Tea for Two

Katie invited me to Tea on Wednesday. She and Andrew were in Salt Lake City for Andrew’s sister’s college graduation on the weekend so they weren’t in town for Mother’s Day. We had a nice time at the Queen Mary Tea Room in Seattle very close to where Katie and Andrew live. We split a high tea tiered tray of goodies plus a breakfast scramble. It was a good combination and enough for both of us with a few leftovers. The tea room was not filled to the brim which was nice. When we were done with our tea time we took a nice stroll at a cemetery in close proximity to the tea room. I’ll share the photos from the cemetery soon.

It did not rain from sunrise on Wednesday which was a nice relief. The sun had a hard time shining through. Maybe on Thursday we’ll get some clear and bright sunshine for a few hours.

Tea at Lovella’s

To get to this lovely setting and presentation it takes lots of planning ahead and sometimes it takes many hands.

All the Mennonite Girls from British Columbia and me, the U.S.A. cousin, hadn’t been together since December. It was high tea time for us to get together again and Lovella graciously offered her home knowing that it is easier for me to get there from the U.S.A.

Can you take enough photos to document all the planning, baking and creating of these beautiful delicacies?

Anneliese baked, mixed and put together this tiered platter of gluten free tea bites for Julie and all of us. They were so tasty and she’ll share the recipe sometime in the future on our blog.

There were eight of us around the table on this day and we sorely missed our two Mennonite Girls from Manitoba. Lovella made these beautiful cookies for each of us and they served as place cards letting us know where to sit.

Some close ups of what we enjoyed.

Kathy made this fruit salad with a nice dressing that she will share soon.

And here is a little glimpse in how it all came together just before we sat down at Lovella’s table.

Lovella worked ahead of time to make the tea come together making pastry puff cones to stuff with an egg salad mixture and other tea treats.

Judy put together a lovely Earl Grey punch that she’ll be sharing soon on the blog.

Bev made some wonderful tarts with basil and other yummy ingredients, bottom right. Lovella also made mini croissants from scratch, rhubarb scones, and plain scones. Lovella provided lemon curd, blackberry preserves and creme fraiche to go with the scones.

When we ate enough of the savory treats Lovella brought out these delicacies that she had also prepared ahead of time for us. Melt in your mouth pavlova goodness!

We had a great time of catching up and taking care of some business for some upcoming events.

I’m very thankful for my Mennonite Girl friends and all I’ve learned and enjoyed since God plopped me into this community. Thank you Lovella for such a lovely time that you thought out and brought together for all of us. Thanks to all the other girls for their contributions to our wonderful time of feasting and of fellowship. It was a sacred time.

 

Cherry Varenya ~ Russian Tea Sweetener

This was one of my most visited posts in 2016. I first posted this in 2008. I’m adding a photo to the top of the post. If you look carefully you’ll see a glass bowl of Varenya on the table next to the tea cups in front of my paternal grandfather (dzedushka) and grandmother (babushka).

img578The Russian immigrants I grew up around would make and enjoy this Cherry Syrup made with whole pie cherries in their hot tea. They used this syrup in place of sugar to sweeten their tea. I called my mother this week (April 2008) to get the following recipe from her to share for The-Sweet-and-Savory-of-Yummy.

This is a very simple recipe for Cherry Varenya. This is a syrup made with Cherries to sweeten hot tea with.


Cherry Varenya

1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Whole Sour Cherries (Pie Cherries)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

You would increase the proportions of this recipe according to how many cherries you have on hand that you want to make into Varenya.

Boil the water and sugar to make a clear simple syrup. When the liquid is clear add your cherries and let it boil for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how hard the cherries were to begin with) At the end of the boiling add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to help preserve the brightness of the syrup.

You may want to can it at this point. (I don’t know how to can anything so you are on your own here!)🙂

You can do this process with sliced lemons, too, to make a Lemon Varenya.


Lemon Varenya

When I was young our family would go to a Cherry Orchard somewhere near Lancaster, California in July when the pie cherries were ready to harvest. It might have been in the Leona Valley. We would pick cherries all day and take home upwards of 40 pounds of cherries. That’s a lot of Varenya. When we picked this much my parents would give about half of the cherries away to other relatives and friends who couldn’t make the trek out to the Cherry Farm. Then it was a full day of preparing the cherries for Varenya. Washing, cooking and canning.

The photos are quite dark in this post and I’ve learned a few things since 2008 about taking photos of food and brightening them up before posting them. The photo of my grandparents is an old film photo scanned.

Hope the end of the year 2016 is going well for you. Maybe a cup of tea will help to brighten your day. Blessings…

There and Back Again…

Yesterday I put a dress on (gasp!) and grabbed my passport and headed to Chilliwack B.C. to attend a tea planned in honor of our own dear Kathy of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Kathy’s Mother-in-law Eileen invited us all to her lovely home and treated us to a very special time. What a wonderful example to all of us girls Eileen is as she chose to bless her daughter-in-law in this special way!

We missed our Manitoba girls, Betty and Charlotte!

