Well, not really but over at our collaborative blog, Focusing on Life, my friend, Terri, told a lovely story about one of her son's favorite recipes and invited each of us to tell our story in the Linky Party at the bottom of the post. This is my story.
When Krista was just a young girl and we first started celebrating Christmas in our own home instead of making the 600+ mile trek to my parents' home, we knew we needed to develop our own traditions. One of the first to evolve was our Christmas Eve Tea.
Since it was our custom to attend Christmas Eve service at our church at 5:30 in the afternoon, we needed a quick but delicious and festive dinner to have when we returned home, usually with our tummies growling. Because of my British roots, I came up with the idea of High Tea in the best British tradition.
Years later, Krista told me this is her favorite holiday tradition and so we do it year in and year out. It has become more sophisticated with each year. One of our favorite recipes is the orange cranberry scones that I began making just a few years ago.
I will tell you that putting together this festive tea party is a lot of work. I plan for weeks and bake and cook for at least two days. But it is truly a labor of love. And ... possibly my favorite family tradition as well.
The Glitz is aptly named. Both the restaurant and the antique shops are over the top glitzy, as I shared with you in my first post, but in a fun sort of way. The reflection in the mirror above gives you a peek into what the decor is like throughout the dining rooms. As you enter, the glitz greets you right away.
But it doesn't stop there. This was the view across the room from our table and as you can see, the glitz was not at all diminished in this dining area either.
The food was out of this world! The menu is changed every two weeks and there is a choice of three appetizers, three entrees, and three desserts, all included in the prix fixe. I'll confess I was too busy eating to whip out my camera with each course and the cell phone photos just weren't very good, given the dim lighting. However, here's a peek at two things that I had. Everybody is started off with the Apple Chiller, which is also available by the bottle on site to take home.
And dessert. well, you knew that was important enough to whip out the big camera, didn't you? I chose The Glitz Kiss, a merinque shell with jamoca ice cream and whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and slivered almonds. Oh, my! It didn't disappoint!
We'll be going back to The Glitz, I can promise you that. And if you'd like to join me, be sure to let me know ahead of time because reservations are required. And they serve only lunch, Tuesday through Saturday.
Won't you join me?
When I retired at the end of December, one of my friends at work gave me a lovely little tea set. She and I had a ritual each morning in the office, we each made a fresh cup of tea to start our work day. When I left, she lost her tea buddy because everyone else in the office drinks coffee. The tea set is enblamatic of the 20+ years that we worked together and more importantly, our friendship.
Campbell and I have been planning to have a tea party together using this special tea set and a few days ago, we had the perfect opportunity. Over the weekend I'd been to Panera Bread and came home with a box of mini-scones, three each of orange, strawberries and cream and that old standby, blueberry. It was a rainy, cool afternoon, so what better to do following quiet time than have a tea party for two.
Campbell is familiar with tea parties. Every Christmas Eve, following the early evening church service, we all return to my home for our Christmas Eve Tea, a high tea in the best British tradition. On this day we sampled my personal favorite, orange-spice tea from Elmwood Inn Tea Company, a local business. Campbell tried hers with milk, which is how she takes her special Christmas Tea blend on Christmas Eve.
This tea party did not have as many people and was not as fancy but it was a fun treat nevertheless. It brought to mind all the simple afternoon teas I used to have as a young child with my very British grandparents who taught me to love tea and all its traditions.
It is a special delight to me to be able to share this tradition ... and I hope this love ... with my favorite granddaughter.
Our Thanksgiving is in the books and this triptych pretty much sums it up:
The turkey was demolished before I could take his portrait. It was probably Adam's best turkey yet. He's always in charge of the turkey which is fine with me!
The beautiful flowers were designed by Krista, who has a knack for this. She doesn't like to cook but she loves flowers.
And the pie ... oh, my! It might be The.Best.Pumpkin.Pie.Ever. I tried a new recipe this year and it is a keeper. I don't like to cook turkey but I do like to make desserts!
But the best part was just hanging out. Together.
Playing Barbie with Campbell.
Playing Hungry Hungry Hippo.
Watching (too much) football.
How about you? What was the best part of your Thanksgiving holiday?
I am reading Omnivore's Dilemma. Adam read it about a year ago and has been after me to read it ever since. Now that Campbell puts herself to sleep and I have regained some "me time" in the evenings during which I can read, I am finally getting around to getting him off my back.
If you haven't already read this book I will channel Adam and say that you "have to read it. Everyone should be forced to read it." Michael Pollan's book is a riveting, page-turner of an expose on the American diet and food industry. A real picture of American largess if ever there was one.
The first thing explored is the amazing role corn plays as the anchor of our food system. I had no idea how much stuff we make from the massive surpluses of corn generated by outdated and corporately manipulated agriculture policies (more in a future post). Given that corn is on my mind right now I took a peak at my LeanCousine box while my gourmet lunch was nuking. . . .
Yup, you guessed it corn. No less than six of the 20 or so ingredients listed on my box were corn. What was I eating? Pizza. And not that freaky Mexican pizza that they used to serve in my elementary school cafeteria that had corn on it. Italian pizza - pizza margherita.
So, corn? Really? Six forms of corn are needed to make something consisting of dough, tomato sauce, cheese and tomatoes and onions? Actually, I'm guessing based on my reading so far that a seventh ingredient (modified food starch) probably has some form of corn in it since it is denoted by an asterisk that signifies it is "not an ingredient in regular mozzarella cheese."
Crazy . . . I never would have guessed that corn is a bedrock ingredient in pizza. Omnivore is a real eye opener. We are all corn.
I know none of these will be under the tree for me this year . . . I agreed to give-up most of my Christmas so Adam could get his camera and my big present from my folks is a new coffee table. So, this little wish list is more for those of you who may have a few last minute gifts to get . . .
I (and all of my female friends) am addicted to pj's. I have them on within 5 minutes of getting home no matter what time of day it is. If you stop by my house at any random time you will find me in my pjs. I am in desperate need of new pjs as mine have gotten quite worn out. I found these on Red Envelope while wishfully "shopping" for replacements and may just have to treat myself for President's Day . . .
The New Perfect Dress
The little black slip dress has been a staple of mine for ages. It's perfect for dinner parties, weddings - you name it. But I just discovered this dress from J Crew and am IN LOVE. It can be dressed up or down with the right shoes. Throw a cardigan over it and wear it to work. Grab flip flops and wear it to the pool. It looks amazingly comfy, too!
It's Cold Outside
I love a good, stylish coat. It's the best thing about cold weather. Unlike Adam I don't own a million coats though because I can never bring myself to pay for more than one coat at at time. Unfortunately, my red coat from last winter is still in fabulous condition - if it weren't this Ann Taylor beauty would be this year's buy.
Mommy jewelry is big. There are those necklaces with the mommy figure hugging the baby figure or the clunky birthstone bracelets. They may work for some but for me I like the Mommy jewelry that doesn't scream "I am a Mommy!" Plus, I've wanted a channel band for my right hand for years. This ring is, to me, a great understated way of symbolizing Campbell with her birthstone but in a way that only says "Mommy" if I choose to explain . . .
My Mom is huge on stocking stuffers and is always on the hunt for unique stocking stuffer options.
These ornaments are darling - I am a Christmas ornament nut and make a point to buy a new one every year. If I hadn't already purchased a silver snowflake with Campbell's name on it, this little fellow from Restoration Hardware might be the winner for this year.