Friday, December 19, 2008

White Is The Winter Night

Enya has released a new CD. Here are the lyrics of one of my favorite songs on her new CD. Have a listen if you can. It is a light and peaceful song.

Have you seen the mistletoe, it fills the night with kisses
Have you seen the bright blue star, it fills your heart with wishes
Have you seen the candlelight, it shines from every window
Have you seen the moon above, it lights the sky in silver

Chorus:
Green is in the mistletoe but red is in the holly
Silver in the stars above that shine on everybody
Gold is in the candlelight and crimson in the embers
White is in the winter night that everyone remembers

Have you heard the boys all sigh, when all the girls are skating
Have you heard their sweet hearts cry for all this time they're waiting

Have you seen the children playing, tiny hands are frozen
Have you seen them hurry home, when suddenly it´s snowing

Have you heard that bells are ringing, ringing out their story
Have you heard the choir singing, Glory, Glory Glory

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Apple Butter Scones

Makes 12 scones.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cups butter
1/2 cups golden raisins
1-1/2 cup apple butter
1 egg; slightly beaten
vegetable cooking spray

Additional apple butter; for accompaniment

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powderand baking soda. Cut in butter with pastry cutter or forkuntil mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add raisins. In a separate bowl combine apple butter and egg. Add flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spray 2 1/2 inch muffin tins with vegetable cooking spray. Fill almost full with batter. Bake at 425°F for 14 to 16minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Serve warm with additional apple butter.

Adapted from recipe by: Knouse Foods Website Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #678

Potato Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. chopped nuts
1 c. crushed potato chips
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Beat butter, sugar and egg until well blended. Stir in remainder of ingredients. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 1/2 minute on cookie sheet. Then remove to wire rack and cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Variation: add 3 oz. (1/2 c.) chocolate chips

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Angel Flans

Non stick vegetable spray
Salt
3 oz. angel hair pasta
3 lg. eggs1 c. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Black pepper
1 c. grated imported Parmesan

Set oven at 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with vegetable cooking spray. Cook pasta according to pkg. directions. Drain and pat dry. divide pasta evenly among the mini muffin tins. Set aside. In mixing bowl, place eggs, cream, nutmeg and salt, pepper and 2/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

Mix well to blend. Pour the mixture into the molds, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle tops of flans with remaining Parmesan cheese. Place molds in oven. Bake until flams are set, puffed and lightly browned about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.

* Flans can be prepared ahead of time, thaw in refriderator, bake 15 mins, serve.

Beautiful Tea Tags

Tales from the OC Cottage has made the most darling tea tags. You can see these pink wonders at http://talesfromanoccottage.blogspot.com/2008/12/pink-saturdaytag-your-it.html

Cranberry-Vanilla Cake

I will be making this cake for my holiday tea. Check out this delicious Cranberry-Vanilla Cake recipe at http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/12/cranberry-vanilla-coffee-cake/

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jam Bars and Tea

Susanne at Recipe Corner has posted a fabulous Jam Bar recipe that would be a great addition to a tea table. See Susanne's recipe at http://recipecorner-susanne.blogspot.com/2008/12/in-jam.html.

Tortilla Pinwheels

3 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chile (drained)
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. pineapple cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 tsp. Mexican seasoning
salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 sm. onion, finely minced
1 dozen flour tortillas

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Spread over tortillas until 1/8-inch thick. Roll each tortilla and secure with a toothpick; chill. Cut into 1/2-inch widths. One dozen tortillas will make approximately 120 pinwheels.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WFMW - A Giveaway! There Really IS A Santa Claus!

Here's a HINT. Have you seen this? I love this product! It is so special and will be treasured by your family in years to come. Give your child the chance to still believe. Place Santa in your living room, delivering presents to your children. Create living proof there IS a Santa - and he was in your home. Go here to read more. http://www.icaughtsanta.com/ Now for the great news .. be one of the first 25 customers to receive a free photo from icaughtsanta.com. All you need to do is submit your iCaughtSanta photo by 12-20-08 and include “sleeplessinwisc” in the subject line. Pass this along to all the Mom's you know. Hurry - its almost Christmas!

