Downton Abbey - Encore Date

We have had such an overwhelming response to our Downton Abbey Tea that our dates just keep getting sold out!!

We have good news for those who have yet to attend... 
we have another Encore Date available! 
Sunday, March 10th at 1 p.m. 
Tickets: $28 ($29.68 with tax) 
Reservations are Required - Call 641-342-1547 to reserve your seat! 

Goodbye Uncle Lloyd

This week, we laid to rest my mother's dear Uncle Lloyd. To many, he was just an ordinary guy, a really nice guy in fact, but to my mother (Donna), he was much more. Uncle Lloyd and his wife never had any children, and through the years, he came to adopt her family and all the kids as his. Even for myself, my brothers and I adopted Uncle Lloyd as “Grandpa Lloyd.” For about 3 years, we lived in the same neighborhood as Uncle Lloyd and my brothers and I would ride our bikes over there to surprise them. There was always ice cold Pepsi, (which Aunt Phyllis filled to the rim, a scary prospect for a young child as we sure didn’t want to spill any! Ha) and cookies. 

Uncle Lloyd was a very kind soul, who believed in my mom and our little tea endeavors. He was very generous to us when we were getting ready to remodel our existing area and surprised us with a check to help accomplish this goal. For that, we are forever grateful. We in fact, have a picture of him in our prep kitchen, which we fondly look upon as we work. 

Uncle Lloyd served our country in the United States Army in WWII. At his interment, they had a military service. What a moving experience. Uncle Lloyd always wanted my mom to have his flag. After the taps were played, they folded the United States Flag in such a ceremonial way. Afterwards, the uniformed member of the Army came over to my mother and knelt down before her and said before handing her the flag: 

“On behalf of the President of the United States and the people of a grateful nation, may I present this flag as a token of appreciation for the honorable and faithful service your loved one rendered this nation.”

It is an honor and blessing to have his flag here in our home…a reminder of a great man, who not only served his country well, but loved our family deeply. Every time we host tea parties in our lovely room…Uncle Lloyd’s legacy lives on. Thank you Uncle Lloyd!!

Happy Mardi Gras! King Cake Recipe

Mardi Gras King Cake

1 Stick of Butter, melted
2/3 C Evaporated Milk
¾ C, plus 1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Envelopes of Active Dry Yeast, Regular or Rapid Rise
3 Eggs
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
6 C Flour
4 TBSP Butter, melted
1 Egg White, for glazing

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:
½ C Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

White Icing:
2 C Powder Sugar
2 TBSP Whole Milk

Colored Sugars – ¼ Cup Each of yellow, green, red and blue

Combine 1 stick of melted butter, evaporated milk, ¾ C Sugar and salt. Stir so that the sugar dissolves, allow to cool. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ C lukewarm water along with the teaspoon of sugar. Cover and allow to stand for up to 10 minutes or until foamy. (If the yeast does not foam up, it is no good, you will have to start over with yeast and sugar…be sure your water temp is lukewarm, not hot.)

Add yeast mixture to the butter/milk mixture. Next add eggs and lemon zest; whisk together vigorously until well blended. Add one cup of flour at a time until you have a thick paste – about 3 C of flour. Then switch to a wooden spoon and continue adding flour, mixing well. Do not add more than 6 C of flour or your cake will be too dense. When you have added all of the flour, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and elastic. (About a dozen turns).


Place dough in a large clean boil that has been coated with vegetable oil, turn the dough to coat all sides with the oil; cover bowl with tea towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide the dough in two pieces. Roll out each half into a 10x15 rectangle. Brush each half with the 4 TBSP of melted butter and sprinkle each half with cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up along the long end like a jelly roll. Seal the seam, using water if necessary. Braid the two rolls together, making one thick piece, form the dough into a circle, seal ends and place on a greased baking sheet.

Cover again and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour; it should double in size. Preheat oven to 350 – whisk an egg white with 1 TBSP water, and brush the top of the cake. Bake for 35 minutes or until browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Icing – combine the sugar and milk in a small dish; if appears too thin, add more sugar…if it is too thick, add a little more milk. Drizzle over top of cooled cake then top with colored sugars. Makes about 24 thin slices…remember, you can’t have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake!! Enjoy.

**For a more gourmet approach you can add cream cheese and fruit fillings to the cake

Laughter is Good Medicine...

They say a laughter is good medicine... 
so here's something to get you laughing! 

*Read in your best British Accent* 

Oh Mrs. Middtleton, you're too funny!! 

Cute Cottage

A friend shared this picture on Facebook. I thought it was so darling that I just had to share it with all of you!  Isn't it sweet!? Don't know about you, but I could certainly live in a cottage like this one!!! 

A True Romantic - English Farmer plants Heart Shaped Meadow

This morning I came across this heartwarming story of an Englishman's love for his late wife! According to Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, "He's a true Romantic!" Check it out:

"A devoted farmer painstakingly planted a tribute to his late wife, Janet, using 6,000 oak trees to etch out a giant heart in the middle of his field in South Gloucestershire, England. Howes, 70, and a gardener spent weeks planning and setting out each oak after his wife died suddenly 15 years ago. He planted the fledgling trees across a six-acre field after carefully marking out a heart shape in one half of the grass, with the heart pointing in the direction of her childhood home. The stunning crop was captured in its full beauty after a balloonist sailed over the farmhouse and photographed the field from the air."  ~ From YahooNews


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