Appetizer · Brunch · entertaining · main dish · Sandwich · Side dish

Around our Table

We are traditionalists on most holidays. The same foods are usually served each year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But you know what? Sometimes it’s really fun to break out of that “mold” and do something completely different! That’s what happened this year.

My daughter hosted us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and she and her sister did all the food. Not only did I not contribute to the meal, I wasn’t allowed to lift a finger. That was a gift in itself. They are the sweetest.

Here are the meals they planned and prepared.

Christmas Eve night, they had all appetizers. (BTW, This would make a great menu for New Year’s Eve, too!)

From Monte Cristo Sliders, Chicken sliders (something like these), Cocktail Wieners and Pizza Dip it was a delicious spread.

We had a mid-morning brunch on Christmas morning. The egg casserole Whitney made was a.maz.ing! It had all the brunchy feels to it and balanced out the sweetness of the Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls that Alli and her husband made! What a way to start the day!

Here was the menu for supper
Steak with Texas Roadhouse seasoning, and Crispy Onion Straws
Roasted potatoes with Blue Cheese
Caesar Salad

Learn from a 5-year old how to eat a cookie. Fill your plate with your favorites. Look carefully at the cookie to decide which corner to attack first. Then go in and nibble away until completely devoured!

After church yesterday we were blessed to host everyone for Sunday dinner. It was very impromptu, but I made a simple meal everyone loves – Soup beans and cornbread. I used the simple recipe I’ve shared here. This is such a great meal for ease and for comfort. I served it with roasted potatoes, cornbread, and cooked apples. Even our little guys love this meal.

All these meals were great, yes, but the best part was sitting around the table as a family, thanking the Lord, chatting, laughing, listening, watching, loving, caring and serving. That’s what mealtime is all about.

Plan something simple this week and invite others to join around your table. Eat slowly. Make conversation. Serve them. Love them. There’s nothing that tastes any better!

What kind of foods did your family share over Chrismtas?

entertaining · Thanksgiving · Time management

My Thanksgiving Dinner Timeline

Since I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, I have made a timeline for myself that began a few weeks ago. It’s been so helpful to get projects done and pre-baking in the freezer.

Someone asked if I would share my agenda for Thanksgiving day preparation, and I am happy to post my schedule. Keep in mind, however, that I am having help from my girls with a charcuterie board, sides and dessert, so those items will not be part of my plans.

I will also add the specific times for my Thursday agenda. That way I will know that the turkey has 45 minutes to one hour to rest before carving (it will be covered with foil and dish towels to keep warm). While the turkey is resting, the gravy will be finished up and the biscuits will be baked. Any other items that need to be warmed will also be put in the oven.

Lord willing and the biscuits rise, dinner will be served at 1 o’clock!

Are you following a minute by minute schedule that will keep you on time? What else do you add to your prep?

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I will post again next week!

entertaining · Fall · Outside decor

Outdoor Decor For Fall

Happy Fall, Y’all!

We love being outside when we’re home. For that reason, I wanted to add some nice fall decor to enjoy out there. I’m not finished yet, but here is where we are so far.

I can’t wait to build a fire and have friends/family sitting with us around it!
This swing is my favorite piece of outdoor furniture! Who doesn’t love to swing? But it also lays down flat, creating the perfect place for a nap!
Blankets are ready for cool nights.
Here’s a peek at the front with my GIANT mum that has come back for several years now.

I look forward to entertaining outdoors this fall. Fires in the fire pit on cool evenings are just so cozy and inviting. I’m praying about planning an event so we can invite our neighbors over.

A simple menu of

  • Hot dogs
  • Donuts
  • Cider
  • Marshmallows to roast

would be so easy to pull together! What could you do simply that would pull people into your backyard or home? Popcorn? Pizza? Donuts from Dunkin or these easy homemade ones? Pray about it, then put it on your calendar! Use it to encourage others, pray for the hurting and be a blessing to your own family.

From my cozy backyard,

entertaining · pumpkin · snack

Snack On Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix!