For more helpful ideas, please visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer - http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

I wanted to share with you a recipe for one of the most outstanding scones, by Tyler Florence of the Food Network. These scones have always been a hit with my guests and family. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/blueberry-scones-with-lemon-glaze-recipe/index.html

Try them without the lemon glaze or use a simple glaze. They are so good.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Book Resources for Teas

Here are some great book resources for your teas:

- Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties with Recipes for Every Occasion, from Fabulous Showers to Intimate Gatherings by Tracy Stern
- Tea with Friends by Elizabeth Knight
- The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea by Helen Simpson
- Country Tea Parties by Maggie Stuckey
- Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake
- Taking Time for Tea: 15 Seasonal Tea Parties to Soothe the Soul and Celebrate the Spirit by Diana Rosen
All of the above books can be found on Amazon.com. Add them to your Chrsitmas wishlist. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hosting A Tea

Its simple.

Equipment You will need:

Three-Tier Curate Stand (s) or decorative platters
Tea cups
Tea Pots or a large (linen wrapped) thermos for individual cups of tea
Linen napkins
Silver teaspoons, dessert forks, butter knives
Sugar bowl and tongs
Milk container

To serve:

Tea
Scones
Assorted savories
Small desserts
Whole Milk
Sugar
Lemon
Honey

done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3 Tiers for 2-4

Afternoon Tea food placement for a three tier curate stand:

Top Tier = Scones

Middle tier = Savories and Tea sandwiches

Bottom tier = Sweets

Using three tiers for more than just a few guests - use more curate stands.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

A fun addition to your tea. Choose large berries with stems attached. Wash gently and air dry completely.

Melt 1 cup of milk chocolate or white chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening.

Dip strawberries in chocolate halfway and lay on wax paper until cooled. Serve among your tea desserts. These will be a hit at a Tea where Champagne is served.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Devonshire Cream (Mock)

½ cup heavy cream or 8 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
½ cup sour cream

In a chilled bowl, beat cream until medium-stiff peaks form, adding sugar during the last few minutes of beating. (If you are using cream cheese, just stir together with sugar.) Fold in sour cream and blend.

Serve with your favorite, scone, soda bread, muffin or quick bread.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Savory Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches are tiny and made with thinly sliced breads with crusts removed.

Tip: spread on a thin coat of mayonnaise, butter, or cream cheese to keep the bread from getting soggy. This will enable you to prepare sandwiches much in advance. Next add the filling, which can be really anything you like.Cut off the crusts using a serrated knife. Sandwiches are easier to cut into shapes when they are cold, so wrap them carefully and chill in refrigerator first. Then they can be cut into squares, triangles, long strips or cut into fun shapes using cookie cutters.

Tea Sandwich Filling Suggestions:
Sliced turkey or chicken with raspberry jelly
Cream cheese with nuts, whipped cream cheese mixed with diced celery and chopped walnuts
Tomato and cucumber, chopped fine and well drained on top of a thin layer of mayo
Ham and apricot preserves
Ham salad
Egg Salad
Liver Sausage with minced onion
Roasted vegetables

Be creative. There are no rules. Sandwiches can be served on a variety of breads. Try pumpernickel, soda bread, quick breads such as pumpkin or banana. Savory breads work very well with the meat fillings. The varieties are endless.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tea Cup Candles

Kate at Design Sponge has complete and clear instructions for making your tea cup a candle. http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/11/diy-project-kates-teacup-candles.html

Nine Chic Holiday Accents from Felt

Count them - Nine quick and classy tabletop projects! Check out Midwest Livings 9 chic holiday accents made from felt. The instructions come complete with patterns. Do-it-yourself pillows, throws and more. Holiday decor designed by Mother Nature - no sewing required. http://www.midwestliving.com/mwl/

Lemon Curd

4 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until it has melted.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Beat eggs into cooled lemon mixture until well blended. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats spoon. Remove from heat. Store in refrigerator.
This sweet and tart spread is fabulous – like velvet. Serve it on scones (outstanding on blueberry scones), muffins and sweet or quick breads.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gatherings

There is nothing like a spontaneous gathering of two or three friends over a cup of herbal tea and some delicious cucumber sandwiches. But with the popularity of afternoon tea, many tea rooms and restaurants require reservations weeks in advance, making spontaneity difficult. If you can work it out, it is especially fun to have tea for a shopping trip break, nothing could be more relaxing. For my love of “tea”, I started to have it more with activities at home. With any gathering of friends, a girls night in, craft night or a family occasion such as a shower – do a tea.

Afternoon tea is traditionally enjoyed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Although it is an Irish tradition of serving tea with milk and sugar, it is perfectly acceptable to also serve flavored tea, coffee, or iced tea. You can make your tea unique to you.

The crusts are cut off of soft bread slices to make small sandwiches of smoked salmon, cucumber and butter, or egg salad and watercress. Scones are served with butter, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The light meal is finished with sweet cakes, tarts, petit fours, and other pastries. One of the advantages of preparing a tea is that most of your prep can be done ahead of time so you can enjoy all of your time with your guests.

