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How To Host a Tea Party For Your Family


Today on Adventures In The Kitchen we are talking about the role of grandparents in our life with Nell Sunukjian. She knows a little about grandparenting as she has 12 grandkids with 2 on the way.

Nell and grandaughter

We talk about intentionally building into your grandchildren and I share tips a few ideas for Grandparents Day, September 11, 2011. She has an annual tea for all the women in her family. It is quite the shindig and is a special time for her family. The men even get into the action helping to serve the food.


Here are a few tips from Nell on hosting a tea for your family.

Tips for Special Teas at Home

1. Find the lovely linens you have from your wedding or grandmother and use them! Layer them for an even more luxurious look.

2. Use the china that is sitting somewhere on a shelf or in a box. There’s no need to save it—use it and enjoy.

3. Cut flowers from your yard, or buy them inexpensively at Sam’s Club or Trader Joe’s. Put flowers on every table you use, and even the bathroom!

4. Plan your menu. Use at least one menu item you are confident about and try something new, too.

Reading a book

5. Have a theme—it makes for more fun as you find items on sale or in the toy box that add to the décor.

a. Minnie Mouse
b. Strawberry Shortcake
c. Fancy Nancy
d. Anne of Green Gables

6. Send invitiations by snail mail—so special to receive and fun to send, too.

7. Have a table question for all to answer i.e., share a memory of your very first tea or tell about a time when your mother or grandmother dressed up very fancy.

8. Children enjoy decaf tea if you offer plenty of sugar and milk with it.

9. Think about moving your table to the back patio where you are surrounded by nature and beauty.

10. If your chairs don’t match or are plain, drape them in fabric pieces, table toppers or even tablecloths so that everything looks festive.

11. Prepare as much food as possible the day before or even earlier and freeze.

Here is one of the recipe’s she served at this year’s tea.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

¾ cup hot water

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter

2 ¼ cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa and hot water.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Melt butter with sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Pour into mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated into the batter. Add vanilla, mix. Add cocoa mixture, mix. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beating until just combined after each addition.

Fill lined-cupcake pan about ¾ full. Bake, about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

When completely cool, frost with pink butter-cream frosting

3 cups powdered sugar

¾ stick of butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-4 tablespoons of milk or cream

Red food coloring – several drops

In electric mixing bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter at a low speed. Add vanilla. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time so that the frosting is the right texture for spreading. You may not need all 4 tablespoons of milk. Add red food coloring as desired

Increase the speed and beat for 2 minutes to finish the frosting and eliminate any powdered sugar lumps. If the frosting becomes too runny, add more powdered sugar.

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