The plantings are loving this HOT and HUMID weather that we've been having now for over a week - we're hoping it will break this weekend so that WE can love the outdoors again. : )
It's been a long time since my last post. Last week at this time we were waiting for the first group of family members for our get-together. The second group pulled in around the supper hour. : ) Everything went very well and we had a lot of fun together. Lots of conversation, lots of laughing, and a few tears. Good food, some games, and an outing for a few helped to pass the time.
Last week while getting the house and food ready, I realized how much I enjoy "playing" bed and breakfast. There was something comforting about setting aside certain days of the week to tend to each room in the house. Putting fresh bedding on and bringing out the "good" towels for each room (two siblings stayed with us, the others stayed in a hotel) to making sure their accommodations would be as comfortable as possible. This, along with cooking and shopping for the food we were going to enjoy, rounded it all out.
With all that said, I have been using this week to rest up from it all!!!!!! : ) At the beginning of this week it was just a matter of laundering all the bedding and putting that back on, and light cleaning of each room again. I was VERY surprised at how much food everyone DIDN'T eat!!!! I am known to overdo on the food because I'm SO afraid of running out, but we really did (do) have a lot leftover. But I will go through and tell you what I've been doing with it all. With some of these things, I have photos, with others I don't - I always feel one should ALWAYS have photos to back things up with, but I've been keeping busy with it all (and other things) so I didn't always take the time. Here we go:
*I made three pans of homemade Lasagne (one more than I should have, but two just didn't seem like enough for 11 people). I am definitely a person who follows recipes and don't add or subtract from it, but I DID this time!!! If you're like me, you have probably heard that we should NOT try anything new when it comes to entertaining - go with what is tried and true so that you KNOW it will work out. So this was a daring move for me. The other daring thing was combining the best of two recipes and creating my own from the two. For someone who never does this, I was out of my comfort zone yet it all felt right and I'm glad I did it, because everyone really enjoyed it and it will be a recipe that I will call my own and use over and over again. I did, however, have a pan leftover so I cut it up and froze individual portions that we will be able to enjoy throughout the rest of the summer! : ) I will share this recipe with you tomorrow (this is one of those without photos to go with - sorry!).
*A fun thing that I did for Friday evening was to set out four S'Mores baskets - each one filled with all we needed, but there were only two that was hit hard and I totally agreed that these were favorites and something I will do again in the Fall when an outdoor fire actually feels good. : o The two favorites were:
-Graham cracker with a roasted marshmallow and a peanut butter cup that gets all melty. Oh my goodness, it was SO good.
-And then I baked homemade chocolate chip cookies and used those instead of graham crackers. So you put a roasted marshmallow and a chocolate bar in between the chewy chocolate chip cookies - THIS one was a favorite. Yum doesn't even come close to what this tasted like. LOL
The other two baskets I made weren't even touched because of the above two!!!! I have a lot left over for this Fall (I need to have another gathering of some sort). : )
*The chocolate chip cookies that didn't get all eaten up needed to have something done to them because I find they go stale quickly, so I put them all in the food processor to grind them up fine, added a little butter to them as a binder, a little sugar for added sweetness and put the mix in a pie plate (like a graham cracker crust) and filled it with frozen vanilla yogurt. At first I was going to put my homemade fudge sauce on top, but I think it would be better to serve the fudge sauce WITH it so it runs down all pretty like. : )
Now we have a fun, easy, summertime dessert in the freezer. : )
*The other thing I did for the family staying with us is to buy things that a hotel would offer for a continental breakfast - small boxes of cereals, rolls, donuts, muffins, oranges, bananas, juice, milk, coffee. I surely thought these things would be eaten up but we had SO much leftover. Every morning this week, my husband and I have been eating some of these things up, but I had a whole platter of frosted cinnamon rolls that no one touched! So I made a French Toast Casserole out them - so good and so easy to make and a wonderful way to use them up. Again, I will post the recipe tomorrow. : )
*I also had a lot of oranges leftover and towards the end of the week, I could see that I needed to use them up, so this morning (and tomorrow morning) I'm making Orange Julius for our breakfast smoothie. Remember those? They were all the rave (was it in the 80's or 90's?) and it still tasted good. Bye, bye oranges! Again, recipe tomorrow. : )
*For our main meal on Saturday, I made up a fruit plate with watermelon, grapes, and strawberries and, again, I went a little overboard on buying and I had quite a few strawberries left so I made small batch strawberry jam.
