Creative Ways To Serve Tea This Halloween

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We are inching closer to Kat’s most favorite holiday. Halloween! She just loves the colors, costumes, and festive fall flavors that are associated with the day. Kat’s having her niece Camille and a few of her little friends over for a Halloween party. This year I thought it would be fun to focus on a few teas and fun vessels to serve them in.

First off, the teas. Here are a few of my favorites for Halloween:

Rooibos- Rooibos has a earthy but slightly sweet flavor with a hint of vanilla. It blends well with other flavors and is caffeine free. You can find it with all sorts of flavorful ingredients blended in, or blend it on your own! Add vanilla, fruit, or berries for a festive drink. Camille loves rooibos and always asks for it when she comes to visit.

HEB Cranberry Blood Orange tea– what better tea to serve than one that has ‘blood’ in the name? Hee hee! This one has caffeine so it should be for the adults. It’s a tea Kat has been drinking for years, especially in the cooler weather. The flavor is sweet with a hint of tart freshness. It’s quite delicious and pairs well with desserts and savories with a hint of sweetness. The citrus flavor is a nice change from all the earthy fall flavors often served during this time of year. And really, isn’t it fun to say you’re drinking a bloody tea for Halloween?

Chai hot chocolate- my last post (will link to recipe here) was a delicious recipe for chai hot chocolate. Who wouldn’t love these flavors all mixed together? You can omit the black pepper and lighten up on the ginger if you don’t want it too spicy for the wee ones. You can also omit the tea altogether, to keep it lower in caffeine. This is also a perfect drink to serve after the kids come inside from trick-or-treating. It’ll warm them right up!

Now, let’s discuss what to serve your drinks in. It’s time to get silly and fun!

Googly Eyes- you can stick googley eyes on to just about any cup or mug and you’ll instantly have a Halloween-ready drink! The kids and adults will both get a giggle.

Gummy worms and eyes- Look for gummy candy such as worms and eyeballs. Drop a few in your drink (just make sure it’s not a hot drink) and fool your guests! No one will be expecting to see an eyeball floating in their cup!

Beakers- You can find different beaker shapes with a quick internet search. They’ll look right out of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. Put colorful drinks inside (ice that HEB tea I just mentioned!) and you’ll have a nice compliment to your halloween decor.

Don’t forget creepy accessories like skeleton stir sticks, plastic spiders, and bats. There are all sorts of accessories you can add to your cups and glasses, just like my collection of bats and skeleton sticks! Do you like my hat? I think I look perfectly witchy!

Dearies, whatever you do this Halloween, I hope you have a marvelous time!

How To: Decorate for a Summer Tea Party

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The sweet smell of summer flowers, teacups gently clinking in their saucers and delicious light bites. It’s time for summertime tea parties! Dearies, Kat likes to change up her tea parties based on the season. In the winter and fall, she likes cozy get-togethers. But once summertime hits, she’s all about outdoor tea parties! We like to go a bit crazy with the florals- fresh flowers, floral china cups and teapots, even floral napkins. We like to use mismatched patterns, to give everything a lush, garden vibe. We also like to put edible flowers on our cakes and cupcakes. Gorgeous! If you have lots of teacups like Kat does, stack them and cluster a few stacks together with flowers in the very top. Easy centerpiece!

You could also go for a beachy theme, decorating the table with coral and seashells! Wouldn’t it be fun to do a late-afternoon tea party with a table strewn with lovely shells and gently flickering candles that light up with table as the sun slowly sets? I can practically hear the ocean waves as I think about it! Kat loves being on the beach, so I’m going to suggest this for her next tea party.

Another fun idea is to also put picnic blankets down if you have a grassy area. This way your friends can choose to lounge in the cool grass while they sip their tea. Make sure you have a large space that’s out of the sun, or make sure to have large umbrellas to create shady spots.

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If you’re serving iced teas, don’t forget to include flower and herb ice cubes! Check out my previous post on how to do this. Thy will be a surefire hit. A summery tea Kat likes to serve her guests is HEB Serenity Spearmint Lavender tea. In the summertime she loves serving this tea iced. The frosty mint flavor is perfect for the hottest summer days. The soothing lavender is perfect for a relaxing get-together or even a quiet afternoon on your own. This tea is caffeine free, so it’s perfect for the whole family. She loves this tea as-is but for her tea soirees, she’ll add fresh mint and lavender leaves to her brew. It just looks so festive that way! Kat discovered this tea while visiting relatives in Texas. She was looking for a refreshing tea to combat the strong Texas sun and popped into the local HEB store. When she noticed the Serenity tea, she was curious about the combination of lavender and spearmint. She wasn’t sure if they’d work together, but once she tried it, she was amazed at how well the two herbs work together. She likes this combination so much that she grows fresh lavender and mint so she can make her own version when she’s in-between boxes.

For the savories, we like to do easy cucumber, cream cheese and dill tea sandwiches, fruit tarts or little mini pound cakes topped with fruit. Also mini cupcakes with edible flowers. Just go for things that are light, refreshing, and filled with seasonal ingredients.

How are you going to decorate for your summer tea parties? I’d love to hear your ideas. Be sure to check out my summertime tea party pinterest board for more inspiring ideas!

Tippy’s Sweet Matcha Butter Cookies

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My lovelies, we’ve discussed springtime picnics and afternoon teas, and I thought I should give a recipe that you can use for both, or even just for snacking on your own. Have you ever made green tea cookies? Kat and I have an recipe for a buttery, tender cookie that have pleasing sweetness and a powerful matcha punch.

These cookies are perfect for any gathering, or could be enjoyed on your own with your favorite cup of tea. Dunk them in your favorite green tea for a super delicious experience.

These cookies only require a few ingredients, and are super simple to make!

Tippy’s Sweet Matcha Butter Cookies

For the cookies:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 tsp culinary grade matcha

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

For the topping:

1/2 tsp matcha

1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt and matcha and give it a mix to make sure everything is well combined. Set aside. For the topping, in a small bowl mix together the 1/2 tsp matcha and granulated sugar.

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In an electric mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar until it’s light and fluffy. It will be much lighter than you started, a few minutes on medium/high.

Switch the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Be careful not to have the mixer on a high setting or you’ll have a cloud of matcha flour in your face!

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When everything is combined, you’ll have a deep green dough. Remove this dough and shape into a log that’s about 10 inches long. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. This step is important to make sure you have well-formed cookies!

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. When the dough is ready, slice into cookies about 1/4 inch thick and spread them out on a lightly greased baking sheet (or you can line the cookie sheet with parchment paper if you have it).

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Bake cookies for about 15 minutes (may need a few more minutes depending on how thickly you sliced them) until they just start to get a bit brown and firm. While the cookies are still hot, spring with the sugar/matcha mixture. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely, if you can wait that long to taste them!

Enjoy with your favorite green tea! Kat likes to serve these cookies with Citrus Green Tea from Private Selection. This is a beautiful blend of light, vegetal green tea with a delicate orange flavor. The green tea of course blends well with the cookies, and the orange flavor breaks up the green tea sweetness and refreshes the palate. I just love this combination! Kat always has this tea available in the warmer months for a refreshing yet light iced tea. It’s perfect for picnics and BBQs.

I do hope you enjoy my special cookie recipe! Be sure to check back for more recipes coming soon!

DIY Infused Sugars + Tea Pairings

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Dearies, Kat and I have a little secret to making our tea times extra special. We serve infused sugars to give an extra dose of flavor to our teas! Flavor infused sugars are perfect for your next tea party, little gathering, or even for a special moment for yourself.

Our infused sugars are easy to make, and you can package them in a beautiful jar or canister for gift giving. You can use all sorts of flavors, and they take no time at all to create. The only time needed is a little bit of rest for the finished blend, to make sure the flavor fully infuses into the sugar.

 Basically all you need is a ratio of 4:1 of sugar to flavor. We usually do about a cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of mix-ins. For a strongly scented herb like lavender, you’ll want to use a little less herb. You can always start with a smaller amount and then add as needed!

Some of our favorite sugars to create are:

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Citrus Sugar: take your citrus of choice (Kat likes meyer lemon), wash, dry thoroughly and grate the zest only. Mix in with your sugar. We like to peel a few larger pieces of zest for displaying on top of the sugar bowl for guests.

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Vanilla Sugar: I like to use a fresh vanilla bean for this recipe. Open one vanilla pod, use a knife to scrape the seeds, and add the seeds and the empty pod to your mixture. Mix well, as those tiny seeds like to stick together! This will need to sit for a few days or up to a week for all the flavors to meld before you use it. But once you do, oh my the vanilla flavor is amazing!

Lavender Sugar: Simply take lavender petals and mix in with your sugar.

You can even do matcha sugar! If you’re doing one of these, you only need about 2 tsp of matcha per cup of sugar. Kat likes to sprinkle matcha sugar on morning oatmeal and pancakes. It’s also a delicious finishing sugar for baked goods hot out of the oven.

Once you have your infused sugars, be sure to pair them with lots of different teas! Here are a few of our favorite sugar and tea pairings to get you started:

Citrus Sugar + Earl Grey. Since earl grey has the lovely bergamot flavor already infused we like to add the citrus sugar for even more zing. Kat likes to serve Wegmans Earl Grey to her guests. The blend is well balanced, and you will still be able to taste the black tea along with the fresh citrus flavor. Kat picked up a love for earl grey from her great uncle, who always had some in the afternoon. The citrus scent still reminds her of spending the afternoon playing chess with him while he sipped on his tea.

