Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tree Up?

Cucumber Sandwiches served in the tea room today. Dill seasoned cream cheese spread on round slices of bread, topped with a thin slice of cucumber and sprinkled with fresh parsley. A petite tree topper added a festive touch to the sandwich. Pretty!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Decorating

The tea room has been decorated for the holiday season. Pretty silk poinsettias have been tucked here and there among the tea related 'stuff'. This hand painted Lefton china tea cup and saucer featuring a poinsettia and holly greens has been added to the decor. 
                                                        Deck the Halls! Tis the Season!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dip Tree Ornament

These clever 'Dip Tree' ornaments are a perfect easy to 'make ahead' gift. They can be used as favors at a party, stocking stuffers, gift tie-ons, or thoughtful gifts for the neighbors. Supplies needed include clear cone shaped cake decorating bags, herbs and seasonings, a cinnamon stick for the tree trunk, some thin colorful glitzy ribbon and of course star anise for the top of the tree.

First, holding the bag upside down, fill it with the dried herbs. We started with one teaspoon of celery seed in the tip of the bag, one teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder for the middle layer with a little bit of dried red tomato for added color and one teaspoon each of Basil, Thyme and Parsley leaf for the largest bottom layer of the tree.

Next we poked the cinnamon stick tree trunk into the bottom layer of herbs, and secured it tightly with ribbon. Note; depending upon the size cake decorating bags you are working with you might need to cut it shorter.

Finally, we hot-glued the Star anise to the top of the ornament. If you are using these as ornaments, loop a thin piece of glitzy gold ribbon and attach it underneath the star anise with glue. Tie a perky bow at the base along with a label listing ingredients and the instructions to prepare the dip.

Attach an instruction card: 
Combine 1 C Mayonnaise and 1 C Sour cream. Add the contents of the dip tree.
Stir and chill overnight. Serve with veggies or chips.

These were easy to make, and are certainly festive and fun!

(This blog post is a reprise of a post from December 2007, edited slightly.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Small Business Saturday is right around the corner and a lot of our local downtown merchants are celebrating with special offers. We will be featuring all things rosemary, the herb symbolic for Christmas. The shop is well stocked, crammed full from floor to ceiling with all your favorites. Every nook and cranny has a treasure that someone will love! From Roastmary to Snowflake tea, from Artemesia to Zebrovka, we have all your herbal needs. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sausage Soup - a family tradition!

Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays in our homestead both feature the same delicious menu. The menu is written in stone, and may not be changed! It is okay to add to the menu, but don't attempt to omit any of the favorites! For as long as I can remember, the meal was prepared by my father Byron Reppert. Dad was a WW II Marine, member of Mechanicsburg’s Boro Council for 16 years and mayor of the town for 4 years. He was always one of our biggest supporters in any endeavor we attempted. Eventually, when he felt the big family meal might be too much for him to prepare by himself, his daughters apprenticed Thanksgiving Dinner. Our festivities begin with the family gathering on the eve of the holiday to savor our traditional Sausage Soup.This easy to make meal can be simmering on the stove top until all members of the family have arrived. To make this hearty soup, place sliced Smoked Sausage in a large sauce pan with water over medium heat and cook thoroughly. Add minced onion, diced celery and cubed potatoes to the pot. Toss in some parsley, too. Reduce the heat and simmer on the stove until the potatoes are tender. Just before serving add some milk, which gives the soup a creamy color and helps to cool the fat. We have always found the flavor of the smoked sausage offers enough seasoning to this soup. The senior members of our family would muse that they used to call this “poor man’s soup but with the price of sausage these days you can’t call it that anymore”. The annual tale continues with “and when we were really poor we made the soup with pretzels instead”. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Something Old, Something New" Tea & Program

Our afternoon adventure at the Fashion Archives & Museum in Shippensburg included a casual Afternoon Tea and program. The newly remodeled Davis House has a nice area for the Fashion Museum, a cozy little gift shop, and an educational area for programs where tables were set up to accommodate tea. We had name tags placed at our seats, and our group of 3 joined a group of 5 women that gathered from southern PA and northern MD. Once everyone was seated, several pots of tea were brought to each table.

