A Quarantined Life… Afternoon Tea


The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”-Louisa May Alcott

Hello, sweet friends…

There is something inherently magical about an afternoon tea…


taking time to create something beautiful…

preparing a refined menu…

setting the tone for a leisurely afternoon…

and heightening my sensitivity to the lovely things around me.

During this time of quarantine our world can still bloom…


with breathtaking loveliness.

I have come to treasure this tea time break…

sitting for an afternoon tea…

taking time to savor specials moments.

👩‍🍳
What’s Cooking?

Here is a relatively easy menu for preparing your own afternoon tea.

Cucumber Sandwiches

(With Lemony Dill Spread)


Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • packed 1/3 c. roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced (these lay on top of the Lemony Dill Spread once the sandwiches are assembled; slice when you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches)
  • Bread for Assembly:
  • Approximately 12 to 16 slices good-quality sandwich bread for open-faced or closed tea sandwiches

INSTRUCTIONS:

To Prepare the Spread

  1. Place cream cheese or cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl; stir with a spoon or fork until creamy and free of lumps.
  2. Add any seasoning/non-vegetable ingredients; stir until well combined.
  3. Fold in any vegetable ingredients.
  4. Chill cream cheese mixture for about 2 hours {or overnight} to allow flavors to meld.

To Prepare Sandwiches

  1. Thinly slice the English cucumber with a very sharp knife.
  2.  Spread a thin layer of spread on each slice of bread and arrange cucumber slices decoratively on top. Place an additional piece of bread on top of cucumbers. Trim away bread crusts with a serrated knife then cut sandwiches into fourths.
  3. Garnish tops with a small sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley or fresh dill. 

4. Serve immediately. Or, layer in an airtight container with waxed paper between each layer and on top of the top layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Ideally, cucumber tea sandwiches should be served immediately or within about 2 to 3 hours of having been assembled.

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • Hard boil your eggs the night before and refrigerate.
  • To make 24 to 30 egg salad tea sandwiches, you will need approximately 6 hard-boiled.
  • 1 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh dill chopped fine.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh dill for garnish

Directions

The day before you make the sandwiches hard boil the eggs. Add eggs to cold water, put on the stove on high bring to a boil. Cover after they start to boil, turn off the heat and let sit on the stove burner for 11 minutes. After 11 minutes rinse under cold water and put into the refrigerator. On the day that you’re going to make your tea sandwiches. Start by peeling and rinsing off the eggs.

  1. Using a sharp knife or egg chopper chop the eggs into small squares, this requires you to use the chopper in three different directions (This can also be done by hand been very careful not to crush the eggs).
  2. Mix the chopped hard-boiled eggs with the mayonnaise ( I use veganaise) and salt and pepper and chopped dill.
  3. Spread a layer of egg salad between two pieces of your prepared bread.
  4. Place a small sprig of dill on top for garnish.

Blueberry Glazed Scones

INGREDIENTS

For the scones

  1. 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  7. 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  8. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup cold buttermilk
  10. 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
  11. 2 tablespoons coarse sugar

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. 
  2. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  3. Whisk the vanilla and buttermilk together and gradually add it to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together. You may not need all the buttermilk. Add a little at a time until the mixture is moist but not too wet. Do not over mix the dough or the scones will be tough.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough four or five times. Pat the dough into a 7 inch round circle. 
    *(I used a heart shape cutter in place of #5…see photo below)
  5. Cut the circle in half, then cut each half into four triangle shaped wedges. Arrange the scones 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the scones in the freezer for 30 minutes. Scones are best enjoyed right away.
  6. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400°F. Brush the tops of the scones with milk or cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and drizzle with glaze.

Make the glaze

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Make ahead Tip

  1. You can refrigerate the dough overnight then simply shape the scones and bake them the next day.
  2. Or you can make the scones all the way through step 5. Place the scones on a baking sheet and wrap tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. Bake as directed without thawing.

Enjoy!

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Cooking, Garden/Tea Time | 2 Comments

A Quarantined Life…Rose Castle Cottage

Take time to make your soul happy💕


Hello, sweet friends…

A handsewn mask made from Cami’s🐾 pet scarf💕
A perfect Easter Day spent at home during quarantine…

Slowing down and getting more enjoyment out of everyday life starts where the heart is – at home.

Garden side terrace
New pillows for garden…
Planting my first Victory garden…tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers…

I am BLESSED to be in my home environment. Enjoying waking up early to blue skies and sunshine.

I’m blessed to be here enjoying my surroundings…

Garden delights…
Alfresco dining.

in small ways celebrating every breath I am STILL able to take.

Cecil Bruner roses on arbor ready to bloom…
Rhododendron in bloom…
Dainty Bluebells providing a profusion of color…


Positioning our new home plaque…

I have been blessed in many ways during this time of quarantine to experience this moment in time. A time to find the value of each day…appreciating nature’s simple beauty and nurturing my soul in those ways which I most enjoy…

New collage for Marcia’s Cottage by the Sea website

these many blessings are my new wellness.


👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

Joe usually prepares salmon for our Sunday meal. This week I decided to try out an Ina Gartin recipe. Fortunately I had most all the ingredients. I substituted flour for the corn tortillas.

Roasted Salmon Tacos

Dill from our garden

Ingredients

Directions for the slaw

3/4 pound green cabbage, cored and finely shredded

1/2 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup good white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions for salmon

Olive oil, for greasing the pan

1 3/4 pounds center-cut fresh salmon fillet, skin removed

2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, divided

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

4 ripe Hass avocados, seeded and peeled

3/4 teaspoon Sriracha

Directions

  1. At least an hour before you plan to serve the tacos, toss the cabbage, cucumber, vinegar, dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the cabbage to marinate.
  2. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a baking dish with olive oil and place the salmon in it. Mix the chile powder, lime zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Brush the salmon with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and sprinkle with the chipotle seasoning mixture. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the salmon is just cooked through.
  3. Wrap the tortillas in 2 foil packets and place them in the oven with the salmon. Roughly mash the avocados with the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice, the Sriracha, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  4. To serve, lay 2 warm tortillas on each of 6 plates. Place a dollop of the avocado mixture on one side of each tortilla, then some large chunks of salmon, and finally, some of the slaw. Fold the tortillas in half over the filling (they will be messy!) and serve warm.
Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Cooking | 7 Comments

A Quarantined Easter

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. -C.S.Lewis

Hello, sweet friend…

Spring is alive in the world…

already on trees we see the buds and blossoms…

the hope in a future we cannot see yet.

This quarantine has been a time for me to focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t…on what could be…

Supermoon Tuesday, April 7 2020

verses what isn’t or what I’m afraid of what won’t be again.

With Easter just around the corner it seems like this has also been a perfect time for Hope…since Easter celebrates new life. A new life that overcomes even our starkest moments and alive in the new ways we are learning to show love and care for one another.

Easter Blessings…

👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

I’ve been cooking Easter meals all week. Trying out different recipes for brunch and desserts. These 4 recipes are easy and use basic ingredients which most likely you have or can adjust the recipe with another substitute.

Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 lb bag frozen hash browns, thawed (see notes below)
  • 1 lb pork breakfast sausage, sage or spicy (I used vegan chorizo)
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  • Spray 13 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a sauté pan, cook onions and brown and crumble sausage.
  • Drain any excess grease. If you’d like, you can just take crumbled sausage out of pan, leaving the grease, and then brown the hash browns a bit, this adds nice flavor to the casserole.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 1 cup of shredded cheese and salt and pepper.
  • In a baking dish, spread hash browns into bottom of dish.

👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg optional- but I think is necessary 
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded/grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Cream Cheese Frosting you can use my recipe-link below

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9×13 baking pan.
  • In a large bowl combine your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In another bowl combine your eggs, shredded/grated carrots, brown sugar, white sugar, oil and vanilla.
  • Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix together. Do not overmix.
  • Pour your cake batter into your greased 9×13 baking pan and spread batter evenly in pan.
  • Place in oven for 20-25 minutes.  It will be done when a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center of the cake.  
  • When cake is done, remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
  • When cake is cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting and enjoy! This cake will stay fresh for up to a week if covered tightly. 
  • You can double this cake and bake it in a baking sheet/jelly roll pan for carrot cake bars. (Double your frosting if you do this)!

Cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 1 brick
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened, room temperature 1 stick
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients together and mix until well combined and smooth.  You can add more or less powdered sugar depending on how stiff you want your frosting.  

👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳

Cheesy Ham & Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 large white or red potatoes, peeled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices ham (I used vegan deli ham)
  • 8 slices swiss cheese, or cheddar
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups swiss cheese, grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a square 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  • Peel the potatoes and slice into about 1/4-inch thickness pieces.
  • Press a layer of potatoes into the prepared pan and season with salt and pepper. Add 4 slices each of ham and cheese.
  • Repeat with layers of potatoes, ham and then cheese slices.
  • Add one final layer of potatoes, parsley and then grated cheese.

👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳

Easy Vanilla Cake

Ingredients for cake

  • 1.25 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk see note
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
    (I added a drop of red food color for Bunny)
Yes…it’s a Bunny😉
Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Cooking | 2 Comments

A Quarantined Life… Get Dressed! (Every Day)

“Life is a party. Dress like it.”-Audrey Hepburn

Hello, sweet friends…

Enjoying a morning cup of coffee…
Home is Where The Heart is…

I also want to apologize for changing this weeks theme. I had another post planned…making mention of it on my last blog post http://marciascottagebythesea.com/an-elegant-life-in-a-quarantined-world/ however so much has changed since then…

That being said today I’d like to share how I’m adjusting these days at home and a few things that help me with maintaining a healthy mind & body…

Something which is more important than ever. let’s face it…we are going to be spending quite a bit of time here.

My most important suggestion…(drum roll)

*1. Get dressed! (Every Day)

I remember when I was still teaching and it felt (was) like a luxury to be able to stay home and lounge around in my pj’s. It was great back then…however now that I’m required to stay home… what once felt like a luxury might not be such a great idea.

