Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mechanicsburg ~ Postcard History Series

We're happy to introduce the latest publication authored by a Reppert family member... this one has been compiled by dear old Dad, Byron L. Reppert. A past mayor of Mechanicsburg and local historian, over the years dad has compiled a collection of postcards pertaining to Mechanicsburg and local environs, and has published this interesting postcard book following the guidelines of Arcadia Publishing. Each postcard includes historical data and shares the development of the borough through these snapshots, confirming the town motto, Mechanicsburg - a good place to live, then and now. This recent book signing was held at Civil War & More in downtown Mechanicsburg earlier this month. Several other book signings have been scheduled and include Sat. Feb 5, 1 - 3 pm at the Mechanicsburg Museum , Wed. Mar 2, 7 pm at the Mechanicsburg Library, Sun. Mar 13, 1 - 3 at the Village Artisans in Boiling Springs, and Sat. Mar 16, 1 - 3 at the Cumberland County Historical Society in Carlisle. There will be an Author's Reception on Sunday, April 10, 1 - 4 pm at Sweet Remembrances.
Several press releases have featured this new publication. Joseph Cress of The Carlisle Sentinel interviewed the author recently, and Roger Quigley of The Patriot News did so also.
The book is available at The Rosemary House and several locations throughout town. It is also available by mail from the publisher. All of the author's royalties from the sale of this book will be placed into the Bertha and Byron L. Reppert Scholarship Fund, established in 2001 by their four daughters, in memory of Bertha Reppert and to honor Byron L. Reppert on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The scholarship is awarded annually to two Mechanicsburg Senior High School students who demonstrate an interest in political science, history, horticulture, or journalism.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flavoring Oils Recipe Booklet

our gift to you!As we celebrate another year of blogging about herbs and tea and cooking and family and more... we want to thank our readers for sharing your thoughts and comments with us, both on our blog and on our Facebook posts. This little Flavoring Oils cookbook is a compendium of ideas and suggestions for using flavorings and essential oils in cakes, candies, and frosting. It was compiled by Nancy many years ago and includes pertinent information for adding additional flavor to your favorite creations by using flavoring oils. How about a creative frosting? Try gingery butter frosting or a chocolate-spice buttercream or lemon-lime buttercream using unsweetened Koolaid!
There's also a page dedicated to the flavorful household. Add a drop of anise oil to a quart of lentil-vegetable soup. Think your cinnamon is old? Add 3 drops of cinnamon oil to 1/2 c. powdered cinnamon to strengthen and renew the cinnamon.
All these helpful hints and more are tucked inside this little booklet... and it's yours simply by contacting Nancy with your mailing address. We'll drop one in the mail for you.
(This offer is valid thru 2011, to United States mailing addresses only.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teacup Thursday

We're joining Miss Spenser today for Teacup Thursday and are sharing a beautiful set of vintage violet teacups inherited from our dear Aunt Hilda. Note the brilliant colors of these lustre teacups and saucers and the heavy gold accents around the rim, base, and handles. They are marked on the bottom of the saucers, Royal Sealy China Japan. There is a great deal of sentiment and beauty within these teacups, currently on display in the tea room. If teacups could talk, they would share an interesting story to be sure. I know that my Aunt traveled frequently so it's quite possible that these were a souvenir or simply a discovery in a local market.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Apple Butter

A surprise Christmas gift for me this year came from my friend Dennis Mawhinney. Dennis is quite an amazing gardener and he loves herbs too, particularly culinary and fragrant herbs. In a casual conversation with Dennis I mentioned that I wished I could still find apple butter with Sassafras in it. Dennis was surprised at this but I insisted the old timers used to add a little 'sassyfras' along with other spices when making apple butter. Well! Friend Dennis scoured the farm stands and farmers market until he found apple butter made with real sassafras. Lucky me! A delicious treat. I particularly enjoy a dollop of apple butter on top of some cottage cheese.

Check out Wikipedia for additional Apple Butter history. It is a treat that the Germans brought to PA. Often referred to as the PA Dutch (they weren't Dutch at all , but German) they would make apple butter to use as a spread on bread. There is no dairy at all in apple butter, instead the apples are simmered with apple cider until it thickens and the apples caramelize into a dark, thick preserve. Follow this link for a good apple butter recipe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Any girl scout worth her cookies should be able to recognize the Sassafras tree! It is the tree with the mitten shaped leaves. Sassafras is a Native American tree that grows from Canada to Texas and reaches to about 50 feet. The inside bark of the root is used to make a delicious 'tea' and is considered to be a spring tonic. It is also a prime ingredient in root beer or sarsaparilla. Many home brew hobbyists use sassafras in their micro brews. Unfortunately, sassafras was a herb that got a bad rap from the FDA when some faulty lab test found sassafras to be carcinogenic. It isn't! In 1994, Sassafras became readily available again to be used in tea, beverages, apple butter and hard candy. Sassafras leaves are mixed with thyme leaves and that is referred to as Gumbo file and used as a thickening agent for the famous Louisiana soup.
Think Spring everyone...

