"Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come." Song of Songs

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A "Friendship" Tea Time

      I didn’t have a blooming thing to bring in for my tea time today. Not one! Except…a couple sprigs of Rosemary I managed to get away from the bees, and a piece of ivy which of course isn’t blooming. The garden is looking pretty sad to say the least.

      The hummingbirds are sad too. They're tired of sugar water (I think) and would much prefer some nectar from a beautiful fragrant flower.

      I did find these flowers growing in a pot on the back deck. I call them Violas, but my friend from Ireland calls them Jump-Up-Johnny’s. If friends were flowers I would want to have a few of these. They're steadfast and faithful. They pop up in the most surprising places, and they always have a smile on their faces. The hard times (like bad weather, neglect, harsh temperatures) don’t seem to get the best of them, they just keep growing and turning their faces toward the light.

 I couldn’t pick them after they had braved the weather and all.

      So, with the smell of Rosemary in the air, I'll sip my tea and have an Amish Friendship Bread Muffin, and think about the wonderful friends God has blessed me with; like the one who gave me the bread starter.

"My friends are my estate."
- Emily Dickinson

      Have you ever been given Amish Friendship Bread Starter? It’s fun to have and share. Usually you have to wait to get a starter from someone to make the bread, but I found a recipe for the starter in one of my old home school newsletters. I hope I'm not revealing an Amish secret…I wouldn’t want to spoil their keeping of it. What makes it friendship bread is the sharing of the actual starter (already made) to your friends. I'm sure the original one has made it around the world and back a few times! I remember making it with my boys when they were small…at least twice.

"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together"
- Woodrow Wilson
Assuming it's OK to give it out to those who don’t know anyone with a starter, here it is…
Amish Friendship Bread Starter

2 c. unbleached flour
2 c. warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast

Day 1: In a large glass or ceramic bowl, mix the flour, warm water and yeast.
Day 2,3,4: Stir well with a wooden spoon.
Day 5: Stir and add 1 c. milk, 1 c. flour, 1c. sugar; stir well again.
Day 6,7,8: stir well with a wooden spoon.
Day 9: Stir and add 1 c. milk, 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar; stir well again.
Day 10,11: Stir well with a wooden spoon.
Day 12: Ladle 1 c. of starter into each of 4 containers and refrigerate. Use one to make bread recipe, keep one for your use another time, and give other two to friends. Now you're ready to bake.

      If you don't bake on this day, add 1 tsp. sugar and refrigerate. Date the jars and every 10 days remove the starter from the refrigerator, transfer it to a bowl and feed it with 1 c. milk, 1 c. flour and 1 c. sugar. Leave it outside the fridge uncovered for 2 days and then either bake it or divide it among friends.

Here are the instructions for baking it…

Amish Friendship Bread

1 c. starter, at room temperature             
3 eggs                                                      
2/3 c. vegetable oil                                  
3 tsp. vanilla                                            
2 c. flour                                                  
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1 c. walnuts or pecans (chopped)
2 med. apples; peeled, cored, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans or muffin tins. In a large mixing bowl, beat starter, eggs, oil and vanilla. Put in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add sugar. Fold in nuts and apples. Put in prepared pans. Bake 50 minutes (for loaf ) and approx. 18-20 min. for muffins or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then finish cooling on wire rack.

Enjoy your Friendship Bread!

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you ladies for joining me today for tea.
God Bless,
Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Proverbs 27:9

I'm linking to these tea parties:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bouquet of Roses for Sandi

Celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of TEA TIME...

My garden sings a saddened song,
The time of roses long since gone.
Inclined to join and sing along,
As thorny branches frame the lawn.

But reminiscently I find,
Bouquets of roses in my mind.
And glancing back to blooming days
Kept now in pictures as we gaze.
~ Charlotte

Sweet as fragrant roses
It is to have a friend
On whom in storm or sunshine
You know you can depend.
~Author Unknown (1890)

Teapot is on, the cups are waiting,
Favorite chairs anticipating,
No matter what I have to do,
My friend, there's always time for you.
~Author Unknown

Rose Hip Tea

This tea is made from the berry-shaped rose hips left after the roses have fallen off the branches. It is high in nutrients such as vitamin C (higher than oranges!), A, B1, B2, E, and K. Also provides beta-carotene and minerals.

It is very easy to make.

Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 heaping teaspoons of chopped rose hips (with or without their seeds). Steep the herbal tea covered for 15 minutes and strain. Tea will taste slightly sour, you may want to sweeten with honey if desired.


For every 1 firmly packed cup of rose petals (from roses without pesticides), pour 2 cups boiling water over top. Cover and steep until the liquid is cool. Strain, squeeze out the liquid from the petals and refrigerate the rose water in a sterilized jar.

Raspberry Scones with Rosewater Glaze


2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 - 1 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp whipping cream
1/3 cup raspberry jam (no seeds)


1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rosewater (recipe above)



Preheat oven to 400 F. In large mixing bowl mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter. Mix with a pastry blender until dough forms coarse crumbs.

Gradually add 1/2 - 1 cup cream, mixing in just until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto  lightly flowered foil and pat it to 1/2" thick.

Use 3" round or heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out scones. Dip cutter in flour.

Cut scones horizontally with a floured knife to make a pocket for the jam. If you used a heart cutter, start at the bottom point of the heart. Fill each cut scone with a generous teaspoon of raspberry jam (will be visible around the edges).

