Afternoon Tea

Yesterday, I invited two of my friends over for afternoon tea. I didn’t want anything too overtop but I did want it to be special, especially because one of my friends had never had afternoon tea. I went with a  mismatched themed as I wanted it to be casual yet girly. I set the table with a white tablecloth and put a rose fabric topper made out of a thrifted piece of vintage fabric.

The centerpiece was a painted Mason jar with silk flowers. I would have loved fresh flowers but honestly, fresh flowers never last in my home. They are my cat’s favorite snack! I don’t support his addiction to eating  flowers, so I don’t tempt him by bringing them in. I wonder if they have a support group for people like me? Ha!

I used thrifted cloth napkins with the sweetest embroidered pink flower. Aren’t they so pretty?

Look at these beautiful little treats! I had my daughter help with making them and the decoration.

Afternoon tea is her favorite and she loves to help set up and decorate! A girl after my own heart!

I brought out this beautiful white teapot that my mamma bought for me last year. She got one to match for herself.

The sugar bowl is part of another set that was given to me as a going away present from some friends last summer. I love this set and use almost daily.

I served PG Tips again. I chose this one because both of my friends are coffee girls, so I wanted a full flavor tea.

Recognize this teacup? She has already made an appearance here.

I brought out my favorite creamer in my favorite pattern, Royal Albert’s Old Country Rose. A classic beauty!

I love the light reflecting off my pink depression plates. So pretty!

I served Lemon Curd Filled Vanilla Cakes with Vanilla Buttercream.

They were delicious! So moist and tangy from the lemon curd filling, and sweet and creamy from the vanilla buttercream. I love the fresh raspberry on top!

 

My daughter also made the Lemon Drizzle cakes. She wanted to make the recipe all on her own.

I think she did a great job!

I also served crustless mini quiches with peppers and dill. So scrumptious!

I brought out hats so my friends could wear them. They loved it!

We had a lovely time together chatting, sipping tea, enjoying all the lovely treats, and just having girl time. I asked my one friend who had never had afternoon tea how she liked it, and her answer was, “I can’t wait for the next one!” I think it’s safe to say she loved it!

Isn’t afternoon tea just so wonderful? I think so!

Enjoy!

~Ana

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Buttercream

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Sometime in early January, my family and I went vegan for about 8 weeks (we eat a mostly vegetarian diet with the addition of salmon every so often). We had just started to get back into the swing of regular life after a gastronomically exciting holiday season (I don’t know about you, but in my family we eat non-st0p from Thanksgiving to New Years!). We wanted to just lay off the heavy food and just focus on eating healthier, with less processed foods, and no dairy. That turned out to be a challenge for me since I love to bake, and most baked goods require creamy, delicious, butter and eggs. But, a challenge never stopped me! I surfed the internet and found a few vegan recipes to try. Some were terrible and others were total failures! A few here and there were good enough base recipes that I tweaked and resulted in good products.

I spent some time reworking some of my own recipes into vegan options like the chunky monkey banana bread recipe (get the recipe here), and even some bread recipes that I will share soon. Somewhere in the process, I found a chocolate cake recipe that seemed like a good base. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the website I got it from because I hand wrote the recipe on a sticky note. I did change a few things in it, which improved the taste and texture of the cake, so I guess I will call it mine now. However, I want to thank the person who created it because they provided a great working base for me. So, thank you random internet person. Thank you for sharing your recipe with me!

This cake is moist, light, fluffy, chocolatey, rich, and delicious. The buttercream is sweet, creamy, and luxurious. Truly, a winner recipe! Oh! and did I mention it is great with tea? It is! I hope you give it a try. If you do, please, comment or send me a message. I would love to hear how you liked it!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup All Purpose flour, sifted

3/4 cup, plus 3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup, special dark cocoa powder, sifted

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup, unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk)

1/3 cup, vegetable oil

1 tsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350º and line a cupcake or muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder). Mix together to combine. Add milk, vinegar, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix together until well mixed and batter is smooth. Using an ice cream scoop or a measuring cup, pour into a prepared muffin pan, lined with cupcake liners, filling about 1/2 way up. Bake at 350º for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan completely before frosting. You can decorate it with anything your heart desires. I used a strawberry for these.

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks of Earth Balance vegan butter sticks (the yellow box), at room temperature.

3 cups, confectioners sugar (powder or icing sugar), sifted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. unsweetened almond milk (or as much or little as needed)

Instructions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add half of the sugar and mix well, at medium speed until creamy and fluffy, and the butter is pale in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and the rest of the sugar and mix at medium speed for about one minute or until creamy and smooth. Add the milk if needed to loosen up the buttercream or omit if it isn’t needed.

I have found that depending on the temperature of my kitchen at the time, the buttercream can get slightly runny. If this happens, don’t panic! Simply put the bowl with the buttercream in the freezer for about 5 minutes and let it come together again. Using a rubber spatula, you can whip it again to make it nice and smooth.

Enjoy!
~Ana

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Pretty in Pink Tea

Just a few weeks ago, my friend’s daughter turned 5. She is a girly girl who loves pink, so her mamma and I set out to celebrate her birthday with an all pink tea party. My friend being so talented, decorated her dining room while I made the cupcakes, marshmallow pops, and other yummy treats. We set the table for the little ladies and served them strawberry milk for “tea”. They loved it! Here are some pictures of the Pretty in Pink birthday tea party. 10994878_1602643926615976_134452230202415814_n

Freshly picked pink tulips in a white vase for center pieces.

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Lace, floral china, and doilies brought a vintage flair.

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This floral tea pot is sure to make any tea party exciting!

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Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream roses added a sweet touch. 

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Everything was so pretty and girly. Simple and sweet, just like the birthday girl.

Isn’t life better with tea? I think so!

~Ana

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