In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. ~Author Unknown

We had 20 family and extended family members over for dinner last night. It had been a long time since we had all gotten together and we had some birthdays to celebrate. Life gets so crazy with everyone’s traveling schedules and busyness with kids. We planned far in advance to get this date on the calendar.

Delegation is my secret weapon for larger group parties. And delegate I did! I made 2 kinds of salmon, my yummy mandarin orange green salad, and my favorite crowd-pleasing Creamy Potato Gratin from one of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks. You can make this up a day or two early as it heats up quite well. The longer it sits, the longer the garlic flavor comes out (RECIPE BELOW).

The rest of the meal was delegated out to the guests and it flowed beautifully.

A sister is a forever friend. ~Author Unknown

My sisters and I always have fun and share a lot of laughter when we are together.

You can tell by these silly pictures that my hubby snatched of us! We are each so different, but we share that common bond of being family. I always wonder how people make it through life without a sister?

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden. ~Author Unknown

Di and Linda are terrific hostesses and excellent cooks, as well. We learned well from our Mom.
During the meal we celebrated Paul’s new book that just arrived by UPS, right before our guests arrived! It’s called, No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps (raising secure, assertive kids in a tough world) and it is officially in bookstores on June 1st!

Two birthday cakes, one for my 2 teen boys (stay tuned for the ICE CREAM TROUGH post coming up!) and my sister, Di, who is turning, well … let’s say next year is the big year for her!

Abby played Concerto No.2 and No. 5 (3rd and 1st movement – by F. Seitz) for us on her violin and our brother in law, Steve, serenaded us on the piano for much of the evening with his awesome talent.

The kids swam for hours as one-year old Gavin entertained us with his cuteness, and our conversation was lively and fun.

Sharing meals and meaningful times with extended family was really a pleasure last night.

I wish we did it more often!

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4 ½ pounds all-purpose potatoes
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 onions, peeled & sliced (I use sweet)
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T salt
¼ cup butter

Pre-heat oven to 500.
Peel potatoes and cut them in ½ inch slices. Put in a large pan with milk, cream, onion, minced garlic and salt. Bring to a boil and cook at a robust simmer or gentle boil until verging on tender, but not dissolving into mush.
Use some of the butter to grease a large roasting pan (15×12) and then pour the almost sludgy milk and potato mixture into it. Dot with remaining butter and cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until the potato is bubbly and browned on top. Remove and let stand for 10-20 min.

I actually make the night before and cook the next day, uncovered at 350 for 1 hour.