Dawnya Sasse, Tea Party Girl

Dawnya loves tea. In fact, since 1997 Dawnya has been a Tea Party Girl. She has owned 2 tearooms and operated an online tea business school since 2003. Her websites include Start A Tea Business, Tea Events and Childrens Tea Party.com Tea Party Girl is dedicated to the beautiful art of afternoon tea.

About Dawnya Sasse

Dawnya Sasse is "The Tea Party Girl." Dawnya has a passion for tea and has operated a variety of tea businesses since 1997. She has owned 2 tearooms and has taught her online training course "Start A Tea Business" since 2003. Tea Party Girl is her ode to the original passion of connecting with the hour of tea.

Introducing The New “Tea Party Girl” – Sonya Michelle

Sonya Michelle, Tea Party Girl

 

It’s hard to believe that today has finally come.  Today is the day I turn over my “hostess” responsibilities at Tea Party Girl.com to a special someone.  I have loved owning and operating Tea Party Girl and I have so enjoyed getting to know each and everyone of it’s readers. (like YOU!)

So without further adieu let me introduce to you, Sonya Michelle, the NEW, “Tea Party Girl.”

Sonya Michelle, Tea Party Girl

 I’m ready to bring you more exciting ideas, stories, information and recipes on Tea Party Girl.com

Q: Welcome Sonya Michelle.  First things first.  All of the readers of this blog are dying to know your personal tea story.  We want to know the nitty gritty on how you came to love afternoon tea and what it’s like to “take tea” in Australia (where you live!)

A: Thank you all for a lovely, warm welcome!  I am sooo delighted to meet the criteria and pass the test to qualify as the new hostess of afternoon tea with Tea Party Girl. Yes, I am an Aussie and I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed the two years that my husband, Tony, and I spent living in Atlanta GA, USA,  working and living like a local. Traveling a bit and exploring a lot and loving our lives and friends over there! Back home here in Brisbane, Australia – now with 3 beautiful sons – nothing gets me through the day quite like a cup of tea, or two, or three….

 

Sonya Michelle and Family

Here’s a photo of me with my husband, Tony, and our three Boys Charlie, Max and Rhys (L-R), earlier this year.

 

I haven’t always been, but for the past 12 months or so I have become almost exclusively a tea drinker, so I think it is curious that this new venture has presented itself to me now.  Doesn’t life work in curious ways?

Australia, just like the USA, is a large country, so I’m sure I can’t speak for all Australians, but taking tea in the typical circles I circulate in involves – tea bags and mugs!  Occasionally a cup and saucer, but usually a mug.  We’re usually all in such a hurry it’s a teabag and a mug – and if you’re at the home of a coffee drinker, it’s a coffee mug at that!

At a coffee shop or café, a teapot and strainer and cup and saucer will be served (but the mug will be thick and clunky and not at all elegant, sob!).

It hasn’t always been the case in my life … my Grandmother would serve ‘proper’ morning and afternoon tea, with fine china, a teapot and homemade date slice (I must see if I can get hold of that recipe from the family – it was delicious).  More recently, a very sophisticated and charming neighbor would serve an elegant afternoon tea, with delightful teacups, company and chatter.  But everyone seems to be in such a hurry these days, and everything is done ‘on the run’.

 

I’m on a mission to bring the experience of soul nurturing afternoon tea times back into our lives.  Surrounded by friends and/or family and treated with small, delectable treats is what we need.

 

 

 Q:What part of Australia do you live in and can you tell us something about YOU?

A: I’ve lived in a few parts of Australia in my time, but find myself happily settled in ‘rural-residential’ acreage suburbia in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  With three growing and lively sons, we have the space to move here, and grow and be noisy and keep chickens and run with friends, get muddy, graze knees, laugh, love and live.

 

Tea for Two - Australia with Sonya Michelle

 

“Tea for Two” in Australia : Two Rainbow Lorikeets having bread and honey on my back deck.

Besides being a full time Mom and happy wife, I also love the internet and connecting with people with similar interests to myself through my computer! I love fresh, healthy food and looking after my health and the needs of my family.

To me, tea is a big part of this healthy living and I’ve become increasingly interested in the health benefits of different types of tea.  (Not to mention the healthy social aspects!)

