I told you a few days ago that I would be thankful for this soup tablescape by Monday. Guess What: it’s Monday, and I’m thankful! The temp dropped suddenly yesterday afternoon, and today is rainy and very cold. I put on the taco soup this morning, and it is smelling heavenly.
Every time that I’ve walked through the kitchen today, I’ve put my hands on the toasty warm crock pot. Wow, does it feel good! So part 2 of the soup story is right on track. I can’t wait for this evening to have a big Friendly Village bowlful.
That leads me to part 2 of the Friendly Village story. I told you in my last post how I came across my set of Friendly Village. Just yesterday afternoon I was reading a back issue of a cooking magazine (Taste of the South, fall, 2007), and noticed that the Thanksgiving dinner was photographed on a pattern that looked very much like The Friendly Village. I was almost positive, but since the food covered up the pictures on the plates, I turned to the credits in the back of the magazine to make sure. It said The Friendly Village, Spode. Yes, SPODE. Am I missing something, folks? What happened to Johnson Brothers? I know that there are two Friendly Villages, the old one made in England that is very expensive, and the current one, that I can purchase almost any time at a reasonable price point. The modern one is fine for me since for tablescapes, I just want the look. But I know that collectors generally want the good old stuff. Anyway, back to the question. Spode? Really? Who knows the answer to this question and can help me out here? Please leave a comment below. By the way, I do know that some porcelain and pottery companies combined or were bought out by other companies, but as far an I know, neither of these companies has been.
Back to the cold weather (sorry, I know I’m jumping around a bit, but I’ll bring it all back together in a minute). My mother called me earlier after talking to my aunt. My mother’s twin brother and his wife live in the Delta, just a little over an hour away from where I live. But I live in the HILLS, not the DELTA (thank goodness for that, not trying to offend you Delta lovers out there-after all my mother is from the Delta-but I just like seeing more than flatlands around me).
This is my aunt and uncle on their fiftieth wedding anniversary about 3 years ago.
My aunt said that it was icing over there; that my uncle had a lot of trouble making it back to their house from town (I use the word town loosely here). They live next to a river and he had to cross the bridge right before he turns into his driveway (I use the word driveway loosely here), so I am glad that he got home safely before the bridge iced too much. Then my daddy called as I was in the middle of this post to say that the ice is beginning to form on the trees here. So I decided to have a cup of my favorite hot tea. Being a Southern girl, sweet tea is actually my drink of choice, but I rarely have it any more since I try to stay away from sugary drinks. I discovered this hot tea recipe years ago, and it fits the bill. It is warm, spicy, and FIVE CALORIES A CUP. Yes, you read that right, and I will put the recipe at the end of this post.
Inspired by all of the wonderful teas and “teascapes” that I see on the tablescaping blogs, I decided to set up my own teascape on the coffee table. In cold weather, I like to sit on the couch drinking endless cups of hot tea and watching mindless reruns of whatever is on (I will be SOOOO glad when Swamp People comes back on–Choot ‘Em!), so I set up the teascape on the coffee table in front of the couch.
I started with my wonderful Gail Pittman Flame tray.
Then I added my recent purchase, the Friendly Village teapot, and one of the mugs. I love the way it looks on the coffee table. So that is part 2 of the Friendly Village story.
So are you now wondering why the poppers are also part 2 of this post? I told you that I put the poppers on a rack in my roasting pan to cook because I did not want them to sit in bacon drippings. I could tell when I pulled the pan out of the oven that a lot of the drippings and glaze had baked on and gotten hard. My husband, the main dishwasher in the house, soaked the pan overnight because he could not even budge the baked-on bits (very unusual for him; he can usually get off anything). The next morning, he could still make no headway. He even tried oven cleaner, which we have used successfully on many pans which we thought were beyond help in the past, but to no avail. My roasting pan was laid to rest yesterday afternoon, and we have learned a valuable lesson about lining the pan in the future. To add even more to this popper enigma, I put the leftover poppers on a baking sheet (LINED WITH FOIL) yesterday and stuck them in the oven while we fixed the rest of our lunch. Are you ready? THEY.WERE.EVEN.BETTER.THAN.THE.DAY.BEFORE.
It’s true; I wouldn’t make that up. They were better. We finally decided that they were better because the bacon was a little bit crispier. Was it crispier from being cooked twice, or from being put on the baking sheet with no rack? Hmmm…..I don’t know the answer right now, but I assure you that I will be experimenting with them in the future–on a LINED sheet, of course.
So that is part 2 of the soup, poppers, and Friendly Village post and now here is my hot tea recipe. Enjoy!
Diet Spiced Tea Mix
1 c. Lipton or Nestea instant tea mix with lemon and nutrasweet
3 env. Crystal Light lemonade
4 env. Crystal Light orange drink
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
Mix gently. Store in an airtight container. One scant teaspoon per c. of boiling water.
I’ve had this recipe for over 25 years, and I only drink it in the winter, so one making of it is generally enough for me for a season. I do recommend putting only a scant teaspoon per cup of boiling water. Then taste and add only a little more as needed. I find that Nutrasweet is rather strong and too much of this mix to a cup of water is a little much. Since I have established in the past that I am cheap, I use the off brand of tea and Crystal Light, and have never found the flavor compromised. Five calories per cup, my friend.