Sunday, November 30, 2008

Action-packed Family Thanksgiving Weekend

This year our family broke from our traditional Thanksgiving celebration and rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN in the Smoky Mountians. On Wednesday afternoon the boys (young and old) had a great time riding go carts while daughter #1 and I entertained the little guy with the kiddie rides.

After an afternoon of fun we headed for the cabin for an evening of movies and games including pool for the big guys.
More holiday weekend details to come, but here is a hint: The weekend ended with Tennessee winning over Kentucky at the big rival football game on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Girlfriends are Special

My blog is about my passion for family, friends and all things tea! My friend, Patty, scanned and sent me this photo taken a "few" years ago. Patty, on the left, was 22 months old and I was 19 months old. We grew up across the street from each other in our small Kentucky town of Berea. Check out information about our town here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Upton Tea Quarterly ~ More Than a Catalog

The Upton Tea Quarterly Winter, 2008 issue arrived in my mailbox a couple of days ago. This publication of Upton Tea Imports products is more than a catalog. The publication includes several interesting tea features including a history of the Tea Industry. This issue features "Part 10: Tea Imports Surge in Great Britain."
The photo above shows one of several pieces of artwork featured in this issue. This one is "Professional Tea-Tasters Deciding on the Quality and Value of a New Cargo in a Wholesale Warehouse" from 1876.

Upton Tea Imports includes excellent descriptions of the hundreds of teas they sell. There is also a guide with suggestions on how to buy, measure, store and prepare tea included in every issue.
I had visited Upton Tea's website but had not ordered or read the Quarterly publication until I was given a copy and a gift of a personalized tin of tea by Cara in IA. (waving to Cara!) One of the special services provided by Upton's is personalization of tea packets and tins. See the top photo in this post. In my opinion, personalization makes a tea gift even more special!
Upton Tea Imports is a mail order company for teas, teapots, tea gadgets and more! For information visit their website here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Eating Royally

Eating Royally by Darren McGrady is a great book to add to the libraries of Anglophiles and "Royal watchers." Darren McGrady was in royal service as a chef for the Royal family for 11 years then Princess Diana's private chef at Kensington Palace until her death. He includes recipes and remembrances from Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, HMY Britannia, Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House and Kensington Palace. This beautiful book has over 100 delicious recipes and more than 150 beautiful photos. The cost is $25.00 including shipping and Darren McGrady will autograph and personalize the book if you purchase it here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Bazaar, Friendship Tea & Peanut Butter Candy

I enjoy attending various bazaars and craft shows in our area during the holidays. Wallaceton Baptist, a small country church about 5 miles from our Kentucky town, held their annual bazaar on Saturday. The weather was cold, windy and raining, but I am glad I went. They had lots of hand crafted items and the church recipe books for sale along with lunch and a bake sale. I purchased two containers of Friendship Tea shown in the photos above. Everyone has a different way of packaging this spiced tea mix. I liked the way these were packaged in "re-cycled" containers covered with pretty paper and 3-D Christmas design teapot stickers attached to the front.

I also purchased a couple of handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments including a cinnamon stick bundle decorated with mini pine cones and a ribbon and a fabric angel. I collect church recipe book s and couldn't pass up this one. I also brought home a plate of sliced Peanut Butter Roll, GJ's favorite homemade candy, but the candy disappeared before I took the above photo. The recipe is below:
Peanut Butter Roll
1 (2 lb.) bag powdered sugar
1 stick margarine, softened
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can Carnation milk
Mix above ingredients (except peanut butter with the milk, adding a little milk at a time until stiff like biscuit dough. (You can use you hands to mix.) Do not add too much milk or it will not roll.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece between two pieces of wax paper to make a circle. Remove top sheet of wax paper and spread peanut butter on the dough. Roll this up and wrap in wax paper and chill. Slice and store in an airtight container until ready to eat. Makes four rolls.
Submitted by Betty J. (as it appears in Our Sunday Best, a collection of recipes by members of Wallaceton Baptist Church)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Meaning of Tea

