Friday, January 28, 2011

Meal Ideas

I am always looking for good ideas for taking a meal to someone. AnnaJune has been in and out of the hospital this past week with her baby who had RSV (so scary! but he's starting to do better!). She shared some things she appreciated about meals brought into her family:

*One person brought us a basket of fruit with dinner. So great! It was something we could eat that night or leave for another day.

*One person brought in a casserole and also included little cups of applesauce and microwave popcorn. That ought to get the pickiest eaters, right?

*One person brought dinner in Tupperware. It was hot and ready to eat, but clean up was a breeze: just put the lids back on and stick it in the fridge. She also said she didn't want the containers back, so there was no need to worry about getting dishes back to someone.

If you have any tips to share, I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment or email me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bridal Shower - Free Printables

I hosted a bridal shower for a dear friend today. Here is the invitation:

I wanted to do a "firsts" theme. I couldn't find a poem online for the invitation, so I came up with this rather cheesy one:
Before the Miss becomes a Mrs
Let's shower her with love and good wishes!
The wedding day is almost here
Bring something Caroline can use the first year:
The first time they do dishes, that very first night
Their first Christmas together, the first time they fight.

I thought it was a fun theme. Some of the gifts she got were:
*for their first shower together (from me, it was a shower caddy they registered for filled with shampoo, body washes, and poufs)
*the first time they don't have time to make a big breakfast (muffin tin and muffin mix)
*their first Valentine's day (a dozen roses and some candles and other romantic items).

We'd also videotaped her fiancee ahead of time answering several questions about their first meeting, first impressions of each other, first date, first kiss, etc. We asked Caroline the questions at the shower, let her answer, and then played the video of Dave answering the same questions. I really enjoyed hearing their answers and learning more about their courtship.

I also asked all the guest to fill out a card with some thoughts on the first year of marriage. I took a picture of Caroline with each guest and I'll put together a photo album with each person's picture next to their card.

I decorated in hot pink because that is the main wedding color. I also wrapped all of my picture frames in hot pink wrapping paper. I thought it was a fun - and easy way - to make the room look more festive.

We had rolls, oriental chicken salad, cranberry-blueberry oatmeal cookies, double-chocolate banana cookies, and cream puffs. I'll include the recipes at the end of this post.

The favor table: The little bags are filled with dark chocolate pomegranates.

Here are the recipes, as promised.

Oriental Chicken Salad
Serves 16
I started with this recipe.

1/2 head of Napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 head of red cabbage, chopped
3 heads of romaine, chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled and grated on largest setting
10 chicken tenders, cooked according to package directions and sliced*
1 package chow mein noodles
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained well
slivered almonds (optional)
honey mustard dressing (recipe follows)

Toss cabbages, romaine, and carrots together in a large bowl and set aside. (I actually doubled this so I could use the whole heads of both cabbages, then saved the extra salad for something else.)

Toss salad with about half of the dressing. Top salad with sliced chicken tenders, chow mein noodles, and mandarin oranges. Toss lightly.

Put out remaining dressing and a bowl of slivered almonds for people to add if desired.

*I used all white meat crispy chicken tenders from Costco

Honey Mustard Dressing
3/4 cup honey
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 cup mayonaise
4 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sesame chili oil

Mix all ingredients and blend well with an electric mixer.

Double-Chocolate Banana Cookies
Recipe found here.

Cranberry-Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP hot water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

Cream butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes.

Both of the cookie recipes are from my mother-in-law with minor adaptations. Both of them work well with white flour or whole wheat flour or a mixture of the two. Both recipes also freeze really well. To freeze: cool cookies completely, place desired amount into freezer bags and freeze. To serve: remove bag from freezer 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby Shower - Free Printables

I love throwing showers. Especially when there are lots of people helping so I can focus on a few key things.

Here is the baby shower invitation:

I made a baby sock tree as a gift and decoration. I found the idea here.

I took the details off the invitations, added some information like
"Welcome," "Please share some words of advice with Annie," and
"Thanks for Coming". Then I put them in some simple black frames.
Game Booklet (Word)
Advice Card (PDF), 4 x 6, 3 per page

I didn't do any of the food or the banner -
I had to include a picture, though, because I think it all turned out so well!

I made simple little jelly belly favors.

Here is a picture of me with the mom-to-be.

We also played a fun game I had never seen before.
You put a safety pin between your knees:

Then you try to drop the pin into a baby bottle:

Now that the baby shower is over, I will print the pictures I took and put them with the advice cards in a photo album for the mom-to-be.

Charity Never Faileth

Copyright by Elspeth Young. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of Al Young Studios

My in-laws gave me a print of this painting for Christmas. It is my favorite painting by my favorite LDS artist and I love having it hanging in my living room.

It is a painting of the Widow of Zarephath, the woman that fed the prophet Elijah during a famine with her last bit of oil and flour and then miraculously her oil and flour lasted throughout the famine.

And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah...
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the
cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord,
which he spake by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:15-16

I love this story from the Old Testament. I also love Elspeth Young's interpretation of it. If you click on the picture at the top of this post, you can read about why she painted the woman as she did.

This month's visiting teaching message is on the History of the Relief Society. At the end of the message it says, "What can I do to help the sisters I visit receive the gift of charity?"

I am planning to use this story in my lesson and made some bookmarks to leave with the ladies I visit. I printed these as a 5 x 7 picture at Costco, then cut them, and mounted them onto cardstock. If you go to the link, you should be able to save the image.