TEA-riffic Tips by Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Ever wanted to give tea a try? Well, today, I want to help make it DOABLE. Actually I want to encourage you to make tea a tradition in your home. This is an excerpt from my book A CUP OF TEA (Now available as an eBook and HALF OFF–see details below!!). Let me take you by the hand and help you get started making memories over tea…

Sold!  Convinced! That settles it…you are ready to join the ranks of tea pals!  Only one problem is pounding away…you just do not have ANY idea of where to begin.  Beloved, this is EXACTLY why I have compiled this book.  You CAN begin right where you are.  If you need a little help, let me give you a few of my ideas and tips…

Be SIMPLE!

Tea does not have to be STUFFY!  Tea does not have to be FORMAL!  Use what you have on hand. Begin where you are.  You don’t have to be able to recite facts and trivia about tea and etiquette to DEVOUR the passion of tea.  Make your tea time a sweet tradition or ritual. It may be just afternoon tea after the little ones are tucked into bed for their afternoon nap. It may be a morning tea time (Oh, you CAN have coke in your cup while you take that morning quiet time!).  It might be a quiet moment before bed as you settle your mind.  It might be the whole family snuggled up with tea, cocoa, and goodies while you read aloud another chapter of the Bible and a chapter from a great read aloud!  Just bring tea home with YOUR very own style!

Build Your Very Own Collection of Tea Goodies!

You can find tea goodies just about anywhere! Take a look for the quaint goodies at yard sales, antique stores, auctions, flea markets, while traveling, at dime stores, gift shops, online…so on! Oh! You may want to take an inventory of what you already have tucked away in your cabinets. I am amazed at the little dishes, doilies, baskets, and other treasures that I had tucked away with no purpose in mind for them. Tea time is the perfect time to bring them out.  OH! And they do not have to match either! The most precious tea parties I have attended, whether formal or friend-to-friend, did not have one thing that “matched.” I am ever amazed at how each piece seemed perfectly “in place” and perfect for the occasion.

Begin a Tradition by Giving “Tea” Gifts!

Tea collectibles make perfect gifts for any occasion whether birthdays or holidays or just a little thank you. In fact, my favorite tea “goodies” have a sweet memory of dear friends!  You can give anything from teacups to teapots, from silver spoons to cookie cutters, from recipe books (with YOUR favorites already written inside!) to tea jewelry, so on!  My favorite way to give tea collectibles is to make a “Tea Basket” for those I love.  I fill it with goodies that they can keep AND goodies that they can eat/drink over their Tea Time!

NO Tea Room in Your Area? What About YOUR Home???

You are certain to have a perfect spot in your home for tea.  What about a drawing room? A living room? Your front porch? A gazebo? Your deck? The Garden? Fireside?  Outside by a big shade tree?  At the local park (for a Picnic Tea?)  Your bedroom? Your study? Around the kitchen table?

Get Your Little Ones Involved!

There is truly no greater place for children to learn the fine art of tea than at their mother’s knee.  From their toddling years, they can learn the etiquette and hospitality of tea as naturally as learning to eat.  If your children are like my children, they will develop a passion for the art of tea.

How can you encourage that passion?  Allow your children to help prepare for tea time.  They can help to prepare the tea (instructions included on page 43–ALSO FOUND HERE: CLICK HERE) They can help to prepare the dainties.  They can help to select the teacups and linens.  They can even help get the classical music going and to get the latest read aloud out.  The key is to use your very best for your children—they are your very BEST friends!   If it is hard for them to handle your great big teacups, then you may want to get a miniature tea set that is perfect for their little hands and tummies!

Don’t forget that tea is the perfect time to bring beauty into your home.  Share a great poem…a beautiful art print…a lesson on etiquette…or a chapter from your favorite read aloud!

A Tea Time Blessing
Unknown

Lord, grant that our times
Together be steeped in serenity,
Sweetened by sharing,
And surrounded by the warm
Fragrance of your love.
Amen

Want to grab a copy of my book, A CUP OF TEA? You will LOVE IT! It can be found here at this link: CLICK HERE! Use the Coupon Code: CELEBRATE to save 50%! Yes! If you want to grab other things, please feel free to use the Coupon Code for those as well and save BIG!