Saturday evening my friend Patty and I attended a very special screening of THE MEANING OF TEA presented by LEXARTS and the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers at the Lexington Public Library. This beautiful film "takes viewers on an exploratory journey around the globe to define the true meaning of tea by investigating the role it plays in various cultural rituals throughout the world and how these traditions are threatened by today's marketplace."
After the showing of this beautiful and thought-provoking documentary, there was a facinating question and answer session with Scott Chamberlin-Hoyt the producer and director of THE MEANING OF TEA and James Norwood Pratt. author of New Tea Lover's Treasury. Mr. Hoyt said that reading Norwood Pratt's book is what inspired him to make this film. You may purchase the DVD here and Norwood's book here or both at Elmwood Inn's website here.
Kentucky tea lovers (like myself) are very fortunate to have Bruce, Shelley and Ben Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and Benjamin Press to bring fabulous tea programs like this one to central Kentucky.
Here is some tea scoop for you! Bruce told me Norwood is in Kentucky to work with him on an upcoming tea project. Sounds exciting doesn't it? And, Scott Chamberlin-Hoyt told me he is working on a short tea film to be released in time for a major tea event in the spring of 2009. (You real tea lovers know the spring tea event I mean!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Update: Teabag Teapot

On October 16, I posted here about purchasing this teabag teapot online. The vendor I purchased this one from no longer carries it. But I have good news for those of you who were interested in purchasing one. Harney & Sons Fine Teas currently has the 12 oz. teapot in stock in seven different colors. To find it, look here.
Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holiday Fundraiser Tea

After much thought I decided to participate in a Holiday Fundraiser Tea on December 6th sponsored by the Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women in Richmond, KY. The tea is a host-decorated table tea similar to the Berea Health Ministry Tea I planned in Berea. But this one has a real twist! The host agrees to donate her table decorations including dishes, etc. to be auctioned at the end of the tea with the benefits going to Liberty Place. The organizers have a list of requirements including: a tablecloth and runner or placemats, six place settings to include teacups and saucers, dinner plates, flatware, napkins, centerpiece and any additional decor such as favors, teapot, chargers, etc.

Knowing what I spent for my table decorations for the Berea Health Ministry Tea, my first reaction was "no way!" See photos of my Berea Health Ministry tea table here.

My second reaction was, "I am dying to see what the holiday decorated table themes will look like." I called the lady in charge who informed me she is a GREAT shopper and only spent a total of $90 on her table.

My third reaction was "I have just been challenged to come up with elegant and cheap!" (less than $90) Anyone who knows me knows I don't easily back down from a challenge!!!

I called my friend Patty who won the table decorating contest at the BHM tea (see her table here) and I presented her with the information. Her reaction was the same as mine - no! curious! and challenged!!! She said to count her in!

I began searching for sets of Christmas dishes Ebay (not cheap), then Walmart (cheap, but mugs, not cups and saucers), then today I went to the local flea market/antique/junk mall. I walked through the place with no luck and was about to leave when I decided to go up the last aisle. At the last booth, I found a set of 32 Christmas dishes with cups and saucers for $12 total! (see photo above) And, a set of 8 Christmas goblets for $5.50 total. I put them in my cart, paid, departed and called Patty. She called me an hour later from a discount store and had found $1 per yard fabric to make a table cloth, runner or whatever we decide. We have been challenged and we are on a roll! I'll keep you posted on our progress including our theme, photos of the finished table and the total price.

I called another friend who was a table judge at the Berea Health Ministry Tea and she said to count her in on this "adventure!"

I suppose you can tell we are having fun with this Holiday Tea! *smile*

A Tea Time Christmas Stocking

I purchased a beautiful new teapot Christmas stocking made by Karen at Sweet Necessi-Teas. I can't wait to hang it on the mantle during the Christmas season! Having a filled stocking on Christmas morning is a family tradition enjoyed by the children and adults in our family.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Faces of Alzheimer's

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month.
Last week I blogged about my mother.(click here) The photo below is of my friend Lynn and me celebrating her 60th birthday in October, 2007. I took Lynn to an unknown destination (to her) for the celebration. We had a wonderful overnight at Shaker Village in central Kentucky. No, we don't have Alzheimer's (yet). We were caregivers of our mothers who were both victims of the disease. Lynn's mom, Martha, had passed away just a week before Lynn's birthday. Lynn and I have been close friends for many years. We grew even closer supporting each other while taking care of our mothers. If you are an Alzheimer's care giver, make yourself a cup of tea and click here for a Caregiver Stress Check.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month:
· There are nearly 10 million Americans providing 8.4 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias – valued at $89 billion.
· 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s live at home, cared for by family and friends.
· A quarter-million American children 8 to 18 years old are providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
· There are between 1 and 1.4 million “long-distance caregivers” in the United States. About 1 million of these caregivers live more than two hours away from their loved ones.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Google Searching: Castle Drogo & Scones

I am fascinated by the different Google searches that bring people to my blog! For several months I have been considering picking out topics that landed those folks here and periodically writing about some of those. The most often searched for items that lands folks here is Friendship Tea. See the recipe posted on the right under the teapots.

