Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Delights at Tea Time

Hello Tea Friends,

There are so many wonderful things about autumn! 
One of them being pumpkins! (The pumpkin display to the left is from a local quilt show I attended at a garden nursery.)
I love decorating with pumpkins and of course cooking with them.
They seem to embody the "taste" of autumn.

This year I decided I needed to bring the taste of pumpkin to my actual tea.

While ordering more masala chai from adagio tea, I decided to try their pumpkin spice tea after reading positive online reviews.
I don't know if I actually taste pumpkin, but there is a sweetness similar to one found in rooibis. It makes for a nice autumn tea and will complement many spiced baked treats.
(Sorry for the rather blah photos.)

Last week I baked chocolate chip pumpkin bread using a recipe I found on Pinterest. My family liked it, but I felt it was just "okay." The chocolate overshadowed the pumpkin taste in my opinion. So this weekend, I baked my tried and true recipe for pumpkin "cake."  I make it several times each year. I omit the cream cheese frosting, cut into squares and just sprinkle powdered sugar on top. It makes for the perfect seasonal morning baked treat.

Here's the recipe from Cookies, Cookies, Cookies Any Day Treats by Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 16 oz can pumpkin
1 cup cooking oil (I used canola.)
4 beaten eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

~In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves. Stir in the pumpkin, cooking oil, and eggs till thoroughly combined. If desired, stir in the walnuts
~Spread batter into an ungreased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. *I did spray a regular 13x9 glass baking pan.*

~ Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar on top. Cut into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.

In two weeks I will reveal the wonderful lady who gifted me with this beautiful white tea cup along with many other amazing treasures.

While this may appear to be just leaves on the ground, it is a very welcome sight to us. You can see the ground is wet! We had our first real rain showers since March. Our drought stricken lawns and gardens are soaking in this marvelous rain! I'm enjoying it so much too. Love staying in my pajamas and reading a good book on the weekends.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
                                           ~Albert Camus

Have a wonderful week,

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pomegranate Power

"I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded."

                         ~Song of Solomon 6:11

When we moved into our home six years ago, I was so happy to learn that the pretty tree with the poppy colored flower buds was indeed a pomegranate tree.

 Last Thursday, I took this photo as I planned for a pomegranate post. This year's tree had the most pomegranates on it and the fruits formed early. Usually I pick them in November, but seems to get earlier each year.

 Sometime during the night on Friday, half of the tree fell over from being too top heavy with fruit. I was so surprised to wake up and see this. I cut the pomegranates from the fallen branches and hope they will be ripe enough to eat. This is partly my fault. We should have trimmed the tree last spring. I'm just hoping the remainder of the tree will survive.

There are so many health benefits associated with pomegranates. 

Pomegranates have three times the amount of antioxidants as wine and green tea.

A couple of months ago my mother gifted me with 
Davidson's Organic White Pomegranate Tea. Its ingredients are organic white tea, organic rosehips, organic hibiscus, organic dried pomegranate and natural flavor. I'm not a fan of fruity teas but enjoy this one a cup at a time. The tea is slightly tart with a beautiful scarlet color. (I'm a huge fan of Davidson's White Peach tea...delicious and light!)

I'm enjoying a cup of pomegranate tea in my Ridgway Windsor teacup. My only piece of transferware! 

Certain types of tea dictate the type of teacup I use. I prefer to drink black teas from my English bone china teacups, but drink green and other teas from not as delicate type cups (ceramic, transferware, etc.)

Do you choose your teacup based on the tea you are drinking? 
Please share.

I'm bringing my teacup to these parties:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Staples: Squash and Strawberries

Probably like many of you, I'm trying to hold back time and grasp any summer delight before it's too late. Granted, I love autumn. It's just that this summer seem to go by way too quickly.

