My Valentine's Tea Party - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 267099

Celebrating Life with Paula

My Valentine's Tea Party 
 
Feb. 10, 2012 3:17 pm 
Updated: Feb. 22, 2012 7:25 am

I love tea parties! I have no idea when this love affair began, but I know it is going strong right now.  There are so many aspects I love about them, but let me start with just two:


I love the formality....the silver, the different courses, the white linens, the special china, the centerpiece, the five o'clock spoons, the napkin rings, the thinner than thin feel of the teacup on my lips, the crystal, the display of my best manners.


I love the casualness...the last minute thought "Oh, let's have a tea party," the peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwiches cut into fingers, the grapes and apple slices put on a small little plate, the Earl Grey and hot chocolate being served at the same table, the white paper napkins folded beside the plate.


Do I seem to be contradicting myself? If I am, it's because I don't follow rules. A tea party can be had using my best china and linens for my friends or making familiar foods and hot chocolate for my grandchildren.  For me, it's a way of thinking - a meal to eat more slowly...an occasion to enjoy relationships...a time to savor the moment.


I pick my granddaughter up from kindergarten every Monday at noon.  This past week she begged me for a tea party.  It didn't take much begging.  After we got home, I fixed her favorite sandwich - turkey and cheese - no crust and cut into 4 little squares.  Then I arranged them on the bottom of a pretty two-tiered crystal tray I had bought at a consignment shop.  On the top tier, I placed grapes and apple slices.  Then I put some Pringles potato chips in a small, footed dish. Presentation is everything when planning a tea party!  Then I picked out my prettiest tea and toast sets and put them on the table.  My philosophy is if I can't use it, I don't want it.  So even my grandchildren use my prettiest china.  Lunch lasted a bit longer that day, and we talked about school and her friends.  She even drank two cups of Earl Grey tea.  I'm hoping she'll always remember hers and Granna's tea parties.


I decided this month that I wanted to give a Valentine's tea party for some of my frends.  I invited my guests in an unusual way.  I told my Facebook friends about it and then listed the date and time.  I asked who wanted to come, and I sat back and waited.  Believe it or not, I ended up with a table of 6, including me.


Two days before the party, I set the table, made the centerpiece, confirmed the menu, bought the groceries, and made a few things in advance.  The centerpiece is a small vase inside a larger one.  I filled the larger one with red hots and the smaller one with carnations and baby's breath.  I love how it turned out!



The next day, I got up and got to work! First, I made pimiento soup, one of my very favorite soups. It will be the first course. I let it cool and then put it in the refrigerator.



Next, using a flower shaped cookie cutter, I cut the bread for the cucumber sandwiches and stored them in sandwich bags.  I must admit I take the easy way out for these.  I just spread a light layer of bought cream cheese and chives on the bread, top it with 3 thin slices of English cucumber, and lightly sprinkle Greek seasoning on top.  Voilà, cucumber sandwiches.



I also cut the raisin bread using heart shaped cookie cutters. That will be for Cinnamon Apple and Havarti Cheese Sandwiches.



I then made Best Farmer's Market Pimento Cheese. I'll put it on bread tomorrow.  (What? Too much pimiento on the menu...or cheese? Remember? I don't follow the rules.)



Tomorrow, I will bake my mini biscuits and fill them with ham and honey mustard.



And I'll also make the Sweet Bacon Crackers, although I'm going to make one later today just to see how it tastes.



I went ahead and threaded the fruit on the skewers for Fruity Fun Skewers. And that takes care of the second course.



Then I got to work on the third course - dessert.  I wanted to have several mini desserts. So I made the filling for Cream-Filled Strawberries.



Then I made Peanut Butter Cream Parfaits and put them in shooters.  My halved recipe fit perfectly in 6 shooters. Just enough for a taste.



I then shoved two white chocolate chips in a raspberry.  I got this idea off Pinterest. My raspberries were huge!




I also made Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cake, only using a devil's food cake mix instead of spice. I've had it before.  I had the bright idea that I wanted to cut the cake with a heart shaped cookie cutter.  After it cooled, I tried and it crumbled.  Too thick.  Oh well, I'll decide tomorrow what to do with it. The last dessert I made was Peppermint Meringues, a very easy, lighter than air cookie topped with crushed peppermint.



