No matter what time of year it is, there are days you just want to stay inside and have a tea party. Especially when Grandma and Grandpa are over.
So here are some ideas of food and fun for the event:
The Tea: for Two…or for the Whole Clan
Yes, coffee works if you really want it, but there are plenty of other tasty options.
*Hot cider: Apple cider with 1-2 cinnamon sticks, heated in a pot for about thirty minutes. Makes the house smell incredible!
*Chai: your favorite black tea bag with a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and/or cloves. Or buy chai tea bags. (I like Tazo or Celestial Seasonings.)
Blend in a ratio of ¾ boiling water to ¼ milk and sweeten to your taste.
*Russian Tea: an old tangy favorite that Grandma just may have mixed up when her kids were little. You can try the common Taste of Home powdered mix version…
OR make it fresh with this easy recipe (makes 3 cups [24oz])
Stir and heat in a pan till hot:
2 cups sweet tea
1½ cups orange juice
¾ cup lemonade
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
3-4 teaspoons sugar
Of course, whatever you choose for your drink, you’ll want some yummy treats to go with it.
Because All the Rules Go Out the Window When the Grandparents are Around
Here’s food that’s made to play with. Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
*Sculpture Cookies—like playdough, but they’re REALLY edible.
1 cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons honey
1 ½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
- In a mixing bowl, blend the peanut butter, honey, eggs, flour, and baking soda.
- Give each person a piece of parchment paper with flour sprinkled on it and a lump of “cookie clay.”
- Shape the clay into whatever form you’d like: teddy bears, birds, bugs, leaves, …
- Bake on parchment paper at 350°F for 8-10 minutes.
- Cool and eat.
Yes, giggling is allowed.
If You’re in the Mood for Something More “Cultured”
With these fancy little desserts, it’s “High Tea” time. You’ll want to drink your tea with your pinky raised.
But first, have fun making these one-bite cakes together.
- Make your favorite from-scratch or boxed cake and bake in a 9×13 pan.
- When it’s cool (yes, you can throw it in the freezer to speed it up), cut the cake into 1½ x 1½ inch squares.
- Add 2 tablespoons milk to your favorite white frosting and blend until the mixture is smooth. Separate this thinner frosting into small bowls and add food coloring.
- Frost the sides and top of each small cake with the colored icing, trying to make it as level as possible.
- Freeze for 30 minutes.
- Place the leftover colored frosting in sandwich baggies, snip small holes in the bottom corners, and decorate the top of the little cakes, piping circles, squiggles, and lines.
When you’re finished, you just might decide you need to bring out the china to serve these beauties.
Let’s Call It Healthy—Because It’s Apples, Right?
Stuffed with fruit, these two special tea treats have a little more substance than just sugar. And even more special, they’re actually recipes from the Colonial days, i.e. the 1600s.
No, Grandma and Grandpa were NOT alive back then. But they can still enjoy tasting the history.
*Apples and Eggs in Pastry [from Robert May in 1660] (serves 3-4)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 baked puff-pastry pie shell, warm from the oven (In the 1600s, they made it from scratch, but, thankfully, you don’t have to. Pepperidge Farm, Trader Joes, and Dufour all make frozen puff-pastry.)
- Prepare the baked puff-pastry pie shell and set it aside.
- In one skillet, cook the apple slices lightly on medium heat with the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of butter until tender.
- In a second skillet, scramble the eggs with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- To the scrambled eggs, add the sugar, salt, lemon peel, and lemon juice.
- Pour half the cooked egg mixture into the warmed puff-pastry pie shell.
- Pick the apple slices out of the skillet, leaving the cinnamon butter drippings, and arrange the apples on top of the eggs.
- Pour the cinnamon butter drippings into the 2nd skillet with the rest of the eggs. Stir and add those eggs to the pie, i.e., over the apples.
- Serve hot. (In 1660, they liked it with cold sliced pork.)
*Apple and Orange Tart (serves 4)
5 medium apples
2 tablespoons flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ lb short pastry
(If you don’t feel like buying pastry and Grandma doesn’t have a favorite short dough recipe, try this one:
4 cups flour, pinch of salt, and 1 cup butter “rubbed” together until the mixture looks like little peas [in size and shape, not color, of course]
Add 4-6 tablespoons of super cold water, blending the dough with a knife until it forms a nice ball. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 15 minutes.)
- Put a little flour on the table, divide the short pastry in half and roll into two circles. Line the bottom and sides of a pie dish with one pastry circle.
- Peel the oranges and divide into segments.
- Peel and core the apples and slice thinly.
- Combine the fruit in a bowl and toss with the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Pile the fruit in the pie dish. Dot with butter.
- Cover with the other circle of pie crust and press the fork tongs around the edge to “flute” the top and bottom crust together.
- On the top, sprinkle with sugar and cut a few holes to vent the steam.
- Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes.
When Everyone’s Had Their Fill of Tea and Tasties…
Gram and Gramps may be in the mood for some quiet time. Try this version of the “still as a statue” game.
Yes, this craft whispers of ages gone by, but it’s an art that will never become outdated. And you can get as creative as you want to be:
- Make one for each person one at a time, great for a collage of single frames.
- Line everyone up front to back for multi-generations: Grandma, Daughter, Granddaughter.
- Or create a “work of heart” masterpiece: Grandpa and Grandchild face to face, forehead to forehead.
Whatever posing you choose, here are the steps for the project:
- Tape a piece of large white paper, like newspaper size, to the wall
- Place chairs sideways about a foot away from the paper, so those sitting have their arm parallel to the wall
- About five feet in front of the chair, set a lamp that you can position (like one with a gooseneck arm). Shine it toward the chairs, making silhouette shadows on the paper.
- Remind your subjects to sit still and, with a pencil, sketch around the shadows.
- Un-tape the paper from the wall and cut out the silhouette.
- Place the white silhouette on black paper and retrace it.
- Cut the new black silhouette out and frame it for a forever-keepsake.
Your statues tend to come to life before you have them sketched?
Cheating is perfectly acceptable here: Take a picture of the shadow, or if that’s too hard, just a side picture of your wiggling models. You can doctor the photo in editing software or just print the picture, cut it out, and retrace it on the black paper to recut.
Either way, you’ll have a sweet memory of the tea party.
Teatime Fit for the Queen.
Getting together doesn’t have to be complicated. You can make it as simple as boiling water and setting out triangle-shaped sandwiches.
But for more laughs, add a few fancy costumes, with scarves, gloves, and a top hat or two. And why not try one of the recipes above, making the fun everybody’s cup of tea.
Have your own favorite tea party recipe? Let us know on Facebook.
Elizabeth Daghfal is a writer, teacher, speaker, and community volunteer. When she isn't teaching or writing-- Who are we kidding? Her husband and five kids say she's ALWAYS teaching and writing. She has a passion to help people who are struggling and is happy to say her shoulders are drip-dry. Born and raised in the South, she now lives in Wisconsin and loves it--except for the fifteen months of winter. Read more about her at elizabethdaghfal.com.