(I apologize for the blurriness of the pictures. I’m not sure what is up with my camera as all the pictures I downloaded seem to be out of focus. I’m pretty sure it has to do with the fact that it is set to a “scene” rather than just the standard picture taking setting.)
I had a lot of fun last week hosting a Tea Party. All together there were 6 adults and 9 kids. 3 of the kids were babies, which were a great addition and good icebreaker. Two of the ladies were new to the area, so this was a great way to get to know them better. The group itself was not one who normally all get together for things, but most knew of each other from various things around town.
All in all, I would say this was a success and I will probably do something similar in the future.
However, it was a lot of work. So, next time I will try something a bit different. Perhaps more of a coffee and scone/biscotti breakfast.
If you remember, the point of this get together was to test out recipes for an upcoming bridal shower. It was also to help me see how long things would take in preparation. The actual fun and getting together with friends was just a great side benefit.(Again, I apologize for the blurriness. It really was a pretty set up. This was the tea and scones table.)
I learned a few things:
- Most of the scones, and the biscotti, were able to be frozen, either cooked or uncooked, ahead of time. There should have been no need to make them the day of or the day before, as I did with two of them. Most would keep for a month or more in the freezer.
- All of the sandwiches had steps that could have been done in advance. The chicken, for example, could have been cooked, shredded and frozen ahead of time. The spread for the cucumber sandwiches could have been made several days before, covered and refrigerated.
- I used more bread than I thought. It was good then that I had some extra loaves frozen that were able to be pulled out and defrosted quickly in the microwave.
- The scones should have been made smaller. As it was, they were HUGE. This made it a bit difficult for my guests to try all the different ones, plus the sandwiches as they were full.
- There was plenty of food to go around. We could have invited two or three more people and still been okay.
- Three tea pots going to heat water was a good arrangement. Two got plugged in and started. When the water was hot, the third one was plugged in.
- READ THE RECIPE before actually making the recipe. Of all the recipes, the last one was the only one I didn’t read through before starting to make it. And it only had 3 ingredients! Of course, I added them all at once, which is not how it was supposed to be done. It came out okay, but not great. So, now I have to try it again and hope it works out. If not, that is okay and I have a Plan B.
- The food took up a lot more space than I thought.
- Always have a back up for those guests that are not tea drinkers. I should have had a lemonade or such made. Instead all I had to offer was milk, juice (two kinds), or ice water.
- Though my dinning room is a decent size, by the time you add 12 people, 2 extra card tables and an additional table for food space became not so open. I probably should have put the food in the kitchen and let people serve themselves in there.
Now, on to the recipes. Instead of typing them all out, I will be providing links to the recipes online or noting the book they came from. If you have futhur questions about them, leave a comment and I will answer them if I can.
Scones and Biscotti
Almond Biscotti - I got this from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food magazine. This is actually one of my favorite places to get new recipes from.
My husband also really likes this recipe, though he prefers it before the second baking. I saved the ends for him. This is a good biscotti in that it is not hard or bulky. It is super easy to do and quick. You can have fresh biscotti in a little over an hour. Since it is not thick, the second baking does not take long. It also leaves it not as dry and crunchy as some other biscottis. You could eat this without having to dunk it in your drink. It would even go with a glass of cold milk.
Pumpkin Scones - These were a hit. I first used this recipe as I had an abundance of pureed pumpkin in my freezer. Still do actually. These were even better with the spiced glaze on top of them. I have to admit I had not glazed them before. When my friend asked if there was anything she could do I suggested this and left it up to her as to which glaze she did. The recipe provides directions for both a Powered Sugar Glaze and a Spiced Glaze. The Spiced Glaze really did add just that bit of something that I think made these so much better. These were actually the only scones that were completely eaten. I didn’t even get to have one; just part of one that broke during the preparation process.
Cranberry-Orange Scones - My husband really liked the orange flavor of these. He had them and some tea for breakfast the day of the party. These were one of the scones that really should have been cut in half. Next time I think I’ll try to cut them into rectangles instead of wedges. They were a bit dry, though I think that may have been my fault. They weren’t too dry or crumbly, but compared to the rest they were not as moist. A bit of jam or cream solved the issue.
Wonderful Raisin Scones – This was actually a really quick and easy recipe. I made it with a toddler and it still turned out great. Next time I may try putting a different dried fruit in there. Blueberries perhaps. Not that raisins were not good, just to give a variety of dried fruits. We will definitely be seeing this again at our house.
Heavenly Scones – This is from a book I found at the library of freezer recipes. I can’t seem to find the name of the book right now, I’m on the wrong computer. However, once I do I’ll let you know. These were the most picky of the recipes, but they turned out worth it. Nothing fancy with additives as they were just plain scones. The size of these were nice though so I will not have to make them smaller. The were also great with jam or just with the tea. All I had to do was unwrapped each scone, put it on the baking sheet and stick it in the over for about 15 minutes. These cooked for the same time and at the same temperature as the pumpkin scones so they were easy to just stick in an make while setting something else up.
Note: Since I found out, previously, how nice it was to make scones ahead and freeze them we have had them for breakfasts occasionally. I still have some left in my freezer from the party. It is so easy to take a few out while the rest of the house wakes up, put them in the oven and have a warm yummy breakfast by the time everyone is up and moving. Very little effort on my part those mornings. Of course, this takes some effort in making them but it is easy to do a double batch of scones one month and have three months worth in the freezer. Since I have a smaller family we usually don’t need to triple a recipe. Some recipes we wouldn’t even need to double.
Turkey Cranberry Sandwich - Super easy to make. I think for the bridal shower I will used ham and double (maybe) the cranberry in the spread to make it come out more. I will probably also layer the bread and meat, then transport to the shower. That will save me a step the morning of the shower. I can then just open the sandwiches, spread the mayo mixture, trim the crusts and cut.
Layered Spinach Sandwich - Out of all the sandwiches this was probably the least favorite. No one said so, but they weren’t eaten as much as the next two. I found that the spinach got stuck in my back teeth. Nothing too excessive, but still a bit annoying. I also made this the day of, but it too could be made a day or two ahead of time.
Cranberry Chicken Salad Sandwich - This was one of the favorites. I actually didn’t get to try any till afterwards and there were a few left. There are even pecans which had a nice texture. It really was easy to make. This too could be made ahead by a day, I think. I made it the morning of which worked out okay. Turns out that 1 chicken breast equaled about 2 cups of shredded chicken. That is one thing the recipe doesn’t specify. It just says “2 cups cooked chicken”.
Carla’s Sun-Dried Tomato Cucumber Tea Sandwiches - I made the spread the day before. Probably could have done it futher ahead if I had a bowl with a lid available. This is an open faced sandwich.
Now, I wasn’t able to make the final sandwich I had planned. This was become my small local store didn’t carry the main ingredient. I also knew that I had more than enough food at this time so I did not worry about making the extra trip to a more distant store to get it. Smoked Salmon Sandwiches. These sound good, so I may still try it
Now for the end. This was the part I was not particularly fond of.
However, two of the ladies were kind enough to take care of most of the dishes. They left a few they weren’t sure of and more were loaded into the dishwasher.
I then fell down exhausted.
We had scones and left over sandwiches for dinner.
Do you have any recipes that you have found to just love? Ones that have become a standard recipe in your home after you have tried them? How about ones that make it look like you slaved in the kitchen, but really did not take that long?