The TBR List: Escape

Winter in Chicago |

Chicago, I love you but I need a break. Case in point, the scene pictured above, which I caught in the moment I paused from running into my office. Approximately five thousand snowflakes pricked my eyes while I grabbed this shot. This weekend, I'm headed to Austin for a girls' weekend to celebrate a friend's upcoming wedding. Looks like it might be rainy, but I'll happily take it if it means I can shed my parka for a couple days.

Do you have any recommends for my quick trip to Austin? While you think on that, here are some links I enjoyed this week...

- This week in book-to-movie adaptations: Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Being Mortal (our pairings here and here).

- School lunches from around the world. I always brown bagged it.

- The Japanese are kind of weird about Kit Kats, amirite? Butter flavor?!

- Still, I want to go to Tokyo and make soba noodles.

- Fascinating (to me) food blogger drama

- I'd love to make sushi but I don't think I could ever do it this beautifully/organizedly. 

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The perfect cuppa

I always thought brewing tea was an art, but it turns out it's more of a science.

That's according to European scientists who've identified the chemical properties of varying teas and who say knowing those properties is essential to perfecting your cup.

This fascinating article from NPR's The Salt runs through their findings and includes an explanation of the difference between black and green teas, the effect of cup thickness, how long to brew for the most caffeine, ideal water temperature and the role of milk. I'll let you read that all in detail at the source. 

Photo by Kathryn McGrane/Flickr

Photo by Kathryn McGrane/Flickr

Here are my favorite ways to brew tea for one or two. What are yours?



I boil water then pour it over a teabag in a mug or teacup

I let that steep for about three minutes, remove the teabag, squeeze it lightly over the mug, then discard

Then I add a quick pour of milk and a teaspoon of sugar. This is my daily morning drink


I boil water then let it cool a bit

I pour some honey into the bottom of a mug or teacup

Then I pour the slightly cooled water over the honey then stir

I drop in a teabag and steep it for a minute or so. I like my green tea light


I put a little loose leaf tea into a mesh strainer

Pour slightly cooled boiled water slowly over the leaves until the mug or teacup is full

Usually I don't steep the tea to prevent release of bitter tannins

Sometimes I add a touch of honey, then stir and sip


PS: I love our lemon-mint iced tea. No boiling water needed! Also, have you tried our masala chai recipe?

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