Saturday, October 30, 2010

Food For Thought

This past Saturday we celebrated Norah's birthday ... but as is typical, it's been a week-long party!  Just last night she got a bag full of goodies from her Great-Uncle ... all girly, purple and sparkly.  Perfect!

Norah, anxious for the party to start!
We started this party-week with a tea-party for my little sweet-heart.  We had flowers, "real" plates, cloth napkins and the girls wore dresses.  They even remembered to lift their pinkies when they sipped their tea!

I thought I would share with you our menu we served ... so you can enjoy your own little tea-party, too.

Raisin-Walnut Scones
(This recipe is from Pillsbury:  Best Muffins and Quick Breads.)

This recipe makes two batches of scones, so I only prepared half the recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half wheat and half white.)
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup buttermilk (Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to regular milk.)
1/2 cup raisins (You can also use dried cranberries.)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg, separated
2 t. sugar

Lightly spray a cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 T. sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.  With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the raisins and nuts.

In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and egg yolk.  Add this to the flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moist.

Rolled out and ready to cut.

On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the down a few times.  Then carefully roll out the dough until it's about 3/4 of an inch thick.  I used a heart cookie cutter to cut out the scones.  Keep rolling out the left-over dough until you have used it all.  Place the scones on the cookie sheet.  In a small bowl, beat the egg white.  Then brush each scone with a little egg white and sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Golden, glittery tops ... yum!

Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.  We served our scones with a little home-made apricot jam on the side.  They were devoured!  Who knew little girls could eat some much?!

Cucumber Sandwiches
(This is a recipe I made up ... as usual!)

Several slices of sandwich bread, we used wheat
Cream cheese, softened
Cucumber, peeled and sliced
Dried Dill

Ready to de-crust and slice.

Lay the number of slices of bread that you will need for your party out on the cutting board.  (I made 5 sandwiches for our party and they were all gone!)  Spread a little cream cheese on each side of bread.  (If the cream cheese is too firm, pop it in the microwave on low for a few seconds until it reaches a good spreadability.)  Layer the sliced cucumbers one one side of the bread.  Sprinkle dill on top and put the sandwiches together.  Here's the important part:  cut off the crusts and cut them into triangles.  That makes them special!

A great way to enjoy cucumbers from your garden.
Fruit Salad

Honey Crisp apples, our new favorites!
Frozen strawberries

Toss all the fruit together in a bowl.  If you are afraid of the apples or bananas browning, splash a little lemon juice on top and give it a stir.

We also had a few extra items on the table:  a bit of the infamous (ever-lasting, apparently) pasta salad and some little cinnamon rolls from MOPS the day before.  Anything to get those girls fed!

We offered a variety of teas to our tea-partiers.  The favorites in our family are Celestial Seasoning's "Lemon Zinger", "Wild Berry Zinger" and "Madagascar Red Vanilla".  My particular favorite is "Almond Sunset", which they have stopped making. :(  My wonderful in-laws brought me 6 boxes from the factory last year (the last on the shelves!) and I have been rationing them.

The key to delicious tea, however, isn't the flavor so much as the cream and sugar!  I buy sugar cubes to have on hand and the kids love to plop their own little cubes in their cups and watch them dissolve.  I also set out a little pitcher of milk.  Just so you know, cream will curdle in your hot tea, so a little splash of milk is yummier.

The tea-party was certainly a success!  Hope you can enjoy a few tasty morsels with your next spot o' tea.

A few snapshots before you go ...

Making it look good!
Lydia samples the fruit and Ashley enjoys a sandwich.

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