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
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
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.