Transfer filled scones to a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown (approx. 18 min.) Transfer baked scones to a wire rack to cool until slightly warm.


While scones are cooling, mix powdered sugar, rosewater, and remaining 3 tbs cream until smooth. Spread glaze over slightly warm scones. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Try serving them with Rose Hip tea!

"May this tea be steeped with love
For friendships sent down from above."
~ Sandy Lynam Clough

Our life is like a garden,
And with God's loving care
It blossoms with the flowers
Of His blessings everywhere.
~ Author Unknown

The blessings of special you!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~ Marcel Proust

Like Sandi who has hosted TEA TIME for two years!

"Thank you"... dear lady for making our souls blossom with your encouragement, as we joined your tea parties each week to share the beauty of teacups and special moments sipping tea.

You are a lovely rose in a bouquet of special friends.
Happy Anniversary!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Forgotten Treasure...

Today I was cleaning out some linen drawers and pulled out a bag from the very back of one. Inside I found this...

It's a table cloth that belonged to my grandmother. When she passed away many years ago, my mom gave it to me and I put it away. I forgot I had it. I've never used it.

I decided to iron it since it had been sqeezed into a bag for several years. It took me a long time because I was afraid I would harm the hand stitched flowers if I got the iron too hot.

The entire thing is hand stitched. My grandmother got it at one of the women's craft fairs at her church. There are napkins that go with it, but they have stains on them and I'm not sure how to remove them without harming the embroidery. Any ideas?

I'm flooded with memories as I see the cloth on my table; remembering my grandmother using it at some of our family dinners at her house. Now that it's out of the bag I'm going to use it...and remember her when I do. I'm going to remember how she loved pretty things and surrounded herself with them. And how she didn't just use them for herself, but used them for others. Her table was always full, yet there was always room for one more; she loved feeding people. She also helped many through a hard time; she was a giver.

"Time is not measured
by the years that you live
But by the deeds that you do
and the joy that you give-
And each day as it comes
brings a chance to each one
To love to the fullest,
leaving nothing undone
That would brighten the life
or lighten the load
Of some weary traveler
lost on Life's Road-
So what does it matter
how long we may live
If as long as we live
we unselfishly give."
~Helen Steiner Rice

I looked through my teacups and thought the colors in this trio go with the tablecloth very well.

I hope you have someone special to sit around your table today, or someone you can make feel special by asking them to share a cup of tea. Someone who just might be one invitation, or one conversation away from being a very good friend... 

Give, and it shall be given unto you;
good measure, pressed down, and shaken together,
and running over... Luke 6:38

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The "Easy" Perfect Scone

Blueberry Scones
& Other Variations

1 Cup regular sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Cup butter (cold)
1 egg slightly beaten
1 cup raisins (optional/see note)

1. In a small bowl, blend sour cream and baking soda, set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease baking sheet.
3. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tarter, and salt. Cut in cold butter. Stir sour cream mixture and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened. Mix in raisins (optional) or other fruits/chocolate chips/nuts, etc.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly (do not over-work). Divide dough in half. Pat into two 3/4 inch thick rounds. Cut into wedges and place two inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake 12-15 minutes in the preheated oven until golden brown on the bottom.

Note: I have tried this recipe using chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, and dried or fresh blueberries instead of raisins and they worked wonderfully. (Pictured are fresh blueberry scones) The top of the scones can be sprinkled with sugar or brushed lightly with egg wash before baking if desired.

Monday, January 9, 2012

High Tea...

      I've only attended an "official" high tea three times in my life. Today was a special day with three very special ladies. We planned to attend this tea over a month ago. Our desire was to go during the Christmas season but they were completely booked! Now that I think about it, I am happy we didn't get to go during December. There were so many other fun things during that month, and having tea with my friends to celebrate the new year makes this occasion very special.

I thought I would invite you to join us...

"Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving,
making every day a holiday and celebrate just living."
~ Amanda Bradley

      My poor friends. Every time we go anywhere together, I pull out my the paparazzi! They are very kind and don't complain...much. But I can almost hear them thinking at times, "here she goes again!" Sometimes they're afraid because they never know what I'll do with the pictures I take. They could very well end up on the Internet:)

I thought the napkins were folded so lovely. I didn't want to use mine! But I did.

      The first course was a delicious (warm) blueberry white chocolate scone with blackberry preserves and creme fraishe.... I gobbled it down so fast, I forgot to get a picture! Ops...sorry.

This was the second course ~

This little thing (Celebration Crostini) was sooo good, I need the recipe!

      We were told we could try as many of the different tea selections as we we did! I can't believe we actually drank four pots of tea!

This was our final course ~
In the middle is Pear William...yum!

      The food was very good, and all the different teas were wonderful. We had Apricot Brandy (two pots), French Creme Brulee, and Royal Wedding Tea. Our favorite ended up being the Apricot Brandy so we started and finished with it.

It was my friend Sylvia's birthday...I think she had a fun day.

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." ~author unknown 

It's nice getting out with the girls and sharing tea and talk.

Friends are precious.

“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.”~ Abraham Lincoln

      Thank you for joining us for tea today. 


"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
- Bible: Ecclesiastes

I'm linking to these tea parties on Tuesdays:

I'm Joining Flaunt Your Flowers Friday