Sunday, August 29, 2021

Late Summer Tea with Friends!


Late Summer Tea with Friends!

Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect time to get together for afternoon tea with our friends.  We had hoped to enjoy our tea on our screen porch, but the weather has been so humid and rainy that we decided to stay indoors.  We see our neighbor friends often at the breakfast buffet that is held each day in our apartment building - and while that is a great time to see all of our neighbors, it is sometimes hard to really communicate with so many people and so many conversations taking place. So...we got together for tea !

I set up the tea cups and fixings on the kitchen counter...

This little tea bag holder was found in a gift shop in Newport, Rhode Island on one of our trips.  I love it!

While we use larger mugs for our tea each day, these cups and saucers are perfect for a tea party.  I think the pattern is called Hopscotch by Pfaltzgraff.  I have four dinner plates with different fruit on each plate that I purchased YEARS ago at the outlet that used to be near me here in York, PA.  I had the Yorktowne pattern years and had many ( ok, let's face it, I had just about everything they ever made in my pattern) but I bought these and had them hanging on my kitchen wall in a previous home.   When we downsized and moved I kept the plates and use them in the summer.  When we were downsizing and donating tons of stuff to Goodwill I happened to go into the retail Goodwill and found 5 cups and 4 saucers in the same pattern.  For just 4 dollars !   I scooped them up - which prompted my dear husband to say "hey, we are supposed to be donating items, not buying more!" - but I could not resist.  So glad I have them...they make a perfect set for a summer breakfast - and today, for afternoon tea.

There is one pear, one plum, one peach, and I have two cups with cherries, but only one saucer...

I used the sugar and creamer that I found years ago at Ross...when I got rid of my Yorktowne pattern and went to plain white dishes I needed a new set and I love these.  The little dish the lemons sit on was found at a rummage sale...I go on the last day when it is 1.00 for everything you can fit in a paper grocery bag - and this is something that made it into the bag one day.

My Pottery Barn tea/coffee pot sits on my "vintage" Yorktowne pewter warmer.  I have used this for 40 years !  I loved using it for my tea pots and also for casseroles.  It has a little tea light that keeps everything warm.

All the tea time goodies were set out in the living room so we could get comfy seating and chat, nibble and sip.

I made blueberry muffins the day before and had some leftover batter...just enough to make a small loaf of blueberry bread.  I found the blue dish at Marshalls earlier this year.   Silly me, I purchased one... got it home and thought " I need more of these as salad plates!"  Sadly, by the time I returned to Marshalls they were all gone.

I used one of the dinner plates for crackers and honeyed goat cheese...and a "spread some happy" knife that was a gift a few years back.  It makes everyone smile!

Some strawberries filled the odd tea cup...

Home made chocolate chip cookies were a hit...I use half whole wheat flour and vegan butter and nobody can tell...The little pedestal plate broke off and cracked a few months ago.  The base was ok, so I just bought a plain glass dish at Dollar Tree and used super glue to attach it to the dish.

And, last but not least, some chocolates to round out the tea time...I love putting chocolates in a martini just seems to make it special!

I am not quite ready for fall leaves and autumn decor yellow and sunflowers are the theme for late summer.   Once again Dollar Tree sunflower dishes and some silk flowers fill the bill for the dining room table...

with a larger version of the sunflower plate brightening up the china closet.

A sunflower wine bottle with sparkle lights looks great near the wine rack.

The coffee table ( or in this case, the TEA table) holds a wicker trap with some greenery, a candle, some flowers and wicker balls from Dollar Tree, and a Willow Tree flower girl.

And now that tea time is over and the guest have gone - it is time for me to curl up on my favorite chair ( with a sunflower pillow from Kohls - several years old ) and another cup of tea with a good book.
Do you decorate for the end of summer ?  Do you ever host friends for tea?  Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you and your comments make my day.
Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista - enjoy these last days of summer !

Monday, August 16, 2021

Caprese Bites


Caprese Bites

Here is a quick and easy recipe I found in a handout from our local grocery store.   I made it this week to take as a snack when friends invited us to  their home to play some card games.  It was  BIG hit!

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

1 16 oz. package of mozzarella pearls ( little balls of cheese)

Jarred pesto sauce

Fresh basil

Salt, Pepper, Oilve OIl

Halve the cherry tomatoes...and if you want, you can toss with champagne vinegar or balsamic vinegar...I did not. 

 Place a dollop of pesto on hone half of a tomato and top with a piece of mozzarella and a small piece of fresh basil. 

I used kitchen shears to cut the basil leaves into smaller pieces...

 Place the other half of the tomato on top. 

