My chorus, Top of the Rock, recently had our 4th Spring Tea. Mom and I once again co-chaired the event. This year the Tea was at the historic Albert Pike Masonic Center in downtown Little Rock on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon right before Mothers’ Day.

We had 120 guests–the biggest crowd yet! We will plan for even more next year!

Tables were decorated by members of the chorus. We gave the ladies free-range as far as decorating goes. You’ll see a variety of themes–from Christmas to farm to jewelry. Mine is the one with the yellow tulips!

Click on each gallery below to see the pictures better.

You must have some fancy food to go on those fancy plates!

Here is the menu we served:

Tea Menu2016

I had fabulous help in the kitchen, as always!

Some of the men from Accapella Rising, the Little Rock men’s barbershop chorus, helped us with the serving.

We had a FABULOUS vintage fashion show. A friend of Mom’s from high school, Wanda Cook (aka The Coca Cola Lady, be sure to check out this article from a few years ago) provided the fashions. Top of the Rock provided the models! Wanda has displayed her collection at Red Hat conventions, women’s luncheons and other events. She was so generous to loan her collection to us for the day! The fashion show was a HUGE hit! The models really got into character and made the clothing come alive.

Of course there had to be some singing!!

It looked like everyone had a good time!

A big thanks to my husband, Chip, for taking all the photos! He took over 500 pictures and walked over 11,000 steps that day!

 

Mom and I both sing with Top of the Rock Chorus, the Little Rock Chapter of Sweet Adelines International.

This Spring, we were co-chairmen of our third-annual fundraiser Tea. Mom does all the scouting around for donations, recruiting members to volunteer and securing the venue. I’m in charge of the food.

This year, the Tea was at the historic E.O. Manees House, home of the North Little Rock Junior League. It was a picture-perfect Spring day.

Junior League NLR

E.O.Manees House

Our Tea Party has been at the Harper Alexander House for the past two years.  The caretaker there, D’Arlyn Ball, has all the rooms furnished and decorated beautifully. You can see pictures here.

The Manees House, however, has just a small amount of furniture. That is where some of our volunteers really helped out this year. Mom recruited ladies from the chorus  to decorate tables with their own china, flatware, etc. The result was wonderful! No two tables were alike. From fresh flowers to Wedgewood-everything was lovely! I think the ladies enjoyed getting to “show off” a little as well.

Take a look:

Wedgewood

purple and green table

TOTR centerpiece

quilt and hydrangeas

purple tulip centerpiece

purple table

Fiesta Ware

silver teapot

vintage teacup

vintage floral china

table for two

toille seatcovers

daisies

arranging flowers

hydrangea napkin ring

blue and yellow quilted placemats

yellow roses arrangement

Stay tuned…there will be details about the FOOD coming soon.

 

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!

 

After the chorus sang for our guests at the Tea, we served a plate of savories.

Savory Tea Plate 3

Before I tell you about the food, I want to give a special shout out to my gal-pal Susi!

Chef and sous chef

If I was the “chef”, Susi was my “sous chef”. I think she can pull that off really well if we call her a Suz-chef! Get it? She how I made a little funny with her name?

We also had some fabulous servers. Here are a few of them getting instructions on how to serve tea from D’arylan Ball, the caretaker of the home.

Getting instructions

Susi and I were the ones in charge of the kitchen. The two of us did all the plating of the food. Susi also made the fabulous Cranberry Chicken Salad Puffs.

Chicken Salad Puff

She made the puff pastries from her family’s never-fail recipe. The chicken salad was wonderful! One of her secrets was to use rotisserie chicken!

Susi, leave us a comment on how you made your chicken salad.

Savory Tea Plate 2

Don’t you just love the internet? When we started planning for this event, Mom and I started searching for recipes, crafts, and anything inspiring. The two of us started a Pinterest board to save our ideas as well as share them with one another. This was a very helpful tool. You can see our board here. We are still adding to it. You never know when you might need tea party recipes again!

The tomato sandwich and cucumber round both were found during our search.

The cucumber rounds were really easy. Before slicing the cucumbers, I scored them with my zester/scorer from Pampered Chef. I used the end with the small holes. Of course, if you don’t have one of these, you could just peel part of the cucumber off with a regular old peeler. We had to go fancy though!

zester:scorer

After slicing the cucumber into approximately 1/2 inch slices, I used a tool similar to this…

corerMine, however, is just a regular old strawberry huller. I scooped almost all of the seeds out of each cucumber slice, leaving a little base for the cheese.

As you may or may not know, cucumbers are FULL of water! I placed my slices, hollowed-out side down, on some paper towels in a container in the fridge overnight. I sure didn’t want cucumber juice all over the serving plate!

