Jane Austen Birthday Party Menu, Plus How to Dip Cookies in Chocolate, and a Sugar Cookie Recipe

So as you know if you have been following my page, I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party.

Some of you might be wondering why I am so extensively going through all the party planning and it was because I had been planning to have this two years ago, but life got in the way so I decided to wait and now I’ve finally been able to have it.

Party time!

So far we have gone over invitations, decorations, prizes, activities to have, how to make your own piñata, etc. Before we go over the games I thought I would share the menu.

So starting with sandwiches, remember how we’ve been having those The Magician’s Nephew Bible study/book club/tea party? Well, those have also been a dry run for me as it gives me a chance to try out recipes and see which ones I really love. I decided to start off with one I really loved: Curried Egg Salad Triple Stacks Sandwiches

I also really love cucumber sandwiches and wanted to use the recipe from Spend With Pennies but to save time I used Chive and Onion Cream Cheese Spread.

I know not everyone will be into them so I needed some regular sandwiches. I decided on Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches:

And I rounded it out with Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches:

Out of all of them, the Ham and Cheese did the best. They were all gone before the party’s end.

My mom made a salad for a side and then we went to the strawberry farm down the street and bought a ton of strawberries. Yep, I wanted it to be like Donwell Abbey.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any scones. I had wanted to make some, but I ran out of time. I had also planned to buy some, but when I went to the store they were all out.

But I had lots of desserts! I had made them a few weeks earlier and put them in the freezer until the day before the party. The first cookie I made was Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies.

People didn’t really like these as much as the other cookies, but I love them. They were eaten, just not as much as all the others.

The next cookie I made was Basic Shortbread:

But I used a cookie cutter to make them into teapot shape; along with cutting the other half of the cookies into a teabag shape. And I dipped them in chocolate

Chocolate Dipped Cookies:

  1. Have your cookies baked and cooled.
  2. Using a double broiler, melt a chocolate bar or chocolate chips.
  3. If you do not have a double broiler, get two pots about the same size or have one be slightly smaller than the other. Heat water in one until it boils. Turn down the flame and take the other pot and hold it over the one with boiled water. Place the chocolate in the top pot and stir until melted.
  4. When chocolate is melted, dip cookies and lay on wax paper. Put cookies in freezer or fridge to get chocolate to harden.

The last cookie I made was Better Home and Gardens Sugar Cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 Cup of Shortening
  • 3/4 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Teaspoons of Milk
  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour (Sifted)
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions:

  1. Throughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Add egg; beat until mixture light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in milk.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Blend dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  6. Divide dough in half.
  7. Chill for one hour.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 of an inch thickness.
  9. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  10. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes.
  11. Cool slightly, then remove from pan.

I had wanted to make Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake but I ran out of time and I ended up just buying an Almond Poppyseed cake from Raleys. It was good, but not as amazing as the Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake.

My friend also made Carrot Cake (my favorite) and carrot cake cupcakes. I didn’t take a picture of the cake (so good) but in the picture below, where the cupcakes are is where the cake was placed. All the cupcakes were gone by the end of the party. The recipe is a secret or else I would have shared that too.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Croquet

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

For more desserts, go to Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to The Picture of Earl Grey Tea Cookies

For more recipes, go to Savory Beef Hand Pies

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

So as I have been saying in every post, I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years, and when the lockdowns happened last year I began to grow worried that I wouldn’t be able to have it. But luckily we moved down a tier, I had it, and we all had such a wonderful time.

Party time!

So in my previous posts I went over the invitations, the prizes, and the decorations. The next step in my party planning was activities. I had planned for three games, but I also had four little girls coming and needed something to occupy them; along with those who didn’t like playing games. I had thought about doing a tea blending, but the weather was supposed to be warm with wind. I looked about on Pinterest for ideas, and found fan making on the PennyWise blog.

Hmm…?

I love fans! They are so pretty and useful and I thought it would be perfect for the girls to make with their moms, or for any party guest to make if it grew too hot. With my party being the first of May, weather in California can either be extremely hot, medium hot, cool, or occasionally cold. I figured fan making would be something fun all can do to add to an outfit or a useful tool in the sun.

Austenland (2013)

So I didn’t follow exactly what they did in the PennyWise blog as I didn’t want to pre-make anything, and I also didn’t want to worry about having to supervise glue gun usage. So I took her idea and made a few changes.