I found it easy to assemble the tomato/pesto/cheese/basil, then skewer the other half of the tomato first, line them up...and push the skewer through all layers.   After I assembled them all I drizzled a little olive oil over all.
These were a big hit and great "finger food" because they were easy to pick up one at a time.
My only wish is that I could have used some home grown, garden tomatoes...our neighbors have been giving us the bounty of their gardens, including many large tomatoes.   I will be trying - and sharing - some other recipes with those tomatoes soon!
Until then, hope everyone is enjoying August and these hazy, lazy, CRAZY days of summer.  Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista...please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you!  

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Recipe Organization


Recipe Organization

Back in April I started to organize and weed out my is the link to what I did with my wonderful recipe box - 
Recipe Box Memories  Back when I was first married and collecting recipes almost all my recipes were in this box .  All 3x5 cards, written out by hand by me or whomever shared the recipe.  Sometimes I would clip a recipe from a magazine or newspaper and tape it to a card.  And..sometimes I would find a good recipe and type ( remember typewriters?) it onto a card.  Then, 4x6 recipe cards came into fashion and I did not have a holder for those.  So I started tucking them into my cookbooks.   Eventually typewriters were replaced with computers and the world of the internet.  So many recipes, from all over, and you could print them!!!  For a long time I kept those recipes in a plain binder - but then I found this wonderful binder created by one of my favorite authors/illustrators/bloggers - Susan Branch.  If you have not discovered her and her wonderful books, products, and blog - you can find her here - Susan Branch  When we downsized and moved I donated almost all of my cookbooks EXCEPT for hers.  They are keepers!  
For the past few years I have been just shoving the recipes I printed into this beautiful binder.  I has wonderful dividers, adorable stickers and illustrations, and I was ruining it.  Just shoving things in...sometimes putting them in with holes punched in and sometimes just shoving the recipes in between the pages.  The binder held all my favorite, often made recipes.  But it also held "hey, this looks good" recipes that I had never made. was time to "clean house"!
First thing I did was to go through and make a pile of pages to go into the recycle bin.  I found duplicates of favorites, recipes that sounded good at the time, and some that made me think "what was I thinking?"

That left me with a pile of recipes I wanted to keep that were not organized.  Some had been in the right category and had the 3 ring holes punched...but I would pull them out to use and then shove them back inside the cover....shame on me!

So, the first thing I did was make sure each recipe had holes punched in to fit in the binder...
Then I removed my horrible, quick attempt to fix the dividers with painters tape....I have painters tape in my kitchen drawer because that is what I use to mark things I am putting in the freezer.  It is easily removed from plastic or glass containers. I repaired the dividers using clear packing tape.
Then I went through the entire binder and was ruthless about recycling recipes I just knew I would never use...

Pulled out the ones that I saw needed new holes punched in...

then looked at all the stickers and other pages that came with the binder and picked out what to use and stored the rest in with "nice paper" file.  I used reinforcement labels on the pages that had been ripped through the holes...
And used some labels to divide up the baked good categories...

Then I used some of the cut outs and stickers to dress up the divider pages...
Shoved in the binder I found this bookmark I made back in the early 1990's.  Any other educators out there ever take those summer courses where you could make crafty things for your classroom ( for me, for the library) and there was always tons of materials and a laminator to make sure everything stayed fresh.  My friends would laugh at me and say they could tell I had gone to Parochial School because I used up every scrap of material and all of my posters/displays were double sided....wasted nothing.   This was a stencil of my Pfalzgraff Yorketowne pattern that I used to make a cookbook bookmark. 

I had to laugh when I turned it over....shortly after I made it we sold our home, without a realtor, and I wanted a SOLD sign to put on our home made "FOR SALE" sign.  So this bookmark did double duty, too.
And then it was finished...and not jammed with recipes I will never use again or never did use.  

It now fits so nicely in my pullout cabinet...

Love these pullouts...this cabinet is my baking center and also holds my crockpot.
I was so inspired with my newly organized binder that I pulled out my recipe for halupki - stuffed cabbage - and made a batch that night!

Yummy!  Perfect with pierogi ( not homemade, thank you Mrs. T's), peas...and a cold beer - enjoyed on a summer night on the porch! You can find the recipe here   

And, while I no longer have a garden or flowers to cut, neighbors are very generous with sharing veggies and beautiful bouquets...
Lovely zinnias!

Have you been working on any organizing projects this summer ?  I would love to hear what you have been doing?  Please share a comment below - I really love hearing from you!  Hope you are enjoying August and the rest of the summer...and thank you for stopping by Our New Vista!

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...