My 7-year-old loves to read. So does her mom. I am thrilled to have a bookworm daughter. At any given moment, you can find her in a room with her nose in a book – standing, sitting, lying down, perched on the side of the sofa, in the bathroom. Then, if you walk into another room, you will find another book opened and turned over, marking the page where she left off. (I am trying to teach her the use of bookmarks – a ribbon, slip of paper, gum wrapper, whatever – as a more effective way of marking the book than her technique). The other day I caught her reading and playing the piano simultaneously and snapped this photo! I know… multi-tasking at its finest!
So last year I decided that maybe she and I should help start a mom/daughter book club. One of my heros, Brené Brown, whom I wrote about a while back, has a wonderful blog called Ordinary Courage. It is a wealth of resources, information, thought-provoking challenges and a fresh perspective on living a courageously, whole-hearted life. I read on her blog about a mom/daughter group that she and her daughter have done with several peers of theirs and I was so inspired that I sought out how I might be able to emulate what she has done. After a few conversations and several emails, we had an excited group of women and their 1st grade daughters gathered together to begin a book club. We chose The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes, as our first book, following Brene’s example for our first read. If you haven’t read it, you must. It is a simple, heartfelt book from the 1944 and yet the themes are timeless and poignant.
One mother, a professor of English (how convenient), facilitated our discussion as we sat around our large oval table and talked about the author, the period in which it was written, the imagery, the scenes that stuck with us, the conflict in the plot, the less-than-ideal-ending and how we had wished the book had ended. We discussed the great opportunity that reading provides in our lives, to give us insight into our own lives, and even the chance to “write our own ending” to the story of our situations, perhaps influenced and enlightened by the characters in a book.
Another mother and her daughter gathered fun art supplies for the girls to make their own bookmarks with dress-themed adornments. The girls loved this component of the gathering. The women even had the unexpected chance to visit while the girls were busy with their art project!
We had fresh berries, salty snacks, raspberry lemonade and tea cakes. These tea cakes are one of my most treasured recipes. The recipe came from my friend, Connie. She got it from her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. There is a bakery, Ham’N Goodys, in Knoxville that makes these. They had a location in Nashville also, but, sadly, it closed several years ago. It was such a disappointment, because their lemon sugar cookies and tea cakes with thick almond glaze are out of this world.
It’s hard to find a good recipe for a tea cake. That term, “tea cake”, can be interpreted a lot of ways. Some cookbooks see it more like a Mexican wedding cookie, others think of it as a quick bread with dried fruit and nuts. I think of tea cakes in the Ham’N Goodys Bakery way: a soft, puffy, cakey sugar cookie with a thick almond glaze covering the top. This recipe accomplishes it!
It is bigger than a cookie and easier to serve, transport and eat than a cupcake! People love them! Kids and adults alike. And they are so pretty. My friend, Melissa (the florist) makes them also and I have seen her pipe a monogram or initial on the top with some buttercream icing. They are lovely!
The recipe only has a few ingredients and I find it interesting that whipping cream serves as both the oil (fat) and the liquid of the recipe. The only trick to this recipe is getting them the correct thickness and doneness. You really must try them!
|I often double-layer the dough to insure the right thickness|
|smoothing on glaze with the back of a spoon|
|sprinkles (if you want) and then drying on a rack|