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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review - The World In Your Teacup, Celebrating Tea Traditions,Near and Far by Lisa Boalt Richardson

This is the first in a series of 2 reviews of tea books by author Lisa Boalt Richardson.
I recently received a copy of The World In Your Teacup, by Lisa Boalt Richardson to review. This is a beautiful hardcover book perfect for the tea lover in your life, or someone new to tea who wants to learn more, or for yourself. The photographs are fantastic. Also included are a number of recipes for the perfect dishes to accompany your tea selection, kind of like pairing wine with food, this book pairs teas with food.

The book is split into 8 chapters, China, England, Kenya, Russia, Iran, France, Morocco and the United States of America and discusses the history of tea in each region. Before the Introduction, there is also a section discussing the various types of teas and how to prepare them.

The photographs show the various dried teas, along with brewed teas, tea pots, servingware and food of each region.

About the author:
"Lisa Boalt Richardson is President of Lisa Knows Tea and the author of the award winning Tea with a Twist and the newly released The World in Your Teacup. She is one of the first 15 in the
world to hold the prestigious title of Certified Tea Specialist by the Specialty Tea Institute. Lisa travels the country speaking at conferences and special events focusing on her culinary arts and specialty tea expertise. Ms. Richardson has been featured in Cooking with Paula Deen, Brand Week Magazine, Tea Time Magazine, Fresh Cup, Stars and Stripes Newspaper and"
Lisa Boalt Richardson, a Certified Tea Specialist and author of The World in Your Teacup as well as Tea with a Twist, has announced that a portion of the proceeds from her new book, The World in Your Teacup, will help build a septic system for an orphanage in Kenya. The World In Your Teacup, by Lisa Boalt Richardson is available at, Barnes &,, and your local bookstore.

Lola's Diner Disclaimer: I was given this book to review. This review is 100% my opinion and has not been edited or reviewed by anyone. I was not compensated in any other way for this product review.

Lola's Diner©2008-2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Before I Was A Mom

Ok, I'm stealing this from Redhead Ranting, who stole it from Cardiogirl, who got it from a writing prompt at Mama’s Losin’ It.

Before I was a Mom:
I never wanted children...
Yup, in fact if you knew me bk (before kids), you would have guessed that I would never have children. I was not a fan of rugrats and paid them no attention. In fact, if I were to guess why I had that attitude, it would be because when I was a teen I babysat for a family with 6 kids, all of them under 8 years old, several of them toddlers and 1 baby. I have 1 sister, younger than me. You would have guessed she would be the one with kids, but she doesn't have any. When I was pregnant with my daughter (before I told anyone) my best friend Nikki's 4 year old daughter busted me out. I was suddenly a kid magnet! Nikki guessed immediately that I was preggars!

I used to partae...
Yup, I stayed out till bar close and still got up for work on time. Now if I'm up past Craig Ferguson, it's unusual and probably means I have insomnia.

I had money...
Money to burn. New clothes, music, movies. Money to go out to restaurants and go to the bars until closing. I recently bought new clothes for the first time in about 10 years. The only reason I did it was because I lost weight and it was absolutely necessary.

I could afford a large car payment and a really cool new car...
I bought a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme new and I had big car payments. Ok, not that my Honda Pilot isn't cool, but it is just a couple steps above a mini-van, isn't it? I still LOVE it anyway!

I left the state of Wisconsin and moved to Chicago, not knowing a soul...
I got the itch to move out of my parent's house and after several Ferris Days decided Chicago was the place to be.

I was incredibly shy and never stood up for myself...
Yes, incredibly shy. When you have kids, and especially when you have 1 who is bi-polar and 1 with learning disabilities you learn very quickly that the squeaky wheel gets the oil and in order to advocate for your kids, you cannot be shy and you must stand up for yourself and your kids. In fact I amaze myself that I am so "out" and proud. I never would have thought in a million years I would have the chutzpah to be "out" and not only blog about it, but participate in educational campaigns for GLBT rights. (If you missed the big campaign, click here.)

Lola's Diner©2008-2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review - Substituting Ingredients, The A to Z Kitchen Reference

I recently received a copy of Substituting Ingredients, The A to Z Kitchen Reference by Becky Sue Epstein.

