Going Green Tea Party: Tomato Salad

Tomatoes are the best thing about summer. They are finally ready locally and I can’t get enough of them. Heirloom tomatoes are quite popular now but be sure to taste them before serving guests. Their flavor varies greatly.

For the tomato salad, combine chopped tomatoes and fresh greens or spinach. Add a bit of finely chopped onion if you like. This salad doesn’t really need a dressing, just sprinkle on some organic sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I’ve included a classic vinaigrette though for those who do like a bit of dressing on their salads. Old cooks often added a sprinkle of sugar over their tomatoes because they knew sugar enhances the flavor of the tomatoes. This vinaigrette uses honey instead of sugar but the effect is the same.

1 clove garlic

¼ cup organic balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed

Combine all ingredients in a blender and turn on the machine. While it is running, add 1 tablespoon hot water and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


My World Wednesday: Seamus


Two weeks ago, it was Maggie's birthday and tomorrow is Seamus'. He's two years old. As you can tell from the photos, Seamus' favorite activity is sleeping. Eating is a close second with this boy.

How dry I am.... :hiccup:

While Maggie is my wild nut, Seamus is my little lovey. He is happiest when he can snuggle up tight. It wasn't always that way. When Seamus came to us, he was nine months old. He was a cute little puppy but as he grew his former owners couldn't handle him. He lived in a crate most of the time. That made him aggressive when he was free. He growled at me, jumped at me and bit me twice. Over time though a bond of trust developed. It is hard to believe now that he's the same dog. He's sweet and gentle and happy.

Can't I wake him up now? He's been sleeping all afternoon!

Seamus and Maggie have a special bond. They share everything from toys to food. Even though they have very different temperaments, they suffer when they are apart even if it is just long enough for a trip to the vet.

One of my favorite little pleasures in life is when all of us pile into the bed for a nap on a Sunday afternoon. Maggie sleeps between our pillows and Seamus usually sleeps diagonally at our legs. Thankfully, we have a king-sized bed!


Going Green Tea Party: The Menu

Farm Stand at York, PA's Central Market House

I can't really give an exact menu for your Going Green Tea Party; I can only share mine. The key element to this tea is to buy local and buy fresh. I'm so fortunate to live in an area with many farmers' markets, farm stands, local butchers, bakers and cheesemakers. Fresh and organic isn't a new concept here. It is a way of life that has never changed. Try to find your own farmers and support them with your business.

The Going Green menu starts with a fresh salad piled with the ripest homegrown tomatoes that can be had. Tomatoes are nature's reward for having to suffer through summer's heat. This salad is dressed simply to allow the tomatoes to take center stage.

Follow the salad with a cup of Chilled Cucumber and Mint Soup. Cukes are so abundant here right now and this soup is a great way to feature them. The soup is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

Blueberry is the scone of the day. There is nothing quite like wild Maine blueberries but your own locally grown organic blueberries are delicious too. If you have a pick-your-own blueberry farm, as I do, give them a try. There is no climbing (like apple picking) or bending (like strawberry picking) involved; just stand and pick the berries.

The savory course can be just as green as the others if you base your menu on what you find at market. Today the meat stand had smoked turkey at a great price and the cheese shop had their own homemade maytag blue cheese. Therefore, one of my sandwiches for the tea will be Smoked Turkey with Maytag Blue and Red Onions. I'll bake my own multi-grain bread for the tea sandwichs. Another sandwich anyone can adapt to their region is a Grated Veggie with Cream Cheese. Just about any vegetables can be used for this sandwich. If you can find locally made cream cheese, give it a try. Like most things, the real thing is worlds above what you can buy at the grocery store. Because my fish monger had freshly cooked crabs today, I'm going to make a Fresh Crab Salad. A dozen crabs don't yield very much meat but I'll serve the crab on Chinese soup spoons so everyone can enjoy one glorious bite.

Instead of making several small desserts, using ingredients that come from far away, this menu features Peach Shortcakes with Homemade Ice Cream. The shortcakes are made with whole grain flour and the peaches still warm from the orchard.

