Time for Tea

There are so many talented and inspiring ladies that we want to meet in our city, so Stephanie has started hosting tea parties at her house, as an excuse to invite them over and get to know them better.

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photo by Chuck Travers @ 417Home

They are a fun way to mix & mingle in a unique setting. Stephanie has a large dining table and an even larger collection of mismatched tea cups, which just invites conversation and connection.

Each party is usually on a weekday morning, and caters toward women of every walk of life. It’s not just for ladies who brunch! Mamas, Entrepreneurs, Teachers, Artists, Do-ers, Bloggers, Retirees, 9-to-5ers, you name it.

Of course there’s tea in cute cups, French press coffee, scones, and Prosecco. She doesn’t expect any of her guests to bring something, but every once in a while a quiche or a bottle of Irish Whiskey shows up. They are never turned down.

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The last tea was a small affair, twin style. Stephanie invited me (her twin sister), and a set of creative twins who we ABSOLUTELY LOVE and wanted to spend more time with. It was a quiet lovely morning, and I got to hold a brand new baby. Win win!

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Want to set up your own tea party? Keep reading for more ideas!

Three Cheers to the Paloma

Just when you think you’ve figured out your signature cocktail (gimlets for Stephanie, French 76 for Nicole), along comes a potent kick in the pants in the form of refreshment on a hot summer day…or mild Missouri spring…

OF COURSE we’re talking about a Paloma! This simple cocktail of blanco tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda packs a punch, is refreshing, AND pretty to look at.

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Sweet Tea Treat

Despite us growing up in the south, we are not sweet tea fans, or really even iced tea fans. Classic iced tea, at least. Thai Iced Tea…well, that’s a different category of wonderful deliciousness altogether.

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The best Thai Iced Teas are sweeter than sweet and a creamy orange tone. Our local thai restaurant makes a mighty fine cup, but some nights, homemade will do…

Indoor Picnic

The weather here in Southwest Missouri has been cold, drizzly, and not very spring-like. So for Easter Sunday this year, we decided to have a French-inspired indoor picnic. French wine, cheeses, a charcuterie board, home-made baguettes…the whole works.

Of course, we ate at the dining table, so rather than a picnic, I guess it was just French-inspired picnic-fare. C’est la vie. It. Was. Parfait.

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Book Roundup: The Cozy Cookbook

Having recently finished Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, I realized I have a thing for cozy, story-driven family-centric cookbooks. I devour them like novels, and keep them on shelves faaaar away from the mess of my kitchen. Here are a few in my collection:

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Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook – This delightful book is divided into recipes based on color. My favorite: the hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream. GUH so good. I’m sad I’ve never had a chance to flip through her other books, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes and Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life. Author Tessa Kiros is also a delight to follow on Instagram!

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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time – Hands down, one of the best books ever published. It is so inspiring, and makes me want to have beautiful, sit-down dinners with my family on a nightly basis. With contributors like Tom Hanks and beautiful recipes for the whole family, this is one of those books that’s actually very rarely in my house because I loan it to everyone.

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Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips – Stephanie is one of Ina’s biggest fans. When we found out she was doing a book signing and Q&A in Kansas City, we left our babes at home and eagerly drove up to see her. It was my first real introduction to her, and oh what a charmer. I went home with this book and have tried almost every recipe in it. Every single one of her books is ten thumbs up.

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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses – this book is more about if you want to *start* a family (wink wink, nudge nudge). It’s a cookbook that’ll make you blush. I first read it while working at a cafe where we hosted an annual “Aphrodite’s Feast” romantic dinner. The courses all had aphrodisiac properties, and this book was our ultimate resource.

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What are some of your well-loved and well-worn cookbooks, whether you create the recipes or just love the imagery? We’d love to hear!

Peaches, Pie, Guinness, Oh My!

Typically for St. Paddy’s day, one of us will make a dark chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese icing, a tried and true recipe from one of our Domestic Goddesses, Nigella Lawson.

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image by Suzy Allman for The New York Times

This year, with Stephanie in charge of desserts, we opted for something a little different: Key Lime Pie. We grew up as Georgia Peaches, and according to the The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, key lime pie on St. Paddy’s is a Savannah tradition.

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The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day

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How many key limes does it take to make a key lime pie? At least a dozen!

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The final product, in all its creamy citrus glory!

The icing on the cake was the Freshly Made Whipped Cream. Oh my Irish blessings.

Do you have a St. Patrick’s culinary tradition? Ours is food truck pasties and dessert, lots of beer & Irish whiskey, all after enjoying our city’s famous St. Paddy Parade. And what do the revelers think about that?

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Success!

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More Back in the Day Love:

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Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love: More than 100 Recipes and Make-It-Yourself Projects to Create and Share

And Nigella Love:

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Feast: Food to Celebrate Life