Monday, August 4, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Royal Tea Club's Covered Dish Tea

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Royal Tea Club’s third annual covered dish event. It was such fun to be with 100 ladies who all enjoy tea. Most brought their own teacups. A silent auction, a used book sale, and live entertainment were among the activities.

The Royal Tea Club was formed by a group of ladies who enjoy doing tea. The club currently boasts a membership of over 300 from several states. A tea event is planned once a month from March thru December. The group’s purpose is fun and friendship.

Sharon Hart who heads the organization does a beautiful job freely giving of her time. Visit for more information.

Friday, August 1, 2008

How to Make a Teapot Cake

My Teapot Birthday Cake

What you will need:

1 package pound cake mix

2 mini bundt pans

Frozen purchased cookie dough or your own sugar cookie dough recipe


Pattern for handle and spout

Fresh flowers, candy decoration etc. for completed cake

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Fill each pan 2/3 full. Tap pan to settle batter as the batter will be thick. Bake approximately 15-18 minutes or when cake feels firm to the touch, is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow pans to sit for 5 minutes and remove cake from pans. Continue cooling on rack. When cakes are completely cooled slice off tops and reserve. Use top as lid for the teapot. Using 1 ½ “-2” biscuit cutter cut lid from reserved cake slice. With knife trace spout and handle designs on cookie dough which has been rolled in powdered sugar and gently remove to baking sheet and bake according to directions. Also, roll a small ball for the teapot lid knob. Frost the middle portion of the cake and put cakes together to form teapot. Place lid and knob on cake and frost. Carefully make a small slit in the sides of the cake to accommodate spout and handle. Attach handle and spout. Decorate in desired manner. Each cake mix makes 8 mini bundt cakes or 4 teapot cakes. If making one teapot cake, you can use remaining batter for short cake, cupcakes, mini tea bread, etc. Each cake serves approximately 2-3. A teapot cake kit is available.

Please check back for the picture of the grand finale.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brillante Blogger Award

Many thanks to my friend Kathleen of Kathleen Ellis Life Style Designs for awarding me the Brillante Blogger Award. I am passing on the award to the following five bloggers. Please visit them as they do a beautiful job. They are:
  • My 2Roses for a fresh approach to permanent flowers
  • Rosemary's Sampler for an informative and interaction sampling pertaining to herbs and teas
  • Hydrangea House for decorating ideas and projects in the Romantic Cottage or Shabby style
  • Tea Party Girl for a wonderful resource on ideas for hosting and enjoying afternoon tea parties
  • Set To A Tea for tips and ideas on how to set a lovely tea table.
I am also required to tell you 5 things about myself. So here goes...
1. I would love to live in Charleston in the winter-not the summer. I don't have the hair for it.
2. I seldom enjoy a day without tea and chocolate.
3. I plan to travel with my husband to London this year.
4. I love cool summer mornings.
5. I have two red headed children.

Thank you so much for reading.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Favorite Teacup

Gladstone (1865) Victorian British Prime Minister

If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.

Sipping Chocolate Mint...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Refreshing Iced Strawberry Cream Green with Tea Ice Cubes

Tea Ice Cubes*

Make your ice cubes with your favorite tea instead of water. You will have full-flavored iced tea instead of water-downed tea.

Take a little extra time to make the ice cubes a little more special. Small slices of orange, lemon, or lime added to your ice cube sections before pouring the tea in will look beautiful when frozen and will add extra flavor to your tea as the ice cube melts.

Blueberry Tea Cubes Add 2 blueberries to each section of your ice tray before pouring the tea in.

Orange Tea Cubes Zest an orange into long strips. Add a strip of orange zest to each section of your ice tray. Pour the tea in and freeze.

Strawberry Tea Cubes Add small pieces of strawberry to the sections of the ice tray before freezing.

*Reprinted by permission from The Ultimate Tea Diet by Mark "Dr.Tea" Ukra ISBN 978-0-06-144175-2. Visit

For more fun, dip the rim of your iced tea glass in water then in colored sugar for a festive touch.

Visit for Strawberry Cream Green tea.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The World Tea Expo

I recently attended the World Tea Expo which was held in Las Vegas this year. There was an amazing array of tea products ranging from traditional teas to frozen tea drinks to tea liquors. On display were many delicious new teas and fabulous tea accessories. A selection of these will be featured on my website soon. Educational sessions were held in conjunction with the exhibits.

My picture shown here is with Dr. Tea. I attended his session, "Converting the Coffee Culture". Dr. Tea's tea business in located in Las Angeles. He has made numerous television appearances and has written a book titled The Ultimate Tea Diet. This book has many ideas on how to live a healthier life based on common sense and drinking tea! It is filled with valuable tea tidbits, recipes and successful weight loss stories.

*The secret of tea's ability to help you lose weight is the synergy of tea's three main ingredients: caffeine, L-theanine, and EGCG. Here is a quick rundown of the ingredients starting with caffeine. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it will help you lose weight. Unfortunately, however, caffeine has unhealthy side effects. Recent studies have shown that caffeine raises both blood sugar and insulin levels.

Doesn't Tea have caffeine? Yes, it does, but it has far less than you'll find in a cup of coffee. And here's the "magic" of tea: It also as L-theanine, an amino acid that works to counter caffeine's harmful effects. L-theanine also influences the neurotransmitters in the brain that affect your dopamine and serotonin levels which send the brain signals of satiety. The more tea you drink the stronger the message to your brain that says "I'm not hungry." Therefore, tea not only helps you lose weight, it helps to reduce your appetite and stay on a diet as well.

The third secret ingredient is EGCG, the miracle antioxidant that stimulates your body's metabolism; you're actually burning fats as you sit there drinking your tea. EGCG also lowers the levels of tryglycerides in the blood and inhibits the accumulation of fatty acids in the fat cells, thus making it a significant antiobesity agent.

