Monday, November 30, 2015

Deck the Halls!

 With a series of afternoon tea events scheduled throughout the month of December, the tea room is decorated early. The table top tea themed tree is once again in the back room with a variety of tea pot ornaments. Novelty snowmen teapots are tucked underneath the tree. The beautiful creche set that Susanna made for our mother many years ago is always placed on the mantle. It held the place of honor in our family home for many years, and now graces the mantle in the tea room.

 The charm of this little tea themed tree is best enjoyed when you are standing directly in front of it! But here are a few of the ornaments that are hanging from the branches. The miniature Santa tea cup brings a smile to everyone. The Spode teapot is festive on the tree and the two colorful teapots are actually button covers that have been added to the tree. The newest ornament in the collection is this replica of a Downton Abbey afternoon tea tray, a thoughtful gift from JP (thanks!).

In the main hallway, the holiday swag hangs from the stairwell and is decked with golden poinsettias, gold pine cone clusters, with hints of shiny red ornaments and colorful red and green bows, and little twinkle lights. It is so festive! The culinary Santa collection is also on display in the main entryway.

The middle room holds the second table top Christmas tree which carries the golden poinsettia theme found on the stairwell swag.

Additional little holiday touches are tucked on the shelves here and there including an assortment of cookbooks, A Cup of Christmas Tea story, and decorative poinsettias round out the decor on the shelves. Let the holiday celebrations begin. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
                            ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Afternoon Tea - Hotel Dupont. DE

The Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association recently held a destination meeting at the Hotel Dupont in Wilmington, DE. In addition to a behind the scenes tour of this luxurious hotel, the members of the Association enjoyed a Chocolate Tea. Once our tea orders were taken, we were presented with the three tiered tea tray that featured a tempting array of tea sandwiches.

The Tea Sandwiches included Nutella and raspberry preserves on brioche (top tier), Curry Shrimp Salad with shallots and cilantro on rye, Chocolate Ricotta orange supreme on white bread (middle tier), Mole Chicken Salad atop wheat bread and a baguette slice topped with Smoked Turkey and Colby jack cheese (bottom tier).

The sandwiches were very tasty, well presented, and the hints of chocolate were just right.

The dessert and scone tray featured a large variety of decadent chocolate delights!

The scones featured during the month of October included a Cranberry White Chocolate Scone and a Brownie Scone served with Traditional Devonshire cream and Strawberry Jelly. 
The pastries included Dark Chocolate Mousse Cup with Raspberry, Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake, “Mudslide” Chocolate Cookie, Opera Torte Slice, White Chocolate Cherry Ganache Tart, and Chocolate Dipped Macaroon. Oh, yes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Garden of Distinction Award!

We are beyond pleased to announce that the herb gardens behind The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances have recently been proclaimed a 'Garden of Distinction' in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society annual gardening and greening awards. Local garden writer George Weigel shares the news in this recent Penn Live article.
Our gardens offer a respite for anyone seeking a green space. Open from dawn to dusk daily, we are pleased when guests simply stroll the gardens for their enjoyment or take a moment to sit and relax in the gazebo. Located in downtown Mechanicsburg, the gardens are a hidden treasure. This pretty planting features edible geraniums that produce sweet little blossoms in the summer  that add a delicate touch to salads or yield a bold flavor when the leaves are snipped fine and added to butters, pound cake or shortbread cookies.

With little vignettes tucked here and there, surprises await those who are alert. The goosefoot garden, named for its shape, was planted under the dogwood tree in the rear corner of the middle garden.
The gardens offer a haven for all, cats and fish live side by side. 
We utilize the gardens for classes when the weather is nice, for outdoor music when the community holds their Mugs & Music weekend, and for the Fairy Festival of course! There is also a Fairy themed Geocache tucked in the garden to be discovered by those on a mission. Special thanks to our Volunteer Gardeners that help throughout the growing season to keep the gardens maintained. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Kitchen Shoppe Cooking School

We are fortunate to have the Kitchen Shoppe Cooking School in our area. Located in Carlisle, the Kitchen Shoppe sells all the necessary equipment needed to create fabulous meals, professional knives, pots and pans and a great variety of seasonings, rices, ready to make soups etc. In addition to the shop, they have a cooking school and offer a wide variety of classes throughout the year. It might be a demonstration class only or a hands-on class where you help with the preparation. Many many years ago, my mother and I would pick a class that looked interesting (or tasty) to us, and attend the session. It is a fond memory that I have, that I thought it might be a fun tradition to start with Angelica, especially since there is limited 'home economics' education in our public schools.