I have to say, this is a kitchen must have if you do any amount of cooking or baking at home. 1,000 kitchen substitutions. Don't like a particular ingredient? Look up a substitute. Don't have a particular ingredient in your kitchen and don't want to make a mad dash to the grocery store? Look up a substitute.

For example, say a recipe calls for Butter or Margarine and the kids just used the last of it on their toast for breakfast. 1 Cup Butter or Margarine is equal to 7/8 of a cup of vegetable oil (canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil.

The book also includes substitutions for a long list of spices. (Who has room in their kitchen for every single spice that one could ever need?)

Also included are measurement equivalents, including metric and a guide for temperature equivalents. disaster. In the back of the book are simple solutions to salvage most cooking disasters.

The final chapter includes kitchen formulas for how to make your own cleaners and what to use to clean various things.

There are also a number of recipes in the book.

All in all, this is an excellent addition to any kitchen. I find myself referring to it quite often and I'm sure you will to.

About the author:
"For the past 20 years Epstein has been providing food, wine and spirits coverage for local, regional and national publications on both the East and West Coasts, from Art & Antiques and Luxury Golf & Travel to Food + Wine and Wine Spectator. She began her career as a restaurant reviewer for the Los Angeles Times while working in film and television during the 1980s and early 1990s. Having lived abroad for several years, her expertise includes food history and travel, entertaining, aperitifs, dessert wines and spirits."
Substituting Ingredients, The A to Z Kitchen Reference by Becky Sue Epstein is currently available at, Barnes &,, and your local bookstore.

Lola's Diner Disclaimer: I was given this book to review. This review is 100% my opinion and has not been edited or reviewed by anyone. I was not compensated in any other way for this product review.

Lola's Diner©2008-2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to go bat shit crazy or taking 4 kids camping...

Turns out, it's the same result!

Take the following ingredients:
Girlfriend's son and daughter.
My son and daughter.
Pop-up camper (with canopy, that we very adeptly assembled. Thank goodness!).
Huge van with a wonky trailer hitch.
Tent (sans poles).
Rain (and lots of it).
And you get:
4 kids who have to sleep with you and your girlfriend in the camper, because the tent poles weren't in the bag. (Ok, the pop-up camper does sleep 6, but it's awfully close quarters.)
4 kids who still refused to use the tent, even though you ran back home on Saturday to get the tent poles and spent 2 hours putting the tent together.
2 really bored kids because they refused to plan ahead and pack any reading material or electronic hand held games. (Bet you can't guess whose 2 kids those were.)
2 really content kids because they brought hand held electronic games.
4 disappointed kids because the rain kept us from sustaining a campfire long enough to make smores the old fashioned way and had to use the microwave oven in the pop-up camper.
One happy camper who baited everyone's hooks and actually enjoyed dealing with the worms. (Yes, amazingly enough, this was my daughter! I wish I would have had my camera handy to take a photo of her diggin' in to that container of bait, she was everyone's hero.)
Almost locked in the campgrounds because of said wonky trailer hitch which for some reason would not attach properly when we were trying to leave. The campground workers came by to warn us, and they were literally going to lock the gates and lock us in. Somehow that did not help us complete our task, but we eventually managed and got out just before they locked the gates.
The 2nd night the kids refused to sleep in the tent, even though we got it completely assembled with the canopy and dried out the tent floor with towels. It rained hard almost all night Saturday night. When we went to take down the tent on Sunday, it was completely dry inside. They could have slept in the tent, no problem. Grrrr.

Oh well, we survived. And we will be doing it again...even though my kids think they are going to scam their dad or Anastasia into letting them stay with them instead. I've spoken to both, neither of them will be scammed, they are on to the kids. Lol!

So for the next camping trip, we will add the following ingredients:
Electronic hand held games.
Reading material.
Board games.
Outdoor games.
No rain, or at least not every day.
Plenty of dry firewood.
Yes, I'm a happy camper. I'm enjoying it. A few tense moments with the kids due to the weather, but nothing that can't be resolved with better planning (as in planning for outdoor AND indoor activities for them). It was not a bad intro to camping with them. Yes, I'd do it again!

Lola's Diner©2008-2010
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