You can probably name the places tea is grown, China, Japan, India, Kenya, but did you know that there is one tea plantation in North America? Serve tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation for this Going Green Tea Party. This tea garden is owned by Bigelow. Their website shows a beautiful place and I'd love to visit one day. I've just ordered the tea and will give more details as I post the recipes.

In addition to buying local and fresh, it is important to know exactly what's in your food. With this tea, I'm making everything from scratch. It takes a bit more time and effort but the results are worth it.


Going Green Tea Party

Ahhhh, it feels good to be back. Thank you to everyone who wished me well last week. I am much better and able to think about food and tea parties once again. I hope to catch up with my blog reading today to see what you all have been up to.

My friend, Anita, at Prairie Dreams has inspired me to try a Green Tea. No, not the color green but a tea that reflects a thoughtful, responsible attitude toward our green earth. No tea guest wants to be lectured or berated with a shaking finger and a shame on you; don’t worry, you won’t find that here. I will, though, throw out some green theme ideas and suggestions for a menu that tries to be green.

An invitation on beautiful 100% recycled paper will set the whole theme of the Going Green Tea Party. Every card shop today has a nice selection but I especially like the paper from Twisted Limb Paperworks. While a phone call might be a more green way to invite guests, I like the idea of sending an invitation, something that can be kept and enjoyed. And it may act as a reminder to stay green.

One of the tenets of going green is to use what you have and not buy more. You could use the tea table things you already own but this tea highlights new earth-friendly products that are available today. A hemp tablecloth works great and has such an interesting texture. Hemp table linens can be found at Grass Roots. You can also find recycled glassware at that site. Even more interesting are clear cups from Core Sales. These cups are non-plastic, biodegradable and compostable. Don’t forget the “silverware!” Aspenware sells forks, spoons and knives made from birch and aspen trees that are naturally biodegradable. Plates and bowls made from sugar cane fiber continue the theme. Don’t forget to use biodegradable trash bags when you clean up.

As shown in the photo, bandanas make great napkins that can then be reused. A lemon used as a place card can be taken home for the guest’s next glass of iced tea. Flowers from the garden, arranged simply, look perfect on the table. Try soy candles. Soy wax is a plant-based wax made from the oil of soybeans (as opposed to petroleum in conventional paraffin candles) and is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Soy burns with less soot and at a cooler temperature than paraffin, making it last longer.

A little pot of herbs at each place setting makes a very nice and practical favor. Or spending a bit more, give each tea guest a reusable market bag to use when she goes grocery shopping.

A while back, my friend, Vee, at A Haven for Vee featured some music on her blog. It was so lovely that I immediately purchased an album from the artist. I highly recommend the music from Pat Surface and Spiritwood Music for the Going Green Tea Party. It is simple, traditional American music, played on violin, guitar, mandolin. You can hear lots of samples on Pat’s website and you’ll understand why I picked this music for the tea.

Tomorrow I’ll write about the food for the Going Green Tea Party. Summer is the perfect time for finding the delicious, local produce that will feature prominently on the menu.


Under the Weather

I haven't been feeling well so I'm going to take the rest of the week off from blogging. I'll be back next Monday. I'll catch up with everyone then.


Tea at Dawn: Spiced Iced Tea

It is supposed to be close to 100º with a high humidity here today. While water is the best thirst quencher, this Spiced Tea is extremely refreshing. Give it a try!

This is the final recipe in the Tea at Dawn theme. Join me again on Monday for my next summer tea party theme.

Four 1/4” slices gingerroot, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
3 tablespoons sugar
2 strips orange zest, about 3” long
2 sprigs of fresh mint
3 tablespoons black loose tea
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, orange zest and mint. Cover the pan and remove from the heat. Allow to steep for 30 minutes. Add the tea and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain into a pitcher. Garnish glasses of tea with mint sprigs. Makes 4 cups but can be doubled.


Tea at Dawn: Strawberry Muffins

Don't you hate buying a whole carton of something when you know you won't use it all. I always felt that way about buttermilk. Now I freeze it and always have some available for recipes.

