Friday, February 27, 2009

Teacup and Saucer Planter

I posted this photo of my teacup planter last summer. Just to let you know, WalMart has the big teacup planters in stock for $20. I saw them at our local WalMart last week. I am amazed at how many people find my blog by online searching for "Teacup Planters."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Daffodil GardenTeacup Trio

What could be better than a tea lady buying herself a new beautiful teacup trio?Answer:
Buying it for half-price! Churchill's Tearoom and Shop in downtown Cincinnati is having a "moving sale" and I found this beautiful Royal Patrician Daffodil Gardens Chintz trio for 50% off. Don't you just love bargain shopping?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Teatime Gifts

"Life is always better with...Flowers, Friends and Tea"
A special thank you to Mary for the teatime gifts! I love the "hand" in the top photo. And, I am always looking for new tea canisters. I had seen the Sweet Home tea canister in the photo aboveat Home Goods, but it had always been a part of three-piece set, and of course I only wanted the tea canister. Mary is one of those people who has a knack for shopping!
Again, thanks Mary for the very thoughtful teatime gifts!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Afternoon Tea at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel

We returned to Cincinnati for afternoon tea at the
Afternoon tea is served in Orchids at Palm Court on Saturdays
at 2:00 p.m., September - May.

The first course included an Open-faced Salmon Sandwich, Cucumber Sandwich garnished with a Cherry Tomato, Tuna Sandwich garnished with a Sun dried Tomato, Mascarpone Stuffed Date, Egg Salad Sandwich garnished with a Sweet Pickle Slice, and Prosciutto Crostini served to each of us on individual mini two-tier servers.

The breads and desserts were served to the four of us on a three-tier server. The breads included Current Scones, Cranberry Scones, Banana Nut Bread, Spice Bread and a Mini Blueberry Muffin.

Desserts included Madelines dipped in chocolate and pistachios, , Pecan Honey Diamonds, Chocolate Dipped Macaroons, Almond Raspberry Petite Fours, Fanciers garnished with candied violet, , and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Chocolate Croissants, Lemon Tarts and Russian Tea Cookies.

In the above photo, Brittney enjoyed the Jasmine Oolong and Melissa enjoyed the White Peony Tea.
I enjoyed several pots of the White Peony and Mary chose Lapsang Souchong. This was Mary's first time to have tea at the Cincinnati Hilton.
The award-winning pastry chef, Kat Kessler, came out to chat with us about the afternoon tea service.

The menu was very similar to the tea we were served in January at the same hotel. In case you wonder why I drove 2 hours back to Cincinnati for tea just a month later, it is because I can visit with the #1 daughter and the grandson when we go to this afternoon tea.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sisterhood Blogging Award

Thank you to Patsy at The Smith's - Bennie and Patsy and Latane at Life in Wakefield for this Sisterhood Blogging Award. When I began blogging in January '08, I did not realize that I might be joining a "sisterhood" by blogging and posting my fascination for all things tea, my rambling thoughts and daily events with friends and our family. But, that is exactly what has happened.

I begin my mornings by visiting and reading several blogs, and some of the same bloggers read my blog daily. We have several common interests such as tea, shopping, travel, reading, good friends, Alzheimer's care giving, family, all things English, and more! We have become blogging friends and yes, a Sisterhood.

I award this Sisterhood Award to all my special blogger friends who visit Friendship Tea on a regular basis. Feel free to pick up this award and pass it on to bloggers who are special to you.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipe Books from Tea Rooms

I enjoy collecting recipe books from tea rooms I visit. However, I have three recipe books I want to show from tearooms I have not visited, but have met the owners online.
The top recipe book is Tea at Sweet Shalom by Chris Kruse and Sara Velasquez, owners of Sweet Shalom Tea Room in Sylvania, Ohio.
The middle recipe book is Teatime at Miss Spenser's by Donna Hardin, owner of Miss Spenser's Special-Teas in New Virginia, Iowa.

