Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow days and maple apple butter scones

I've been off work for the past two days because of last weekend's blizzard, so I've been doing some boredom baking (always a dangerous thing).  After making my ill gotten goods, I decided to take tea outside (despite the snow it is in the upper 40s today) since I'm getting a bit of cabin fever,

and it is so pretty looking out into the woods.

The swing set might be a bit buried so I don't think we'll be heading there, but my deck is clear right near my wicker set.

A cup of Charleston plantation peach tea fills the small transferware teapot I bought during a trip to Savannah, Georgia--both tea and pot from the same 2014 summer trip. 
These scones are the real star of this post.  My street is not completely cleared, so I was stuck here and limited to what was in my larder...thus experimentation was in order!  I was quite happy with how these scones turned out.
I combined apple butter, maple syrup, and cream cheese to make these sweet, moist, and yet biscuit like scones. These ingredients were "extras" I just so happened to still have in my fridge from the December parties.  I'm normally all about the cream scone, which is this not, so I also am getting outside my comfort area.    

Maple Apple Butter Scones
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar*
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 stick butter
4 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup apple butter**
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.  Preheat oven to 425.  
2.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine. 
3.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender.  Cut in slightly softened cream cheese.
4.  Combine apply butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Pour over dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
5.  Drop spoonfuls onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Cook for 12 to 14 minutes (or so).
*If you prefer your scones to not be slightly extra sweet, I would reduce the sugar in the recipe to 1/4. 
**I used a somewhat local brand of apple butter--White House Apple Butter made in Winchester, Virginia, which worked very well in this recipe.

Thanks for joining me for tea!  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A (very) snowy day

Good morning!  Yesterday I was in the middle of a blizzard, so a perfect day to stay in and drink tea!  January is hot tea appreciation month--and now it is extra clear why!  We ended up with around two feet of snow in my area, so I was out there yesterday trying to stay ahead.  Here was the shot of the door to my back deck yesterday afternoon before I went out to shovel (yes the door is open, I had to shovel some from the doorway before I could step outside):

 and here was my last picture of the day looking up my street from my fourth time out last night:

I had tea on hand pretty much all day, so I could have something warm in between the shoveling.  I set out a little winter tea tableau to share:

This Royal Albert figurine is wearing a bolero jacket covered in snowflakes and a silver snowflake belt.  You might remember her, she is one of the Christmas figurines I shared earlier this month, but I think this is more "wintery" personally.   
I also used my cardinal teapot which is also a repeat--I had actually already put it away for the season, but cardinals and holly make me think of winter--they are a common sight where I live and stay all winter long.
(I'll admit, this is cheating.  This picture was taken after an ice storm a couple of years ago. He perched on the window above my backdoor.)
Cardinals are so pretty next to the white of snow (or ice), so I decided to enjoy tea in a Gracie china teacup with a cardinal on a holly bush with a snowy white background.  I bought this cup solely for the pretty cardinal as I'm not a huge fan of the flat bottomed shape, but the design is so pretty. 

This post is also the first in 2016's monthly series:  gemstones of the month!  Garnet is the January birthstone, so off I went to my jewelry box. 
My mother gave this ring to my grandmother a long time ago, and then she gave it to me after my grandmother passed away.  The pinecone covered runner was also a gift from my mother--a perfect match for this tea.  I think this series will be especially fun--I love jewelry and teacups, so what better way to enjoy them then to mix them together :). 
Well, winter was a bit slow arriving, but it is definitely here now! 

Update!  I just came back inside from shoveling the front, so here is the final pile photo (at least until the plow comes and the street is cleared).



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tea gifts 2015

I took these pictures right after Christmas to share this year's tea haul, but then didn't get around to posting until now...so Christmas trees in this post too.  I finished putting away the last one today though, so my house is now tree free...except for the needles...it's amazing how those fake needles get EVERYWHERE.

I'll start with my new kitchen calendar...Teapots!

Next, the cool bag my aunt brought back from her trip to the Celestial Seasonings store/factory in Boulder, Colorado.
(I really wish they made a tin with the gingerbread design!)

(teapot mountain)

My new apron from my parents:

London!  Here is a close up of the pattern that has teapots and little teacups throughout.

They also got me a big box of 100(!) teabags.

Here are the four different types included:

And last, a very cool surprise ornament. 
I saw this when I was with my parents, but it was a bit more money then I wanted to spend.  My parents saw how much I liked it and went back and got it for me.
It's so cool...the front of the teapot has two cups of teas with teaspoons.

The back has tea sandwiches and mini Victorian sponge cake desserts.

All on a silver tray of course.

Now I feel like I especially need to give Downton Abbey a try.  I have an ornament! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Holiday Tea with family

My family came over Sunday for a last minute get together, so I decided I might as well use my Christmas china.  I also haven't really shared it before (even though I've now had two Decembers on the blog), so why not?  I won't take my decorations down until this weekend anyway :).

I set the table in my dining room, which is also home to my carousel tree (cue different view of the room!).

My Christmas china is Royal Albert's Christmas Tree. 

Because this was a bit last minute, I just cooked up some scones I had in the freezer (the Christmas scones I shared last month) and some left over salted toffee, butterscotch, and milk chocolate cookies from New Year's.  This is my new Royal Doulton Christmas figurine--The First Noel, from the Songs of Christmas series.

I served two different teas.  The Downton Christmas tea from my "On this Winter's night" post in my Lenox teapot, and Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland tea in my Old Country Roses pot (which of course goes with my OCR Christmas china!).  Both teas were hits. 

The Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland tea is a rooibos tea with cranberry, vanilla flavors, hibiscus, cinnamon, roasted chicory, orange peel, chamomile, juniper berries, and stevia extract!  With the stevia it is already sweet, but I still added more sweetner.  I bought this tea after Christmas last year and saved it--and I'm glad too, since the new Celestial Seasonings box designs aren't as pretty.

Here is one last view of my dining room so you can better see the tree, and my tea cart hiding between the windows.  Okay, I lied when I said that I was done sharing Christmas trees.  This tree has a carousel theme.

I'm linking to these parties: