My Christmas season

I have several friends who are attempting the 365 thing this year… you know, where you post a picture of something from your day every day for a year. It is so much fun to keep up with when someone actually does it. I know a few who have; I love the idea, but we all know by now that I’m not good with staying true to a course like that. I might last a week, maybe. So I decided, hey, I can still put up pictures when I feel like it, of whatever I’d like to share with you.  Duh.

So, to start with, here are some highlights from my Christmas season.

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I made sugared rose petals for our Christmas dessert. It was Jubilee Cake, in honor for the Queen’s Jubilee. Two layers of s moist almond cake with clotted cream and raspberries in between. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right kind of cream to make clotted cream, so I ended up with sorta-thickish but still runny, lumpy cream. Hey, it still tasted good. But it did make me angry at the FDA or whoever it is that thinks we need to have everything ultra-pasteurized. But that’s a different topic…

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Rosemary-Cheddar Scones with Herb Butter

Another savory addition to the menu. I love a good savory scone. Well I love nearly any sort of scone when it comes down to it. I wish I had gotten a picture of these as they came out of the over, they were truly beautiful. Mock me if you like, they were. The rosemary is subtle in a good way. The chives in the herb butter (a little creation of my own, thank you.;) ) really complimented the cheddar, and the sprinkling of sea salt on top just really finished them off. Yum, oh yum.

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Turkey Avacado Tea Sandwiches

 

The tendency with hosting a tea is to kill everyone with sugar. I’m not saying I’ve mended my ways and served a vegetable platter, but I did try to make sure some savories made their way into the menu. Next time I’ll lean even more toward the savory. These little sandwiches were a good start. They were SO flavorful and (seemingly) light. Definitely a sandwich I would make any day of the week for lunch, as well as for tea.

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Pineapple-Walnut Tea Sandwiches

Okay, this picture is another photographic fail on my part. In the hubbub of the whole production, I forgot to get good individual pictures of each recipe… this is as close as it gets (I even googled, and nobody else has pictures that I could sneak in.), and admittedly it does not look that appetizing. But trust me. I could eat the whole plate full if I weren’t to the level of health-consciousness that I am.

The original recipe I worked from actually made a sickeningly sweet filling. It needed tweaking*, so I  re-worked it until it was the right blend of pineapple-sweet and cream-cheese flavor and YUM.

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Pineapple Flower Garnish

 

Sorry about the horrendous grainy quality… serves me right for trying to take a picture indoors with no flash and poor lighting.

So. I’m sure a number of you are Pinteresting People, and more than likely you recognize these pineapple flowers.  I did try to find a pin to the original source, but it’s NOT easy to do, peeps***. So, if by some miracle the person who originally blogged this idea is reading this – I WANT to give you credit. I don’t know who you are, but you are awesome.

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Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

The trickiest part of this dish was coring the pears while leaving the stem intact. I had an apple corer which was an excellent idea in theory, but since I wasn’t removing the entire center, it would not actually pull out the core. So I ended up uaing it to nicely cut around the core, then coming in with a paring knife to actually break the chunk of core out. Doesn’t sound very elegant, but it worked, and really didn’t take as long as it might sound.

Then there was the pineapple flower garnish, which was supposed to take an hour to make and ended up taking more like 2 1/2 hours (HOW  does one slice pineapple paper-thin??).

And the chocolate sauce, which you are supposed to make ‘Just before serving’ (because apparently it’s normal to stay in the kitchen the entire time your guests are arriving… don’t bother doing your hair, taking off your apron or greeting anyone! The chocolate sauce MUST be made last-minute!) I made a good 45 minutes ahead of time and it slightly crystallized. It was still delicious, but not as beautiful as it should have been.

Now that I’ve told you all of the faults of this lovely little dessert, here is the recipe!

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Lavender Lemonade

I heard rave reviews from a friend about lavender lemonade a few weeks ago, so when I was looking for an iced beverage to serve (it was like 85F that day, I figured not everyone would want hot tea!) I knew I had to try it. My lavender is not in bloom yet, so I begged my friend Kacie, who works in a natural food store, to get me dried lavender flowers. Making the syrup concentrate is easy, only slightly more complex than brewing a large pot of tea. Then chill and mix with water and lemon juice – voila!

 

“Not too sweet, not too sour… just too pink!”

*name that quote*

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Garden Tea Menu

I plan on doing a series of posts containing the recipes I used for the garden tea last week – a week ago today! So strange how you spend so long planning something and anticipating it, then it’s come and gone over with. But the memories and recipes remain, so it’s all worth it!

The menu included:

Tea for Twenty-five.

When the roses are in full bloom, you’ve been working so many hours that you feel like you don’t see any of your friends any more, and you’ve been on a diet so long you’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to bake with white flour, what do you do? When, you host a garden tea and invite everyone, in hopes that at least a few can make it. Fortunately, they can. 🙂

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