Last weekend I was given two very large crooked neck squash. They were so large; I was concerned they would be a bit dry for sauteing or grilling. Since baking bread is a favorite of mine, I decided to bake squash bread. I couldn't find a recipe specifically for crooked neck squash so I used a green or yellow squash recipe from the internet. (I have a nice recipe for zucchini bread but wanted to try something different.)

I made a huge loaf and was quite happy with the results.

Come join me outside for a cup of tea and a slice or two of squash bread. (The cushion on my chair is getting a bit flat. Too much reading!)

Today's featured teacup is Strawberry Ripe.  
It's an English bone china produced by Hammersley and Co. which was part of the Spode Company. Hammersley was first manufactured in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

The teacup was produced in the mid to late 1970s.

 I featured this teacup last summer as well. It wouldn't be summer without strawberries!

Below is the recipe from

2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. unpeeled squash shredded
1 c. chopped nuts

Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in mixing bowl until fluffy. Mix flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and stir until well blended.Stir in squash and nuts. Turn into a greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until done. Wrap in silver foil when cool.

Enjoy your last days of summer,

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Simply Beehouse Teapots

"The very sight of a teapot puts a smile on the face of most people. One cannot help but think of more serene and genteel times. From a whimsical child's teapot to an elegant English Teapot, to collectible teapots that adorn some homes, they are a subtle reminder of all that is good in this world."
                                                                    ~Barbara Roberts

This week I want to simply share about some teapots I use on a regular basis. While they are not vintage English teapots, they're durable, aesthetically pleasing and hold temperature well. They're called Beehouse Teapots and Zero Japan is the manufacturer. Zero Japan was established in 1992 and its products can be purchased on Amazon and the Beehouse Teapot website. Their organic shape appealed and still appeals to me.

My first teapot is the 12 oz banana one which I use almost daily. I just keep refilling the teapot with hot water. The carrot one is 22 oz and I use it when a friend comes over for a casual tea. Most of the teapots are named after food colors.

My mom has a 26 ounce teapot in white.

The fine mesh infuser is the feature I enjoy most about these teapots. You can order replacement infusers on the website. 

Since I like to drink my tea hot, I found a cozy that fits perfectly. 
This is how I like to start my Saturday mornings. Typically there are more magazines and books. :)

Not sure I've shared my new wooden tray with all of you. Great clearance item at Tuesday Morning.

So true!

All the best,

I'm bringing my teacup to these parties:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Iced Tea with Feathered Friends

Hello Tea Friends,
Hope your summer days are bringing you happiness and health. I'm trying to take advantage of the cooler mornings and early afternoons with tea time in the garden. Nothing is more relaxing than reading a good book with a glass of iced tea in the afternoon or a cup of tea in the morning.

Come join me for a simple tea in the garden. I was planning on making a peach crisp to go with my peach teacup but life got in the way. I do plan on making the crisp and will share the recipe with all of you soon.

Today's featured teacup is a demitasse one by Royal Crown Derby. There is something so sweet about a demitasse teacup.

I adore designs in the inner cup!

Embossed gold "bands" on the edge
Demitasse teacups pack a lot of pattern and design into a small area.

Circa 1921-1940

Realistically it was a tad too hot for tea so I made some Constant Comment by Bigelow iced tea and was happily surprised by the subtle orange taste. Two months ago I bought a Primula pitcher and have been quite pleased. The infuser is really fine so it's works well for loose tea.
The bird in the photo above was purchased at Michaels for 79 cents in the clearance section. My find of the week!

The previous owners of our house left many bird houses along the fence line. Some have survived. Here are a few of them:

Hiding among the "Fourth of July" tomatoes

One I purchased in Carmel by the Sea

I'm in the process of making a cork birdhouse.

I'm trying to add subtle bird displays throughout the garden. 

Thank you for joining me for iced tea today.
Take care,

I'll be joining these parties:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Citrus Cream Tea with a Twist

Hello everyone,
Spending time with my friends and family over a cup of tea is something I always cherish. I'm sure you agree. Tea has a way of welcoming and extending conversations, and I love to chat! This summer I've been reevaluating and prioritizing things. I definitely need to dedicate more time with friends and put work priorities on the back burner for a bit. I decided tea time with friends was long over due.

