Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! Have you ever been booed?

This is Halloween, this is Halloween,

Pumpkins scream in the dead of night.

This is Halloween, this is Halloween,

Trick or Treat 'til your neighbors [almost] die of fright.

~Nightmare Before Christmas
Happy Halloween!  Have you ever been booed before?  It is a game (sort of) that my neighborhood does every October.  This year I was "booed" very late--yesterday actually!  I get to go out tonight after the trick-or-treaters and boo someone else. 
At this point you're probably wandering what I'm talking about. 

This piece of paper was in the bag left on my doorstop.  It says, "place the 'we've been booed' sign in your window.  Within 2 days, make 2 copies of these instructions and the 'we've been booed' sign and gather two special treats.  Deliver the treats and papers to two other houses in your neighborhood who haven't been booed yet.  Don't let them see you do it--guessing who booed you is part of the fun!"

I went out after work today and put together my boo-packages for two lucky neighbors. 

Boo #1:  After "trick-or-treaters" relaxation

A small bottle of sparkling apple cider and two Reese's pumpkins (my favorite this time of year) and Gingerbread Spice caffeine free tea (I'm trying to convert my neighbors to Tea-dom)

A Halloween themed oven mitt (the last one by the way...I went to two different Dollar Trees and they are already switching over to Christmas!)

and a relaxing pumpkin pie scented candle.

Boo #2:  Halloween storytime
In this boo bag I have two Reese's again and some dish towels with embroidered pumpkins--you can never have enough dish towels.  I also found a Halloween themed children's book at Marshalls on sale with cute artwork, so I bought it to put in the bag as well.  There are lots of babies in my neighborhood right now.
Of course, the best part of the gift is the tea!
Sweet Harvest Pumpkin by Celestial Seasonings.  I love pumpkin teas, but I don't think I've ever tried this one (how I managed that, I don't know!).  The tea was on sale at Target, so I also bought myself a box.  This tea might show up again :).

I think I hear the door, so I should get going.  Hopefully I don't have to start candy rationing! 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Savories for a Wicked Tea

The tea started with a pumpkin soup, which I first tried here.  I used the recipe in the September/October issue of TeaTime Magazine.

Now onto the savories!

First are the pimento cheese with bat wings.  I used the same recipe that my aunt used for her cheddar pinwheels, which turned out perfectly.  I liked this recipe better than the Paula Deen one with cream cheese--this one just has mayo (with a dash of Worchester sauce).  I used a bat cookie cutter (from Homegoods!) to make the shape.

Next the spider deviled eggs:
(this picture was from the "leftover" party I served to my parents to help me eat up the leftovers)
I made my normal deviled eggs (mashed egg yolk with mayo, sweet pickle, a dash of yellow mustard, and salt and pepper to taste) and topped them with paprika for a little extra color.  I then used canned medium black olives (pitted) to make the spiders.  I cut the larger olives in the can in half and placed in the middle of the egg.  The slightly smaller olives I cut in half, and then I sliced them thin in order to make the legs for the eight legged creatures.

 I also served "wicked cucumber" which is a Benedictine cucumber sandwich.

(I found the witch hat pick at the dollar store and picked up a pack--I knew I would use it for something in the party)
This time I used a recipe from Allrecipes, slightly modified.  I'll copy it here as I made it:
Benedictine Spread
1 large cucumber, chopped finely (I used my chopper)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

 1 8 oz container cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon dill
4 drops green dye (to make it extra green for this Halloween tea)

Place cucumber and onion in paper towel and squeeze to remove water.
Using a mixer, combine softened cream cheese with cucumber, onion, and dill.  Mix until combined.  Add dye, mixing until color you desire.

Now onto my favorite sandwich for this tea--a pumpkin shaped pie.

 I found the recipe for this pie (that uses refrigerated pie crust, by the way and a pumpkin cookie cutter), on Woman's Day Magazine's cite here.   I just used a knife to cut out triangles for the eyes and nose and cut a slit in the shape of a smile for the mouth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin teas for a Wicked Tea

I served three different teas at the Wicked tea, but today I'm focusing on my favorite of the bunch--a Pumpkin Chai Latte Tea by the Spice and Tea Exchange.

I bought this tea during my trip to Georgetown (featured here). I just checked their website, and unfortunately the tea is sold out online, and it is only available until 10/31 anyway.  If I had realized how delicious this tea was, I would have bought more. 

The Spice and Tea Exchange website describes the tea as containing:  organic black tea, pumpkin pieces, organic cinnamon, organic cocoa shells, organic maple crystals, organic roasted dandelion root, natural pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and caramel flavorings. Contains caffeine.
So pumpkin, pumpkin pie, cocoa, and maple.  Yummy!

The tea was also an appropriately orange/brown color.  It is slightly sweet all on its owns, but a bit of sweetener and cream made it taste just like pumpkin pie to me!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Something Wicked this way comes--for tea!

 Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
    Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
        Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

~Shakespeare, Macbeth


My caldron is bubbling, and something wicked has come--a "Wicked Tea"!  Witches only, of course.
Please leave your brooms by the door,
and pick a setting.  I have five place settings for this tea each with a Halloween themed goblet that match the color scheme of the plates:
First an orange theme (with a pumpkin goblet of course),
Next, green (with a green spider goblet),
Gold with skulls (on the doily on the plate and on the goblet!),
Blood red (and a black widow spider),

Finally the last set is another orange theme (with a pumpkin on the goblet and a black spider doily).

