Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If You Go Out In The Woods . . . .

I was going to write about my mother over the weekend, since her birthday would have been Sunday, but one thing and another interfered and I didn't get the post written.  Then, as I sat down to the keyboard this morning I realized that today is

Teddy Bear Picnic Day!

I don't think I'll ever see those words without thinking of my Dad, bouncing his grandchildren and then his first granddaughter on his knee, singing all the while

Teddy Bear Picnic Day is a great excuse to throw a little party for the child in your life, nothing elaborate required ------ 

All tea parties need refreshments.  Here are some simple ideas that have been delighting children for decades.  Allow two tiny sandwiches of each variety per child.  If you don't make your own bread, the extra thin Pepperidge Farm white or wheat breads are ideal for these.

Fairy Bread:  Butter thinly sliced bread, then sprinkle with non-pariels.
You could use whole wheat bread or spread the bread thinly with jam or Nutella
before adding the sprinkles.  Simple enough for children to make.
Yields 4 triangular  sandwiches per slice of bread

Fairy Bread

Come up here, O dusty feet! 
Here is fairy bread to eat 
Here in my retiring room, 
Children, you may dine 
On the golden smell of broom 
And the shade of pine; 
And when you have eaten well, 
Fairy stories hear and tell.

- Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses

Other Tea Party Favorites:

Cinnamon Toast has been a favorite of Grandma's since she was a very little girl.  Spread slices of bread thinly with butter, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar (make your own with 1/4 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon of cinnamon).  Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet and bake at 325F for 10 minutes or so until the sugar is melted and bubbly.  Slice the toast into four lengthwise strips.

Cucumber Sandwiches always seem to delight small children.  Cut rounds of thin bread that are about the same size in diameter as your cucumber - white, wheat or a mixture of the two.  Peel and thinly slice  a bit of cucumber - you'll only need a single 1/8-1/4 inch slice per sandwich.  (Grandma likes to use the relatively seedless European cucumbers for these.)  Mix a few tablespoons of soft cream cheese with a few drops of milk to make it easy to spread, then spread half the bread circles with cream cheese.  Top with a cucumber slice.  Thinly spread the remaining circles with a bit of butter (keeps them from getting soggy), then place butter-side down atop the cucumber slices.  Variation:  Use spreadable cream cheese or substitute a soft, spreadable goat cheese.  The ones flavored with herbs are particularly nice.  (Yes, children like goat cheese!)

Almost everyone likes Egg Sandwiches.  Butter small rounds of bread (whole wheat is particularly nice) thinly, then spread half with a tiny dab of mayonnaise.  Top half the round with a slice of hard boiled egg, add a little bit of a ruffle of lettuce (Bibb, Red Leaf and Boston are all very nice) and top with the remaining bread circles.

No Teddy Bears' Picnic would be complete without the story.  This version is beautifully illustrated.

Digital copies of A Child's Garden of Verses are available in several formats from Project Gutenberg.  This Kindle version includes the original illustrations.   Both iPad and Nook read this Epub version, also with the original illustrations.


Books make wonderful gifts for children.  Here are a couple that Grandma particularly has her eye on with one special little girl in mind:

 Just released back in  May, Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat is sure to delight.  Here's the description:  
Minette’s Feast introduces the iconic American chef Julia Child to a new audience of young readers through the story of her spirited cat, Minette, whom Julia adopted when living in Paris. While Julia is in the kitchen learning to master delicious French dishes, the only feast Minette is truly interested in is that of fresh mouse! 
This one is right at the top of Grandma's Wish List!

 Fancy Nancy: Tea Parties  is an absolute delight.

You're invited!
Join in the fun with hostess extraordinaire Fancy Nancy! With a little imagination, you too can create an exquisite tea party that is perfect for your friends and family.
R.S.V.P. oui, oui, oui

Great Idea:

One very generous woman that Grandma knows every now and then buys a Kindle , loads it up with age appropriate books from Amazon and Project Gutenberg's fabulous Children's Collection*, adds a nifty cover like this Kindle Fire Pink Butterfly Design Lightweight Leather Protective Case / Folio / Cover with Stand and passes it along to some lucky child!

*Project Gutenberg offers books in both Epub for iPad/Nook readers and Mobi format for Kindle.  Often they are available with the illustrations that have been left out of the free versions offered elsewhere.  some are also available as audio books.

For the Grownups

Grandma has noticed a rather large number of interesting cookbooks suddenly appearing for Pre-Order.  Some she particularly has her eye on:

Margaret Fulton is the acknowledged Queen of Cooking Down Under.  Grandma has been using her Plum Pudding recipe for more than 35 years and really has her eye on Margaret Fulton Baking: The Ultimate Sweet and Savory Baking Collection , coming September 18, 2012 - right on time for Grandma's Birthday!
This comprehensive baking bible with never-fail recipes is one baking book you need to own. Margaret Fulton Baking is the ultimate baking book and perfect accompaniment to any household. This is the first ever baking collection from Margaret and it includes her best tried and triple-tested recipes. With more than 320 sweet and savory options plus 140 variations, there are recipes for every level of baker, from beginner to advanced. From melt-in-your-mouth biscuits and rich cakes to light-as-air sponges and fluffy scones, there is a recipe to suit every occasion . . . 

