"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

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  1. Charlotte,thank you so much for sharing your friendship bread recipe. I will certainly try it.
    mmmm your tea looks so nice,I will join you
    xx jeanetteann

  2. A lovely post! We have violas all over the front yard. We love them, but our neighbor, a manic gardener cam over and told us to "Get'em out! They're weeds!" but we think they are so sweet! Love your bread recipe.

  3. Oh my gosh I'm so happy to see this recipe! About 20 years or so ago one of my neighbors had given me a starter like your recipe. I've thought and thought about it now for years and just how delicious the bread is and have longed to have another. I want to thank you so much and from the bottom of my heart! Now I can share this with my friends, nurses and my daughter-laws. Giant hugs to you!
    Have a lovely day.
    Hugs and many blessings...
    Bobbi Ann

  4. Poor little hummingbirds. At least they have you! Your Johnnies are sweet. I love mine enough to at least one blog a year with them. They are constant little friends.

  5. Years ago I was given starter from the Amish community in our area. I did enjoy making bread with it.
    Your tea cup is sweet. It looks like you had a very pretty and delicious tea!

  6. I haven't *seen* Friendship bread in years ... thank you! And thank you for inviting us for tea! Happy Tea Day!

  7. Oh love friendship bread. Thanks for the recipe. Beautiful vignette. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, marty

  8. Good morning Charlotte,
    I had those "Jump-Up-Johnnys" in my garden at one time but we have moved things around so often that I finally lost them. They were very hardy little blooms and they survived for quite some time. I think every Summer, I still see one or two 'jump up' beside the new steps we had built.
    I have never made Friendship Bread but I have made Friendship Cake years ago when my boys were growing up. It was really good as I recall. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I'm sure our Amish friends won't mind.
    You have shared a lovely little teacup and your Friendship muffins look delicious! I always enjoy my visit with you. Thanks for joining me for tea today.


  9. Hi Charlotte,
    when your Rosemary is flowering, other flowers will follow. I hope you and the tiny Hummingbirds will find a lot of flowers in the garden. Meanwhile we can enjoy a lovely tea with your homemade treats. We had such a starter here in Germany for a long time. It was called "Hermann" and there existed a lot of recipes for it. Don't know what happened with it. Your muffins look gorgeous. Thank you for the story, the recipe and the nice photos.
    Best greetings, Johanna

  10. Hello Charlotte,
    Thank you for joining Simply Sweet - you have a beautiful blog too!
    What a blessing it must be to have humming birds visit you!
    I think rosemary is the perfect companion for your delicious looking friendship bread.
    I have not heard of it before but I'd love to try it - thanks for sharing the recipe :-)
    Violas are one of my favourite little flowers.
    I love all the pretty colours of these very sweet plants!
    God bless you and have a lovely week...Trish

  11. Hello Charlotte,
    Violas are so pretty, I grew some in the window-box outside our lounge-room for Mum last year. She loved them. Friends and I did the Friendship Bread many years ago. It tasted nice and was a fun thing to do.
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

  12. Greetings Charlotte... Thanks for your kind sharing and " Friendship Bread " recipe. can't wait to make it... Your garden violas are so lovely and I do wish for a speedy Spring... for now I'm content to enjoy your sweet pictures of the happy little blossoms....Bright Blessings for a Happy Day.

  13. Hello Charlotte, I can't wait for spring flowers too. Love that you're still getting hummingbirds! I can't wait till they return to my garden. I have Amish Friendship Starter in my freezer. I 'll need to pull it out, perhaps this weekend,
    Thank you for sharing with A Return to Loveliness,

  14. Hi Charlotte, I'm a new follower of your blogs...found you at "Brag on God Friday" I love violas and pansies. I can't wait to plant some next month! What a nice surprise to find some growing in your garden so early. Very pretty! God bless

    Cathy :)

  15. Hi Charlotte,

    I haven't been blogging for quite a while and so am now busy playing catch up!

    It might take me quite some time ss I have missed so much.

    I love the post you did with the lovely violas and the great recipe.

    Have a good weekend.

    x Fiona

  16. Hi Charlotte, what a pretty blog. I call those delightful flowers violas but I have also heard them called Johnny Jump-ups. I used the Friendship Bread Starter years ago also but I became bored with it after a few times, but it did taste great. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  17. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

    Blooming Teas


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