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup chopped strawberries, about a pint

Preheat oven to 400º. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; stir to blend.

In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add to the dry ingredients all at once, along with strawberries, and fold just until evenly moistened. Don’t over mix.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan. Makes 12.


My World Wednesday: Maggie

Too sleepy to open both eyes.

Hey, who turned up the air conditioning!

Today is Maggie’s First Birthday! She has lots of presents waiting for her, a new ball, a new chewy bone, a new collar, Butterscotch Krimpets and newspaper hats and lots of kisses. She doesn’t much like singing but there will surely be a few rounds of Happy Birthday.

Maggie is a Boston Terrier, an all-American breed. She is as highly intelligent as she is highly silly. She knows lots of words; her favorites being walk, ride, porch and cookie. Her favorite game is to roll up in her blanket to become mummy dog.

Com'on just try to take my ring!

Boston Terriers are companion dogs. I didn’t have a full appreciation of what that meant until Maggie came to live with us. She is by my side every moment of the day. Upstairs, downstairs, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the bed. Whenever I sit down, she’s right there snuggling beside me. Her favorite game with my husband is to jump up in his lap, crawl up his chest and present her cheek for him to kiss. He calls her the little princess.

Long before Maggie joined our family, my mother-in-law passed this cast iron doorstop on to us. It had been in the family, probably from the early 1900s. I never guessed we’d have a living model to go with it.

I do have some advice for anyone looking for a puppy. Check first with your local animal shelter/rescue. There have been so many dogs abandoned because of the housing crisis. These are fine, loving dogs and often they’ve already been trained and housebroken. You might find too dogs that have been rescued from puppy mill operators. And the saddest situation of all, there are dogs whose owners have passed away. I hate to think of a little, well-loved dog suddenly uprooted from everything he’s ever known. Please do consider a rescue dog like Terri from Lakewood Manor did. Click on her blog to see her happy pictures.


Tea at Dawn: B²LT Quiche

A BLT made with fresh tomatoes, still warm from the garden, is one of life’s best treats. I wanted to combine these flavors in a quiche; here’s what I came up with: Bacon, Broccoli, Leeks and Tomatoes. While mini quiches are great, this is a full size pie. Using a 9” pie pan, you should get 8-10 servings, depending on how large you make the slices. I’ve used a whole wheat crust but feel free to use your usual pie dough.

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne or a few drops of hot sauce
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons cold butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 to 3 tablespoons light or heavy cream

10 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, reserve grease
1 large leek, cleaned and trimmed, sliced ¾” thick
12 grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped broccoli
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup light cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Swiss or Gouda cheese

For the crust: Combine the dry ingredients, cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork. Sprinkle in the orange juice, then add the cream a teaspoon at a time. Continue to mix until dough holds together. Pat out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night.

For the filling: Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon grease in a skillet. Fry the leeks until they are soft. Set aside. Again, add 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat to the skillet and fry the tomatoes for 2 minutes. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Set aside. Blanche the broccoli in boiling water for 3 minutes and cool in ice water and then drain. Set aside.

To assemble and bake the quiche: Remove crust from fridge. Put the fried leeks on the bottom of the crust. Layer the tomatoes, then the broccoli, over the leeks. Whisk together the cream, eggs, flour, salt, cheese, crumbled bacon in a medium bowl. Pour over vegetables.

Bake the quiche for 10 minutes a in a preheated 425º oven. Reduce the temperature to 350º and put foil around the rim to prevent the crust from over-browning. Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating or serving.

I am so honored to be awarded as a Brillante Weblog. Both Lisa from Stop and Smell the Chocolates and Shelia from Note Songs thought of me. Thank you so much, ladies! I pass the award on to everyone on my blog roll because I know how much care each blog writer takes with every post.


Tea at Dawn: Kitchen Sink Granola

Isn’t it great when something really good for you tastes great too? Change the dry ingredients of this granola as you like but keep the proportions of wet to dry ingredients the same. This granola freezes well. Fill ziplock bags with the granola and pop in the freezer.

