Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Gallons of Butterbeer, the beverage of choice for the Wizards at Hogwarts Academy, are sold at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  You'll find it sold by the tankard on the street and as a beverage selection in the Three Broomsticks. 
"Why don't we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it's a bit cold, isn't it?" Hermione Granger inviting Harry Potter to the Three Broomsticks Inn. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
Butterbeer is a sweet butterscotch flavored beverage. 
A simple recipe to use for Harry Potter Fans in your life is:
8 oz of Cream Soda gently whisked with
2 - 3 T Butterscotch Syrup (We like Smuckers)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Herbal World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios did a fine job recreating Diagon Alley (a cobbled wizarding alley and shopping area located in London, England) for us to walk through.  We could ship something through the Owl's post or purchase a wand at Ollivander's.   Of course, I was most taken by the Dogweed and Deathrow Botanical Shop.   This was purely scenery and not a shop we could enter so I can only suppose what plants were inside.  Perhaps some Aconite, aka Wolfsbane, to keep werewolves from going loco, and used in Harry Potter Potions.  Or maybe some of the toxic Mandrake, the tangled root helps Harry's teachers reverse the turn-to-stone spell.
This garden scene was at the top part of the Hogwart's Universal Studios Castle.    Perhaps these silk plants represent Nettles used by Wizards to cure boils or maybe Wormwood,  the ingredient used in sleeping potions in the Potter books.  Part of the fun of the Harry Potter books is the old Anglo-Saxon and Latin terms author J.K. Rowling uses such as "wizengamot" (a meeting of witches and wizards for judicial purposes).

Many herbs still have the old names such as Beewort (lemon balm) or cowslip (primroses).

This one is perhaps Dragonwort? Artemesia dracunculus , The roots are said resemble the head of a dragon or to grow where the blood of the dragon has been spilled.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Destination:  Orlando, FL,
the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Anticipation: almost unbearable.

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express ~ Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station in London!

Muggles?  You decide.
Hogwart's Castle ~ Impressive.  Scary.  Magical.  Hallowed.
Loved the snow!
and candy land.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Corner Rose Tea Room ~ Menu

Our tea began with a very savory tomato basil soup, served in a delicate china cup accompanied with a croissant filled with tasty chicken salad.
The three tiered tea tray was a feast for our eyes. The sandwiches, placed on the middle tier, featured a ham salad with pimiento cheese, egg salad crescent moons, sliced cucumbers, and another triangular sandwich.
The scone tray, on the bottom, included a nice variety of fresh fruit, petite cubed cheese, and two triangular scones, spicy cinnamon raisin and also lavender.

The cream was presented in a tea cup topped with a petite rosebud while the lemon curd was in a stemmed aperitif glass topped with a petite blossom.Dessert included chocolate cookies, assorted petit fours, and cream puffs, along with the cutest little mice made using a chocolate covered cherry for the body, a Hershey's kiss for the face and sliced almonds as ears. Too cute to eat!

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening for our first day in Florida. Susanna found this tea room by searching Orlando tea rooms listed on TeaMap.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tea Room Ambience

Our first evening in Orlando included a visit to The Corner Rose Tea Room. This charming little tea room, situated on the grounds of The Russell Home for Atypical Children, is open 7 days a week, by reservation, and totally profits the children's home.  It was developed with great love to act as a fundraiser for the home.

The tables were gracefully adorned with beautiful mix and match bone china settings. Additional tea cup sets decorated the walls and shelves in the tea room.
Notice the displays with the vintage cotton gloves tucked here and there. The scene was set, the anticipation great, the opportunity to sit and enjoy Afternoon Tea was before us.

Hats, stoles, and beautiful china with properly brewed tea. Let the tea party begin! Details and menu tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

We're off!

We have returned from a fantastic journey to Orlando FL, five days of roller coasters, magical adventures, Harry Potter, Legoland, swimming, fun in the warm sun, gardens, tea rooms and more.  Join us over the next few days as we take you on our vacation!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dill Weed and Seed

David was playing in the spices and shot this fun photo.  This is Dill Weed (the green) and Dill Seed.  
Dill is often distinguished in recipes by using the word "weed" and "seed".   The flavor of the seed is stronger then the leaf and it also has quite a different texture.  Therefore, we don't suggest you substitute one for the other.  We love to add dill weed to our veggies or lightly sprinkle it onto cucumber sandwiches and of course dill seed is a must have in pickles.   Dill seed is often used in bread making while Dill leaf (weed) is used in salad dressings, vinegars, and sauces. A very easy annual to grow, often you can use the dill seeds in your cupboard to start your seedlings.  Dill was known to 'dull' pain in colicky babies.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Herbal Funny

                     We can't take credit for this clever comic.   But it is fun!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Leaf Test ~ Answer Key!

 Left to Right we have  Catnip, Lemon Balm and Spearmint.
How did you do?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Leaf test

It is easy to tell the difference between the leaves when you can do the sniff test.  Or maybe you know the names of your plants by where they are located in your garden beds.  Here is a little test to see if you can recognize three herbs by their leaf characteristics simply by looking at them.  Can you guess?
Answers tomorrow!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spice up Your Life!

