Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Farewell 2012!   Hello 2013! 
Many towns in our area lower an item during the count down to the New Year.  Hummelstown lowers a lollipop. York drops a white rose.  Harrisburg lowers a strawberry and Dillsburg has a "pickle drop".  In Mechanicsburg we have a Wrench Drop since our town was named for a settlement of mechanics who repaired Conestoga wagons in the early 1800's.  The celebration, held on downtown Main Street was originated by local Mechanicsburg Area School District graduate Sheldon Rodgers for his Eagle Scout project.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cookies and Mrs. Claus

We welcomed family to our home over the holidays, and were quite excited to see a Facebook posting by one of the new local bakeries in town, Oooolala With a Kiss for a drop-in cookie craft scheduled for Christmas Eve day.  Mrs. Klaus welcomed us to the bakery where the kids could select a large snowflake sugar cookie, liberally frost it with red, white, or green icing, and then decorate it to their hearts content with a wide variety of sprinkles, sugar decorations, M & M's, and more.  It was quite fun, and the perfect way to keep the youngest ones entertained as the excitement for Santa's arrival was continuing to build throughout the day.  Several of these cookies were enjoyed after dinner, and a few were specially placed for Santa, along with a carrot or two for the reindeer.  Such fun!  The celebrations have since concluded, the cookies are long gone, the family has all safely returned home, but the memories of special times and festive moments continue to dance in our heads.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Happy Christmas to You!

May you find Happiness and Joy within your heart this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookies for Santa?

It's soon cookie making time at our house.  One of the younger kids has been asking when we will make cookies.  It's on the agenda for Thursday, and she won't let me forget!  In the meantime, you might consider this easy little treat (found on Pinterest!) for a substitute for cookies on your tea tray this year.  Bake a batch of brownies, cut rounds from the baked brownies, and top with a thin pointy strawberry.  Pipe icing around the base of the strawberry, and a dollop on the top, and you have some cute little hats for Santa and his elves.
Any soft icing will do, but I'm happy to share the recipe I used.

1 c. Crisco
1 stick margarine
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
Cream Crisco and margarine until blended.  Add remaining ingredients and beat well, approx. 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Keep icing refrigerated.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa's Pot of Tea

 What do you suppose Santa prefers in his teapot?  Something strong and hearty, such as a Keemun?  Something traditional, English Breakfast?  Something caffeine free and herbal, peppermint leaves maybe? Something with a holiday note to it full of orange and spices, Holiday Tea?  Or perhaps, simply, hot chocolate.  What's in your tea pot today?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lemon Verbena Lady Shares her Adventures!

Family Friend Nancy Heraud of Lemon Verbena Lady's Herb Garden visited Sweet Remembrances for Afternoon Tea and then stopped in The Rosemary House for some holiday shopping.  She has shared her thoughts and a variety of photos as a guest blogger for Mother Earth Living.  You can read her article by following this link.

In addition, if you visit her blog, she shared a wide variety of photos from the tea room and gift shop.  This link features pictures in the tea room, while this link is a wonderful tour of The Rosemary House.  And finally, following this link will take you to Nancy's blog post that features the Afternoon Tea she enjoyed at Sweet Remembrances, and some additional decorating photos from the tea room. 

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your adventure with your blog readers and with Mother Earth Living. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmastime Tea Books

Holiday books serve as instant decoration in the tea room at this time of year.   On the shelves you might find the classic and sentimental A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg. Actually, if you look closely, you'll find several copies in different form, including a small ornament on the tea tree.  Nestled beside this book is the Festive Cakes of Christmas.  Published in 1981, it is a treasury of old traditions, recipes, and lore of the Christmas season.  Beginning with Advent, and including St. Lucia's Day (Dec. 13, Sweden), Christmas, Boxing Day (Dec. 26, England) and more, it ends with Candlemas (Feb. 2).  Such recipes as Amish Date-Nut Cake, Moravian Sugar Cake, Sachertore, Julekage, Dundee Cake, Buche de Noel and more are included in this informative book.  It's a world full of lovely traditions, and many are shared in this book.

A Cozy Christmas Tea by Sandy Lynam Clough is on display in the hallway, alongside the second copy of A Cup of Christmas Tea. This book was published in 1998 and is full of the beautiful artwork for which Sandy Lynam Clough is known.  Lovely quotes and some teatime recipes are sprinkled throughout this book and the reader is encouraged to share a warm cup of Christmas cheer with dear friends.

And tucked on display with the Santa collection is a pop-up copy of The Night Before Christmas.
Somehow not only for Christmas but all the long year through,
The joy that you give others is the joy that comes back to you
~John Greenleaf Whittier~

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meatless Monday - Black Bean Soup

We recently prepared a stock pot full of  Bountiful Black Bean Soup for dinner. Using Bob's Red Mill soup mix, and following the easy recipe on the back of the package, we had a delicious meatless meal. You can find the recipe on their website by following this link. Quick, easy, hearty, and tasty, we plan on making this one again. The recipe serves 10, so plan on preparing it for a crowd!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Tea with Queen Victoria

Our special holiday tea featuring Queen Victoria was held today.  The tea began with a Cranberry Relish accompanied with assorted crackers and buttery cream cheese florettes.
The sandwich selection featured Marinated Roast Beef with Dijon Mustard on Parmesan Biscuits,  Jarlsburg Cheese Melt with Sauteed Onions and Apples on Toasted Triangles, Sun Dried Tomato Cream Puffs filled with a Herbed Cream Cheese, Curried Chicken Salad in Mini Fillo Cups, and warm Basil Pesto Pinwheels.

