February is National Heart Health Month. Wouldn’t it be fun to promote awareness by hosting a heart-healthy Tea Party?
You could go all out, putting all the la-de-da and elegance that you can think of into the planning. This would include the dress-up, the hats, the flowers, fancy china, tablecloths, napkins, etc. It would be fun to pretend you’re Kate Middleton throwing a party for her royal in-laws.
None of this needs to cost a lot- it just needs to look impressive. A good Thrift Store would be able to provide anything needed for next to nothing. This would include table linens, dishes, serving platters, etc. Things wouldn’t need to match, it’s actually better if they don’t.
Of course, hosting a heart-healthy tea party means the focus is on food and drinks that are exactly that – heart-healthy choices. While scones, a traditional food could be served, they should be oatmeal scones served with light cream cheese (or yogurt cream cheese) instead of clotted cream, and topped with quick strawberry spread. (Recipes/Instructions later in this article).
If you need inspiration, check out the gorgeous photos in this post about Afternoon Tea at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London, England. http://www.safariontheblog.com/2015/01/afternoon-tea-at-the-sheraton-park-lane-hotel-london.html
Now let’s go plan a Tea Party.
- Set the date and the time – traditionally between two and five in the afternoon
- Send out fancy invitations
- Ask the guests – young girls love this one – to dress-up: dresses, hats and if available, white gloves. If boys or men are invited they should wear suits and ties
- Plan the table(s) setting:
- Tablecloths and cloth napkins
- Flower arrangements – one bouquet divided into smaller ones is perfect
- The dishes, again, nothing needs to match:
- Tea Pots, Cream Pots, Sugar Bowl, Honey Bowl, Dish for Lemon Slices
- Serving Dishes of all kinds
- Cups and Saucers
- Small Plates
- Tablecloths and cloth napkins
It may be possible to buy a variety pack of herbal teas which will allow your guests to sample different kinds. They may prefer to drink regular black or green tea or be more adventurous and try the different herb teas or even a combination. Both black and green tea contain tannins which are good for heart-health.
One of the best herbs for general heart-health is hawthorn (the berries). Celestial Seasonings, available at any supermarket, includes hawthorn berries in several of their teas. For children rooibos tea is a pretty safe bet.
A great way to get used to drinking herbal teas is to mix them with regular tea. Ginger and cinnamon, two spices that most people normally have on hand, are excellent heart-healthy choices. Try adding 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger to a pot of regular, chamomile or mint tea. Provide cinnamon sticks in place of spoons to stir the tea.
Besides the spices mention above, oatmeal, fruit (apples, cherries), berries (red ones like strawberries and raspberries), nuts (almonds, walnuts), and dark chocolate all benefit the heart. None of those foods are exotic, hard to find or costly.
Some suggestions to get you started:
- Fancy cucumber or salmon sandwiches
- Oatmeal Scones http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Scottish-Oat-Scones/
- Yogurt Cream Cheese http://frugalforeveryone.ca/yummy-yogurt-treats-so-easy-to-make/ (make the cream cheese plain without the herbs)
- Quick Strawberry Spread: Boil together until spreading consistency 3 cups chopped strawberries (frozen is fine), 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Make a few days ahead and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Strawberries partially dipped in melted dark chocolate
- Small apple tarts topped with cinnamon
You get the idea – be fancy, be elegant, be hoity-toity. Present heart-healthy food and drink, then simply enjoy.
Talk to you again next week,
Girls Tea Party Photo by antiqutea.com.au