Coming September 16, 2012 - The Complete Step-By-Step Guide to Making Sweets, Candy & Chocolates: 150 irresistible confectionery recipes shown in over 750 exquisite photographs

Usually associated with childhood indulgences, the taste of candy and chocolate is a pleasure that we enjoy all our lives. This volume evokes all those memories of long-forgotten tastes, with 150 recipes for sweets, candies and chocolate confections, whether hard, chewy, soft or sticky. From salt-water taffy, homecomb and vanilla fudge to pear drops, chocolate peanut butter cups and champagne truffles, it includes old-fashioned treats and some modern twists on traditional classics, and every tried-and-tested recipe is shown in step-by-step photographs.

Grandma has already pre-ordered  Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today's Sweet Tooth.  It will arrive on July 31, 2012!

Make every occasion—the annual bake sale, a birthday party, or even a simple Sunday supper—a celebration with this charming collection of more than 50 remastered classics.

Each recipe in Vintage Cakes is a confectionary stroll down memory lane. After sifting through her treasure trove of cookbooks and recipe cards, master baker and author Julie Richardson selected the most inventive, surprising, and just plain delicious cakes she could find. The result is a delightful and delectable time capsule of American baking, with recipes spanning a century.

Hot Off The Press - Other books Grandma would love to have . .

OK. I'll admit it.  I want Marshmallow Madness!: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes for the cover!  Wouldn't this make the most spectacular wall paper in Grandma's kitchen?!  (Marshmallows are good too!)

If you've never tasted a fresh, homemade marshmallow, are you in for a treat! Marshmallow Madness! shows how to whip up dozens of fluffy, puffy flavors--from Strawberry and Vanilla to Buttered Rum, Root Beer Float, Maple Bacon, and more. Author Shauna Sever also includes easy recipes for homemade graham crackers, drinks for mallow dunking, and a host of irresistible desserts, including Lemon Dream Whoopie Pies, Blonde Rocky Road, and S'mores Cupcakes.

On Sale Now - Grab it While You Can!

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

A real bargain from my neighbors here in Vermont, the Kindle version is  $2.24 today!

BTW, if you get to Vermont, be sure to stop by the Ben & Jerry's Factory, just up the road a piece from Grandma!  They'll treat you to a tour of the factory&  a dish of their great ice cream.

New Amazon Feature!

Grandma happend to be hunting around the pages at Amazon yesterday looking for the new Alyse Vina Stemless White Wine Glasses she bought for picture taking purposes (Grandma's glassware is still in storage!) and noticed something new.  Now, when you send a gift card instead of giving a specific dollar amount you can send a gift idea.

Scroll down under the forum links on any item page and you'll see this:

Had Grandma sent those beautiful glasses to someone special by way of this new eGift feature, she would have seen this page

Your recipient gets a gift notice that allows them to either accept the gift you chose or to get credit to their Gift Card balance!  Neat idea!

Tomorrow:  A fantastic, easy but luscious brunch recipe you'll love!

Stay cool!



  1. Fairy bread for a tea party! What a great idea. Wish my granddaughters were still young enough for that. There is only the little guy who is three years old and only interested in tractors and trucks.
    I'm still looking forward to your lemon curd recipe and technique. I had some recently with pound cake and it was beyond delicious!
    Have a great day, Grandma.

  2. Hi Beverly - It is pretty cool here today and got downright cold overnight, so I'll see what I can do about getting those meringues and the lemon curd made today. I have one problem with this lemon curd recipe. I make it, then decide I need "just one taste" and before you know it, there is none left for the recipe and I have to start all over again LOL. Last summer I decided that I wanted to make tiny pastry shells, fill them with lemon curd, then top them with whipped cream. It must have taken a half-dozen tries before I actually had lemon curd to put in them. Unfortunately, I tried a new pastry recipe that was wonderfully flaky but FAR too sweet to go with that lemon curd. It was quite disappointing.

    As old as all of my girls are, we still like to get together and throw ourselves a tea party now and then. The little girl I've most often shared tea parties with since my own grew up is now over in the UK and much taller than I am and the one that is just the right age lives clear across the country. She'll be here at the end of the month though. Maybe we'll have a Teddy Bear's Picnic about then.

    Does your little guy like to cook yet? Even the boys in our family loved to come into the kitchen to bake cookies or "make messes" as Louisa May Alcott called it, starting at a bout that age.

    1. My little guy, Ryan, isn't into cooking; most of the time it's a job to get him to even eat. He would rather play. When he comes, it is a day of Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars or John Deere tractors. Although, down here on the Gulf Coast, it is not pleasant to be outside in the heat, humidity (90%) and mosquitoes!! I think our temps here haven't been as high as the ones in other parts of the country, but the humidity makes it almost impossible to breathe outside. The older I get, the harder it is to tolerate the extremes in weather.
      I enjoy your blog and will be checking every day for more goodies!

  3. Ben and Jerry's ice cream book is my go to book. It's not full of weird combinations but honest to goodness great ice cream. The recipes for cherry garcia and heath bar crunch are fabulous. I use my kitchenaid ice cream bowl that attaches to the mixer and it works great.


    1. I've wondered how those KA ice cream bowls work. I use a big ice cream maker that makes 4 quarts at a time, but we got one of my daughters a little counter top machine that makes only a quart and a half. I'm going to borrow it over the weekend and do an ice cream post.

  4. Wow! I wish I had fairy bread when I was a kid! I guess it's never too late...

    1. Every once in a while I make a few little tea sandwiches and a tiny pot of a special rose tea my daughter brings from the UK and have a little afternoon tea just for me.


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