Monday, August 3, 2020

Vacation in Utah



My youngest son and daughter-in-law invited me to join them for their last week of a month long vacation in Utah, and I didn't let Covid-19 steal my joy!!  Actually I felt that airports and airlines were cleaner than ever, and I felt very safe. 
Kristen had to work for most of the week, and couldn't join us, but on this day we went to Wasatch National Forest, and this was at Mirror Lake.

The girls are pretty good little hikers!  The first two and a half weeks they traveled all around Utah, and even stayed in a teepee, went kayaking, and visited National Parks.

I joined the girls inside this little log playhouse.

We also took a train ride and were serenaded by a violin playing lady who took requests for songs. 



The girls took turns sitting with us.

This was a view from our condo, of the alpine slide. 

We took a ski lift up to the top of the mountain.  Yes, we had to wear masks until we got on the lift. 

Hayden and I enjoyed the slide, but Kevin and Harper beat us, of course.  Harper said, "Why'd you go so slow, Nana?"  I told her that it was my first time and the next time, I'd go faster!

The girls and I had a tea party while their parents were packing up the night before we left.  I found some placemats in the cupboard and used a cutting board for our tray.  I had brought a tiny tea set that my sister had given to me.
I also brought cookie cutters to make some open faced tea sandwiches. 

Both girls enjoyed pouring the Bigelow Botanical Cold Water Infused Herbal, Caffeine Free teabags that I brought along.

They had some pictures done while they were there.  Isn't this a nice family picture?

Thank you for visiting our time in Utah!


Monday, July 20, 2020

Our Paris Tea and Swan Cream Puffs

 When Ella and I started our teas this summer, she had said that she wanted to have a Paris tea, because she wants to go there someday, and also she had an Eiffel Tower light up decoration that she wanted to bring.  She also had her outfit planned that she wanted to wear!  We first had our charcuterie board as an appetizer, along with lemon water in my grandmother's stemware. 
 Ella had decided that baguettes should be on the menu, so I made my favorite French Bread, recipe is here,  making some mini ones for us to fill with turkey and cheese.
 Ella also wanted some raspberries with whipped cream to accompany our baguettes on my snack trays. 
 For dessert, I made pate et choux shells ahead of time, and froze them, and then pulled them out to thaw on the day of our tea.  I then made them crispy by putting them in my toaster oven, and then cooled them before filling them.  

 Ella had chosen this Royal Albert Duchess teacup, ahead of time.  Tres elegant, n'est-ce pas?

I chose this Royal Albert Provincial Flowers, Violet teacup, that a friend had given me from her late mother's collection.    

 Ella set the timer on my iPhone (kids know how to do everything!) to take our picture before we started our dessert of the swan cream puffs. Getting dressed up is fun for both of us. Our dessert tea was, of course, Paris tea by Harney and Sons...delicious!  We may never get to Paris, but at least we can drink it!!

We appreciate you visiting our Paris Tea...Merci beaucoup!

Congratulations to Rita, of Panoply who is the winner of Biblical Minimalism !  Thank you to all those who entered!

Yield: 10-12
Author: Kitty
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Cream Puffs (Swans)

Cream Puffs (Swans)

My late beloved hubby loved cream puffs, and I always think of him when I make them. My mom made them when I was growing up, and I think of her, too.

Ingredients:

  • Cream Puff Shells:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Filling:
  • 1 package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • half of an 8-ounce container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Instructions:

  • For Cream Puff Shells:
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat water and butter to rolling boil.  Stir in flour.  Stir vigorously over low heat for about 1 minute, or until it forms a ball.  Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes.
  • Beat in eggs, all at one time, and beat until mixture is smooth and very stiff.  If you prefer, you can do this in an electric mixer.
  • Drop by scant 1/4 cupfuls (an ice cream scoop works well), onto a parchment lined baking sheet, 3"  apart.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Cool , and cut a small vent on the side  towards the top, to let out steam.
  • Cut off tops.  Pull out any filaments of soft dough.  Fill puffs with the filling.
  • Filling:
  • Mix pudding and milk together and whisk for 2 minutes.  Fold in the thawed whipped topping.  Fill the cream puffs, and replace the tops.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, using a small sieve.
  • To make the Swans:
  • Pipe a question mark design, or a #2 onto the baking sheet.  These will brown  in about 15 minutes.  Take these out while the cream puffs finish baking.  Cut the top of the cream puff shell in half, for the wings.  Fill the bottom of the shell with the filling, fan the two halves of the top out to resemble wing, inserting into the pudding.  Put the swan's neck in the front and there you have it...a beautiful cream puff swan!!
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Meal Plan Monday