Next time you are planning, see how you can incorporate tea into your event. Your family and friends will love it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Name That Tea

Before sending invites think of a name for your tea. This will help you design the entire concept. You can find inspiration in many places. Look at a flower of the month list. Your tea could be “Forget Me Not” or if you are planning a knitting club gathering, name it “Forget Me Knot” along with a pretty picture of the flower. Name your tea along with the season or holidays or what is happening in that month. A Gratitude Tea in November or Christmas’ Remembered Tea. For a Birthday theme, name your tea for your guests of honor, using their name or their passion. An activity can also be part of your Tea – how about a “Bring a Tea” for your guests to share their favorites along with your delicious bites.

Even if your tea is not formal perhaps one that is served during a craft night you can make it as fancy or casual as you like. Casual or dressy - print a menu with the title of your tea, your guest of honor or your theme and place it on your Tea table.

Setting Up Your Tea

Afternoon tea should be served in the living room, on low chairs and sofas, with the food and place settings arranged on a tea (coffee) table.

Kitchen setup: Where you will stage things. Where water is boiled and food arranged. Have enough space set aside for the curate stand, tea pots, tea tins, and trays of savories and desserts.High Tea is served in the dining room in a tradition formal dinner manner.

Tea Table: A linen table cloth is a must for a formal tea. On top of the table cloth sits the Three-Tier Curate Stand (s) somewhere in the middle leaving enough room for the teapot(s) and place settings to be arranged around it. Fresh flowers add a nice touch. Don't forget your printed menu.

Place settings: Small plate in the middle with fork on the left, and knife and spoon on the right. Above the plate sits the tea spoon, and above this to the right is the teacup and saucer. Use a folded twelve inch linen napkin placed to the left of the setting. The napkin should be folded with the closed edge to the left and the open edge to the right.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Open-Faced Cucumber Sandwiches

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon of garlic salt
½ teaspoon of dill weed
1 teaspoon chopped chives
8 slices of white bread
1 seedless cucumber

Combine the cream cheese, garlic salt, chives and dill in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and chill 1 hour. Cut the cucumber into rounds. Set aside. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass, cut the middle out of each slice of bread. Top each slice with some of the cream cheese mixture, then a slice of cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with additional dill and chopped chives.

Cinnamon Pecan Bundt Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1. c. sour cream
¼ c. vegetable oil
¾ c. hot water
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. vanilla

Pecan mixture:
½ c. sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend all ingredients in mixer and mix well at high speed. Grease bundt pan well. Pour 1/3 of batter in pan, then ½ of the pecan mixture, then another 1/3 of the batter, remaining ½ of pecan mixture, ending with the remaining third of batter. Bake one hour. Let cool in pan 15 minutes before turning cake out. Freezes well. Serves 10-12

Honey Butter

1 pound Kerrygold Irish butter
1/4 cups honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter at low speed until softened. Add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla and beat on medium until well combined, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto plastic wrap. Roll into a log or place in small mold and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Spread on warm scones, dessert breads or popovers.

Irish Ginger Snaps

1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar, egg, salt and shortening together. Add flour, baking soda and spices. Mix well. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll the balls in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Creamy Dill Cucumbers on Baquette

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 French baguette, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 cucumber, sliced (you will need 12 slices)
2 teaspoons dried dill weed

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, dressing mix and mayonnaise. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on a slice of bread, and top with a slice of cucumber. Sprinkle with dill. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Makes 12.

Turkey Sandwiches, Waldorf Style

1 cup cooked turkey, diced
1 small apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vanilla yogurt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large lettuce leaves 8 slices raisin bread (remove crusts)

In a medium-size bowl, combine turkey, celery, apple, walnuts, mayonnaise, yogurt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove crusts from raisin bread, place a lettuce leaf over bread slice, top with turkey mix (1/4 of the mix) and top that with another slice of bread. Neatly cut sandwiches on an angle. Serve with tea. Makes 4 sandwiches, or eight halves.

Nut Bread with Booze

Shame on me, its not even St. Pat’s Day! In a baking mood, with the weather change.

2 cups (1 lb) of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
8 large eggs
3 cups of sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup bourbon
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
2 cups chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at time, beat well after each egg.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In corporate flour mixture with egg mixture, alternating with the booze, mixing well. Stir in vanilla, almond extract and pecans.

Spoon into 2 well greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on rack and remove from pans in 10 minutes. Place back on rack and cool completely.