Here’s a few outfits I wore this week.

oopsie…how did dapper Joe get in here?

Heading out to get groceries…
Sun is shining and I’m off to the garden…


I realize that this suggestion is coming from someone who doesn’t even go for a walk without putting lipstick on…and as I write I’m reminded of a former colleague that once told her students she couldn’t teach until she put her lipstick on. 😂 It might sound funny however during this time I’m convinced that making the effort to shower, putting a bit of make-up on, wearing real clothes, a splash of my favorite perfume works for me because it makes me feel better, hopeful and positive. Staying home in my pj’s all day does not motivate me for anything…except for a nap (which is not healthy 24/7) so I don’t do that. I’ve learned it makes a difference in how I feel about myself & the things I do have control over.

Here are a few other random things I thought of…what would you add?

2. Eat breakfast 3.write something 4.Move around 5. Floss your teeth 6. Take a deep breath of fresh air 7.accomplish one task on your to-do-list 8.sit for a few moments with just your thoughts 9. Feel the ground as you walk.10. Make your bed

👩‍🍳
What’s Cooking?

Healthy Hamburgers with steak fries

A real comfort food made just healthy enough to enjoy.

Because I don’t eat meat this recipe is using Beyond Meat.

Defrost the Beyond Meat patties. Heat up the pan to medium heat. Carefully place the patties onto the Griddle and press down lightly with a spatula. Just a slight press. Next using the spatula flip the patty over like a pancake. 👨‍🍳 Let it cook for about 60 seconds….depending on how well cooked you like it. Place a slice of cheese on the patties let it melt and remove.

Construct your burger anyway you see fit.

We topped ours with lettuce, tomatoes and avocados.

Note: I like to toast the buns too.

Steak Fries

Ingredients

  • 4 large Russet Potatoes(approximately 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup Cooking Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Cut potatoes into wedges approximately an inch thick. (I typically get 8 wedges from a potato)
  • Place wedges in a large bowl and add oil and all seasonings. Toss to evenly coat the potatoes.
  • Place wedges on a greased baking sheet and roast in the oven.
  • 20 minutes into baking, check for doneness and flip wedges. Wedges can be removed if already cooked through, otherwise let cook 5 additional minutes, or until done.

Banana Nut Bread

Joe took the above photo👨‍🍳


Ingredients

2-4 very ripe bananas, peeled. (I prefer 3 bananas.)

1/3 cup melted butter, unsalted

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 cups of all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter or oil a 4×8-inch or a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  
  3. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas until smooth. 
  4. Add the melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir.
  5. Add the baking soda, sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix. 
  6. Keep mixing! Mix it good!
  7. Pour batter into your loaf pan (Please remember to grease the bottom with butter, or oil. 
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. OVEN TIMES VARY. Some people need 55 minutes. Others need 30 minutes. Please use your own judgment and the toothpick trick (insert a wooden toothpick in the middle of the bread. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. If it comes out with batter on the toothpick, please continue baking. It is not done). In a fairly new, convection oven, it takes around 40 minutes for my bread to be done. 
  9. Remove from oven and let cool. For clean slices, please allow the bread to completely cool. 
  10. Enjoy your simple and delicious banana bread!!!

and…

in support of our local restaurantsthis week’s take-out💕

💕

April Blessings💋

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Cooking, My Style | Tagged | 2 Comments

An Elegant Life in a Quarantined World

Introduction

During the next several weeks I plan to share with you my experience of living a quarantined life with elegance and grace.

Hello, sweet friend…
How are you?

This past week while living under quarantine…

I have felt fortunate to be living in a home…

which provides exceptional comfort to me.

March has offered…

an astonishing amount of Spring beauty…

each day brought fragrant wonders…

outside my door.

This moment…

as I write…

sitting in our family room…

it is a chilly afternoon…

and there is a magic outside…

that is glistening…

with enchantment.

Here I find what now seems to be a golden opportunity…

for me to learn how I can get the most out of living…

squeezing significance and happiness…

that is every moment, every hour…

out of everything that is around me.

Coming next…

Chapter One

A Quarantined Life & Afternoon Tea

👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

One of the most satisfying things during this time has been preparing recipes that I might not have taken time for before. Here is a satisfying side dish that will make you forget all about what’s going on in our world. (ok…maybe not all) however the smell in your kitchen of Parmesan cheese seasoned with fragrant herbs will help. (so says my wonderful husband Joe)

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

  1.  3 pounds-petite red potatoes (scrubbed and halved (quartered if extra large))
  2.  4 tablespoons oil
  3.  6 cloves garlic (minced)
  4.  1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  6. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  7.  ½ teaspoon ground oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  9. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  10. 2 teaspoons salted butter (cut into small cubes)
  11.  2 tablespoons mincedfresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, basil and Parmesan cheese until evenly coated. Turn the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning with a spatula two or three times, until golden brown and crisp. Pull the tray out and sprinkle the butter over the potatoes and stir to melt the butter. Remove from the oven and toss with the fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is. – Elkhart Tolle

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking, Together Apart | 8 Comments