Reluctant Entertainer Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:04:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fall Gatherings with Shrimp Sausage Kebabs Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:00:56 +0000

For an easy appetizer, I love to make a variety of Shrimp Sausage Kebabs for simple entertaining!

Shrimp Sausage Kebabs
Being hospitable and inviting others in to your home is not that hard. Early in my marriage, knowing that my husband and I would try to make an impact on others in a positive way, we decided that we’d try stretch ourselves in being hospitable. I say “stretch” because it did not come easily to my husband, but he jumped on board early enough for us to establish some good hospitality habits over the years.

Not always in a perfect environment (big house, new kitchen, perfect furniture and decor, perfect kids–yeah, right).

We took the time to foster new relationships, and get to know people in a deeper way. We were willing, which is a good place to start. But being willing is one thing; actually doing it (inviting and following through) is another.

We both felt the love and appreciation from our guests, as we brought them together. Most of the time, our entertaining moments seemed very good for the soul.

Many times a dinner that felt “good for the soul” happened because we talked about real things in life, and it also often involved “encouragement.” The impact that encouragement makes on others can be profound– a small word of encouragement can inspire a person, save a marriage, help with parenting, or even change a life

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On a Quiet Afternoon: Make-Ahead Frozen Berry Cobbler Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:00:56 +0000

This Berry Cobbler, is perfect for any time of year!

Make-Ahead Frozen Berry Cobbler
On a quiet afternoon, the house is empty, as I wait for company to arrive in a few hours for dinner. The family is out doing their own things, and the house is filled with a sweet aroma of berry cobbler bubbling up in the oven.

The low, constant thrum of neighbors chissling out old concrete on their remodel, geese flying overhead, neighbor girls barking as if they are dogs (so cute), and temps hovering in the low eighties, it all tells me autumn is here.

On a Quiet Afternoon

Next to me in our small living room sits our dog, Haggis, my notebook and laptop, and a few hints of autumn

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Inviting Someone Over: Creamy Broccoli Soup Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:00:26 +0000

When’s the last time you invited someone over for a bowl of soup? This Creamy Broccoli Soup recipe is perfect to make for a lunch date.

Creamy Broccoli Soup
Oh, the risks that are involved in opening our homes. So much so that it stops so many from connecting with others. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with these thoughts:

- Is my home clean enough?
- Will they see my disorganization?
- What if they look in my cupboards?
- Will they notice the dust bunnies on the floor?
- Do I really have to serve food? I hate my cooking!
- Will they judge me if I buy store-bought food?
- Yikes! my dirty windows.
- I haven’t dusted in 2 weeks.
- My bathroom is so outdated.
- Can I settle my mind and learn more about them?
- Will they talk about me to others?
- Will they like me?
- What will they think of me?

Me, me, me. In fact, I wrote about this delicate topic, here.

Don’t worry about others.

I think about my own securities, and how I’ve had to get over them, and I clearly see why inviting others into our homes is so risky.

We’re so worried about ourselves, and what others think, that it absolutely ruins us

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Family Talk and Sweet Asian Slaw with Apple and Corn Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:00:06 +0000

Extra cabbage in the garden? Try this Sweet Asian Slaw with Apple and Corn recipe for your next family get-together!

Sweet Asian Slaw with Apple and Corn

Because we still have 6 gorgeous heads of purple cabbage in our garden, I can’t get enough of delicious slaw recipes, especially when combined with other garden fare foods, such as fresh corn! Yummy!

Family Talk and Sweet Asian Slaw with Apple and Corn

We’re cherishing these early days of autumn, before one son heads back to college, when our family gets to enjoy supper together every evening. All of us, coming together, all adults now (our youngest is 18 next month), I really believe that we listen to each other more intently now, with respect and a deeper love toward one another. It’s a kind of love that warms a parent’s heart, that uncovers the worries, stress, anxiety that a parent often feels, that brings out the good in us.

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Start Cooking in the Morning with Crock Pot Pork Roast Wed, 10 Sep 2014 10:00:18 +0000

Crock Pot Pork Roast |

What’s better than a flavorful pork that cooks all day long, filling the house with warm scents of spices and love. Because it’s September, I find myself gravitating to my crock pot, for which I put together the ingredients for a Crock Pot Pork Roast. If you can get organized in the morning–this recipe takes literally 5 minutes to prepare–you can have a delicious meal on the table for dinner that night.

All about the spices.

I grew up with McCormick spices in our family kitchen, and I love when they come out with something new and easy for the home cook. This time I used their All Natural Bourbon Spiced Pork seasoning mix and added chopped onions, garlic, and white wine, with a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce on top

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Home Canned Salsa and #FarmtoCabin Food Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:00:43 +0000

Home Canned Salsa

There’s nothing better than spending a few days in nature, waking up to brisk mornings, enjoying the warm autumn days, and opening a fresh jar of home canned salsa!

A few friends and I recently spent a few nights together at their mountain cabins, cooking and eating really good food, mostly #farmtocabin food, which was from our gardens! The joy of being together with good friends is best illustrated when eating together.