The bottom recipe book is Sweet Remembrances Recipe Collection by Nancy Reppert, owner of Sweet Remembrances Tea Room in Mechanicsburg, PA. I met Nancy in person when she and I were roommates on the fabulous Tea in London 2007 Tour. We had a fabulous time exploring London together.
All three of these books have delicious recipes for teatime, meals and snacks. Now I need to take the time to reorganize and make more room for my teatime recipe book collection!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Afternoon Tea at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The hubby, GJ, was in Washington, DC for a business meeting this week.
His absolute favorite afternoon tea is at the Willard InterContinental Washington.
Our family enjoyed afternoon tea there a few years ago,
 and he has returned several times since, when he has been in DC on business.
Why is this his favorite?
Because they bring seconds on the food servings if you wish,
and serve a bottomless teapot of a nice variety of teas.
This time he actually scheduled a meeting and discussed business over afternoon tea.
 Have I trained him right, or what?!? *LOL*

He kindly took a photo for me using his phone,
but I thought it was a stretch to ask him to write down the menu.
You can see the Willard Afternoon Tea information here, including a typical menu.
If you are traveling in Washington, DC,
and want a full afternoon tea, we highly recommend afternoon tea
served in the Peacock Alley at the Willard on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another English Tea Tin

This tea tin is not whimsical like the one I featured yesterday, but I do love the beautiful London scene on this one. These are the individually wrapped tea bags in both tins, English Afternoon Tea and English Breakfast Tea.
These individually wrapped tea bags by New English Teas, feature some of the best brewing instructions I have ever seen on a tea bag!
Directions: Place one teabag in each cup. Pour boiling water onto the teabag (100 degrees C) and brew for two to four minutes. Remove the teabag. Alternately use a warmed teapot, adding one teabag per person and one for the pot! Serve with milk or sugar to taste.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A New Tea Tin

I collect tea tins and could not resist this cute tin today at Home Goods. It has a hinged lid and converts into a bank when the 25 individually wrapped bags of New English Teas English Afternoon Tea have been removed. I usually drink loose leaf tea but I'll give these teabags a try.
The characters on the double-decker bus are so very British looking (especially to American tourists). Notice the license plate "TEA 4 2." Just too cute!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Traveling With Tea

Because GJ and I rarely find good tea when we travel, we take our tea with us. GJ drinks drinks only decaf tea which is not served at a lot of restaurants. When we travel to a cabin or condo with a kitchen, I pack loose leaf tea, an infuser and my favorite bone china mug. I have even been known to take my Brown Betty teapot and my electric tea kettle. However, when we travel by air, as we did on the recent trip to Florida, I am forced to pack less. This trip I took Harney & Sons loose leaf tea in individually wrapped silken sachets as in the photo. These were extremely convenient to use.

While we were in Florida we visited our "snowbird" neighbors from up the street, MG and GG, in their Lakeland, FL home. I introduced MG to afternoon tea a couple of years ago. Her favorite is Harney's Hot Cinnamon Spice.
MG and GG cooked a delicious dinner and breakfast for us during our overnight stay and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Too bad we couldn't have stayed longer! Oh well, back to work and school!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine Treat from a Neighbor

Our 84 year old neighbor, Mrs. H, brought homemade ginger snaps over today as a surprise Valentine treat. She is one of the neighbors we helped during the ice storm two weeks ago. GJ was in her backyard today cutting broken trees and limbs with his chainsaw (new toy) while AJ and a couple of friends were having a blast playing in the woods and in the creek behind her house.

Thanks for thinking of us with the cookies Mrs. H!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Take Time For A Valentine Tea

Enjoy many cups of tea and and quiet, peaceful time during this Valentine's Day weekend. I'll be sipping from this beautiful gold and white Royal Albert cup and saucer, a gift from my friend Mary. She purchased it for me a few years ago from a silent auction at a fund-raising afternoon tea we attended.

I am ready for tea and quiet after the damage from 60 mph winds and loss of power we experienced in Kentucky on Wednesday. First the ice storm the last week of January and the high winds this week. Makes you wonder what is coming next!?!

