Friday, November 15, 2013

Tea With BetsyBean LatteDa

By Nancy Jill Thames


We are so happy to have you with us today. Welcome, Betsy. 

Nancy Jill, I'm so pleased you invited me to tea. 

 Rumor has it you are the Queen of Afternoon Tea and I am so honored to be here with you!

Lovely to have you. By the way, I love your hat! Is it new? 
My hat? Why thank you! No, it’s not new, but very special and only used for proper tea parties. It’s my favorite color!

Let me pour you a cup of tea. I'm serving the English Breakfast from your Boneyard Coffee and Tea shop. Milk? Sugar?

Lovely, thank you.  

Tell us a little about your products.

I am a fan of black teas, particularly Assam. I love the fully oxidized hearty flavor and the opportunity to add a bit of cream and sugar. Boneyard Coffee and Tea has a lovely English Breakfast blend that I adore, as you'll note

This is delicious! 

On occasion I’ll have some Green Tea. With no oxidation, it is a lighter and more gentle brew and helps me to feel full during an Afternoon of sugar cravings. Our Matcha is great for lattes, ice cream, and cooking!

Please have a finger sandwich. 
Are any of those delightful sandwiches vegan? They look too pretty to eat!

Thank you. I've made cucumber, hummus, and lemon tea sandwiches; roquefort butter and red pear; and radish-chive tea sandwiches with sesame and ginger.

I'll have to try them all. 

What is your backgound?  

I have an M.F.A. in writing, edited for an entertainment website in Burbank for many years, and enjoyed some time as a produced Playwright, Theatre Director, and University Theatre Instructor. 

That's impressive! 

Now, after my day job and squeezing in some writing, I sample all the Latte’ Da! treats, read great books from wonderful authors, and post the reviews in various places. I also contribute to the Latte’ Da! newsletter, “LatteDa!votional.” A couple of issues have some wonderful information about the benefits of tea and coffee. You’d be amazed what you could do with leftover grounds or tea leaves!

I believe I'm ready to try one of your freshly baked scones. Thank you for sharing the recipe at the end of our time together.

My pleasure. I’ve read so many books set in Victorian England and Scotland that I am sure I could pull off a proper tea and no one would know what time period I’m from.

Don't forget to invite me when you do. You mentioned some interesting points I'd like for you to share.

Did you know that the spout should always be turned toward the hostess? Or that the rounded bottom shape of the teapot allows for tea leaf expansion. While I love our Boneyard Specialty coffee the best, and that first cup in the morning is divine, tea is an event for me and the preparation of tea time makes me slow down and appreciate smaller details. 

Are you ready for dessert? I made a chocolate cinnamon torte and a mocha brownie cake.
I wanted to mention that, oh may I have a slice of that amazing looking cake, that in your books, Jillian shows such compassion and kindness toward her little dog Teddy. I love that! I’ve always had a small dog throughout my life and love the companionship – not to mention the complete adoration they give! Dogs are so special and I love reading what Teddy does in situations! My two dogs are not as well behaved as Teddy. 

It's easy to make him behave in print.
Do invite your friends to visit my blog and my advice column. As you will read, the questions don’t always have to be about coffee or tea! 

I'm sure they'd love to go to your site. I've visited at least four times!
Thanks again for inviting me. It has been such a pleasure having tea with you. Stop by any time, enjoy a sandwich at one of our Latte Da! locations, or our Boneyard Coffee and Tea Store at 75 Chester Street in Champaign, Illinois. Just follow the aroma of something delicious brewing! My daughter and I will be at a table reading a new mystery and enjoying a cuppa!

Betsy, this has been a pleasure. We wish you great success with your coffee and tea shops.

 Vegan Scones from
Scrumptious Vegan Scones Recipe

¼ cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon golden flax meal
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (108 grams) Vegan Butter
¾ cup raisins or berries
½ cup non-dairy yogurt
¾ teaspoon sugar

1) Curdle your non-dairy milk Preheat your oven to 400F (204C). In a small bowl whisk together the non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar and flax meal. Set aside for at about 10 minutes so the non-dairy milk curdles.
2) Mix your ingredients and cut the Vegan Butter into them In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Place the Vegan Butter on a cutting board and cut it into about ½ inch size cubes. Using a fork or hand-held pastry blender, cut the Vegan Butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. Take extra caution that you don't over mix. Stir in the raisins or berries.
3) Whisk the non-dairy yogurt with your curdled non-dairy milk mixture In a small bowl, whisk together the non-dairy yogurt and the non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar mixture from Step 1.
4) Mix the dough Using a spoon, stir the mixture from step 3 into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky in places and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.
5) Form your vegan scones and bake to perfection Place your ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7 to 8 inch disc about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle the ¾ teaspoon of sugar evenly over the top of the dough. Use a knife to cut the dough crosswise into 8 triangles and place on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. To serve the leftovers, broil on low for a few minutes to warm. This recipe makes 8 Scrumptious Vegan Scones.


  1. What a delightful interview, Nancy! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your interview. BUT, there was a side effect…now I'm hungry! Lusting after all those tea sandwiches and scones and the cakes that were mentioned. ((sigh))

    1. Delighted you could join us (calorie free)!

      ~Nancy Jill

  2. Such a swell and entertaining way to spend the afternoon, ladies. Thank you!

    Barbara Jean Coast

  3. Yesterday, 11/15, I continued reading Murder at Half Moon Bay while at a layover at Kansas City's airport. On the next leg of my flight, I picked up the Southwest Airlines magazine and found an article about Half Moon Bay as a vacation destination. Nancy Jill, I think this is a sign that your book sales will be great this month. Loving the story so far.

  4. Thanks, Nanci - Filoli gardens is also close and well worth a visit, especially at tulip time.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.