• Pre Wedding Dinner



    Yes… I realize that I have been M.I.A on this blog, but I have had a good reason…. I promise. This cute couple is the reason why I haven’t been on my blog posting away. This is my son and his then fiancé… now wife! I made dinner the night before their wedding for about 50 family members and close friends of the families. I thought a good way to come back is to share the night with you all!


    My sweet and talented sister in law did the floral pieces and table scape. Did I mention that it was 100 degrees this particular day? Crazy heat wave we had out of no where! That is love people! The outside tables were gorgeous and the night was dreamy.


    I told you.. just dreamy.


    So how, do you ask does one make dinner for so many people? You start days in advance! Three days before the dinner, I shopped for all the ingredients, made the salad dressing (A whole lot of it!), the pesto that I stuffed in the salmon, and did all my chopping for any salads or vegetables. Two days before, I baked all the cupcakes and kept them in sealed cupcake holders that kept them perfectly moist. I also baked the french bread that I used for the crostinis and made the hummus. The day before the dinner, I frosted and decorated the cupcakes, cut up the tomatoes for the salmon and strawberries used in the salad and candied the nuts for the salad. The day of the dinner, I made the quinoa salad (with the veggies I prechopped on Monday), baked the honey whole loaves, and finished the crostinis. 

    This shot was taken an hour or so before everyone started to arrive. We set out the cupcakes, the beginnings of the crostini (that was still awaiting more toppings), platters for the veggie and hummus appetizers and the huge salad bowls. It is helpful to get everything out that you will be serving food in in advance. That way, you get a feel for how everything will look and it helps you organize what needs to be done. It’s so easy to forget to set out a side dish or appetizer when you are serving so much food!


    Samantha loves my Smashed Avocado Crostini’s so that is what I served as an appetizer as everyone was arriving and mingling. 


    I also served my hummus with fresh veggies and pita chips. You can find the recipe on this blog… and if  you haven’t made it yet…. trust me.. you need to!


    Here’s what was on the menu this night. Pesto Stuffed Salmon with Roasted Tomatoes, Quinoa Super Salad, Hawaiian Inspired Salad with a Papaya Vinaigrette, Honey Whole Wheat Loaves and some delicious cupcakes for dessert!


    Here’s a shot of the salad before the Papaya Dressing went on it. It’s so good and beautiful… don’t you think?


    I made a lot of these loaves right before we ate. Who doesn’t love fresh bread? 


    When deciding what to make for dessert for this many people… I realized I would not have refrigerator space for anything other than what I was making for the dinner. So I knew cupcakes would be perfect! Everyone loves cupcakes… especially when there is a variety to try. I love the look of them… especially on pretty stands. They double for decoration!


    These ones are Lemon Meringue. I also made Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Oatmeal. Yes.. they were the perfect ending to a great meal if I do say so myself!


    We ended the night going around the room where everyone shared wedding advice to the soon to be “Mr. and Mrs.” Sorry for the poor picture quality. This was taken with my phone. 

    What a great night it was to have family and close friends join together to celebrate the this sweet couple! You certainly couldn’t have recreated this atmosphere at a restaurant. It made all the work so worth it! Nothing brings people together better than having gatherings of any sort… big or small. 

    My last piece of advice is to do something I forgot to do this night! Hire a couple of people to clean up and wash the dishes. Good thing I have a terrific husband that doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves and washing dishes… because there was A LOT of them! 

    Check back soon because I have a lot to share with you … more classes and recipes! 

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  • “A Night With the Stars” Church Gathering Part 2

    It is time to show you part 2… the fabulous people and entertainment that made this night such a success! (On a side note, each table had a number on it and as people arrived, they were given a piece of paper with the table numbers listed and they tried to guess what movie each table was. The winners (those that got all of them right) were awarded movie tickets! It was a great way to get this party started!)


    Mary Poppins looking “practically perfect in every way”!


    A couple of cute minions (from the Despicable Me 2 table) with their minion desserts. So much to love right here!


    Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games. Perfectly flashy!


    Caesar Flickerman (also from the Hunger Games) graced us with his presence. 


    Napoleon Dynamite’s La Fawn Duh. Love her sass!


    The star himself… Napoleon Dynamite!


    Here is the rest of the crew. “Are you guys having a killer time?” – Napoleon Dynamite


    Forrest Gump in two different stages. “Life is like a box of chocolates…..”


    Princess Elsa and Anna from Frozen amidst the snow being blown in the room. Oh Anna… you don’t have any self control!


    The Frozen party wouldn’t be a party without Olaf!


    The Three Amigos have no fear. Ole!


    Angels In the Outfield having a “ball”! 


    Do you see the bride and groom at the end of this (Father of the Bride) table? The fanciest group in the room!


    My “Swiss Family Robinson” group!


    On to the entertainment! We had a funny midget dance performance from our bishopric. Hilarious!


    We have an amazing lip sync performer in our church that gave two great performances! Here, from Fiddler on the Roof singing “If I was a Rich Man.” I love that song! Ya-da-ya-da-ya-da-ya-da-ya…..


    Last but certainly not least… we had awards…. Of course! Best this…. and best that…..but  I want to talk about one special award… The Lifetime Achievement award. This special award went to the most wonderful 90 something lady that deserves all the praise we can shower her with! What a great life and example she is and has been to us all. After all, isn’t that what really matters? Here’s to a fun night and wonderful tribute….. Thats all folks!

