Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Tuesday Afternoon Tea: A Cozy Gathering With Friends - Week Two
A Bit Delayed this Week!




Good Wednesday morning, my friends, and welcome to TUESDAY AFTERNOON TEA: A COZY GATHERING WITH FRIENDS, albeit, a day late.

My hope is that a few of you, at least, saw my post last evening (which I've since deleted), explaining that my day yesterday was filled from dawn to dusk working out the details for trying to get my car repaired after it was hit by a deer last week. Who knew that it would consume my entire day, but the good news is we're going to be able to get **most** of my car repaired, aside from a small dent in the drivers side door that I've opted to just live with. It's an old car, yet a good, reliable one (Toyota Corolla), and I'd rather just bank on a car I know for awhile longer than delve into the world of locating another good used car or having car payments. But enough about that! Let's get on to our tea time!

Since I missed yesterday, I opted instead to do a "breakfast tea", if you will, and for my treat I toasted up a piece of sourdough bread (I didn't make it, store bought), but I did slather it with a bit of my home made Cranberry Orange Marmalade which you might recall that I shared in this post.  It is SO good, and I'll be sharing the recipe with you soon in a separate post because I've found that when I share them in larger posts such as these they tend to get lost if and when you try to search for them. So, be on the lookout for that!

My tea cup today is a beautiful black and green piece that I purchased at Target back in the summer. I fell in love with this set of dishes the moment I saw them and had originally wanted to use them in the van. But since they are breakable, that wasn't really practical. But after moving into the apartment I decided to buy two place settings for myself and my daughter, so I have a dinner plate, a salad plate (shown), two bowls and two cups and they are just so beautiful. Can I admit to you that I have a bit of a weakness for place settings and have several different sets? I actually just counted them, I have four different patterns, three of which are settings for two people and the other is for four.  We don't entertain a lot and when we do it's seldom more than an additional person or two, so four place settings is typically enough to set a pretty table. I will also confess that I don't intentionally put my dishes to use as often as I should, and that is something I have added to my list of goals for the new year, to set a pretty table more often, even it's only for myself! It just enhances the mood and feel of the meal so much, and I enjoy a pretty setting especially in the cozy winter months which are soon to come!

And as for my tea, since it's breakfast I wanted something sweet and light and settled on a cup of Celestial Seasonings HoneyVanilla Chamomile. It's my first time trying this blend and I am really enjoying it!

And now on to our cozy topics for conversation, which this week are;

First Frost Cranberries * Autumn Apothecary and Self Care

FIRST FROST

The world looks like something God had just imagined for His own pleasure, doesn't it? Those trees look as if I could blow them away with a breath--pouf! I'm so glad I live in a world where there are white frosts, aren't you?” 

― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

We had our first frost a couple of weeks ago, and I felt like a kid at Christmas! I am really beginning to believe that winter may just surpass my love for autumn. In the days before the bitter cold sets in and the earth is blanketed in snow, there are the lovely days of mid-Autumn, when the night calls for an extra blanket for our bed and warm fire in the hearth in the morning. The little blades of grass stand tall, clothed in their sparkling gowns, which when caught by the suns first rays reveals a field of diamonds. The richness of this beauty cannot be measured. 

Time has fallen back, and darkness comes early. I do not mourn the loss of light, but welcome the invitation to gather warm, a drape for my shoulders, a blanket for my feet, a simmering pot of soup on the stove, and a cup of cider to warm my hands. This is the time to burrow deep, when out hearts return to home. The summer fields lie bare, and the storehouses are filled to the rafters with earth's bounty.  Now it the time for rest, for cozy evenings by the fire, yarn in hand, a table set for games and puzzles. I pull a favorite book from the shelf, the one I bought in late summer with a mind for just an evening such as this. The "ember days" are here, two shining lights to guide us through the darkness to the new year. 

"There was a discernable chill in the air now, and wet leaves were everywhere- in yards, in the sidewalks, in the street, stuck on cars. It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon."

- Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

CANDIED ORANGE PEEL
If you remember, I also shared on Monday that I made up a batch of candied orange peel! Though it wasn't something that was originally on my list of things I had planned to make, one of things that is on my list this holiday season are the chocolate orange cookies that you'll find in this post, and they call for candied orange peel. In the past I've purchased it from a couple of different sources, but to be honest I think this is the only recipe I have that calls for them so in the end much of it would simply go to waste, and that's something I am trying to become more mindful of. And that is what set me to trying it out myself and OH MY! I don't know why I'm always so surprised when homemade is better than bought, because isn't that almost always the case? But I must say, the difference in this recipe is profound! So good, and since I could literally eat it straight out of the jar I'm not too concerned about wasting any of it! And just look at that picture, so "frosty" flaked with sugary goodness, it seemed perfect to include it here! This is the recipe I used, but I will pass on a little tip I'm glad I learned about from other readers. Once you have your orange peel, place it in a pan and cover it with water, bring to a boil and boil for 10 mins. After that, drain the water, re-fill the pan and repeat, at least one more time, and you can boil it three times if you like. This helps to soften and remove the pith (the white stuff) and if you skip this step then your peel might be bitter.

And finally, here are two "frosty" recipes that I thought made a lovely addition to this topic, especially in light of the lovely quote above. 


