Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Ideas, Recipes and Crafts

Welcome to the new Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

We hope you are enjoying the Old Fashioned Living newsletter! March 20th marks the official first day of spring, so we thought we would share some springtime recipes, crafts, garden tips, tea party and luncheon ideas. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Tea Time: Celebrate Friendship with a Spring Luncheon
Crafter's Attic: Victorian Lace Milk Jug Covers
Gardening: Grow Easy Annuals from Seed
Kids: Whimsical Tea Party for Children
Kitchen: Freezing Cookies & Cookie Dough

Celebrate Friendship with a Spring Luncheon

A spring luncheon is the perfect way to celebrate friendships and rejuvenate our spirits. You can take the old fashioned idea of a simple tea and lunch and modify it to reflect the personalities of your dearest friends. These dishes can be prepared ahead and served at the table starting with soup and tea bread and ending with dessert. You can also set it up as a small buffet, and scatter rose petals and candles among the dishes on a table where guests serve themselves.

This would also make a wonderful baby shower buffet. Finally, you can gather your ingredients and recipes, then invite your friends over for a hands on luncheon where everyone pitches in and you visit while cooking! Regardless of how you serve the dishes at your luncheon, the end result is an afternoon of relaxation, accented with the beauty of herbs and friendship.

Tomato and Herb Soup

2 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
extra basil leaves, whole
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk

In a large pot of boiling water blanch the ripe tomatoes for 10 seconds. Cool slightly and peel off the skins. Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds and chop. In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the olive oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Spoon 3/4 of the mixture into food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return to pan, add the basil and milk. Simmer until JUST heated through. Stir in chives and divide into bowls. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf. Makes 6 servings.

Thyme-Rosemary Tea Bread

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix in the thyme and rosemary and set aside. In large bowl, mix egg, sugar and oil with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until combined. Add in milk and blend well. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into a buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when tested.Brush with melted butter, remove from pan and serve warm with additional butter.

Too see all the recipes with this feature, including Herbed Chicken Salad, Orange Iced Tea & Sponge Cake with Raspberry Sauce, please visit Spring Luncheon on OFL.

Victorian Lace Milk Jug Covers

Queen Victoria liked garden tea parties, but did not like flies in the milk jug (what we call a creamer, but they called a milk jug because you serve milk, not cream in tea). In order to alleviate this problem, lace doilies, weighted down with beads were the outcome. They are placed over the "milk jug" to keep flies and other unwanted items out of the milk.

Below are the supplies you will need, please visit OFL for the instructions!

Supplies Needed:

6" 100% ecru or white cotton lace doily (99 cents at Michael's)
Various beads (seed beads, pearl beads and tear drop beads)
Matching cotton thread (clear beading thread is too stiff)
thin beading needle

To get the instructions for this craft, click here.

Grow Easy Annuals from Seed

Gardening is a wonderful family project for children of all ages. If you don't have very much space that is fine, you can plant in pots or wood boxes or small sections of soil. To be able to plant a small seed and take care of the ground around it while it grows will teach children patience, nurturing and science!

Let's start with flowers that are very easy to grow from seed. We'll cover flowers such as Nasturtium, Calendula, Thumbelina Zinnia, Bachelor's Button, Borage and Moss Roses.
Read more details on Easy Annuals From Seed here

Whimsical Tea Party for Children

Tea Parties for children give us a chance to have some quiet fun with our kids, as well as create some very special memories. Don't forget to invite the teddy bears, and Grandma if she can attend, for when giving a tea party, the more the merrier!

In this feature we will give you ideas for preparing the tea, tasty recipes for Vanilla Milk Tea, Coconut Cookies, and Lemony Tea Bread. We'll share some whimsical childrens' songs and books for story time. Be sure to read more about having A Whimsical Tea Party for Children.

Freezing Cookies and Cookie Dough

Whether it's holiday season or bake sale season, you are wondering how you're going to get all your baking done. The solution? Consider freezing your cookie dough or fresh baked cookies ahead of time. When the event gets closer you can get that last bit of shopping done or last fundraiser organized instead of spending all your time in the kitchen.

Freezing Cookie Dough

Cookie dough will freeze well for 4 to 6 weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap (chill in refrigerator first before freezing). Other kinds of dough should be stored in airtight containers. Drop cookies (unbaked) may be frozen on cookie sheets and transferred to freezer bags. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

Don't try to freeze soft meringue-type cookie dough. Chocolate chip, brownies, peanut butter, and sugar cookie dough (or anything similar) freezes well. Let the dough defrost in the refrigerator (about 2-3 hours). Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookie dough.

Freezing Baked Cookies

Almost any baked cookie freezes well. Let cookies completely cool before freezing. Wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap then store them in a ziploc freezer bag or storage tin (coffee cans or holiday tins work great). You can also just layer the cookies between layers of waxed paper in the container, but the individually wrapped ones will store longer. Freeze frosted cookies uncovered first until they are firm. Then pack them in airtight container lined with plastic wrap or foil. Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookies. Unfrosted cookies can be frozen up to 6-12 months (frosted, about 3 months). Frozen cookies thaw in about 10 minutes at room temperature (if you can wait that long). If cookies should be crisp when thawed, remove them from the container before thawing.

Thanks for joining us for our first issue. Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

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