Monday, December 30, 2013

Candlelight Tea - 2013

The last holiday event for 2013 was held this evening - the annual Candlelight Tea. The first course featured a Mixed Salad with Maple Candied Pecans and a Maple Dijon Dressing. 

The sandwich course was next and included a Banana Bread with a cream cheese rosebud, a Petite Blue Cheese and Cranberry Tart, an Olive and Pecan Finger Sandwich, a Sun Dried Tomato Cream Puff with a Spinach Vegetable Filling, Melted Brie and Apple Crostini, and a Turkey, Provolone, and Avocado Sandwich.

Traditional English Cream Scones and Cinnamon Chip Scones, warm from the oven, were served with Sweet Cream, Orange Marmalade, and Assorted Fresh Fruit.

The dessert trio included a Petite Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping, an Egg Nog White Chocolate Truffle, and a Chocolate layered Coconut Bon Bon.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hope your holiday season has been joyful and extra special,
overflowing with family traditions and special memories! 
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

No-Bake Cookies For Santa

It's soon time to start thinking about baking cookies for Santa and/or for the family! This quick and easy cookie was pretty easy to toss together - a nice moist chewy cookie with added crispiness because of the rice cereal that is mixed in the batter. The recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies, so I am hoping there will be some left by the time family starts arriving Christmas Eve!

We'll make some other cookies too, some decorated sugar cookies and the old favorite, chocolate chip cookies, but this was a fun start to the cookie baking production.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Take Tea, 2013

With a snow storm on the way, preparations for our Annual Take Tea, Take Joy event were still underway. Although many cancelled because of the snow, we had a few intrepid guests that weathered the storm and joined us for tea. Fortunately, the storm was in its infancy, and the flurries were soft and gentle. By the time the tea ended, it was time for everyone to head home and hunker down for the snows that arrived later in the evening.

The first course featured a leafy green salad with fresh pears, feta cheese, and sugared pecans all dressed with a honey maple balsamic vinaigrette. oh, yum!
Sandwiches included a Cranberry Chicken Salad Triangle, Spicy Pimiento Cheddar Florettes, Apricot Bacon Stars, a Walnut Topped Olive Sandwich, and a Brie and Apple Crostini, warm and melted, perfect for a snowy day!

Today's scones included Traditional English Cream Scone and Lemon Pecan served with Sweet Cream and Strawberry Jam along side fresh fruit.

And the Visions of Sugarplums included Irish Cream Fudge, Macadamia Coconut Truffle, and a Cranberry Shortbread Cookie. Sweet!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

White Chocolate Apricot Scones

Plated scones, fresh from the oven, waiting to be presented to our tea room guests. This weekend, during our Holiday Workshop and Afternoon Tea we offered Traditional English Cream Scones and White Chocolate Apricot Scones. Oh, yes, we did.

White Chocolate Apricot Scones
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. apricot pieces
1-1/4 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Add the white chocolate chips and apricot pieces. Pour in the cream, mixing just until a soft dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. knead gently. Divide dough into two small balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten balls until about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each ball into 6 wedges. Separate wedges and place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush tops with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake about 13 - 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Workshop & Afternoon Tea

Our Holiday Workshop & Tea event is this Sunday and Monday. Sunday afternoon saw a small amount of snow falling throughout the event which added a tranquil beauty to the afternoon. This annual event is a holiday tradition for many of our guests. This year they crafted pressed flower pictures and stationary using pressed rosemary and other colorful little flowers and greens. Following the craft, the tea room is quickly turned around for the holiday tea. First course included an Apple Cranberry Salad with dried cranberries, almond slivers, Romano cheese and a drizzle of fresh cranberry dressing.
The sandwiches included a Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad Triangle, Swiss Apple Melt Crostini, Spicy Pimiento Cheese Florette, Apple & Blue Cheese Wrap, and a Walnut Sandwich.
Scones featured the Traditional English Cream Scone and a White Chocolate Apricot  Scone with Sweet Cream, Strawberry Jam, and Fresh Fruit.

Dessert included a Miniature Chocolate Cheesecake topped with a decorative holly leaf, Raspberry Cream Puff, and a White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookie. So festive and fun, let the celebrating begin!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Super Scones!

We recently hosted a group of college students and their instructor from Elizabethtown College for our special Super Scones Event! As part of the finale to their first year seminar entitled 'Simple Living' they enjoyed a leisurely morning of scones and tea. Amid much chatter and laughter, coupled with a wide variety of photo taking, the twenty some-things enjoyed Traditional English Cream Scones, Cinnamon Chip Scones, and Lemon Pecan Scones. The assortment of toppings included Sweet Cream, Strawberry Butter, and Strawberry Jelly.

The tea flowed continuously as they delighted in sampling a wide range of the flavored teas that we offer. Our seasonal blend, Snowflake, was by far, one of the most popular. A blend of black tea with coconut, almond, and cinnamon flavorings, it's a must try during the holiday season!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

The swag on the steps going upstairs sets the scene in the hallway. It's one of the first things that captures your attention when you enter the tea room. Festive bows, gold poinsettia, pinecone clusters and glittery red touches are sprinkled throughout the swag, with 8 or more drapes going to the second floor (a private area).

Tucked on the oak side by side is this little Santa scene which features an ornamental Santa Claus tea pot and a colorful hand embroidered tea pot that says 'Santa's Pot of Tea'. A gift from a long time family friend, the embroidery was lovingly stitched by Jerry Reid in 2005.

The culinary Santa collection also graces the hallway, the variety of jolly old elves feature gingerbread baking and tea. They were gifted to me over the years from my sisters and far away friends.