A festive array of finger sandwiches were placed on each table. There was a plate of open faced chicken salad colorfully garnished with baby tomatoes, radishes and parsley. In addition, there were cucumber sandwiches sprinkled with pepper and pimento cheese on whole wheat bread. All the sandwiches were fresh and flavorful.

Such a pretty plate of sandwiches.
When our reservations for this wedding themed event were confirmed, we were encouraged to bring a sentimental cake topper or a wedding portrait. We were happy to bring the 1907 wedding portrait of our mother's parents. The sharing of the pictures helped guests intermingle at their tables.

Yummy golden raisin scones were served on a silver platter accompanied by tea cups full of cream and jelly. The jelly was 'High Dumpsie Dearie' a traditional English jelly made from apples, plums, and pears. What a fun name and such a fun presentation. Slices of pumpkin raisin bread were also offered.

The program, 'Something Old, Something New' was presented by Judy Larkin, The Tea Lady, representing The Larkin Tea Company. Traditions, superstitions, and symbolism associated with weddings were shared. In England, it's good luck to see a chimney sweep on your wedding day. And it's good luck to see black cats, not only on your wedding day, but any day. With regards to the height of a wedding cake, the higher the cake, the wealthier you are. And the wedding party was dressed similarly to confuse any evil spirits that might be around. Fun tidbits to learn! Guests in attendance were invited to share their wedding experiences and memories in this interactive program.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fashion Archives and Museum - Shippensburg

A recent road trip took us to the Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA. The Fashion Archives has been in operation since 1980, but the museum, located in the newly remodeled Davis House on the college campus, opened in March of this year with their inaugural exhibit featuring Bridal Gowns through the centuries. 
The fashion library allows for study of all aspects of historic and contemporary dress. In addition, offering internship, work-study, and graduate opportunities, the Fashion Archives and Museum (FA&M) offers significant educational opportunities. Exhibits, programs, and publications available to the public provide a peek into the past.

The Bridal gown exhibit, titled "Walking the Aisle in the Latest Style: Wedding Fashions from the Eighteenth Century to Today" was well organized and well researched.
The gowns were assembled around the room advancing through the years. Descriptive cards included information about the bride, details about the gown, and other interesting tidbits.

This Roaring Twenties gown (to the right) was Angelica's favorite. The exhibit, with a nominal entrance fee of $5.00, is on display until mid-December. It will be packed away, and the museum will spend the next few months preparing for their next exhibit, opening in March. Can't visit in person? Check out their Facebook page.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Love! Shop Local!

Sharing some artwork that can be found on display at the front desk in the shop. 

and the unsolicited opinions from the great nieces in the family. 

Remember to Shop Local this holiday season!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Tea Kettle

Teardrops of tea
glide down the kettle
Don't cry - 
we'll make each other feel better.
-Terri Guillemets

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day!

Remembering our Veterans today - and every day. 
Thank you for your service to our country!

Rosemary (for Remembrance) surrounds one of Marj Reppert's artistic creations,
Remembrances (tm) of Rosemary Remembrances II Jim Thorpe, PA

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Presidential Tea with Mamie Eisenhower

This past Sunday we held a presidential tea party in celebration of the culmination of the campaign season. Our guests were treated to a special themed event with an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a unique evening at the White House, including a menu featuring the eagle seal. This event was Honoring the Citizens of the United States of America.
The first course featured a White House Garden Cauliflower Soup garnished with snippets of fresh Spring green onions, craisins, and freshly milled pepper. The inspiration for the soup came from an event hosted by Dwight D. Eisenhower where Cauliflower Curry Soup was served at a dinner to honor Soviet Premiere Khrushchev. Complimentary White Wine Spritzer with Lavender Floral Elixir (symbolic for luck) was served to each guest with Crackers topped with Herbed Cheese Spread.
In 1959, Mamie Eisenhower frequently held teas at the White House for the wives of members of the House of Representatives. 'Open faced sandwiches' and 'chicken salad sandwiches' would be served at those teas. Therefore, our sandwich plate included Chicken Salad Tea Sandwich, Open Faced Veggie Confetti Sandwich with an edible star cut from a turnip, Roasted Pork Tenderloin with peach Conserve and Marinated Shrimp wrapped with a Snowpea Pod.
Nancy's signature Traditional English Cream Scones and seasonal Curried Pumpkin & Ginger Scones were served alongside a Fresh Fruit Skewer placed atop Marshmallow Cream.
The dessert finale featured Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake with a raspberry coulis and garnished with fresh raspberries.
Since Mamie Eisenhower was our welcomed speaker, Mamie's Million Dollar Fudge was offered to each guest to enjoy at a later time. Mamie, portrayed by local Gettysburg resident Ruthmary McIlhenny recollected her first meeting with Ike, the trials and tribulations of marriage, war, politics, the presidency, and their life together on the Gettysburg farm. Mamie really enjoyed her opportunity to be First Lady in 1953. They had been married 36 years and had moved 39 times already. She anticipated the opportunity to live at one location for four years, and perhaps eight years would be grand.