6 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup rye flakes
1 cup wheat flakes
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup nonfat milk powder
½ cup raw wheat germ
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup cashew pieces
1 cup unblanched almonds
1 cup safflower oil
1 cup honey
½ cup barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups dried fruit, such as dark or golden raisins, cranberries, cherries, currants, apricots, apples, prunes or a combination of any

Preheat oven to 425º. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, rye flakes, wheat flakes, bran, milk powder, wheat germ, seeds and nuts. In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the oil, honey, malt syrup, cinnamon, salt and vanilla, and almond extracts until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to coat evenly.

Divide the granola between the 2 baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and rotate the pans. Bake for 20 minutes more. Stir again and bake for another 10-20 minutes until uniformly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Toss in the dried fruit. Makes about 14 cups.


Tea at Dawn: Smoothie Bar

Who doesn’t love a smoothie, especially when you can make your own from a big selection of ingredients. Set the smoothie bar with fresh fruit, cubed and frozen, bananas, soy or low-fat milk, yogurt, honey, nuts, ice cubes, ice cream and a few nutritional supplements. Don’t forget a blender. (If you can borrow a second blender, so much the better.)

Okay, what about those nutritional supplements. Here are a few suggestions:
Vitamin C powder – It won’t change the taste of the smoothie but it is a great antioxidant and it is an anti-aging nutrient.

Ginseng – Helps with energy, stress and enhances immune function. Use a liquid extract in the smoothies.

Protein powder – makes the smoothie a complete meal. Use a soy-based powder for extra health benefits.

Bee pollen – increases the nutritional content of the smoothie. It contains B-complex vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, calcium, potassium and protein. It doesn’t change the taste of the smoothie.

Lecithin – is derived from soybeans. It protects cells from oxidation. It helps increase brain functions and promotes energy. It won’t change the taste.

Now, here are a few smoothie recipes to get you started.

Peachy Morning

½ cup soy milk or other milk
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen cherries
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mango Madness

¾ cup orange juice
1 inch chunk of gingerroot grated
1 mango, peeled and chunked
1 banana, chunked
6 ice cubes

Tropical Enzyme Delight

1 papaya, peeled and chunked
¾ cup soy milk or other milk
1 ½ teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon bee pollen

Anti-Aging Smoother

½ cup orange juice
1 cup papaya, peeled and chunked
½ cup fresh blueberries
¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder)
6 ice cubes

Stress Buster

6 chamomile herbal tea ice cubes
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup fresh carrot juice
1 cup fresh peaches, sliced

After Workout Refresher

6 peach herbal tea ice cubes
½ cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peaches, peeled and sliced

Start the Day Brain Booster

½ cup yogurt
1 orange, chunked
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon lecithin granules
1 tablespoon protein powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 ice cubes

Pineapple Mint Vegan

1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 ounces soft silken tofu
10 fresh mint leaves


Tea at Dawn: The Menu

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I wanted to tell you that my tray is Russian Gzhel Porcelain. A friend brought it back for me after visiting family there. The tray has a tab for hanging but I’m too afraid it might fall off the wall to do that. You’ll see the tray again, as well as some of my other Russian pieces, when I feature a Russian Tea Theme.

Okay, back to Tea at Dawn. Since the hostess for this tea will be busy walking, biking, touring or tai chiing with her guests before the tea, she’ll need everything to be made ahead and ready to serve. This menu handles that perfectly.

For all those energetic, hard-exercising guests, set up a Smoothie Bar. Smoothies can be both super healthy and super tasty. Fresh fruit, yogurt, honey, nuts, low-fat milk and even ice cream will give everyone a great choice in their own smoothie. Offer a few special organic supplements too for those who might like an extra boost.

What is a breakfast without muffins! I’ll have recipes for a couple that I especially love using more fresh fruit and healthy grains.

Homemade granola tastes nothing like the stuff you get in a box. Some guests will want to eat it dry, out of hand, some will like it in a bowl with a little milk and others will like it on top of their smoothie.

Often guests, especially the guys, might enjoy something a bit more substantial. Offer a slice of cheesy quiche packed with veggies for the really hungry. The quiche features a whole wheat crust continuing the good-for-you theme.

