Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tea Parties at Southard House

January is National Hot Tea Month and hosting tea parties at Southard House is something I am very excited about and looking forward to in the near future!  I purchased this beautiful tea set on Ebay several years ago.  It is definitely a beautiful antique that was made in New York and it will find its home in one of our many china hutches at the inn very soon!
 I have been hosting tea parties in my home for family and friends for many years now.  I had my first tea party for Mother's Day in 2003.  It is amazing how the times have changed and how my ability to prepare a beautiful tea table has improved as you will see in these pictures below.
 Above is an Easter tea from 2005.  I made tea sandwiches, muffins, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
 This tea party was in the Fall tea in 2005.  Everyone brought their favorite teacup and a treat to share.  I used mini pumpkins as vases and filled them with fresh flowers.
I loved this tea party.  I cleaned out a spare bedroom in my house and turned it in to a tearoom for a day.  It was so beautifully decorated with roses and plenty of pink.  It was one of my most favorite and memorable tea parties.
My mom, my grandma, and my aunt from Oklahoma City came to this rosy tea party.
This is the Valentine tea party I hosted in 2006.  I love the fresh roses and the delicious chicken salad sandwiches I served that day.
This tea table was decorated for an Easter tea in 2006.  I made those cute bunny pouches to hold the silverware and napkins. 
 Here is a pretty purple tea party from Mother's Day 2006.  I have a beautiful set of purple floral dishes that will be used at Southard House that I used for this tea party.
I made some delicious things to eat, including one of my favorite strawberry and spinach salads.  It has candied walnuts on it!  Yummy!
This tea party was held in the Fall of 2006.  I purchased that beautiful brown transfer ware on Ebay several years ago and I always wished I could find some more.  I use those dishes every fall and will use them at the inn.
This is a St. Patrick's tea from 2007.  Those pretty shamrock cookies have chocolate on the bottom!  I really love the pretty green dishes.  My husband bought them for me at the Emporium here in Enid.
 This is a tea I hosted in the fall of 2007.  My best friend Dena came and I remember us carving pumpkins at that party.  It was a fun time!
I made some delicious treats, including chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  Come to think of it I haven't had that treat since I made it that day!  Maybe that will be a good addition to the menu at Southard House in the fall.
 I really loved this tea party.  It was held outdoors in my back yard for Mother's Day 2010.  It was an absolutely beautiful day outside.  It was the perfect day for Mother's Day brunch!
This is my mom, my grandma Mary, and me after our tea party that day.  They have been honored guests at every tea party I have hosted and they have seen me grow to be the tea party hostess I am today. 
 This tea party was held on my little front porch for Halloween 2011.  Those are butterscotch muffins and I served them with a flavored cream cheese spread.  This tea party was for two!
 I hosted this beach tea party in the summer of 2010.  I remember serving a tea that was called "Taste of the Tropics" and it tasted like coconut and pineapple.  I also remember my whole house being decorated like a cute beach cottage.
This tea party was held in 2011 for St. Valentine's Day.  My mom gave me those beautiful dishes for Christmas one year.  They are pink toile and they have cherubs on them.  I use them every Valentine's Day and I know they will be very popular at Southard House.
This is the tea table for an Easter tea I hosted in 2011.  I absolutely love this tablecloth and the cute bunny in the centerpiece.  I am sure you will see him at Southard House this spring!
I made my famous chicken salad, cucumber tea sandwiches, and pink bunny sugar cookies.  What a pretty little serving tray!
Now I must tell you that my mom is the world's best scone maker and she has a knockout recipe.  I am really hoping she will make scones for us at Southard House.  She makes several different flavors and every one is out of this world delicious!  She made these scones with toffee and chocolate chips.  So yummy!
I made a little Easter basket favor for each guest.  I love the vintage graphics I used on the buckets.
This is the tea party I held for Mother's Day in 2011.  We ate outside on my back porch and it was another beautiful day for Mother's Day brunch!
I made those favor baskets from peat pots.  I think they turned out so pretty!
