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In a trend of “life hacking”, everyone is always looking for new ways to make life easier, save money, or going green. Holidays are no exception. If you are low on Easter egg dyes or simply want to reduce your carbon footprint, look no further than your cupboard! If you have a large collection of teas and want to use up old ones or make room for new teas, then this is a perfect time to use them up!

Introducing tea-dyed Easter Eggs! As an American, I grew up dyeing hard boiled eggs and then eating them for Easter. We always used store bought color tablets and mixed them in vinegar. Sometimes you may run low on vinegar, so tea and water can also be the best solution. Here’s how to do it:

 

 

  • Eggs
  • 1 or 2 teabags of your favorite tea. Depending on the type, you would be surprised at what colors will come out!
  • 1 cup of water for each egg
  • 1 cup or deep bowl for each egg

To boil the eggs*, place them in a saucepan that should allow them to be in one single layer. Pour water up to about 1 inch above the eggs and turn on the burner, letting them cook until they start to boil. Let them stand for about 12 minutes for large eggs or 15 minutes for extra large eggs. If you want to cool them at a much quicker pace, run them under cool water or put them in a bowl of ice water.

Brew your tea as you normally would, but let it cool completely. Once the tea is cooled, pour into either a glass, a bowl, or leave it in a mug. Place the eggs in and let them sit for about 8 hours, or overnight for a good coloring. If you want to add patterns, use a crayon and draw lines or swirls!

When I made my tea-dyed eggs, I was surprised at how mine came out. I used teas like chamomile, Bingo Blueberry, and PG Tips along with a few others in my cupboard. The chamomile egg came out a light yellow while the Bingo Blueberry egg turned blue (the blueberries in the tea help). The PG Tips egg came out very vibrant, as well, with a nice hue of brown. I had used a mango strawberry tea but it also turned the egg blue, which was very surprising. But felt these were festive colors for Easter.

Try this out on any tea you have and see what colors you get! Don’t forget to include the kids! Have a Happy Easter!

 

 

*Source: http://www.incredibleegg.org/

 

-CD

 

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chinese-new-year-card

As many of us go back to normal life from the hustle and bustle of the holidays passed. Meanwhile, in China, the party’s just getting started! Chinese New Year brings hope and excitement to the people of China but it is very  special. For fifteen days each year based on the lunar calendar, Chinese people all over the world celebrate, wishing for luck and prosperi20170120_140654ty while relaxing and spending time with friends and family.

Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year) also celebrates the arrival of a new zodiac animal. There are 12 animals: dragon, snake, tiger, snake, pig, ox, monkey, horse, rabbit, goat, dog, and rooster. Every 12 years, these animals were used to date the years. 2017 happens to be the year of the rooster, 20170120_151524but 12 years ago (as of this writing) the year of the rooster was previously in 2005, then 1993, and so forth.

Some Chinese New Year traditions and rituals include cleaning up the house to sweep out any bad luck and welcome good luck into their sparkling clean homes. Other traditions include red envelopes with money inside, parades, and best of all, food! Many people eat foods like mooncakes, dumplings, and tea eggs! What are tea eggs? Tea eggs are simply hard boiled eggs that are cracked to make a marbled effect and then re-boiled in a tea and soy sauce mix. These are some of the most popular New Year foods for Chinese New Year. The best part is that these are easy to make at home and inexpensive!

 

Below is a recipe that is based from other tea egg recipes in my research:

Chinese tea eggs

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bags of black tea, any kind you like. Pu-erh is traditionally used, but for my recipe/experiment I used Yorkshire Gold since gold is very symbolic in Chinese culture. It is a symbol of good luck and a color of the emperors.
  • Soy Sauce, about ½ cup or ounces
  • Dried orange or mandarin peel (optional)

First thing to do would be to hard boil the eggs like you normally would. Once the eggs are cooled, tap on the eggs with the back of a spoon, creating nice, intricate cracks for the tea and soy sauce to seep through.20170120_190031

With the water that you boiled the eggs in place the teabags, soy sauce, anise, and cinnamon in the pan along with the now cracked eggs. Let the eggs boil in this mixture for about 20-40 minutes, or however you feel is best. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the mixture for at least an hour so they can “steep”. The longer the eggs steep, the darker your marbled eggs will be.

My eggs did not come out very dark since I had only let them sit there to steep for an hour. Pretty good for such little time.

Enjoy these with traditional Chinese New Year foods or on their own for breakfast. They are excellent!

-CD

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