Wednesday, January 5, 2011

montea (monty tea)

i live in a house that has been dubbed "monty."
i've gotta say, i had mixed feelings about moving into monty back in august. on one hand, i was excited about moving in with three lovely ladies, redecorating the house, and living in a HOUSE rather than an apartment! on the other hand, there was a lot to clean up and out, a lot of stinkbugs (we pretty much live in the forest. sike... kind of), and no UTS bus stop directly by our house.

after the very first day, i knew i wouldn't want things any other way. the pros extremely outweigh the cons. most of the time, i'm actually all likeeee, "what cons, fool?" what really makes the house a home are the people i'm blessed to live with. one ritual that my homegirls and i do is drink craploads of tea (or hot apple cider, or hot chocolate!) together.

doong gool lae cha, aka solomon's seal tea, aka 둥굴레차. has a really heartwarming, barley-like flavor.

whenever we're up till the wee hours studying, you better beleeh dat our kettle is constantly whistling to us, beckoning us to the kitchen. whoever gets there first usually slings a couple of mugs onto the kitchen table, where we sit down to talk (or whimper). for those few minutes when we shuffle away our study material and talk about anything else, i feel truly happy.

every day, the girls that i live with make me happy by showing me Christ's kindness, love and grace. this entry is for you all. even though my teeth have literally turned yellow from all of our "montea" times (i've put myself on a crest whitestrips regimen over winter break), it's been worth it.

when i made this cranberry cake, i fondly thought of yall and knew this will be the first thing i'll make when we get back to charlottesville. it goes perfectly with tea or any other hot beverage. it's more of a country/rustic cake. dense, moist, slightly sweet, and tart.

if you want to skip the mushy talk and just want the recipe (along with an interesting activity), scroll to the very bottom :)
* * *
ongel, you are my sassy and fierce sistaaa. mhm girl, you bring out my inner beyonce. you work crazy hard, yet you always find the time to make a lot of people feel super special, including me. you're the mother hen. you're particular and peculiar (hehe, admit it), but these qualities give you a darn special eye for detail and creativity. you're curious, intelligent, thoughtful and supa stylish :) i remember having lots of "WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!" conversations with you, starting my second year. you've come a long way since then, and i know you'll continue to blaze new trails by God's grace. but, um, please never graduate. please? i'm so glad my life is touched by an ongel (lawl, lil c) like you.

lil c, thank you for being "unfeminine" enough to kill billions of stinkbugs with your bare hands, going so far as to squeeze them between your fingers in order to smell their guts. i still don't believe that they smell like lemon zest, nor do i plan on finding out. your basket of hot beverage selections sustains my nights, but your sense of humor sustains them even more :). you can see right through people. you are wise beyond your years, even though you don't think so, which is a good thing. we totally live the same lives as older siblings as we've tearfully come to realize over winter break, haha. you take study breaks at 1:30AM with me to tear chicken meat off the carcass in our little kitchen that's missing window blinds (i'm pretty sure the guys next door think we're insane). you are a rare one!

pump, my fellow richmonder :) i don't care that you officially live in texas now. once a richmonder, always a richmonder. HAAAA that sounded dumb. your calm demeanor relaxes me and has also become a quality i want to strive for. you're extremely hilarious, but not enough people know. your massive confusion when it comes to baking a recipe (bless your heart for those apple pie bars) makes all of us smile because you're such an instant pro at everything else. you know lots of sciencey things i will never understand. you are THE myers-briggs personality type test conductor and evaluator. you're so sweet, you don't even make fun of me when i nearly trip and fall on my face -_-. your photos take my breath away, and your written words (are you still updating your blog, hmmm?) strike me with emotion. rul talented :)

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in lieu of a random food fact, i have a little treat for you. a "3D" picture! but you have to work for it, and i can't guarantee that you'll be able to see the 3D image. if you loved those "Magic Eye" posters as a kid, you'll be fine. now, i forgot to try and do this earlier in the day, and by evening only half the cake remained. maybe you'll feel like you can reach through the screen to grab the other half :)

directions: relax your eyes on the white dots, pretty much "crossing" your eyes till you get double vision. slowly bring the innermost "dots" from each side into the middle to create one central dot in your vision, and gaze directly below to the cake pic. you'll see a pic of the cake on the left, a clear "3D" version in the middle, and a pic of the cake on the right. good luck!

easy country cake with fruit
(if someone finds the original owner of the recipe, please let me know so i can give credit! i think i only decreased the sugar).
1. preheat the oven to 375F. cream 1/3 c softened butter with 3/4 c sugar until pale and fluffy.
2. whisk in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla until well combined. whisk in 1 c milk.
3. gently stir in dry ingredients (pre-combine 2 c flour, 1 tbsp baking powder & 1/4 tsp salt) until JUST incorporated.
4. pour batter into a 9-inch pan that's been greased and floured, swirl in your choice of fruit (i used homemade cranberry preserves), and bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.