Luxury means happy, indulgent, a reason to celebrate. And we have a lot to celebrate and be happy about. When I first read the date for the Foodbuzz Project Food Blog Challenge 3: Luxury Dinner Party, I had a huge smile. The date for the challenge happened to be the same weekend for a special homecoming. I was going to prepare a traveling dinner party. Could I pull this off?
A Celebration of Family
Last November, my sister and I got a phone call that nobody should have to answer. We were called home to Mississippi per doctors’ suggestions because my father was ill with H1N1 and pneumonia. He was not expected to survive the night. I was in Alabama taking pictures at a football game and my sister was in Tennessee on her way to a teaching conference. That was November 6. Through many days in the ICU and eventually a regular room, my father walked out of the hospital the day before Thanksgiving with the warning that he could relapse if he didn’t take care of himself. That is a Thanksgiving we will never forget.
A few weeks later, we received some more exciting news. My sister was expecting the first grandchild! My parents had been waiting a few years for grandchildren and that news just gave my father another reason to stay healthy. Little Jackson made his appearance on August 4th. The weekend of October 2nd was to be his first trip to see his great-grandparents and his Aunt K and Uncle Stephen. I had been waiting long weeks to see the special little boy who brought this family together after almost being shaken apart. And I had a luxury dinner party to plan!
When planning a dinner party, I stick by the rules of “Make it Fun”. So many hosts get so wrapped up in the stuff that doesn’t matter. I was not about to slave away in the kitchen while my family sat around the table enjoying the conversation and baby smiles. Because I was planning the dinner party on location other than my house (in a different state!), I knew I had to do four things.
1. Prepare some dishes ahead of time.
2. Plan a table setting with easily portable pieces.
3. Involve my guests in the meal prep.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff…celebrate them instead!
Appetizer: Herbed pita chips with roasted red pepper Hummus
Dinner: Sweet Heat ribs, roasted brussel sprouts, mixed vegetables, Grandma’s macaroni and cheese
Dessert: Harvest spice tea and Raspberry Oatmeal bars.
*Bold items are the new and exotic flavors for us to try.
The day before the party:
Spiced tea mix-easy to travel and store Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
Hot from the Oven Packed for a 3.5 hour road trip
Box with table setting and dishes. Basket of prep items. Bag of pumpkins.
The day of the party, we got started with the cooking!
The helpers…too busy to turn around and maybe just a little camera shy. My Mother and Grandmother.
A Celebration of Seasons
Before the last of the Mexican Corn Muffins came out of the oven, I had a table to set. Now, down here in the south, we dread those last few weeks of summer when it’s so hot that rocks sweat. The last week of September brought in cooler mornings and afternoons in the breezy ‘80’s. That alone was enough to convince us that fall is in the air. My table setting reflected that. Fall time IS a luxury for us. We savor those mornings with hot coffee on front porches, steaming mugs of soup on crisp evenings with the screen door open, and the smell of apples and pumpkins on the stove. Our fall season is a short one and this weekend was the perfect time to celebrate it’s appearance.
Guests at the dinner party included Stephen and I, Mom, my Grandparents, my sister and of course, my 2 month old nephew, Jackson.
After we sat down to eat, Jackson needed some attention. I decided to grab a quick picture of the dinner in progress. Busy hands enjoying a lot of food, well except for Grandma . She was up getting something for somebody. I think it’s an unwritten rule that Grandmothers can’t sit down for a full meal from start to finish without getting up for some reason or another. She loves to care for her family and guests and she has passed that on to her children and grand-children. She is the best example of how to truly celebrate our blessings.
I think Jackson approved of the dinner party.
Voting for this entry begins Monday, October 4th. Look for a link post on Monday if you like my entry.
Thank you so much to the fans and voters for the past two weeks. 🙂