The scone course included Kensington Palace Scones and White Chocolate Apricot Scones served with Sweet Cream and Rose Geranium Jelly and a fresh fruit garnish.

And dessert, a miniature Victoria Sponge Cake with Strawberry Jelly and Cream, a Petite Egg Nog Filled Puff, and Sweet Raspberry Coconut Triangles.

We were pleased to welcome historical first person interpreter Alisa Dupuy as she portrayed a young Queen Victoria in her glorious gown with crown and jewels.  She shared about her life, her upbringing, her love for Prince Albert and their nine children.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Cucumber Sandwich

Yet another variation on the Cucumber Sandwich... this one, a Christmas Tree.  The idea for this sandwich came from Tea Time Magazine, but this is my adaptation.  I spread a French Style Cream Cheese as base on the bread.  Then, using a mandolin, cut thin slices of cucumber (3 for each tree), and then cut them in half.  Place the cucumber slices on a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture of the cucumber.  Place the slices, in an alternating pattern on the bread.  Top with a petite star, cut from cheddar cheese.  Liberally sprinkle with dill weed.  Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Wreath Crafting

George Weigle, our favorite garden writer, was here last week to tape a DIY wreath crafting video with Susanna.    Want to learn a simple trick for beautiful wreaths?  Click on this link to check it out!

 Holiday Wreath Crafting Video

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SereniTea Wednesday

Yesterday was SereniTea Wednesday, and the tea tray was laden with holiday treats.  Decorated with a festive holiday bow and glittery ornament, it set the scene for a holiday tea.  Among our guests that day, we welcomed a couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, there were friends just getting together during the holiday season, and there was a mother-daughter duo celebrating the mother's 83rd birthday.  And, another mother-daughter duo that surprised me with a Christmas present - tea themed, of course! 

The menu:
Cranberry Orange Bread
Spicy Pimiento Cheese Squares
Veggie Confetti Rounds with French Style Cheese Spread
Cinnamon Walnut Filling on Raisin Bread
Sliced Chicken with Basil Pesto Mayonnaise

Traditional English Cream Scones
Lemon Pecan Scones
Sweet Cream, Lemon Curd, Raspberry Jelly
Orange & Kiwi Slices

Chocolate Chip Cheese Cakes
White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Petite Gingerbread Couple

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tea Tree!

The tabletop tea tree is up (has been for awhile!).... it's always such fun to see all the little tea time treasures ~ the tree is decked with tea pot ornaments, tea strainers, tea caddies, small pieces of jewelry, and anything else the has a tea theme.  There are so many little trinkets tucked all over this tree, it's quite fun to see what you might discover among the branches!
(Click on the photo for an enlarged picture.)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gingerbread Boys & Girls!

Baking Day! 
Wish you could smell these spicy little cookies!
(Click on the photo collage to enlarge the recipe.)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Decorating made simple

A thin scrap of board cut in the triangular shape of a tree forms the basis for this holiday decoration.  The board is then tightly covered with chicken wire which is your mechanic to hold all the holiday greens in place.  Next choose a variety of short stem greens and holly and then tuck and poke the stems of all the fresh greens under the chicken wire.  Simple, easy and quick.  Save the board to use year after year.   If you soak the greens in a bucket of water to condition them, they will stay fresh looking outside through New Year's or inside the house for 2 weeks.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Tea Time

Our Holiday Teas are in full swing around here... we start the festive season on the Friday after Thanksgiving with two different tea times.  That's the beginning, a tradition for many of our customers.  Then we move on to First Saturday followed quickly by our Holiday Tea and Workshop series on Sunday and Monday.  Several private events have been scheduled for the first week of December, and there is always SereniTea Wednesday to consider. 

Everything is red and green, holly leaves and pine boughs.  The music has changed, the decor has been added, and the red and green holiday plates are in full use.  'Tis the Season!  Hope your holiday celebrations include a visit to a tea room, or perhaps a simple afternoon tea in your living room with a special guest or two.  Enjoy the season!  Take time for tea!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Culinary Santa Collection

The decorations are up, the culinary Santa collection has reappeard.  Don't you just love these two cuties, each with a teapot and tea cup, happy to pour a cup of holiday tea!

 Inspiration!  Time for baking!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meatless Monday - Hearty Nachos

As part of our Meatless Monday celebrations, we are sharing the Hearty Nachos we prepared.  This recipe is provided by Julieanna Hever, R.D.  If you google 'hearty nachos', several links to recipes will appear. The Daily Meal included it as one of their suggestions for enjoying a healthy Superbowl party.  You can find the recipe here.

