Sunday, December 19, 2010


The other morning, after reading the newspaper with my first cup of coffee,  an idea popped into my mind. Why not have a spontaneous dinner party?

I quickly made a few phone calls and the responses were all affirmative. Working people who have been on-the-job all week would appreciate a home cooked meal, especially at this busy time of year.

Going into our library, which is located in the living room, I slipped my Rachel Ray cookbook off one of the "cookbooks only" shelves. My daughter gave me that book last Christmas and I love it because, well, I love Rachel Ray. She's a darling to listen to, look at, and learn from! (She looks pretty tiny to me, even after all that cooking which, of course, makes me green with envy. I'll bet she's about a size 6).

Anyway, even though guests were coming, risky as it seemed, I decided to try a new dish that would also not cost an arm and a leg, Pasta Carbonara. It called for olive oil ( or evoo as Rachel would say which stands for extra virgin olive oil),  pancetta, lots of Romano cheese, garlic, rigatoni,  red pepper flakes, and parsley. 

I also served a delicious salad with Rachel's delectable lemon dressing, "snowflake" rolls with butter, and a fresh asparagus, carrot, and snap pea tray with lobster dippy. Picked up the package of lobster dip mix last fall during a road trip to Vermont. All I had to do was mix it with mayo and sour cream, both "light" varieties. It was pretty good!

Don't want this post to be too long so I just want to tell you that everything came out great (thank goodness) and the house looked very Christmas "festivas." 

Best of all,  adding to my holiday joy was  having  dear friends and family in for dinner.  It is sheer pleasure to serve them. All together, there were 10 of us! Cooking for others, I believe, is an act of love. It's a good gift to give any time but especially at Christmas!

For dessert,  there were brownies  made with olive oil, walnuts, and a layer of chocolate chips; dark chocolate covered shortbread stars cookies, purchased in Trader Joe's, and green and red M&Ms.

Also made coffee but  didn't  dare drink it because there would  never, ever be any sleep at night.



BECKY said...

Hi Susan! What a beautiful table setting and so wonderful of you to invite your friends over for an impromptu dinner! I love things like that!! It's "funny" you posted this today, too, because I've been busy getting my table all set for a dinner here tomorrow night! What a coincidence! It's not impromptu, though. It's a Progressive Dinner with 3 other couples. We planned it in October, I think, after finding an evening we all were "free", due to holiday events, etc. I'll post pictures on my blog tomorrow! Thanks so much for sharing this and I for others makes me so happy!

T's Daily Treasures said...

Good morning Susan! Wow! Your table looks fantastic and I bet your friends were amazed at appreciative that you pulled off such a warm gathering so easily. The good sounds delish! New recipes don't always turn out as we would like but it sounds like you did well.d

As for eating sweets -- I honestly don't do it often. I pretty much eat healthy most of the time so when I indulge, I don't feel too bad. Although, the older I get, the more I realize I don't need white flour or sugar. Egads! It doesn't make me feel very good if I overload on it, that's for sure. My body is much happier when I take care of it and feed it well. I totally changed my eating nearly 6 years ago when I lost the weight. This summer I gained at least 10 lbs, mostly because I had one two manmy brewskies and didn't walk enough. It's taken a while to get that weight off and I still have a few pounds to go. But hubby and I are back to walking in the evenings and that is helping. Plus, I met a lady the other day at baseball who I met years ago but wasn't able to connect with -- she teaches yoga. Is it fate? I am thinking to start her classes in January twice a week. I need to get my core in shape. :)

Have an extra special Sunday filled with all things peaceful and beautiful. xoxox Tammy

T's Daily Treasures said...

P.S. Please excuse the mistakes. My eyes aren't working yet. Still on my first cup of coffee. :)

Jane said...

Love your dishes! I looked closely at a larger version of your pics - I believe that these are the same Christmas dishes I purchsed for my mom 25+ years ago. Believe it or not, I bought service for four from a place called Waccamaw Pottery for around 15 bucks. Now, 15 bucks won't buy a butter plate out of Replacements Ltd in this pattern!


Linda O'Connell said...

I have gained calories reading about your spontaneous dinner party. How fun!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

What a lovely dinner party! Love your dishes, are they Spode? They remind me of my Pfaltzgraff Christmas dishes that I started collecting when I was 18! There's nothing better than getting together for the holidays! Have a great day!

Dianne said...

Your table is so lovely and your menu sounds wonderful! We don't entertain much, but I like to cook Rock Cornish Game Hens for company, with stuffing of course... and my husband makes wonderful orange cranberry sauce.

diane stetson said...

My favorite thing to cook is turkey with grandmas stuffing...oh my taste buds are watering just thinking of it. ..but I did have ten people over for Thanksgiving and cooked it then. Wish I could have come to your impromptu party Susan. Congrats on ``156 followers to your blog too!

Rebecca said...

Wonderful idea+beautiful table+great menu=lovely evening+thrilled guests/friends!

Here's to MORE "spontaneous dinner parties"!

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