CRANBERRIES
I didn't grow up liking cranberries, but then, until I became an adult my only exposure to them was that wobbly glob of red gel my grandmother placed on the table every Thanksgiving and Christmas. She made no attempt to improve upon its appearance, it just sat there on the dish holding firm to the shape of the can she had just released it from. It ran a close second to the jello salad in the most disgusting item on the table  in my book, I never cared much for gelled food.

Then as luck would have it I went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving one year and was surprised to find her making cranberry sauce from scratch. I'm not even sure before that moment I had ever noticed bags of cranberries in the produce section around this time of year, nor did I immediately make the connection between them and that canned knock off. But after tasting my friend's offering that day I never looked back. After several years of tweaking different recipes, I've finally arrived at one that I love and I'm sharing it with you today. The original recipe I found was called, Pilgrim Sauce, and I thought it was fitting so that's what I call mine, too. 

PILGRIM SAUCE
1 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed 
(can substitute with regular cranberry juice and reduce by half)
1/3 cup sugar
12 oz. pkg cranberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tablespoons orange marmalade
2 Tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier (optional but SO good!)
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Combine cranberry juice and sugar in saucepan. Boil, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and cook for about 7 minutes or until fresh berries pop and dried cranberries soften. Remove from heat; stir in orange marmalade, orange juice, orange zest and allspice. Chill until until ready to serve.

This stuff is SO good that I now buy extra cranberries while they are in season so that I can make it a few other times during the year, as well. It's perfect on a turkey sandwich using up your leftovers, and I also like it a s topping on my yogurt. But the thing I think I love most about it is that is beautiful! Especially sprinkled with a bit of orange zest on top. Much prettier than the canned variety, and about a hundred times better in taste!

As I mentioned, I now LOVE cranberries, and because of that I now have a collection of several recipes I've tried. Here are a few others I love.

I made this back in the summer using canned whole cranberries because I didn't freeze enough! It turned out great, but I'm itching to try it using fresh.  
This dip will be the hit of any holiday gathering you bring it to! 
I made this for the first time a couple of years back and not its a regular staple on our Thanksgiving table.

AUTUMN HOME APOTHECARY
As winter approaches its times to think of building our home apothecary to help ward off sore throats and sniffles and to soften our dried skin. I've already made up a batch of fire cider and four thieve vinegar, and this week I plan to add elderberry syrup to our arsenal. As with so many things, homemade elderberry syrup is so much better and tastier than store bought! Sweetly spiced, and so good for you!

SWEETLY SPICED ELDERBERRY SYRUP
1 cup fresh or 3/4 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
2 Tbsp fresh sliced ginger
1 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cloves
1 cup raw honey

Place elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.

Remove from heat and using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain out mixture. Transfer liquid to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey.

Keep in the fridge sealed for 2-3 weeks.

As I'm a beginner in building my home apothecary, I'm always looking for new recipes and trying out new things to see if there are particular blends that work better for my family, and with that I also came across this recipe that I'd like to try, perhaps next year since I feel I have us pretty well covered this winter. 

GINGER TURMERIC AND ORANGE OXYMEL
An oxymel is a herbal medicine preparation made with vinegar and honey. It stimulates digestion, supports mineral absorption, empowers immunity to help ward offwinter colds, and it tastes delicious!

4-6 inches of fresh tumeric root, grated
2-3 inches of fresh ginger root, grated
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
zest & juice of one organic orange
1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
¾ cup honey

Put spices & orange zest in the bottom of a 500 ml canning jar and cover with orange juice, vinegar and honey. Give it a stir and then cover the top of the jar with a layer of waxed paper before sealing well. Shake daily for 3-4 weeks before straining. Add 2 -3 Tbs of oxymel to sparkling or warmed water for a tonic support as desired. Also makes a great salad dressing base.

I don't know about you, but this time of year my skin gets really dry and sometimes itchy! For years I've been a loyal fan of Bath & Body Works after Christmas sales, loading up on their Vanilla Bean, Peppermint and Gingerbread lotions for pennies on the dollar.  But as I'm becoming more aware of the toxins in these products, I've begun looking for suitable alternatives. 

AUTUMN SPICE SUGAR SCRUB
2 cups sugar
1 cup coconut oil softened 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Transfer mixture to a container of your choice.
To use, gentle massage over your skin and rinse off.

And now it is time to close on another lovely tea time together! I apologize again for the delay this week and hope you'll understand. Life is life and sometimes things can't be avoided! That is why I always hesitate a little when I commit to a "regualar" weekly post, because you just never know. But I will do my best during this series to make sure that we stay on schedule, so fingers crossed! I've enjoyed spending time with you and hope you'll join me here again next week when our topics for conversation will be;

Thankful Hearts * Apples * Home Blessing

Remember everyone who participates will be entered in a drawing for a COZY WINTER WELLNESS KIT which I'll send out mid-January. You'll find all the details here.  

1 comment:

e l i z a b e t h ♥ said...

I loved this post! And all the recipes you shared sound so delicious; I will be copying them down to try sometime. Thank you for hosting another week’s teatime. I’m having such fun with these posts.

Here’s mine for this week: https://ponderingsfromtheinglenook.blogspot.com/2021/11/a-cozy-teatime-cranberries-first-frost.html?m=1

Hope you have a lovely day…stay cozy!