A Christmas Tea

Front Row Left to Right:
Karen Bolten, Sandy Clough, Maureen Turner
Standing Back Row Left to Right:
Rebecca Pemberton, Debbie Gill, Pam Reeves, Lisbeth Fisher,
Donna Jenkins, Donna Loganzo, Debbie Chychota
Sandy Clough Marietta, GA

I had the joy of inviting 10 very "tea-time" ladies into my home for a Sandy's Tea Society Tea in December. There were both "silver" and "golden" friends in this group: Pam Downs, owner of "Tea Traditions", Marietta, Pam Reeves, owner of "Ambience Interiors", Suwanee, GA, Pam Gill and Donna Jenkins, owners of "The Tea Garden", Talking Rock, GA, Rebecca Pemberton, owner of "Two by Two", Powder Springs, GA, Karen Bolton, Sandy's Tea Society member, Celebration, FL, Donna Loganzo, Sandy's Tea Society member, Woodstock, GA, Maureen Turner, Sandy's Tea Society member, Powder Springs, GA, Lizbeth Fisher, tea time friend, Alpharatta, GA, Debbie Chychota, my assistant at Sandy Clough Studio.

At 6:00 p.m., the ladies entered our house between the two Christmas trees on either side of the door, past luminaries on the sidewalk. Inside were three more Christmas trees: a very traditional tree with a star on the top in the parlor, an "angel" tree with musical accents to celebrate the reason for the season - in the "red" room (which is our family room), and a teacup tree in my tearoom. It was hung with china teacups (some antique) on lace bows with demi-tasse spoons on the tree as well. A swirl of silk ivory roses was tucked into the branches.

When the whole group had gathered, I gave each of them a dessert plate to match the personality they felt was like their own in Sandy's Tea Society - Ruby, Gloria, Claudette, Lillian, Suzette, or Laura. In the center of my tearoom was a round table with all of our teatime treats and we served our plates by candlelight.

Waiting in the dining room was matching settings of cups and saucers for each personality in Sandy's Tea Society. To select a seat, each lady matched her plate to the cup and saucer setting on the table. During our tea, each lady took a turn to explain why she thought she was like Gloria, Ruby, Suzette, Claudette, Lillian or Laura. Since most of these ladies did not know each other, this helped us become acquainted more personally.

Dessert treats were served in the dining room. Debbie Chychota and her son, Steven, graciously served so that I could sit with my guests.

Each guest received a Sandy Clough Christmas ornament as they left.


Spiced Plum and Sugar Plum Spice Tea

Pineapple and Cream Cheese Sandwiches
on Red Bread Cut into bell shapes

Cucumber Sandwiches on Green Bread
Cut into Christmas Tree Shapes

Cheese Straws
"Hat Pins"
Claudette's Tea - Sandy's Tea Society Book
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese - grated
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, creamed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll out thin and cut into strips around 3" long or push through a cookie press. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Hot Chicken Pillows
Laura's Tea - Sandy's Tea Society Book

1 cup dried cranberries1 tblsp. Butter
1 cup diced celery1 cup diced apples
1 ½ cups cooked, diced chicken1 cup chopped pecans
1 small can mandarin orange slices, drained6 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp salt¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp thyme¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon2 cans refrigerated
 crescent roll dough

An hour before preparing recipe, soak cranberries in ¼ cup warm water. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add celery and apples and sauté lightly. Add chicken, drained cranberries, pecans, and oranges. In a large bowl, combine salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Combine spice mixture with cream cheese. Add chicken mixture to cream cheese. Gently combine until well mixed. Unroll crescent triangles. Using your fingers, pinch two together forming a square and set on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Place 2 tablespoons of chicken mixture in the middle of each square. Fold dough over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned.

Ham and Apple Butter Sandwiches

8 thin slices whole wheat bread
Apple Butter
¼ pound smoked ham, very thinly sliced
Boursin cheese, sliced

Lay bread slices out on the counter or cutting board. Spread half the bread slices with a thin layer of apple butter. Arrange sliced ham and cheese on half of the bread slices. Spread the other bread slices with a thin layer of apple butter then set them on top of the ham and cheese. With a serrated knife, trim the crusts. To serve, cut into squares, triangles, or fingers.

Strawberry Silk
Served in Chocolate Cups

1 ½ pints fresh hulled strawberries½ cup sugar
2 drops lemon juice1 cup whipping cream

Puree strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in food processor fitted with steel blade. Whip cream until it holds stiff peaks, then stir the puree in until mixture is smooth. Adjust for sweetness, if desired. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Sandy's Tea Society Cake
2 cups sugar2 cups flour 2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda  
2 sticks margarine 4 tsps cocoa
1 tsp instant coffee granules 1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk 2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp orange extract

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and coffee. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt margarine. Add cocoa and water and bring to a boil. Pour over flour mixture. Quickly add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and orange extract. Mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or when top springs back when touched.

1 stick margarine, melted4 tbsps cocoa
6 tbsps buttermilk1 tbsp vanilla
¼ tsp instant coffee granules1 tsp orange extract
1 box powdered sugar1 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds

In a large saucepan, combine margarine, cocoa, and buttermilk. Bring to boil. Stir in vanilla, coffee, and orange extract. Reduce heat. Add powdered sugar and nuts. Mix well. Pour over a cooled cake.

Lemon Shortbread Squares

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