Monday, June 19, 2017

Mechanicsburg PA Rocks!

Susanna was out front watering the window boxes and little herb plants when she discovered a variety of painted rocks secretly tucked here and there. Hidden, but not really, they were a surprise to discover, and offered a bright moment in an otherwise routinely normal day.

 When we picked up the little ladybug, we discovered a message on the bottom of the rock. It didn't take us long to look up the Facebook page for Mechanicsburg PA Rocks!

According to the Facebook page, the inspiration for these little rocks occurred when Erica saw a segment on the Today Show which prompted her to create a local painted rock community. Apparently these hide-and-seek painted rock communities are spreading across the country. The FB page lists some basic instructions and simple guidelines to follow if you want to participate. The premise is fairly simple - to decorate rocks and hide them in various locations to brighten someone's day. And that is indeed what happened in our case! When Susanna noticed the rocks, she was eager to share her discovery. It is such a simple way to bring a moment of joy and happiness to an unsuspecting person, at the same time it's important to be respectful of the surroundings. The Kindness Rocks Project has some instructions and how-to information if you want more details on rock painting.

Have you discovered any painted rocks where you live?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Space Baby! A delightful and entertaining moment for each of his four daughters. You have given us a wealth of memories built upon a deep foundation of love and trust, and for that, we will forever thank you! Love you so much!          Happy Father's Day, Dad!                

Friday, June 16, 2017

Castle Creek Lavender Thyme Faire

Susanna is again vending at this local lavender festival only 10 miles from us, at Castle Creek Farm! It is so exciting to have an herbal event so close to home. Castle Creek Lavender Thyme Faire celebrates their 4th year for this festival where they promote all things herbal, along with lavender, thyme, honey, and fiber.
 This event features talks and vendors focused on lavender. The gardens are well labeled so you can discover which lavender plant you want to plant in your own gardens.

While it is a relatively new event and you can see that reflected in the size of the lavender plants in the field, it is going to be fun to watch this festival grow. Susanna reports that there are move vendors this year, and more home made lavender items in the gift shop. Castle Creek Herb Farm in Dillsburg, PA is the host of this festival. If you are in the area, we hope you get a chance to stop by! The festival is today and tomorrow, June 16th and 17th. Come on out and sample some lavender ice cream!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Deliciousness on a Plate!

This past Saturday we held our June TasteBuds Luncheon in the tea room. Everything was fresh and homemade from the Blueberry Soup with sour cream swirl to the two entree selections. A Veggie Frittata or Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad both served with an herbed tomato salad (lots of fresh basil) and homemade rolls. The sweet little Fruit Tart looked like something you would find in an upscale bakery. It was an afternoon full of flavor and deliciousness. Lots of hot tea, too. And, garden fresh lemon balm iced tea.

In case you missed it, there is another TasteBuds Luncheon this coming Saturday, June 17th. The menu will feature another fresh and fabulous meal.
Spring Herb Cream Cheese Cup (mini phyllo cup with herbed cream cheese and spring vegetables)
Cheesecake Stuffed Berry Bites
Choice of Entree:
Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad  (crunchy chopped salad with marinated chicken breast, Napa cabbage, shredded carrots, toasted cashews, cilantro, snap peas, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds, in a delicious ginger sesame dressing) served with a crusty roll
Roasted Veggie Sandwich (roasted eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and provolone with a fresh herb mayo on focaccia bread) served with mixed greens in a white balsamic dressing Dessert: Strawberry Cake (vanilla cake with a fresh strawberry frosting)

It's not too late to make your reservations! Call Susanna at The Rosemary House (717.697.5111) with your choice of entree and we'll see you Saturday!

And, if you want to look ahead to Friday, July 14th - here's the menu:
Watermelon Salad (watermelon, cucumbers, feta, and mint) Lemon Zucchini Bread
Choice of Entree:
Honey Mustard Chicken Salad (tender chicken breast strips on a bed of mixed greens with bacon, tomatoes, basil, fresh corn, and honey mustard dressing) served with Cornbread Roll
Tortellini Pasta Salad (cheese tortellini tossed with tomatoes, spinach, fresh corn, and basil in a herb vinaigrette) served with Cornbread Roll
Raspberry Chocolate Cake (moist chocolate cake with a raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh berries)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Bloom and Grow!

If you truly love Nature, 
you will find beauty everywhere. 
~Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Scones from Claridge's, London

The triangular scone is Claridge's Scone - served at afternoon tea in the luxury hotel in the heart of London's Mayfair.

I've had this recipe in my file for years - and don't know where I originally discovered it.