The search today that peeked my interest today was a search from Trowbridge, Wiltshire looking for "Scone Recipes National Trust Castle Drogo." So, how did they land on this Kentucky gal's Friendship Tea blog?

In June when we returned from our visit to Britain I posted photos of our visit to the National Trust Castle Drogo in Devon. In an earlier post from that trip, I told that Sally Kirkland at The Olde Bakehouse Tea Room near Stanway gave me her recipe for scones.

Apparently Google put both those topics together and landed the English visitor here! (waving hello!) Anyone who frequently reads this blog knows I post a lot of photos and I love trivia! So in the photos above, you will see me at Castle Drogo (the newest castle in England) and a separate photo of Sally's wonderful scones (GJ and AJ's favorites). Just an FYI and a confession -- the "Cornish Cream Tea" photo on the right sidebar is Rodda Cornish cream, but the photo was at Castle Drogo in Devon so they really are made from the National Trust Castle Drogo recipe! *smile*

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coalport Teacup & Saucer Trio

I purchased this pretty Coalport teacup and saucer trio in Burford, England in 2004. I looked in shops in every little town we visited and finally settled on this trio on the last day of that two-week trip.

Notice the plate is very small and almost the same size of the saucer. When I questioned a gentleman in a china shop about the size of the tea plate he very adamantly told me in his lovely English accent what I already knew because every English hotel and tearoom I have visited uses this small size plate for afternoon tea. He said, "afternoon tea is not meant to be a meal."

We have, in my opinion, "Americanized" afternoon tea into something very much like a meal and tend to substitute it for lunch. I've seen "afternoon tea" served as early as 11:30 am in some American tearooms. And, while I'm on the subject, American scones are too often like cake and sometimes have icing on top! I sometimes wonder what that nice English gentleman would say of that... But, I think I already know. *smile*

The Dancing "Lady"

I don't watch much TV, but I admit I won't miss an episode of Dancing With the Stars. I always loved dancing TV shows going back to American Bandstand and the days when Nick Clooney (aka George's dad) hosted a TV dance show in Lexington, KY.

GJ and I took dance lessons off and on for several years. I said he was too stiff and had no rhythm, and he said I always tried to lead. I always said somebody had to until the instructor told me the same thing! (Oops!) After managing to dance (using that term loosely) around the floor at a few functions, we gave it up.

So that brings me to Susan Lucci and the current season to Dancing With the Stars. In an earlier life when I watched soap operas, I watched All My Children faithfully. Erica Kane is one of those characters you love and hate and love to hate! A couple of summers ago I found myself standing in line behind Susan Lucci in the ladies room at a Broadway theater in NYC. She is very pretty, very petite and very elegant. She was smiling and friendly to those who approached her. And, she stood in line just like the rest of us. After she departed, the attendant assured us she was always a "lady."

Well, I guess it takes more than being a "lady" to dance well. Her fan base kept her in the competition for seven weeks although she was in the bottom two the past 2 weeks. You gotta admire her for wearing those "interesting" costumes, going back and forth from LA to NYC to work, and hanging in there dancing in front of millions of viewers.

With only one female left in this season's DWTS competition, it will be interesting to see who is eliminated next week or if the last "lady" remains!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Desserts

I baked two different dessert bars for Election Night. I baked the Symphony Brownies for the chocolate lovers (AJ) and the Butter Pecan Bars are for the non-chocolate lovers (GJ). The photos show the Brownies with the yummy Symphony chocolate bars in the middle.