Vanilla Sugar + Black Tea- The vanilla sugar is so delicious, we like a malty, sweet black tea to pair with it. I like a good Ceylon or Assam. Wegmans English Breakfast is the perfect accompaniment. It has a blend of bold and sweet black teas, and that vanilla sugar will complement the brew perfectly.

Lavender Sugar + chamomile tea. I love combining floral flavors in tea. As you know, I wrote an early post about it! The Wegmans Chamomile has a honey sweetness that blends with the lavender. One sip and you’ll feel like you are in a sunny field of French lavender!

I do hope you like my infused sugar ideas! Gift them for Mother’s Day, and serve them at your next tea party. Or just save them for a special moment all your own!

Teas For National Orchid Day

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Dearies, April 16th was National Orchid Day. I bet you didn’t know that! I found out while examining the kitchen calendar. I love orchids, aren’t they just so beautiful? They may be challenging to grow, but their unique shape and vibrant colors are absolutely worth the effort! Kat actually has an orchid plant that she’s lovingly taken care of for years. It often blooms toward the end of the winter time, and it just brightens up the whole house. Just when Kat starts complaining that winter will never end, the plant gifts us with a burst of springtime color. Dearies, did you know that many oolong teas have a natural orchid aroma and flavor to them? You can bring the beauty of blooming orchids right to your cup.

In fact, there’s even an oolong tea that’s called ‘honey orchid’. The aroma and flavor comes directly from the leaves, and is not an added flavor. Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong is literally honey orchid oolong tea. The orchid flavor and aroma is quite prominent. This tea is grown in the Phoenix mountain area which produces beautiful aromatic oolongs. The tea is fruity, honey sweet, and quite floral. A definite must if you haven’t tried it before.

Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) is one of my most favorite oolong teas, and it has a powerful floral aroma. One sip will transport you to a lush, exotic garden. A good quality oolong will leave your palate remembering that floral flavor for quite a long time.

You can also find oolong teas that have been scented with flowers to recreate that orchid scent. These are of course lovely to drink as well, especially if you are looking for a very strongly scented floral tea. One sip and you’ll imagine your house is filled with vases of gorgeous flowers.

Oolongs range in flavor and can be very light, similar to green teas or much more heavily roasted. I love that you can pick an oolong based on how you’re feeling. Do you want something light and floral with heavy orchid notes, or something more toasty and nutty? If you’d like to learn more about oolong teas, the best way is to taste as many as you can. Prepare them, taste, see what you like. I wrote a post all about oolong a little while back you can find it here.

Kat and I have decided that we love these oolong teas so much, we’re not going to just have them around this floral holiday. We’ll be toasting National Orchid Day all spring and summer long.

DIY: Easter Tea Brunch

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It’s time for egg hunts and Easter bunnies! I love the colors and flavors that Easter brings to our house. Kat loves decorating with pretty pastel colors and creating sweet baskets for her nieces and nephews. This year she’s planning an Easter brunch for family and friends. I’m very excited about our menu so far! Here’s what we’ve got:

We’re going to start with eggs, of course! How can you have an Easter brunch without lots of eggs? Kat’s British friend Jocelyn sent her this recipe for Bacon Deviled Eggs. They are the perfect thing to nibble on to start off the tea brunch! The smoky bacon gives the creamy eggs a nice interesting flavor and crunchy texture.

We’ll serve these peppery ham tea sandwiches that are savory with a bit of bite. Kat’s also going to make these little mini spinach quiches. They are just the right amount of food to pair with the sandwiches. She’s going for a brunch that’s light and sunny, with springtime flourishes.

Then it’s time for Kat’s favorite strawberry scones. These delicious, tender scones are a hit with both children and adults! They’re easy to make and quick to disappear! We’ll have lots of Devonshire cream on hand to spread on them.

Dearies, I’m sure you’re wondering ‘But Tippy, what about the tea’? Of course, I was just getting to it! It took Kat awhile to decide on a tea that would pair with all of the tea nibbles. She finally decided on Wegmans Earl Grey Black Tea.  She loves this malty, bold tea with a hint of bergamot. It’s the perfect thing for all the sweet and savories she’s going to serve. The black tea and citrus flavor pairs well with just about everything!  For those that do not want caffeine Kat has created a beautiful floral blend of chamomile and lavender. It’ll be delicate and floral to match the upcoming spring weather. If the idea of a bespoke floral blend tickles your fancy, stay tuned for an upcoming post about blending tea with flowers!

