Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Make and Take a Meal: Adding Charm to Dollar Store Disposables

Hi friends!!  I'm not even sure if I remember how to blog...but I have been having so much fun with our THREE little grandbaby girls that blogging has taken a major back seat!!

I thought instead of posting a recipe, I would take a few minutes to chit chat about how easy peasy it is to add a bit of charm to meals we take to others.
I would encourage you...if you aren't already doing so...to run to your local restaurant supply store or to your favorite Dollar store and stock up on disposable alluminum baking dishes and paper products so that when you gift a meal to someone in need...they aren't going to need to do dishes and or return pans to everybody!!  It is a win.win situation...trust me!!!
I am by no means saying that taking a meal by itself is not enough...I am just suggesting that it takes minutes to add a little bit of charm.




taco salad


The taco salad will go in the large aluminum pan with a lid.  I like to package the tomatoes and cheese on the side...and I send a ripe avocado separate.  Nobody likes soggy cheese and smooshy tomatoes.
A bottle of chilled Catalina is also included.

The Doritos are put into a large paper box

My family and friends save me drink carriers which work perfectly for lemonade!!  The goal is for the recipient to have zero dishes to do!!!

The brownies or lemon bars {I like to mix it up a bit!!} are also placed inside the paper boxes and tucked in with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper to assure they stay as fresh as possible.

Again, if you keep these things stocked...along with a little bit of ribbon...it will takes minutes to pull together!!

I used a fresh new linen towel to wrap around the salad.  It helps to insulate the salad and keep it chilled during transportation!!

That's it!!!
Hope you enjoyed this short and sweet little bloggy post!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Veggie Medley Quinoa

Oh, my goodness, every time I think I am going to start blogging more...life happens.  I love to document and to journal because it is so much fun looking back on the past!!  
This Valentines evening, we pulled out the old.time photo albums and had so much fun laughing and a few minutes of tears {ME!!!!} looking back at those pictures.  I was quickly reminded that not only do I have an incredible husband who walks alongside me in life...but he also goes ahead of me in protecting me, providing and doing everything he can do to give us a HOME that reflects Jesus.  We are far from perfect and fall way more often than most...but in FAITH, we know Jesus is in control and that gives us hope, JOY and strength.
I was also reminded of what an amazing dad my children have and for that, I am so thankful.  I love my little Valentines...all of them!!
Anyhoo, this isn't really a recipe...but more of a "throw and go" which is perfect!!

Veggie Medley Quinoa

4 cups of cooked quinoa
1 bunch of radishes, quartered
a small bit of parsley...for color
1 tub of mixed medley cherry tomatoes, cut into half
1 bunch green onions
dried cherry craisins
roasted and salted pepitas {serve on the side}

olive oil
lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Place cooked, cooled quinoa in a large bowl.  {I love white bowls, because it makes the colors really POP!!}

Add veggies and craisins to the quinoa and toss.
Pour desired amount of olive oil and lemon juice over garlic and mix.  Pour over quinoa.  add more olive oil and lemon juice, if desired.  Salt and pepper to taste.  

For a complete meal, serve with grilled shrimp or chicken!!

I served these crackers on the side instead of crusty bread

The infamous trifle dish.  Love it!!

These tomatoes are so delicious!!

Look what thrived under our heavy snow!!

                                       Don't you just love the promise of SPRING??

Do you have a favorite go.to dish??

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Plans...Hopes and Dreams

Plans…Hopes and Dreams

Growing up in Europe with Advent has always been so special to me.  
I remember our readings took place when it was already dark outside and we would read by candlelight...my favorite!! 

They weren’t nights rushed with Christmas deadlines and demands by the outside world, but they were quiet moments carved into the evenings leading up to Christmas morning.  I would describe them as soft, tender memories likened to that of a quiet dusting of a midnight snow fall.

I think I especially loved it as it was such a visual of the anticipation of Jesus’s birth!!

Advent is defined as follows:  “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.  It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”.

I don’t know about you, but every time Christmas rolled around, I looked forward to the Christmas commercials.  You know which ones I’m talking about.  The ones with perfect homes, perfectly dressed hostesses with aprons that matched their shoes, happy children before the feast…which we all know is not reality…at least in our home…and a perfectly fat, glazed butterball turkey on the large oval platter with no nasty prep dishes anywhere in sight!!

Somehow, I bought into it.  I found myself  t h e r e…striving for the perfect tree that everybody happily agreed on.  I wanted everybody to want the same thing I had envisioned.  I would cringe at the thought of colored lights. Handmade ornaments from the children would be “re.arranged” behind the ones of “real” beauty.  You know, the ones that were all the rage at the time.  No matter how hard I tried, I would find myself trapped in a scene that would give Chevy Chase a run for his money!!