Our Presidential Teas are served every four years. Looking forward to 2020 with eager anticipation, renewed hope and great possibilities.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Can Cookies Win an Election?

In 1992, Family Circle magazine started a cookie campaign where the spouses of the presidential candidates submitted their favorite cookie recipe. Back then, it was Hillary Clinton vs. Barbara Bush. The readers made the cookies and voted for their favorite. For the past 24 years, the cookie contest has correctly predicted the winner with one exception. In 2008, Michelle Obama's shortbread lost to Cindy McCain's butterscotch cookie. 
This year, the star cookie submitted by Melania Trump is a basic no frills sugar cookie, no added flavor, no extra jazz. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookie submitted by Bill Clinton (well, it's actually the same recipe Hillary submitted in 1992) is still America's favorite, having won the cookie contest again this year.

Can a cookie contest predict the outcome of an election? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let me pour you a cup of tea, and offer you a cookie or two. You decide. Whatever you decide, please vote!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge

While the country is preparing for the upcoming election, the cook in the tea room has been preparing for our upcoming Presidential Afternoon Tea Party. Held every four years to coincide with the election, this year we are pleased to welcome 'First Lady Mamie Eisenhower' as portrayed by Ruthmary McIllhenny of Gettysburg. Since Mamie is famous for her Million Dollar Fudge, that will be on the menu for our event. This old newspaper clipping has been in our file for years, alas there is no date on the paper, but since Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was in office from 1953 - 1961, I'll assume it was printed during that time and clipped and saved by our mother. 

There are several versions of the recipe, but this one seems to be the accepted one. Fairly easy to mix together, it produces a sweet creamy old-fashioned fudge that satisfies the sweet tooth. And how did it get its name? Well no one is quite sure, but the story goes that when President Eisenhower came a-courting, he tasted Mamie's delicious fudge and declared it million dollar fudge.

Recipe note: the recipe calls for 1 pint (2 jars) of marshmallow cream. I used 1-1/2 jars of the 7 oz. marshmallow fluff and had success.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Orchard Tea Room - MATBA October Seminar

The October seminar of the Mid Atlantic Tea Business Association was held at the Orchard Tea Room with an entrance tucked alongside the Rose Hip Barn, a vintage emporium.

There's lots of tea related decor tucked throughout the tea room.
Once our program was concluded, we strolled the grounds of the business while the staff set up for Afternoon Tea. The framed, printed menu announced the goodness we were about to enjoy. Set up buffet style, members were able to choose what they wanted from a variety of sandwiches, scones, and pastries.

The tea sandwiches included Curried Chicken Salad on Wheat, Brie & Pear on White, Black Olive & Walnut on Wheat and Cucumber with Herbed Butter on White. They were all daintily cut into petite triangular portions and arranged on the platter to highlight the contrasting breads.

The tower of scones was impressive, and held large heart shaped Buttermilk Currant scones. The toppings were plentiful and included lemon cured, strawberry jam, and whipped double cream.

The pastry selection included Chocolate Chip Shortbread Leaves, Carrot Cakelets with Pineapple preserve center, English Gingersnaps, and Shortbread Teapots. Fresh fruit was also offered.
Special thanks to Karen Donnelly for hosting this all day event, and for coordinating the afternoon tea.