Friday, January 24, 2014

"National Hot Tea Month" With "Scones" & “Hot Apple Cider Tea” Made With Wine

It is freezing here on Long Island and I am enjoying a big cup of hot steaming tea as I am writing this post. Drinking tea is my very favorite beverage especially in the winter. It always feels like a warm blanket comforting me. With each sip I can feel all cozy inside. January just happens to be, “National Hot Tea Month.” A perfect month to celebrate hot tea! 

Did you know that there's credible evidence that tea reduces the risk of heart disease, and possibly even helps prevent cancer and Alzheimer's disease? Indeed, tea is considered a super food; whether it's black, green, white, or oolong tea. All those tea types come from the same tea plant. The leaves are simply processed differently. Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and fermenting processes. All teas from the Camellia plant are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables. Research suggests that regular tea drinkers, people who drink two cups or more a day, (that is me) have less heart disease, stroke, and lowers LDL cholesterol.

Tea also helps soothe stress and keep us relaxed. One British study found that people who drank black tea were able to de-stress faster. The secret ingredient in tea is Catechins, a type of disease fighting flavonoid and antioxidant. Here's a tip which I did not know, that the longer you steep the tea, the more flavonoids you'll get in your brew. To get the best tea benefit, some studies suggest drinking three cups each day to cut heart disease risk. Since iced tea is diluted, it's a lighter source of flavonoids, but it still counts! So make sure you drink tea whenever you can, especially as a substitute for soft drinks.  

Many tea drinkers find the beverage soothing, a remedy for sore throats, and upset stomachs. Tea is the world’s second most popular beverage consumed, second only to water. It is easy to make, affordable, and offers a variety of flavors. In Italy, coffee or espresso is the drink of choice, only after a meal, but rarely tea is consumed.

My Tea Set. All ready for a snack

The traditional method of making a cup of tea is to place “loose tea leaves” in a tea infuser or a teacup and pour hot water over the leaves. After a couple of minutes of steeping time, remove the leaves and strain while serving a perfect cup of tea. The “tea bag” was invented by an American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan in 1907. He began distributing samples if his tea in small bags of Chinese silk with a drawstring. Many people noticed that they could simply leave the tea in the bag and reuse it with fresh tea leaves. Another form of a tea bag was introduced by Lipton in 1996, which has a unique design. It is called the “pyramid tea bag,” or “sachet bag,” because of its three-dimensional shape which allows more room for tea leaves to expand while steeping.

“Afternoon Tea” or “High Tea” is still practiced all over the world. Afternoon Tea involves manners, lace, and finger foods that include, crust-less cucumber sandwiches, baked scones served with jam, biscuits, and an assortment of loose teas. Afternoon Tea was considered to be a ladies’ social event. High Tea on the other hand was a working class meal served shortly after five P.M.  It was a heavy meal of meat, fish, vegetables, baked goods, and other foods. Today, the tradition of the “afternoon tea” continues as many people love to celebrate a birthday, holiday time or other special events with a “Tea Party”. 

My "50th" Birthday 
When I turned “50,”(10 years ago) my best friend Mary Ann gave me an afternoon tea party to celebrate my Birthday. She prepared crust less tea sandwiches, scones with jam, and an array of flavored teas. She made me a beautiful hat cake, surrounded by petals of roses and a silk ribbon around the brim of the cake, just like a Victorian hat. Thanks to Mary Ann, it will be a birthday that I will never forget.

I have two recipes this week for you; the first is called “Favorite Scones.”(Courtesy from and the second is a “Hot Apple Cider Tea” from Bigelow ®Tea Bags. These recipes are a perfect choice for “National Hot Tea Month.” The scones are rich and golden brown, while the Hot Apple Cider Tea is flavorful and warm. Exquisite for a brunch or an afternoon snack.   

Favorite Scones

1/3 cup of unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of raisins or currants
4 to 6 tablespoons half & half or milk
1 egg, beaten for brushing on scones

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 1 egg, raisins and enough half & half so dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 10 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick; cut with round or heart shaped cutters. Place on un-greased cookie sheet; brush with beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove immediately. Split scones and serve with butter, jams, and jellies. Serves: 15     Enjoy!

“Hot Apple Cider Tea

Yield: Serves: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes.

1 1/3 cups of water
8 Bigelow® Apple Cider Herbal Tea Bags
1 1/3 cups cranberry juice
1 cup burgundy wine
Cinnamon sticks as a garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil, add tea, cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove teabags. Stir in cranberry juice and wine. Return to medium heat. Heat thoroughly. Serve in a large pottery mug. Garnish each cup with a cinnamon stick.

Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved.


  1. Good Morning, Dottie and Happy Hot Tea Month!!!

    I have a feeling there's a lot of hot tea drinking going on with this cold weather. I don't usually drink more than one cup a day but the last week or so I have been doubling up on my servings. Tea does have a way of feeling more comforting where as coffee is more of a pick-me-up, although, I usually drink decafe:)

    I knew about the tea bags however I had no idea tea was so beneficial health wise. Thanks for that:)

    Your birthday party sounds just perfect especially for such an important milestone:)

    The scones sound delightful but I must say, I am totally going to try that Hot Apple Cider Tea. The ingredients are quite intriguing (ie burgundy wine:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie. Sending lots of sunshine your way. I know it won't warm you up but at least the sun is shining here in PA:)

  2. I learned to drink proper tea in the UK. The British have so many cups of tea every day! And tea in England is very good too. They say it is best drank in proper tea cups but not many people use them these days. Mugs are more popular.
    I wish you a fab weekend Dottie!

  3. Hi Dottie , great post as usual , and loads of information , I'm more of a morning coffee drinker , afternoons I have tea , it's soothing and relaxing .
    The Hot Apple Tea sounds wonderful , in cold and flu season , it will make a great toddy for the kids with some lemon . I also do a lot of baking , I will sure make the Scones , they looks so delicious , have a blessed weekend and stay warm . Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Dear Dottie,

    This is perfect weather for hot tea and a delicious warm buttered scone!
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  5. Dear Louise, Alida, Nee, and Catherine....

    Thank you all, for stopping by and enjoying my post. The recipes are really good especially on a cold day. The Hot Apple Cider Tea is a great drink, plus it keeps your warm, with that wine....

    I didn't know all the healing benefits to tea when I did my research. The UK really enjoys tea a lot which I knew, but Alida confirmed that for me, being she lives in England.

    I have been trying to get, blogger fixed so I can reply to each one of you individually. But I am as usual having trouble getting through to blogger for help.

    Thanks again for visiting, I hope I can get some info from blogger soon... Have a blessed weekend, and stay warm...Dottie :)