Friday, February 26, 2010

Dave's Killer Bread

Never did I ever imagine that I'd get this wildly excited about store-bought, sliced BREAD. I mean, sure, I'll do the happy dance for a slice of fresh, still-warm-from-the-oven, homemade bread any day, but, a loaf of bread that I bought in a grocery store? Until I tried this bread, I never thought it would happen.

What makes this bread so different that it would inspire me to sit down and compose a blog post? Well, first and foremost, it has changed my whole idea of what bread really is. Most store-bought bread that I've eaten until now has been bland and lacking in texture and substance. Even the fancier, seeds-and-whole-grains-baked-right-into-it breads are not much to write about.

But what Dave Dahl (the creative genius behind Dave's Killer Bread) has done is brought together only the finest quality, organic ingredients in their purest state, and created breads that are full of flavor. You can feel the whole grains as you bite into them.

This isn't your mother's fluffy white bread!

In fact, it isn't fluffy at all. It is dense in whole grains and seeds. The texture is incredible. The flavor is unbelievable. You feel like you've eaten a meal rather than just a slice of bread when you eat it.

This is easily the best not-homemade bread I've ever eaten. (Sorry, Dave, but you just can't compete with my gramma's oven-fresh goodness) This is the kind of bread that you buy and HIDE so that the kids don't grab it by mistake and make themselves a peanut-butter and jelly. I mean, yeah, if you think your kids will appreciate what goes into this bread, then by all means, but, I know that my kids would think this bread is just too weird.

And maybe it is. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

My favorite way to eat (read: devour) this bread is lightly toasted, with my yummy spiced apple butter.

I think that this bread is available only in the Portland area right now... but, if you shop at Costco, check out their bread aisle and see if it's there... also, if you have a Winco nearby, check them out - that's where I get mine!

But I must warn you - you'll never want to go back to ordinary bread again. Yep... it's that good.


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Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Been A Great Ride!


Well, it has been a great ride - but, all good things come to an end, and I really feel it is time for me to close shop with LiberTEAS.

Please know that this decision did not come lightly. It is something that I've been thinking about for quite some time now... many months, in fact. I have thought long and hard, weighed the pros and cons, and I just realize that it would be best for me to let it go.

There are many reasons behind it. But the main reason is that I feel it's what is best for me and my family.

Over the course of the coming weeks, I will be blending what teas I have left, and posting my remaining stock in my Artfire store. I will not be reopening my 1000Markets shop (which I closed right around the holidays after my supply of tins depleted), and I will be closing my Etsy store some time in the coming week.

So for those of you who want tea - please shop at my Artfire Tea Shop, because, this time... once my current stock is gone, it's really gone, I won't be restocking.

I will still be around in the tea community though. I post regularly to the Tea Review Blog and will continue to review teas for them. I love tea, and that passion has not diminished. I just feel that the passion can still be experienced as a tea reviewer, and not as a tea purveyor. It is simpler that way for me.

And, every now and then, if I happen to get a wild idea for a tea flavor, I might pull together the ingredients and give it a try... if I like the blend, I'll sell it as a limited edition flavor. And... every now and then, if YOU happen to get a wild idea for a tea flavor, don't hesitate to contact me... I'll see what I can do about creating the blend for you.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the years... I truly appreciate each and every one of you. I hope you can understand my need to do this for myself.

Anne aka LiberTEAS

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cupcake Jones

Greetings everyone!

Yesterday (Tuesday, February 9) my husband and I went for a drive into Portland. Not a big deal in itself, because Portland is only about five minutes away. But, what was a big deal - at least for this cupcake enthusiast - was where my husband took me. We went to Cupcake Jones!

Located in the Pearl District of Portland, Cupcake Jones is a cute (albeit tiny) little shop. They feature six cupcake flavors every day, three daily flavors (that is, cupcakes that they sell every day), and three special flavors. Each of the six flavors comes in two different sizes: "jumbo" and "mini." The jumbo cupcakes appear to be standard size cupcakes to me, but they are jumbo on taste - and what really differentiates the two sizes, other than the size, is the fact that the jumbo cupcakes are filled with a luscious creamy filling.

