Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer Sunday Iced Tea: Post 7, Bolthouse Farms

Today I tried a Vanilla Chai:

I was not a big fan of this drink.  It had too many calories and fat for me and I thought it tasted a bit watered down.  It is a tea and soy mix, which is not something I've tried before.  I'm not a huge fan of soy milk, so that would probably explain why I didn't really like the tea.  My sister (who likes soy milk) really liked it, and, since I bought it for her, I guess it was okay!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Southern Tea Party Favor

Today's is the last post on the Southern Summer Tea Party.  Today is all about the little crafts behind the tea.

I found  cute paper double layer flowers with a button center in the cheap bins at Michaels that I knew would be perfect for the menu.  One pack included all five different colored flowers above that I could match with like colored tea sets.  I found scrapbooking paper in a pastel plaid pattern for the "frame" around the menu also at Michaels that I thought would add a bit of country summer flare.  I used a paper cutter, scrapbooking tape to tape the menu print out to the plaid backing paper,  glue dots to attach the flowers, and then had a menu!  Just a bit on glue dots--they really are the greatest things.  Aunt Becky (my aunt who also really enjoys tea) introduced them to me, and I am a huge fan now! 

Also in the cheap bins were smaller flowers with just one layer that matched the flowers for the menu, so I knew they would be perfect for the little teabag favors I was planning on making.  I started by gathering all of the stuff below: 

Step 1:  Put one serving of tea in the bag.

Step 2:   Pinch the bag closed with the extra paper fanning out at the top.  Cut a piece of string to the desired length taking into consideration that you will be folding the string in half.  Take the loop end of the folded string and hold it as you wrap the long side of the string around the bag.  Wrap enough times that you feel the bag would be securely closed. 

Step 3:   Pull the long end of the string through the loop and pull tight.

Step 4:  Cut the extra paper on the top (for me this was where the flap part of the bag began) with the scissors in a wavy pattern.

Step 5:  Place teabag in fabric favor bag with string hanging out.  Close bag.  Take one of the cut labels (this is where I had to use the paper cutter because I can't cut a straight line).  Make sure the label has two sides as shown with a fold in the middle.

Step 6:  Turn over the label to the blank side and place a glue dot in the middle of one side.  Place string on top of the glue.
Step 7:  Fold paper over and press down, making sure glue has set.  Pull lightly on string to make sure it is also set.
Step 8:  Put a glue dot in the center of the back of one of the paper flowers (or what ever else you are using on the bag).
Step 9:  Press flower onto the bag in the center of the top where the bag closes and hold for three seconds to make sure it sets.

And now you're done!  Despite all the pictures and the nine steps, this was a very easy and inexpensive little favor and turned out really cute.

As the favor says, Thanks for coming to a southern tea party!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Southern Tea Desserts

So far this week I've shared more on the savories and the tea for the dessert course--so that leaves scones and my personal favorite, dessert.

The scones I've featured previously on the blog, cinnamon praline scones, and strawberries and cream scones.  Now on to dessert!

The peach pies I featured earlier on the blog here.  If you've been following my posts, now you know why I kept searching for different peach pie recipes!  As I mentioned in the linked post, these pies don't last overnight.  I ended up baking them the morning of the party and they worked fine--but it definitely put me behind schedule!  I always underestimate how long things like these take to bake--it is a whole half hour for a batch, so definitely keep that in mind for planning purposes.

The next dessert is the hummingbird cupcakes.  I found the mini-cupcake tulip looking cups at Walmart and the pretty tulip picks at Michaels in the cheap bins near the registers.  Actually, I found all sorts of cool things at Michaels for the tea--but more on that another day :).  The recipe for these cupcakes is below the picture. 

Hummingbird Cupcakes
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
1 cups mashed banana
1 cups finely chopped pecans
4 oz canned crushed pineapple, well drained
1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Put baking cups in mini-cupcake tin.
2.  In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and vanilla.  beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Gently stir in bananas, pecans, and pineapple. 
4.  Spoon batter into cups.  Bake 18 minutes for mini-cupcakes.
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups confectioner sugar
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually beat in confectioner's sugar until smooth.
I used a Wilton Large French tip to decorate the cupcakes.  This was my first time trying it with a zip lock bag.  I was not a fan.  I prefer using the disposable Wilton bags.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blooming Tea

I served two teas at the Southern Summer Tea Party, the Plantation Peach I talked about previously grown in South Carolina, and a blooming tea.