Home Canned Salsa

I loved this saying so much, I added it to a photo of one of the cabins. :) So thankful for sturdy friends in my life!

One thing we all had in common was that our “babies” are all high school seniors. All of us soon to be empty-nesters! While we ate, we talked about how some things change and some things never change, how the unknown (we can talk, but how do we know how life will roll? we don’t!) is both scary and exciting

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Shrimp Bacon Sliders + Tailgate Takeover ($450 value) Giveaway Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:52 +0000

Enjoy this delicious Shrimp Bacon Sliders recipe today plus a fabulous giveaway of (8) Thirty-One Gift products with custom monogramming as well as a $100 gift card from Eat Shrimp! Let the tailgating fun begin!

Tailgating with Shrimp Bacon Sliders

As summer winds down and beautiful autumn is before us, our family looks forward to cooler nights, bright sunny days with vibrant colors, the sight of falling leaves, and popping up the top of our VW Westfalia and opening the back for some good ol’ tailgating fun. We had so much fun setting up our VW Camper Van, which everyone is intrigued by. I mean, what truck or SUV has a kitchen inside, with beds to lie down on?

Tailgating with Shrimp Bacon Sliders

Easy to prepare.

Whether football or soccer, tailgating looks different for everyone, but there’s one thing that everyone loves: Delicious, easy-to-prepare dishes, whether hearty entrees or finger foods

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Citrus Honey Vinaigrette + Vibrant Blue SaladSavors® Giveaway Fri, 05 Sep 2014 07:01:08 +0000

Today I’m excited to share my Citrus Honey Vinaigrette salad dressing recipe, and a vibrant blue giveaway, sponsored by DeLallo SaladSavors®.

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette |

When our good friends popped down from Portland for a quick 24-hour stay with us (and no kids, which we had mixed feelings about – we love their kids!), my friend Steph and I got busy in the kitchen.

We were grilling chicken, making appetizers, and when I showed her the very cool, quick and easy (and so yummy) vibrant SaladSavors® combinations from DeLallo, we decided that is what we’d eat for lunch.

– We whipped up a delicious light and citrus-tasting vinaigrette dressing. So summery-fresh.

– You start with fresh greens. Your own greens, or favorite varieties in a bag. Your choice.

– Open the beautiful package (get a whiff of that amazing crumbly blue cheese). Be still my heart!

– Sprinkle the sweet and tangy toppings onto the greens. (Crumbly blue cheese, tart dried cherries, and crunchy pecans). So vibrant

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Storyville Coffee’s Locations in Seattle Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:00:08 +0000

A few weekends ago, my family and I visited Storyville Coffee’s locations in Seattle. Though Storyville has been roasting gourmet coffee for a long time, and mailing it to those who appreciate great coffee, their stores are new to Seattle, America’s coffee headquarters. They’ve made a very big splash.

Storyville Coffee, 3 Seattle Locations

Storyville has figured it out. Not only does it provide a stand-alone incredible coffee, it also has a menu that is untouched by any other corporate coffee company. All food is prepared within 2 hours or less of purchase, and it is head and shoulders above any other food that you will enjoy in the Seattle area.

Storyville Coffee, Seattle 3 Locations

It’s delicious, relaxing, the architecture is unique, and quite honestly, we’ve never encountered staff that was so willing to go the extra mile for their customers.

Let me tell you more about their 3 locations!

Storyville Coffee, Seattle 3 Locations

Pike Market.

Their mothership, located in Pike Market, is by far the most stunning decor we’ve ever seen, not only in a coffee shop, but in any coffee shop. It’s a feast for the eyes and your inner senses. It has a way of relaxing you and invigorating you at the same time

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Talk, Eat, Love: Red Cabbage Beet Slaw with Cranberries Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:00:08 +0000

Red Cabbage Beet Slaw with Cranberries |

Last week we harvested about a dozen red cabbages and a whole lot of beets from our garden. I whipped up a delicious combination of cabbage, beets, grated apple, and dried cranberries (inspired by Bon Appetit) into what is probably now my favorite slaw recipe, Red Cabbage Beet Slaw with Cranberries. What a flavorful end-of-summer treat!

Red Cabbage Beet Slaw with Cranberries |

Cook it, they will come.

It’s a busy time of year for our family, with one finishing up high school, one out of college, one headed back up to college, and my husband coaching Varsity soccer. You may wonder how we prioritize time for eating together?

You’ve heard the phrase, build it and they will come? Well, in our home it’s cook it and they will come.

Late summer meal.

We tend to eat later in the autumn season, but there’s always something good cooking on the stove, in the oven, off the grill, or coming out of the crock pot. So for this dish, I served it with my easy Caprese Pasta Bake recipe, which it paired perfectly with. Sweet summer tomatoes, cheese, and basil with a zingy slaw! The cranberries … I used orange cranberries from Trader Joe’s (love how big and soft they are), which added an even fresher taste.

Red Cabbage Beet Slaw with Cranberries |

Back to the meal.

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