Last but not least, the tea for this party is an Iced Spiced Tea. Cold and very refreshing, it will help your tea friends to get on with their busy days, especially those who going on to work.

Join me again tomorrow for the recipes and how-tos!


My World Wednesday: Eye Cups

People will collect anything and here is proof. Have you ever heard of an eye bath? It was quite popular in days gone by. An eye bath could be used to strengthen the eyes, as it was believed then, as a treatment for eye infections or to soothe eyes that had been subjected to dusty or sooty conditions.

People were instructed as follows in Strengthening the Eyes, published in 1925: “A weak solution of salt and water or a dilute solution of boric acid and water, is the best for this purpose, under ordinary conditions. These solutions must on no account be strong. The water must not be brine, nor the boric acid solution too strong. The water should usually be cool, or lukewarm; but the temperature must depend upon circumstances. In certain inflammatory conditions of the eye, it is often advisable to have the water quite cold, while, on the other hand, in all injuries and local affection which render the eye sore or tender, it is best to bathe it in warm or hot water--at least at first. The bath, as a rule, should not last more than twenty or thirty seconds for each eye, and should be followed by a blinking of the eye--which, however, will probably follow automatically.

The eye-cup is filled with whatever solution is to be used, the head leaned forward and the cup placed over the eye; then the head is tilted backward, and the eye under the cup opened and closed a number of times. The same operation is repeated with the other eye. It is a good thing not to keep the cup against the eye for too long a time, owing to the suction which develops in consequence. It should be removed and re-applied several times.

As regards medicinal substances to be used in the water, there are but few of these which can be recommended. A small percentage of salt is often strengthening to the eyes, but a heavy brine is irritating and injurious. A dilute solution of boric acid is often beneficial, as it tends to cleanse the eye and wash out irritating substances. Apart from these solutions, it is safe to say that ordinarily, the further the patient keeps from "eye lotions" and concoctions of that sort, the better. These eye baths should have the effect of strengthening and stimulating the eyes in a wholesome, hygienic manner, without irritation. Cases of weak and dull eyes are especially helped by them, and they are helpful in practically every case of eye disease and defect, where they are not distinctly contra-indicated.”

My own collection of antique eye cups is small but it shows the variety of cups that were available. I find them quite pretty, especially the cobalt blue ones. Each one is marked on the bottom with the symbol of the manufacturer like fine china. I’m often tempted to use them on the tea table as tiny vases. But I wouldn't want any delicate ladies to swoon at the thought. :)


Tea at Dawn

The best time of a summer’s day is dawn. The air is fresh and cool, the sun is clear and bright and everything is enveloped in quiet and peace. Dawn is the only time for outside activities here on a day like today when the temperatures are in the 90s and the dew point is a sultry 70. Take advantage of the early morning to get together with friends for tea!

Start this tea party with some exercise to get the day moving. You could suggest a leisurely bike ride on a local trail. Or take them on an architectural tour of your neighborhood; scout out those little details we usually miss and show your friends. You could walk in the alleyways to sneak a peak at gardens or meet in the park for a jog (or to play on the swings while the little kids are still sleeping.) If that seems a bit too physical, invite a tai chi teacher to give a class in your back yard for your friends.

The reward for getting up early and exercising is a tea party afterwards. Invite everyone back to your house to continue the pleasure of the outdoors. Make the setting super casual on your patio or in your yard. A variety of lawn chairs, including loungers for those not used to moving, a serving table and some smaller tables scattered about work better than expecting people to sit close at one big table.

An old fashioned red and white checked tablecloth looks just right. Decorate with crocks filled with sunflowers. Wrap silverware in red and white napkins and stick in a clean Campbell’s Soup can. Simple metal pails can be filled with ice and used to hold bottles of water. Use blue splatterware plates if you have them; this is a popular summer paper plate pattern too. Red plastic plates from the grocery store will look good too. Ball jars with handles can hold the tea; pick some up at a dollar store. Remember, casual is the word.

Take a portable CD player outside but be considerate of neighbors at that hour. Make a mixed CD of morning songs, anything from Johnny Cash’s Sunday Morning Coming Down to Cat Steven’s Morning has Broken. Go classical with Beethoven’s 6th (Pastoral) Symphony or Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite. Or mix it up further with songs like It’s a Beautiful Morning, Angel of the Morning, I Feel Good, Amarillo by Morning or the very appropriate Good Morning from Singing in the Rain.

Ah, rain. That is definitely a consideration. Plan to invite your guests only a couple days in advance, after checking the weather report. Just give them a phone call or talk to them in person. The food for this tea party can be held easily if the weather predictor is wrong and it is raining the day of your tea.

If you want to give favors, present each guest with a goodie bag at the start of the morning’s activity. Little bottles of sunscreen, lip balm, moist towelettes that you’ve kept in the freezer, sweat bands, even goofy sunglasses are all things your friends might enjoy. It you want to go more expensive, give each guest a pedometer. To go less expensive, give everyone a bag of the homemade granola you served at the tea. Tie a glassine bag with raffia and attach an artificial sunflower.

Yep, homemade granola is on the menu. But for the other treats and the recipes, come back again tomorrow!



Happy July 4th to all my blogging friends in the USA!


Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

We have sour cherries for only three weeks each summer, less if the weather is especially hot. They’re in now so it was time for me to get to work. I had 6 quarts of cherries and with them I made 3 pies and 2 cherry puddings. It isn't difficult to do the baking but pitting the cherries is the part I hate. It took me 90 minutes to pit all 6 quarts. There was cherry juice everywhere, even on Seamus' head. You can just see his foot in the picture above.

Cherry pudding is called cherry clafouti in some circles but no one here in Pennsylvania Dutch country would know what you meant if you said clafouti. This is a favorite of my mother’s friend John so I make the cherry pudding for him. He told me that when he was a little boy, they had cherry trees on their farm. He’d pester his mother over and over to make cherry pudding. She grew so weary of his constant requests that she thought she’d teach him a lesson. She baked a large cherry pudding and told him it was all his. The only catch was that he had to sit and eat it right then. She was hoping that it would make him sick and he’d never want it again. But he couldn’t have been happier. He ate the whole thing without any ill effects. The next day he was back to bugging his mother for another cherry pudding.

Cherry Pudding

2 eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ to ¾ cup milk
4 tablespoons soft shortening
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups red sour cherries

Cream together shortening and sugar; add eggs. Sift in dry ingredients. Add milk and mix well. Fold in drained cherries and bake in greased and floured pans (1 ½ quart.) Bake at 400º for 35-40 minutes until top forms a rich brown crust. Serve at once with milk and sugar or with ice cream and a syrup made from left-over cherry juice.

My friend Anita from Prairie Dreams passed this award to me. I think it is so cute. Thanks, Anita!


Retro Tea: Dump Cake

Despite its name, Dump Cake is a quick and tasty treat. These cakes were so popular when I was a kid. Each baker would put her own spin on the cake by varying the fruit used. There is even a pumpkin dump cake. The recipe is from Betty Crocker herself. :)

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). In large bowl, stir together cake mix and butter until crumbly; set aside.
2. Spread pie filling and pineapple in ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Sprinkle cake mix mixture evenly over fruit.
3. Bake 39 to 46 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store loosely covered.


Retro Tea: Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs

These were one of my favorite weeknight desserts when I was a kid. They still taste just as good today.

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 (8-oz.) cans Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
16 large marshmallows
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 16 medium muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon; mix well.

Separate dough into 16 triangles. For each roll, dip 1 marshmallow in melted butter; roll in sugar mixture. Place marshmallow on shortest side of triangle. Roll up, starting at shortest side and rolling to opposite point. Completely cover marshmallow with dough; firmly pinch edges to seal. Dip 1 end in remaining butter; place butter side down in sprayed muffin cup.

Bake at 375°F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. (Place foil or cookie sheet on rack below muffin cups to guard against spills.) Cool in pan 1 minute. Remove rolls from muffin cups; place on wire racks set over waxed paper.

In small bowl, blend powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve warm.