And that finishes all that I can do this day.  Now it's time to do a little cleaning and straightening of the house.


The day of the Tea Party finally arrived.  I had put the Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cake in the refrigerator thinking it might cut easier and not fall apart.  Sure enough, it worked!  I cut the cake in squares, piped on a dollop of Cool Whip, and placed a stemmed cherry off center.



I prepped all the other food I had put off doing and placed it on the table.  It all looked very pretty and appealing.



My guests arrived, and we laughed and talked and had a wonderful time.  I think their favorite food was the Sweet Bacon Crackers.  They also liked the Peanut Butter Cream Parfaits.  Both these recipes were so easy to make! One of the best things that happened, though, life slowed down if only for a couple of hours.

 
Comments
Susie 
Feb. 10, 2012 4:33 pm
Oh my goodness Paula, how beautiful everything looks. I have only had tea parties with my children and now my grandchildren. Not nearly the work that went into your party, but fun. I hope your guest were in awe of how pretty you fixed everything. I would love to be a guest at your tea party.
 
Feb. 10, 2012 5:28 pm
There is something so special and intimate about tea parties. You crearted a beautiful party for your friends...so lucky.
 
Feb. 10, 2012 5:29 pm
Wow, Paula, everything looks so yummy! I've never had/been to a tea party, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Glad everyone had a great time!
 
Paula 
Feb. 10, 2012 7:21 pm
Thanks, Susie. Don't you love having tea parties with your grandchildren? I wish you could come to one of my tea parties!
 
Paula 
Feb. 10, 2012 7:22 pm
Marie, you're right. Tea parties are intimate. They are n occasion to really get to know people better.
 
Paula 
Feb. 10, 2012 7:23 pm
Christina, you should host your own tea party and invite your friends! Then you could say you've been to one.
 
Feb. 10, 2012 7:40 pm
Wow Paula, your pics are great and everything looks yummy! Nice job and glad you had a great time.
 
Feb. 10, 2012 7:40 pm
truly excellent prep and presentation. a true SOUTHERN hostess. and those bacon crackers...oh yeah!
 
Feb. 10, 2012 7:43 pm
I want to come next time Paula! :D It looks so wonderful - very nice job. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy life every once in a while. :)
 
Paula 
Feb. 10, 2012 8:04 pm
Thanks, Magnolia Blossom (I just love your name :) :)
 
Paula 
Feb. 10, 2012 8:05 pm
Gderr, I understand YOU have that southern hospitality, too. Sure would like to join you folks at the Southern Round-Up.
 
Paula 
Feb. 10, 2012 8:06 pm
Caroline, I wish I could give a tea party for all my AR friends! You would definitely be on the list.
 
sueb 
Feb. 10, 2012 10:30 pm
Cute ideas! I would feel right at home if I had been there!
 
Feb. 11, 2012 12:51 am
Hi Paula, so cute & will use your ideas. I have tea parties with my grandkids & include stuffed favorites to round out our table. We put on our best floppy hats, dresses, big bead necklaces. But we learn our manners. I am near you, out from Batesville.
 
Feb. 11, 2012 5:54 am
Just lovely! I bet your friends felt very special and honored. You really put a lot of thought and effort into the tea party.
 
Paula 
Feb. 11, 2012 6:23 am
Thanks, sueb. I try to use my home for blessing other people and making them feel welcome.
 
Paula 
Feb. 11, 2012 6:24 am
HotGrandma, you are only the second person I have seen on here who lives really close to me. We should get together and have own own Southern Round-up! Why, we could even have a tea party!
 
Paula 
Feb. 11, 2012 6:27 am
Oh, CookinArgentina, how different your life must be living in Argentina! That's one of the things I love about AR-reading about all the different lifestyles and "normal" for everybody. Thanks for reading my blog.
 
Feb. 11, 2012 7:05 am
hi paula i lrft a blog about it that has all the details. we got 2-5 coming from your neck of the woods. it's gonna be a whole lot of fun! bring a serious sense of humor!
 