Symphony Brownies2 boxes Ghirardelli Brownie Mix
3 Large Hershey Symphony Bars (plain or with brickle and almonds)

Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non stick spray. Preheat oven as directed on brownie mix. Mix one box of brownie mix as directed on the box and spread evenly along bottom of prepared pan. Lay the three chocolate bars on top of the mix so they fit exactly. Prepare the second box of brownie mix as directed on the box and spread over the chocolate bars. Bake as directed by brownie mix plus 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

Butter Pecan Bars
2 eggs
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1 ½ stick butter or oleo
1 ¼ C flour
1 C pecans, chopped
1 t vanilla

Beat eggs thoroughly. Mix the rest of the ingredients in the order above. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 27-30 minutes. (The top will crack.)

I had one of each with a cup of decaffeinated Ceylon. They are both delicious. Like GJ, I am not a chocolate lover so I've had my quota of chocolate for a while!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Successful Soccer Season

The Stingrays U-10 Mixed (boys & girls) had a great fall season and finished 10-1-1. Indoor soccer begins this weekend. Soccer has become a year-round sport for AJ and Coach GJ.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Stay for Tea" Vintage Cook Book

I was so excited to find this vintage recipe book, "Stay for Tea" in the bottom of a drawer in my Aunt Ida's kitchen! I had never seen or heard of the book before, but it had the word "tea" in the title so that alone made it a keeper for me!
I read through the book looking for a date of when it was printed by The Thoroughbred Press, Lexington, KY and there is none. That company ceased to exist long ago. The book is compiled of "favorite recipes of The Woman's Club of the University of Kentucky for the benefit of the Frances Jewell McVey Memorial Scholarship Fund."
The book has advertisements in the back from several Lexington businesses including some I remember. The phone numbers listed in the ads are for numbers like 3540 or 2127, but no dates. I recall our phone number was 268J around 1958. So that was a clue.
Another clue was listing of sandwich recipes in the front of the book. According to the listing, they are from an article by Mrs. McVey printed in the Lexington Herald on November 30, 1927.
That narrowed my dates down to around 1930 to 1958.
I also knew my aunt moved into her house in 1946 and she didn't have a lot of luxury items to move with her at the time. Internet searches at the time I found the book did not bring up anything.
An interesting article in the The Lexington Herarld-Leader newspaper on Thursday of last week about the value of old cookbooks intrigued me as I have quite a collection from my mother and aunts. So I decided to spend some time searching the net for more information on "Stay for Tea."
BINGO!! This time I learned "Stay for Tea" was printed in 1948. There was only one printing of the book. Mrs. McVey was the second wife of Frank L. McVey, who was president of the University of Kentucky 1917 - 1940. His first wife died during the move to Kentucky. He later married Frances Jewell, Dean of Women at UK. Frances Jewell McVey was extremely well-known for her gracious hospitality as a hostess at Maxwell Place (the president's home). She wrote many published articles on cooking, southern cooking and Kentucky cooking. Several of her recipes are included in this book.
I thought my tea-lover friends might find this one by Mrs. Mc Vey using loose leaf tea interesting:

Maxwell Place Spiced Tea
1/4 lb. Lipton's Orange Pekoe tea
6 cups granulated sugar
6 lemons
6 large oranges
3 sticks cinnamon
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
20 Cups water
Boil water, sugar, lemon, and orange rinds with cloves and cinnamon for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove. Add the tea and let stand three minutes. Strain and dilute two to one. Add lemon and orange juice just before serving. This may be served either hot or cold.

In my opinion, the book is not worth the current Ebay asking price of $42 for the purposes of a recipe book to use for afternoon tea in 2008. If you are into vintage recipe preparation or collecting and you believe it is a fair price, go for it!
In the meantime, I'm very happy with my tea collectible "find."

Note: The article in the Lexington herald-Leader mentioned two websites for searching prices on old cookbooks. Click here for Old Cookbooks and Vintage Cookbook.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month. I invite you to join me and sign up to become a Champion and be counted in the fight against this horrible disease. My mother was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease who required 24/7 care the last five years of her life. I urge you to participate on behalf of the 5 million Americans living with the disease.
The above photo is one I borrowed from my daughter Melissa, and was taken on Thanksgiving 2005 of my grandson, Peyton, and my mother, lovingly known as Granny to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My mother was never a tea drinker but she always kept a box of Lipton tea bags in her kitchen cabinet just for me!

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