I love the smell of jam cooking on the stove. This tastes very good and fresh - maybe a bit sweeter than I like, but I'm not complaining. Really good on bagels or English muffins with all those little holes in them to soak it up! Yummmm...................
And, yes, you're right......recipe tomorrow. : )
*So, the menu for our main meal was the Lasagne, fruit platter, Caesar salad, and breadsticks. Again, I over estimated the amount of breadsticks so here is what I did with the leftovers for a meal one evening:
You cut each breadstick in half, put homemade pizza sauce on each half, cut up pepperoni into tiny pieces (or whatever you have on hand) and sprinkle that on top, then grate some Mozarella (or whatever cheese you have on hand) and put that on top. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 15 - 20 minutes or until hot and cheese is bubbly.
I seriously can't say enough about these. They turned out SO good. When I served them at the party (as normal breadsticks), I had brushed them with melted butter and then sprinkled them with a little garlic powder before baking so when I made these little pizzas, they already had that seasoning on them and it just made them better!!!!! I hope you can try these. This is something I would definitely make for a game night or any other casual get-together because they are something you can actually pick up and hold them.
So, as you can see, I had so much fun planning and getting ready for our get-together, enjoyed everyone while they were visiting, but even had fun after it was all over this week in trying new things. : )
Here are some extra photos from the last week (not in any order -just random):
On the actual day of my birthday (the 3rd), my daughter-in-law surprised me with this lovely bouquet of flowers in the morning before she left for work. I was telling her and my son that I was feeling a bit down this year, and this certainly helped me to feel loved and cared about. : )
This is what I love when having people over - it makes my heart feel so good to know that someone is comfortable at my home - enough to just relax and fall asleep. This is one of my brothers. : )
And what's a family gathering without games?!!!! It just makes it so much more fun - some weren't game players and that's okay but I have a special place in my heart for those who are!!!!! : ) This is one of my sisters tossing the bean bag (I was her partner and we lost). : ( LOL In the background, a serious game of darts was going on. : )
Fortunately the weather was very nice while everyone was here, but as soon as they left, we got a few storms! It's REALLY hot today and we're expecting storms this evening.
Most of our plants are loving this heat - especially the herbs so I thought I'd better get some of them into the dehydrator yesterday. I had a tray of rosemary, a tray of basil, a tray of lavender, and a tray of mint. Oh.......it smelled good. : ) I hung the rosemary and lavender up to use in potpourri, I used the mortar and pestle to grind the mint for tea, and I'm still waiting for the basil (I found it doesn't dry as quickly as the others). It felt so good to just go out and pick these things. Very homey. : ) I'll need to keep up with this as I don't want any of these things to go to waste.
And this is something I've been wanting to do for years!!! Make my own paper with dried flowers in it. I finally couldn't stand it any longer and tried it yesterday. So easy, but it takes a while to dry, so this is a fast and easy project that I could do every day if I wanted to (and I do want to). I really liked the results.
Makes a nice, little notecard. : )
Because I do not do well in heat and humidity, all of these indoor activities have been very pleasant to work on. In my "down time" I've been doing some embroidery, quilting, and crocheting - those activities where you can sit and have a program (cooking shows in my case) going on in the background and just do it. It's been rather nice. : )
I do think that is all I wanted to share with you today. I've missed chatting with you and I do hope you are all well and enjoying your homes this summer and doing some things that are enjoyable as well. Thank you for dropping by for a visit - like I try to tell you - I enjoy it when you do!!!!! God bless.