Supplies:

  • Colorful Paper (Scrapbook Paper works best)
  • Stickers
  • Clothespins
  • Colorful Tape/Craft Tape
  • Stapler (Optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add stickers to scrapbook of desired.
  2. Fold the paper back and forth, making accordion folds.
  3. Staple the bottom part together and then pin by the clothespins or just pin the ends together with the clothespins.
  4. Cover the clothespin with the Craft tape.
  5. Add ribbon or other notions if desired.

Here is my example:

I then left everything out on a table so people could choose what they want and do it how they like.

This was a lot of fun. Only one child made one, as the rest had my friend make them for her. Then when it grew really warm, a few other of my friends decided to make some as well. My one friend is super artistic and made an extremely beautiful one. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture but she is fantastic at everything she sets her hands to.

This wasn’t too expensive, the thing that cost the most was the Scrapbook paper. I wanted a pack of paper that looked more vintage, to go with the Regency style of everything. They had cheaper ones, but not the style I wanted and I went with the more expensive one at Hobby Lobby (80 sheets for $19.99). The clothespins were $2 a pack. I bought three different types of craft type: two came in a pack of 2 for $1 and the other a pack of 3 tapes for $1. The stickers I already owned.

As only a few made fans I had a lot of paper left over. You know how much I enjoy making my own cards, so I used them to make thank you cards and have lots to choose from for any future ones I design.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Prize One

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Decorations

For more Jane Austen crafts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Teapot Piñata

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

So my church is doing a “secret sister”. You get matched up with another woman in the church for three months, praying for them and sending them notes or giving them gifts.

With COVID-19 having us shelter in place and not being able to meet at church, if we want to give our secret sisters gifts we have to come up with different ways. My secret sister ended up mailing me $20 to buy myself something nice for Easter.

Hmm…

What to buy? I knew I wanted to support a small business as they are hurting, and searched through Instagram to see which one.

Hmmm…

So a while back I found this company NovelTea Tins and instantly loved how cute it was. They are book tea tins and each have a punny title off of classic literature. You all know how I love classic literature.

War and Peach (Peach Tea + War and Peace), The Picture of Earl Grey (Earl Grey + The Picture of Earl Grey), Matcha Do About Nothing (Matcha Green Tea + Much Ado About Nothing), Pride & Peppermint (Peppermint Tea + Pride and Prejudice), Anne of Green Gables Tea (Green Raspberry Tea + Anne of Green Gables), Sense and Senchability (Green Sencha Tea + Sense and Sensibility), Don Quixote: Man of La Manchai (Chai Tea + Don Quixote: Man of La Mancha), and more. You know me, I love:

So I was excited to try these out. I agonized over which to buy as there were so many that sounded good…but I finally decided on the Romance Sampler, as it had The Picture of Earl Grey, being my favorite type of tea-Earl Grey.

Along with Pride & Peppermint (Peppermint Tea) and Sense and Senchability (Green Sencha Tea). I also love both of those teas and couldn’t resist them being Jane Austen. You know me…

The sampler cost about $24 with shipping and handling and it came extremely fast. I ordered it afternoon on Sunday and it arrived on Tuesday.

Tea #1: The Picture of Earl Grey

This tea is inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of my favorite Gothic novels where a young, gorgeous, rich man gets seduced by the Hedonist lifestyle and wishes that he would never grow old but his beautiful picture would instead. It does, but also with it growing older instead of Dorian-every selfish, cruel, rude, horrible acts he commits-gets transferred onto the painting as well.

It is a great book, and I highly recommend reading it.

The tea actually has the picture of Earl Grey-Charles Grey 2nd Earl Grey, the namesake of the delicious tea, the one that the tea was presented to and comes with a bookmark with his face on it as well.

This tea is made of Jasmine Green Tea, Black Tea, Rose Petals, Natural Flavor; and has moderate caffeine.

So I LOVE Earl Grey, but I did not love this one. It wasn’t bad, but I felt the Jasmine Green Tea in it was too strong. I tasted that over everything else and I prefer my Earl Grey with black tea, lavender, and bergamot oil. 

What I ended up doing was mixing it with my Tiesta Tea and enjoying it. My mom loved it, so please don’t think I’m saying the tea is bad, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

For more on The Picture of Dorian Gray, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who was to Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Tea #2: Pride and Peppermint

This tea is inspired by Pride and Prejudice and I’m sure most of you know how much I love this book.

Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother wanting to marry off her daughters, as with their father’s death they will have very little-but the story is MORE than that. It deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

This peppermint tea has Elizabeth Bennet on it and comes with two bookmarks, one with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Peppermint tea was my first love, when I just started drinking tea. It is made of organic rooibos, organic peppermint, and organic chamomile; it is also caffeine-free.

I thought this tea to smell absolutely divine and it was so delicious. I absolutely loved it, and immediately drank three cups.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Tea #3: Sense and Senchability

This tea is inspired by Sense and Sensibility, and like Pride and Prejudice I love Sense and Sensibility.

Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as their world is drastically changed when their father dies and they older half brother moves them out of the house and basically forgets they even exist. Elinor is the elder sister-logical, sensible, and in command of herself. Marianne is the middle daughter-passionate, outspoken, and emotional. Elinor falls for a man, but finds him promised to another. Marianne meets a man right out of her romantic dreams, but is he all that he seems to be? Each sister goes through a journey and discovers depths to them they never realized.

This tea has both sisters on it and comes with a bookmark that has a Dashwood sister on either side. This has green Sencha tea and “sensible levels of caffeine.” Haha, I love that.

This tea was fantastic. It probably is the best Sencha tea I’ve ever had.

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

So these teas were so cute and good, even though the first one was not my cup of tea-but I had  wonderful time drinking them.

For more tea posts, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

 

Iced Blackberry Infused Earl Grey Tea

So I was on Pinterest and I spotted this recipe, and you all know how much I love Earl Grey tea.

I was so excited to make it as it sounded really good. So without further ado, let’s get right into this (by the way this recipe originally comes from ONE armed MAMA). 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Pint of Blackberries (~2 Cups)
  • 1/2 Cup of Granulated Sugar (or any other alternative sweetener)
  • 8 Bags of Earl Grey Tea (4 Tablespoons Loose Leaf Tea)
  • 1/2 Cup of Cream or any dairy substitute

Directions:

  1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place berries in a large bowl with sugar.
  3. Crush the berries into a thick jam-like liquid.
  4. Sprinkle in tea or add tea bags.
  5. Pour hot water over the fruit and tea and steep for 5 mins.
  6. Place 5 cups of ice in a large pitcher and strain berry infused concentrate over ice.
  7. The ice will immediately melt, diluting the concentrate and cooling the tea,
  8. Serve in a tall glass with ice, and drizzle in a tablespoon, or more, of cream.

So I eagerly drank it…but this was horrible.

I don’t know what happened, but I ended up dropping it all down the drain. What a waste of blackberries.

It was so awful!

I will not be making this ever again.

For more recipes, go to Skinny Chai Tea Latte

For more tea posts, go to Blueberry Matcha Smoothie

Skinny Chai Tea Latte

It is winter and cold and what better thing to do than to have some chai tea?

Especially if you have won a giveaway that has a box of tea, including chai tea.

Yes, I’ll be reviewing this at a later date, but for now I have this recipe to tide you over. This recipe comes from a book we added at the library, Lose Weight By Eating: Detox Week by Audrey Johns. I was flipping through the book, processing it, when this recipe caught my eye and I had to make it.

“Oh, the irony…I’m typing this at a coffeehouse. I’m just trying to be honest here, because though I don’t often visit coffeehouses, I do once in a while when I need a quiet space to work. I made this recipe earlier today, then figured, “What the heck, let’s make sure it is as good as Starbucks,” so I headed on over to my local spot and ordered-you guessed it-a chai tea latte. So here I am, drinking my second chai tea latte of the day and typing up my recipe, which I think tastes exactly the same.

I whisk the milk by hand, and it’s very easy. It only takes a minute and you’re done (and by the way I’ve had two wrist surgeries in my whisking hand, so I assure you anyone can handle this mild activity).”

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chai Tea Bags, with the Paper Tags Cut Off
  • 2 Cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk or Milk of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 cups of water.
  2. One heated, remove from heat and steep 3 bags of chai tea for five minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium-low heat. As soon as the milk is simmering, whisk it.
  4. Pour the tea into two cups and and add sugar, maple syrup, or other sweetener.
  5. Top with frothy milk.
  6. Sprinkle on some pumpkin pie spice (if using).
  7. Congratulations, you just saved yourself $5.04.

I thought it was really good, but I had way more milk than tea. I don’t think the author planned for how it grows when heated and whisked. I had to make additional cups of tea to use it up-but otherwise, it was delicious!

For more tea posts, go to Blueberry Matcha Smoothie

For more recipes, go to Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies