Little Thanksgiving Tea Parties

If the idea of hosting a tea party over the Thanksgiving weekend sends shivers down your spine, you aren’t alone. After preparing the big feast, you’re exhausted, your fridge is already stuffed with leftovers and lots of your potential guests are out of town. Nope, no big Thanksgiving tea party. BUT you can still enjoy tea at this busy time of year. Coming up are five little ways to share tea all through the holiday.

The first tea is for Wednesday evening. Welcome your Thanksgiving houseguests with these delicious Pumpkin Bars and decaf tea. Their travel stress will be eased with Bigelow's Constant Comment tea. And who doesn’t like a snack before bed. I call this The Arrival Tea Party.

4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins, if desired
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup nuts, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of 15x10x1-inch pan with shortening. In large bowl, beat eggs, granulated sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves. Stir in raisins. Spread in pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 2 hours.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Spread frosting over bars. Sprinkle with nuts. For bars, cut into 7 rows by 7 rows. Store in refrigerator.