Relax

This week’s photo challenge is to post an image that is relaxing. This is a photo that I took on a hike through the woods back home. For many of us who grew up near forests, there is something very relaxing about being amongst trees. Living in the midwestern U.S., now, it is always a little strange to me when I hear someone comment about hating being someplace with too many trees.

opentreetrunks

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

While in Florida recently, I stepped outside one evening and was surprised to see a brilliant post-storm vista unfold. Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me and was able to catch a few photos as the sun yielded the horizon to nightfall.

Image

This week’s challenge invites the photographer to use perspective to make the subject of the photo look like something other than what it is. The scene that I photographed was the view as I accompanied my mother to her mailbox. I used perspective to hide the street and cars and to compose the image, capturing only the elements I wanted to remember. For more on this week’s Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside + Masala (Chai) Spices for Tea

It is cool and dreary here today in Manhattan, Kansas – the kind of day that makes a person want to stay inside and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.  So, I made some Masala Spice Tea. Hmm, wonderful!

ChaiSpiceTea

Masala (Chai) Spice Blend

7 T. granulated sugar

2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon

2 t. ground ginger

2 t. ground cardamom

2 t. ground cloves

1/2 t. ground allspice

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

1/2 t. ground black pepper, optional*

Combine sugar and spices in a 3/4-cup glass jar. Close the lid and shake the jar until ingredients are well blended. Store at cool room temperature.

Suggested Uses: sprinkle on top of buttered toast, or on top of muffins or coffee cakes before baking; use instead of sugar in Chantilly Cream, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or hot cider.

* The black pepper yields a hot flavor that works well in coffee, tea and hot cocoa; but I omit it for use in baked goods, hot cider and Chantilly Cream. If you are not used to hot flavor in your beverages, the pepper might become an acquired taste.

To make Masala (Chai) Spice Tea

2 c. water

2 T. + 2 t. Masala (Chai) Spice Blend

2 T. + 2 t. Assam or Darjeeling black tea, Jasmine green tea, or Honeybush herbal tea

2 c. milk, almond milk, or soy milk

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add spice blend and tea leaves. (It your tea is bagged, leave it in the bags because the crushed tea is more difficult to strain.) Stir in milk, almond milk, or soy milk. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain tea into a warmed pot and then strain again into warmed tea cups. Enjoy!

More on this week’s photo challenge