Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Refreshing Orange Tea

It’s another day of 100-degree weather. I never thought it was possible to get cabin fever in the summer, but who wants to go outside when it’s this hot and humid. Most of my days are spent going from our air-conditioned apartment to our air-conditioned van, with the occasional detour into an air-conditioned library, store or restaurant.

Hot weather always makes me crave iced tea. Growing up, Mom always had a pitcher made for dinner. So did both of my grandmothers—and probably my great grandmothers. Sometimes it was sweetened, and sometimes not. Sometimes it was made with instant tea, and sometimes with steeped tea bags. (Steeped and unsweetened is my favorite.) Iced tea is the refreshing drink of choice for a hot, Midwest summer.  

My sweetheart, Michael, works at night as a courier. He picks up and makes deliveries for different companies—mostly Westar Energy. Many evenings I will ride along with him on his route to the various energy centers around Topeka before he heads out to Lawrence and Kansas City, and I head to bed. Those trips are some of my favorite times with him. We talk and laugh, growing even closer to each other with every passing mile. I truly believe our relationship is so strong because of the conversations we have on his route. And our love just keeps growing stronger…
                                           (Michael calls this view the Big Valley.)
On our way to Westar’s Jeffery Energy Center in St. Mary’s, we usually stop at Haag’s Short Stop in Rossville. It is a typical convenience store with all the snacks and beverages you would expect to find.

However, the shop also sells their own iced tea made with orange slices instead of lemon. It is a refreshing drink with just a hint of orange—perfect for a hot summer day. That drink is the reason we stop in!

I decided to make the orange iced tea at home. It’s easy!

I start by making the iced tea in the same way my parents have made it ever since I can remember. First, I bring a small pan of water up to a boil, and then remove it from the heat.

Then I add 6 tea bags and let them steep for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile I slice up one orange and place the slices into the bottom of the tea pitcher.

Then I strain the steeped tea into the pitcher on top of the orange slices.

Finally I add cold water to fill the pitcher the rest of the way. (I don’t like sweet tea, but you could add sugar or sweetener if you wish.)

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