This was a really fun and wonderful fairy tea party I hosted in August of 2011 for my husband's two daughters, now my step-daughters.  It was such a lovely and romantic centerpiece I put together.
My mom taught me how to fold napkins to look like roses and I placed them in the tea cups and added a butterfly clip to each one.
I made lots of wonderful treats to eat and gave them cute fairy names to fit the theme.  I made those big flowers on this table from pages of an old book.  They were a lot of fun to make!
I held this tea party in the Spring of 2011.  It had a bird theme and I used a pretty bird cage for the centerpiece.
I made a Spanish frittata and my mom brought her delicious scones.  I also made fruit and yogurt parfaits - one of my favorite things to eat.
I also made some delicious cupcakes and bird nest macaroon cookies.  I really love those too!
This was a Halloween Tea Party I hosted in 2011.  Aren't these ghost cupcakes cute?
 The tea table was decorated to the hilt with black and white.  I also remember making apples with caramel dip, mini pumpkin pies, turkey wraps with veggies, and that orange jello with crushed pineapple.  
 I made these baskets for each guest and filled them with treats.
  This was one of my favorite tea parties, mainly because of the pretty pastel color palate.  I love the angels in the centerpiece and the pink toile tablecloth.
I made each guest a place card to take home and a Lindt chocolate carrot too!
I also made marshmallow Easter pops and those darling cupcakes that look like Easter baskets!  I will definitely make those again!
I also made some nest cookies from chow mien noodles and some cream cheese stuffed strawberries that look like blooming tulips!
I think this tea party has been my all-time favorite so far.  I have an old barn on my property and I decided to clean it out and decorate it up like a French tea garden for Mother's Day 2012.  I had so much fun decorating and making pretty things to make the day special.  I invited my mom and my grandma to this special tea in their honor and I know they enjoyed it.  If you are interested you can see more amazing pictures of this tea party (and many others) on my personal blog -
I made these pretty French pink buckets and filled them with goodies.  I even painted roses on each bucket and covered them with glass glitter to make them sparkle.  They were so pretty!
My old barn ended up being one of the prettiest places that we have ever had tea!
This tea party below was held in the winter of 2012.  It had a snowflake princess theme with lots of silver and white.
I made these pretty favor cones and filled them with winter treats, including a snowflake fairy wand and a crown.  I also made each person a place card to take home.
I have gotten a lot of good experience hosting tea parties over the past 10 years.  I feel well prepared to host tea parties at Southard House and I am looking forward to providing this service to ladies in our community.  I am hoping to host my first tea parties at Southard House before the end of this year, depending on how busy we are at the inn.  I will be announcing the addition of tea parties via Facebook when the time is right!
We have one day left in January and I hope you will take some time that day to have a cup of hot tea and relax for a few minutes.  We all deserve a much needed break to rejuvenate and what a better way than to enjoy a cup of hot tea from your favorite teacup!  I think I will take my own advice and do just that tomorrow morning.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and you will consider having a tea party at Southard House when this service is offered. I can host as few as two ladies or as many as twelve ladies at the grand dining table at Southard House.  I would also be happy to provide tea service to your little girls too!  Is there a good friend you haven't gotten together with for a while and you would like to meet to catch up?   Is there a special birthday for a special friend or loved-one that needs to be celebrated?  Is a friend or loved-one having a baby or getting married?  These are all great reasons to book a special tea party at Southard House Bed and Breakfast Inn!  I will be offering three different tea services - the "Splendid Tea" will consist of scones or muffins and as much hot tea of your choice as you can drink.  The "Grand Tea" will consist of scones or muffins, a fruit and cheese plate, and as much hot tea of your choice as you can drink.  The "Extravagant Tea" will consist of  tea sandwiches, a fruit and cheese plate, and an assorted dessert plate served on a three-tiered tray with as much hot tea of your choice as you can drink. Prices for the teas will be released at a later date and I hope to make them as affordable as possible.  I think it is important for ladies to get together for tea and I hope to encourage that activity!