Oh, by the way, the idea for the cucumber slices came from Annie’s Eats. I love her blog.

Annie made her Cucumber Bites with Boursin Cheese in the middle. Well, Boursin Cheese can be a little pricy at the store.

I was overjoyed to find a recipe for homemade Boursin Cheese here.

HOMEMADE BOURSIN CHEESE SPREAD
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon dill
2 teaspoons chives
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

In a mini food processor, process the cream cheese, butter and garlic until blended. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Put in an airtight container and chill a couple of hours to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables.

Makes about 3/4 cup
Can be frozen

For some reason, I couldn’t get my fancy decorating tip to work right–an operator problem, no doubt. I had made the spread the night before and stored it in a resealable bag. I added a little whipping cream to the mix then I just snipped off the tip. I was able to squirt the spread into the cucumber cups with ease.

They weren’t quite as fancy as I wanted, but they were very tasty!

Savory Tea Plate 1

The Tomato Sandwiches were a HUGE hit! I was surprised because they were so easy!

The inspiration for the Tomato Sandwiches came from Paula Deen! I did do a little tweaking of my own on this one.

The bread I used was the cheapest plain ol’ sandwich bread they had at Walmart. I used brown and white, like Paula. Using a small biscuit cutter, I was able to get two cuts from each piece of bread. I made bread crumbs with the leftovers.

Cutting out the little rounds went really fast. I put them in Ziploc baggies in the freezer until the night before the party. I had LOTS of things in my freezer until the night before the party! Being able to do a lot ahead of time was essential!

Tomatoes are like cucumbers in that they are packed with water!

I did the whole slice and drain thing with the tomatoes like I did the cucumbers. DO NOT skip this step. If you do, you will have a soggy sandwich! Yuck!

Here is the spread that I put on the sandwiches…

SAVORY PARTY SPREAD

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 package (0.7 ounce) dry Italian salad dressing mix

I just spread it on each piece of bread and put a tomato in the middle. A little piece of parsley spruced up the top a bit.

Savory Tea Plate 3

Three little bite-sized treats was perfect for our first course.

Two more courses to come~stay tuned!

The Sweet Adeline group I sing with, Top of the Rock Chorus, recently had a fundraiser event. Wanting to do something different, we decided to have a Tea at the historic Harper-Alexander House.

Harper Alexander House

Everything was just lovely! The weather even cooperated. It was sunny and the temperature was in the low to mid 70s.

Porch exterior

I’ll give you a little pictorial tour of the house. Be sure and follow the link above to learn more of what goes on at the Harper-Alexander House.

Beautiful pressed tin ceilings….

Ceiling Tiles

…and wide winding staircases were typical of homes built in the early 1900s.

Uptairs looking down

Meet some of the Harpers.

The Harpers

Beautiful details were at every turn.

Lamp Details

vintage Hershey's Cocoa tin

Roses in water

Tea Tray

Decorated Mantle

Every table was eloquently arranged.

Living Room Low table

Living Room,

Porch

Porch table

table for two

table for two centerpiece

table for two china

yellow room

Blue Room full table

Blue Room

Blue Room Table

Big Room 1

Big Room 2

downstairs bedroom

Front Room side table

Front room

Front Window Table

Bride's room

As guests arrived, handsome gentlemen escorted them to their tables.

Greeting at the door

ushers

Of course there was some singing. That is what we do best!

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock singing

While folks enjoyed their tea and treats, some members of the chorus acted as fashion models. Fashions were provided by Chico’s in Little Rock and Fashion Corner in North Little Rock. (Unfortunately, we were all so busy serving and so taken with the food and surroundings we didn’t get pictures of the models. If some turn up somewhere, I’ll be sure to add them here.)

And, of course, there was food…

Savory Tea Plate 1

and food

scones with clotted cream and jam

…and more food!

dessert plate 2

Watch for more to come about the food.

It was a wonderful day!

Top of the Rock partnered with P.A.T.H. and His Kaleidoscope Ministry for this event. Being able to share with these groups made the day that much more special.

Top of the Rock would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to Walmart, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Atwoods, and Bonnie Plants for making our event possible.

I’m not sure if I have told y’all or not, but I’m in charge of a tea.

Okay, I’m not in charge of the whole thing, just the food. If you follow me on Pinterest you may have seen my Tea Party board.

The group I sing with, Top of the Rock Chorus, is having a fundraiser tea.

This morning I tested out two recipes–scones and clotted cream.

Oooo-la-la!

I wanted to eat the whole batch!

Today I only have pictures for you. I’ll have a GRAND post after the tea is over and done with.

Tea Time with Pork Chop Tuesday

Scones with clotted cream | Pork Chop Tuesday

tea on vintage linens | Pork Chop Tuesday

Scones | Pork Chop Tuesday