We traveled to the northeast last weekend and saw some beautiful fall colors and scenery.

We stopped at an adorable Amish Bulk Food store where they had rows of adorable little pumpkins and gourds for sale, as well as giant multi-colored varieties.

It got me to thinking about pumpkin flavors, and then I remembered this Pumpkin Pie Crunch recipe. It’s Pumpkin-flavored Chex Mix.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This stuff is irresistible! It has no pumpkin added, only the pumpkin pie spices. It’s just sweet enough to offset the cinnamon and nutmeg and yummy enough to have you dreaming about it when you visit a pumpkin stand!

Here’s the simple recipe you can make in less than 30 minutes!

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups wheat Chex cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz. nuts

1. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on high about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwaveable bowl, mix all cereals and nuts. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.

2. Microwave uncovered on high 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on waxed paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Whether you’re having guests over to watch football, are asked to bring a snack to an event, or are taking the family to the local pumpkin patch, why not mix up this Pumpkin Pie Crunch and smack your way through pumpkin heaven?

What fall events have you participated in so far?

Pumpkinly yours,

entertaining · hospitality

My Five Best Tips For Hosting a Dinner Party

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Hosting a group of people for dinner is something I love to do!

Laughter,

Good food,

Fellowship

are all enjoyed as we gather around the table.

We hosted a party of ten at our home this past weekend and it was such a blessing!  Here was my menu:

Beef Enchiladas
Chicken Enchiladas
Sweet Corn Cakes
Black Beans
Upside down German Chocolate cake
Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Compote

Cares are lifted as we talk, share and pray.  The burdens that were brought in are eased by the joy of coming together for a few hours, and it all happens around good food.  Hmmm, I think that is often the part that makes people afraid to host others – all the work and prep of the food.  Am I right?

I want to help with that and share with you my Five Best Tips for hosting a dinner party so you can enjoy your gathering as much as your guests!

  1. Prepare ahead as much as possible. In the menu I served this weekend, everything but the corn cakes were made ahead of time!
    1. Find a dessert you can make and freeze – Cake layers, cookies, brownies, pie crusts, biscotti – all freeze well and you’ll have one whole course of the meal done a week or more before the party!

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      Desserts made ahead of time are such a help!  This Upside-Down German Chocolate Cake is n’t pretty until you flip each piece over as you serve it, but it’s soooo good!
    2. I made Beef and Chicken Enchiladas at my recent party. I roasted the chicken and browned the hamburger several days beforehand and froze it in freezer bags.  I made the Enchilada sauce the day before.  The day of the party, all I had to do was layer the tortilla shells, meat sauce and cheese.49d48c02-32d4-4fd0-bfa6-7960691df327-16821-0000095519839c17_file8c9fea67-be38-4989-a635-b9e04aee9dfc-16821-00000957553b8d31_file
    3. Set the table the day before or early in the day.
    4. Get the coffee maker ready to perk.  The smell of coffee brewing as guests arrive is so welcoming.
  2. Keep it simpler by serving the food buffet style.  I let my guests choose where they would sit.  Their napkins and glass were at the table, but their silverware was at the end of the buffet line, ready to pick up.IMG_8590
  3. Let guests bring an item for the meal, if they offer.  At my recent party, I made the main dish, a couple sides and the dessert.  My guests brought a salad, chips and salsa, ice and beverages and ice cream.  That was a great help!
  4. Make your home cozy with candlelight.  Don’t burn the overhead lights – use lamps, high and low, strands of twinkly lights, and add jar candles around the rooms.
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  5. Don’t strive for a perfect home in which to entertain, just make sure it’s straightened up and the bathrooms are clean.  Having guests over is a good motivator to clear away clutter.  If need be, get a friend to come over and help you put things away.

Good food, a casual setting, and some good fun are all ingredients for a great time!  When you prepare these things early, you’ll enjoy the time with your guests, and that alone will make them feel truly welcome and glad you invited them over!

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What keeps you from hosting friends for dinner?

Why not refresh yourself and others by putting a dinner party on your upcoming calendar?

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