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

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Tomato Hummus Salad

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). I also need to catch up on these recipes. Week four we had Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey, Lavender and Earl Grey Scones, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Hummus Tomato Salad, Pinwheels, and Triple Berry Salad.

I couldn’t share the recipes in October as I was in the middle of Horrorfest IX, so I am catching up and of course as we used an old Chicken Salad recipe, the next is sides.

This recipe comes from Plum Deluxe. I choose it as most of the food we have been eating has been heavy and I wanted something lighter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of White Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, Peeled and Finely Minced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 2-3 Large Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1-2 Cups of Hummus

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until emulsified. Set aside.
  2. Cut tomatoes into thick slices and arrange 3 per plate.
  3. Top each tomato slice with a tablespoon of hummus.
  4. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve immediately.

These were delicious. I had so many extra though, as I had made too much, and ended up using the rest to make a spaghetti sauce. A great recipe, that I know I will make again.

For more tea posts, go to I Tried Madsen Creations’ Reusable Cloth Teabags

For more recipes, go to Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

For more salad recipes, go to Basic Chicken Salad

Modesto Jane Con: Looking Around the Library, Lunch, and a Crazy Random Happenstance

So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Cons and festivals and wished I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

 

But then Modesto Jane Con was created!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera to-of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club. The third workshop was your choice of Dressing the Regency Lady or Are You a Long-Lost Austen? Searching Your Family Tree.

So after Dressing the Regency Lady, we had about an hour and fifteen mins as Layton went over the time. I wanted to look at the library, the art gallery, and a shop all featured on the Modesto Jane Con instagram, but I was vetoed as everyone was hungry.

For the past few months I had been talking to Lynne Marcus from the Modesto Jane Con Instagram page, and we hoped to meet up at lunch. I wanted to check out Mocha Magic  as that is where Lynne was stopping to eat, but I was vetoed again. We had heard some volunteers and organizers talking about pizza and that is what the group wanted.

They were worried about time, as everyone wanted to get to the Opera to hear the preshow talk at 1:30, but I convinced them to stop at let me look at the library, Stanislaus County Library.

You know me, I love the library! Plus I wanted to check out their Jane Austen display that I saw on social media. Everyone was glad we did as we loved the Regency dress they made out of old book pages. So beautiful and crafty!

After that we looked over the sponsors for Modesto Jane Con to find a place that was close to the theater and served the pizza that everyone craved. We decided on Chefs of New York.

It was a cute café that quickly filled up with other people from Jane Con, (we could tell by the wristbands and what they wore). We had quite a few conversations with other fans.

I think that was one of the most enjoyable parts of Jane Con. Not only did we learn a lot, but we were able to spend time with other fans. We met people from different cities who we had never known before but instantly felt a camaraderie in having the same interests.

Here are people that if you aren’t an extrovert, you probably never would have spoken to. But knowing they are a fan of the same thing, it instantly breaks down a wall as you are kindred spirits.

Ad I don’t usually review food (I do have a few tea places I am planning on reviewing in the future but haven’t yet) but as this was part of the experience and they supported Jane Con, I felt I needed to.

Chefs of New York Downtown was amazing! If you find yourself in Modesto, stop there. This food was so good, I couldn’t eat it fast enough.

I asked the waitress for a suggestion and she recommended the vegetarian panini, which came with a choice of soup or salad. When the food came out, I was shocked at the amount of food I was given. The salad was gigantic, I mean I was expecting a tiny plate-not a huge pasta sized one.

The same was for the soup others ordered.

The sandwich was a good size and just fantastic.

So while we had great conversation, fantastic food, spent the morning in wonderful workshops, I was still feeling a little bummed. I was disappointed that we missed meeting up with Marcus and the organizers of Modesto Jane Con.

So we had been sitting and talking with a family at the table next to us, who create and sell old fashioned hats and victorian clothing. They had left when we received our food, as they had finished theirs. We were about halfway-two thirds through our food when a new group of ladies sat down in the table next to us.

We could tell they were attendees of Jane Con from what they were wearing and after a little while they asked if we attending and what we thought. We shared a bit with them and then they asked how we had heard of it. I shared that I saw it on instagram and then convinced my book club to come with us.

They then asked if I was JaneAustenRunsMyLife and I said it was and it turned out that I was right next to Marcus, the very woman I had been speaking to these past few months. What a crazy random happenstance!

What great luck! It was incredible that it happened. I mean if they hadn’t changed their plans of where they wanted to eat at, or if they had come earlier while that family was still eating we never would have met.

I know that this is kind of an unusual post, but I wanted to give props to the Library and Chefs of New York Downtown as I really appreciate their support of Modesto Jane Con. 

I don’t know of the library was paid or gave them the rooms for free, I am not sure how active the staff was in the involvement of the Con, or what roles they played in putting everything together-but I really appreciate the Stanislaus County Library allowing us to use their space and made it possible to have a Jane Con. I mean parking was free, it was a central spot, and a wonderful meeting area.

Chefs of New York Downtown helped sponsor Modesto Jane Con, how much or in what capacity, I don’t know. All I know is that they were willing to help support this in some way, not knowing if they would get a return or not-people might not choose to eat there with or without their name in the program. We appreciated your sponsorship and visited there, doubly rewarded in amazing food and service.

And to Lynne Marcus and the other organizers, thank you for all your hard work. I know it took a lot of time and energy to plan all the events, schedule the speakers, find volunteers, etc. It wasn’t easy, and I’m sure stressful at times-but your end product was amazing. We learned a lot, had a ton of fun, and just all out enjoyed every minute of it!

You organizers, volunteers, and everyone who helped put Modesto Jane Con together.

And we can’t wait until next year! (If there is a next year, please!)

So we will be taking a break from the Modesto Jane Con until after Valentine’s Day as I have some posts planned for the holiday. Last year I didn’t do it, but I’m back to tradition and plan on doing 14 posts on my favorite romantic moments from film and TV shows.

I’m sure you are wondering what is there left to write about? Well-we still have my review of the Mansfield Park Opera and my costume + the Regency Fashion show.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Dressing the Regency Lady

Basic Chicken Salad

So let’s talk about tea time. We’ve had scones and cookies, we need some sandwiches!

I love chicken salad, and here is a basic recipe. I’ll do a Waldorf Chicken Salad in the future. I got this recipe from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of Cooked Chicken (I like using the rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Celery
  • 1/3 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Bread

Directions:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Spread the chicken salad on the toasted bread.

Delicious

A great addition to any one’s tea time.

Ready for high tea!

For more recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more salad recipes, go to Triple Berry Salad

For more from MysteriousEats, go to London Fog Fauxccino

Triple Berry Salad

So in yesterday’s post, I talked about how I was looking for things to make for my tea party/book club meeting that are Regency-ish but cool for summer.

I was thinking about Emma’s picnic and the strawberries they eat:

I started looking through recipes for a strawberry dish when I remembered a fantastic one that my sister blog Mysterious Eats made.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Ounces of Strawberries
  • 6 Ounces of Blueberries
  • 6 Ounces of Raspberries
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring mixture to a simmer (there will be small bubbles), and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and cool for 5 mins.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Chill completely in fridge.
  6. Rinse the berries.
  7. Hull the strawberries and slice into 2-3 pieces.
  8. Place all the berries in one bowl.
  9. Just before serving, drizzle the berries with the vanilla sugar syrup.
  10. Toss gently.
  11. Serve

Thoughts After Cooking:

What did I think?

It was just the perfect blend of everything and absolutely delicious.

For more recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Hot Humid Days are Reading Days