Here is a closer look at the menu for this tea and the jack o'lantern favor (filled with a modified tea bag and candy):
Let me fill your cup with Pumpkin Chai tea from my new pumpkin tea pot:

Tea starts with Witches' Brew from my boiling caldron, a pumpkin soup.
(The soup is in my French Elite Works cream soups with green flowers)
Next for the savories:
(Wicked cucumber, bat wings with pimento cheese, spider eggs, and jack o'lantern pies with ham and cheese)

I'm serving two types of scones on the bottom layer:

(Maple walnut and cranberry pumpkin)
I'm serving scones with clotted cream and apple butter.

(these green depression glasses were my grandmother's.  My mom calls them soapbox glass because grandmother got them in boxes of soap!)

I hope you saved room, because there is still dessert!
(witches hats, brooms, hazelnut chocolate frogs and apple salted caramel cupcakes)

As we dine, spiders dance on webs above and a raven perches and watches.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

The Raven ~ Edgar Allen Poe

Check back later this week for recipes, more about the tea served, and some of the "crafty" elements of the tea.  One of my guests was gluten free, so the top of each of the tiered trays had gluten free foods, the recipes for which I will be showing later this week as well.
Tuesday:  Pumpkin Chai Tea
Monday (11/3):  Gluten Free
Check out these tea parties that I am joining this week:
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween in Teatown

The next bit of Halloween décor I'm sharing on the blog is my Tea Village on Halloween day, when witches come out to play...and drink tea!

This village is made up of my three tea houses from Department 56, Dickens' Village.  First, an English Tea room, right by the haunted graveyard:
(These graveyard figurines are from Dollar Tree--nothing beats $1.00 décor!)
The Canton Tea house, where some of the visiting witches have set up shop.

Finally, Mrs. Briggs Tea Room, where a witch has taken over serving tea:

Wouldn't you like to join them?  Serving tea at 4 and broom parking near the tree.
This post may also be a sneak peak of this week's theme on the blog ;)--don't forget to check back tomorrow for this week's tea party!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

One Autumn Morning

A slightly chilly morning makes a great setting for a relaxing cup of tea with breakfast.

This pumpkin English muffin was delicious with a cup of breakfast blend on my Stratford, Mikasa set made in Japan called Summer Melody.   Even though the set was named for Summer, the colors (red and yellow with a dark orange/brown border) remind me of Fall.  This tea is from the sample I received from Larkin Tea Company.
This black tea is the Otisco Breakfast blend, a mix of black teas.
It is a nice strong breakfast blend, and was the perfect match for a brisk morning.  This tea was named for Otisco, NY, mornings, the hometown of one of the owners. 

I enjoyed the tea with a little sweetener as it was a nice strong blend.  I had enough in my sample for a small pot plus an extra teaspoon for a tea on another day.  The left over tea in the pot after I had a couple of cups I put over ice and enjoyed as iced tea.  I liked it either way--it made a great iced tea. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Old Town Manassas Fall Festival

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Old Town Manassas Fall Festival and saw all sorts of interesting vendors.

Old Town Manassas is fairly small, but there were quite a few vendors in the streets.  I did take the time to stop into one of my favorite stores--The Things I Love (see here for more about the store and the teas they serve). 
Here is the pretty display outside the window of the store,
and some of the pretty Halloween goodies for sale inside.

After I left the Things I Love and wandered a bit further down Center Street, I saw the booth below for Larkin Tea Company, a West Virginia tea company.  

Hello booth!  I obviously went right on in, where I met the owners, Bill and Judy Larkin (serving a customer below), who are both certified tea specialists.  They had cute tea cozies, notecards, tea scented soaps and other products, and...

TEA!  Complete with little sniffer jars--the better to smell the teas first :).  I like being led by my nose.  You can buy tea directly from their website, and they have loads of different types for sale.  I was also given a free sample of tea to try, which I will definitely feature on the blog over the next couple of days--yay new tea for free!

The most exciting find for me at this booth was a selection of blooming teas.   They were $2.50 a ball, so I picked up a couple.  I love serving blooming teas at parties--I think it is another form of entertainment.  There were some great sounding ones in this booth (Marigold Fairy Peach, for example), and I noticed when I checked out their website that they sell a sampler pack online.  Unfortunately I didn't get a good closeup, but you can still see one of their flowering teas on display in the glass below.    
Right outside the booth were teapot and teacup/saucer yard stakes.

And here is a close up.

(Could that be hydrangea teapot yard art?  I don't think I realized at the time, or I might have given in and bought it.  I really like how they are slightly tilted, all ready to pour).
Here are a couple of other pictures from that afternoon:

(This 1914 station is beautiful and is one of the most well known buildings in Manassas, a long time train junction station.  The train is a major reason why Manassas was the site of 2 civil war battles).  

(Civil War ladies outside of the Manassas Museum.  The museum had some clothing stations set out on the Museum lawn that allowed children to try on the Victorian clothes for free).

(pony rides with the Museum in the background).
I had an enjoyable afternoon in beautiful weather and found tea--a perfect day!