Monday, December 6, 2021

Tuesday Afternoon Tea
- The Monday Make Up Edition!

Good afternoon, my friends! I hope your week is off to a marvelous start! It's been a busy Monday for me, but that is primarily due to the fact that I took the weekend completely off from duties and responsibility, so today it was time to get back to business.

I want to welcome you to our Monday Make-Up Edition of Tuesday Afternoon Tea, which I was unable to post last week. That is the nature of hosting regular weekly posts, life happens and often things get off schedule. But no worries, if there's one thing I need for this space to be it is gracious and easy.

So as you might have gathered from that scrumptious photo above, today my tea-time treat is a delicious Peppermint Brownie! A friend of ours brought these to our small group one year, and it is without a doubt the absolute best brownie I have ever tasted! I love them so much that I only made a fourth of the recipe, about four brownies total, because, well, I have no business eating an entire 9 x 13 pan of brownies and my daughter isn't really into sweets. I had actually already enjoyed one of them by the time I took this picture! They are just so good! I'll be sharing the recipe with you below, but for now lets turn to my tea cup and my choice of blend for today.

Since I was already indulging in peppermint, I carried that flavor over and steeped a cup of Bigelow's Peppermint Tea. It is one of my favorite blends, especially this time of year, but honestly, I love peppermint pretty much year round.

As for my place setting, this little black and white stoneware cup and plate are a set I picked up at the beginning of the summer of, at all places, Dollar General! I have two cups, two bowls and two dinner plates and I think they may be my favorite set of dishes. I honestly wish now I had gone ahead and purchased two more sets. I've been checking back periodically to see it they re-stock them, and they do have a few single pieces, but unless I can purchase two more full sets I guess I'll just have to be happy with a service for two. 

I had a friend over for dinner on Saturday night prior to going out to see a local display of Christmas lights, and I served with these dishes. The lights were a bit underwhelming, but it was very nice to spend some time with my friend. 

And now on to today's tea-time conversation topics

A Homemade Christmas * Oranges * Pleasant Pastimes

To be honest if I'm not careful I can be a bit of a Rodger's and Hammerstein's production this time of year! There are just SO many things that I want to do, and every year Pinterest only adds to that list. Thankfully a lof ot the crafts and projects are equally suited for the winter months, so I have plenty to keep me busy as they days become colder.

As I mentioned last week, today is also St. Nicholas Day, one of my absolute favorite feast days of the Liturgical Year.  If you don't know about St. Nicholas of Myra, who our Santa Claus is based upon, you can learn more about him here. There are many traditions associated with this feast day, and it is a day that our family looks forward to every year! I am 60 and my daughter is 22, and I can tell you that we would sadly miss not observing this special day and continuing on with our traditions.  Every year on the evening of December 5 we lay out our shoes by the fire (or in this case our non-working pot bellied stove), and when we awake  the next morning we find new socks or slippers, gold candy coins, a peppermint stick, an orange, and usually a few other small gifts to round it out. This year that included a Hershey's Kiss Santa Hat and a Yankee Candle Balsam & Fir candle. The gold coins are taken straight from the pages of the story of St. Nicholas, who left gold coins in the stockings of poor children. The orange is also symbolic of the gold coins, but it makes such a lovely presentation I always include both, and as oranges is of one our themes this week, it is equally fitting! Some years I include nuts and other candies, and when the girls were little they each got a new book. But now that it's just myself and our youngest daughter I changed it up a bit this year. I love this day so much that I fully expect that I will put my shoes out every year that I am still living, even though I am the one who is filling them up. It's just a tradition, filled with so many happy memories that I don't want to let it go! For years I also made Santa Claus pancakes for the girls for breakfast, and I considered that this year, but I had such a long to do list that I changed my mind. Perhaps another day. The certificates you see in the picture is something new that I did this year. I thought they were so cute when I saw them online, and what better day to get your official "Nice List" certificate than on St. Nicholas Day. I wish I had discovered them years ago, I would have done it every year! 

Typically on St. Nicholas Day I always try to make some kind of craft with an orange. For many years the girls and I would make orange pomanders, but now I do that closer to the Winter Solstice, which is coming up on the 21! Other than Christmas the Winter Solstice is my absolute favorite day of the year and we love to celebrate it, so be looking for those posts coming up soon.

Today I made these cute little orange tea-light holders and I am so pleased with the way they turned out. They are so simple and easy to make, and they'll make a nice addition to my dinner table tonight for the Feast of St. Nicholas. I don't have a traditional menu for this night, although I should, but tonight I'm having the most delicious roast served over a bed of garlic roasted mashed potatoes and english peas. I can hardly wait, it is so good! The recipe for my roast is one I need to share with you here, because it always comes out so juicy, tender and flavorful every-single-time! It's the recipe my grandmother passed down to me, and it's a keeper! If you want to make your own candle holders, I got the idea here. I love the pattern they used on theirs, which is inspiring me to make a few more, perhaps for the solstice!

There are so many lovely, pleasant ways to pass the time in this season! And if you're like me there almost isn't enough time to do all the things I want to do. Being a homebody and an introvert I often have people ask how I "manage to stay home all the time", and goodness me, I hardly know how to answer. But I can assure you I stay busy! With all the hobbies I have, cross-stitching, crocheting, crafting, reading, blogging, watching old movies and sit coms, listening to podcasts. There is never a dull moment here! I live a very full, rich life and I love every moment of it. My husband once said that I "suck the marrow out of life", and I think that's a fairly accurate statement.

So now before I close, here's the recipe for the Peppermint Brownies, as promised! 

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar (I often use less)
8 tbsp. cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla (for mint brownies, sub peppermint extract for 1 tsp.)
1 c. oil (veg. or coconut--or even applesauce can work)
4 eggs
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 350
Mix all ingredients and pour into 9x13 pan
Bake 30 min. or until done

For peppermint brownies, let them cool and then frost with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.

Once you've tried these you'll never make another recipe! I'm picky when it comes to brownies, and in my opinion, these are the absolute best! You can also omit the peppermint and just make regular brownies and they are just as good!

And now my friends, I'll close for now. Since this was a make-up post I'll be back tomorrow when our topics of conversation will be

Cozy Homes * Warming Spices * The Movies and Music of Christmas

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. The only thing I do ask is that you not post ahead of my post, meaning that if I have another day when I have to postpone, then I do ask that you please not post your entry and link it until my post for the week is up. It just makes things a little awkward, since I'm hosting, if people follow the link and my post isn't up yet. So just be on the look out for each week's post from now until December 28 and once it's up, then feel free to post your entry and link it!

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