Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birds of a Feather Friendship Tea Menu

This easy menu made hosting teatime nearly effortless, even on a busy weekday.

The recipes I served paired perfectly with my newest Cup of Loveliness loose tea blend, but they also remind me of the blessings of friendship throughout life. Although my sister, Jennifer's, blueberry pound cake provided the perfect ending to our meal, I have enjoyed her friendship from the beginning of my life. I tell my daughters often that a sister is a best friend God gives you to go hand in hand through life with. And I feel so blessed that He gave me Jennifer.

Our tea selection, Birds of a Feather, was inspired by my best girlfriend, Vonda. Vonda and I met at church when my husband started law school. I really needed a friend as I adjusted to life in our new city, and after we met I learned that Vonda had been praying for a friend, too. We share one of those wonderful relationships where no matter how much time has passed between visits, we can pick right up where we left off as if no time has passed. Vonda's gentle and kind spirit inspires me every day.

Our main dish for the afternoon, Joy's Impossible Ham Pie, came from a friend of my mother-in-law. Joy and Betty have a wonderful friendship that reminds me that one of the greatest gifts God gives us in this life is our Christian friends. Both of these ladies have endured hardships in this stage of their journey -- Betty suffering health problems in the last few years; Joy losing her beloved husband. But Betty and Joy have served each other so faithfully in times of trouble that each insists she owes the greater debt of friendship to the other.

And Monday's scones -- Mary B's tea biscuits I found in my grocer's freezer -- were baked for new friends God has given me in this stage of my journey. Isn't He gracious that way? I met Cathy and Stacey through our daughters' preschool, and they have been such a blessing to me. I think that even us mommies need mothering from time to time, and their nurturing spirits are a daily blessing to me.

And now I share these recipes with you, the friends who drop by here each day and offer encouragement with your visits and kind comments. Whatever your stage of life's journey, I hope this menu will inspire you to celebrate the friendships God has given you.

Friendship Tea Menu

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Joy's Impossible Ham Pie

Organic Field Greens with Strawberries, Mandarin Oranges, Pecans and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Blueberry Cake with Fresh Berries and Almond Cream

Blueberry Scones

Bake Mary B's frozen tea biscuits according to package directions. Fresh from the oven, baste the tops of the warm biscuits with a glaze made by mixing powdered sugar, milk and a little lemon juice.

Joy's Impossible Ham Pie

2 cups cut-up ham, turkey, or chicken
4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup sliced green onions or 1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
3 Eggs
* Can add spinach or broccoli if desired

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10-inch pie plate. Sprinkle ham, mushrooms, onions and cheese in pie plate. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth -- 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute with hand mixer. Pour over ingredients in pie plate. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serves 6 to 8.

Blueberry Pound Cake

Serve for dessert, and enjoy leftovers -- if there are any -- for breakfast.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 cups blueberries
Powdered sugar, optional
Fresh berries, optional

Grease and flour bundt pan. Cream eggs and sugar. Add oil and cream cheese. Add cake mix, mix well, then stir in berries. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Wait until pan has completely cooled before removing from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with fresh blueberries and strawberries.

Gracie's Almond Cream

Serve alongside scones or with cake.

1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine cream and extract. Whip until almost stiff, then add powdered sugar and whip until stiff. (Note: I sometimes substitute vanilla for almond extract. Other extracts would work well, too.)

Tomorrow we celebrate Vonda's birthday with a giveaway!

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