Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mad Hatter Tea Party

I'm part of a spouses' group that does monthly get-togethers, often at someone's house, and this past Tuesday I hosted a Mad Hatter tea party (we are the Madhatters).  I had somewhere around 15 or 20 people over and I made all the food and stuff.  I was working on it nonstop all day Monday and Tuesday, and I *just* finished washing all the dishes a little bit ago this afternoon.  I still have one or two things to put up before the house is back to normal, but it's getting there.  I was exhausted yesterday so most of the cleanup (especially dishes) was today.

Anyway, I only took a few pics before people arrived and I was silly and didn't take any of the food.  Oops.  I did make cute little signs for all the dishes and stuff, and a sign for the front door, but that's about all the time I've spent in my craft room all week.

This is what it looked like on Tuesday morning.  Every time I die-cut a bunch of stuff, the dogs like to chew on the paper scraps...I probably shouldn't encourage that since I think that's why Vader thinks it's okay to eat the Royal Post when it's pushed through our mail slot next to the front door.  Oops.  But anyway, there's my girl Sadie having fun with multicolored paper scraps amid all the creative clutter that is my craft room.

This is Vader's idea of "stay out of the kitchen".  He thinks he *has* to be able to see everything I'm doing in the kitchen, and the door and cabinets block his view.  I'm constantly chasing him out of there even if he is cute : ) I get tired of tripping over him when I cross the kitchen to get to the oven.

My sign for the front door.  I didn't want to be constantly running to get the door when I knew perfectly well I was having a bunch of people show up, so I left the door unlocked and put the sign up.  Seemed to work for the most part, I only heard the doorbell ring a couple times.  After I stamped the flowers on it I thought D'OH!  Why didn't I do a teacup?  I have a teacup stamp!  The perils of late-night stamping.

Here's my collection of mugs for those who didn't bring their own tea cup (the sign says "NEW CUP!" because the Mad Hatter and March Hare yell that before they all move down one seat at the table).  I spy Mary Poppins, Tinker Bell, a Care Bear, a Baylor bear, and some Mary Engelbreit artwork.  And tucked in the middle is my newest mug which features the Cowardly Lion.  When Lee's not looking I think I'll have to acquire the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow too, hehe.

These are all the caffeine-free teas, also known as...

The Dormouse's "Take a Nap" teas.  Because he's asleep in the teapot.

And here is my (much larger) collection of caffeinated teas...

...endorsed by White Rabbits everywhere who are running late.  I did signs for all the food I didn't take pictures of too, and really with the SU Floral Framelits dies and a bit of stamping, all my signs came together in like 20 minutes.  And then everyone grabbed handfuls of jellybeans as they went around the table getting food.  Lucky for me that all the Easter candy is out 'cause I got the really good jellybeans, like five bags of them.

So you want to know what I made food-wise?  Because I'm crazy like this, all the recipes I used were new to me.  So here's the menu:

- Ham & Swiss pie.  This must have been good because it was gone in about two minutes...I didn't even get to try it.

- Mock Turtle Soup (really vegetable soup).  I looked up actual recipes for mock turtle soup and they all involved ox tails or organ meats and NO WAY am I eating any of that.  I found an easy and quick recipe for veggie soup in my Southern Living cookbook and about 95% of it was gone at the end of the night too.  If anyone is interested I can post that recipe later.

- Bread & Butterflies.  Toast a piece of sourdough bread, cut it with a large butterfly-shaped cookie cutter, and put butter on it.  Voila!  Cute and easy and goes with the theme.

- Bacon Tomato Basil Dip.  This took longer than I thought it would to put together, what with all that herb mincing, but it too was gone at the end of the night.  I served it with Ritz crackers and had a plate of cheese slices too and all that was left was two lonely Ritz crackers.  I put them out of their misery...chomp!

- The Queen of Hearts (Stolen) Berry Tarts.  I looked all over for tart recipes and found one that called for blending up a few things (milk, some cream, eggs, a couple other things) and then microwaving it to cook it.  It tasted okay but didn't really set up so it was kinda runny when I put the tarts together (I cut up strawberries and added some other berries and cut kiwi).  It was only afterward that I thought WHY DIDN'T I JUST DO INSTANT PUDDING?!  It would have been SO much easier (and I wouldn't have had to clean the blender).  Gah!  Notes for next time.

- Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies.  These were gooood, definitely keeping the recipe.  I'm not embarrassed to say I had one for breakfast yesterday.

- Lemon brownies.  These were okay, but I had one today and all the glaze didn't really set on top of the bars, it's all over the bottom of the pan so it's kinda like an upside down cake or something.  I'm not sure I'd make these again, they're kind of similar to lemon squares with a tart glaze on top...if I do make them again, I'll decrease the lemon juice in the glaze and maybe it will set better.  And maybe I could try making orange brownies.  Oh, I got a microplane zester when I was in the States and used it for the first time to make these and it was AMAZING.  Why did I wait so long to get a zester?  I will totally be using fresh lemon zest in all my recipes instead of the dried lemon peel they sell in the spice aisle.  Bonus:  the house smelled like lemons for a day and I didn't even use lemon-scented cleaner.

- Happy Unbirthday Carrot Cake.  At the risk of repeating myself, this was AMAZING.  I bought a springform pan just so I could make this recipe.  I loved that it didn't have coconut in it (hate coconut) and next time I'll have to try adding some raisins to it.  The frosting is to die for too, I had a giant spoonful of it after I frosted the cake.  What, there was some left over and I couldn't very well let it go to waste, could I?!  The only thing that took a long time with this cake was grating the carrots.  And I'm gonna have to take one for the team and eat the last piece of it so that I can wash the cake stand.  It's tough, I tell ya.

So there's what I made; the tea was all set up in the kitchen with a couple of fast-boil tea kettles and then I had all the chairs in the living room and Alice in Wonderland playing on the TV with the sound on low.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and I'm fairly certain the food was a success, even if it was ALL experimental.  The only thing I had kind of a lot of left over were the tarts.  I didn't realize that I hadn't used even one of the recipes before until I'd gotten everything just about ready.  Ha!  Guess I like an element of uncertainty when I host a party?!  Or perhaps I'm just mad.  We're all mad here, you know.

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