There were pick.up trucks that broke down at the Christmas tree farm, a purchased tree that was the comfortable home to thousands of flying beetles, falling trees that somehow toppled down in the wee small hours of the morning…crushing the gifted ornament with my husband’s brother’s cremated ashes {who thinks of these gifts anyway??!!}and the infamous trip…traveling away from home and forgetting the diaper bag.  You get the picture. 
NIGHTMARE situations, in my book...far from what I was striving for.

All this to say, it’s easy to get discouraged and disheartened when things we plan end up being much less wonderful and much less full of delight than what we had hoped and dreamed for.

Reality is harsh at times, and the idea that things are insignificant when we selfishly pursue our own interests is TRUE, but it is entirely possible to gain true JOY in this life, with a deep purpose when we humbly submit our most cherished hopes and far.fetched dreams to Jesus!!

Advent hones us in.  
It re.focuses and brings into view that which is important.  
It offers incredible hope for tomorrow.

Mary anticipated her ADVENT.
She, too, was a momma…with a heart…just like us.  She looked forward to the arrival of her Son.
I have often wondered how she nested… 
How she planned. 
I wonder how she hoped… 
How she dreamt. 
And once she delivered God’s gift…
I wonder what she was thinking as she rocked the Savior of the world.
I wonder about the lullabies she softly sung into the same ears that would hear the aching, desperate prayers of all mankind.
I wonder how she would gently stroke and pat the tiny back that would one day carry the weight of the world.
I wonder if her heart beat full of fear for what was sure to come as it would beat against the same heart that would one day be broken for the lost and for the fragile in this broken world.

She H A D to know that her plans, her hopes and her dreams were shattered and would be forever altered the very minute the angel appeared to her…and I’m pretty sure this was not her plan and most likely a world away from how she had envisioned it, don’t you think?

As I was looking at ADVENT, I was re.reading Luke 1 and as soon as the angel announced to Mary that she would give birth, Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.” “May your words to me be fulfilled.”

Again, she H A D to know that while nothing was going according to her hopes and dreams…she would indeed be given the strength to rest in Christ…where she would find her greatest significance.  It would be in Him that she would find true fulfillment.
She was willing to lay down her “perfect” plans, hopes and dreams as she laid that little tiny baby in the manger.

So, as we face our own disappointments and maybe our less than stellar plans, hopes and dreams, I challenge you to find joy and meaning in the unplanned, in the uninvited, in the undesirable and in the unexpected as you anticipate celebrating life’s greatest gift…the birth of Jesus…

It’s described as a SILENT NIGHT.  Pure, messy, chaotic yet PERFECT!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Classic Boursin {the perfect little hosteess gift}

Happy December!!
One of my very favorite things to come up with every year is hostess gifts!!  They need to be simple, beautiful and budget.friendly.  This year's is one of my favorites to date.  The Classic Boursin cheese spread is an old favorite, but the packaging is a new obsession of mine.  The tin, the grey, the WHITE, and the wreath is just so lovely and Christmassy...minus the green and red.  BUT, if you need the green and red, a  velvet red bow and a sprig of greenery would be perfect!!

 Classic Boursin

Lisa Pearson

½ cup salted butter, room temperature
2  8oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature {full FAT}
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Start by blending the butter and the cream cheese together until it is nice and creamy. 
Add the spices and mix well.
Serve at room temperature with a few different kinds of crackers.

Sprinkle a bit of dill weed on top for a festive presentation!!

{I like using fresh garlic in this recipe, but to make it super fast and easy I opted for the granulated garlic this time!!}

I placed the Boursin into two small paper soup containers, then packaged two different kinds of crackers into crisp cello bags.  The cheese spread will keep for quite a while in the fridge and the crackers will stay fresh for a long time, too!!  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mimi's Rustic Veggie Soup

One of the very best things about hospitality is the ability to love those that enter your home.  They may enter through your back door, the garage or through the front door...but they are entering your home and it is the perfect opportunity to lavishly bless them!!
I am sure we can all think back to at least one time in our life when we have entered a home with feeling fearful, discouraged, defeated, tired or anxious and we leave feeling incredibly full of hope, inspired, re.energized, refreshed, encouraged and loved after spending time with them.  There is a time for texting, face.timing, phone calls and messenger...but there is just something about spending time together!!

Years ago, after work, I drove home after getting some rough news. My mom was already at our house.  She met me at the door, hugged me tight.  No words were exchanged...just tears.  My welcome said it all.  "You are so loved and I am right here with you."  That simple message spoke volumes to me.  Hospitality comes in all shapes and sizes.  There are seasons of being on the receiving end and times to be on the giving end. What season are you in?? 