Friday, January 21, 2011

LizTech Teacup Pin

Somehow Miss Spenser's Teacup Thursday escaped me... (what happened to Thursday?), so I guess that makes this Teacup Friday. I'm sharing a special teacup pin that I received from my oldest sister a few gift giving seasons ago. This artistic pin is crafted and signed on the back by LizTech and dated 'o1. A Pennsylvania artist, Jill Elizabeth, started her business in 1984 by recycling old costume jewelry into unique one of a kind pieces finding inspiration from American Southwest, Egyptian, and Indian mythology. She has many beautiful designs available on her website, and encourages her customers to Go Forth and Sparkle! But if you're fortunate and patient like Angela, of Tea With Friends, you might just find a treasure on eBay at a considerable discount. Angela shares her discovery, a LizTech teapot pin here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lea Stein Fairy Pin

Thank you David! You're the best husband ever! My Christmas stocking held this adorable Fairy pin by French jewelry artist Lea Stein (1931- ). Lea Stein and her husband developed a method of creating this plastic jewelry by layering thin sheets of cellulose acetate or rhodroid. By layering the sheets she could insert lace, fabric or brocade into each piece of jewelry. The rhodroid was then baked to form a "multi color sandwich of plastic". Each sandwich could take up to 6 months to make. She began her jewelry career in 1969, but in 1981 it became too difficult to compete financially. She stopped producing for a while but began again in 1991. For a more complete history of Lea Stein check out this website. I believe this fairy is not from her earlier period but a more current piece. It is definitely a Lea Stein as they are all labeled Lea Stein Paris on the distinctive V-shaped pin back. Her work is inspired from the art deco period. She does many designs, especially animals. You can see more photos of her pins here and then keep your eye out at flea markets and yard sales. That cute plastic pin could be a real treasure!

Friday, January 14, 2011

January - National Hot Tea Month

January is appropriately noted to be National Hot Tea Month,and in celebration of this, I've been enjoying steaming pots of Fortnum & Mason's Royal Blend, a gift from Lemon Verbena Lady. (Thank you Nancy!) She had the good fortune of traveling to England this past year, and I am reaping one of the benefits! The Royal Blend is a good, hearty combination of black teas, definitely typically British. The label states 'stronger tea', and indeed it is, and that's just the way I like it! It is a blend of a sturdy Assam and refreshing Ceylon.

As I sip this tea, I'm reviewing our Calendar of Events for the upcoming year... Susanna has been busy working on our booklet, adding new events, scheduling speakers, creating special activities.... and I see we are planning on celebrating the Royal Wedding in April. Look for some fun teas, a special Wedding Gown program, and all the pomp and circumstance associated with this exciting second generation fairy tale. Looks like several gala celebrations will be taking place at Sweet Remembrances too. Details should be forthcoming over the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Teacup Thursday - Teacup Trio

Celebrating Teacup Thursday with Miss Spenser and others today... and sharing a trio of teacups that were tucked under the Christmas tree less than a month ago (with special thanks to Carrie). These gorgeous floral teacups have adjusted to their new home and have promptly been put into service. They are marked 'Made in England', Fine Bone China, and the teacup on the far right is Royal Imperial and the other two are Elizabethan. Please visit Miss Spenser's blog for links to other participating blogs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Taking Tea Around the World

A sample of a tea bag of Saffron Tea was sent to me the other day.This Iranian tea, not readily available in the United States, was shared by a member of a tea list to which I subscribe. Familiar with saffron flavoring in cooking such as Spanish rice and PA Dutch Pot Pie, I was interested in sampling this unique tea. The written words Saffron Tea Bag on the back of the bag, and the pictorial directions, reading from right to left, were the only discernible markings. After a 2 minute steeping time, this brewed a rich reddish brown tea with the unique fragrance associated with saffron. The company website proclaims the tea to have an exotic aroma and seductive flavor. Although a smooth tea, to my taste, there was a bit of astringency noted and a lingering aftertaste. This would not be my everyday 'go to' tea, but it did provide a unique interlude on a snowy afternoon. Thank you for sharing Boris.