And another Santa collection is tucked away on one of the top shelves in the tea room, smiling at the tea room guests. You better be nice, Santa Claus is coming to town!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Instant Holiday Decor

For quick and easy decorating, I like to tuck an assortment of Christmas books that have accumulated over the years on the book shelves in the middle room. These oak shelves are not original to the late 1860's house, but were built in place by my father so there would be plenty of display area for the various collections. The décor has changed over the years, but the sturdy shelves have certainly served their purpose. They have quietly transitioned to suit the season.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Centerpieces

 The tea room is decorated with traditional red and green including poinsettia flowers tucked on the shelves, Santa decor in the entryway greeting guests as they arrive, and other holiday decorations scattered here and there.

Talented sister MarjTalented sister Marj crafted holiday centerpieces for the tables using my collection of slightly chipped or hairline cracked red and green tea cups. With the glittery red poinsettias and the holiday greens, it really adds a nice festive touch to the tables and a perfect way to repurpose slightly imperfect tea cups.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Deck the Halls!

The table top Christmas tree is decorated and in place for the season. Nestled in the back room of the tea room, it's always fun to hear our guests notice that it is decorated totally with tea themed ornaments. There is a variety of jewelry, earrings that no longer have their partner, and other little tea baubles.

Tiny tea strainers that are more ornamental than they are useful have been placed on the tree. This style of strainer does not provide enough room for loose tea leaves to expand, but they are so darn cute. There is a little tea house, a cute tree, even a tiny ducky. All serving a decorative purpose on the tree.

And miniature tea cup ornaments are tucked here and there. It's quite a fun themed tree!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stepping back in time - 1965

Even though the card is signed 'from', there was a lot of love expressed with every pencil drawing and every written word. Happy Birthday, Mommy! With love!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

 The plan is to prepare a large pot of TEA and HOPE for blogging inspiration for both myself and my sister. Wish us luck!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Byron's Potato Filling

 As the days quickly approach Thanksgiving, it's time to think about the menu. Not much thought needed around here! Our Thanksgiving menu, and Christmas menu for that matter, are always the same. It's all about tradition in our household, which really makes the holiday menu preparation easy. The grocery list is the same, the preparation is the same and there is no stress deciding what to prepare and no attempt to outdo the menu from the previous year. The only consideration is determining the final number of family members in attendance. In keeping with tradition, Byron's Potato Filling will be on the dinner table this year. Our mother always referred to this recipe as the 'recipe that won the election'. When dear old dad decided to run for mayor, the menu was printed on a card and distributed as his political promotion. He ran during the bicentennial year, which is why he is proudly sporting a red, white, and blue top hat and equally patriotic vest (both handmade by daughter Nancy). If you are unable to read the recipe as shared in the photo, it was posted here a few years ago. Or, if you would like one of dad's campaign cards, send a stamped self addressed envelop to Sweet Remembrances, 118 S. Market St., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, and we'll mail you your own personal copy, or stop in The Rosemary House and ask for a copy of the recipe that won the election!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Elderberry Syrup - DIY

It's time to make your Elderberry Syrup and stock your herbal medicine cabinet for the long winter. Fortunately, we have do it yourself kits available online or in the shop so you can make your own. Be prepared for the cold and flu season using nature's bounty. Our friend, Nancy, aka Lemon Verbena Lady shares her syrup making adventure on her blog post here.
With cold and flu season around the corner - it's important to become familiar with Elderberry.
Elderberries have been a folk remedy for a variety of ailments for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.  Elder keeps viruses away by blocking the virus from entering the cell itself because it's stabilizing the cells.  All flu viruses have trouble with Elderberry's blockades.  Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, Vitamins A, B, and a large amount of C.  Flavonoids, including quercetin and anthocyanin are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Taking Tea

 How do you enjoy your tea? Steeped loose in a teapot to savor and sip all day with your delicate teacup complete with serving tray. Or do you grab a large mug to have your tea at the ready? Loose or teabags? or both? On the go or leisurly in the breakfast nook? watching tv, chatting with friends or while reading a book? So many ways to enjoy this simple yet complex beverage.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bok Choy Stir Fry

Dinner... easy... once everything has been prepped! We recently received some Bok Choy in our CSA veggie box. It's the first time we've ever had Bok Choy - and we enjoyed it. With a few adaptations to a stir fry recipe in Vegetarian Times, we had dinner on the table quickly.
Prepare the sauce and set aside:
1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. Chile sauce (optional)
Prepare the veggies:
Wash, cut, slice, chop whatever veggies you have on hand. We used yellow yummy peppers, red onions, minced garlic, and Bok Choy (leaves and stems, separated). Lots of all of them!

Line a frying pan with a thin layer of water, steam/sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic until tender but still with a slight crunch. Add the Bok Choy stems and sauté until tender. Note: Add more water if it has evaporated away. Add the leaves and sauté until wilted. Add sauce, and stir-fry an additional minute.  If desired, sprinkle with green onions or raw cashews. Serve over rice, or not.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Shearer Elegance Bed & Breakfast

This stately Victorian mansion was our lodging for our Girl's Weekend Getaway.  While the boys were doing their thing at Boy Scout Camp, we journeyed to eastern PA for a little adventure of our own.

Shearer Elegance Bed & Breakfast, built in 1897 and located in Linfield, PA,was our home away from home.

From gorgeous woodwork to even more impressive stained glass windows, to luxury accommodations, we roamed the 22 rooms and oohed and aahed with the elegance of it all.

After a breakfast of fresh fruit compote, orange juice, bacon and pancakes, we had to leave the land of make believe and return home.

It was fun while it lasted!