Mimi’s Rustic Vegetable Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, scrubbed, cut small
3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, cut small
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic or 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, cut into chunks {Heat in microwave for 4 minutes for easier cutting!!}
In a large stock pot, heat oil a bit.  Add carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper. And garlic to pan and sauté vegetables.  Add sweet potato.

14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
16 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 cups of water
1 large can of golden hominy, rinsed and drained

Add tomatoes, zucchini, squash, broth, water, and hominy.  Simmer and serve.

Enjoy with crusty bread and citrus salad and a fun fizzy drink.

When I make this, I double the veggies and stick them in a SOUP KIT.  I put all of the veggies in baggies and freeze them.  It makes a great dinner to take to someone in need.  I include the recipe and the rest of the ingredients for them to "throw and go".  I think that smelling a soup cooking in your home is sometimes just what the DOCTOR ordered.  ANNNNDDDD, they are only having to wash one pot.  That's a lot of bang for the buck, in my opinion!!

"Beloved, let us love one another..." I John 4:7

Thursday, July 21, 2016

{Fresh &Simple} Pesto Pasta

Frozen Tortellini is the perfect thing to keep on hand, in my opinion.  It also just happens to be the perfect summer salad to serve all by itself or as a side dish to go along with bbq chicken, burgers, steak etc.  The possibilities are endless.

The other reason I love is is that it can be made ahead and served as a salad or made as a hot dinner.  It can be served with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and a sprinkling of cheese or it can be dressed up for a fancy schmanzy dinner with fresh grilled shrimp garlic roasted artichokes and expensive cheese.  ANYTHING ANYWAY!!!

Fresh & Simple Pesto Pasta
Lisa Pearson

1 20oz. package Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini
½ cup pesto
½ cup chopped julienne sliced sundried tomatoes in olive oil
½ cup Kalamata olives
½ cup fire roasted yellow and red peppers
½ cup garlic roasted artichokes
½ cup red onion sliced

Cook tortellini according to package directions.
Rinse with cold water.
Place in large serving bowl
Add the rest of the ingredients, stir together gently ad chill.

This may also be served warm…just rinse the noodles with warm water after cooked.  Add grilled shrimp and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with crusty bread and a flute of champagne!!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

A {simple} BAGEL BAR

Well, here we are right in the thick of celebrations!!  Graduations are over and now we are having bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties and everything else in between.
Friends ask me quite frequently how I keep up with everything and honestly, the answer is THIS:
That means, delegate things out, keep paper products on hand...and there is nothing wrong with the dollar store.  :}
Those days of doing everything by myself are way over and doing things up ahead of time will save you time, energy and looking like those stress pencils from the 70's!!

I will be the first to admit that I rely on my freezer space BIG TIME.  If things are sealed well, it will save you a trip to the bakery or the grocery store on "the day of".

For this bridal shower, I skipped the decorations and kept it super sweet and simple.  The bride and groom were planning on honeymooning in France, so I decided to use the tablecloth I had along with my FRENCH hydrangeas...and candles, of course.  That was it.  No streamers, balloons, and other spendy things that usually get tossed after a party. 
I had a frame for the bride and the groom's engagement picture that was a gift and a sign that was also a gift...but I am telling you it was so relaxed and FUN!  

Keeping the Brunch easy peasy was the BEST!!
I bought the bagels fresh earlier in the week and cut them into quarters, wrapped them in individual cello bags, tied them with a string, put them all in a bag and froze them.  It does take a bit of time, but it beats dried out bread, and as mentioned before, there is no running to the bakery that day.  It's a win.win.  The leftovers have been great for grab and go this week.
For the condiments, I put out a large block of cream cheese early in the morning so it would soften.  COLD CREAM CHEESE is impossible to spread and doesn't taste good, in my opinion.

For the condiments:
I had everything washed, chilled and ready to go on the tray which saved tons of time. Purchasing prepared jars of things saves time, too.  It took minutes to arrange on the platter.
This is what I included:
red onion
green olives
fresh chives, chopped on the side and on the platter for the "pretty factor"
red leaf lettuce for decoration and as a healthy addition
thinly sliced cucumbers
sliced Provolone cheese
sliced Swiss cheese
sliced cheddar cheese
thinly sliced tomatoes
roasted red and yellow peppers
fresh rosemary sprigs
avocado slices...which I forgot to put out

So, if you are wanting to host an easy celebration, this is definitely a fun way to brunch...it is also a great thing to take as a meal for someone in need...or a morning picnic at the beach.
Have a very HAPPY 4th of July!!