Monday, December 11, 2017

Soups & Holidays Make a Great Party

Lakehouse Lyn Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

(check out my post January 7, 2014 for this easy recipe)

With schedules busy all year long, we don't see our friends and neighbors as often as we would like.  Hosting an Open House during the holiday season is the perfect way to throw a party that is less stressful than a sit down meal so I thought it would be a great idea to throw a Soup Open soups to warm the hearts of even the chilliest attendees.  I love soups for many different reasons.  Easy to put together and can be made ahead of time and frozen if needed.  

They can be made in and served from slow cookers.  Three or four varieties of soups are nice offerings.  Spicy chili, a chowder, a minestrone or vegetable, and a creamy soup are a good selection to choose from.  Borrow slow cookers or rent (let's face it..who has 4 slow cookers in their home?).  

Have a toppings and bread area set up so your guests can individualize their soups and select a bread side of their choice.  Croutons, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions and parsley are nice toppings choices.

Who doesn't love a hearty bread to soak up that last bit of soup in your bowl?  Sourdough is classic for creamy soups like chowder or tomato.  Another popular choice would be a crusty baguette, sliced before guests arrive in a beautiful or festive basket.

Set up a small coffee bar.  Set up a single cup coffee maker like keurig and put your K cups in a basket so guests can make their coffee as they please.  This time of year I always make sure I have starbucks Christmas Blend .  It taste delicious and looks so festive!  Let's not forget the great creamers offered in grocery stores for Christmas.  Peppermint and Eggnog!  I keep them in my fridge throughout the entire holiday season.  

Dessert offerings should be simple.  Fresh fruit, brownies, cheesecake or ask friends and neighbors to bring a small variety of Christmas cookies they have baked.

** Helpful Tips** 
 Set aside a bedroom or closet for your guests coats and purses.  
Make a play list of holiday music to go several hours.
Light candles, turn on outdoor Christmas lights, dim the inside lights.
Keep drink selections simple.  Prosecco, is a nice bubbly offering, always delicious and festive. 

Is plastic acceptable?  Well made, sturdy bowls and plates can be found in party stores, such as Party City and they ship and deliver.  Checkout your local goodwillstore store in your area for very cost friendly glassware.
Consider serving soup in coffee mugs (easy to carry)
Leaving the soups in the slow cookers on "warm setting" allows people to wander in to the kitchen and gather.  Set up small eating areas if you can with snack tables and chairs or guests will mingle and talk while sipping their soups.  

  Find a few minutes each day for yourself and enjoy time with your family, friends and neighbors.  

~Happy birthday wishes Ellen~

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

Soup Makes a Welcome Gift

I love "soup days" at our house for so many reasons.  It's a hearty meal to serve, easy to make and smells great as it cooks.  Soupsonline is a website designed to sell speciality soup mixes, as well as breads and dips.  They have dozens to choose from.  I always keep a few in the house for a quick meal.  I often use these as my base, and customize with my own meats, vegetables, canned tomatoes, etc. to make it "my own".  

In the past I have given "soup and corn bread gifts" .  I like to think of them as a "little gift of comfort" .  In each one, I put a soup mix, bread mix, and a package of pretty holiday napkins, topping it off with pretty red and gold confetti I easily shredded from tissue paper.   
I placed it all in gift bags with a snowflake print I found at my local craft store.  And if the bag is large enough, you can put a soup mug inside too.  
A couple of my favorites are bearcreekcountrykitchens Chicken Noodle Soup and cuginos Mama's Minestrone, that are staples in my pantry.  
Check out the bread mixes too.   Makes a great side for any of these soups.

Special birthday wishes to our son in law Mike🎂

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Guest Room Tray

Use trays, jars or baskets for welcoming family & friends!

The countdown to the holidays have officially begun and many of us will be hosting overnight family and friends in our homes.  
Your guests are sure to love small touches that make them feel welcome and right at home.   They don't want to bother you for towels, Kleenex, toilet paper,  etc.  Place all of these items along with small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion on a bedside table before they arrive.  Perhaps a bottled water and a granola bar or fine chocolate for a midnight snack?  A vase with fresh flowers always says "we're glad you are here". Relax and enjoy.  

~Hope you have a great weekend~ 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Had Enough Turkey? Set Up a Make Your own Panini Station

~Easy Make Your Own Panini Bar at Home~

Because Sandwiches are a universal comfort food, it's fun to play with different variations of them….so set up this awesome make your own panini bar, relax and enjoy tonight.

We all indulged in a bountiful Thanksgiving meal and have enjoyed the leftovers for days.  Here is a fun idea for supper tonight.

 I find my family and friends generally like to customize their food in a relaxed atmosphere . I love my Panini maker but if you don't own one, a griddle does the job just as nicely.  My Panini maker will fit 3 sandwiches.  The nice part is anything goes....I make up a large deli tray full of ham, oven roasted turkey and roast beef, provolone,  swiss and sharp cheddar sliced cheeses, put out baskets of wheat, sourdough,  multigrain breads and rolls and different toppings.  Fig spread, marinated artichokes,  sundried tomatoes, Nutella, a variety of mustards, mayonnaise, and butter.  It's fun to see the combinations your family and friends will come up with.  

For a sweet Panini, try strawberry, banana and Nutella.   Or chocolate chips and banana.  Brioche bread or sourdough best for dessert because of their heartier texture.

~Happy Tuesday~

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

From our home to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving Leftover Take Homes

  When I entertain, it's always my plan to make enough to send leftovers home with my guests for the next day. Head to your local craft store and stock up on kraft paper takeout boxes, write on labels and markers.  Our local craft store, michaels has a value pack of 10 boxes. After dinner, place them near the food and invite everyone to make up a take home container.  Post a small sign reminding your guests to mark their package with their name.

~ Have a Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving ~

I count all of you in my blessings.  

**Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Please shop Small Business Saturday this weekend when you are doing your holiday gift shopping.  Support your local businesses and discover the many treasures they carry.