Sunday, March 25, 2012

Green tea cake with vanilla glaze


I bet that right now, in your pantry and fridge, you have everything you need to make this pretty little cake. It’s a Green Tea Cake, but there are no powders or potions required – just a few tea bags! And bonus points for those of you looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a semi-classy way, because with just a few drops of food coloring, this tea-flavored cake becomes super-seasonal.

I used Zen green tea, which is infused with lemongrass and spearmint. The resulting cake was lightly minty-fresh-tasting and not too sweet. The frosting balanced it out nicely and added some necessary sweetness.

A lot of people seem to think that as a cake-blogger, things in the kitchen always go well for me. This is sooo far from the truth! One of the best things about baking is getting creative and experimenting … which inevitably results in some super-successes, but also some major baking-fails. This cake was almost a baking fail, but one that I managed to salvage into awesomeness.

Let me tell you how things went down: I envisioned a green tea layer cake, with a light and sweet marshmallow frosting, so I doubled the cake recipe to make two layers. Then I started on the frosting. It takes a long time to get the sugar to soft-ball temperature, so I waited and watched and waited and watched … until I kinda forgot to watch and it got too hot and started to caramelize! I poured it into the egg whites anyways, hoping it would work. It didn’t. What was supposed to be light and fluffy marshmallowy goodness turned into an off-white sticky mess. Bah. I tried to salvage it, but finally wrote it off as a total waste, and to my dismay had to dump it all and start over.

Round 2 of the frosting I decided to stick to simplicity and just make a vanilla glaze. Though the cake didn’t turn out as I had originally envisioned, it did turn out delicious.

Green Tea Cake with Vanilla Glaze
For the Cake:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2  tablespoons green tea leaves (about 2 tea bags)
1/2 cup milk 
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Green food coloring and green sprinkles (optional) 
For the Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons as needed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  
Grease and flour a 9-inch baking pan.

With an electric mixer, or by hand, cream together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt, and green tea. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is slightly coarse and sandy. This takes about 5 minutes.

Add in milk, egg, and vanilla extract. And beat until incorporated and the batter is smooth. Drop in food coloring until the batter reaches your desired green-ness (keep in mind that color tends to dull in baking, so if the batter looks a bit too bright you’re probably OK).

Pour batter into prepared pan. 

Bake for 22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan to cool completely before frosting.

To make the glaze: Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it reaches a glaze-ish consistency. Spread the frosting on top of the cake and decorate with sprinkles if you’re using them.


Green Tea for Face

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Green tea can beat bad breath, cancer

LONDON: Green tea's status as a superfood is growing gradually, as a new study has claimed that drinking the beverage could help you fight bad breath and even mouth cancer. The study by a team from Israel's Institute of Technology found that antioxidants found in the tea, called polyphenols, destroy a number of compounds in the mouth that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and even mouth cancer.

The new findings will add to green tea's status as one of nature's so-called "superfoods" , the Daily Mail reported . Past studies have suggested that green tea helps prevent cancer and heart disease and lower cholesterol - and even ward off Parkinson's and Alzheimer's .

In the latest study, the researchers examined the properties of the polyphenol called epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG) in particular.

"EGCG constitute the most interesting components in green tea leaves," the researchers reported in the journal Archives of Oral Biology.

"All together, there is increasing interest in the health benefits of green tea in the field of oral health," they said. Green tea is made from the same plant as black tea but processed in a different way that means it retains less caffeine and more polyphenols . It has been drunk in China and the Far East for thousands of years and is fast becoming popular in UK because of its health benefits. It's drunk without milk, sugar so it is low in calories.


Green Tea for Skin

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dying man's future in green tea leaves

Steve Horne is pretty close to a medical marvel.

An obese, fast-living chronic alcoholic with diabetes and a raft of health problems, his body began shutting down with doctors suggesting he had only 18 months to live.

Moving to Thailand to live out his last days in style, Mr Horne started drinking green tea while in Hong Kong on a three-week layover and his 150kg frame lost nine kilos and he went to the doctor in panic.

He came out with a clean bill of health and the advice that "whatever you are doing, it's working".
The now 88 kilo man visited Hawera last week to speak with members of Kiwilife Gym about his journey.
"I went into a 7/11 in Hong Kong and I've just picked one (tea product) up that was all in Chinese writing," he says.

He credits the drink, which he picked up by chance, with saving his life and creating a new business opportunity which allows him to help others.

Mr Horne is now 60kg lighter, diabetic medication-free, has acceptable cholesterol and actively exercises.
"It's happened to me so we can use that as a marketing thing," he says.