I love spending time with friends, caring for our animals, spending time at home and I always endeavor to make my interactions with others a positive experience.

 

Q:What made you connect with “Tea Party Girl.com” ?

A: My increasing interest in having a healthful lifestyle and excluding harmful and unnecessary ingredients from our bodies had led me to thinking more about what I consume – is this a dead giveaway for my age? – and a love for drinking tea and sharing a social ‘cuppa’ with special people in order to connect, and enjoy, made the opportunity to join Tea Party Girl literally “jump out” at me.

There are so many aspects to enjoy about Tea Party Girl.  The drinking of the tea for taste and refreshment, the gorgeous accompanying accessories (the ‘pretties’ – teapots, teacups, tea towels, trays, sandwich platters, table cloths….), the opportunity for friendship, sharing, connecting, the opportunity for charitable events and business endeavors.  Tea is so easily interwoven with so many aspects of life!

 

Q: What’s your favorite tea?

A: Is anyone else like this?  I seem to go through phases, where one month I will like one tea, another time I will prefer another tea.  I also prefer different teas at different times of the day, before and after particular meals.  At the moment, my overall favorite is peppermint herbal tea.  It is soooo very refreshing!

 

Q: What’s your favorite afternoon tea food?

A: Oooooh…well, because I’m on a plan to live to 100 years of age (there’s just so much to DO), and I’m taking a particular interest in healthful (but plentiful and delicious and more-ish) food, I particularly love tasty morsels of Orange and Almond Cake (made with oranges, almond meal, eggs and a little sugar) and dried fruit balls (made with chopped nuts, dates, raisins, coconut, …..) and I have a lovely and adaptable recipe for a “fruity carrot loaf”.  These all go beautifully well with most teas I drink – and are delightfully guilt-free.  Of course, if someone puts a dark chocolate mud cake in front of me, it will disappear in a flash as well…

 

Q: I know you have big plans for this site and for connecting with the readers.  Can you share just a few things we can all look forward to?

A: Where to start? I can’t decide if exploring the stunning array of tea cups, teapots and afternoon tea accessories out there should be first, or, perhaps an exploration of just how many different types of tea that are available to us to enjoy. Then again, the health benefits of tea are incredibly important to appreciate, so that will be a high priority.  The business of tea is an attractive and lucrative one to be in, so exploring further details of how this can be realized is on my list – and I’ll be asking you, Dawnya, to assist me here with your vast experience and knowledge of this area!

Fundraising for charitable causes is also of interest to me, and I imagine will be of interest to some readers, so I will be reporting on some ideas there.

In September, a “High Tea” is being held at a local ‘Bush Garden’ in my suburb and I will be attending to enjoy the experience, review the event and talk with the hostess about the proceedings.

I will also be visiting some local tea rooms (in comparison with coffee shops, they are few and far between, here, I can tell you!) I have just recently learned about, to report how those businesses attend their customers and what really makes them “tick”.

Have you ever heard of “Billy Tea”?  Well! That is an Aussie “experience” and a half.  I won’t call it a tradition, but it’s from folklore in this country and something to be experienced at least once!  If you like tea out of an enamel mug, with bits of ash from the open fire in it, and campfire smoke in your hair while you’re drinking it, you’ll love it!

 

Q: Where can the readers connect with you?

A: Since I’m nearly always connected to my computer, I’ll be close by if you post or send a message on Facebook or via contacttpg@gmail.com or the Contact Us page on teapartygirl.com  And on that note I warmly invite you to reach out and let me know your thoughts and wishes and requests for posts, information, solutions, recipes and topics for future blog posts.

 

 I want to thank you, beautiful Dawnya, for entrusting your much-loved Tea Party Girl blog to me, and thank you readers, for the opportunity to serve you and be in your lives.

 

Dawnyahat

Well ladies and gentleman.  I know I leave you in great hands and don’t worry, Sonya Michelle and I plan to work together from time to time.  I still have a contribution or two to make to the world of afternoon tea.

“Until then, pour yourself a cup of tea, sip, sigh and know you are loved.”

-Dawnya Sasse Tea Party Girl – Retired

 

A Scrumptious Vegan Tea Party

Celebrate Tea Time

Recently, I was asked by a new TeaPartyGirl.com member if there was any info on our site about a Vegan TeaTime or Vegan Tea Party Treats.