I have been very busy at the inn preparing it to be a grand place to stay and enjoy yourself.  Lately I discovered a wonderful way to clean some stained antique dishes that I want to use at Southard House.   I will be sharing a tutorial on cleaning antique dishes in my next blog post, so if you have some pretty antiques that have seen better days and you would like to bring them back to life please join me next time!  Until then . . .

May You Be Blessed!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Valentine Cupcakes

On Thursday I attended the "We Inspire" Women's Entrepreneur Forum here in Enid and I was graciously invited to provide some dessert for the meeting.  I wanted to make something that is on our dessert menu so I chose to make a "seasonal cupcake", which is the dessert for Friday.  That means that each week on Fridays I will be baking some delicious cupcakes and decorating them to fit the season to serve to our guests.  I decorated these cupcakes I made on Thursday for Valentine's Day because it is my favorite holiday.

I made red velvet cupcakes first and mixed up the batter to pour in to the red and bright pink cupcake liners.

I put a Hershey Kiss in the center of each cupcake liner.  I had some white chocolate mint kisses left and used them up but also used some milk chocolate kisses for a sweet surprise in the middle of each cupcake.
I filled each liner about 3/4 full of batter.  You can see the tip of the chocolate kisses sticking out of the batter.  This was a good way for me to judge how much batter to put in each cup.
The cupcakes baked for about 15 minutes.  I try not to overcook them as this tends to dry them out.  When they came out of the oven they smelled so good!  I love red velvet cake!
I also made a batch of pink strawberry cupcakes.  After I mixed up the batter I realized that it wasn't pink enough for me.  It actually looked more like peach than pink.
I added some of this Wilton icing color to the batter to give it a brighter and prettier pink hue.
The batter was much prettier after adding the coloring and it was ready to pour in to the pink and white liners.
I used milk chocolate kisses in the center of each pink strawberry cupcake.  I love the taste of strawberry and chocolate together!  Which reminds me that we will be making chocolate-covered strawberries as part of an add-on package at the inn, so whenever someone purchases that add-on package to their room maybe I can make a few extra strawberries for James and myself!
You can see the tips of the chocolate kisses poking out of the batter.  This is a good guide to know how much to fill each cup.
These cupcakes baked for about 15 minutes and they smelled so sweet and delicious when they came out of the oven.  I really wanted to devour one right then but I hadn't had any breakfast yet and I didn't want to make myself sick.  Plus I was too excited because it was now time to DECORATE!!!
Now anyone who knows me knows that my absolute favorite thing to do is decorate . . . anything.  I am especially fond of decorating cupcakes and cookies and I have been collecting cupcake decorations for many years now.  I took an old cupcake pan that I had and painted it white and I use it as a holder for all of my sprinkles and decorations.  This makes it much easier when you are decorating a large quantity of cupcakes or cookies. 
I had a bowl of cream cheese frosting, a piping bag of cream cheese frosting, a piping bag of pink cherry frosting, candy hearts, an assortment of sprinkles, mini chocolate bars, conversation hearts, and artificial flowers I used to uniquely design each cupcake.
The night before I had hand-crafted 36 Valentine cupcake picks using printed Victorian images I cut out, embellished with beads, lace, ribbon, and other embellishments, and glued to flat toothpicks.  I also hand made some beautiful cupcake sleeves from lace paper doilies.
When I arrived at the meeting I set up the cupcakes on beautiful display stands and inserted the cupcake picks to reveal some of the most beautiful Valentine cupcakes I have ever made.
They were a big hit with the ladies and I got a lot of compliments.  They tasted delicious, but I am now regretting the chocolate kisses because they burned on the bottom and they made the cupcake difficult to eat.  It was also rather unpleasant to have a big chunk of hard chocolate in the middle of the cupcake so I am thinking I will not do that again but instead maybe fill the cupcakes with chocolate ganache.  Yummy!
There were other wonderful desserts at the meeting as well, including some wonderful lemon cookies made by Retha Wegmiller of Angel Delight Catering and Tea Room that were so moist, lemony, and delicious.  There were also some fantastic hand-made chocolates provided by Lisa Briscoe of Tres Sucre Chocolatiere.  All of the desserts were fabulous and I encourage you to visit these ladies sites using the links above!
I had a great time of networking, enjoying some delicious lunch provided by Retha Wegmilller, and I learned some very useful things about social media and marketing from Kelly Tompkins with Main Street Enid.  It was a great afternoon and I am so thankful I got to participate right here in Enid!

I am going to try to get better at creating regular blog posts so there is much more to come!  Please come back and check it out!  Until then . . .

May You Be Blessed!