Tea Party Tidbits!

When summer is as short as it is here in Minnesota, it's worth celebrating! Every other year or so, I combine my passions for flower gardening and amateur theatre to host a murder mystery garden tea party in my backyard. It gives me and a couple dozen of my friends the chance to dress up (hats and gloves encouraged!), enjoy the gardens, the game and especially … the food!

A traditional tea party has three courses: scones, sandwiches and sweets. Guess which course I like best? Coming up with new bite-sized treats is half the fun of planning these events.

I'm already planning this year's party. My mystery is set in 19th century Savannah, Georgia, so the menu will have a Southern slant. While browsing Tastefully Simple's new Spring-Summer catalog, I discovered a couple of products that seemed perfectly suited for a dainty dessert: Caramel Cookie Brittle Mix and Coconut Cream Pie Cheese Ball Mix.

I knew Tastefully Simple's sweet cheese ball mixes make easy and luscious no-bake cheesecakes, so it was a simple matter to downsize that concept to bite-sized morsels. The Caramel Cookie Brittle Mix was a perfect solution for the tiny "crusts"; of my mini cheese cakes.

Tea Party Tidbits Prep

The coconut cream filling tastes light and summery, and even if coconuts don't actually grow in Georgia, I think these Coconut Cream Cookie Bites will be a perfect fit for my Southern buffet table. (This recipe will work beautifully with any of the sweet cheese balls; I plan to pair the coconut ones with a batch made with our Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix.)

So my menu is coming together. Now to find the perfect sunbonnet.

Also, did you know today is National Cheese Ball Day? Check out how you can receive a FREE recipe sheet.

Here are a few tips for planning for an outdoor event like a garden party:

  • Select "finger foods" foods that can be prepared ahead of time and will hold up well in heat and humidity. Pinterest has lots of ideas!
  • A picnic canopy or gazebo is helpful for shielding guests from the hot sun or – heaven forbid! – the pouring rain.
  • If your party is being held on a lawn, suggest guests wear flat-soled shoes. Heels tend to sink into soft ground.
  • Offer a variety of items for each tea party course. I usually serve four different types of scones and tea sandwiches and half a dozen mini desserts.

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