With soaring summer temperatures and a broken air conditioner, afternoon tea isn't ideal, but I was determined to still host a tiny tea party. Last week I hosted two very early morning cream teas in the garden. What a wonderful way to start the day!

What is a cream tea?
According to Wikipedia:

A cream tea (also known as a Devonshire tea, Devoncream tea or Cornish cream tea) is a form of afternoontea light meal, consisting of tea taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam.

As you can see, there are no scones, clotted cream or jam. But since there were sweets and tea, it's my version of cream tea with a twist. This tea has a citrus theme to it and was perfect for a summer morning.

The citrus idea came about after purchasing this ceramic teapot at Home Goods. While I love the lemon design and the teapot's volume, it gets quite heavy when filled with hot water. Fortunately the ceramic pot maintains a hot temperature when covered with a cosy.

Instead of scones I served my go to favorite-banana bread and lemon drop cookies. I found the recipe for these cookies on pinterest ( Look for the June 29, 2008 post. (Sorry, for some reason the link wouldn't work.) It was my first time making them and I was pleased with the strong fresh lemon taste. The glaze was delicious!

While looking through my tea cupboard, I came across Lady Grey which my friend purchased for me at the Twinings store in London. (Notice the packaging is different than the US version.) I'm not a big fan of Earl Grey but wanted to try something new. Lady Grey is a variation of Earl Grey with the addition of orange and lemon flavorings to the bergamot. The orange and lemon seemed to soften the taste of bergamot. It ended up being a good choice! I think this would be a wonderful iced tea too.

Enjoy your summer days,

Please bring your teacup to these parties:

Monday, June 27, 2016

The White Hart ~ A Coastal Victorian Tearoom

Happy Summer Tea Friends!  

One of my summer pleasures is visiting new tearooms while traveling. Saturday was my birthday and what better way to celebrate than going out to afternoon tea.

A favorite travel spot of mine is the Monterey Bay. Carmel by the Sea, Monterey and Pacific Grove are idyllic towns. Last year while walking in Pacific Grove I came across The White Hart. The beautiful Victorian immediately caught my attention.

I was thrilled to learn the home serves as a tearoom to the public two weekends a month and can be rented for private parties as well. 

I knew I wanted to celebrate my birthday there.

We made reservations for 11:30 (right when it opened). The White Hart does not have set seating times like many other tearooms. This makes for a relaxed experience in my opinion.

I was happily surprised to see the decorated table when we arrived. So sweet!

A birthday card on the table!

Noritake teacups
We enjoyed a white tea and the tearoom's black blend.

EB Foley plates

Well the highlight was the incredible edibles!

We started with apricot and cherry scones accompanied with homemade lemon curd (delicious) and clotted cream. 

This tearoom truly had the freshest and some of the most innovative sandwiches I've tasted at a tearoom. During our tea, the chef came out and introduced himeself. 

Scottish smoked wild salmon with ginger and wasabi aioli on a puff pastry ~ so fresh tasting!
The aioli was very light and did not overwhelm the salmon.

We've all had the traditional cucumber finger sandwiches. I liked how they added radishes to it along with the green onion tie on the top.

All of the desserts were divine. The size of the apple cinnamon spiced bundt cake was adorable. I've never seen bundt cake tins that small.

Yes, the food and tea was delcious, but what really stood out was the sincere warmth of the proprietors. They really made my birthday special and you could sense their love of the tearoom experience. I really felt like I was a guest in their home.

If you ever happen to be in Pacific Grove in California, afternoon tea at The White Hart will really elevate your travel experience.
I would love to return during Christmas time.

Have a wonderful week filled with good tea, books and conversation!

Please join me at the following tea parties: