After cramming our sneakers in our  purses and our boots on our feet, Mom and I were ready for our Moss Mountain tour!

Mom at Moss Mountain Farm

One other thing I wish I had added to my purse was a bottle of water. Consider taking one when you go–lots of walking.

Our instructions were to arrive at 10:30 for the 11:00 tour.

We were a little unsure what we were supposed to do once we got there. We followed the crowd to the gift shop area. Of course we had to take some goofy pictures.

gift shop 2

gift shop 1

 

The chickens were happy to pose for us.

chickens

chicken

 

After perusing the gift shop for about 15 minutes, we decided to ask one of the ladies wearing a name tag what the plan of action was. (You can only take so many chicken pictures.)

She motioned toward the vegetable garden and the sheep pasture as she told us we were free to roam until 11:00.

We kicked things into high gear in order to cover as much ground as possible. We were both grateful for our boots as we trekked across the wet field.

Moose, the donkey, was not nearly as cooperative for his photo shoot as the chickens had been for theirs!

Moose the Donkey

 

The little garden house was so cute! It was a wire frame covered with burlap. I wish I could have seen it when the daffodils were in bloom!

burlap house

I remember seeing  on Facebook back in the fall how Allen covered the little house with pumpkins.

burlap and wire house

 

Joyce’s House was featured in Southern Living not too long ago.

cotttage

 

It was getting close to time for the “official” tour so we had to head back. We did do more self-guided touring after lunch.

The Barn is where we had lunch-more on that later.

barn

 

In front of the garden home is this beautiful 300+ year old tree. Don’t you like the lights strung up for a party?

tree over 300 years old-Moss Mountain Farm

 

While the house is only about 10 years old, the crew did a nice job making it look as if it had been there 100 years or more!

side of the house-Moss Mountain Farm

 

The yellow “knock out” roses near the house were incredible!

knock out roses

 

You never know who you will run into at Moss Mountain Farm. I met Ceri, a fellow ARWB food blogger. at the blog conference I attended last year. She and her friend, Vanessa, drove down from Fayetteville, AR that morning.

RecipeDoodle

 

Next up…inside the house!

For my birthday this year, my Mom promised to take me to tour P. Allen Smith’s garden home at Moss Mountain Farm.

sign

I have had the opportunity to meet and miss Allen several times. Click here.

Having seen my blogger pals talk about going to Moss Mountain on many different occasions, I was very excited to finally get to go for myself!

I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the tour. I knew there would be lunch and a house and chickens. I had no idea what the “dress code” for such an event was.  I decided to consult my ARWB friends for advice.

I’m going to Moss Mountain Farm tomorrow. It’s my first time. How should I dress?

  • Debbie Horton Arnold-Is it for one of their luncheon/tours?
  • Stephanie Crampton Buckley-Cute and comfy. Comfy because there’s a lot of walking around and cute because you will take a lot, and will want to be in, photos.
  • Sarah E. White-Rain boots since it will be muddy?
  • Debbie Horton Arnold-Cute but not dressy. I’ve worn nice jeans, cropped pants, and slacks before. Always with shoes you can walk around in a yard and garden with. (no heels) I hope you have a beautiful, fun-filled day. It’s a beautiful place. Take an apple for the donkey:)
  • Peggy Cox Bayer-Thanks, y’all. For my birthday my Mom bought us tickets for the luncheon/tour. We are just now finding/making time to go. Pray the rain holds off!
  • Peggy Cox Bayer-Thanks for the “donkey tip” Debbie Horton Arnold
  • Paige Ray-You ladies have fun today!!
    After all of that I was even more perplexed!
    That morning I thought I had the a perfectly cute and comfortable outfit picked out for the day. The weather man was calling for rain, so I knew rain boots were a possibility.
    light blue gingham with floral skirt
    Cute enough–but I felt all fidgety in the skirt for some reason. Perhaps a different skirt was the answer.
    light blue gingham with denim
    No. This just was not right.
    Then I remembered a springy green dress.
    green dress
    I wore this to take the kids to school. It really needed to be ironed. My white sneakers were not so white. I WAS GOING TO A FARM! WHY DID I WANT TO WEAR A DRESS?!
    purple gingham
    Next up was my purple gingham shirt with jeans. Jeans would be much more comfy if I ended up wearing my boots. That was it! I would wear my Converse sneakers and take my boots.
    Wrong!
    Don’t you HATE those days when nothing seems to be the right outfit?! UGH!
    I was running out of time AND patience. I knew the next outfit had to be “it” whether it was or not.
    I needed something on my arms because I tend to get cold. Apparently I was in a gingham mood, since I had already tried two gingham shirts.
    A gingham jacket was the winner! (I picked it up for 50¢ at Goodwill last summer.)
    gingham, converse, rain boots
    Hooray! Decision made. I wore the sneakers and threw the boots in the backseat.
    gingham jacket with converse

    As soon as we parked the car, my cute little sneakers went into my purse and on went the boots.
    I didn’t know if I would need to change shoes to go inside or not.
    stuffing shoes in my purse
    So, here is how I dressed to go to Moss Mountain Farm.
    arriving at the farm
    Jeans and rain boots turned out to be the perfect pairing for the day. No, they didn’t make me leave my boots at the door. I hauled my sneakers around unnecessarily. I was glad to have a jacket though.
    Stay tuned for more about the actual trip.
    Oh, in case you are wondering, I took all those clothing pictures days later. I wish I had actually taken a picture that day.  My bed looked like my closet exploded. I was not really planning to include a fashion post with my Moss Mountain adventures. However, when I relayed my fashion dilemma to my husband later that day, he got a huge kick out of it. I just thought y’all might, too!

Shortbread cookies are no stranger to a tea party. Add a little cocoa powder and this simple, unassuming cookie goes from wallflower to star!

Okay, that may have been a little dramatic. We are, after all, talking about a cookie.

I did amp up these chocolate shortbread cookies a little by making my own cookie stamp just for the occasion!

I experimented with stamped cookies about a year and a half ago. Click HERE to see that experiment.

Can you tell what I used to make the stamp?

tea time stamp

Alphabet Pasta!

I just glued the letters onto a piece of cardboard–in reverse order and backward! I even made a little handle with stacked pieces of cardboard.

For some reason the “M” was a little thicker than the other letters. It did the best after baking. Perhaps because it smushed into the dough deeper. Some of the thinner letters were a little tricky to read. I think people got the point though.

chocolate shortbread cookies

The recipe is very easy.

I used Martha’s recipe from her Cookies Cookbook. Well, I didn’t follow her recipe exactly. She calls for drizzling the shortbread with melted white chocolate. That obviously wouldn’t work with my fancy stamped cookies. It sure sounds yummy though. I may have to try that next time.

 

martha's cookies

 

Chocolate Shortbread

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt (DO NOT leave out the salt. I used Kosher salt. That little bit of saltiness with the sweet was delicious.)

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚
  2. Pulse all the dry ingredients together in a food processor. Add butter and vanilla, and process until it all starts to stick together.
  3. Shape into a ball. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut however you like. I used a garnisher that had a wavy edge to cut my cookies into small sticks. I did a bit of experimenting to get the size just right for my stamp. I even trimmed some off after I stamped because I just thought they looked too wide. Go with what you like!
  4. Bake on parchment paper. I’m terribly sorry, but since my cookies were so small, I just guessed at how long to bake them. I crammed a bunch on my baking stone because I was lazy and didn’t want to make 800 batches! Martha’s recipe says for  3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch cookies to bake for 20-25 minutes-until firm to the touch. I’m thinking I checked mine at 10 minutes. Sorry, I just don’t remember how long they took. I had just baked so much! I had flour for brains!

They turned out great–however long I baked them! They were very yummy!

I neglected to get a good picture of the cookies after they had baked. You can barely see the corner of one on the picture below.

stamped tea cookie

table setting

After preparing Tea Party food two years in a  row, I have discovered why people go to tea parties–THE DESSERTS!

dessert tray

Of course we had savories.

And it just wouldn’t be a tea party without scones.

scone with clotted cream and jam

But the desserts….oh, my, the desserts!

 

tea party desserts

I’ll start on the lower left and go clock-wise.

Cream Cheese Mints

Raspberry Almond Tea Cakes

Fresh Fruit with Honey Lime Dressing

Chocolate Shortbread Cookie

Cream Cheese Pastry with Lemon Curd

Triple Chocolate Mousse

I did have some helpers. My sweet friends, Donna and Kaye, did such a fabulous job with the tasty Cream Cheese Mints last year. They were recruited to make them once again. I don’t trust myself making them. They are so good! Here is the recipe they used. They are addictive–you’ve been warned!

The Tea Cakes were pretty easy. I made a basic pound cake using almond flavoring rather than vanilla. I baked the cake in a 10×15 inch jelly roll style pan on parchment paper. Then I baked a second one for the top layer. Seedless Raspberry Jam was slathered between the layers. A little melted vanilla Ready-to-Spread frosting and a fresh raspberry on top finished off each piece. I liked the ease of letting the frosting drip down the sides.

Here is the Honey Lime Dressing recipe Danielle used. The little glasses are just plastic shot glasses from the Dollar Tree.

Chocolate Shortbread is very easy. I’ll be telling you more about that in another post soon. Stay tuned! (If you fill out the email subscription on the side bar, you will be sure to not miss it!)

The recipe for the Cream Cheese Pastry wasn’t hard, just time-consuming. I went to the trouble of making tiny little pie weights and everything. I don’t know that they were really necessary. The pastries freeze very nicely. I made them in advance and thawed them the day of the party. I used store-bought lemon curd. Lemon Curd is not hard to make. Buying it ready-made at the store sure saved time!Dickinson's-lemon-curd

The Triple Chocolate Mousse was…well…not easy…especially making 100! I am really bad about having grand ideas that are somewhat over my head!

dessert plate

I found the recipe here. The gal on this post is a pastry chef, y’all! Me? I have no training-at all! I just try hard things!

I really wanted to make the triple chocolate mousse. I made if for my family for Valentine’s Day. Boy, am I glad I did! Over on the original post, she used nice stainless steel ring molds. Since I didn’t have those, nor did I have money to purchase 100, I thought perhaps a tomato paste can would work. Well, not so much. The ridges in the can held the mousse in place, making for a difficult release. Plus, I was impatient to get the desserts out of the cans! Plus, they probably needed to thaw a bit more. On my trial run I poured the mousse and cake (I cheated and used a boxed cake mix.) that didn’t go into tomato paste cans into a square baking pan. I thought I’d see if slicing the mousse into triangle servings would work. No, this did not go well. The cake part was too thick. Oh, I forgot to mention that there was a disaster of some sort with the chocolate layer that made it hard as a rock. It might have had something to do with the fact that I bought the wrong kind of chocolate-bittersweet! Thank goodness I tested!

As the time for the tea got closer and closer, I got more and more nervous about making the Triple Chocolate Mousse. I decided to get on the computer and look for some suggestions. Lo and behold good old Martha Stewart had a similar recipe. Martha used parchment paper around the cake and taped it into a collar, then piped in the mousse. Well…I tried it. See, you freeze the dessert after each layer is added. The tape turned loose after being in the freezer. I had to go back and staple each little collar.

So, I had my 100 Triple Chocolate Mousse made, with the right kind of chocolate, and in the freezer with their little parchment paper collars stapled around them. The day before the party I my friend, Kathy, suggested I take one mousse out of the freezer to see how it does thawing. Thank goodness it did just fine.

The day of the party was a bit crazy, as you can imagine.

I transported the everything to the Harper Alexander House. Into the fridge with the mousse to begin the thaw. They should have been thawed close to party time. I panicked! They were not as thawed as they should have been. I took them out of the refrigerator and placed them on the counter. Well, I guess I jumped the gun a little. By the time we started plating the food, the mousse were tricky to handle. There were a couple that crashed over on the other desserts. Thank goodness Cathy and Danielle were helping me in the kitchen! Cathy shoved that fruit cup against the mousse and it saved the day!

No one knew any different!

I think everyone enjoyed the yummy desserts!

 

Spring tart wih peas

 

Well, that’s pretty! huh?

I recently had the privilege of being part of a fund-raiser Tea. When I say “being part of” I mean “making the food for” the Tea. It was loads of fun! This was the second year for Top of the Rock to host a Spring Tea. You can read about last year’s tea here, here, here, here, here, and here. Last year was fabulous! However, I didn’t want to have exactly the same food this year.

It was so much fun to plan for the Tea. I have a Pinterest Tea Party board where I gather ideas. After planning for the first Tea, I was hooked on finding fun Tea Party ideas. My board has quite a bit on it. That really made it kind of difficult to figure out what we should have this year. There were too many choices!

I knew we would have three courses–savory, scone and sweet. The scones were so yummy last time. I decided not to reinvent the wheel on that course.

We used 6 1/2″ clear plastic plates over the fancy china. That made for easier clean up and service. The size of the plates helped determine what would go on them. It had to all fit!

savory tea food

At last year’s event, we had a couple of people on gluten-free diets. Gluten intolerance seems to be an issue for lots of people these days. With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to have a few gluten-free selections at the Tea.

My friend, Susi, made her fabulous chicken salad. Instead of serving it in a puff pastry like before, the chicken salad was scooped onto a sliced apple and topped with a pecan half. It was different and GF! And it looked good, too.

tea sandwiches

Last year someone mentioned that they would have liked more savory than sweet at the Tea.

Well, to me, the dessert plate is THE BEST!

In the interest of being different, we had a little roast beef canapé. It was e-a-s-y to make. I bought loaves of French bread at the grocery. They sliced it for me at no extra charge. That was a great time-saver. Remember that for when you are fixing snacks for 100! Since my budget was slim, I bought prepared horseradish spread, store brand. I spread just a tiny amount on the toasted bread slices. I topped that with deli roast beef and a small piece of provolone cheese-then into the oven to melt the cheese. YUM! The little roast beef sandwiches were not GF, but folks sure raved about them.

tea party food

 

The Pea Tart was a bit of a risk. I found the recipe on Pinterest one day. The link led me to a beautiful website, Gourmande in the Kitchen. I was totally intrigued! Sylvie’s photography is just stunning. She has so many amazing sounding recipes.

I was unsure how I would like the beautiful recipe. Goat cheese was a bit of a stretch for me. I had to do a test run. (You may have noticed that the first picture on this post did not have a clear plastic plate. I’m glad I took pictures while I was testing. Making 100 tarts shells got a little intense. I didn’t take any pictures.)

individual pie pans from canning lids

Since I was making individual tarts, I needed tart pans. In lieu of spending lots of money on tart pans, I used canning lids and rings. The picture above, from my testing, shows two different sizes. I ended up using the smaller lids and rings. I did use a bit of parchment paper in the bottom. I  didn’t want the rubbery part of the ring to be an issue.

In my trial run, I discovered that the almond flour crust was very fragile. This had me terrified to try to make them for people. I determined that I probably made the test batch a little too thin. So, when I made the “for real” tarts, I actually did math! Sylvie’s tart serves about 8. I figured I could get 13-15 tarts out of one batch of dough. I filled a canning lid with a little more dough than I used for my test. Then, I weighed the dough. I weighed out 100 little dough balls and stuck them in the fridge until the next day. After a good night’s sleep, I was ready to look at the dough again. I spent that day pressing the dough balls into the canning lids. They baked up nicely. I only broke a couple of them.

Herbed Goat cheese spread

I waited as late as I could on the tea party day to spread the filling into the shells. Doesn’t that look fresh and inviting?! The combination of herbs and creamy stuff was delicious!

spring peas

 

The Pea Tarts looked pretty with just peas. Sylvie used micro greens to top off hers. My grocery only had spring greens, no micros. The lacy micro greens looked prettier. Nobody at the Tea saw the micro greens though. (Well, they might now.) Anyway, I used the spring greens and was pleased with the outcome.

Spring tart with herbed goat cheese

Compare this picture to the one above it. You will see a difference in the thickness of the crust.

Sylvie was sweet enough to let me share her recipe here. Be sure to go visit her beautiful blog. Thank you, Sylvie!

Pea and Herbed Goat Cheese Tart Recipe (Gluten Free and Grain Free)

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

The tart features a creamy filling laced with fresh herbs, balanced with a layer of blanched peas and a handful of colorful micro greens.

Ingredients

For the Tart dough:
    • 2 cups (224g) almond flour
    • 3 Tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Tart filling:
  • 6 ounces (168g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56g) Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) frozen or shelled English peas
  • 1 cup of micro greens (for garnish)

Instructions

Make the Tart Shell:
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, butter, egg white, and salt and pulse until the mixtures starts to come together.
    2. Place dough in a well greased tart mold, pressing down firmly with your fingers up and around the edges to create an even layer. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Put the tart shell in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 350 degrees.
    3. Place the frozen tart shell in the oven and bake until golden, about 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
    4. Allow to cool completely before unmolding and filling. (Placing the tart shell in the fridge will speed cooling and make unmolding easier)
For the Tart Filling and Assembly:
  1. In a food processor, blend together the goat cheese, Greek yogurt, fresh herbs, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse briefly to combine.
  2. Bring water to a boil. Blanch the peas for about 2 minutes, then shock them in a bowl of ice water and drain.
  3. When the tart shell has cooled, spread the herbed goat cheese filling evenly over the surface with an offset spatula, then cover the entire surface with a layer of peas. Top with the micro greens, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cut the tart into slices and serve.

 

This recipe is not from MY Aunt Liz. It is from my kids’ Aunt Liz, who is actually my sister.

I have never been a fan of guacamole. I’ll wait while you start breathing again.

I don’t know why I didn’t like it–maybe the fact that guacamole is green and made from vegetables.

One summer, Liz was at our house for a visit. She has been living in Texas for quite a while, so she has learned a thing or two about guacamole.

Not wanting to be rude, I tried her guacamole. I’m sure I looked like a cat eating glue! But guess what…I liked it! I wasn’t the only one. The whole family liked it!

guacamole ingredients

Fresh ingredients are a must!

I like cutting open an avocado. Give it a slice around the pit.

cut avocado

Twist the halves apart.

Stick your knife into the pit and lift. The pit will pop right out! Do this carefully. Don’t let the knife slip off the side of the pit and onto your thumb. If it does, then you will have to wear a band-aid on that nasty gash. Then the band-aid is just in the way while you are trying to finish the recipe without adding an “extra ingredient”. Just sayin’!

You can score the avocado flesh while in the skin before you scoop it out if you are using chunks. Otherwise, just scoop out the whole thing.

scoop out avocado meat

Orange and lime juices keep the avocado from turning brown. I think this is the real reason I liked Liz’s Guacamole. The citrus made is so fresh tasting.

citrus

orange juice

Chop your onion fine to hide it from family and friends, or leave it large enough for them to pick out if they don’t like it.

fresh ingredients

Aunt Liz’s Guacamole

2 avocados, mashed

juice of 1/2 a lime

juice of 1/2 and orange

dash of garlic powder

red onion, chopped-however much you like. I think I used less than a 1/4 cup

salt and pepper to taste

Liz used cilantro in her recipe. I, however, HATE cilantro.

I’ll wait for you to breathe again, again. If you like cilantro, feel free to add some.

Chop it all up. Mix it all up. Serve it all up. Gobble it up!

guacamole served in an avocado shell

Cute! Look what I did! I stuffed the guacamole back into the avocado shell with a little garnish! Fancy, huh?!

Do you eat guacamole? Have you ever had it like this with orange juice in it?

Nutella cookies

There was a BOGO coupon for Nutella in the paper not too long ago. I never buy Nutella, but a buy-one-get one-free coupon seemed too good to not clip.

Shortly after making my sinful purchase of TWO JARS, I was asked to make a dessert for a youth gathering at church. Now I had the perfect opportunity to try Nutella Cookies!

(Not familiar with Nutella? Click here.)

Nutella Cookies

1 cup Nutella

1 cup flour

1 egg

Bake at 350˚ for 6-8 minutes.

I thought they would spread in the oven, but they didn’t. When I took them out, I just gave them a quick cross-hatch with the fork like you do with peanut butter cookies.

Cookies fresh from the oven

These were so rich and yummy straight from the oven!

cookies with Nutella

They were good later on, too.

cookies

I was trying out different photography approaches. So, lots of pictures that look very similar. : )

empty jar 1

…oh, and a fancy vintage napkin.

Nutella cookies 1

Nutella cookies 2

Nutella cookies 3

How do you feel about Nutella? Love it? If yes, you must try these cookies!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 418 other followers