Vicky 
Feb. 11, 2012 7:38 am
I was one of those blessed guests!The afternoon was relaxing, fun, and delicious - just lovely! We'll be repeating the process at my house soon. Thanks, Paula. I'm proud of you!
 
Feb. 11, 2012 8:33 am
Tea parties are an art form that seems to have been lost. Congrats for bringing it back Paula. You have done a wonderful job. Happy Valentine's Day my dear.
 
Feb. 11, 2012 8:40 am
How fun! Everything looks wonderful.
 
donna 
Feb. 11, 2012 4:50 pm
what a nice gradam.
 
Feb. 12, 2012 6:23 am
One thing I love is a tea party. I miss my English afternoon teas. I just love the formality of the gloved handed waiters dressed to the nines, the best crystal and the clink of fine bone china. Of course the best teas and all those dainty sandwiches and cakes. Oh Paula you are making me feel so home sick right now. Have fun at the tea party...
 
Feb. 12, 2012 7:51 am
Can I come to tea Paula???? Lovely.
 
Nealy 
Feb. 12, 2012 9:27 am
My little girl (also in kindergarten, like your granddaughter) went crazy over the pictures of your tea party when she saw me looking at them on the computer screen. I may have to recreate a couple of your recipes for after school on Tuesday.
 
Feb. 12, 2012 9:47 am
Wow I wish I was friends with you on facebook and lived near you. I would have went everything looked so good.
 
Elle 
Feb. 12, 2012 10:06 am
Beautiful! And yummy!
 
Feb. 12, 2012 10:29 am
How lovely, Paula! I, too, use all of my "good stuff"! My wouldn't dream of using hers and I always wondered... why? I have broken a few things, yes, but they were well used and loved. It made some everyday meals more fun, a snack something special and unexpected and added to memories. Your grand daughter is very fortunate to have a grandma like you!
 
Paula 
Feb. 12, 2012 8:01 pm
Oh my, I went out of town and got behind on responding to all of you. But thanks for your kind comments. Apple.Strudel, I am so glad I could remind you of home, but so sorry for making you homesick. WFDM, I see no sense in keeping all my pretty china locked up in the china cabinet and never using it! Why? What good is it? I also put mine in the dishwasher. GASP! Again, if I have to hand wash all of it, I probably won't use it. I want to make memories with it, not memories of my kids making fun of me for taking grand care of something I never used!
 
NavyGirl 
Feb. 12, 2012 9:19 pm
God Bless you, Paula! My Grandma would always do this for my brother and I. Granted we always wanted coffee instead (because we were rebels... :P) We would sit around the large round table, each pick out our own teacup (Grandma has 8 different cups with different flowers on it) and we would eat our dessert with our "tea" and talk about stuff. We had so much fun doing that when I was young and growing up. Those particular teacups are really the only inheritance I've ever wanted, specifically because of those memories. :) Granted I REALLY don't want a dead grandmother, however :P
 
Paula 
Feb. 13, 2012 8:12 am
Awww, NavyGirl. What wonderful memories you have of your grandmother. I hope to make those same memories with my grandchildren (and would love to bequeath them my tea stuff:)
 
Feb. 13, 2012 8:51 am
I've logged in at work just so I could comment on this beautiful blog! Wow, what a treat, if I were your facebook friend I would have been there in a heart beat! I saved your pimento soup recipe, that's right up my alley. I've made those bacon crackers too, they're addictive, aren't they?? Again, beautiful job!
 
Paula 
Feb. 13, 2012 9:10 am
Thanks so much, Cindy. I hope I don't get you fired! LOL! I love love love that pimiento soup. I would never have tried it on my own! So glad my friend made it and served it to me. I make it all the time now.
 