Since there wasn’t anything I could find, I decided to write one something for our Vegan Tea Loving Friends.
This article may be helpful to those who are eating gluten free as well.  Just be sure to make substitutions where necessary.

So, what is a Vegan?

The term “vegan” was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society, to mean “non-dairy vegetarian”; the society also opposed the use of eggs as food. It extended its definition in 1951 to mean “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals,” and in 1960 H. Jay Dinshah started the American Vegan Society, linking the movement to the Jainist concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things

There are many great vegan blogs that will give you additional information including: http://www.Vegnews.com

Here is my Vegan Tea Party Menu:

Spring Salad with Glazed Pears
Spicy Cucumber Sandwiches
Currant Blueberry Scones
Sinfully Chocolate Cupcakes
Lemon Berry Cheesecake Delight
Spring Salad with Glazed Pears

 

1/4 cup vegan margarine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon palm sugar (can use brown sugar)
2 firm brown pears (quartered and cored)
1/2 cup shaved almonds
1 cup mixed greens
Place the butter, vinegar and sugar in a frying pan over medium heat.
When butter is melted add the pear and shaved almonds and cook for 4-6 minutes until the pear is just soft.
Place the mixed greens on serving plates and top with the pear and almonds.

 

 

Spicy Cucumber Sandwiches
8 ounces vegan cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 loaf organic white spelt bread
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons sea salt
In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, chives, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
To make a sandwich, cut crusts off two slices of the bread. Spread with a layer of cream cheese mixture, and arrange a layer of cucumber on one slice of bread. Sprinkle Maldon salt over cucumber slices and top with the other piece of bread. Cut in half on a diagonal, and then cut each piece in half again, forming 4 small triangles. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Currant Blueberry scones
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 Tablespoons vegan margarine or light oil
2 Tablespoons sugar, stevia or other granulated sweetener of choice
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon plain soy milk
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup dried blueberries
Mix together the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the margarine or oil cutting it in with a pastry cutter Stir in the sugar, Add the soy milk, mixing until soft but not sticky, then add the fruit.  Mix just enough so it is distributed throughout the dough. (don’t overwork)

Place the dough onto a floured counter top and knead lightly to pull the dough together. Press the dough out flat to about one-half to three-quarters of an inch.

Cut the round into 8 even triangles. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

 

Sinfully Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon  baking powder
3/4 teaspoon  baking soda
3/4 teaspoon  salt
1   avocado, pitted and peeled
1 cup  pure maple syrup
3/4 cup  plain soymilk
1/3 cup  canola oil
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

Glaze
1/4   block soft silken tofu (from 14-ounce container), drained and patted dry
3 tablespoons  pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon  salt
4 ounces  semisweet vegan chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees  Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Puree avocado in food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup, soymilk, oil, and vanilla, and blend until creamy. Whisk avocado mixture into flour mixture. Spoon batter into preparedm paper lined muffin cups. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out near clean. Cool the cakes.

Glaze: Blend tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in food processor until smooth. Add chocolate to tofu mixture and blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl and then dip just the tops of cupcakes into glaze.

 

 

Lemon-Berry Cheesecake Delight
1 graham cracker pie crust (store bought or home-made)
1 cup silken tofu
1 cup strawberries, fresh or thawed frozen
1/2 cup mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar or sugar option
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine silken tofu, mixed berries and strawberries. Process until smooth. Scrape it down to make sure everything mixes up good. Add constarch and lemon extract, then blend until smooth. Then pour in the sugar combine until smooth.

Pour the tofu/berry mixture into the pie crust. Put the pie into the heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Chill for at least 5 hours, then slice and serve! Garnish with vegan whipped cream.

Tea Party Girl Asks: Do you have any Vegan Teatime recipes to share?

Like this article? Here’s another:
Gluten Free Tea Time Menu Options

Why Don’t People RSVP and Bring Hostess Gifts?

idea

rsvp

 

This article was originally posted several years ago.  The problem is, the issue seems to have gotten worse.  Are we so self focused that we can no longer think of others?  Read this post, and comment.  I want to hear your thoughts

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yes, this is my question, and I want to hear from you in the comments, especially if you are someone who doesn’t RSVP when invited to an event. I won’t hold it against you, today all judgment’s suspended. I truly want to your help solving one of these mysteries of life!

