Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dinner For a Crowd

Last Friday night Earl and I made dinner for our church's children's department volunteers.  It's an annual event and we have cooked for it for several years now.  You can see last years dinner here.  If you have been around that long, you may remember that last year not only did I have a broken foot, but the date chosen for the dinner was one of the coldest June days I have ever seen.
It wasn't that cold this was colder.
We woke up to a sunny, chilly morning but with a forecast of 0% chance of rain and highs in the low 70's. I looked forward to perfect weather. Well, it never reached more than about 64 degrees and the wind was blowing approx. 13-18 mph.
This may be the last year we attempt to have dinner outside, which will almost guarantee perfect weather next time.
At any rate, we could not have pulled it off at all without the help of the most awesome group of youth volunteers on the planet.  I was at my wits end when these wonderful kids drove in and took care of all the last minute details for us. 
 I had set up tables in the yard and planned on using brown paper as the table cover.  When I tried to put it on earlier in the day the wind was so strong I gave up. My volunteers got the job done while Earl and I put the finishing touches on the meal.  I had been fortunate enough to find enough brand new blue checked napkins at a garage sale to mix and match for our 25 guests.  The brown paper for the tables came from the dollar store,the geraniums were from the farmers market, wrapped in paper and twine by my daughter Victoria, and I used blue jars with solar light lids to light up the tables. Kind of down home and farm themed to go with the meal. Easy and inexpensive.  Decorating for guests doesn't have to cost a lot.
This dear girl volunteered to play her guitar and provide background music for dinner. It was beautiful :>) 
 Strawberry and pecan salad with strawberry vinaigrette
 Roasted New York strip
 Honey and Ginger carrots
 Twice Baked Potatoes. 

Warm Brownie Sundaes with vanilla bean ice cream, sweetened strawberries, warm chocolate ganache, m&m's and whipped cream.

Unfortunately, we were so busy cooking and feeding 30 people that I didn't get any more photos.
Again, the guests came prepared (mostly) for the weather and judging from the laughter and conversation they managed to have a good time in spite of the cold weather.
I'll be honest,every year the day before we do this we ask ourselves what we have gotten ourselves into.  It's a lot of hard work for one little kitchen, but every year when we are finished, and fall into bed with a pile of dishes waiting for us in the morning, we know why we do it.
We do it because we love and appreciate the time these people invest in kids. Because we love to feed people and because sometimes just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't worth every single minute of work to make someone happy :>)



  1. I wondered how it went, though I never doubted it would be great. Your parties always are!

    Everything looks so pretty and I'm sure everyone had a lovely time, no matter what the temp was.

    Great group of teens, too! I love how your church does a good job of including several age groups into an event-the homeschooler in me just loves to see the different ages interact and help each other.

  2. Kathy, I bet that your guests were loving their awesome dinner. Sounds like a fun time! Your table looks so beautiful, too.

  3. I love your table setting! It looks straight out of a magazine. The menu sounds wonderful. I know your guests must have really enjoyed it.

  4. I second what the others said. Great job! Beautiful table! Awesome menu. :)

  5. Your table is wonderful - and your heart for giving back is fantastic!

  6. love the table...looks like something out of COuntry Living magazine...the menu sounded wonderful too!

  7. The table is just beautiful! I love the geraniums wrapped in craft paper! My husband got a guitar for Father's Day :)

  8. Your last paragraph explains it all. And may I and Earl just have huge hearts! I think back to Friday and we had arrived in Michigan and had to skip sitting outside with an evening cocktail because it had gotten so cold. Sometimes good food and good people come together and nothing else matters. Perhaps next year you could have a buffet indoors and have an informal seating arrangement outside if guests want to eat there or in. Then you might not have to have the weather dictate.

    Anyway, I love the tables and the checked napkins really gave it a sweet country feel. And to be serenaded with a little music while great is that!

    Thanks for your visit today. I personally think I could squeeze in more posts if I keep them shorter. But you're right, and you can't really "live" if you're tied to your computer!!


  9. again. I wanted to mention that I scrolled down to see your last post about the Blog Hop. Very interesting. So many of us turned to blogging during difficult times in our lives. The women out there are great!


  10. Kathy,

    I love, love, love your table!!! The brown paper is such a great idea and how lucky were you to find those blue checked napkins??? Total perfection. And the food sounded fabulous too! - Dori -

  11. Such a loving thing to do and to make it so special for them...may you be blessed many times over. I would be so charmed by guitar music playing in the background. Another loving gesture for sure.

  12. You completely pulled it off - it was beautiful! Don't you just love youth groups who are willing to help?

  13. Your table looks so so are so good with things like this.
    The menu sounds out of this world.
    You and Earl are so good to do things for others. xoxo


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