This is Teavana's Pineapple Kawaii blooming tea.  Unfortunately, I bought this awhile ago and when I just looked on Teavana's website, I didn't see it listed.  I really enjoy serving blooming teas at my parties as they serve as entertainment, especially if my guests have never seen one before.  This tea has a pink/purple flower in it.  The tea have a very light pineapple taste and is naturally a bit sweet.  I've easily gotten two pots from one ball before.  Maybe even a third, although it is weaker.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Savories for a Southern Summer Tea

I'm starting my recipe posts with the first course of the tea--the savories!

1.  Pimento Cornbread
I figured you don't get much more southern than cornbread, and pimento cheese is a southern tea party staple, so why not mix the two?  I thought they turned out very yummy and got good reviews, so I think this match is a keeper.  I used two Paula Deen recipes for this, first her moist and easy cornbread, which is not sweet and is very basic and moist, so it was a good match to the pimento cheese.  I made it in mini-cupcake tins and baked them for about 12 minutes or so.  For the pimento cheese I used Bobby's Pimento Cheese recipe.  As you can see, I just spread the pimento cheese on top like I was icing a cupcake.  It was the perfect cornbread to pimento cheese ratio!

2.  Ham on Cheddar Biscuits
I used another Paula Deen recipe for the biscuits--her cheese biscuit recipe.  To make the mini biscuits, I took a small amount of dough and rolled it into a ball and then placed it on the cookie sheet.  The bake time was closer to the 12 minute mark for me.  I used a very good quality honey ham for this (Honeybaked ham if you have heard of them--there is a store really near my house) and spread some mayo and ground mustard on top.  Be careful with how sharp your cheddar is for this.  I bought a nicer quality very sharp cheddar, but it made the biscuits seem salty to some guests (others loved them though, so go figure!).  I might try just a regular old Kraft brand next time I try this recipe.

3.  Egg Salad in Phyllo Cups
This has lately been a tea party staple for me since it is so easy!  I just made up egg salad the way I enjoy it (mayo, sweet pickle, a dash of mustard, and salt & pepper to taste), spoon some into a phyllo cup, and top with paprika and a sprig of fresh curled parsley from my garden.

4.  Benedictine Sandwiches
I always serve a cucumber sandwich at my tea parties and, since the theme was the south, I decided to try a Kentucky Benedictine Sandwich.  I had never heard of this sandwich until I started reading tea blogs--in particular Friendship Tea.  The Benedictine Spread recipe is in a past post about the Kentucky Derby (which was also a fun read!).  I enjoyed the spread and it was definitely different from my typical slice of cucumber on cream cheese!

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Southern Summer Tea Party

I'm really excited to share this week's tea party, which is one I hosted for my neighbors a couple of weeks ago.  This tea's theme is "southern flare"--which has been my obsession this summer ever since my trip further south in June.  This is also the first party where I used the hats my mom and I made.

My mother saw a picture on pinterest that had hats hung on the back of chairs like this and we thought it was a great way to great the guests as they entered my house.

Each hat was paired with a place setting (including menu and favor) that matched the hat.

First, Royal Albert's Cheeky Pink with the pink hat at the end of the table:

To the left, Shelley's Harebell with the blue hat,

and Hammersley's Victorian Violets with the green hat.

On the right side of the table, with the orange lily hat is my Aynsley Chelsea Gold pattern with orange azaleas:

and, with the yellow hat, there is my Elizabethan daffodil set.

Here is a closer look at the menu:

Each place setting had mixed fresh fruit in my little crystal shell cups.

The savories:

The scones:

and dessert.

As I mentioned earlier, I made favors and placed them at each place setting for the guests to take with them after the party. 

Check back for more about this tea, including recipes, the tea served, and crafty ideas all this week!

Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
 Bernideen's Tea in the Garden

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Sunday Iced Tea: Post 6, Arizona

Today's tea is a zero calorie goody from Arizona--Peach tea!

The can (yes this is another canned drink like last week's--and it's HUGE!) says that the tea has real juice.  I actually bought it for my father to try--he really likes peach iced tea.  He seemed to like it since it didn't last long!  I thought it was pretty good--I liked it better than the Snapple Diet Peach.  I also liked the big size (23 fl. oz).  If I'd thought about it, I would have put a normal sized can next to it so you could see the different.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rainy Days and Magazines

I woke up this morning to overcast skies and rain--so it is the perfect day to stay in with a cup of tea and a new magazine!

Romantic Homes is a decorating/design magazine with vintage touches.  When I first moved into my house (which is my first house, by the way) I looked at magazines like this one for ideas--obviously I enjoy pretty vintage things.
This issue had some beautiful spreads with displays of china.