Monday, July 13, 2020

Biblical Minimalism Book Review and Giveaway

Cheryl, who blogs at Homespun Devotions, and also at Biblical Minimalism, wrote a book titled Biblical Minimalism, Following Jesus from a Life of Abundance to More Abundant LifeI was so lucky to receive a copy of this wonderful book!  My son, who lives here with me, saw the book on the table, and asked me what it was about.  I asked him, "What do you think it's about, Mike, from looking at the title?"  He answered that he thought it was about tidying up one's spiritual life. Really, and truly that sums it up very simply, but it's so much more!  Cheryl gives practical tips and advice to get started, but with biblical verses interspersed.  Cheryl explains that what's important "is the spiritual legacy we leave behind, the memories of how we lived life day to day", and not the things that we leave.

I have known Cheryl through her blogs, for several years now.  She is such a kind, caring, thoughtful person, and I knew that in reading her book, those qualities would come through.  Cheryl and her husband Kevin, and son, Zach, went on this journey together in moving from a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home on 2 acres, plus a 700 square foot garage and an attic, to a rental home.  Cheryl had moved a total of 47 times as a child, and she realized that she had clung to physical "stuff" in order to bring stability to her life. This spiritual minimalism was not an easy journey, but Cheryl explains the difference of needs vs. wants, and the different layers of minimizing.  She helps us decipher what holds little value, to things that we hold onto because of guilt, or because of  sentimental reasons.  All this is done, without chastising and belittling , and done with many verses  from the bible to back up her views.  Besides the physical "stuff" that clutters our lives, Cheryl's book also helps us in purging mental or emotional "stuff",  such as past hurts, resentments, unforgiveness, and social/media distractions, etc.   The important part is to ultimately have peace in our homes and within our hearts and souls. 

If you would like to be included in a giveaway for Cheryl's wonderful book, please leave a comment to be entered.  Also, if you read my blog, but don't have a blog, you can leave me an email and I will put your name in the drawing,  which will be held on July 19th.  If you would like  To purchase the book, click HERE.



 Cheryl Smith is the author of the book “Biblical Minimalism,” the story of her family’s journey from a life of abundance to a more abundant life. She is the author of the blogs Biblical Minimalism, where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective, and Homespun Devotions, where she writes devotionals and conducts “Inner Views.” She loves to spend time with her husband and son in the mountains, sing and play Bluegrass music, and write. 

Thank you for visiting!  xo



Monday, July 6, 2020

Our Blue Themed Tea in the Garden



Ella decided that she wanted a Blue Themed Tea Party in the Garden.  Why, you wonder??  She had a pretty blue dress that she wanted to wear!  She chose the blue runner and matching napkins that I had made while ago, as our table covering, but she thought it needed something underneath.  I just let her go for it!  She used the yellow roses that her dad, my son, Tim, had surprised with me with on what would've been my 50th wedding anniversary.



Ella loves hummus, so we put some in a pretty blue teacup, along with some carrot sticks, cucumbers, and blue corn tortilla chips, in a side dish for us to share.


We put together a Cobb Salad with a spicy ranch dressing.  Ella is like eating with a girlfriend, because she loves to eat, and likes most everything.  Do you notice our blue iced tea?  My friend, Pat, gave me some Adagio Blue Mango Tea that you make with cold water and leave it in the fridge overnight.  It actually turned that bright blue color.  I used my maternal grandmother's stemware.

Ella arranged the Feta cheese, tomatoes, egg slices, turkey, avocado and bacon on top of the chopped lettuce.

When we decided our theme, Ella thought that blueberry muffins would be good, and she ate two!  I'm again using my beautiful cake dome that I won from Linda, at Life and Linda.  It's the perfect size for tea party treats!  Thank you, again, Linda!


We were ready for our dessert and I surprised her with Mochi Ice Cream balls.  Have you ever tried them?  They're only about 100 calories, and they are the perfect little treat.  Yes, I got a chance to dress up, too, which is always nice because I never go any where to do that!

This yummy blueberry center was inside the Mochi treat. 

Ella chose this teacup, which is by Grace's, that my sister had given to  me.  We had blueberry tea, but Ella wanted ice in hers.


I chose this Nasco teacup, called Lakeview, that I received in a teacup exchange, but I had mine hot. 
I hope you enjoyed our tea in the garden.  Even though the temperatures were in the 90's, we didn't mind eating outside on my shady patio. 


I recently won this wonderful book from Cheryl's giveaway at Homespun Devotions.
Thank you, Cheryl, for this lovely giveaway!! 
If you've ever visited Marilyn at Mountaintop Spice,you would realize what a beautiful God-given gift that she has, through her photography.   I always thought that she should have a book, because her photos are so amazingly wonderful, and now she does!   To get your own copy of this fabulous book, you can visit Marilyn.

Thank you for your visit!  xo



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Monday, June 29, 2020

Honoring Our Anniversary

 I was fortunate to be married to the love of my life for 43 years before he passed away to his heavenly home.  Our 50th anniversary would've been this past Saturday,  June 27, 2020.  As a way to celebrate the day and to honor our life together, I brought out our wedding album and some other mementos. 

Ahhh...young love!


 Yes, I still have leftover napkins from our reception.  


 This plate was a gift from my late Great Aunt Kitty, whose china painting teacher made this pretty plate.

 Our wedding cake topper still looks pretty good after 50 years, but just a little yellowed.


 I had some English breakfast tea in this pretty cup, which was again painted by Aunt Kitty's teacher, but Aunt Kitty painted the matching plate.  How do I know?  They signed their names on the back.

 I was thrilled to be one of four lucky recipients to win this adorable cake stands from the sweet Linda at Life and Linda. It arrived on my doorstep this past week.  I can see using this for so many things and for many tea parties.  Thank you, Linda!!  My friend Debbie at Mountain Breaths was also a winner, and she suggested that I make some little heart cookies for my anniversary. I thought that was a great idea.

 My friend Lynn at Happier Than A Pig In Mud had made some cute tie-dyed spritz cookies recently, and I had been wanting to try them.  Lynn showed how to form the balls of dough and place them in the cylinder of the cookie press. I colored mine to match my dishes. On my third round of filing my cylinder, my cookie press broke, and I had to slide the rest of the dough out and did slice and bake.  They still turned out really pretty.





Yield: 5-6 dozen
Author:
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Quick Mix Spritz

Quick Mix Spritz

To make the tie-dye look, divide your dough to the colors that you want to use. I like Lynn, used gel colors, and I think they turned out pretty.

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (my addition, but optional)

Instructions:

  1. Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. (I use a whisk to do this , instead of sifting.)
  2. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture is full of very fine lumps.
  3. Measure the egg into a measuring cup.  A large egg will measure 1/4 cup.  If it does not,add water to the 1/4 cup line.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract, if using, and beat the mixture very well.
  5. Fill press.  Form cookies on very cold, ungreased cookie sheet. (See Note)
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove at once to cooling racks. 

Notes:

Put your cookie sheets in the freezer before making spritz cookies. They seem to adhere better, and never press the cookies onto warm or hot cookie sheets.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Bee Tea Party


Ella and I chose a Bee Theme for this week's garden tea party.

 Here's Ella in her pretty tea party dress.  She choose the table covering to complement our dishes, teacups, teapot, and napkins.  Of course, she had her toenails and fingernails painted, and her hair beachwaved again. 

 Isn't this the cutest beehive teapot?  It came from HomeGoods before the Covid.  Ella decided that she wanted iced tea in it, and still use our pretty teacups, which was perfect for our Texas heat!  Ella chose Ahmad's Lemon Lime Twist tea, and she declared it as "interesting".  Let's just say that it wasn't our cup of tea!!!

 These are our pretty napkins that we used.

Ella set the table, and she chose a bee teacup that my daughter had given me, and I chose a Mary Engelbreit one that a friend had given me.  We used my plaid plates.  We had some homemade pimento cheese and some Boursin cheese and crackers, along with our salads.

 Ella sliced the strawberries with my egg slicer and arranged them on our lettuce, along with some roasted pecans, feta cheese, and chopped chicken.

 We enjoyed our time together and played Old Maids and Uno afterwards.




Yield: 6 cakelets + 1 mini loaf
Author:
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Cornbread

Cornbread

I tried the cornbread recipe that came with my beehive cakelet pan, but it was very dry. I decided to use my old, tried and true recipe that I've been making for 40+years.  Ella poured on a simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice, and attached the bees, from Wilton. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 T. vegetable oil

Instructions:

  1. Spray the beehive cakelet pan with baking spray that contains flour.  You also can use a cast iron skillet or a 8" baking dish, or a  muffin pan.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add the milk to the beaten egg & add the oil. Stir this into the dry ingredients.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes for the cakelets, and 20 minutes if using a cast iron skillet or baking dish. 
Created using The Recipes Generator

 Ella's sister, Avery, wanted to go to a cupcake place, and that sounded great to me!  However, the place closed at 6 pm, and we sadly had to change plans and get some gelato. 

 My grandsons, Riley and Caiden wanted to go get wings after their football camp, and I was happy to take them.  The restaurant took our temperature before we were seated, and we were spread far apart inside from other tables.  

 

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