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Valentine's Mother Daughter Tea

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Valentine's Mother Daughter Tea
By Beth Holland

Valentine's Day is a time to think of those you love and spend time with
them in a unique way. What could be more fun than to have a
Mother-Daughter tea? Every little girl loves to have a tea party and
this one can be extra special because Mom is going to get dressed up,
too, and take her little princess to a real tea, complete with china
(that makes it extra special), goodies and friends! Tea time is a
wonderful way to slow life down, to de-stress, and to build
relationships and memories with the ones you love.

If you've never done this, I highly recommend it. Tea can be as simple
as a cup of tea and anything you have on hand for a snack, or it can be
as elaborate as you can imagine: silver tea service, fine china,
sterling silver and a butler in white gloves. However you have a tea,
don't lose the heart of it: time with your loved ones, time to sow into
them by listening, by laughing together, by being exclusively available
to them.

Valentine's Day lends itself to some wonderful possibilities. It can be
all pink, frilly and fun with the refreshments all being heart shaped;
it can have a themed tea like a special tea cup tea where each person
brings a tea cup and tells its story, or a hat tea where everyone comes
wearing a hat, or a cookie or cake tea where everyone brings part of the
tea, or a teddy bear tea where each daughter has tea with her Mom and
her favorite teddy bear, or how about a chocolate tea, where all the
refreshments have some sort of chocolate ingredient? The possibilities
are as endless as your imagination!

Years ago, a home schooling friend who grew up in England introduced my
family to the tradition of tea, its history and rituals. We have been
partaking tea ever since. As my girls have gotten older, (my eldest is
now in college) they have become more enthusiastic about this time set
aside for fun and fellowship, knowing that Mom is totally devoted to
time with them, puts everything else aside, (including the telephone)
and is exclusively "theirs." We giggle and talk and they have had the
privilege of feeling grown up as they began to bridge the world from
adolescence to adulthood.

It's also a good time for concentrating on nice manners as the children
focus on the traditions of tea, and how to do things properly. They may
not use the things they learn on a regular basis, but it is always
helpful to know the correct thing to do so that whatever the future
presents, they won't feel out of place or at a disadvantage.

Let the children help with the baking, making, setting the table,
lighting the candles (if you choose to use them), etc. Whoever is
hosting may choose to dress up their table, but in a safe way. To
accomplish this goal, and make it more child friendly, you may wish to
do what we have done: we have a dining room table that always has a lace
tablecloth on it. I covered it in plastic for protection. Plastic by the
yard is available at Wal-Mart or any fabric store. It comes on a 60 inch
wide bolt and in varying thicknesses. Then, when we are ready to have
tea, we set the table, put our candles on (my children love using
candles), get the food ready and sit down for some mother-daughter time.
We linger as long as we want and make memories for tomorrow. This is a
tradition I hope to pass onto my grandchildren, if the Lord tarries,
through their mothers. If God is willing, I'll get to share a cup of tea
over the tea table with my daughters and their children. If you choose
to have a tea with your daughters, I think you will find it to be a
treasured time that you and they will want to repeat.

In the English tradition of tea, it is actually a meal. However
elaborate or simply you do your tea, it is best to have something sweet
and something savory. If all you have is sweet with sweetened tea, it
gets to be a bit too much. So, have something, (even if it's just one
thing) to counteract all the sweet things.

Choose your tea (we like Bigelow's English Tea Time or Twining's Prince
of Wales Tea). Fill the tea kettle with cold water (has more oxygen and
a better flavor) and set it to boil. Heat the teapot with very hot tap
water. Let it sit a few minutes, pour out the water and do again. The
pot should be hot when you pour boiling water into it. This protects the
ceramic from cracking and also keeps the pot from robbing heat from the
boiling water, so you have a good hot cup of tea.

Pre-measure your pot to see how many cups it holds. For a seven cup pot,
four English Tea Time or Prince of Wales tea bags are perfect. When the
tea kettle has boiled, pour the hot water out of the teapot, put in the
four tea bags, pour in the boiling water and let steep for five minutes.
Remove the tea bags, squeezing out gently, so as to not break the bag
open. Put on the lid, take the pot to the table and set it down on a
pretty hot pad or tray to the right of "Mother," the name given at the
tea table to whoever is going to pour. Cover the pot with a tea cozy to
keep it hot at the table. (This can be purchased or made. It is an
insulated dome shaped cloth "bell" which slips over the top and around
the sides of the teapot, or can be one that ties around the pot.)

