December 1, 2013
As many of you know, we hosted the guys from Dare Challenge on Thanksgiving. As I sat down to write about the wonderful time we had with them it occurred to me that I had way too many pictures and stories for just one post. I’ll just do Part 1 today.
We ended up with a total of twenty people: our family, fifteen guys from the center, and a new couple from our church. (Steve’s parents had to cancel at the last minute due to their dog being sick so we invited the other couple in their place.)
The past two years that we hosted the guys, there was room for everyone at one table; this year, however, we had to come up with an alternative seating plan. After a good bit of pondering, we figured that if we removed a few things from the living room (a large plant, the coffee table) and rearranged what was left, that would open up enough space for the second table. It worked great!
In between the pondering, and the moving of the tables and the furniture, there was plenty of cooking going on.
I got my bread for the dressing set out to dry for the prerequisite twenty-four hours. . .
and Steve blanched the broccoli for the broccoli salad.
Steve also ran numerous errands including going to the grocery store for me half a dozen times when I needed “just one more thing.” A patient man, indeed!
Sarah oversaw the washing of the goblets . . .
to make sure they were all clean and sparkling for the big event. (Many years ago I bought twenty of those goblets for $2 each and have yet to break one of them. A good track record!)
I also managed to make several dozen messes in the kitchen over the course of three days, messes that were efficiently cleaned up by Sarah, the Professional Dish Washer of the House.
In the midst of the prep, we had a thunderstorm. Since Summer is terrified of storms, I gave her a little doggie nerve pill and put her close to me in the kitchen so she would get a little extra mama comfort.
At long last, after three days of cooking, and decorating and prepping, everything was ready. Both tables were in place, complete with name tags that had the meaning of each man’s name written on them. (Sarah spent a lot of time researching the meanings.)
In order to simplify serving that many people, we made a buffet line in the kitchen. We set out place mats with cards on each mat telling the name of the dish and we also put out the appropriate serving utensil for each dish. That way as things came out of the oven and refrigerator, they were simply put down in their prearranged spot. The plan ended up working well and kept me from having any last-minute Thanksgiving Hostess Breakdowns. (Which is always a good thing.)
This is the kitchen five minutes before the guys arrived.
Since my oven was full of all sorts of oven-ish type things, I had the dinner rolls on standby in addition to some muffins I had made earlier for reheating.
While the guys were filling their plates, I popped the breads in the oven. By the time they all sat down to eat, the bread was piping hot, in baskets, and on the tables. (By the way, the rolls in the pan are the Sister Schubert brand; I highly recommend them for bread that is quick, easy and delicious.)
I had mashed the potatoes earlier that morning (12 pounds!) and kept them warm in the crock pot. That worked out really well.
A few of the wonderful women in our church made desserts for the meal and we ended up with a whole table full of yumminess.
No one left hungry, I can assure you of that!
Stay tuned for the next post . . . and the arrival of our Very Special Guests!
Thrift stores, fuzzy socks
and conversing with my Yorkie
are all on the list of things I love.