It is a fun recipe, a meal in itself, but be forewarned that it requires using a wide variety of kitchen appliances.  We utilized the blender, the Cuisinart, the cook top, and the oven to pull this together!  But once it was done, we enjoyed it with relish.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks!

For family and friends
and the memories and love that unite us.
(Click on the photo collage to enlarge it!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meatless Monday - Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

For meatless Monday, we have been sampling the recipes shared on the website, Forks Over Knives, and those found in their cookbook of the same name.  The recipes are created using whole foods, and encourage following a plant based diet for the many health benefits derived from following this regimen.  The Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash is a recipe from the Happy Herbivore that was shared on the Forks Over Knives website.  We found it to be quite flavorful.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4
• 2 acorn squash
• 1 cup uncooked quinoa
• 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
• ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 2 cups finely chopped spinach
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut acorn squash in half, place cut side down on a cookie sheet, and bake 30–35 minutes, until fork-tender. Meanwhile, combine quinoa, vegetable broth, curry powder, a few dashes of cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon), and raisins in a pot. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until liquid evaporates. If quinoa is not fluffy after 15 minutes, add more vegetable broth and cook longer. (Sometimes the raisins will absorb the liquid also, so more is needed to cook the quinoa. I find this is particularly true with electric stoves.) After quinoa is done, stir in spinach, add another dash or two of cinnamon, plus salt if desired, then cover and set aside, away from heat. Once acorn squash is done, flip it over and scoop out seedy matter. Then use a sharp knife to cut the point off each base so the acorn bowls sit upright and don’t fall over. Spoon quinoa mixture into squash and serve warm.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tea Time Displays

Sharing a few tea time displays from several tea rooms that we have visited.  This assortment of teapots, plates, and cups is in the main dining room of Camellia's Sin Tea Parlor in Carlisle, PA.

This fun assortment of teapots on the top shelf and assorted teacups and trios (a tea cup, saucer, and dessert plate) was on display in the Victorian Tea Room in Delaware, sadly now closed.

And this collection of teacups is hanging in Sweet Remembrances.  Have you seen it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Camellia's Sin Tea Parlor

A gathering of family and friends recently enjoyed afternoon tea at Camellia's Sin Tea Parlor in Carlisle, PA.  Camellia's Sin features a themed menu for the month, and shown here was their Afternoon Tea offered in October.

Hats are available to try on, and many in our group had a hat on at one time or another, including a witch's hat.
The festive place settings quietly waited in anticipation of the tea treats that were yet to arrive.  Assorted pots of hot tea were offered, including Pumpkin, Snowflake, and English Breakfast.

The first course was a choice of soup, a mixed bean soup with bacon or butternut squash.  The bean soup was thick and quite tasty.

A salad of mixed greens topped with apple, cranberries, and blue cheese followed the soup course.  Fresh and delicious.

A three tiered tray laden with a variety of sandwiches was offered.  It featured a nice variety of sandwiches, including a cucumber sandwich, a layered sandwich with carrot and beet fillings, a little ham pastry, and a petite cheesy square.

Last, a second tiered tray held a sumptuous array of desserts.  A seasonal gingerbread cookie with candy corn, a pumpkin cake, and a petite chocolate cake completed the menu.  We lingered and laughed and celebrated friendship all the while enjoying good food and creating wonderful memories.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meatless Monday - Tuscan Bean & Kale Soup

This hearty bean soup was easy to prepare, and delicious to consume!  This recipe was provided by Spiral Path Farms, our CSA, and with a few modifications, we were quick to taste test it!
1 c. diced carrots, celery, and onions
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 cans garbanzo beans (15.5 oz.), rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes (30 oz.)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
3 c. herbed tomato sauce
3-1/2 c. water
2 c. fresh kale greens, chopped

Saute carrots, celery, and onions in small amount of water until soft.  Add garlic, saute an additional minute.  Add garbanzo beans; stir.  Add diced tomatoes with juice and herbs and spices.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and water.  On high heat, bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  Add kale.  Cook, stirring as needed, an additional 10 minutes.  Remove bay leaves before serving.  Sprinkle individual servings with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Renaissance Faire

Recently, we took a trek to the Maryland Renaissance Faire.  In addition to the fun shows and jousts and good food and really attractive costumes, it provided yet another chance to learn about herbs.  

The living history section provided a glimpse into the way herbs were used to make fragrant pomanders and how the plants were distilled to make floral waters and some essential oils.   

We took a few moments to learn the top five diseases of the time, their cures and whether you lived or died.  French Pox (syphilis) was common but not survivable.  Consumption (tuberculosis) literally consumed you leading to a slow demise.  Gout common from the poor diet, was excruciatingly painful, but not lethal.  The poultice that was applied offered little relief.  Leprosy was treated with a map to the lepers colony and a walking stick to help on your journey as well as a bowl so you could catch the food offerings people would toss at you from a distance.   Finally, the plague, treated by a plague doctor in full black garb, with the patient marked with a red X, but even with treatment, lead to a quick death alas.