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The Big Move Part VI Collateral Damage

I am excited to be nominated once again for an  Amara Interior Design Blog Award in the category of Best Design Inspiration Blog.  I would be deeply appreciative if you would vote for me!  Here’s the link   Wish me luck! 

We’re back! Time for part VI.  It’s been a long hard haul but it’s really happening.  We’re in deep.  This episode shows how stress can make you lose your sense of perspective, I certainly did.  Wait till you see.  Oy.  Anyway we are currently vacating the house and the next time you see me we’ll be all in, without a kitchen, a sofa or a bed but we’ll be all in.  So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy Part VI featuring my meltdown 😉

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Japanese tea ceremony. Photo courtesy of

Ok so I already know that you love to make a nice cup of tea and cozy up to your computer to read the latest post at Kitchensforliving.  You don’t?  Well maybe you should.  Coffee gets enough press and I’m not knocking it but the  “in” thing in hot beverages is TEA!  Now I know I have your attention because chances are you’re freezing your buns off right now if you’re anywhere in the northern hemisphere. (If you’re in regions down under just add ice and you’re good to go.)

Tea is an art and a ritual.  Japan has always been known for the “tea ceremony”, a complicated ritual performed by geishas who attend school for special training in the art.  If you are here in South Florida you can attend an authentic tea ceremony at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens.  Interestingly, Japanese do not add any sweeteners to their teas balancing the pure flavor of the tea by eating teacakes.

Tea stand in Pushkar Rajasthan, India Photo courtesy of

One the contrary, in India, you’ll find a yummy form of tea called chai which has become popular in the west these last few years.  To make chai, add milk, sugar and a pinch of a blend of spices called chai masala.  You can also purchase teas with the chai spices already mixed in.  Last but not least, let’s not forget our dear friends across the pond.  English tea is a classic and a concept that has provided the British with comfort and refuge through multiple wars!

A proper Englishman enjoys a "cuppa"

A few blog posts ago I wrote about the amazing teapots at Teavana but now I want to talk about the tea.  You can buy it online but the stores are downright seductive.  My daughter and I were lured into one while Christmas shopping.  We sampled the feature of the day and I HAD TO HAVE IT.  Yes, it was inexcusably expensive ($24 for this special blend of two teas) but it was an indulgence.  I was able to brew it so that it tasted exactly like the sample and of course I bought the German Rock Sugar to use as a sweetener.  There’s the aroma, the flavor, the warmth and it looks beautiful!  A real feast for the senses.

My Youthberry & Wild Orange Blossom Blend from Teavana. Photo by Sabrina Brunk

If you’d like to dip you toe into the world of tea without involving a major financial commitment try Shui Tea.  I found out about this great online source for tea from one of my fellow bloggers.  You can get samples (enough for a few cups) for as little as $2.00 each! This site is run by a crazy dude and features crazy blends of all sorts of tea.

If you have a tea habit tell me about it.  C’mon I know you’re snowed in with nothing better to do or maybe you screwing around at work because, let’s face it,  no one really “works” between Christmas and New Year’s 😉



I live in a hectic family household  but Sundays are sacred.  Joe is off at work and kids sleep late, sometimes really late.  That is when I am blessedly alone.  That is when my spirit flies.  I catch up with all the blogs I haven’t been able to read during the busy week, maybe I do a little art and I dream.  Despite all my financial responsibilities,  my parenting realities and my work I get into a place where, for a moment,  I think just because I’m alive I can do ANYTHING.  Here are some things I become capable of on Sunday morning:

1. Going back to India to take up where I left off.

Glo in India 2001

2. Buy and decorate a hip Mid-Century modern apartment in Miami

My MCE Dream, Courtesy of Apartmenttherapy

3.Become a full time artist exploring and developing my many ideas and musings at my leisure. This is one of my collages.  If you want to see more visit

This is Hope

4. Go back to California to study more art

Glo at Encaustic Workshop in Carmel Ca. 2008

Ok, you get the picture.  When you want to create or remodel your own kitchen or design a kitchen for a client this is a very good space to be in.  Get in the mood and the ideas will come.  This is truly the first step in the Intuitive Kitchen process. When you have returned to earth you can edit.  Trust me it works.  Now tell me, don’t be shy (that’s counter intuitive). How do you get in the zone?



Back when I started this Kitchens for Living blog I mentioned that occasionally we may venture into parts unknown, well this is one of those times.  If you know me you know that I have a not-so-secret love affair with India.  The only way I can attempt to describe it is in a series of words that will hopefully paint a picture with a sense of what I mean.  India is rich, poor, ancient, colorful, vibrant, heart wrenching, sensuous, brutal, intense, beautiful, sacred, succulent and unexpected.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few along the way.  One of the ways I like to remember my visit to India is in my kitchen.  My husband and I have become big fans of Indian cuisine.  Although far from experts, we love to dabble.  One of my fav books on the subject is Savoring India: Recipes and Reflections on Indian Cooking  by  Julie Sahni.  The amazing photos in this book truly capture the essence of what I discovered in this magical place.  The following recipe, found in this book,  has become a family favorite.  Here it is with my commentary.  Try it out and let me know how you like it,  but I promise you’re gonna love it!      

Jheenga Masala (Shrimp in spiced cream sauce)
I serve with Basmati rice, naan (Indian flat bread) and chutney

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 fresh hot green chiles such as serrano, thinly sliced (remove seeds if you don’t want it too hot)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala (mixture of spices you can make yourself but I buy from Indian grocer)
1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1lb medium shrimp raw (I buy peeled and deveined but also devein the bottom and I remove tails)
1/2 cup light cream (half and half)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

These quantities are straight from the book but I tweak the amounts to taste.  I’m usually more liberal with the spices.  This is supposed to serve 6 but I think it’s more like 4.  Comment and let me know how you like it.  What changes did you make?

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