The Velvet Painting

Now, for the hard part. Deciding! Which flavor do I choose? I decided to go with a dozen of the mini cupcakes, 2 of each flavor, for $16.50. This way, I could try one of each of the flavors without feeling too guilty.

The cupcake is moist and flavorful, and the frosting is creamy, and well... YUM. It's FROSTING! (And for those who love frosting, they also offer "frosting shots" which is a little cup of just the frosting.)

Here's the rundown on the three daily flavors:

The Pearl - a vanilla explosion! White cake topped with vanilla bean buttercream. One of the best buttercreams I've ever tasted from a bakery. Each cupcake is topped with a sprinkling of clear, sparkling sugar sprinkles and a tiny white chocolate pearl.

Downtown Cupcake Brown - The chocolate cupcake is rich and sinful, just the way a chocolate cupcake should be. The jumbo cupcakes are filled with a chocolate ganache which looked incredible... and it took a great deal of strength to resist! The frosting is very smooth, chocolate-y and topped with a sprinkling of shaved dark chocolate.

Velvet Painting - Classic red velvet cake topped with an INCREDIBLE cream cheese frosting and a candied rose petal. The rose petal added such a delightful touch of elegance to this cupcake, and this (along with the Pearl) would be my two choices to serve at a tea party. So petite and pretty!

On Tuesdays, the three specially featured flavors are: coconut lemon (my favorite of the batch), caramel latte, and black forest. Here's my thoughts on these three delights:

Black Forest - deliciously moist devils food cake with a little shot of cherry sauce which adds extra moisture to the cake (and that little shot is even added to the mini cupcakes, so be sure to grab an extra napkin if you choose this flavor). Instead of frosting, they are topped with whipped cream, grated dark chocolate and a cherry. A truly outstanding interpretation of the classic black forest cake.

Caramel Latte - I actually "cheated" and got a large caramel latte cupcake (in addition to my minis), which is why I'm posting this review of Cupcake Jones today instead of yesterday... I indulged in my jumbo caramel latte cupcake yesterday instead of the mini cupcakes, and saved them for today. I just had to try the caramel pastry cream filling. And it was worth it! Incredible! The cupcake is a coffee flavored cake (I know, I know... coffee?!?!?!?), but it is quite yummy even though I suspect it would be even better if perhaps it were a chai tea flavored cupcake! (haha!) The frosting is a caramel buttercream frosting (delicious - may I say right now, this is the best. frosting. ever.), and topped with a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce and chopped coffee beans. Even though I am not a coffee fanatic (duh!) ... I must say that the chopped coffee bean topping added a very delightful texture to the cupcake, and I actually quite enjoyed it.

Coconut Lemon - My favorite cupcake of the six from Tuesday's lineup. Lemon cake (the jumbo cupcakes are filled with lemon curd coconut pastry cream - which sounds unbelievably good!) and topped with a swirl of lemon buttercream, toasted coconut shreds and a "lemon chip" which looked a lot to me like a little tiny sliver of candied lemon. What makes this particular cupcake my favorite? The lemon! It has a bright, light taste, and in my opinion, would bring a ray of sunshine into even the grayest of Pacific Northwest days. The coconut adds the right amount of interest and sweetness to the cupcake. It's just perfect!

I've tried a couple of specialty cupcake bakeries in the Portland area now, and I must say that Cupcake Jones is (by far!) the best. The cupcakes are flavorful, moist, and the frosting is delicious - and doesn't taste overwhelmingly sweet the way some bakery frosting can - it tastes like homemade buttercream! YUM!

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One Delicious Blog!

Hey everyone! Check it out! I've received a blog award! Woot! I realize that for some of you, that's no big deal, but it's my first blog award, so I'm thrilled! Thank you to Shake Your Bon Bons for the recognition!

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