Mr Horne now sells Tao Ti nationwide as a healthy alternative to softdrinks and says it doesn't taste anything like most bitter green teas.

A portion of the profit from each bottle sold goes into the Bank of Dreams Charitable Trust, which he started after his epiphany.

"The more money we can make, the more we can give back to the community," he says.

The business model is based on the movie Pay it Forward and it's a principal he lives by.

"I come round the country talking to people and inspiring them with my story to make a difference to themselves and those around them."

Tao Ti Green Tea is sold at KiwiLife Health and Fitness Gym.


All the tea from China

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eat your veggies - and your chocolate!

By Melissa Gaskill
We’ve known for a while now that eating plant-based foods is good for our health. Plants contain a variety of compounds that act as antioxidants, helping to rid our bodies of oxygen free radicals, which can wreak all kinds of havoc in our cells.

Clinical trails have even shown that eating moderate amounts of chocolate — which is, after all, a plant based food — can lower the risk of heart disease. Now, lab studies indicate that cocoa may even help prevent some kinds of cancers, including colon cancer.

The plant chemicals in cocoa include catechins and proanthocyanidins, members of a class of such chemicals called flavanols. Catechins are also present in green tea, grapes and berries, while grapes, berries and red wine also contain proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants help prevent DNA and cell damage and inflammation — all of which are associated with cancer risk.  

There are three stages to cancer development, according to David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale University Prevention Research Center, and antioxidants, including chocolate, can play a protective role in each one. The first stage is initiation, when something, such as DNA damage, causes a cell to mutate. Antioxidants can lower this rate of mutation.
These antioxidants help prevent DNA and cell damage and inflammation — all of which are associated with cancer risk.  
Next comes promotion, when this abnormal cell begins to grow, producing a line of cells. Part of our immune system’s job is to engulf or destroy such a cell line, but if the immune system is compromised or weak, or busy with damage elsewhere in the body, that rogue cell may get away it, Katz explains.
Because antioxidants prevent inflammation and excess of free radicals, they can tip the balance in favor of  our immune systems at this point.

The third stage, expression, is when a cancer becomes clinically detectable. This usually occurs after years or even decades, Katz says, and during that time, we can prevent as much as 60 percent of cancers through our behaviors, including things such as eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco, exercising, getting adequate sleep — and, perhaps, eating chocolate.

Not just any kind of chocolate will do, though, nor can you eat it in ridiculous amounts (sorry). Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are best, because they contain the highest concentrations of the beneficial plant compounds.

Candy bars, Katz points out, contain added sugar and other ingredients, which reduce the amount of beneficial compounds and add calories. Those calories can lead to weight gain, which increases your risk of cancer and could cancel out the beneficial aspects of chocolate. If you’re a milk chocolate eater, take heart: Katz points out that taste buds can be trained.
In other words, you can learn to love dark chocolate instead. Those sensitive to caffeine should use caution, though, since cocoa contains a similar stimulant.

Until someone studies chocolate’s protective effects against cancer in actual people, rather than in the lab, we won’t know the ideal amount to eat to get the most benefit without harm. But according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University, randomized, placebo-controlled human trials have shown that 46 grams (1.6 ounces) of dark chocolate consumed daily for two weeks improved endothelial (blood vessel) function in healthy adults, and as little as 6.3 grams  (0.22 ounces) daily reduced blood pressure. Dark chocolate generally contains at least 60 percent cocoa.

Bottom line, small amounts of dark chocolate aren't likely to cause harm, as part of a balanced diet that, ideally, according to nutritionists, is at least three-fourths plant based. And it may just help protect you from some kinds of cancer. Praise the Lord and pass the chocolate.

Green Tea House, Asian fusion restaurant, open in Alliance Town Center

Tapping World Summit 2012

Tapping World Summit 2012 coming soon. Watch out for it.

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will not only clarify this exciting new research, but he’ll really show you how to do the process (it only takes 7 minutes to learn in the video)

This system is not merely scientifically proven, it’s also greatly suggested by a handful of today’s leading experts…

Celebrated authors, speakers and leaders such as Jack Canfield, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, Bob Proctor, Cheryl Richardson, Joe Vitale and many others are doing it.

Doctors, psychologists as well as psychiatrists are applying it. (Such as Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Patricia Carrington and Dr. Norm Shealy)

Celebs are actually spotted performing it. (Meg Ryan did it in a movie)

Professional sportsmen do it. (and they don’t reveal to anybody because it’s their own ace in the hole)

And most importantly, millions of regular people around the world are applying it to change all areas of their lives (it’s been estimated that around 10 million people have used this system)

Final results using this system border on extraordinary.

depth of usage for this is amazing.