Can you eat whatever you want and still lose weight simply by adding tea to your diet? Probably not. But if you start by drinking tea, it will begin its work on your alpha brain waves, your neurotransmitters, and your metabolism to increase your energy and decrease your appetite. When you add in the Ultimate Tea Diet weight-loss food plan and a moderate amount of exercise, the pounds and inches will come off quickly and safely.

Dr. Tea's favorite advice, "If you think you can, you will; if you think you can't, you won't."

*Reprinted by permission from "The Ultimate Tea Diet" by Mark "Dr. Tea" Ukra ISBN 978-0-06-144175-2 Visit

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pot Luck Tea

When you're short on time, sharing food preparation is a great way to have a tea party. It can be great fun to see what each person prepares. It is also a good idea for your guests to bring a recipe to share.

My good friend and former tearoom chef, Cynthia and I enjoy getting together regularly for tea and periodically we prepare our own tea fare. We share the baking and each makes scones, tea sandwiches, sweets, and or savories.

Cynthia is a champion scone maker and we seldom host an at home tea party without her fabulous scones. Thank you to those who still email me about them from our days at Civil-La-Tea.

Our pot luck menu for our most recent at home afternoon tea consisted of Triple Cherry Scones, Puff Pastry Napoleons, Ham and Cheese Filled biscuits, (You can find the recipe for these biscuits in the May edition of the newsletter. Just click "News" where you will find all the past editions.) Mini Peach Tarts, Almond Poppy Seed Tea Bread, and Coconut Chewies.

Have you had pot luck tea parties? Please leave a comment and share what you like to prepare the most.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to Sugar Pansies

Garnish is Queen! It adds beauty, color, appeal and interest to your tea tray. Edible pansies are a beautiful and colorful edible garnish.

At this time of the season when pansies are beginning to fade, you can preserve them by crystallizing them with thinned egg whites and super fine sugar.

You will need tweezers, a metal tea infuser with handles or a small sieve, a small paint brush designated for food use, and parchment paper. You will also need powdered egg whites; these are pasteurized and safe to eat, and super fine sugar.

Use only pesticide free pansies with stems removed. Gently paint both sides of pansy petals with thinned egg whites made to package directions. Add a little water to thin them. While holding pansy with tweezers over a small bowl, sprinkle both sides with super fine sugar. Shake off excess sugar. Put pansy on parchment paper to dry. You may have to turn pansies occasionally to speed the drying process. When dry, store in container with tight fitting lid away from light. Use as a garnish on cakes, tarts, cookies, lemon curd, etc.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cherry Tart-A Special Teatime Treat

Since I have received several inquiries about what my mom would serve at teatime, I have decided to share one of her favorite recipes. It is a rather old recipe. She reached for this recipe for almost every occasion. She would whip this up in a snap. Although I love to bake, working with pastry dough is not one of my favorites. If you are a pie baker, this recipe will be easy for you.

Cherry Tart
3 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 t salt
3 t baking powder
3 egg yolks
2/3 C milk
1 t vanilla
2 cans cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9X13 pan with vegetable spray. Mix egg yolks, milk, & vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Save 1/4 of dough for lattice top. Pat dough in pan. I thought this was a little sticky. I found that when I dampened my hands slightly, it helped. Pour pie filling over dough. Make lattice work for top. You might need to add a little flour to make the dough more manageable. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy...The middle pieces are the favorite in my family!

My choice of tea to drink with this would be Apricot Peach. The fruitiness of both seem to compliment each other.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The 4 Best Tea Party Herbs to Plant Now

When giving a tea party the beauty and enjoyment is in the details. Herbs not only add wonderful flavor to tea party fare but they also add beauty. It's important to remember that you eat with your eyes first and herbs can greatly enhance your visual enjoyment.

The 4 herbs which I love to use are chives, parsley, dill and mint.

The chives pictured in the white pot do very well as a patio plant or planted in your garden. I've had this pot for several years. They come up year every year early in the spring and are a welcome splash of green after a long, drab winter. Their purple blooms are edible and also are great as a garnish. The entire flower can be used or you can separate it .

Parsley, top left, is also great growing in your pot or garden. It generally is good for only one season. Once it goes to seed, it's finished.

Dill, top right, doesn't do well in a pot. It likes growing best in the garden. You can use the blossoms for garnish also. Dill is great at reseeding itself.

Mint is best grown in a pot. It also comes back year after year. Mine is seen here growing in a strawberry jar. Beware if you plant mint is your garden, it will tend to spread everywhere. It's best to keep mint pruned as it doesn't do well if you allow it to bloom. Mint, of course, also makes a great tea.

Herbs liked to be cut often. They are wonderful to use in fresh flower arrangements. As you do your plant shopping this season, consider herbs as a great addition helping you to make your tea party special in many ways.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Drink Tea With Me

Who introduced you to the "world of tea"? My tea story all began with a burgundy Hall's teapot. As a little girl I loved tea parties especially the sweets which is still true today. My mom bought the teapot and there always seemed to be an air of hushed reverence when she brought it out for tea. I hoped I wouldn't be the one to break it.

My mom is first generation American and came from a family of wonderful cooks. We would go from house to house enjoying eastern European hospitality and wonderful food. The Daffodil Cake recipe in my March newsletter is an adaptation from my Aunt Jane's recipe.

Tea in those days was from tea bags. Today I thoroughly enjoy loose tea. t~sacs make the preparation of loose tea ever so easy. It's like making your own tea bag. When you are finished, you just toss it.

My mom is 86 today and suffers from dementia. Caring for elderly parents is for another post. She still knows me and is happy to join me for a good "cuppa". I feel blessed for the opportunity to make tea for her. Please share your tea story...