Happy Monday, my friends, and welcome! I'm so glad you could stop by. Would you care to join me for tea?
This is one of my favorite weeks all year. Thanksgiving is upon us and folks are bustling about, making their way homeward. Families are reunited, nostalgia abounds, and home cooks are doing what they do best: taking care of their families ... feeding them, body and soul!
I think it's clear I am someone who likes to look for the simple joys in life. I have always felt this way and try to bring that positivity to my blog as much as I can. We all know life is not always (often, ever?) perfect or easy - but there is always much for which to be grateful. Family and home, good health, good work, good food, good friends. And always, above all, God's love and grace. More than anything, I hope and pray my boys are blessed by all of these things throughout their lives ...
In my weekly teatime journal, I hope to sit down and take a moment to feel grateful for, not just the "biggies" (as mentioned above) but also, the little things that I might easily overlook or take for granted. I would love to have you join me when you are able. :)
(And let me just say right here and now, I am grateful for every one of you dear people who take the time to stop by and read whatever I might have to share. I am humbled to think you spend some of your time here and honored by your encouragement and friendship.)
Now, I'm still sort of piecing together how these teatimes will work ... how I'll make them happen for myself and how I will share them with you all. (I fear this first one is a bit rambly.) So please bear with me as I find my way, but for today, here are some pictures of my teatime and the happy things surrounding me right now ...
Thankgiving decorations along the mantel ...
A few favorite seasonal books ...
Vases along a sunny windowsill, stuffed with a last bit of autumn.
A lovely "vintage book" filled with children's poems and prayers.
One pretty tablecloth, fairly new ...
And another, fairly old ... but much loved. This woven cloth belonged to my grandmother and was one of her most often used kitchen linens. It's faded now, but so very soft, and I love the memories it brings to mind ...
And I think it looks rather pretty beneath an apple-filled cornucopia. :)
A lovely season's greeting card. (I like to prop special cards on a small art stand like this. Gets them out of the mail basket and into the open!)
A cocktail napkin for Turkey Day, featuring Good Ol' Mister Tom, himself.
My Tea Journal for 11/24/14
In the Natural World ...
The day started out drizzly and gray - wonderful tea-drinking weather! Though strangely warm for this time of year, as well and overcast skies parted as the afternoon waned. There's a rather large flock of robins in the neighborhood that seem out of place (though are quite welcome) in November.
What I'm drinking (and eating!) ...
My cup (pictured at the top of the page) is an old favorite. Part of a set I grew up with, famliar in my parents' kitchen cabinets. They're mine (and Bill's) now and I think they originally came from Vermont. Which of course, makes them all that more special to me. :) Today I'm drinking Constant Comment Decaf - another old favorite of mine and just right for the holiday season: black tea + orange + spices. Quite fitting for Thanksgiving, too - the blend was first formulated by a home cook here in New England!
To nibble on: a couple of THESE COOKIES which OMgoodness I cannot stop eating. My parents gave me a box last month - well, they gave it to US, but they quickly became MINE - and I am hooked. Hooked, I tell you. For me, they are quite possibly the perfect cookie - buttery and dense with a scant touch of salt. The kind of cookie I truly have no business ordering in bulk.
What I'm reading ...
Not a lot right now - too busy! But I did get this from the library after reading an interesting review and I also picked up this today (again from the library). Magazines are piling up - the Christmas issues look amazing.
What I'm working on ...
Aside from Thanksgiving Day preparations, I am also working on my Advent planner and the kids' Advent calendar. I'm using library pockets, index cards and stickers - and I will post about it very soon!
Words to inspire gratitude ...
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
And now, I'm very grateful to two dear friends, longtime readers, Michelle and Emma, for sharing their thoughts on teatime ...
Good Afternoon Dawn! I am sitting here reading your blog with a hot cup of apple cider. So yummy on this wintery day in Indiana and to go along with it 5 inches of snow! It was so beautiful this morning to awake to a winter wonderland. This is our first snowfall for the season and my boys are loving it. I am so excited that you will be starting up your Tuesday teas again. When the boys were younger we would have tea/story time. I would try to coordinate the tea and sweet treat (of course) to go along with the book. One of our favorites was a gingerbread tea with a little dab of sugar. Precious memories! Thanks for letting me share.
And from Emma:
Dear Dawn. Thank you for making me even more mindful for all my everyday blessings, you and your blog are so dear to my heart. Tea time in my kitchen: a favorite cup of warm, sweet earl grey, a piece of pumpkin gingerbread cake, the last Autumn greeting to mail out later today, a shopping list - and in the background a CD with Thanksgiving hymns and one of my very favorite Yankee Candle" Cranberry Chutney", so wonderful. A calm, joy filled moment. Thank you for inviting me, have a lovely afternoon.
Thank you for the lovely thoughts and kind words, Michelle and Emma!
I would be so happy to hear from more friends about their teatimes this week (or next week or whenever you are able). If you'd like to participate - with words and/or pictures - please send me an email at your earliest convenience ...
>> [email protected] <<
I look forward to hearing from you!
Next Monday we'll begin our Advent Teas, so there will be lots to to talk about and share. Some thoughts on our hopes and ideas for the season ... so please stay tuned!
But before I go, how about a recipe for the week? If you were all coming for tea I might make this since it is so seasonal and yummy-sounding! (I'm making it for Thanksgiving, so I'll let yo know how it turns out!)
Cranberry Spice Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup currants
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup jellied cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
Cranberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 pound confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a tube pan or two 8" round pans.
For the Cake
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after beating each egg in. Stir in the currants and nuts. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt; mix into the sugar mixture. Stir in the cranberry sauce and orange zest.
Pour evenly into the tube pan or divide between the round pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull back from the edges of the pan(s). Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the cranberries and orange juice. Microwave for 30 seconds in high, to allow the fruit to soak up the juice. In another medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, butter and salt until no lumps remain. Add the confectioner's sugar and mix well. Add any unabsorbed orange juice, and vanilla and mix until creamy. Use the cranerries for garnish or mix into the frosting as you please.
Yield: 16 servings
(From The Baking Sheet (published by King Arthur Flour) which is SADLY going out of print. I have many years' worth of back issues. Earlybird loves to read them as well.)
Enjoy your Monday evening, my friends ... see you here again very soon!