Nine year old AJ and I shopped at WalMart after school yesterday and he picked the "Be Mine Bear" and a bouquet of fresh flowers to give to my 95 year old Aunt Ida for Valentine's Day. We will deliver it this afternoon. She loves visits from the children and will be thrilled to learn he picked it himself.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February Tea in Florida

As you may recall, I committed to post monthly afternoon teas throughout 2009.

My February Tea was at the small Cottage Garden Tea Room in Lakeland, Florida. I thoroughly enjoy visiting different tea rooms as we travel. I found the Cottage Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop on prior to our trip.

Afternoon Tea is served at the Cottage Garden Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. The menu includes a choice of Afternoon Tea (scones, tea sandwiches, fruit, dessert), Quiche Tea (scones, quiche, salad and dessert), Royal Tea (scones, tea sandwiches, quiche, salad, fruit and dessert), Cream or Dessert Tea (scones or dessert), Child's Tea (PNBJ sandwich, fruit, dessert or ice cream sundae)

Although they advertise 100 loose leaf teas in their gift shop, we were offered a limited choice of English Breakfast, Apricot or Raspberry hot tea or Raspberry or plain iced tea. Our Afternoon Tea was served on a three tier server. Sandwiches included cucumber triangles on white bread, chicken salad on croissants, and tuna on wheat. Note: The tuna salad was made with tuna, nuts and raisins. The tuna salad was sweet. I asked if it was sweetened and the owner told me it is made the day before so the raisins would plump and and naturally sweeten the tuna salad.

Our scones were cranberry pumpkin spice oatmeal served with strawberry jam. Coming from wintertime in Kentucky, the fresh Florida strawberries and honeydew melon were fabulous served with fresh pineapple.

Mini desserts included individual servings of banana pudding, lemon curd cake and sugar cookies.
Do you see the tongs on the top of the server? These are 'teabag tongs' commonly used in England for "stringless" teabags. I have never seen them used as serving tongs on a three tier server for afternoon tea, but they worked just fine and are less expensive than the silver plated larger tongs most tearooms use.
Several other tearooms I called in the area were serving lunch rather than afternoon tea, or required a minimum of 10 for afternoon tea. Therefore, I chose the Cottage Garden Tea Room.
We enjoyed the experience, but the service was slow. Their menu warns "A tea room is not a fast food restaurant. Please allow time to enjoy your experience and the company you share it with." However, we were seated for 40 minutes before our pots of tea were served and 50 minutes before our food came. There were three tables of guests at our seating (5, 3 and 2 people.) In our opinion, we thought 50 minutes was too long especially considering reservations are required in advance. Some tea rooms require credit card information with reservations to cover their expense and try to prevent no-show customers. Afternoon tea service is very labor-intensive. Perhaps the Cottage Garden Tea Room should consider taking credit cards to assure reservations and to help speed up service. Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cream Tea at Churchill's

The January 2009 issue of British Heritage magazine has an article about afternoon tea at Sherlock's in Celebration. We were very disappointed on Thursday of last week to find them closed, apparently permanently. We had lunch in Celebration and drove a few miles to Churchill's Tea Room and British Grocery in Kissimmee for cream tea (scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam and a pot of tea.)
We have been to Churchill's in Cincinnati, but the one in Kissimmee is a little more casual (in the style of Florida).

On the grocery side of Churchill's, GJ was happy to find his favorite tea, PG Tips decaf. He quickly snatched up a box and brought it home in his luggage!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Disney World Souvenir Tea Party

While most visitors to Magic Kingdom were buying Mickey Mouse ears, I purchased an Alice in Wonderland teapot and mug, a special blend of Disney Wonderland English Breakfast Tea, and Mickey Mouse Shortbread Cookies to complete a fun little souvenir tea party menu!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fun at Gaylord Palms in 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fun at Disney World

We escaped the ice and snow in Kentucky and went to Orlando for a few days! The trip had been planned for several months (before the ice, snow and loss of power all over KY). AJ and I accompanied GJ to a meeting in Orlando. We went to Magic Kingdom on Wednesday. Although the temperatures were cool, it was nothing like the snow day back home in KY where school had been cancelled!

There were no lines, so AJ got to ride all his favorite rides multiple times!

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