Last week, the kiddo turned two. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it.
Fortunately, I was pretty busy planning her 2nd birthday party, and I had very little time to sit around and lament how quickly the time has gone. In fact, I’m not sure I sat down at all last week.
Sometime in August, I had the idea to throw a Tea for Two birthday party. Naturally, I did what any mother of a toddler would do… I started pinning ideas. Lots of ideas. More ideas than I would ever have time for. Need I remind you of the toddler?
I planned and planned and planned. I became obsessed with all things cream, pink, and brown. I found a cute little square punch that made perfect tea bag “tags” and used those to decorate the invitations, cookies, and even some pumpkins. I raided the chalkboard labels and signs in the dollar bin at Target every time I went. (Let’s not discuss how often that was, OK? Good.) I took the time to create a “tea for two” logo for the party. And, did I mention pumpkins? There had to be pumpkins. Yes, I got somewhat carried away.
While I didn’t quite get everything done that I would have liked to do, I was pretty excited about how the party turned out. We enjoyed sipping tea, munching on sandwiches, nibbling on desserts, blowing out candles, and watching the birthday girl open her gifts. Very. Slowly.
As you might expect, I spent a lot of time crafting the menu for the party. We had a lunchtime tea party, so I wanted to make sure it was a “meal” while still sticking to the tea party theme. Some of the recipes were my own, but I also took some help from my friends (and Pinterest). Since I know a lot of you are equally menu obsessed, here’s what I came up with!
- Chicken Orzo Soup – No recipe needed… I just winged it on this one. I started with boneless chicken breast that I roasted and cubed. For flavor, I added a Mediterranean spice blend, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a generous handful of fresh parsley from my garden.
- Tea Sandwiches – What’s a tea party without tea sandwiches? Here’s what I came up with!
- Sliced Radishes with Garlic Herb Butter on Sourdough Sandwich Bread (the bread recipe is coming soon!)
- Sliced Apples with Spiced Cream Cheese (cream cheese + maple syrup + cinnamon and some other warm fall spices) on Homemade Raisin Bread – This one was inspired by a tea party I attended a month ago. It’s a winner.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly (For the kids…. Always doing it for the kids.)
- Chicken Salad with Grapes and Almonds on Croissants – Again, no real recipe here… I used the same roasted chicken breast and added a generous portion of chopped celery, halved grapes, and sliced almonds. My sauce was a combination of apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, plain yogurt, and maple syrup… I adjusted to taste as I made it. Also, I bought the croissants.
- Cheese Ball with Pecans – I used this recipe from Cooking for Seven for inspiration, though I didn’t follow it exactly. It was delish.
- Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Spread – Cream cheese + jar of (drained) sundried tomatoes in oil + jar of (drained) artichokes in oil + Mediterranean seasoning blend in the Vitamix. Couldn’t be simpler.
- Assorted Crackers – Ok, seriously… I am always indecisive about crackers. I think there were 5 or 6 different kinds of crackers. I’m going to be eating crackers for 3 months.
- Veggies and Dip – I made most of the menu from scratch… I did not bother to make dip. I picked up a carton of French onion dip at the store. I know it’s easy to make, but a girl needs to take a break once in a while.
- Vanilla Cupcakes and Birthday Cake – These were almost a disaster. If you follow me on Instagram, you know what I’m talking about. The recipe I used didn’t scale too well for cupcakes (or the double batch that I whipped up). If you want a good one, try this one from my archives.
- Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache – I finally conquered the macaron, specifically for the party. As soon as I decided on a tea party, I knew I had to face my previous failures and try macarons one more time. This recipe from Eat. Live. Travel. Write. and Brave Tart was the key to my success. Thank you, Mardi, for being my personal cheerleader!
- Cannoli Dip with Pizzelles and Graham Crackers – Pizzelles are an old favorite of mine that my grandmother has been making as long as I can remember. I was just going to do pizzelles until I saw this Cannoli Dip from Brown Eyed Baker. It’s amazing. Go make it.
- Biscotti with Cranberries and Chocolate Chips – I make biscotti a lot… This time around, I was in the mood for some cranberries and chocolate. I also added cinnamon. They tasted like fall. Covered in chocolate.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies – These are my hubby’s favorite. I went for the regular, authentic, recipe-off-the-bag, don’t-do-anything-fancy chocolate chip cookies that he loves (here’s the recipe). They are actually pretty great. But, don’t tell him I said so.
- Cream Cheese Mints – I found this recipe and adapted it a bit… I’ll share my version soon. Stay tuned!
- Cinnamon Roasted Nuts – This is another favorite of mine for entertaining and for homemade gifts. I didn’t really follow a recipe this time around. If you’re looking for one, I recommend these Spicy Cocoa Roasted Almonds.
- Dark Chocolate Almonds – Yup, you guessed it. I bought these.
- Chocolate Decorated Tea Bag Cookies – These cookies came from the new Bake at 350 book. It’s a good one, and you’ll hear more about it in the weeks to come. Want to make tea bag cookies? Here’s a quick tutorial.
- Tea!! Every tea party needs tea, right? We had hot water with an assortment of tea bags so everyone could choose their own flavor. I also had honey sticks, raw sugar, and cream.
- Coffee – Not everyone gets as excited about a tea party as I did… So, we had a single-serve coffee machine (I’m not going to mention a brand because I honestly don’t love it…) with an assortment of coffee.
- Water with Citrus – I just sliced up some lemons and limes and tossed them in a big beverage dispenser with ice and water. Easy.
- Cranberry Apple Cider – This was just as easy. I combined cranberry juice with apple cider and tossed it in a beverage dispenser with sliced apples and some ice. It was perfect for a fall tea party and very refreshing.
Still want more? Here’s the Turning Two board I created on Pinterest to gather party ideas!
Also, I have to say “Thank You” to my dad, Jim Goudie, for taking the photo of us blowing out Maddie’s birthday candle together… He agreed to be the “official” photographer of the event so that I could relax and just enjoy the party.