 

It is FALL! Try Cindy’s Yummy (and EASY) Fruit Tea!

The image “http://www.cindysdesktop.com/wp-content/uploads/Cookingwithmom.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.There are recipes that I have used over the years that I just use occasionally. Then, there are staples to our diet. Then, there are ADDICTIONS! ha! 

Ok…this is obviously an addiction, but a yummy one-if you ask me. We make this one in bulk and have it on hand year-round. It is a nice afternoon hot tea. A wonderfully refreshing mid-day iced tea. A wonderful treat at bedtime while you read aloud books to your little one. It is even perfect to carry in a thermos to the park or to a friend who is needing a mom-to-mom visit after birthing a baby, miscarrying, surgery, or just dire need of GIRL-TIME. Easy. Yummy. Give it a try!

What You Need:

2 quarts cranberry juice
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade
3 pieces whole nutmeg
1 (46 ounce) can pineapple juice
2 cups apple juice
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger

What to Do:

Pour all juices in a crockpot or a big pan on the stove top.  Add spices in a cheesecloth. Simmer until you are ready to serve. Great hot or cold.

Leftover Guilt? by Jill Cooper

The image “http://www.livingonadime.com/images/jill.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Don’t you just love Thanksgiving?  It’s the most guilt free holiday of the year.  You don’t have to worry about getting the right gifts or whether everything is decorated perfectly. You don’t have to wonder whether you made enough cookies or whether the food is on your diet. You have permission and can eat to your heart’s content! At times like this, I have to wonder: Have I died and gone to Heaven?!

There is one problem — What happens when everyone rolls away from the table? You stand there in the shadows of mounds of leftovers and the guilt sets in. You really can’t wedge in another bite, but you can’t bring yourself to throw away all that good food. You know that there are people starving in Bangladesh, but you can’t afford the shipping cost to send it to them… What do you do with it?

Here are some ideas from Living-on-a-Dime.com to help you put those leftovers to good use and keep your clean conscience!

1. Mix gravy, cubed turkey and leftover vegetables into a casserole dish. Top with refrigerator biscuits, leftover pie crust or crescent rolls (unbaked). Bake at 350 degrees until the dough is cooked and golden brown.

2. When making pies on Thanksgiving Day, save the extra dough or make extra to use to make pasties.  Roll out discs of dough in whatever size you want and fill with meat, vegetables and leftover potatoes.

3. Don’t forget to use your leftover relish dish. Chop and use in salads, soups or casseroles. If you’re really sick of the vegetables, chop and freeze to use later.

4. Use leftover mashed potatoes to thicken soups and stews.

5. Make potato pancakes: Add 1 egg and 2 Tbsp. flour to 2 cups mashed potatoes. Make into patties and fry in a pan with margarine.

Pasties

Filling
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 Tbsp. water
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 chicken bouillon cubes
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2-1 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken, cooked
salt and pepper (to taste)

Dough
Use leftover pie crust or use the following recipe:

1 cup shortening
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
6 Tbsp. water

In a saucepan, simmer the carrots in the water, butter, and chicken bouillon cubes. Add potatoes, onion, meat and salt and pepper. Divide into fourths.  Mix dough ingredients and roll into four 10-inch circles. Put the meat mixture on one side of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over and seal with fingers or a fork.  Bake 1 hour at 375 degrees.  Serves 4-6.

You can also add other vegetables. This is a good way to use those leftovers, so be creative!

Dining On A Dime e-Book - Eat Better, Spend LessMy favorite book!

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Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of Living-on-a-Dime.com/. As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Tawra and Jill teach thousands of readers each month how to save money on their grocery bill and get out of debt.

What to Do with your Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

After a big Thanksgiving meal, many people end up with quite a bit of extra turkey. Nibbling on leftovers is fine, but here are some additional healthy ways to use that leftover turkey.

Sandwiches
This is our family favorite. Simply slather mayonnaise on your favorite bread and add turkey. Enjoy! Of course, you can make this sandwich fancier by using toasted garlic bread, or adding some seasonings to the mayonnaise. You can quickly whip up some gourmet style mayo by adding some of the packet ranch dressing mix to it.

Instead of regular old sliced bread, make turkey sandwiches with fresh or chiabata bread for a different taste.

