Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tea Party Primer

Tea parties aren't just for little girls. Getting together with other women for some visiting is beneficial. I'll go a step more and say it is necessary. We need time together to learn from each other, to encourage each other and plug into another human being's life. This is so important especially for the homeschool mom. I've learned more at a relaxed tea table than in any seminar.

It doesn't have to be is complicated. Sure, you go all out and bake for days, but you can have a more relaxed tea/coffee with store bought items. Here are some things I do to prepare for a tea party on the fly.

I keep a box of Nonni's Biscotti on hand.

I have frozen Community Coffee beans in my freezer for quick grinding. A coffee grinder is an inexpensive luxury (most under $20). There is nothing better than coffee made from fresh ground beans.

I keep a box of nice tea in the pantry. You can get boxes of assorted teas from Celestial Seasonings that I think are quite nice. I recently have tried the Green Tea assortment from Mighty Leaf and enjoyed it.

I absolutely insist on Sugar in the Raw! I keep a box of it in my pantry and pour it into a nice dish. It doesn't have the aftertaste white sugar does. I also keep an assortment of sugar substitutes in my pantry for those that want it. Sometimes I put out sugar cubes because they are pretty.

I serve half and half but most people are happy with a powdered creamer.

I also keep an assortment of pretty paper napkins for the season. I pick up a few packs at the beginning of the season to be ready for an impromptu visit.

Don't forget about temperature. If it is a warmer season, turn down your a/c a few degrees. Playing hostess can turn your internal temperature up a bit so keep yourself comfy.

Turn on some nice music and light a candle. Keep your scented candles away from the table so the smells don't compete with what you are serving.

Always keep a tablecloth on your table and/or a seasonal decoration.

OK, a few of you are just overachievers. For those of you who insist on homemade baked goods, here are some good standbys. I love to make homemade scones. I also make spice cake (recipe is on this blog). Today I made some Snickerdoodles that went over very well. Snickerdoodles are an old fashioned cookie with a yummy cinnamon taste. You can make a double batch of these goodies and freeze half to save for another day. Scones and cookies defrost quickly so you can enjoy them even for last minute parties.

Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbl. sugar (I use Sugar In the Raw)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I use McCormick Saigon Cinnamon)

Beat butter. Add sugar, baking soda & cream of tartar. Add egg and vanilla. Add the flour. Chill dough about 1 hour.

Combine 2 Tbl. sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. I use a melon baller to measure out the dough. Roll balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches-apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 oven for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Scones

1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sugar in the Raw or Decorating Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in the butter. Stir in the sour cream mixture, vanilla and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened. It's pretty sticky.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Pat into two 6" circles. Sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw. Lightly pat the sugar on the surface. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Place on a greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper).

Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!




2 comments:

Lindylou said...

I love this! Its timing is so perfect. A dear friend of mine who recently finally was blessed with buying a home after years of renting wanted to practice her hosting skills of being hospitable. She suggested a family gathering or a tea time for moms and daughters. I jumped on tea party! I am going to forward her your link. What a great useful post! Thank you for opening your blog to everyone.

annelies said...

This sounds and looks delightful! I can imagine how great the snickerdoodles would taste with tea.

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