Supper Friends

How do you make supper something fun to create and look forward to? Share it with friends and challenge yourselves to stretch your culinary imaginations!

Such was the challenge our friend, Rebecca, put forth 10 years ago, when she suggested we start a Supper Club. They would bring a couple and we would bring a couple. Rotating 4x a year, one would do appetizers, one would do a main course and one would do dessert. The couple that hosted the last gathering would get a free meal.

    

Now, let me say that these three families aren’t food shlubs. They make for dinner and pour wine, on a normal Tuesday, what others have on special occasions in a nice  restaurant. As the hosts of the first club night, I left Rebecca’s, not only blown away by the food and wine itself, but wondering how I could ever arrange a simple centerpiece to reflect such elegance and warmth.

As we gathered last Saturday night to a rousing rendition of “upscale bar food”,  I couldn’t help but be overcome with gratitude for the laughter, creativity and delicious conversation we have nurtured amongst us. As we sat around the dining table in our friends’ lovely home, we gasped at the time. 11:30pm had come too fast.

You see, it started out being about the food and has really grown into being about the people. Together, we have grown. Together, we have weathered job losses, disease, divorce, growing pains, serious stress and uncertain times. Gathering for dinner and pouring ourselves into the care and thoughtfulness of the meal, has given us a shelter in life’s storms.

Saturday night, our friends made gourmet pizzas with the best home-made crust I have ever tasted. I dined at Spago’s last week, the original gourmet pizza restaurant and was disappointed; my fig and goat cheese pizza at Spago’s was not half as good as our friend’s. Their topping selections ranged from rotisserie grilled chicken and fresh sausage on the stove to roasted figs, sautéed red onions, truffle oil and spicy red sauce. The list of  unique and delicious ingredients was endless. Forgetting that John had been an Exec at Domino’s in a past life, the tweaking and cooking resulted in a potential competitor.

 

I was on deck for appetizers and made lamb sliders with taziki sauce, sweet potato fries with ketchup chili sauce and handcrafted beers. We played music we haven’t heard since bellying up years ago and everyone’s hearts, for a few hours, seemed to lighten. When the last course of dessert came out and there was not one, but two amazing options of amaretto cake and homemade mousse, we squealed with delight. Everyone had put their hearts into their course. And we went from simple to complex, without being  complicated.

As Adelle Davis once said, “We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.”

We are all busy and scheduling a time has gotten more challenging over the years. Still we manage to come together. And when we needed to come together Saturday night to challenge life and lighten our loads, we all clearly left, better for the time spent.

So, here’s to you, Howards, for your amazing ability to inspire, uplift and model gracious hosting. And to you, Farbers, for elegance, creativity and generosity. And Johnny D, for fast setting the challenge bar we all strive to reach. While we gather to fill our stomachs, you all get 5 stars for filling our hearts.

How do you MINDfully and creatively cook with friends? Let us know!

 

 

What’s For Dinner?

It’s 5 o’clock and the question that causes me to shallow breathe and pour a small vodka on the rocks, echoes from the family room…”what’s for dinner?” I know how fortunate I am to be able to answer that question with “what are you in the mood for?”, but that doesn’t keep me from standing in front of the refrigerator with the doors wide open and staring at the shelves, tasting dread.

You see, I have made many mistakes as a parent. And the one that is in my face (literally) every day is around food. My 12 year old is a vegetarian (and has been for 4 years), my husband is as skinny as a refugee and I am still battling the chubby 10 year old I see when I look in the mirror.

So wondering what I can make that will be meatless, fill up my husband and keep me from carbo-loading, is a constant challenge.

Elly to the rescue! Elly is my old sidekick from high school who makes all things look effortless. I appreciate knowing that the woman behind the curtain actually has to think about being human. Even she wonders, “What’s for dinner?” As such, she follows the blog of her friend, Amanda Haas. Elly claims that Amanda has “the best cooking blog and marriage saver I’ve ever tried!”  When asked what makes it so great, she says, “No more wondering what’s for dinner and we go to the store once a week.  Reading Amanda’s blog saves me time, energy and  money.”

So friends, check it out. www.onefamilyonemeal.com

What if we tried it together, for a month, starting the week of  September 6th? Its Labor Day weekend – and we could take the “Labor” out of the day.  We could use TMC to post  ideas we find, tips and success. Yum!

In the meantime,  it would be delicious if you could share  your favorite time-saving dinner recipe with our MindFULL Creative readers. I will post mine next week. It’s actually an old recipe that I have changed over the years that Elly used make in high school! And guess what, I have managed to make it into a vegetarian, low-fat and filling one dish meal. Thanks, girls!

What’s your favorite MINDFULL and easy family dinner recipe? Let us know!

Summer Needs Some Spirit

You’d think as it is summer, that I would be well rested and my creative spirit would soar. Sadly, I am feeling just the opposite and all I want to do is lie on my bed and watch hulu.com. It’s not like me, but I am tired. Really tired. It’s a high class problem – too much to do, too many wonderful people to see, too little time.

So, I have dug deep and pulled out some creative jump-starts. One is cooking, one is finding the perfect gifts for thanking all the people I will have to thank this summer for all the nice things they are about to do for me and one is learning with a fabulous teacher and fun, heartfelt and creative spirit who simply helps me see the world in a whole new way.

First, the food. Everyone has some where to go and has to bring something to the party. I was on for dessert Saturday night at dinner club and I brought home-made s’mores. Crazy – but fun and actually tasty!

I made the graham crackers http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000126.html, I made the marshmallows http://www.sugarlaws.com/homemade-marshmallows and I bought good old Hershey’s chocolate. Two tips: make sure you roll the cracker batter thinly (mine were more like Graham bricks) and let the marshmallows set for as along as you can. They gel better. But these were fine and fun! A new twist on an old summer staple!

Moving on to gifts, check out Barbara Solway’s work. http://www.solwayart.com

Hand painted wooden bowls and fiber art pieces (bags, wall hangings, etc) all hold Barbara’s unique style and eye. They are truly works of art and will surely delight the recipient. We gave a Solway bowl to my Dad and Pam for their anniversary. They are lovers of wood and glass. I have a small purse to wear across my chest when I travel and another small bag I keep my personals in. Addie has a fiber heart hanging from her bedroom doorknob and the mirror in the picture below, rests in my study. My back faces the doorway and I use the mirror to fix the feng shui. Its complex simplicity stimulates me on a subconscious level every time I look at it.

And then there is Judith Cassel-Mamet at http://www.jcmamet.net. Pick up a glue stick and be prepared to let the hours fly by. Judith teaches all sorts of mixed media art techniques. If you click on my past entry on travel journals, you will find an example of one technique. I will do a whole entry on a fun idea that Judith will help me share with you, but in the meantime, check out her site and blog. There are so many fun ideas and links to other creative spirits. I guarantee you will find SOMETHING that gives you an idea and makes your day a little more saucy.

Just writing this entry has gotten my juice flowing again. Imagine if I logged off the computer and picked up my glue stick, just how energized I could be. Hmmm… think I’ll find out!

How do you MINDfully get over being tired and get your energy flowing? Let us know!

Recipe For A MindFULL Life

Recipe For A MindFULL Life

Into each day put equal amounts of faith, patience, courage, work, hope, kindness, rest and  prayer.

Gently mix in one well-selected solution.

Add a teaspoon of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkle of play and a cup of humor.

Mix thoroughly.

Pour into your favorite glass, making sure it is  half full.

Garnish with gratitude.

Sit back and ENJOY!

What’s your recipe for MindFULL living? Let us know!