And Now you can watch a free of charge video from EFT Expert Nick Ortner where he explains how he used this system to transform his life.The tactic demonstrated in this video was shown, in clinical tests, to reduce negative feelings like stress, anxiety, overwhelm and a lot more:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

All the tea from China

AT the wood-panelled Lock Cha tea-house in Hong Kong Park, on the Island side in Admiralty, teamaster Terrance Cheng is explaining the intricacies of myriad types of classic cha, from health-giving green and flowery jasmine to the delicate phoenix oolong. 
Our little group forms an arc around Teamaster Cheng at a long wooden table; his utensils have been set out with surgical precision and he explains slowly and lovingly the procedure for proper teamaking. I am pleased to see that rinsing and warming the pot -- he refers to the process as "seasoning" -- before adding the tea leaves are crucial steps.

I grew up with a mother who insisted on the ceremony of tea-taking and would have quite liked to put on gloves and a hat if she had neighbourhood ladies in for afternoon tea in the front parlour (savagely dusted, reserved for "best" and if the Queen should happen to pop by).

Lock Cha, sometimes spelled as Lok Cha, was founded by Ip Wing-chi, a tea trader and connoisseur who retails pure, single-harvest, estate tea from a handful of China's provinces in green, red, greenish oolong, white, the increasingly rare yellow and twice-fermented black varieties. He also runs a larger tea shop on Queen's Road in Central, and prettily wrapped packets of leaves are sold at both outlets.

Teamaster Cheng explains that green tea contains a high amount of antioxidants and says that connoisseurs prefer theirs served in a glass "to better see and appreciate the delicate shape of the leaves".
He makes our pot of green tea with water of a lower temperature (just off the boil, I would say) than the phoenix oolong that follows.

The consensus among our group of novices is that the latter is more delicious, with distinct floral notes. Teamaster Cheng further advises that the longer the tea is steeped, the richer it becomes; I get the sense one could "grow" a pot all day, replenishing the leaves to form almost a kind of stock.

Our afternoon session is one of many free activities on offer as part of the Hong Kong Tourism Board's Cultural Kaleidoscope program, which gives visitors insights into various Chinese traditions, such as tai chi, feng shui and even making festival mooncakes.

With its calligraphy scrolls hung like vertical banners and ornamented room dividers, Lock Cha tea-house is a fragrant sanctuary that seems far removed from the purposeful metropolis on its doorstep. Also in Hong Kong Park is the uniquely specialised Museum of Tea Ware, housed in the 1840s-built Flagstaff House, the oldest surviving colonial building in this one-time British territory.

In a series of tall-ceilinged rooms with french doors is displayed a 600-strong collection of all the utensils and paraphernalia of oriental tea, including precious ceramics from the storied Ming dynasty and humble but pretty little Yixing purplish clay teapots that would have been passed down through generations of rural families.

Some of the more decorative pots have melon-stalk or animal-shaped lids or are designed like fish, with pouting lips for spouts. It's a curious collection and entry is free; you may never feel the same about teabags again.

Susan Kurosawa was a guest of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.


 Spring Forest Healing Fest
Black & Decker DCM18S

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Green Tea House, Asian fusion restaurant, open in Alliance Town Center

FORT WORTH — North Fort Worth gets some good-looking sushi at Green Tea House, an Asian restaurant that opened in late February at Alliance Town Center off 35W and Heritage Trace Parkway.

Sushi not always being an easy sell out in the 'burbs, Green Tea House also offers Chinese food and bubble tea, and serves wine, beer, and sake.

"[Chef William Liang] has more than 15 years of experience cooking in Beijing," said a manager who answered the phone. "When he was in China, he cooked Asian fusion food, so he knows how to do Chinese, Japanese, and Thai."

The house specialty is a dish called Pecan Chicken, but there's an emphasis on healthy cooking, with vegetarian options such as Orange Peel Tofu, no MSG, low sodium, and a minimum of oil used in cooking.

The kitchen has an open design, and there's a sushi bar as well as a boba tea station. The restaurant is one of many opening at Alliance Town Center, a shopping complex built by Perot's Hillwood development company, with an exterior that vaguely mimics the West Village. It boasts about two dozen quick-casual and/or fast-food places such as Jason's Deli and Zoe's Kitchen, and a Baker Bros. American Deli opened on Monday, with a Mi Cocina coming soon. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital will open there in the fall.


1 Cup Coffee Maker