Open Faced Turkey Sandwich
Start with some really good toast. Rub a little garlic or butter on it if you’d like. Then, lay slices of turkey on it and cover with gravy. Heat up some left over stuffing and stick it in the toaster oven or your regular oven to give it a nice little crust and dinner is ready.

Turkey and Rice Soup
Use the leftover bones from the turkey and throw them in a large stock pot. Cover them with plenty of water and add some onion, celery, carrot and salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil and boil for about 45 min. Strain out the liquid, return it to the pot, add some rice and leftover pieces of turkey. Add any vegetables you like as well and cook until the rice and veggies are tender.

Turkey Enchiladas
You can fix turkey enchiladas just like you would chicken enchiladas with your favorite sauce, tortillas and cheese. Just shred the turkey, and heat it with some cheese and enchilada sauce. Spoon the mixture on flour or corn tortillas and roll them up. Place the tortilla rolls in a greased baking dish and top with more enchilada sauce and plenty of cheese. Then bake them up until the cheese is nice and bubbly. They are a great way to use turkey in something that has a completely different flavor.

Turkey Wraps
Tired of turkey sandwiches? Use a tortilla instead. Pile on lettuce, raw veggies and plenty of turkey. Top with some ranch dressing and roll it up for a portable lunch or snack. Another fun idea is to mix shredded turkey with a little mayonnaise, some chopped apple, grapes and a few walnuts for a turkey salad wrap.

Turkey Salad
Make a gorgeous, colorful salad, using all the vegetables you can find in the store. Add sliced turkey to the top and add your favorite salad dressing. Or make a turkey Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, turkey, parmesan cheese, croutons and Caesar dressing.

Turkey Chili
Shred your leftover turkey and cook it along with beans, tomatoes and your favorite chili seasonings. Of course you can also toss in any leftover veggies like corn or green beans and cook them right along with the rest of the chili ingredients. Serve with cornbread.

Planning the Family Thanksgiving Meal the EASY WAY!

The family unanimously decided that you are in charge of the Thanksgiving meal this year. Can you pull it off? Yes, with a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can throw a great family Thanksgiving get together without stressing or staying busy for weeks. The key is advanced planning

Step 1: Make A Guest List.
It’s next to impossible to determine how much food to buy and cook without knowing how many mouths you will be feeding. Contact friends and family early and request they RSVP by a certain date. Follow up with them in the weeks before Thanksgiving to make sure you know who is and isn’t coming. Plan for at least 2 extra guests – more if you are entertaining a larger crowd.

Step 2: Plan the Meal
Once you know how many guests you’ll have, then the fun begins. You get to dream about food. Of course, there are the old standbys like ham and turkey that you will probably be preparing, but there’s so much more to a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.

First, contact family members to find out what they can each bring. That will help you to adjust your menu plan accordingly. Take note of everyone willing to bring a dish – even if they aren’t sure yet what to bring.

Make a list of Appetizers, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Breads, Salads, Soups, and Desserts. What would be your favorite Thanksgiving meal of all time?

Do you have anyone with special dietary requirements? Perhaps your Uncle Stan is diabetic or Aunt Sally is allergic to peanuts. Be sure to keep their needs in mind while you’re planning. Try to offer some lighter, lower calorie alternatives to balance out some of the “heavier” traditional dishes.

Step 3: The Master Plan

Once you determine what you’ll be serving, it’s time to break it down into manageable tasks.

Contact the people who didn’t know what they wanted to bring and assign them a dish. If you’re short on desserts, ask them to bring one. If you dread making mashed potatoes, see if they wouldn’t mind bringing them. Anything you can’t delegate will be up to you to make of course.

Now, you know what everyone else is bringing, you can make a grocery list and a timeline of the items you’ll be cooking.

Take a little time and sit down to make your grocery list. Keep recipes handy so you know exactly what you need. Don’t forget some of the spices you only use a few times a year (like sage). What tools (like a disposable roasting pan) are you going to need to prepare the meal? Don’t forget to stock up on extra napkins and paper towels. If you are planning on using disposable table clothes, plates etc. make a list of those items as well.

Get as much done as early as possible.
Did you know you could even freeze some mashed potato recipes weeks in advance? It’s true! Get started early on the shopping of non-perishable items for the party. Cross items off of your master shopping list as you get them.