At the time of this writing, I am seventy-two hours away from helping to host our Mom’s Night Out for our local co-op for homeschooling families. Here are my stats:

  • Seventy-four invitations were sent
  • Twelve people confirmed they were coming
  • Twenty-three answered they were not
  • Four women told me they weren’t sure
  • Thirty-five women told me nothing

This is a dynamic I find over and over and over again as an event planner. I do not understand when it became the hostess’ responsibility to track down her guests AFTER already extending an invitation.

As a hostess, I also wrestle with the question, “Can I bring something?” I understand potluck’s become the status quo in some circles, but when did it become the norm? I rarely receive hostess gifts or thank you cards anymore, however.

Is this a California dynamic, an under-forty dynamic, or mother of children at home dynamic? What do you think? Why don’t you RSVP or bring a hostess gift when you are invited somewhere? I honestly want to know what you think.

 

How To Host A Mystery Tea Party

tea-time

I love a good themed tea party and whether you are hosting a women’s tea party, a bridal tea party or a children’s tea party, using a mystery tea theme will add a unique touch. ( It will also keep your guests talking for months to come!)

Personally I have hosted numerous mystery tea parties over the years. I love customizing the tea party menu to reflect the “mysterious theme.”  Every theme has a unique twist of its own and whether you choose a Titanic, Old West or Sherlock Holmes plot line your guests are sure to have a good time.

One of my favorite things about hosting a mystery tea is the participation and creativity it can release in your guests.

Here’s how it works: Tea party guests arrive in costume and play a character throughout your tea gathering. You will be surprised at how the shyest member of your group can become the “star of the show.”

It’s true! A good costume and a stiff cup of tea can do wonders.

 

There are several keys to hosting a successful mystery tea party so please feel free to take notes.

  1. First off, you have got to get a good mystery kit. (there are a ton of duds out there.) I recommend http://www.MysteryTeaParties.com These unique parties are easy to customize but give you step by step instructions which help you have a great time hosting the event. They are also specifically designed for women’s tea parties. (though its possible for  a man to slip in from time to time.)

 

Maxine at Mystery Tea Parties has been writing kits for several years birthed out of her own love of mystery parties. After hosting a successful event in her own area she began receiving requests from friends and neighbors that wished they had been invited as well. One thing led to another and http://www.MysteryTeaParties.com was born.

Recently, I had the chance to review the two newest mystery parties from Maxine’s pen.

Who Stole The Wedding Bells &

The Case Of The Missing Artwork

Who Stole The Wedding Bells is the perfect spring/summer event! It would be hysterical at a bridal shower tea but could also be a really fun fundraiser or women’s tea party. The basic concept is that the literal Wedding Bells have been stolen and its up to a group of crazy women to solve the mystery.

  • What role did the groom play?
  • Was that a UFO?
  • How did the Secret Service get involved?
  • Is the Bride To Be destined for a life of grime?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Case Of The Missing Artwork

is the answer for anyone hosting Children’s Birthday Tea Party or any tea party involving kids. This is Maxine’s first script kit for kids ages 8 and up.

The premise is an art contest with a $100,000 prize and a missing entry that was sure to win the prize.Who Dunnit? The children get involved solving the crime, answering questions that lead them down the path to finding the criminal.

I love the idea of a children’s birthday party mystery. Why come up with games, when you can harness a child’s natural dramatic side and love of costumes with a mystery tea? (this is WAY more interesting than pin the tail on the donkey!)

 

2. You need to follow the instructions carefully! Mystery tea parties are set up so that characters release clues in a certain order. For instance, in the Case of the Missing Artwork, the character Annie Artist has two sections of scripted information she must release. One is at the beginning but the other is later in the gathering and after Becky Baker is finished.

 

Hostess instructions are very clear in these kits but to have a successful event be sure you have read through both the step by steps and the script itself. You want to understand the big picture so your guests aren’t confused. Think of yourself as the director and be sure to direct the party.

3. Great food! Mystery Tea Party kits may include recipes and meal suggestions. You don’t have to follow them but they naturally lend themselves to the setting.  Again! Be sure to read the instructions. Tea party guests will expect wonderful food so don’t let them down. (if your play kit doesn’t include recipes there are a variety of great recipes listed on the MysteryTeaParty.com website.)