Feb. 13, 2012 9:22 am
OOOHHH....how lovely everything looks, I especially loved the vase filled with red hots to hold the flowers...how inspired! And you can get bags of red hots at the dollar store, I'm going to do that! For V-Day tomorrow I'm making my sweetie his fave...homemade pizza with whole wheat crust and my special jalapeno/garlic sauce. I'm going to make it in a heart shape. My first granddaughter is only 2 months old right now, but when she's older I hope to do things like this with her! Thanks for the Inspiring blog! *tink*
 
Paula 
Feb. 13, 2012 9:38 am
Yes, msntnkrbll, I got the red hots in a huge movie size box for $.98! It looks like more than I actually used, but the smaller tall vase is inside the larger one. so it takes up a lot of room. And I must say, I was inspired my Pinterest for this centerpiece. I love the idea of the pizza shaped like a heart. I'm going to do that next time I make one!
 
Feb. 13, 2012 6:56 pm
How sweet!! I am so glad that kids still enjoy tea parties.... and isn't Pinterest about the best place EVER for so many wonderful ideas??? However, the hours fly by WAY too fast when I am on there... I am sure your friends loved the time you invested in such a nice luncheon/tea!! How special.
 
Feb. 14, 2012 7:19 am
Ooooh- put me on the invitation list. What great looking food- and tasty too. A lovely way to spend some time with friends.
 
Fyne 
Feb. 14, 2012 7:48 am
I am inspired Paula! Fantastic job!
 
J. Dub 
Feb. 14, 2012 11:30 am
I'm so jealous! Everything looked great. Those cream stuffed strawberries look devine! I'm so glad you had a great time. Sounds like you are enjoying the little things that make life fun - something more of us should do.
 
Feb. 14, 2012 3:01 pm
I love high tea! This looks lovely - I wish could visit your home-- I have been to many tea houses for tea and yours certainy beate them all! You should open a tea House.
 
Feb. 15, 2012 9:22 am
Such a beautiful and thoughtful hostess you are Paula! I have a lovely collection of antique tea cups and saucers inherited from my mother-in-law in a hutch I just cleaned yesterday. I was just thinking how I wished I had someone to invite to a tea party to enjoy them. You have inspired me!
 
Paula 
Feb. 15, 2012 10:40 am
I've noticed that several of you have told me that I've inspired you. How wonderful that my first blog would make you want to pull out those rarely used tea cups and invite some friends over. Create some memories and be sure to tell me about them!
 
Feb. 15, 2012 3:45 pm
My great niece and I have had a few tea parties, but I really must step it up to your level Thanks for sparking a few ideas. Believe me, your granddaughter will carry the memories of these parties thoughout her life.
 
Paula 
Feb. 15, 2012 4:15 pm
Thanks, Mom. I sure hope my grandchildren enjoy and carry on the traditions. It's so nice to make memories for them.
 
Feb. 15, 2012 8:16 pm
Paula, Thank you for such a wonderful blog. It made me feel warm when I read it. The fanciest restaurant in the world could not compete with the feeling behind your beautiful tea party and the obvious love that went into it.
 
Paula 
Feb. 15, 2012 9:20 pm
Thank you so much, JaynieG.
 
Mamaw1 
Feb. 16, 2012 2:06 pm
I love this blog. A tea party is wonderful for young and old. Now, I must plan one for the springtime! Thank you for sharing!
 
Paula 
Feb. 16, 2012 3:38 pm
You're welcome, Mamaw. Please let me know if you do have one. I love living vicariously through others :)
 
Feb. 16, 2012 7:00 pm
What a lovely idea! Thank you for sharing it. It was so fun reading about your tea party.
 
Feb. 17, 2012 2:16 pm
What and wonderful and creative idea!! I love what you said "I try to use my home for blessing other people and making them feel welcome." That is how I feel!! People always tell me how peaceful and welcoming my home is. I love to entertain! I want to have a tea party!!!
 
Mamaw1 
Feb. 17, 2012 5:05 pm
I will gladly report on the tea party. thanks for the inspiration.
 
Paula 
Feb. 17, 2012 6:58 pm
Thanks Cookie Momster. Glad you dropped by. Mel, be sure to let me know how your tea party turns out!
 
Deb C 
Feb. 18, 2012 3:53 pm
That is so cool. Loved it!
 
Paula 
Feb. 21, 2012 10:00 pm
Thanks, Deb.
 
 
 
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Paula

Home Town
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Living In
Olive Branch, Mississippi, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2008

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Healthy, Dessert, Quick & Easy

Hobbies
Walking, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
 
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