Claridge's Scones

4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. butter
1-1/3 c. half and half
1 egg
1/2 c. currants (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, beat the hegg and half and half. Add to dry ingredients. Do not over mix Gather together on a floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times until mixture is workable. Evenly divide dough into 4 sections. Roll each section into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 6 triangular pieces. Brush tops with a little milk and sprinkle with a bit of granulated sugar. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 13 - 15 minutes until golden. Best served warm from the oven. Yield: 24 scones

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Coronation Chicken Salad

We served a Coronation Chicken Salad sandwich (far left triangle) as one of the selections at the Queen's tea this past weekend. The chicken salad was served during the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth. If you google it, you will discover that there are many variations on the recipe. It is basically a mango chicken salad with or without nuts. The Queen is the longest reigning monarch, having surpassed the 63 year reign of Queen Victoria. This year she celebrates her Sapphire Jubilee, the 65th year.

Here is the recipe for the 1953 Coronation Chicken Salad served in Sweet Remembrances:
6 boneless chicken halves, cooked, diced
1/3 c. raisins
1 large mango, peeled, diced
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. Major Grey mango chutney
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
Mix all together and serve on buttered slices of bread, crusts removed.

Another variation on the recipe was shared by Tea Time Magazine, and it is posted on their website, here. It includes onion, green onion, slivered almonds, apricots, and currants.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Queen's Tea

Our annual Queen's Tea was held Sunday, June 4th. The tables were set with matching china and a bouquet of fragrant fresh herbs and soft pink roses. The menu, adorned with assorted photos of the Queen announced what was to come.
Following a champagne toast of Long Live the Queen! and Long May She Reign!, the tea began.

The first course featured a Parmesan, Pear and Pecan Salad with Garlic Basil Vinaigrette topped with fresh basil, spring onion, ripe pears, Parmesan and feta cheeses, and chopped pecans. The recipe is from the book Eating Royally, Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen by Darren McGrady.

The sandwich plate included Sliced Cucumber Round with Mint Butter (very fresh and crisp tasting), Summer Garden Rose Petal Sandwich (a Rosemary House original which transported us to the Buckingham Palace Rose Garden), Strawberry Sandwich with Cinnamon Mascarpone Cheese (a sweet sandwich), a Miniature Basil Zucchini Muffin with a Herb Butter Rosebud, 1953 Coronation Chicken Salad Triangles (fresh mango and chutney chicken salad with raisins), and a Roast Beef and Tomato, Horseradish Parmesan Spread on Puff Pastry. Sandwiches fit for a Queen!

The scone course included a Kensington Palace Scone (the florette shaped scone) and the Claridge Hotel (in the heart of Mayfair) Scone with Currants. Sweet Cream and Lemon Curd accompanied the scones along with fresh fruit.

Dessert included a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie and the Queen's favorite Chocolate Biscuit Cake. According to Darren McGrady, in his Eating Royally book, "Everyone has a favorite cake and the Queen of England is no exception. Hers is chocolate cake, either made with a sponge or biscuit base. Once a chocolate cake is made, the Queen has it brought out again and again at teatime until it is gone."

As we celebrate and honor the Queen today, we remember the tragic events in England these past few weeks and send our heartfelt prayers and thoughts to the people of the United Kingdom. We stand united with them.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Celebrating the Birthday Girl!

The following is an excerpt of a letter Bertha Reppert, owner of the Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, PA wrote for an article that appeared in the 'Moon Dreamer' column of  The Magick Garden newsletter so many years ago. In celebration of the birthday girl, herewith begin words of love and family/business history as expressed by mom: Susanna is a Gemini, born on June 4th "and I can remember when I had her" writes Bertha, "nine years after the first three girls! One wonders but I know now that God knew what He/She was doing when we got Susie, for without her there would be no Rosemary House. I would have had to give it up and retire with my husband. The busy business requires young legs and energies! We bought the Rosemary House when Susie was a little girl, in the first grade.... It was a most unlikely place for a business (although we have since been joined by other adventurous optimists!). Equal distance from all the schools in town, Susie came to the Rosemary House after school, where she had a little school desk for her crayons, papers and homework. She would listen to me answer endless questions, and apparently absorbed herbal knowledge with her milk and cookies! Eventually she worked after school and Saturdays, always willing to join in our herbal fun. It was never work!! 
When Susie graduated from Penn State University (a Political Science major) she gently, but firmly pushed me aside and took over! Although I still love our dear little enterprise and can be pressed into service at a moments notice... and enjoy working in the fragrant, magical garden behind the shop, still conduct workshops, do lectures, and write too... However, Susie has really stepped in, and is officially proclaimed "Manager". To the best of our knowledge, she has yet to look at a want ad, or seek employment elsewhere. The Rosemary House is now her haven/heaven ~ as it was mine for the first 20 years of happiness... Susie is young, eager, energetic, and full of wonderful ideas for continued success and a rosemerry future. Susie has expanded our product line into a wholesale division, and also does gift shows. I would never have attempted such enterprises! So great! Good luck to our beautiful fourth daughter.  Susanna is now our #one Rosemary, and is that rarity - a happy person. Not rich! But, she is so busy she has no time to spend money! She is busy surrounded by the ancient, magical, mystical herbs she will spend her lifetime studying and purveying."
Happy Birthday, Susanna! 
May you forever be young, eager, energetic, full of ideas, and happy!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Everything Muffins - Morning Snack!

