Plum Deluxe Teas

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One of my favourite things about having this blog is being able to support and tell you all about small, independent food and beverage companies here in Portland.

About a month ago I was contacted by Andy Hayes, founder and owner of Plum Deluxe.

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Plum Deluxe is a Portland-based tea company. They hand-blend small batches of a variety of loose-leaf teas with the idea that people should take some time to slow down and enjoy the little things in life over a cup of tea.

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Every tea blend is organic, non-GMO, vegan, free of chemicals and sulfites, with ingredients sourced from right here in the Pacific Northwest. I was sent samples of the Oregon Breakfast Black Tea and the Portland Rose City Chai and they were delicious! I’m a tea girl, and I can be pretty picky about the teas I drink; I thoroughly enjoyed both of these (although I think the Chai blend was my favourite ;))

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Through their website you can order any of their current blends — they’ve got some good ones! Or, if you’re like me and tea is your thing, you can sign up to join their “tea of the month” club. For $10/month, you will receive 1 oz. of a custom tea (enough for about 20 cups) made especially for club members as well as a 2nd tea sample from their current selection of tea blends (teas are usually $7/oz). You will also get tea-inspired recipes, discounts and special offers, as well as a couple of surprise gifts and treats throughout the year.

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You can purchase membership to the tea of the month club in 3, 6 or 12 month increments.

A friend of mine and I have had countless incredible conversations over cups of tea, so I can attest to the power of tea and conversation.

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I’m working on developing a recipe or two using these blends, so stay tuned for those. In the meantime, happy tea-drinking!

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Mexican Hot Chocolate (and a 2014 rewind)

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Two weeks post-op and things are going well! I’m not back in the kitchen yet, but this recipe is one I came up with a couple of years ago and this is the perfect time of year to share it with you 🙂

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This year has been a doozy. I’ve bookended my year with two knee surgeries, been paid to write recipes, met some wonderful (and not so wonderful) people, laughed, cried and hugged. Watched my brother graduate from college (what?!). I’ve drunk too much wine and eaten too much cheese. Spent quality time with my family, and done all kinds of crazy, fantastic things with my best friends. Some things have dramatically changed and some have stayed the same. It’s been a good year and at times a really tough year, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. A year of self-discovery.

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But back to the recipe.

Is there anyone who doesn’t like hot chocolate? I mean, a perfect cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate is the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold day.

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This takes hot chocolate to a whole new level. It’s slightly spicy and will warm you up from your head to your toes. I’m even going to say it will light a fire in your soul. Yeah, I went there.

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This could not be any easier to make. All you have to do is through a few ingredients in a pot, heat it up, mix together and pour into mugs. Top with whipped cream if you want to go crazy. Maybe a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top, too. Yes!

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Mexican Hot Chocolate:
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup water (if you like really thick hot chocolate, leave this out)

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium heat, whisking constantly until hot but not boiling, about 8 minutes (mixture should be smooth). Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream, if desired.

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Pimmsicles!

Told ya I’d have a recipe for you this week!

This is basically a frozen version of the Pimm’s recipe I shared with you a few weeks ago. The perfect thing to make, store in your freezer and bust out on a hot summer day when you want something fruity, refreshing (and slightly alcoholic) to liven up your day.

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These are so easy to make its unreal.

You need to make sure the Sprite/7-Up/ginger ale you’re going to use is flat when you’re ready to make these. The carbonation in these drinks will prevent any freezing – you want as few bubbles as possible when mixing these up. I recommend opening up the bottle and leaving it, open, in the fridge overnight. It should be ready to use the next day.

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I don’t have any popsicle molds, so I just used little paper cups and lollipop sticks to make these and they worked like a charm. If you have popsicle molds though, I would use them. They have a nicer shape to them than cups.

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Sliced fruit, Pimm’s, sprite, mint in one frozen treat. What could be better?

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Pimmsicles: 

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Sprite/7-Up/ginger ale, flat
  • 3/4 cup Pimm’s
  • Sliced cucumber & strawberries
  • Chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup water.

Directions:

  1. Combine Sprite, Pimm’s and water.
  2. In popsicle molds, place a couple of pieces of sliced cucumber and strawberries and a few pieces of chopped mint leaves.
  3. Fill each mold with the Pimm’s mixture and freeze until set, at least 6 hours (this will take longer if the sprite wasn’t totally flat when used).
  4. Enjoy!