We were happy to find that the 'Entertaining with Ease' program on a Saturday morning worked into our schedules. Instructor/Chef Kathleen Sanderson guided us through a complete meal from appetizers to dessert. It was enjoyable to watch the preparation along with the instruction presented by the Chef and at the same time keep an eye on the worker bees in the background buzzing around plating the foods, washing dishes, and offering support as requested. A packet of recipes are provided to each participant to follow along with the preparation. Each course was prepared and then served before moving onto the next course.

The first course included a flight of appetizers. Brie & Raspberry Tartlets, quick, easy and tasty to prepare. Polenta Tartlets with Gorgonzola, interesting and flavorful, and Parmesan Frico with Roasted Red Peppers, clever, crunchy and unique.

The salad featured Candied Pecans, Baked Goat Cheese and Cranberries dressed with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette. Such a pretty presentation, and flavorful. The baked goat cheese was crusted with panko crumbs and was toasted and warmed before being placed on the salad. I can still taste it, it was so good!
The preparation for the main meal was a rapid succession of events. It included Roasted Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Fig Glaze, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Herb Tomatoes, and sauteed Spinach and Arugula. It was a tasty array of culinary delights. 
Dessert was a Croissant & Cranberry Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce. Yes, please!
And here's the classroom full of attentive foodies!

And here's our selfie before the class began...
now we're wondering what the next class will be!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Afternoon Tea - Langham Hotel, Boston

After several attempts to locate a place to enjoy Afternoon Tea, (one venue no longer served Afternoon Tea the other didn't have availability) cousin Karen (our Boston tour guide) made reservations at the Langham Hotel located in the former Federal Bank of Boston in the financial district where they serve Afternoon Tea With Wedgwood in style with all of the grandeur you would expect to find in their flagship hotel in London where they have been serving afternoon tea since 1865.

We were offered the option to select our tea from several proprietary tea blends featured at the hotel or to select from their large assortment of loose leaf tea. There was a wide variety of options available, and we each had our own pot of tea.
Representing four states and two coasts, our family gatherings do not occur frequent enough. It was a very special opportunity for the cousins, related on our mother's family tree, to gather in Boston for a weekend, and what better opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea at The Langham. Our future plans hope to include a reunion on the west coast.

Finger sandwiches included a nice assortment of traditional tea sandwiches and savory bites. Individual plates of tea sandwiches included cucumber triangles, a cream cheese baguette with a sliver of date and almond, egg salad, and a tomato basil pesto on multigrain bread.

English cream scones with Devon cream, strawberry jelly and lemon curd were served after the sandwiches.

And a beautiful array of miniature desserts completed the menu.

Here's to the celebration of family - creating memories!

Monday, November 9, 2015

John F. Kennedy Homestead

This upper middle class home in Brookline, MA, now a National Historic Site, was the birthplace of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. After Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, his mother Rose Kennedy took it upon herself as her personal project in 1966 to return this home back to the original state when Kennedy was born here in 1917. She had the foresight to understand the importance of this home and their early years growing up here.
The Kennedy's lived her until JFK was 4 and then the family moved down the street. Although the property was sold twice, both owners were friends with the Kennedy family and Mrs Kennedy was able to acquire many of the original pieces or replace others that were very close to authentic.
We were struck by how this home was not just about President Kennedy's childhood but also a tribute to Motherhood. The docents discussed how the Kennedy's raised their children with family discussions on a wide variety of topics - political, popular culture, classical, and musical. We were also shown Rose Kennedy's detailed index card filing system where she tracked all of her children's progress academically and their health concerns (broken bones, vaccinations, etc). 

Original wedding gifts to Mr and Mrs Kennedy are on display in the dining room.
The Kennedy's were raising their children to be leaders, so I am sure they knew these silver engraved bowls were for a future president. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fenway Park, Boston - Rooftop Garden

Take me out to the ballpark and we can find a garden anywhere, even in the behind the scenes tour of the famous Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912. This tour included all the ballpark trivia including the movies it has been featured in and all the concerts held here. We had a view from the cheap seats, the best seats (above the green monster) and the press box. 

The Red Sox Nation culture, feeling and history was discussed and a quick peek into the visiting teams locker room were all featured in this hour-long walking tour of this park. The added perks of hearing BIL Phil reminisce about his childhood visits to the park made the tour extra special and personal. 

But what we loved was the garden! This rooftop green space was recently planted in the Spring of 2015 and transformed an old rubber roof into a fruitful green space. This 1,800 square foot garden yields fresh grown herbs and veggies that are served in the ball park restaurant.

Two local Somerville firms, Recover Green Roofs and Green City Growers collaboroated with The Red Sox in building this beautiful green space overlooking Boston rooftops. It has been nicknamed "Fenway Farms".
Also spotted while on our ballpark tour was this Bigelow tea advertisement. Herbs and Tea! Yeah, team! We love Boston, too!