We used this comic as a little ad for The Rosemary House, many many years ago.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Antique Tea Boxes

These two tea boxes are treasures that were acquired years ago. The larger tea box, on the bottom, held choicest Hoo Chow, a gunpowder tea from China. Gunpowder tea is a green tea that is rolled into small pellets that gives it the appearance of gunpowder. Hoo Chow must be a term no longer used, as it does not come up in an Internet search. Has anyone heard of Hoo Chow?
The smaller box is for Tulip Japan Tea. The box reads Choice Young Leaf Pan Fried. 
Inside the box, on the reverse side of the lid is this beautiful artwork depicting Japanese women plucking the tea leaves in the garden with Mt. Fuji in the background. Because it is on the inside of the box and not exposed to sunlight, the colors remain vibrant.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tea Cup Thursday

Today, as we join Miss Spenser and others on Tea Cup Thursday, we are featuring this pretty collection of three delicate tea cups. The wispy garlands of petite pink roses mimic the ruffled edges of the tea cup base and saucer. They are simply marked 'Austria' on the bottom of the saucer.  While sipping tea from this pretty cup, one is surely transported to Austria, giving new meaning to the world in your teacup.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The World in Your Teacup

Spending time on Facebook can be rewarding! Some might consider it wasting time, but in this instance, I became the winner of a copy of this wonderful book The World in Your Teacup by Lisa Boalt Richardson, certified tea specialist. In this book, Lisa celebrates tea traditions, near and far.  She delves into the tea culture in China, England, Kenya, Russia, Iran, France, Morocco, and the United States.  Lisa provides a peek into the history of tea drinking in each of these countries and then discuses the present day importance of tea as it relates to each county.  She also includes the method of preparing tea, and of course some recipes that would be appropriate to serve.   Cultural tips are scattered throughout the book, and a resource guide is provided to help the reader find unusual items such as barberries or ethnic dinnerware.  The photography by Lauren Rubinstein is outstanding, the bold colors and food styling complement the recipes provided. 
How fortuitous it was that I happened to be perusing Facebook one day when Lisa posted a photograph of a location in London where she had enjoyed tea and queried whether anyone knew where she was.  My correct guess landed a copy of Lisa's book in my mailbox.  Lucky me!  Thank you Lisa!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

A beautiful assortment of Valentine's Day cards have been arriving in my mailbox all week.  This sweet little handmade card is a photocopy of the old Victorian calling cards and although too small to read here, says 'With Love's Greetings'.  A comprehensive history and wonderful photographic assortment of calling cards can be enjoyed here at Days of Elegance.

This precious handmade teacup had a sample of tea tucked in the top of the cup.  Made by a friend, it will be saved and treasured.  Sweet words of love are written in script on the saucer, devotion, baby cakes, sweet, affection, etc.

And this lovely homemade card has a delicious recipe for Salted Chocolate Cookie Cups on the inside.  The teabag dangling in the colorful teacup announces 'You Are My Cup of Tea'

The wide variety of cards adorn my fridge during this frigid cold month of February, bringing added cheer to the kitchen and a little warmth to my heart.  Thank you to each and every friend that took the time to send a card, either via the postal service or the Internet, they are all appreciated and enjoyed! 
Happy Valentine's Day Friends!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine's Day Tea

A Valentine's Day celebration took place in Sweet Remembrances on Sunday.  To set the scene, the tables were decked out in red, white, and hearts.
First course, Mixed Salad Greens, Strawberries, and a Poppyseed Dressing.
The sandwich plate featured Blue Cheese, Walnut & Pear Triangle, a Cucumber Sandwich on Whole Wheat with Cranberry Hearts, Chicken Salad topped with Petite Hearts, a Zesty Mixed Cheese Sandwich, and Chocolate Bread with an Orange Cream Filling.

Oven fresh scones included Traditional English Cream and heart shaped Lemon Pecan, served with fresh fruit, mock clotted cream, lemon curd, and raspberry preserves.

The dessert trio included a chocolate dipped shortbread cookie, petite French Silk Pie, and a Razzleberry Cream Tartlet. Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


And what to serve after such a fun meal? Cake! A white layer cake with a chocolate ganache (fudge) filling, fluffy white frosting, topped with a can of cherries. Oh yum! A Valentine's Day tradition! I'd love to share a piece with you!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

and the main course

For our entree, we had taco chicken. A simple recipe, the boneless, skinless chicken breasts were coated with taco seasoning and then placed on a cookie tray. Each chicken breast was then topped with salsa. They were baked in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, until done. When removed from the oven, shredded mozzarella cheese was sprinkled over each chicken breast, and a dollop of sour cream was added. Spicy, tender, and savory, it was a hearty serving. We also had heart shaped lemon chive pepper biscuits with individual heart shaped butter pats. Between the picante salsa and the peppery biscuits, it was a spicy but flavorful dinner!

Friday, February 10, 2012

the vegetable side dish...

Sliced onions, sweet red pepper hearts (cut with a cookie cutter), and brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil until tender formed the basis for our side dish. A few (leftover) wide noodles were tossed into the mix at the very end of cooking along with a nice sprinkling of dried marjoram and veggie pepper seasoning. Colorful and tasty, not bad for my first attempt at preparing brussel sprouts!  We rarely had brussel sprouts in our home when we were growing up as our mother really didn't care for them. When my dad retired, he would do a lot of the cooking. Mom would tell my dad that he could serve brussel sprouts once a month. To which my dad teased that he would make them on the 30th of the month and again on the very next day, the 1st of the next month.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let's celebrate!

We toasted each other at our (early) Valentine's Day Dinner with Shirley Temples ~ a favorite with the kids. The rims of the glasses were dipped in lemon juice and then dipped in large red sugar crystals to decorate the glasses. A mixture of lemon-lime soda and cherry juice filled the glasses as we celebrated our special dinner. To offset the sugary beginnings, a healthy salad accompanied the meal with fresh salad greens, assorted veggie toppings, and cherry tomato halves graced the top of the salad. As everyone sat down to dinner, I could hear them exclaim, 'there are hearts everywhere'!