Spice up Your Hospitality with Pumpkin Doughnuts

Salt - The Spice and Tea Exchange

In the brief period between the end of summer and the commencement of the holiday season, I take an inventory of my spice and herb cabinet.  I begin by comparing the contents of the cabinet against a list of spices and herbs I will need for holiday cooking.  I consult my recipe box as well to compare what my planned holiday meals will be and what spices and herbs will be necessary to have on hand to prepare them.  Finally, I consider what holiday treats I want to prepare and review what spices and herbs they will require.  This year, my treat list includes cinnamon rolls, pumpkin doughnuts, spiced cider, stuffing, turkey, soup and a selection of favorite cookies.  I can almost hear Bing Crosby on the turn table and see the Yule log burning on local access cable.  Holiday perfection!

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Home Spa: A Hostess Recharged

Epsom Salt and Candle

After a very long week Sunday nights can sometimes be overwhelming and bring on a bit of dread for the coming week. To recharge my batteries and prepare to face my responsibilities as well as bless my friends and family, I need to take some time for myself. A vital part to of hospitality is to keep your own cup full.  On Sunday evenings, once all my chores are done and errands run, I take some time to relax.

You can take some time for yourself and create a spa at home.  All you need is a healthy meal followed by a long soak in the tub. My  spa meal of choice is grilled salmon, white asparagus, and sweet corn. Keep your spa meal light but satisfying! Continue reading

S’more Hospitality

smore

As summer draws to a close and we slip into autumn my tastebuds and thoughts turn to savory and cozy food and experiences. Yet, with the heat lingering I am not quite ready to say farewell to the summertime.  One of my favorite summer memories is from my childhood on the West Coast.  Every summer my family would go camping and, of course, make s’mores.  Yet in my years on the East Coast I have spent many a fall evening around our fire pit indulging in that same sweet treat. As I say goodbye to summer and welcome fall, I made a more elegant version of this campfire favorite.   This s’mores recipe has a subtle balance of sweet chocolate, smooth creamy toasted marshmallows, crisp and spicy gram crackers (gluten free) with a slight salty hit. Continue reading

Good Food, Friends, and French Toast

French Toast cooking

Last Saturday was about spending time with good friends.  One of my dearest friends who I only get to see once a  year was in town so we treated her to a pot luck Saturday brunch. We got the ladies from our Bible study to
gether to laugh, catch up, and enjoyed really good food.  We had scrambled eggs, a fresh  fruit salad, I made french toast, and a friend hosted the meal at her house. Continue reading

Hospitality on the Road: Lemon, Ricotta, and Almond Cake

Almond Cake with BB's

We just returned from spending a lovely week with my aunt and uncle’s family in the Northwest United States. Unfortunately we had rain the entire time but still managed to have fun. We were able to enjoy a few hikes along the river, leisurely afternoons tucked into coffee shops and evenings at local restaurants. My family’s hospitality was truly a blessing and I wanted to thank them by preparing one of my favorite recipes.  After all, hospitality is a habit! I decided to make lemon, ricotta and almond cake. I found this recipe a year ago on Cakelets and Dolies and I stick to the recipe. It truly is divine and my family enjoyed it! Continue reading

A Frantic Friday and Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos - cover

My premise for this blog was put to the test this week. I had an entirely different post planned (don’t worry, you will get to read about my fabulous and fast brunch ideas this coming week!). Work was all consuming this week and we had a small dinner party planned with two close friends at our home for Friday evening. Friday morning arrived and I had done none of the grocery shopping for dinner.  I was contemplating canceling dinner as another full day loomed ahead of me. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who asked for the grocery list and saved me from the drama of a Friday evening in a packed grocery store. Continue reading

Wine, Cheese, and the Best of Friends

honey

You know that perfect moment when you are laughing, relaxed, and feel the most like yourself? I had one of those moments last night. I was surrounded by some of my dearest friends who make me feel like I can truly be myself. We caught up at one of our favorite happy hour spots.  Although we had exchanged text messages for weeks, we had not talked in person for a while.  As soon as we sat down together with some wine and cheese and started talking, we were best friends again.  This is the essence of friendship:  taking time to listen to friends, catching up, and enjoying great cheese and wine! Continue reading

Food for the Soul: tomato soup

gift basket 1

I am in a stage of life where it seems all my friends are having babies, getting promoted in their careers, moving, and are just too busy to find time to catch up. It makes me long for the days when my friends and I could go out for an impromptu night on the town or weekend at the beach. Alas, those carefree days are now memories. In spite of the march of time I try to pour into my friends lives when I can: it is a challenge. Continue reading