A Royal Tea Party and Vanilla Cream Scones

We never need a reason to throw a tea party, but if you are looking for an excuse, next week offers two prime occasions: Mother’s Day on Sunday and the Royal Wedding the following Saturday.

In a May Day celebration, and in anticipation of the upcoming Royal nuptials, a few friends and I collaborated on a splendid outdoor tea party last week. Local food photographer Alison was there to capture it all on camera, which meant I could sit down, pour tea and serve cake.

If that sounds ideal, it rather was; and I hope these images inspire you to invite a troop of tea drinkers over and bake a batch of vanilla cream scones for the party.

[Read more…]

An Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

It almost seems like a cliche to write about a shower in April, but I had to share a few details from a recent celebration that was a long time coming.

This afternoon tea is also another chapter in my sister’s story, and since you’ve already joined us virtually for the winter engagement, the West Coast wedding, and the backyard reception here on the homestead, it’s only fitting we tie things up with a baby shower.

Now this joyous event had originally been planned to take place back in November, when my sister, Miranda, was six months pregnant, a comfortable stage of the pregnancy to travel from her Halifax home.

The invites had been sent, Miranda had purchased a plane ticket  – and then my nephew was born early. Almost 2 months early.

[Read more…]

Roasted Apple & Rosemary Tisane

The week following a holiday always seems to require extra effort to get the household routine back in order and running smoothly.

It was lovely to slow down over Thanksgiving, play game after game of chess with the boys – their current fixation – or putter in the dappled yard while the chickens bustle about in the fallen leaves. Getting back to school and work, however, was a little bumpy. By mid-week I was feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate – and I couldn’t ignore the tickle in my throat that indicated I may be coming down with something.

I thought about how I could jostle my calendar to make it all work, but then, over a quiet cup of tea,  I decided to slow right down. Instead of jotting yet another to-do list, I took a few moments for myself, something that a mother who works from home seldom does. There is no lunch hour, no scheduled breaks, and certainly no quitting time when your work and your life overlap so closely.

[Read more…]

Keeping Cool with Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee and Tea

Aside from a tall glass of water, cold-brewed iced tea and coffee may be the most simple beverages you can make this summer. Literally, “just add water” is all the effort required and the results speak for themselves. I’m never without at least one of these drinks in the fridge from June to September, and more often than not, they are both on hand, just waiting for company to drop over or to fuel a hectic day.

What exactly is ‘cold-brewed’?

‘Cold-brewed’ is tea or coffee that is steeped in cold water for about 12 hours. Why boil water (which requires energy) to make tea or coffee, only to cool it down again over ice, (which takes more energy to make)? Instead try a cold-brewed method by combining your favorite tea or ground coffee with cold water, allowing it to infuse overnight, then simply straining and savoring!

Much more energy-conscious, don’t you think?

Because of the lengthy brew time, cold-brew requires some planning ahead, but that seems to be the only downside. Connoisseurs agree that cold-brewed coffee is less bitter and acidic, with very ‘clean’ flavors overall. It is excellent black or ‘white’; my preference is to add a generous pour of whole milk and a teaspoon of agave syrup.

A word of warning: cold-brewed coffee and tea is believed to contain more caffeine than regular coffee and tea, so watch out for that super-buzz! [Read more…]