When One Door Closes, Another One Opens – Ate by Ate has a New Sister! Introducing The Sugared Teacup

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Hi everyone!  If you’re reading this, I know this post must come as a surprise to you because the last time you heard from me I was saying goodbye.  It was an emotional goodbye, so much so that I only left the goodbye post up a month into the new year before hiding it because while it was an important post to make, I didn’t want it to be the first thing everyone saw when they visited so I left Ate by Ate the way it was – happy but dormant.

Life is constantly changing and we never know what’s waiting for us in the future.  Things in my life have changed again but this time for the better and I’m in such a wonderful place right now and I’m so happy and excited to share this with you all because you’ve been there with me for the 5 years that I was writing Ate by Ate: Ate by Ate has a new sister!  After a year and half-long hiatus from blogging, I’m back with The Sugared Teacup!  I’ve put my heart and soul into this new blog for months and I just went live today so I wanted to share that with everyone here.  This new blog is lovingly devoted to everything tea- tea shops around the city, afternoon tea, loose leaf, tea and sweets, tea events, my scrapbook layouts, recipes, tea-related books and magazines, beautiful tea accessories, and so much more!

You can visit me now at http://www.thesugaredteacup.com and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!  This is a new adventure and journey and I’m beyond ecstatic.  Thank you again for all the love and support; Ate by Ate will always be here and if and when you visit The Sugared Teacup, I hope you love it as much as I do.  xoxo, Deb

You Are What You Eat…and Read, 2.0! Ate by Ate’s Favourite Foodie Murder Mysteries & Other Novels

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The Donut Shop Mysteries by Jessica Beck!

This past week I made a startling discovery: I am THISCLOSE to running out of precious real estate on my bookshelf.  Translation?  I’m going to have to figure out, in Sheldon Cooper’s words, “a new organizational paradigm” or stop buying books.

Yeah, that’s not an option.  New organizational paradigm it is.

I know this won’t be easy but there’s just no other way around this snafu.  I love books too much to stop buying them.  I just bought 5 Nancy Drews yesterday from a used book sale to add to my collection for goodness sake.  And I know off the top of my head there will be 3 new books coming out this year for a few of my favourite series.  Not to mention there are plenty of books that I haven’t gotten around to buying yet (and series that I haven’t even gotten around to reading/starting/collecting yet, like the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle or the Orchard Mysteries by Sheila Connolly) because I believe in pacing myself.  So before anyone says, “oh, well, that’s easy, just get a kindle/kobo/e-reader/whatever other tablet device that’s available out there and you won’t run out of space” I should warn you that if you dare to utter anything even remotely close to that sentence I will chase you down with a wooden spoon.  I don’t do e-readers.  End of story.

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So, how did this mini bout of panic over bookshelf space come about in the first place?  After posting the recipe for the Twin Chocolate Delights cookies from Joanne Fluke’s Blueberry Muffin Murder last Friday and tweeting about the first book of the series being made into a tv movie (I was so excited that I squealed after finding out about this), I received a very enthusiastic response from friends who were really intrigued by the foodie murder mystery genre.  Being the aficionado that I am, I started yammering about how much I loved the series and mentioned how I read and followed a number of other foodie murder mystery series.  Well, that just opened up a can of worms: “There are other series?!” and “Wait, this [genre] is a thing?!”  I haven’t posted about my love for the foodie murder mystery genre in a long time so it’s understandable folks may not have seen those posts.  So I took inventory of my growing collection and took brand new photos to show you all.  And that is when I realized I really needed to reevaluate things!  I am queen of organization and squish though so I have no doubt I’ll come up with a solution to remedy the situation.

Here is my book collection in all its glory and may new ones find a comfy space on my bookshelf in my soon-to-be new “organizational paradigm”.

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I love the Donut Shop Mysteries by Jessica Beck but unfortunately, my collection has to stop at 9 because if I’m not mistaken, the series went exclusively digital from the 10th book onward and are now only published as e-books.  This makes me sad, sigh.  Anyway, below you will see:

  • the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay
  • the Cookie Cutter Shop Mysteries by Virginia Lowell
  • the Ice Cream Shop/Mystery a La Mode Mysteries by Wendy Lyn Watson
  • the Magical Bakery Mysteries by Bailey Cates
  • the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries by Victoria Hamilton
  • the Fresh Baked Mysteries by Livia J. Washburn
  • the Pizza Shop/Lovers Mysteries by Chris Cavender
  • the Lucy Stone Mysteries by Leslie Meier (the series isn’t a foodie one but there are a number that are food-themed, like this one!)
  • and while the Icing on the Cupcake and the Christmas Cookie Club aren’t mysteries, they are food-themed and they are wonderful novels that I adore to itty bitty pieces and I highly recommend both if you love food as much as I do.
  • And finally, my beloved Hannah Swensen Mysteries collection by Joanne Fluke!  This is, hands down, my favourite foodie murder mystery series and one of my all-time favourite book series in general which is saying a lot because I am a die-hard Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley, and Nancy Drew fan!  I love these books like crazy and I get so excited every time a new one is released.  I am waiting with baited breath for the latest one, Blackberry Pie Murder, to be released in paperback at the end of the month and for the newest one in the series, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, to come out next month in February!

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Timbits Love! Featuring the New Strawberry Glazed Cuties on The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 013

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DSCN2354IT’S TIMBIT TIME!  Has everyone tried the new strawberry and birthday cake sweets yet?!  I don’t know about all of you, but I looooove when Tim Hortons comes out with new Timbit flavours and I looooove when I stumble across flavours that I can’t get at every location, like the cherry ones (which I always see at the Dufferin Mall location along with a few other spots) and the Boston cream ones (which, sadly, I have no idea where to get now since I used to be able to get them at the Tim Hortons inside the Sears at Eaton Centre which is now, you know, no longer there).  So yes, I love me my Timbits and my new flavours and since we’re on the topic, my favourite is the sour cream glazed, my least favourite is the chocolate, and I’m dying for them to come out with some delicious coconut concoction!

Now I know the new limited time line of strawberry pastries and donuts is being promoted and offered pretty much everywhere this summer, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from feeling giddy over the the ‘new’ness of it.  I was so excited to try Tim Hortons’ new strawberry glazed Timbits that I staged a mini photoshoot with them and posed them in a bowl of strawberries that I had just happened to have in the fridge.  Seriously, the timing couldn’t be more impeccable.  They’re so darn cute!  And they taste so yummy.  I would have taken photos of the birthday cake ones too but everyone in the house ate them before I could do anything so I’ll have to go out and get me a 10-pack of them one of these days so that I can get proper photos.  They would look so stylish with my cupcake tablecloth background.

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A Passion For Artistic Cuisine – Food Graffiti Art on Ossington Ave! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 012

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DSCN2465Okay, so I’m going to preface this post by saying that nothing here is edible, but I HAD to show you all these photos I took yesterday during my morning out on the Ossington strip: AWESOME FOOD-THEMED GRAFFITI ART!!  I found this entire spread on Ossington just north of Foxley, I believe, and I went nuts with the camera.  Carrots!  Bananas!  Limes!  Chili peppers!  Considering what a food mecca the Ossington strip has become in the past few years (on my to-eat list: Fishbar!), the presence of the food graffiti art is rather appropriate!

For those of you who don’t know, I LOVE taking photos of graffiti art in the city.  Obviously I’m referring to the gorgeous stuff painted on the sides of buildings all over the city, not the vandalism form of it!  That I don’t support.  But the art?  Can’t get enough of it.  My boyfriend and I have been photographing these amazing works for over 5 years now and I’ve created quite a photo collection for myself, both on my computer and in a real photo album where I’ve chronicled a large portion of my shots.  I’ve even organized my photos by neighbourhood so I can remember where I took them and, up until yesterday, I didn’t even THINK to create a separate set of just food-related ones.  Duh, right?!  New project in the works!