There were a few different ideas on how to work them into d├ęcor other than just a china cabinet (my preferred method since I have a long history of clumsiness).
I was surprised and delighted when I got further in the magazine.  There was an article about a "ladies lunch" with suggestions for food and pretty decorations.

Black and pink is so pretty together.  The recipes for some of these goodies were in the article, including for the cookies and sandwiches.

This little tray of sandwiches is so vintage and different!  I love how the flowers are placed in the lady's, well, head, and become flowers on top of her hat!  The sandwiches are great ideas for a bridal shower--especially the wedding bell.  The interlocking circles are supposed to be wedding rings, which I also thought was cute.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hat pies

To complement the hats posted this week I'm sharing the second peach pie recipe I tried in search of a "better" peach pie.  This one had the added benefit of being really cute!

It's a peach pie hat! 

I made two different sizes.  I used a normal cut up fresh peach filling for my two pies so I could place with the size of the finished produced a bit.

While these were definitely cute, I think they had a bit too much pastry.  The real recipe called for a whole canned half, which I couldn't use as I was trying to make the hats smaller, so that could account for why I was having problems with the fruit to pastry ratio.
I found a recipe for these hat pies in my book of saved Tea Time recipes--this one was in the May/June 2011 issue.  I did find a website that posted the recipe, and how that baker made her pies.  She did a much better job than I did, so here is the link to her page if you would like to try for yourself.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hats for a Tea Party--Part 2

If you missed yesterday's post, today I'm sharing the last 6 of 12 hats that my mother and I made for future tea parties.  I've paired each hat with a cup and saucer with the same theme.

So let's begin!  First is hat with browns, lots of pretty feathers, and leopard print!  This hat is paired with a Royal Albert Keepsake teacup and saucer set.

Next we go patriotic with a red, white and blue hat with hydrangea blossoms, tiny red roses, and babies breath, along with a stars and stripes bow!  This hat is paired with my Liberty Blue cup and saucer.  Liberty Blue is a newer "discovery" of mine, and I'm completely enthralled with all the different historic patterns in this set.    

More feathers grace this burgundy, white, and black hat, which I paired with a Royal Albert new country roses set.

This black and red hat has fancy black trim with sequins and black and gold netting that trails down the back of it.  I've paired it with Royal Albert's Lady Hamilton.

The blue and yellow hat below is a "country" hat inspired by a piece of blue and white checkered ribbon my mom happened to have in her collection of odds and ends.  what better match to this pretty hat than a Shelley?  This is a Shelley Harebell pattern.

You're probably wondering why I matched the teacup set below with this pretty sunflower hat.  My yellow set has daffodils (which are spring) while this hat is definitely late summer. This Elizabethan set named Caroline (I do love Caroline patterns!) has yellow and even some of the yellow wheat-like accents like on the hat in addition to roses and blue flowers, and definitely says summer to me!

I think I've probably tipped my hand a bit now--you can probably figure out what my favorite china company is.  Five out of the twelve I choose just so happen to be Royal Albert ;).    

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hats for a Tea Party--Part 1

My mother found a bunch of straw hats at the local dollar store (a Dollar Tree) for $1 each, and had the great idea to make a collection of hats to use at future tea parties.  She found some great how-to videos on YouTube about Derby hats that we watched before getting to work.

In addition to the straw hats, we bought assorted ribbon,



and some accent pieces, including birds and butterflies.

We used a hot glue gun to attach well, everything.  We had so much fun that I actually made an extra trip to the dollar store to get a couple more hats so we could make more!

For my "tea party" this week, I've paired a teacup with each of the hats. 

I have 12 "guests" for this tea party--I'll share six of them today and six tomorrow.  In addition, some cups and saucers have snuck in that haven't shown up on the blog before.

First, the pink hat in the front paired with a favorite Royal Grafton cup and saucer.

The purple hat below, complete with a purple bird, makes a great combo with a new set I just bought at Homegoods by Gracie China with chintz violets.

Here is a hat fashioned after one of the most famous china patterns ever--old country roses!  This hat has a little lace accent--old country roses is so pretty with a lace tablecloth, don't you think?

Another hat has orange lilies and a monarch butterfly (with yellow accents of course!).  This hat is a perfect compliment to my Anysley Chelsea gold cup and saucer with orange azaleas, which look vaguely lily-like.

Next is a peacock hat matched with a peacock cup and saucer--Royal Albert's Chatelaine.

The last hat I'll be sharing today has green and pink orchids with a green polka-dot bow and hot pink accents.  I've paired this hat with a Royal Grafton teacup and saucer with gold and pink flowers.

Click here for the remaining 6 hats!

 I'm joining these tea parties this week:
  Bernideen's Tea in the Garden