold a combination of black tea, 3 types of cinnamon and sweet cloves. Each sachet can brew a 12 oz. cup. I prefer this tea hot. Harney and Sons Cinnamon Tea

 


If you like cinnamon, I believe you’ll like this tea. 

 

Murder With Oolong Tea tidbit this week!


Will Shakespeare’s wife’s name was Anne Hathaway. This is a clue leading to why a 60 year old English teacher used a fake ID! 

 

Until next time...


NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER 

MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA

Release Date: DECEMBER 29, 2020


PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

PRE-ORDER ON BARNES AND NOBLE

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Toasted Nut Brulee Oolong #Tea by Karen Rose Smith

 

I write a cozy mystery series for Kensington Books.  My Daisy's Tea Garden series is set in Lancaster, PA Amish country in a fictional town named Willow Creek.  Many of the scenes are set in Daisy's tea garden that she owns with her Aunt Iris.  In the next weeks, I'll be tasting teas that are new to me and blogging about them.  I'll also share a hint about my next release that will be available at the end of December, MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA.

To brew tea, I use a teapot I heat on the stovetop rather than an electric pot. 

I have a variety of china tea pots for brewing, many handed down by my mother. I enjoy using them to evoke memories or simply to make me smile. I use an infuser that can easily hold six teaspoons of loose tea, though most of my teapots hold four cups.

This teapot is a James Sadler made in England. The vintage tea cup belonged to my mom. It’s Royal Sealy China. I believe that atmosphere you create when brewing tea can bring a sense of calm and a return to a refined time. 

 

 

This week I’m tasting Toasted Nut Brulee Oolong Tea. This caffeinated tea is hand blended by Plum Tea Deluxe.  I brewed a teaspoon a cup for six minutes. It’s just what the name purports it to be—the flavor of nuts and a velvety, rich smoothness on my tongue. I particularly like this tea hot. My husband likes it iced. It’s a mixture of oolong, black tea, rooibus, apple pieces, along with nut and flower essences.

 



In Murder With Oolong Tea, Daisy is serving tea at a teacher appreciation luncheon.  She hears a scream coming from the pool area...

 

Til next time...


NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER 

MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA

Release Date: DECEMBER 29, 2020


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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Peaches N' Cream Oolong #Tea by Karen Rose Smith


 

There are reasons why many of us enjoy brewing tea. In my Daisy’s Tea Garden cozy mystery series, readers can see why customers patronize a tea garden. Sharing a pot of tea, can encourage calm, reinforce friendships, and create an atmosphere that takes us back to a quieter more refined time.

 

I’ve found an assortment of teas that can help do all of the above from Plum Deluxe Teas. Over the coming weeks, I’ll post my impressions of each one along with a few hints about my upcoming Daisy’s Tea Garden cozy MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA.  Plum Deluxe Teas are loose teas that are blended in small batches at their studios in Portland, Oregon. The teas are organic, non gmo and free of chemicals and sulfites. The company supports local businesses and USA farmers. 

 

I’ll begin with Peaches N' Cream Oolong Tea. This is our season in Pennsylvania for local peaches and it’s one of my favorite flavors. Plum Deluxe’s Peaches N' Cream Oolong tea is a caffeinated tea with a smooth experience of flavor on the tongue. It has a hint of peach notes that makes it comforting as a hot beverage and thirst quenching as an iced beverage. I brewed a teaspoon for each cup and steeped it for six minutes. You can learn more about Plum Deluxe Teas here. Plum Deluxe Teas

 

In Murder With Oolong Tea, Daisy finds an opinionated English teacher might have more enemies than friends!

 

Til next time...


NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER 

MURDER WITH OOLONG TEA

Release Date: DECEMBER 29, 2020


PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

PRE-ORDER ON BARNES AND NOBLE



Friday, January 10, 2020

Cat Gifts by Karen Rose Smith



I was excited by all the new electronic devices my husband and I received for Christmas to help make our daily routines (like preparing a shopping list) a little easier.  However, my favorite gifts are those which are cat-related. Since I love cats and always try to feature them in my cozy mysteries, when I receive a "cat" gift, I feel that the gift was chosen personally for me and that the giver took the time to consider what I enjoy receiving.

Since I write the Daisy's Tea Garden cozy mysteries (and of course love cats!) the Merry Catmas teapot pictured above was the perfect gift from my pet sitter.  It perfectly combined both of my "loves."  And it perfectly complements my Lenox cat cookie jar, a gift from Christmases past.

My son always tries to find a personalized cat gift featuring one of my felines, but this year he gave me a black mug!  Oh, did I forget to mention that the mug turned into a cat mug when it is filled with hot liquid? The image on the mug resembles the original paintings in my vet's office...which I always take a photo of and post on social media when one of my cats has an appointment.



Utilitarian gifts can also be made more personal by adding cats!  I have a collection of decorative canes which I always take with me when I go out.  But until this Christmas, I did not have one that featured cats.  At a distance, it just looks like a multi-colored cane, but up close, various breeds of cats with their expressive eyes bring a smile to my face. 

I saw the new drip-proof umbrellas advertised on TV before the holidays, but I was not aware they came with cats decorating the whole underside of the umbrella.  Now all I have to do is look up on a rainy day and the sweet cat faces staring down at me will chase away the rainy day blues.


I also enjoy giving cat-related gifts.  My husband has quite a collection of "cat" T-shirts.  I added this one to his collection this year.  The cat looks very much like Halo, the pregnant stray we took in who had her kittens in my office.  She and hubby have a special bond.
 

Gift giving from the heart is always immediately recognizable when the gift is opened.  The smile on the recipient's face shows appreciation for someone taking extra care to choose the perfect gift.

Now it's time to start shopping for next Christmas so I can give everyone on my gift list the perfect gift that will brighten their day.

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NOW AVAILABLE


Keith Rebert is homeless with a sad story that includes the death of his wife and medical bills that decimated his finances. Daisy and her friend Jonas Groft meet him through one of Daisy’s employees and offer help. But soon Keith is caught up in a murder investigation. He was supplying the shop Pirated Treasures with antiques, including Gettysburg Battlefield memorabilia. The nephew of the shop’s owner, Barry Storm, was lowballing merchandise that Keith brought in. One day Keith and Barry vehemently argued. Soon after, Barry was found dead, killed with a marble rolling pin that held Keith’s fingerprints. Daisy’s special for the month, cherry tarts, was found spilled on the floor next to him. Keith is the number one suspect.


Keith finds a job on a farm where he can live in a cabin with his daughter Mandy. A friend of Barry’s lived and worked there before the murder, then suddenly moved out. As Daisy finds clues that give insight into Barry’s life and prepares for her daughter’s wedding, she faces danger, verbally battles with the detective on the case, and tries to figure out what part Jonas Groft plays in her life. When she finds the ultimate clue that tells her exactly what Barry Storm was involved in, she almost loses her life. 




Friday, January 3, 2020

"Dotting" The House With Technology by Karen Rose Smith




Christmas brought new technology to the Smith house!  After seeing the online promotions and discussing with friends how the Amazon Echo and Dot have conveniently worked in their homes, I decided to take the plunge and gift these items to my husband.  I suppose the younger generation view these items as the newest technology and add them to their homes to keep up with the latest additions to phones and tablets.  But, as a member of an older generation, rather than fighting the technology, I look at these new gadgets as a way to help me do things with less stress on me and my body.  As a person with arthritis and tendonitis, it is much more convenient to give a voice command to turn on a light, make a phone call or listen to an audiobook than getting out of my chair or maneuvering my phone or tablet.

We have added smart speakers in my office, den and master bedroom.  Now, at night, if I go upstairs to settle for the evening and my husband is still downstairs, I can talk to him with a simple voice command, rather than getting up and yelling down the stairs.  If either of us were to fall or need medical assistance, we can call each other...or emergency services...hands free.  I can also call anyone on my phone's contact list.

Do you remember the "Clapper?"  We were still using them to turn on lights in the bedroom, but recently I was having a flareup of wrist problems and was unable to "clap" the light on.  So we added a smart plug, synced it with Alexa and now I can just ask her to turn on or off the light!








I'm sure, as we become more familiar with the technology, we will embrace it even more as we discover new ways it can make our "golden" years easier.  And it is also reassuring that if we need assistance, it can be there with one simple voice command.


Needless to say, my heroine in my Daisy's Tea Garden cozy mystery series will most probably be adding these devices to her home.  Hmmm...


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NOW AVAILABLE



Keith Rebert is homeless with a sad story that includes the death of his wife and medical bills that decimated his finances. Daisy and her friend Jonas Groft meet him through one of Daisy’s employees and offer help. But soon Keith is caught up in a murder investigation. He was supplying the shop Pirated Treasures with antiques, including Gettysburg Battlefield memorabilia. The nephew of the shop’s owner, Barry Storm, was lowballing merchandise that Keith brought in. One day Keith and Barry vehemently argued. Soon after, Barry was found dead, killed with a marble rolling pin that held Keith’s fingerprints. Daisy’s special for the month, cherry tarts, was found spilled on the floor next to him. Keith is the number one suspect.

Keith finds a job on a farm where he can live in a cabin with his daughter Mandy. A friend of Barry’s lived and worked there before the murder, then suddenly moved out. As Daisy finds clues that give insight into Barry’s life and prepares for her daughter’s wedding, she faces danger, verbally battles with the detective on the case, and tries to figure out what part Jonas Groft plays in her life. When she finds the ultimate clue that tells her exactly what Barry Storm was involved in, she almost loses her life. 


Friday, December 27, 2019

I Found A Gem of a Tea Room in Manchester, Maryland by Karen Rose Smith



After all these years, it is difficult for my husband to find different venues to celebrate my birthday.  This year he happened across a newly opened tea room only about twenty minutes from our home.  Considering that my Daisy's Tea Garden cozy mysteries are set in a tea room in nearby Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, this new establishment seemed the perfect place to celebrate.  They were featuring a "Starry Night Tea" on the weekend of my birthday...so he made reservations and we headed for the Steeped Tea Cafe in Manchester, Maryland on a sunny December Sunday afternoon.

The tea room was festively decorated with Christmas merriment and the tea rooms were also adorned with traditional "tea" items.  We were seated in the spillover room which gave us the entire three-table room to ourselves.  It was enjoyable to have some quiet time away from the phone and computer to chat and enjoy the Christmas music that surrounded us.












The menu was displayed on each table and we knew we were in for a real treat. 


After our choice of tea was served, our first course was a delicate cranberry chocolate chip scone which blended really well with the Starry Night tea, a custom blend made at the Steeped Tea cafe.

That was followed by a delicious potato leek soup that was complemented by an arugula and pomegranate salad with a champagne vinaigrette dressing.



While we were waiting for the main course and dessert tower, we had a chance to chat with our waiter who was a family member of the owner.  We discussed how the business came to fruition as a family endeavor and how the cafe differed from other tea rooms in the vicinity.  It's always good to have research resources for future cozy mysteries right at my doorstep.


We certainly were not disappointed when the layered tea tower was presented.  The lower level featured grilled shrimp bruschetta, beef and blue cheese crostini and butternut squash puffs all of which were  accompanied by the dessert offerings -- toasted hazelnut glazed pumpkin cake, a red velvet trifle and dipped Madeleines.  Needless to say, by the end of the dessert course I was stuffing my cake and Madeleine in my purse to enjoy later.




After we finished our meal, we were greeted by Brandon Reiter, the chef and owner of the cafe.  It was enjoyable discussing the business and getting a peek into the intricacies of creating a menu and preparing enough food to serve all the guests on a given day.  Chef Reiter never believed he would end up owning and operating a tea room when he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.  But he has enjoyed the last 18 months of ownership and hopes to expand the business even more.

Quiet time with my husband, a unique tea cafe and delicious food...what better way to spend my birthday?  Please feel free to share your unique dining experiences as you celebrate special events in your year.


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NOW AVAILABLE



Keith Rebert is homeless with a sad story that includes the death of his wife and medical bills that decimated his finances. Daisy and her friend Jonas Groft meet him through one of Daisy’s employees and offer help. But soon Keith is caught up in a murder investigation. He was supplying the shop Pirated Treasures with antiques, including Gettysburg Battlefield memorabilia. The nephew of the shop’s owner, Barry Storm, was lowballing merchandise that Keith brought in. One day Keith and Barry vehemently argued. Soon after, Barry was found dead, killed with a marble rolling pin that held Keith’s fingerprints. Daisy’s special for the month, cherry tarts, was found spilled on the floor next to him. Keith is the number one suspect.

Keith finds a job on a farm where he can live in a cabin with his daughter Mandy. A friend of Barry’s lived and worked there before the murder, then suddenly moved out. As Daisy finds clues that give insight into Barry’s life and prepares for her daughter’s wedding, she faces danger, verbally battles with the detective on the case, and tries to figure out what part Jonas Groft plays in her life. When she finds the ultimate clue that tells her exactly what Barry Storm was involved in, she almost loses her life.