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Being an artist myself, graffiti art ignites such a creative fire and passion in me and I really have my boyfriend to thank for fueling this passion in the beginning.  In addition to taking me to enjoy and photograph flowers on our first date, my boyfriend also took me to the side streets of both Queen West and Richmond to photograph all the graffiti art that was tucked away because he knew the art would make me so happy (quite the keeper, huh?).  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  So much colour, so much personality, so much talent.  I’ve actually seen graffiti artists up close and in person doing their thing with the spray cans a few times and it is so inspiring just to watch them.  It’s mesmerizing.  These are talented folks who are hired by building owners and/or the city to create these artistic masterpieces for everyone else to enjoy and to juice up the visual landscape of the city.  Seeing the focus and drive and artistic wittiness reflected in these works is a beautiful thing.

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A Happy Kombucha From David’s Tea = A Happy Deb! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 011

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DSCN2444I know, I know.  It’s summer, not spring and we’re closing in on Canada Day, not Easter.  So theoretically, I should be posting photos of an awesome summer haul, right?  In theory, yes.  But when you’re sipping tea left and right and trying your best to keep up with the dizzying array of delicious options available, you’re going to fall behind.  I’m still bummed about not exhausting the spring collection before it went off the shelves!  So I’m playing a bit of catch-up right now with my sets.  I FINALLY cracked this baby open (in my defense, it’s only been 2 months, not 2 years!) and played around with the adorable peek-a-boo egg-shaped flaps and tea tins in this cute-as-a-button 12-tea set which includes favourites such as Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Macaroon, Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait, Lime Gelato, Chocolate Rocket and more.

I wanted to try something different though so I decided to try the Happy Kombucha tea ($9.75 for 50g in-store and online), an Oolong with mango, pineapple, kombucha powder, and safflower and HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL is it ever fruity and refreshing and delicious!  To me, it tastes similar to the Long Life Oolong but with more of a tropical twist to it as opposed to a peaches and cream and with a subtle sweet tea scent and flavour mixed in as well.  Its looks are deceiving; in appearance it looks like a mix of rolled tea leaves with chili flakes and sundried tomatoes but in taste it is all brightness and fruitiness.  I instantly loved it and it’s now on my list of favourites.

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I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “well, you love everything!”.  I actually don’t.  There are a bunch of teas I’ve tried that I don’t care for and that I wouldn’t buy or bother to drink again.  I only post about the things I love because ranting or focusing on the things I don’t is a waste of my time and energy and it’s funner to talk about things I enjoy.  So if any of you ever want to know which teas I’m not fond of, pop me a message and I’ll message you back privately with my honest opinion, no holds barred!

Lovey-doveyness aside, Happy Kombucha is truly where it’s at for a yummy summer iced tea option.  It’s a fab tea and its name is fun to say!  At first, I thought kombucha was just a fun name but I looked it up online and found out that it’s actually a type of tea that goes through a fermentation process with all sorts of probiotic and bacteria culture stuff going on.  For more info on kombucha, check out this great blog called The Kitchn where Emma explains the food science behind it with great photos and descriptions.  Drinking this amazing tea totally made my day.

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The Oreo Snacking Chain Continues with Birthday Cake – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 006

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DSCN2261After finishing my special edition holiday gingerbread creme Oreos last week (I know, it takes me awhile.  But in my defense, I’m the only one in the house who eats Oreos so I need to pace myself before I turn into a blimp!), I cracked open a fresh pack of Oreos, also special edition, to slowly enjoy for the rest of the summer and most likely fall: Birthday Cake!  I must say, these ones are much tastier than the original batch of anniversary Oreos that came out back in 2012.  YUM and YAY for confetti and a new pack of Oreo cookies for the season!