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  • “A Night With the Stars” Church Dinner Gathering Part 1


     Last Saturday, we had the most fun dinner activity at our church that we call “A Night With the Stars”. It is seriously so much fun that I have to share the details of the evening with you!


    As you walked in the foyer, you were greeted with a red carpet lined with stanchions (I forgot to take pictures at the beginning when everything was set up.) This was at the end as everything was in the process of being taken down. There was also a photographer (papparazzi) taking pictures of all the movie stars as we entered. Look below at the great signs that were also in the foyer and were the first things you saw. 


    More papparazzi of course!


    Everyone was a V.I. P. tonight!



    There were 14 tables…. each that had hosts that picked a movie that they based their table, decorations, costumes and food (if applicable) on. My hubby and I hosted a table (Each host invited people to their table. There were 14 dinner parties within one huge dinner party. Does that make sense?) and we picked the movie Swiss Family Robinson. I envisioned tree house decor and this is the end result! Not too shabby!


    A side view of our decor.


    Me and my pirate. Yes… there were pirates in the movie!


    Here is a shot of our table. I used burlap for our tablecloth, pewter plates and pitchers, coconut shell cups as well as coconuts on our table, a make shift roasting spit for out roast chicken (we served the pieces cut up under the spit), banana leaves lined rustic wooden bowls for our salad, veggie side dish, cut up fruit and we served rustic bread we broke with our hands. Everyone from our table helped bring something for our meal as well as the decor. We had mismatched wooden chairs we sat on to give the shipwrecked look. I love how it turned out!


    Here the “Frozen” table. They even had a snowmaker that blew fake snow!


    “Father of the Bride” table. This table was as pretty if not prettier than most tables at a real wedding reception. Complete with a real wedding cake of course!


    You guessed it! Mary Poppins. They hung a parasol from each of their chairs.. how cute is that?! Their costumes were amazing too!


    “Napoleon Dynamite” with a lunch table equipped with the school trays and  milk cartons. The people at this table were so in character they had a ball all night!


    The banquet of food from “The Hunger Games”. 


    “Life of Pi” table. I noticed they had a plethora of delicious pies for dessert. Yum!


    “Field of Dreams.” Complete with a concession stand and real turf!


    “Finding Nemo”. They also had a side table complete with a fish tank and dental equipment!IMG_0730

    “Field of Dreams”. Love the wheat bundles!

    There were three more tables that I didn’t get a good shot of. Despicable Me 2, Three Amigos and The Avengers. In my next post I will show you some of the awesome people that attended, their costumes and the fun entertainment we had! It was seriously the most fun night!

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  • Chinese New Year 2014 Gathering

    I have never celebrated Chinese New Year in my life. But last week, I heard someone mentioning it, and I thought to myself, “What a fun excuse to have a dinner party with friends! (Not that I need an excuse) ” With less than five days notice, I called some friends and invited them over to join us for a fun and delicious night. And what a fun dinner party it was! 


    I got to work shopping for decorations and Chinese New Year themed table top items. I wanted red to be the most prominent color, but I also wanted to incorporate other colors in so I bought bowls in three colors to use with my basic white plates. I found porcelain white Chinese soup spoons for 1.00 each at World Market to use along with bamboo chopsticks. 

    For a table runner, I found a black asian inspired print fabric and a simple red fabric. I cut and sewed them so I could layer them like you see above. Just the look I wanted!

    I found the pleated circular fans hanging on my chandelier at Party City. Do you see the Chinese hats hanging from the sconces on the back wall (Actually you can only see one. The other one is hidden behind the hanging pleated fan)? Another Party City find. Love them all!


    I found these Chinese lanterns at Party City too. I just love these paper lanterns. 


    This is the year of the horse. Luckily my boys had this horse in their room. The animal changes every year. 


    According to Chinese beliefs, during this time you should display oranges and tangerines. They symbolize wealth, happiness and health.  Yep…. three good things.


    It is also a Chinese tradition to hand out money in red envelopes. Instead, I gave everyone a red bag filled with “silver” chocolate coins, “gold” kisses and “fortune” cookies. Our guests are sure to have a prosperous 2014!


    I laid out Chinese almond cookies along the table runner along with some other Chinese knick knacks I found at World Market. As you can see… so many fun symbols to decorate with for a dinner like this! We also printed out the background and meaning of the different animals that one is according to your birthday month and year so we could read up on it. It is very interesting and for me it was spot on! I am a dragon. Great conversation starters as our friends were arriving and mingling. Here is the table right before our guests arrived. 

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    I opened up our front door and ….. what a fun sight! Mike and Cora… you are so awesome!

    thai chicken

    The food was not so much Chinese food. I would call it Asian fusion. This was a Thai curry inspired stir fry. We also started with a Thai soup and lettuce wraps. 


    This is an Asian salad that is out of this world good! 


    Salmon with an Asian flavored glaze. One of my favorites.

    Image 1

    For the finish we had chocolate flourless cakes served with coconut ice cream and a raspberry sauce. Don’t worry … this is going to be a future class menu (most of them at least). Has to be!


    Ok friends, you have a whole year to plan a fun Chinese New Year dinner party yourself. It was loads of fun and so delicious. But the best part was spending it with wonderful friends. Perfect way to start off a new year!

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