I must admit that around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, I start wilting a bit. It is around this time that I make a bit of tea and nibble on something sweet. This made me wonder why one can't have a quick, casual afternoon tea just to themselves?
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing quite like a nice afternoon tea with the ladies, but who can afford to do such things everyday? Even if you are taking a quick break at your office desk to have some caffine and sugar, it can still be a wee fancy. So here is my attempt at having a casual afternoon tea break at work, for one.
Everyone's work environment is different, but here is what I do. I have a box of tea (in bags) at my desk, along with a mug, and some sweets I brought from home. My department has a water boiler, so I'm lucky in that sense, but you can also heat-up water in a microwave or bring some hot water in a thermos from home. When I start getting sleepy around 3pm, I boil-up some water and steep my tea in my office mug. While that is going, I nibble on whatever snack I brought from home and keep doing my work at the computer while drinking and snacking. To make it just a wee fancy, I lay out a cloth napkin on my desk and arrange my sweets on that. Nothing like a little food presentation to brighten up your mood!
As far as the sweets go - I bake something like banana bread, sweet buns, or cookies on Sunday and then spread those out for my tea during my five work days. If you are not good in the kitchen, there is surely nothing wrong with buying similar items while at the market and bringing those to work. (I know this type of break is common outside of the states, but in all the places I've worked, it definitely is not.)
If you have a hectic work week, don't force a tea break everyday. Instead, try to have a weekly tea break; a little reward on the day you most need your spirits lifted. Even a short 2 minute break does wonders to lift your mood while at work. If you can, try to bring some flowers to your desk for the day to act as a constant reminder that you have a sweet treat waiting for you in the afternoon. (They will also be a great shot of color for your desk during the rest of the week.)
If you are lucky enough to have work breaks, it would be great to take 15 mins outside (during summer) or in a nook inside (during winter) for your tea time. Of course, not everyone has this, so just make the best of your situation and see if you can take a mini-break to refuel, even if you are still busy doing some work.
For my tea time, I try to bring as much stuff from home so it doesn't cost me very much extra. If you are interested in doing the same, here are some recipes:
2 1/2 cup flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup raisins (can replace with dried cranberries or omit all together)>
1 cup milk
Grease 2 baking sheets. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter. Add raisins and milk. Knead mixture softly and gently with hands. Avoid too much handling; just mix until combined.
Roll out onto floured surface, and cut out circles. Place on pan and bake for 14 minutes, or until the top is beginning to turn a light golden tan. You can glaze with honey when still hot or leave as is.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Jam of your choice
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and baking powder. Roll into balls (just under 1 inch round). Make a dent in each ball. drop some jam into the hole. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 8-10 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Makes 3 dozen.
Enjoy your casual tea!