 

Here are a couple fun recipes from “Who Stole The Wedding Bells”:

 

WEDDING BELL SCONES

3 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup cold butter

1 egg

1 cup vanilla yogurt

½ tsp vanilla

2 tsp milk

Sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture

resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in egg, yogurt and vanilla just until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface,

knead 6-8 times. Do not over handle.

Roll into a 9 inch circle, cut into 8 wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops

with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Used with permission – www.MysteryTeaParties.com

 

 

CARROT PARTY TEA SANDWICHES

2 cups grated carrots

8 oz. cream cheese

½ cup chopped nuts

1 tsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp salad dressing

Mix together and spread on assorted crackers or breads. Cut in party shapes

Used with permission – www.MysteryTeaParties.com

 

 

4. Costumes are optional but encouraged! A hostess can choose to ask her guests to come in costume or if the event is spur of the moment, she can provide a costume box filled with creative hats, gloves, boas and the like. The more involved your guests become, the more fun your party will be.

 

5. Have a camera and takes LOTS of photos. Take pictures of the food, take pictures of your guests in character, take pictures of the criminal and those who solved the case! Post your photos on face book, your blog, website and be sure to submit them to Maxine as she loves to feature your personal version of one of her many scripts.

 

That’s it! That is all there is to it. Now grab a calendar, pick a date, and order your Mystery Tea Party Kit. You can be hosting your own themed tea event in just a few days.

 

To order your Mystery Tea Party kit visit http://www.MysteryTeaParties.comor call Maxine at 951-301-7218

Tea Party Girl Asks: Which Mystery Tea Party script looks the most interesting to you?

3 Secrets To Amazing Health With Tea

black tea

 

black tea

 

The great thing about tea research is that new things come along all the time. And, every great discovery or new suggestion seems to spawn at least two new studies to go along with it. The following 3 discoveries are worth a closer look for any tea lover that is interested in building their overall health by drinking tea. Adding tea to your regular daily routine can not only increase your health, it can hydrate and energize you.

 Discovery #1: Herbal Tea And Colon Cancer

A recent laboratory study researched the effects of hot coffee, black or green tea,herbal tea and iced coffee. The study found that people who regularly drink herbal teas (at least once a week) appear to be less likely to develop bowel and colon related cancers.

This study is by no means complete and should not be taken as law. It is however interesting to consider. Herbal tea drinkers may also have a greater link with healthy eating than other beverages and this too may effect the research.

You can read more on this discovery at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-05-herbal-tea-offsets-colon-cancer.html

Discovery #2: Earl Grey And Heart Disease

Earl Grey combines rich black tea with the fragrant Mediterranean fruit known as Bergamot. Considered a classic, Earl Grey lovers span the globe and most people agree that you either love or hate Earl Grey Tea.

Today, UK Scientists are loving Earl Grey. A recent study showed that the “super fruit” combined with black tea may just lower cholesterol and help with a variety of cardiovascular difficulties. Bergamot appears to contain an enzyme which attacks bad proteins in the body, increasing your overall heart health.

Evidence is still in the infancy stage but so far the research looks great. If you want to become an early adopter, read the original article and see what you think:

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/a-cup-of-earl-grey-keeps-the-doctor-away-the-drink-could-guard-against-heart-disease-scientists-say-9225399.html

 

Discovery #3: Black Tea May Steady Blood Pressure

 

Scientists have long touted black tea and its positive effect on the heart. In 2013, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claimed that drinking black tea would reduce variations in blood pressure. Why is this important? Fluctuation in blood pressure can be a warning sign for stroke or heart attack. Australian researchers followed a large group of adults who suffered with hypertension over a period of 6 months.

One group drank black tea three times a day for the entire 6 months. The results showed that tea helped avoid blood pressure fluctuation a full 10%. Additional research is being done on this topic but scientist are convinced it is the tea and not the caffeine that is offering this amazing benefit.

Read more here: http://www.medicaldaily.com/black-tea-can-help-lower-blood-pressure-244903

 

Regardless of how you choose to use these 3 health tips, new tea discoveries are happening each and every day. Don’t just sit on this new knowledge and forget about it. Put it to good use so you can live a healthy lifestyle, which is really what every tea lover wants, right? Of course!