Every detail was well thought out and chosen. Beautiful china, silver and 100 year old crystal goblets graced the beautiful table.

After we gathered Eileen shared some thoughts about Kathy using the letters of her name to describe some of Kathy’s attributes. Kind, active, thoughtful, honest, and youthful were just some of the words to describe Kathy. We raised our beautiful glasses to toast our dear friend.

Have you ever seen or enjoyed one of these sandwich loaves? This was my first and I was in awe!

I set aside my de-fluffing regiment on this day because it truly was a day for feasting not fasting!

We found our spots at the table and Eileen offered a blessing on our food and time together. Before we filled our plates for our main course Kathy’s father-in-law, who was our gracious butler for the afternoon, served us our soup course which was a lovely cold Raspberry soup…delicious and refreshing. After we filled our plates and enjoyed our main course there was a light and fluffy Pavlova with strawberries for dessert. Did I mention feasting not fasting?

Kathy is in the center of the collage and her mother-in-law Eileen is above her. Lovella, Eileen, Anneliese, Judy, Kathy, Bev, Marg, Ellen and Julie.

We all reflected on how nice it was to be served in such a special way. It was a wonderful time of catching up with each other. A great time of witnessing Bill and Eileen working together as a couple to help and honor each other and to be a great example of hospitality in action. We were all blessed and our cups were filled to overflowing.

I wanted to share this post before I’m in full swing wedding mode! Prayers appreciated for the blessed event coming up!

 

Tea Table Inspiration…

Here are more of the tables that were decorated for our Friendship tea last Saturday. Lots of photos and few words. Enjoy…

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2014-04-04 Tea 20145One of the tables had food art. I really enjoyed looking at all the details.

2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea7I didn’t get a photo of the croissant sandwiches that we were served.

2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea16All the tables on the main floor. There were 8 half tables in the balcony, too.

2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea15The view of the room from my table.

Do you have a favorite color combination or centerpiece or theme from these tables? Also which piece of food art did you enjoy the most?

I’ve been getting busy around here preparing to be gone from this old house. We took Katie and Andrew’s car in to be checked over before we take it on the road across the country. Have any of you driven across country through Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina? Any recommendations on cities to spend the night in or attractions to see along the way? Any tips on cities to avoid like the plague?

Birds, Nests, Eggs!

It’s time for Cuisine Kathleen’s Let’s Dish challenge and her theme is Birds~ Nests~ Eggs.

We just had our Women’s Friendship Tea at our church this past Saturday and I happened to have a sweet bird on a nest in a cage as my centerpiece. So timely!

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2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea2My guests…Susan, Shavonne, Laura, Wilma, Pat, Andra, Judy, Katy, and Katie.

2014-04-05 2014 NSB TeaThere were a total of 36 tables at our Friendship Tea. It was organized so well with hand made food in our church kitchen. Many of the men and boys in our church volunteered to serve the tables and they poured our tea and made sure we had what we needed throughout the program. There were take home gifts for each of our guests and door prizes, too.

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2014 NSB Tea 057The theme this year was Snapshots: Behind every snapshot there is a story. I will have a few more posts showing the rest of the creative tables and the photo booth opportunities before and after the tea in our church lobby. Here’s a panorama photo of several of the tables in our worship center.

2014 NSB Tea 049This was the first year since Dear and I have been attending Northshore Baptist Church that I was able to participate in the Friendship Tea. What a wonderful well run event it is.

2014 NSB Tea 131Katie and my snapshot at one of the photo booth backdrops in the lobby. Stay tuned for many more snapshots from this event.

I’m looking forward to visiting all the posts linked at Kathleen’s Birds~Nests~Eggs challenge.

The Tea Drinkers…

A tea table would not be fun without guests sitting around it so I’m showing you my guests before I show all the tables. On Wednesday I’ll be posting all about my table for Kathleen’s Let’s Dish Challenge.

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The theme for our Friendship Tea this year was Snapshots. The church lobby had some great backdrops for photo opportunities.

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Behind every snapshot there’s a story.

2014 NSB Tea 124Our daughter Katie came early and was able to take some snapshots before the crowds came.

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2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea4 Our daughter in law, her mom and grandmother were able to come and share a place at my table, too.

2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea5Sisters by marriage and Laura’s dear friend, Shavonne.

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2014 NSB Tea 139Pat, Wilma, Laura, Katie, Susan (Shavonne’s mom), and Shavonne.

2014 NSB Tea 131Me and Katie

2014-04-05 2014 NSB Tea2All my guests at my table Susan, Shavonne, Laura, Wilma, Pat, Andra, Judy, Katy and Katie.

More to come from the tea…

Today we had a glorious sunny day and Katie and I took the opportunity to head north to the tulip fields in Mt. Vernon and then to have lunch in LaConner. We even got a little sunburned. Soon I’ll be sharing my photos from the fields, too. Here’s a little tease…

Tulips 037That wasn’t nice was it? Here’s a different view…

Tulips 190Hope your week is starting well…