Since this shower was at 2:00 in the afternoon, we wanted our guests to have enough to snack on in case they didn't eat lunch before arriving, but not fill them up in case they had dinner plans shortly after. Here's what we decided on for our buffet table:
- Veggies and Ranch Dressing
- Rainbow Fruit Kabobs as inspired from here.
- Variety of Mini Quiches (purchased from the frozen section of Costco)
- Chicken Salad Rolls (sliced Hawaiian rolls and pre-made chicken salad from our grocer's deli)
- Seafood Pastries (purchased from the frozen section of GFS)
- Petit Fours (purchased from the frozen section of GFS)
- Earl Grey Meringue Cookies (see below)
- Butter Mints
- Strawberry Cake and Cupcakes (see below)
As you can tell...mom and I were trying to make this as simple as possible. There was more heating up and assembling than there was actual cooking involved. We knew there would be a lot of set up with decorations and preparing for the activities, so we wanted the food to be as easy as possible. Which is what a tea is supposed to be, I think...little work so you have more time to focus on your guests and less time in the kitchen!
I didn't get a close picture of the Earl Grey Meringue Cookies, but I do want to tell you about them. I have been a lifetime subscriber of Food Network Magazine, and absolutely fell in love with a recipe that was included in one of their issues a while back. The recipe is for Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing. The first time I made the recipe, I made it as-is. It was good, the cakes were alright, but the icing....the icing was freakin' incredible. So the next time I made them, I made them with a plain chocolate cupcake from a box. To.Die.For. I have since been asked to make them several times. They are so unique and different, I can't recommend them enough. So, for Kim's shower, I wanted them incorporated somehow. But, I had already decided on strawberry for the cake and cupcakes...there was no need to make MORE cake of any kind. The icing is a meringue icing, made with mostly egg whites. Our family loves the airy, light meringue cookies you can buy in the bakery at the grocery store. So, why can't we use the icing recipe and just bake them as cookies? That's exactly what we did! They were delicious. But I still prefer the cupcakes and icing over the cookies.
Kim loves strawberries, and I liked the idea of having a teapot-shaped cake, so I came up with this strawberry cake. I will do a separate, detailed post with how I created this beauty:
I had a ton of leftover batter, so also made a batch of cupcakes. I incorporated one of the colors from our theme (purple) and the hydrangeas that I brought for the table, AND the inspiration I got from here to create these:
And of COURSE, you can't have a tea party without tea! Mom and I had so much fun making a tea bar for this shower.
As you read about in the decorations post, the teapots we used were from our grandmothers on both sides. We brewed black tea, green tea, and had another carafe with just hot water. We also set out cream, sugar, honey, lemon, and a variety of tea bags. I got the idea for these jars here and the tea tags here. I used my mom's Cricut machine to cut the hearts out of cardstock, then just pulled off the original paper tags and stuck the hearts together on the string with a dot of glue. The tags for the jars were also made using her Cricut machine, and taped onto mason jars with a band of the same paper we used for the invitations.
To add a touch of elegance and indulgence, I made these:
This was as easy as buying a box of sugar cubes and whipping up a batch of royal icing. I piped the leaves first and allowed them to dry before switching icing tips and adding the flowers. I probably made way too many, but they were cute.
For non-tea drinkers, we also provided a pitcher of ice water and a drink dispenser of raspberry lime punch. You can also see the teacups we provided for each guest. Mom and I had a blast hunting down a good selection and number of teacups and saucers. Goodwill has a new set available almost every week. Of course, you get odd numbers, but you can buy a set of cups and saucers for about $4. Can't beat that! We also looked around at thrift and antique stores, but they were a little pricier. If you were doing a smaller shower, you could look there, but it wasn't price conscious for us. With our collection, there were different colors and patterns, so guests had fun choosing one to claim for the afternoon. We also used some from mom's (grandmother's) china set to make sure we had enough. It's little touches like this that add personality and sincerity to a party!
The menu for this kind of event was absolutely perfect. It provided light snacking, some indulgence, and a lot of fun for our guests. We got a lot of compliments on the food, and I saw several guests going back to the tea bar to mix a new variety of tea. I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration for your own tea party! I kind of envy the British after this...afternoon teas seem like something we should do more often!