Saturday, August 23, 2014

My little hosting gig: A Brunch Spread

I really enjoy cooking and baking. Give me some time and I can usually whip up something pretty yummy (So says the husband.). But, getting the chance to host people who I love, and the joy I get from cooking and baking is completely amplified.

We hosted our Family Bible Study yesterday evening. I love when we host! Even though, by the end of the night, I am usually the kind of exhausted that can be seen drifting off into lalaland with a slight case of the crazy face, I really am nourished by being able to share food with them. Good thing our friends are good people. When they see the stare and crazy face, they are always great to give me a smile and some manageable chit-chat. It's kind of wonderful.

Now, onto the menu! I'll be linking to recipes I used and sharing how/if I mixed things up a bit.

Dessert: Key Lime Pie
My amazing, soon-to-be-sister-in-law is amazing with pies. She made one the other day for my in-laws, husband, and the boys while I was enjoying some yummy flan at Edel. I hate missing all things she bakes! So, she was incredibly kind enough to pack us up some of her delicious Key-Lime Pie for the road.

It. Was. Amazing! So much so, that I've been wanting some more ever since. I made sure to request a recipe soon after having a bite and got to it for our friends yesterday!
I tell you what, Key Lime Pie is truly a labor of love. You have to squeeze so. many. limes!!! My hand started to feel a bit on the funny side after squeezing the encouraged 1 whopping cup of lime juice. Times were intense, juices were squeezed, and ingredients were mixed. 
The recipe is simple enough but can be a bit labor intensive to start. All the juicing without a juicer bit can be a little rough. Either way, I would make this again in a heart beat (Which is probably why I made two pies!). I loved the simplicity of it and absolutely loved the taste of it. It was a definite party in my mouth that I look forward to enjoying time and time again.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter) melted
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
2 whole large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.


More Sweetness: Cinnamon Sugar Bread

Because everyone loves the sweet stuff, I normally try to make two desserts. The accompanying dessert yesterday was a sweet bread I've mentioned before on this blog. It's my go-to goodie because it's easy, quick, and a crowd-pleaser. Also, this recipe is great because even if you mess it up a bit (Like I did yesterday by leaving it in the oven as if it were a whole loaf rather than a bunch of mini loaves.) it still tastes great! You just can't go wrong with cinnamon and sugar! 

1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar. Add egg, milk, and oil to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Pour half of the batter into pan.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar. Cover with remaining batter. Top with more cinnamon/sugar if desired.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wrap in foil and let sit overnight before slicing (This step is true! It's pretty great after sitting overnight!).

Main Course: Quiche
I was talking to my neighbor about hosting and was asking for some new ideas. We've been a part of our Bible Study for a couple years now, so I've exhausted a lot of my go-to dishes. She suggested quiche and I said Yes! 
I made three different quiches. Two with heavy whipping cream and cheese (Pioneer Woman Style) and one without any dairy. 

Quiche #1
Spinach, Mushrooms, and Potatoes sauteed in bacon dripping.
7 eggs
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Swiss Cheese
Store Bought Crust

Quiche #2
Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow, & Orange), Onion, and Mushrooms sauteed in oil.
Chopped Bacon
7 Eggs
1 Cup Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Swiss Cheese
Store Bought Crust

Quiche #3 (Apparently a Frittata because.. Crustless and all.)
Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow, & Orange), Onion, and Mushrooms sauteed in oil.
Chopped Bacon
7 Eggs
1/2 TSP Thyme
1/2 TSP Paprika
1/2 TSP Black Pepper
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Rice Milk
No Crust

*baked them covered loosely with foil for 45-50 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Side : Strawberry Bacon Salad

To share the bacon love I thought I'd add some of the chopped bacon to the salad along with some strawberries and Poppyseed Dressing. It was yum!

Filler: Bread and Spreads
While buying groceries for the evening I picked up a French Baguette and two different spreads that were delicious! This store has some pretty incredibly tasty spreads to choose from which is so nice! I picked Gouda Pecan (the favorite) and a really yummy Pesto spread (my favorite). Chopped up the bread and laid out the spreads. Easy-peasy and good!

Kiddos: Nuggets & Fruit
Normally, when I host, I try to have something simple for the kids. So, along with whatever main course I make, I always try to pop in some chicken nuggets (or corn dogs depending on availability and my memory) in the oven before everyone gets here with a side of fruit. It works. Kids are fed. Kids are happy. Parents are happy. All are happy.

--- 7 ---
The People
These people are wonderful. They have been such a gift to our little family over the years. We have made lifelong friendships that have blessed us so very much. We pray together. Laugh together. Talk about our Catholic faith, the saints, scripture, and more. We support each other. We encourage each other. Take trips with each other. Love each other. And so much more! I cannot tell you how good it is to know these people (Love y'all!!!!). In fact, I wish you could know all of them! Only because I know they would bless you with so much goodness and love as they have us.
These people make baking and cooking such a joy (despite the tired crazy face from me at the end of the night)! I love making food for them and pray they enjoy it too!

My little hosting gigs are my little ways to share my love and gratitude for them and I look forward to it every time.

What favorite hosting spread ideas do you have? Do share!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. What a beautiful spread. It is such a joy to cook for the people you love.

    1. It is, Ann-Marie! I love getting to take them time to share food with loved ones. It's my little way of thanking them for how wonderful it is to have them in our lives.

  2. What a fun time. I love hostessing, too. A lot of work but worth it for the joy of bringing friends together! I love that you have the guitar and are singing...I'm working on getting our group of friends to be able to praise together like that!

    1. Mary, time with this group is always so nourishing! Pray you and your friends were able to get together! The trick for us is hiring a couple babysitters to watch the kids while we are meeting (whether it be for prayers, worship, or bible study). Let me know if you are able to work something out!

  3. That all looks sooooo delicious! I definitely think that the cinnamon sugar quick bread would be a huge hit over here! I love to bake too! When we have people over for dinner, I always enjoy making something special for dessert. One of our favorite things to do when we host (this being Texas) is to set a bunch of queso, guacamole, salsa, and chips all along our island, so that everyone can visit while the chef (my hubs) is finishing off delicious dinners in the kitchen. It's so wonderful to share a meal with friends!

    1. Thanks, Cate! Let me know if you tried the quick bread! It's so yummy and friends always ask for it (such an easy-peasy make!). What's your favorite dessert to make for friends? We're in Texas too, and definitely made our friends a fair share of spicy goodness. :) So glad you stopped by!

  4. Yum! I want to try the cinnamon bread! That looks delicious! And that's great that you think of the children who will be guests too. Looks like fun!

    1. Try it! You won't be disappointed! And, they are so easy!

  5. Can I come over next time you host?? Amazing!!

    1. Heather, I'd love to have you over! It's my favorite! Sharing food with friends and family!


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