Another Rosemary House Traveling Herb Seminar concluded yesterday... and the morning snack was served en route to the first amazing garden in New Jersey. These easy tasty moist muffins mix together pretty easily, and are popular among our travelers. 
Everything Muffin

2 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. apples, peeled and chopped
2 c. carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. raisins or currants
1/2 c. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (first five ingredients) in a large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat eggs; add oil, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Combine wet ingredients with reserved flour mixture, combining just until moistened. Fold in the remaining ingredients (fruits, nuts, etc). Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until done. Yield: 18 muffins

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Boukakuan Japanese Tea House & Garden

Angelica and Nancy along with several other guests, were introduced to the Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House and Garden. Our host, Drew Hanson, pictured above at the entrance to the garden, pointed out unique features, and paused at the koi pond where we crossed a small bridge. Each turn of the garden path offered a beautiful view of spring plants in bloom, and peaceful tranquility as we walked toward the Tea House.
Nestled among the trees and shrubbery is a four and a half tatami mat tea room with a small preparation room off to the side. It is air conditioned and heated, so it may be enjoyed throughout all the seasons. Dr. Hanson, our host, has been a student of the Urasenke tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony since 1995, and is also licensed as an instructor. He expertly guided us through the steps of the tea ceremony.

Located outside the tea house, this spot provides an opportunity to rinse your hands and mouth before you enter the tea house.

The scroll with the Japanese calligraphy and floral arrangement are both an important part of the tea house and will be found in any Japanese tea house. Here, the scroll expresses the thought that the heart is like a flower with the ability to open. The flowers are picked fresh from the gardens surrounding the tea house.
The service for the tea ceremony is meticulously arranged and everything is in its place.  Once we enter the tea room, the worries and concerns of the world are left behind, and we begin to enter into the experience of the tea ceremony. We are seated on the floor, and the fragrance of incense begins to permeate the room.

There is an informative page on the Boukakuan Tea House website that offers additional explanation about the tea ceremony. Be sure to read more about this cultural experience.

Before we begin, a homemade sweet is presented to each guest. Made from adzuki bean, it was sweet and delightful. The little wooden utensil is used to cut the sweet and eat. Host and first guest (Angelica) bow to each other after the presentation of the sweet.

Preparation begins, each movement done with purpose
Whisking the matcha

 Angelica, supporting the bowl in the palm of her left hand while holding it with her right hand, offers the bowl of matcha to the universe, and sips the ceremonial green tea in three sips and a final slurp to finish it all, admires the beauty of the bowl, wipes the rim with her forefinger, and returns the bowl to the host. We tasted Ujicha from the Horaido tea plantation, a family owned plantation outside of Kyoto, Japan. It was thin tea (usu-cha) but very smooth and creamy without any bitter taste.
The spirit of the tea ceremony is many fold. Peace and tranquility, harmony, respect, and purity are fundamental principles. There is an appreciation and understanding that this moment is special and unique, not to be repeated. This New Jersey gem is located in close proximity to Philadelphia, and approximately an hour from NYC. The tea house is open by appointment only where you may schedule a private demonstration or even take lessons in the Urasenke tradition of Japanese Tea Ceremony. Find them on Facebook, too!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Talking Teacup, Chalfont, PA

An adventure last weekend took us to The Talking Teacup in Chalfont, PA for Afternoon Tea. For reference, Chalfont is about an hour north of Philadelphia. This 250 year old restored farmhouse holds the tea room on the first floor and a fun gift shop crammed full of treasures. The decor outside was festive with spring flowers, a vintage bicycle, and tea pots tucked here and there.
Tea cups, tea pots, assorted books, including a cookbook from the tea room, could be found in the gift shop. Don't you love the use of the vintage kitchen pieces as display units?

We selected the option they call 'High Tea' which includes an individual pot of tea, selected from an extensive list of tea flavors. Angelica opted for the Snowflake tea, and Nancy enjoyed a pot of Formosa Oolong.

The first course featured two warm scones, plain and blueberry with cream and jelly, served on a pretty lacy pedestal plate.

Following the scone course, we enjoyed a thick cup of Tomato Soup. After the soup, another pedestal plate laden with a variety of tea sandwiches arrived.

The sandwiches included an assortment of seven different petite sandwiches that were pimiento cheese on pumpernickel bread, egg salad, cucumber on thin bread, a finger sandwich of artichoke and Parmesan, a creamy cranberry teapot shaped sandwich and chicken salad squares.

Following the sandwich course, individual plates for dessert included a petite sweet bread, sugar cookie teapot, and a miniature cream tartlet.

Several years ago (2007 to be exact), The Rosemary House hosted a traveling herb seminar that stopped here for Afternoon Tea during one of their adventures to visit gardens in the Philadelphia area. It was a treat to be able to return ten years later.