let’s have tea!

— April 04, 2016

We are no stranger to tea parties in our home but our tea parties may seem a little strange to those who follow strict “tea rules”.

There are no rules at our tea parties and that is what makes them so fun and so easy to do. Scones don’t have to be made, crusts and skins do not have to be cut off of our food and we can drink something other than tea. So what makes it a “tea party” then, I can hear you thinking? It’s about the special small bites of food presented in a different way that is just so super-de-duper exciting, just like a traditional tea with rules, but…no rules. I am The Awkward Bird, remember?

A PB&J sandwich may seem boring and plain until it has become a Tea Party PB&J sandwich.

I recently discovered the “Tea Time” magazine and signed myself right up. I had been thinking that somewhere down the road when I have a gift shoppe “plus” (and I keep saying “plus”, because in true Awkward Bird style, it will multi-task just as much as I do – gifts, hobbies, crafts, books, classes, goodies and treats, events, maybe fresh eggs, veggies, fruits and flowers from my hobby farm, my creations…you get the picture) that I wanted to offer tea parties, but relaxed tea parties with twists.

My first issue was a lot of fun and even though I have not been a follower of the popular TV show Downton Abbey, they shared information about the real property and lots of tea time recipes, of course. With modification, the large collection of ripped out recipe pages can be tweaked to fit into our “tea time with a twist parties”.

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Last year, I had plans to make my own sugar cubes and am just getting around to it this year. Often, that is how the time frame works in my world.

I spent a few moments looking up how to make them and got the general idea that the concept involved moistening your choice of sugar ever so slightly to make it hold its shape but not enough to dissolve the sugar.

Got it.

I used a half a cup of white sugar, added the inside scrapings of one vanilla bean and the juice of a half of a clementine for a bit of an orange vanilla flavoring. I pressed it into my silicone mold and let it dry overnight, versus using the oven to bake it figuring that I was not in a hurry so I would save the electricity.

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Some of the cubes came out perfectly and some still need to dry a bit more. For the leftover crumbles, I will add them to a jar of vanilla sugar that I made with the scraped out pods of vanilla bean that I used to make the sugar cubes. Vanilla beans are heavenly – I want to use every single essence of them!

homemade sugar cubes

Cute little Homemade Vanilla Orange Sugar Cubes!

And there ya have a lovely quick and impromptu tea party…and even the crust was invited.

(Ok and in full disclosure, I do not normally have adorable little Cranberry Butter Cookies lying around waiting for tea time, these just happened to be from a previous baking experience for another project that I am working on. I love it when life works like that!!)



  • Amy@10th Ave.

    April 10, 2016

    Oh my goodness–I have *never* thought of making my own sugar cubes…..how fun is that?! The flavor possibilities are endless, just like the tea combinations.

    • aarynemm

      April 10, 2016

      I felt very fancy and accomplished, I have to say. My advice would be to use larger molds – mine were so tiny that they did not all come out intact once they dried.

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