How to Create an Easy, Frugal Summer Tea Party!

Summer is hot, and so it may not occur to you to have a tea party during this season.  I have discovered just how versatile, easy, and affordable tea parties can be, however, and I wouldn't hesitate to throw one for just about any occasion -- even in the summer!

Here is my game plan for a basic summer tea party; you can choose to include your own recipes, of course.  Remember: it's easy to take similar recipes and customize them with a variety of ingredients -- it's also more frugal this way!

Our tea party featured:
  • An assortment of crackers and mild cheese (like Muenster)
  • Bread and Butter Pickles (or another "sweet" summer pickled veggie)
  • Banana Bread (another sweet bread will do)
  • Easy Pancake Mix Quiche (you can do this with or without meats)
  • A variety of iced teas from our one-cup brewing machine
  • A variety of mints from our herb garden to highlight the teas
For the Banana Bread, I chose this recipe:

The Easy Pancake Mix Quiche is a favorite dish of mine that I made on accident after running out of regular baking mix:

Simply mix one cup pancake mix, 2 cups milk, and 4 eggs in a mixing bowl.  Pour over 3 cups any kind of cheese and 1 cup mixed, chopped veggies.  (I like green peppers, red onions, and mushrooms.)  If you like meat, feel free to add ham or bacon.  Then bake in a 350 degree oven in a glass baking dish for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy, and the middle is baked through!

One other dish that I love making for tea parties, but sadly had no cucumbers on hand for, is the traditional cucumber tea sandwich.  To make this, just spread whipped cream cheese on some white bread, top with sliced cucumbers, and cut off the crusts!  You can even cut the sandwiches into shapes using a cookie cutter for even more whimsy!

My garden has about 4 different kinds of mint (pineapple, chocolate, apple pie, and spearmint), so it was fun picking sprigs for garnishment at the table, as well as to brew into people's tea.  To get a minty flair to the one-cup machine method, just place the fresh mint sprig in with the ice when you brew.  You can add a fresh sprig to the top of the drink, as well.

You can serve your iced tea in large wine goblets (I have shatter-proof ones), or large plastic disposable champagne glasses.

I decorated my table with a vintage flat sheet from the 50's, and I served the food on plastic Mainstays dinnerware from Walmart - it's BPA-free!

What is your favorite "tea time" recipe?