Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reach for the Stars Tea Party Theme


A New Year lies before us, and with it the opportunity for a fresh start. Many resolutions have been made, many goals set, and there’s a new determination in our hearts to achieve our dreams.

What a great opportunity for a “Reach for the Stars” theme tea party! Perfect for a January tea party, this theme could be used any time throughout the year.

Decorate your table with glitzy star decorations. They might even be available at half price, in after Christmas sales. Christmas ornaments with silver or gold stars painted on them nestled in a pretty bowl or basket will make an elegant centerpiece.

Large cardboard stars, covered with colorful foil wrapping paper, could be used as placemats.

Place cards, with guest names, could be made to match and placed at each table setting.

The invitations should encourage guests to come ready to share their dreams for the New Year.

Prepare an encouraging affirmation for each guest, written on pretty paper and rolled into a scroll. Seal it with a gold or silver star and place one by each place setting. As your tea party progresses, ask guests to open and read their scroll. Then have them share their dream for the New Year and at least one thing they will do to achieve it. For instance, if their dream is to visit a foreign country, they may take the first step and obtain a passport.
Sample affirmations for the scrolls are:

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. Napoleon Hill.

Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it. Brian Tracy

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want. Ben Stein

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. Robert Fritz

The number one problem that keeps people from winning in the United States today is lack of belief in themselves. Arthur L. Williams

You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the Earth by the Master Craftsman. Max Lucado

You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That’s what makes you a winner. Venus Williams

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

At the conclusion of the tea party, you could give each guest a scroll that you have prepared containing all the affirmations that have been read.


To keep with the theme, you might serve Celestial Seasons tea, choosing a blend of spices, representing the blend of opportunities in the new year.

Dreamy Scones

3 cups flour
3 tspns baking powder
½ tspn salt
1 cup cold butter
1 egg
1 cup vanilla yogurt
½ tspn vanilla
2 tspns milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in egg, yogurt and vanilla just until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead 6-8 times. Do not over handle.

Roll into a 9 inch circle, cut into 8 wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Black Eyed Peas Salad

Black eyed peas are traditionally eaten at the beginning of the year as they are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity. They are also a reminder of our proud but humble beginnings.
• 2 cans Black eyed peas, drained
• 1 Bell Pepper
• 1 Chopped Cucumber
• 1 Can Olives, chopped
• Equal mixture of Olive Oil and Herb vinegar (garlic or basil)
• 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
• Thyme, rosemary, oregano, or Italian seasoning
• Garlic
• Mix it all up and let chill for an hour before serving.

Lucky New Year's Sandwiches with Grapes
On Nochevieja in Spain, New Year's Eve revelers eat 12 grapes at midnight — one for every chime of the clock — to bring good luck in the 12 months to come. To add good luck to your tea party, serve these beautiful open-faced sandwiches, featuring chicken and 12 grapes.
4 slices of Honey Wheat bread
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked white chicken meat
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup blanched and sliced almonds, plus 4 tablespoons for sprinkling
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
48 red grapes, each cut in half
Mix the chicken, celery, almonds, mayonnaise, lemon juice and tarragon together. Spread generously onto the slices of bread. Top each slice with 24 grape halves. Then cut each slice in half, so there are 12 grape halves on each one. Sprinkle with more almonds if desired. Serve open faced.


These carrot sandwiches remind us to eat our vegetables. We need to enjoy good health as we reach for our dreams.
2 cups grated carrots
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp salad dressing
Mix together and spread on assorted crackers or breads. Cut in party shapes.


Eggs symbolize new life, new beginnings. A perfect choice for a New Year.

• 8 hard-cooked eggs, diced
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon mustard powder
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon dill weed
• 8 slices white bread
In a bowl, gently mix the eggs, mayonnaise, onion flakes, salt, mustard powder, garlic powder, pepper, and dill. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight. To serve, spread equal amounts on 4 slices bread; top with remaining bread slices to make sandwiches.

Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

This macaroni and cheese dish is served to represent comfort and love in our lives.
2 1/4 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (14 ounce) package KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix water and mustard in 1-1/2-quart casserole. Whisk in Cheese Sauce from Pouch. Stir in dry Macaroni; cover with tight-fitting lid.
2. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; stir in sour cream. Bake, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Confetti Cake

Confetti Cake is the perfect way to celebrate our dreams as we reach for the Stars.

Confetti Cake (Serve with real confetti, if you don’t mind the clean up)

1 1-pound box angel food cake mix
1/4 cup colored candy sprinkles

1. Follow the directions on the cake mix box, but just before pouring the batter into the tube pan, add the sprinkles.
2. Mix them quickly and gently with as few strokes as possible and pour the batter into the pan immediately. If you mix and pour too slowly, the colors may bleed and color the surrounding batter.
3. Frost cake with whipped topping or your favorite frosting. Add confetti (colored sprinkles) and a sparkly star decoration. (Tip Apply the sprinkles to the sides of the cake by lightly tossing them against the frosting. Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Star shaped cookies and candies may also be served.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas High Tea

I was invited to a late afternoon Christmas High Tea that was a delightful time with friends from two tea groups. The hostess had her two teen age nieces help her serve. She served hot tomato bisque soup, then scones, then tea sandwiches followed by a polenta lasagna hot dish. There was hardly room left in tummies for desert, which was a beautiful red velvet cake served with ice cream.
We exchanged gifts, playing the take away game, which led to lots of laughter.
Two of the ladies are on a gluten free diet. I was pleased to discover gluten free bread, and many gluten free mixes. There's even a gluten free scone mix. I've made this, as well as a gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix, and brownie mix, and they are all very good. So, even if you can not have wheat, it's still possible to attend or host a tea and serve sandwiches, scones and desserts all gluten free.
I'm looking forward to hosting two teas next January. Watch this blog for a Jan. tea theme I will post right after Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Maxine at www.mysteryteaparties.com