This entry technically should have been for last week as Victoria had all these “yummies” at her “girlfriend tea party and book swap” on Friday. I, however, had already blogged for the week, so I decided to make it this week’s entry. Anyway, her party was a huge success and all the young ladies had a great time. Victoria decided back in the spring that she wanted a tea party, but she also wanted to incorporate her love of books. So she decided to have a book swap as well. Originally we were going to have the party right before her actual birthday, but there were too many conflicts for her invited guests. So she decided to bump the party a few weeks and we held it last Friday. It was casual attire, but we did use fancy tea cups and tea service items. In keeping with the tea party theme, we served finger foods and miniature treats. Victoria scoured all my cookbooks and decided on the menu herself. We served lunch and offered the ladies three different finger sandwiches: cucumber, cream cheese, and dill on pumpernickel, peanut butter and jelly on wheat, or veggie bacon and cheese crescent sandies. YUM! We also served individual fruit salads, veggies and dip, and a whole slue of desserts. The desserts and the lavender lemonade were the culinary stars of the show, so they will be the main focus of the blog. ☺
To start, I wasn’t sure if the girls would like tea, so I wanted to have something else fun to drink. We love love love lavender lemonade at our house, so the decision was easy. Here is a link to a recipe for the yummy lemonade:http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amys-lavender-lemonade/ You can also make this by using powdered lemonade mix and infusing the water used with lavender buds. I have made it this way more than once when I was out of fresh lemons, and it is just as delicious and refreshing. I always have lavender buds as I grow them organically all over my property. If you want to use lavender in cooking or baking just be sure to select culinary lavender from the store, or grow your own. I have grown my own lavender for years, and it really is quite simple. I don’t care for plants that need to “babied” as I don’t have the time or energy to devote to them, so for me lavender is a no brainer. I literally plant it and forget about it… until I need to harvest it that is. On my property I grow: Lavender Lady, Munstead, and Hidcote varieties of lavender. These are all English lavenders (the formal name is Lavandula angustofolia), and if used properly they don’t overpower the food or drink. I don’t want my culinary creations to taste perfumey so I use lavender sparingly so it is more of a background flavor. If you ever want to experiment with lavender, but don’t want to commit to planting it just let me know. I have 18 lavender plants that are thriving, so I can definitely share.☺ If you do decide to grow your own lavender, you only use the beautiful buds when cooking. Just snip the stems with scissors, rinse, bundle, and then dry the stems. Once dried the buds are easily removed from the stems. Then just store the buds in a clean, dry, glass jar like you would any other herb.
So after the girls enjoyed their lunch and their lemonade, it was on to tea and dessert. I brewed two pots of tea (an herbal and a black tea), and all the girls tried both. The result was a mixed bag. A couple of them actually enjoyed the tea and asked for more. The others politely tasted the tea, but didn’t prefer it. I had a blast. I love to brew tea in my tea pots, and I loved that the girls were so interested in tea etiquette even if they didn’t like the tea. They were so cute and polite. I really enjoyed them. Even though the tea wasn’t a smashing success, I am happy to report that the desserts were. They all loved the desserts, especially the fairy fudge. I have made this fudge before, but it has been quite a few years. Victoria and I made it one Christmas in our old house, but we haven’t eaten it since then. Here is the link to the fairy fudge recipe: http://recipes.swankivy.com/faefudge.html
In addition to the yummy fudge, I also made chocolate cupcakes, lady bug cookies, and pink swirly cookies. I have made the lady bug cookies before, and Victoria loves them so she wanted me to make them again. They are super easy. You actually use vanilla wafers, frosting, Junior Mints, and mini chocolate chips. Here is the link to that recipe: http://www.gograhamgo.com/2010/08/easy-ladybug-cookies.html. I also made pink swirly cookies. Victoria found these in another cook book that I own, and requested them for her tea party. They are easy to make and yummy to eat. I changed the recipe a bit in that I made a simple lemon glaze to enhance the lemon flavor of the cookies. Here is the link to the cookie recipe: http://www.rachelcooks.com/2012/02/17/spiral-sugar-cookies-guest-post/ I could not locate the actual recipe that I used on line. It is pretty similar to the recipe above, except the recipe I used did not call for an egg, and it added lemon zest.
Victoria loved her party and all the food that we served. In addition to all the yummy treats, she had a book swap. She loves to read and is happy that she swapped books she has already read for a few titles that she is interested in reading. Dan and I got her a “Nook Tablet” for her birthday gift and she uses it constantly. Personally I love books…actual books. I love turning pages, using bookmarks, and searching for books in the library, or in used book stores. Add to that, the fact that I hate touch screen, and the Nook is not for me. I know shortly I will not have a choice as touch screen really is the way of the future, but as long as I am able, I choose not to use it. I can’t think of a better way to unwind than to curl up with a great book, a cup of tea, and few treats. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we did. They were all yummy. Hopefully one or more of them will be “your cup of tea.” ♥