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*Insert Generic Intro Post Here*

The few people who are/will be reading this already know me, but anyway it’s short intro time. Hi! *waves* I’m Othella, but you can call me Thellie. I will also respond to any of my usernames, Miss Othella, Granny O, The Voice of God on Earth, and “Hey You!” You know what, just for you, I’ll even acknowledge that you are talking towards me even if you just post a comment without any title for me at all. Yeah, I’m just that cool. ^_^

Back on track, this blog is for me to review consumables. The original idea was teas and other drinks, but I decided to expand beyond that because I could and I don’t want to limit myself. This blog has two purposes. The first is the obvious keeping track of random cool things I make, find, eat, drink, try out, etc. The second is to work on my writing and reviewing skills. I am a sort of writer for my own pleasure and would like to eventually write for others. I have added links to some of my writings (poems, short stories and human interest essays) as well as my BPAL perfume reviews in the links area. If you care to read, you’re welcome to. If you care to review, you are certainly welcome and encouraged to do so. Comment away on anything.

I will not have any sort of a schedule. I have a back log of things to write about. My goal is at least once a week and probably never more than once a day after this first day. If you have any suggestions for something you tried that you liked or think I should try, send it my way! If you want to try something and agree or disagree with my review, please comment about it. I’d love that.

And now, on to the main event! As this blog was originally conceptualized for tea, it’s only fitting that tea be the first review. Without further ado, the first review…

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Oatmeal Pancakes

I love my pancakes.  Sadly on this diet, we are cutting calories and shying away from a lot of bread, so no pancakes.  Or so I thought.  I found this recipe for oatmeal pancakes and decided to give it a go.

Oatmeal Pancakes

2 cups Oatmeal (Quick Oats work best) - 600 cal.
2 cups Milk - Skim makes it 160 cal.  You could substitute water, but it makes them a bit too runny for my taste.
2 egg whites - 30 cal.  You can use the whole egg if you aren't worried about calories.  Eggs are 70 cal. each.
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg

Blend all ingredients in the blender.

Fry up in the griddle. 

Makes about 8-9 pancakes around 100 cal. each.

You can also add raisins to the mix (about 1/4 cup and 130 cal), use heated applesauce for a syrup, or I like to use Kernel Seasonings' Apple Cinnamon blend sprinkled on top of the pancakes.

These aren't the light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes, more of a dense oat cake, but they are quite yummy and a hit with me, the 11 yr old and the 2 yr old.

Long Time, No Post

My my my, I have been lax. Somewhat excusable because of getting a job, moving, working 12-15 hour days, but still, I should have at least put up a hiatus message or somesuch.  Oops. 

Anyway, I plan on starting to post my low calorie recipes here this week.  At the house, we're all on a low calorie diet (1200 cal/day) and so most of my meals have been needing to hit around 300 calories or so per serving.  These are all delicious and ones we've made repeatedly because we like them a lot.  We're all losing weight, too!   I've already lost about 20 lbs in 3 weeks!

Coming up will be:

Oatmeal Pancakes
Veggie Soup
Turkey Veggie Soup
Marinated Italian Grill Chicken
Packet Mushroom Chicken
Pace Texas 2-Step Chicken
and
Hints for making Oatmeal yummy
as well as
Hints for making foods lower in calories!

Bewley's Apple Spice Tea

Sorry about the long lapse between entries.  Between jewerly stuff and computer problems, it's been a while since I've been able to get anything done review-wise.  So here's a lovely one, but a short one.

Bewley’s Apple Spice Tea – One I picked up in Dublin. 

I’m not ashamed to admit that my favorite tea company is Bewley’s.  They are a Dublin tea merchant, started almost 170 years ago, so they’ve learned how to do tea right in my estimation.  Thankfully, it’s also available in the US.  I’d have missed it terribly. 

 

This tea originates in Kenya, and they describe this blend as a “scrumptious black tea, sprinkled with virtue and spice.”   It’s a nice blend that smells heavenly and a bit like apple pie.  That flavor goes well with the rich black tea.  It also goes great with a few mini banana nut muffins.  ^_^

Peet's Tea Earl Grey with Bergamot

To make up for the long absence, another double update!

Peet’s Tea Earl Grey with Bergamot – Another cool freebie with a BPAL trade

I’ve seen Bergamot come up in the fragrance notes on the perfume oils and have wondered what it was. Finding it here in a tea, I decided to finally look it up and find out for myself. It’s that citrus note from the fruit of a cross between a type of lemon and grapefruit and from an evergreen tree.
Now that I knew what to expect and look for with the standard of Earl Grey, it’s time to start in on this delicious smelling tea. Out of habit I add two spoonfuls of sweetener (often I’ll use honey, sometimes I want sugar – today is a sugar day). This is very smooth and flavorful with the slightest hint of citrus. It’s a wonderful tea time tea. It goes great with my mini muffins and would go wonderfully with my favorite biscuits, but I’m afraid I have no McVities.
I think I’m going to add a bit of lemon. I ate half of one this afternoon, so I have the other half laying around. Oh, adding a section and a half is quite lovely. I peel my lemons - my limes and grapefruit, too. Anyhow, yes, it is quite a good tea. I may have to look for some on my own, though Lord knows I have plenty of other teas. Oh, and the tea bag is most definitely reusable at least once. Yeah, I’m cheap. I do that.

Update: Yes, it does make a wonderful second cup of tea! No lemon this time and I nearly finished the whole mug which is a “whoa” moment.



I first got the idea to make this soup because I’d had it at Olive Garden and really liked it a lot. So I went into the scary world of the Intarwebz!! *spooky fingers and ominous tones implied* I found a recipe that claimed to be just like Olive Gardens and seemed simple enough. It was ok. Not great, kinda mediocre, but it showed promise. I knew what I needed to do to make it good!

This is so savory and fully of potato-y, sausage-y, creamy, crunchy goodness! This is always a hit with everyone from the first meal you cook for your boyfriend and his grandparents to a fun night in with the roommate (ilu, Bekah!), and even can be easily doubled to make enough to send a pot off as a meal for a down on their luck family. It can be adapted so easily to work for whatever size group you have (just toss in an extra potato or two and another cup of water with a little boullion!) Another great thing about it is that if you buy two things of sausage, you have all the ingredients for two pots. You only use half of the onion anyway and everything else works out perfect for that…

 

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Makes ~6 dinner sized servings and goes great with a light salad and dinner rolls. Takes about an hour to make from start to finish and has just the right amount of time while cooking to make the additions to dinner, set the table, and then call everyone in while the cream is being incorporated so that you can serve it hot off the stove. I do love recipes with considerate cooking times like that! ^_^

I make this regularly and if you ever have dinner at my place or I cook for you, this is probably what I’m making since I know the recipe by heart. I even travel with my own bouillon, pepper flakes and knives so I can make it on the spur of the moment without too much excess ingredients.

  (I'll try to get a better pic up next time I make this.  This batch was done in my dorm 2 years ago.)

Butterfly Brand Lichee Black Tea

Since I was gone for so long, I'm going to do two entries back to back!

Butterfly Brand Lichee Black Tea from Fujian China - sent to me as a freebie from Kathy in another BPAL swap package (I'm getting a lot of teas this way!)

I put it up to a vote which tea to try next and new IRC friend Xanthina recommended the Lichee Black Tea, as it's one of her favorites.  I asked for recommendations on how to prepare it and was told to use not quite boiling water and steep for 5-10 minutes.  Xan uses both sugar and honey depending on mood, just like I do.

I can see why it's one of her favorites, it's so delicious!  It's a light sweet and fruity black tea, which surprised me.  Steeped a little longer than I usually do at Xan's direction, and with two sugars, this blend was really a wonderful choice for my tea.  It worked very well paired with my serving of my mom's apple crisp. 

This chinese tea is marked in both Chinese and English, reading "Pleasing Rich Aroma Bright Red Liquor Homely Refresher Valuable Gift."  This English major is highly amused by the translation. 

I might have to go looking for other lichee black teas.  I was very much impressed because I normally don't like black teas because they are too strong.  Apparently I've been drinking the wrong ones!



And we're back from an impromptu break due to the Head Cold O'Doom which has moved to be the Chest Congestion O'Doom.  At least I can taste and breathe again, not to mention cook without worrying about infecting everyone else!


Thellie's Lime Ginger Chicken with Mango Salsa

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Plate with salsa spooned over the chicken and lime wedges.   I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and Bird's Eye steamed veggies.  I also frequently serve it with jasmine rice instead of the potatoes and I spritz it with a little lime juice on the plate.  Divine!

This is a very flavorful dish, spicy playing well with the sour citrus of the limes and garlic goodness with the bite of fresh gingerroot.  This is not for reserved palates, but it is a favorite of mine and is well received at parties.

Seasonings - Cinnamon!

Did you just run out of cinnamon while making raisin bread, applesauce, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon sugar, or anything else that calls for cinnamon? Do you have allspice or nutmeg? Well, you can substitute either or both, just not 1-1. It’s 1/4tsp of allspice or nutmeg to 1tsp of cinnamon. The other two are stronger and more concentrated in their flavor, so you need less of them to get the same flavor boost.

Thellie's Chicken Enchiladas

This is the recipe I get asked for second most often (Zuppa Toscana being the first). All I did was take the basic recipe from Kraft and alter it a bit for my purposes and my family’s tastes. It’s filling, rich and flavorful and the leftovers are great.


Thellie’s Chicken Enchiladas
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I like this recipe because it’s easy and a crowd pleaser. It is filling and I love melted Velveeta. I enjoy that richness that you really can’t find outside of the processed cheese spread. Yeah, Velveeta is a cheese spread. I was a little surprised to learn that. I don’t spread it on anything; I use it in cooking and make dips and sauces with it.

Note that the picture is of the original recipe, which included green bell pepper and didn't add the salsa to the cheese sauce.