Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR for "Friends Sharing Tea"







Welcome to "Friends Sharing Tea" and the delights of the season. This is the time of the year when everything sparkles.  I love hearing the Christmas carols along with Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Il Divo as I go to and from work.   These are busy days with a growing list of things to do.  No matter how busy, are always those moments for tea.







I shared this Sadler Teapot a while back and at least one blogger said she had the same one (Angela at Tea With Friends).  The cup and saucer to the left is a Regency I haven't shared before.  The one on the right is a Shelley and Karen at Karen's Cottage and Castle has the same one.



Just like so many of you, I have been baking.  I have an old stained recipe card from many years past for Gingerbread Cookies.  The kitchen seems to always smell wonderful when you bake cookies. Last year I organized my cookie cutters by putting the different seasons and occasions in ziplock bags so it was easier to find the ones I was looking for.  Then they all just go in a big box.



Here is the recipe for Gingerbread Cookies.  First preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

You will need:  1 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg, 1 cup molasses, 2 Tb vinegar,  5 cups sifted flour, 1 1/2 Tsp baking soda, 1 Tb ginger, 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves  (I also  added 1/2 cup sour cream for a softer cookie

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, salt.  Stir in eggs, molasses, vinegar.  Beat.  Sift dry ingredients, stir into molasses mix and add 1/2 cup sour cream mixing everything well.  Now chill for an hour.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8" and cut with cookie cutters.  Place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet.  Use red hots for faces and buttons.  Bake 375 degrees for 6 minutes.  When I went to get confectioners sugar for my icing- the carton was empty so these are not iced.  

I also recently found this topper which was only $3.00 and the leaves were embroidered with gold thread and also with cross stitched roses.  I thought it was lovely with my Old Country Rose China.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CHRISTMAS THYME TEA

Welcome to this special "CHRISTMAS THYME TEA" .  Won't you join me for a time of sharing and reflecting on the joys of this season.  I am so pleased too because I found 3 new "old" cups and saucers over the weekend.  They are all English.  I decided to share those:  






The brands of these cups and saucers are:  Tuscan,  Royal Standard and Roslyn.  Most all are numbered and they are lovely.  I love collecting cups and saucers so come over to my cabinet and let me show you what I collect.




The holiday season came so quickly after our late Thanksgiving and brought with it busy days!  Hours are filled with shopping, crafting, planning, baking and cooking, decorating and of course finding time for the newest Christmas Hallmark movies. As a Christian, I am particularly focused on the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  In 1999 we had the privilege of visiting Israel and Bethlehem and the place which is believed to be built over the original location of the manger.  It was a thrill to see first hand so many places referenced in the Biblical account of Jesus birth.


I am using my Trellis Bird Teapot and Cream and Sugar with the teacups.  Please help yourself to some "White Christmas" tea which is made from white tea, almonds and vanilla!  I love these little tea bag sachets.

Say, do you like cookies?  I didn't want to assume anything here but figured you did!  I have been seeing this recipe on Facebook and wanting to try the newer Sugar Cookie recipe that has sour cream in it as I heard it is nice and moist.  Please help yourself!  I do think they are softer cookies and here in Colorado where things dry out quickly, that's helpful.



Here is the recipe for the The Sour Cream Sugar Cookies that you will definitely want to go copy!!!!  The icing doesn't have egg whites.  I always used Martha Stewart's egg white icing before. This icing does take a little longer to dry.



I hope you can join me to by linking a post to your special posting about tea below at the bottom of this page  I will also be linking this post some special blogging friends I have enjoyed "meeting" through blogging:

I leave you with this one last bit of advice:


Thursday, December 5, 2013

LIGHTING UP CHRISTMAS

This years tree is the tallest one we 
have ever had. What was I thinking?  





A simple change:   I added some burlap strips cut from fabric tied to my Magnolias which already had gold ribbon.  This change gave a little more country feeling to this years tree.



We experienced a beautiful snow all day yesterday so we closed the shop and went home.  I went home and made a Holiday Totebag from 2 rectangle shaped placemats, other heavy fabric for inner lining strength,  a doily , a Christmas Card,  yarn, an antique button and brass jewelry findings.  I plan to make more - as gifts.







I hope your weekend is restful and full of happy memories! 
 I so hope to get some baking done!

Monday, December 2, 2013

PUTTING OUT CHRISTMAS





Part of the joy of the Holidays is pulling out the boxes and setting up the decor and I always look forward to decorating my home for all the different seasons and celebrations.  With Thanksgiving last week, it was a very busy week and blogging came to a halt but here are some photos of how things are happening at my house now.



With other activities finally behind us - we will be filling the air with spices and sweets as the Holiday baking begins.  I have been looking around for red berries and their seem to be few in Colorado.  Holly doesn't grow well here.



I found this pretty white "vase" a few weeks back at the flea markets.  Last week I found a darling English Currier and Ives plate that matches so well. It is called "The Snow Storm".  Our snow has melted down now but I am sure there will be more to come.








Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ORANGE CRANBERRY TEA CAKE

I just adore cranberries and can't resist making an Orange Cranberry Tea Cake about this time each year.  This cake is a tea cake in the truest sense of the word because it has TEA in the cake!



I like to double this recipe and make 2 cakes.  You will need:
1 1/4 cups water, 1 cup orange juice, 4 tea bags/black tea, 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup sugar, 4 Tb soft butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup chopped cranberries, 1 cup chopped walnuts




Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your cake pan.  In a small saucepan, bring the water and juice to a boil. Drop in the 5 teabags, remove from burner and let brew 5 minutes. Remove tea bags from liquid.




In another bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt.  In a large mixer bowl, mix sugar and butter until blended.  Beat in  the eggs and cooled tea mixture.  Add the flour and soda mixture until blended and stir in the chopped cranberries and walnuts.  (In high altitude add a little more orange juice if batter is too dry)


Turn batter into a large loaf pan or tube pan and bake 50-60 minutes testing with a toothpick.  Cool when done.  Turn out cake and brush with orange juice and sift with confectioners sugar.




This past week we have had cold weather and light snow on several days.  It has been so pretty and put me in the mood for Christmas music in the background.  Baking this cake is sure to put you in the Holiday mood! I doubled this recipe making one larger and one smaller cake which gave me one to take to my new neighbors.  I also got an opportunity to pull out many of my Christmas decorations.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BRANDIED FRUIT TO MAKE FRIENDSHIP CAKES




Many of you remember how popular brandied fruit was during the 1970's. I always kept it on hand for that famous "Friendship Cake" we made and the fruit we shared.  Last night, I thought I would get some going at home again and you can too!  It is so lovely to look at and here is what you will need to get started:




To create your own starter you need a large clean glass container with a loosely fitted lid. Purchase the following canned fruits: 1 15 1/4 oz can pineapple chunks, drained, 1 16 oz can sliced peaches, drained, 1 17 oz can apricot halves, drained, 1 10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained, 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1 1/4 cups of brandy.



Combine all the ingredients in the glass container and stir gently.  Cover with the lid and leave at room temperature for 3 weeks. Mark your calender the day you created your batch as in two weeks you will add  ONLY ONE of the fruits and 1 cup of sugar.  Now you will wait another two weeks!  You will go down in the fruit list and over a 8 week period you will add one of each of the fruits alternating them.  When you have 6 cups you can divide the fruit and start a second glass container or give 3 cups away or make the Friendship Cake.


Friendship Cake

1 cup butter - melted, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 3 cups sifted all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 2 eggs, 2 cups of the drained brandied fruit mixture chopped, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup brandied fruit juice and optional powdered sugar to sift on top of finished cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees:  Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat well.  Combine next 6 ingredients; add to butter mixture, beating well.  Add eggs; beat well.

Coarsely chop brandied fruit; and stir into batter.  Add pecans and juice and mix well.  Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 10-12" bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Cool in pan 10 minutes and remove. After it cools completely- sprinkle confectioners sugar on top using a sifter to separate sugar.
Due to time crunch - this is a repost!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TRYING A SCONE MIX


This is such a busy time of year as we begin preparations for the upcoming Holidays:  Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Like many of you,  I have pulled my Thanksgiving Cookbooks and also my Christmas ones!  Tea provides a nice break to pursue them here in the kitchen! 


We are enjoying the cooler weather we have been having. 
The change of four seasons is always nice.



I usually make all my scones from scratch but for fun this morning,  I tried an Orange Cranberry Stonewall Kitchen Scone Mix from the Gourmet Pantry at my store.  I was pleased with the results!