Start the Year by Improving Bad Habits and Trying New Food Pairings

Maple Cumin Bread
Maple Cumin Bread

My knowledge of wine could be more than the average person, for I know my basic pairings with food. I’m also not an aficionado when it comes to tea, but I know enough to start with loose-leaf tea leaves and the different steeping times. However, my knowledge of beer is flat. Last autumn, Jo of — a true tea connoisseur — invited me to her Beer and Tea pairing event in Harlem. Although, my time management is a work in progress, I missed the demonstration. However, I was able to sample Organic Golden Monkey Black, Jasmine Green and Alishan Oolong teas while nibbling on beer flavored popcorn, spicy dried mango from Trader Joe’s (that’s now part of my grocery list) and dark chocolate.

Beer and Tea Pairing
Beer and Tea Pairing

There is another reason for being late: I waited for a Maple Cumin Bread to finish baking. The bread was previously made for a friend’s boxing party. While making it, I was on the phone and accidentally used cumin instead of cinnamon. I remember thinking, “the cinnamon is lighter in color and the smell is different…,” but my conversation continued uninterrupted. When it was pulled out the oven, it had a curious smell, but it turned into a good mistake. It just needed to be sweeter.

Which is why another version was made with a crunchy topping using Tonewood Maple Flakes. Enjoying the improved taste, I immediately knew to pair a slice with a smokey oolong tea. When the picture was posted to my social media sites, Jo responded to recommend Wood Dragon Oolong tea. It was a personal proud moment to know I was thinking like a tea connoisseur.

Improving my time management is a moving goal, because it requires honestly reassessing my thinking process and actions leading to being late. Within these tiny lessons, minor improvements are made, but like an addict, slipping into an old habit is easy. Within this lesson of missing a tea and beer pairing is: If I’ve started earlier or baked another day, perhaps my knowledge of beer would be better.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a new year, month or day, I’m always a work in progress. One day, I look forward to being more focus with my time management and arriving 15 minutes early for events. Meanwhile, my pantry is restocked with loose-leaf teas, and we brought in the New Year with Sparkling Wine and Chardonnay that paired well with a traditional, Southern New Year’s Dinner that was served on time.

Maple Cumin Bread

Maple Cumin Bread


  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached, white flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts, pecans or pumpkins seeds
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds; optional
  • 1 tbsp. flax seeds; optional
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds; optional
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1-1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or cool melted butter
  • One recipe for Maple Glaze
  • Garnish: Tonewood Maple Flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9 x 5 inches baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients.
  4. Gently fold the liquids into the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Do not over mix the batter.
  5. Spoon batter into greased baking pan. Gently smooth batter into the corners.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (a few crumbs are fine).
  7. Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the baking pan.
  8. Meanwhile, make the maple glaze.
  9. When the bread is completely cool, drizzle with Maple Glaze and garnish with Tonewood Maple Flakes.
  10. Enjoy!

Maple Glaze


  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, sea salt and maple syrup until smooth.
  2. Drizzle maple glaze when the Maple Cumin Bread is completely cool.

Maple Cumin Bread

Tonewood Maple Flakes
Click here to learn more about Tonewood Maple Flakes


One thought on “Start the Year by Improving Bad Habits and Trying New Food Pairings

Comments are closed.