To make tea with loose tea:

Use one teaspoon per cup and add one for the pot. Proceed as above
adding loose tea instead of tea bags. Loose tea requires a tea strainer
to pour through for each cup and/or a tea ball into which you can put
the loose tea to steep in the teapot and then remove before putting on
the lid to serve. It is still a good idea to pour through a strainer to
catch all possible tea leaves in the pot before going into the cup.

To decaffeinate caffeinated tea:

With tea bags or loose tea in a tea ball, pour a small amount of boiling
water over the tea until bags or ball are covered. Let sit 30 seconds,
pour off and then proceed as normal.

Serving the tea:

Serve tea with the sweetener of your choice (honey, stevia, Sucanat with
honey are healthier choices than white sugar), lemon slices or to serve
as the English do, serve with milk (YUM!). Add just enough milk to see
it bloom up from the bottom of the cup. When stirred, it should look
almost like café au lait. (coffee with milk) Do not use cream for tea as
it is too heavy for the delicate tea and masks the flavor.

There are two schools or thought on the etiquette of adding milk. Some
say to add it as above; others say to add the milk first. In the "olden
days," tea was precious and expensive. By adding the milk first, if the
milk was sour, they didn't waste precious tea to find out! When the hot
tea was poured into the tea cup with milk, the milk curdled right away
and they threw out the bad milk instead of the precious tea. Another
serving idea is to provide cinnamon sticks for "stirrers" instead of
teaspoons.

Traditionally, the center-piece of the tea table is flowers, a cake, or
a trifle, especially for a formal tea. But remember, the most important
thing is to find your niche and make your tea suit you! It's more
important to have tea and give your children this precious time, than it
is to make it a fancy affair and feel that it is too much trouble and
thus, never do it. Make the time to spend in this wonderful way of
bonding with your children. They are the most important aspect of having
tea, not the food or fanciness of the tea.

For a fun field trip, take a trip to a tea room and see how they do it.
You might get some ideas or you might decide that you like the way you
do it better.

Here are some recipes made with freshly milled wheat to help you get
started. Feel free to use these or whatever you like for tea. There is
no right or wrong in today's world; just do what you like and
concentrate on building relationships with your loved ones.

Here are some recipes made with freshly milled wheat to help you get
started. Feel free to use these or whatever you like for tea. There is
no right or wrong in today's world; just do what you like and
concentrate on building relationships with your loved ones.

Tea Scones

These are my favorite scones to serve with clotted cream and jam!
Scones are a sweet biscuit with fruit. For a Valentine's Day tea, why
not cut them out with heart or teapot shaped cookie cutters?

3 c. hard white flour 1 stick butter, cut into 1/4 "
slices
1 Tbsp. alu. free baking powder 1 c. currants (or raisins)
1 tsp. baking soda 1 c. buttermilk
1/4 tsp. salt 1 egg, beaten
1/8 c. (2 Tbsp.) honey

Combine dry ingredients, cut in butter until resembles course cornmeal.
Add currants (they're worth finding!). Make well in center and add
buttermilk and honey. Stir until moistened. Will be a shaggy dry dough.
Turn onto bare board and knead. Press out with hands to desired
thickness (3/4 - 1 inch). Cut with tea sized or regular biscuit cutter.
Place on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Brush with beaten
eggs. Bake at 400° for
12 - 15 minutes. Split open and serve with clotted cream and jam. You
may substitute cream cheese (cut into squares like pats of butter) or
whipped cream for the clotted cream, if you desire.

Almond Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Almonds, raspberries, chocolate! Three of my all time favorite
flavorings. One day, I decided there just had to be a way to combine
them into something wonderful. These were the result. They are also
amazingly good without the raspberries, for which my
husband isn't too fond.

2 1/2 c. hard white flour 3 Tbsp. extra light olive oil
2/3 c. honey 1 c. milk, b/milk, y'gurt, v.
yogurt*
4 tsp. alu. free baking powder 1 tsp. vanilla *(omit
w/v. yogurt)
1/2 tsp. salt 1 1/2 c. fresh/frozen
raspberries**
1/4 tsp. soda (if using yogurt or b'rmilk) OR 3/4 c.
raspberries all fruit spread/rasp. jam
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg 2/3 - 3/4 c. semisweet
chocolate chips
1/3. c. slivered almonds, optional 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix all dry ingredients together, including
chocolate chips. Mix all wet ingredients together. Pour into dry
ingredients. Mix gently so as not to break up the raspberries. Bake for
15-20 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Makes
12 muffins.
** If using frozen raspberries, rinse and thaw first.




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