ginger, grapefruit, & peppermint tea: last week of winter

i took these photos last sunday when it poured rain allllllllll day long and it was extra dark grey outside.  it was a delightful final weekend of winter and a perfect opportunity to cozy up with some homemade tea one last time before spring busted through in full force.  it has actually seemed very springy for the last couple of months in seattle, but the real first week of spring has been magnificent.  when you step outside, the air constantly has a dreamy warmth to it and smells like tulips and lilacs and a hamburger sizzling on a bbq somewhere.  iloveit.

here's *some* of our pendleton loot cozying up the winter scene :)

you can't tell, but just imagine buckets of rain coming down out there.

i thought this tea was a perf winter-melts-to-spring transition tea.  some fresh grapefruit juice, freshly chopped ginger, and peppermint leaves from my herb planter.

i generally only drink hot tea in the dead of winter when it is cold as shit outside and my bones have been frozen for months.  lots of chai tea around christmas time.  

last fall

, pete and i visited the magical

vashon island coffee roasterie

 and smelled all their different teas for a very long time.  they have so many cool flavors of loose leaf tea and their space is so cozy and oozes a strong neighborhood & community feel.  we still have a little bit of the loose leaf we bought there.  i was stoked when i first made plain peppermint tea with the herbs from my planter, though.  so simple, fresh, easy, and durn near free!

my aunt got me this cute little loose leaf tea kettle from japan.  or maybe in san francisco.  either way, they went to japan a couple times in the last several years, so i like to think that's where she got it.  i rarely used it until recent years when i figured out actual uses for it.  i didn't really like tea at all until college.  i steered clear of it my whole life.  total weirdo.

you could easily make this in one of those infusers or those little steel ball shaped infusers that you dunk directly in your mug.  it's just fresh peppermint leaves, chopped ginger, and a hearty squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice in the bottom of your mug.

it is refreshing, light, and zingy! and tastes like sunnier times ahead.

add the ginger and peppermint to the infuser.  pour boiling water into your kettle until you can see it rise to the top.  cover with the lid and steep for about five minutes.  

squeeze the amount of fresh grapefruit juice that you'd like in your mug.  pour your steeped tea into the mug.  add a fresh, thin slice of grapefruit on top, and cozy up!

happy sunday.

welcome, colorful spring!

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romantic backyard valentine's day dinner :)

i'd been dreaming & scheming up this dinner scene all last week.  we didn't have any real valentine's day plans or things we wanted to do, so i thought we could do something fun at home.  thankfully the seattle weather cooperated with us and we were able to execute our lady & the tramp inspired italian dinner out in our backyard.  i recently watched the video of the

dinner scene

from that movie; it was so cute and made me so happy...i forgot how sweet that movie is since it was never one of my top disney favs.  

peter got me these beautiful orange/red/yellow tulips the day before valentine's day.  they are so bright and lovely! for our dinner, i made homemade meatballs, spaghetti, and some garlic toasts with havarti cheese.  shout out to our friend jenny's family winery,

yamhill valley vineyards

, for supplying our choice vino for the occasion.  we have been saving the bottles we bought during our visit there last summer.  i'm glad we busted out the 2009 pinot noir reserve for our special dinner date (2009 was a "good year" in oregon wine country...i think...right jenny? does anybody read this? anyway, the wine was delicious in my book). 

here are some photos of our dinner scene.  i am so glad we were able to reuse the wooden heart light we made for peter's cousin's wedding last year!

rosemary [from our yard!] for blood orange & rosemary water.  very light and refreshing!

in my original lady & the tramp scheme, i wanted a red and white checkered table cloth, but didn't find one in time.  i like how the stripes looked, though!

my sweet pete hung up the heart light for me

and he made a fire in the fire pit!  it was feeling aaalmost summer-y out there.

i bought pete the delicious grapefruit ipa by ballast point brewing.  it is ultra delightful.

meatball makings.  i omitted photos of the meat, because raw meat photos would be gross in a line-up of photos with flowers and candles and general cutesy-ness.

i wanted to show this little cast iron dutch oven that my grandma recently mailed to me. she told me it was actually her mother's! we couldn't figure out how old it probably is, but i am glad that i have it now :)

our wee little backyard area

dinner is served.  

the only thing we were missing was some olde italian jamz.  nope, we did not recreate the spaghetti kiss. you're welcome.

my fancy backwards-capped, flannel wearing valentine. i love him.  [he's wearing my uncle's old hat with horses on it that says, "designated driver." haha]

happy valentine's day!

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