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An Intro to Deb’s Tea Journal & Scrapbook & the Favourite David’s Tea List – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 005

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I’m going to tell you all a story about my beloved Five Star coil-bound plain white paper notebooks, the ones I’ve used to create and house two very special scrapbooks.  It was the summer of 2003, the summer I graduated from high school.  Me, my best friend, and another high school friend were at the mall one lazy summer day when we decided to stop by Wal-Mart.  For whatever reason, we meandered into the stationery section where we stumbled on these plain and simple Five Star notebooks.  They had a sturdy dark green cover, a large metal coil, and the most luscious (yes, luscious) plain white perforated paper.  Pages of pure white, bursting with endless possibilities for all sorts of art projects.  We saw them and we knew we all had to get one.  They were just too perfect to pass up.  They weren’t lined, they weren’t too thick or too thin, they weren’t held together with staples or glue and the price was pretty darn decent at $3 a pop.  So there we were, 3 girls out of high school and university-bound, lining up at the cash single file waiting to pay for the exact same notebook.  When we left with our identical purchases, I asked my friend what she was going to do with hers.  “Fill it with memories, I guess.”

And that was the plan, to make scrapbooks that were uniquely our own, each telling our own special stories.  While my best friend and other friend never ended up using it for this purpose (I know, I asked out of curiosity), I went to town with mine, creating a personal, visual time capsule using photos and magazine cut-outs and stickers and stationery to tell the story of what high school was like, what my life was like, and everything that embodied what I loved and who I was at that point in time.  I poured myself into it, creating layouts of birthdays parties, prom, Christmas get-togethers, fun things that happened in high school.  It became a pet project near and dear to my heart at the tender age of 18.  I loved the notebook I used so much that I actually went back soon after to buy another one, this time with a dark teal cover.  And it is this 2nd notebook that now houses my new and beloved Tea Journal and Scrapbook.

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Check out how THICK the scrapbook has gotten!  The pages add up fast!

Check out how THICK the scrapbook has gotten! The pages add up fast!

I know it’s a bit of a departure from my blog’s namesake (hi 8×8 scrapbooking!), but I wanted to do something different and I wanted everything in one cohesive package.  Working on my latest scrapbook project, my tea journal and scrapbook, has been one of the best things in my life for the past few months.  It’s been so much fun and such an amazing creative outlet creating a gazillion layouts chronicling my afternoon tea adventures, teatime recipes from magazines, tea-inspired food, and my favourite teas and tea experiences.  And just like that first Five Star notebook scrapbook, I poured my heart and soul into it.  It’s a reflection of who I am (or at least part of who I am) and how deeply I have fallen in love with all things tea in the last 5 years.  It’s been so much fun that in hindsight, I should have bought 5 more notebooks!  I only have 5 more pages, front and back, left and still plenty of scrapbook layouts to do so I am on the hunt for another one (or three).

While I’ve plowed through a ton of photos and layouts, some pages are still a work in progress, but for good reason: these pages are growing lists of my favourite teas from different shops and brands!  I had a jolly good time adding a few more favourites to my David’s Tea layout recently and creating the layout in general.  I wanted it colourful and punchy so I used some bright and fun scrapbook paper that would stand out but at the same time be a good backdrop to plain white paper and text.  And to be resourceful, I punched out the teal circles and cut out the David’s Tea logo from an actual David’s Tea bag!  Here are some photos of my scrapbook cover page and David’s Tea scrapbook layout, as well as an updated list of my favourite teas!

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Deb’s Updated List of Favourite Tea from David’s Tea:

  • Baked Apple (herbal tea, Winter 2010/11)
  • Birthday Cake (rooibos tea)
  • Blueberry Jam (black tea)
  • Chocolate Rocket (mate tea)
  • Coco-Lemon Thai (white tea)
  • Coffee Cake (black tea, Winter 2013/14)
  • Creme Brulee (rooibos tea)
  • Fantasy Island (black tea)
  • Lime Gelato (green tea)
  • Long Life Oolong (oolong tea)
  • Mango Lassi (herbal tea)
  • Mom’s Apple Pie (green tea, Fall 2013)
  • Pink Lemonade (rooibos tea)
  • Red Velvet Cake (black tea)
  • Shooting Star Fruit (white tea, Summer 2014)
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait (herbal tea)
  • Toasted Walnut (green tea)
  • White Chocolate Frost (herbal tea, Winter 2013/14)