To finish off the meal, Kat found this recipe for vanilla custard served in eggshells which will be a whimsical way to end the meal. She’s planning on serving cut-out butter cookies as well, in festive Easter shapes.

What are your Easter plans? Whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll find creative ways to include tea into your activities! Happy Easter everyone!

DIY Springtime Tea Party

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Since spring is on the way, Kat has decided it’s time to start planning her annual spring tea party! She always gets so cheerful when she’s planning her springtime teas, and who wouldn’t perk right up at the idea of tea amongst beautiful flowers and delicious treats?

She’s planning on having the tea party on her back patio. It’ll be lovely among the newly budding flowers and trees. The dining room will be the back-up plan in case of rain or chilly weather. No matter where the party will be, flowers will be everywhere! She’ll have vintage teacups stationed on the table and throughout the area holding all sorts of bright flowers. Yellow freesia and daffodils are my favorite! I love the sunny yellow hue. But of course, any cheerful flowers will do!

For our savories, we’ll serve delicate tea sandwiches- We like to keep our spring tea fare on the light side, with these lemony cucumber tea sandwiches. Crisp fresh cucumbers, zesty lemon and creamy cheese make a delicious yet light bite. She’s also going to serve a platter of smoked salmon with bagel crisps, capers, and crème fraiche. Everyone can help themselves to take as much or as little as they’d like.

Kat’s planning on making these lemon ginger scones and serving an abundance of fresh fruit- seasonal items such as oranges, kumquats, cantaloupe, and kiwi will be featured. She likes to keep the fruit as seasonal as possible to ensure freshness. Don’t forget the Devonshire cream!

We will have a bright lemony tea to bring sunny sips to the party. HEB Lemon Herbal Tea will be the perfect accompaniment to our fresh springtime fare. This tea has hibiscus, rosehips, orange and lemon peel with a little bite of chicory root and tang of lemongrass. It’s tart, tangy, and sweet. The lemon flavor is so juicy, it’s as if you squeezed a fresh lemon wedge in your cup right before drinking! Kat’s mom sent her this tea recently when she was starting to feel the effects of our cold, stormy winter. The zingy brew perked her right up. A dash of honey adds a nice comforting sweetness. She’s kept this tea in mind for her springtime tea ever since she tried it.

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After the scones, Kat’s going to serve a little cups of tea sorbet. She has these sweet little demitasse cups that will work perfectly! I love the mismatched vintage teaware Kat uses for tea parties. She’ll be pulling out all the floral cups she can find for her spring soiree! I better get those cups in order, they need a proper dusting and we need to review how to behave during a tea party! Us vintage teacups can get a bit forgetful, but we’re quick to learn!

Dearies, I promise that spring is almost here! Do you have any special spring events you are looking forward to?

Host a St. Patrick’s Day Tea!

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I’ve been perusing the kitchen calendar and noticed that St. Patrick’s Day will soon be here! I love thinking about everything becoming a vibrant green. It reminds me that spring is on the way! It’s hard to truly believe as we are covered in snow right now. But it’ll happen! So many people see St. Patrick’s Day as a reason to drink green beer. But I see it as a reason to have green tea!

Kat thought it would be fun to have a festive St. Patrick’s Day tea for her friends so I did a little searching for a few appropriate recipes for the day.

I thought it would be fun to start with mini matcha fruit smoothies. A display of little teacups or glasses lined up with the frothy vibrant green matcha would be a festive way to start. This vanilla matcha smoothie recipe fits perfectly. A light and delicate flavor with the bright green color we’re looking for.

For the scones, you can’t go wrong with Irish soda bread scones! I adore this recipe, and can’t wait to let Kat’s friends slather them with clotted cream.

For the tea sandwiches a cucumber and cream cheese is always good, and leave the skin on the cucumbers for a pop of color. My favorite sandwich idea is a cross between a NY deli sandwich and a St. Patrick’s Day staple- corned beef tea sandwiches! We’re going to make them double-decker style with savory corned beef, spicy deli mustard and pumpernickel bread. Make sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces!

Don’t forget to serve the teas, dearies! We’re going to serve a fresh grassy Japanese Sencha with the scones, and then an Irish breakfast tea with the sandwiches and dessert. Strong and delicious it pairs with the creamy cucumber sandwiches and the savory corned beef. Kat is going to serve Wegman’s Irish Breakfast Tea. Kat loves a hearty breakfast tea and picked it up at her local Wegmans years ago and always kept a box in her cupboard. She loves the malty, robust tea on mornings that she needs an extra jolt of sunshine.  It is strong but not bitter, and super smooth.

Kat’s going to close out the meal with matcha butter cookies. Delicious sweet, buttery and green, of course!

Spring is almost here! Do you have any fun St. Patrick’s Day plans? I do hope they involve some tea!