Plan #19 – Host a dinner party

Blue Apron

I just realized I have not written a single thing about Blue Apron since I started doing it this summer.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, Blue Apron is a company that sends you a refrigerated box filled with everything you need to cook two fabulous meals (including the farm-fresh, pre-portioned ingredients), as well as the recipes to go with them. Katie Bower had written a few sponsored blog posts about Blue Apron (how does one get sponsorships like that?! This is definitely not sponsored in any way…) but I hadn’t paid much attention because I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COOK. So there wasn’t much point, right?

Ah, but then she wrote a post about how Blue Apron’s recipes were so easy, even her husband could cook them.  That put a whole different spin on things. A non-cook could do this? Hmmm… Maybe I should give it a try. I signed up for the meals-for-four plan, where they send you two boxes a week, just to give it a try.

Oh. My. Gosh.

You guys, it was like going to cooking school. The recipe cards break down every single step so clearly (and you can go to their website or phone app to watch videos of the steps if you want more clarification). They even teach you how to time things so they come out together. Imagine that! Your main dish, side dish and salad course all ready at once?! For me, that would be a miracle. I mean, Lori + cooking = smoke alarm, most of the time, since the timing thing is soooooo hard for me.

But take away the stress of meal planning, the stress of shopping, the stress of not having skills, the stress of not knowing what to do when, and suddenly I am a whiz in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe me now, with the chopping and the coordination and the making salad dressings from scratch. I am amazing.

Right this second I am on a Blue Apron hiatus as we actually got backed up on food because a) their portion sizes are generous, and b) we were getting the meals for four, and there are only three of us. (I planned one to be a next-day lunch for David.) Taking a break is no problem, either. I just go into the app and click “Skip This Delivery” and – bam! – it is skipped.

I was wishing I hadn’t skipped this week, though, when Q unexpectedly had three friends over (my little Hannah plus two newbies) and I invited them to stay for dinner. We didn’t have the ingredients for a proper meal in the house, but I knew we could make pasta, so I ran to get salad makings, some garlic bread, and something for dessert.

It wasn’t a fancy menu. What was cool, though, was that I made a separate vegetarian pasta sauce (complete with fresh sauteed veggies) from scratch.  Scratch, mind you. Because that’s how fancy I am. Pasta, two different sauces (meat and vegetarian), Caesar salad, and garlic bread, with pie and ice cream for dessert. We all ate our fill, everyone liked the food, and we hung out and swapped embarrassing childhood stories. I got tons of compliments from the kids about the food. It just made me happy to be able to serve a meal to strangers and friends and have it go well. The vast majority of my stories about entertaining end badly.

(To be completely honest, I did leave the garlic bread under the broiler a little too long, and I had to scrape off the burnt parts. But it was still good, and I was able to laugh at it. Just as I am laughing at myself now: I just fell asleep with my hands on the keyboard and typed “m” a thousand times. Apparently I need to get even more sleep! Good night!)

First #healthy #food delivery from Blue Apron. All locally grown. #learningtocook #chef #gettingmyeaton#supportsmallbusiness  by Jon Lee Clark / CC BY

Christmas Countdown #4 = Christmas guests

The elegant Westin Hotel Dublin, Ireland, in the heart of the capital city, on the crossroads between the north and the south, wonderfully presented, urban, chic, memorable, enjoy!:)
Photo by UggBoy♥UggGirl
Absolutely in no way a photo of any room in my home.

We are so lucky this year.  My mom and stepdad (Zumu and Zufu) are here from California for Christmas, and David’s mom (Grammelie Groo) will be arriving tomorrow.  It is such a treat to get to visit and play games and just be together.  I love the fact that Quinland gets to have special time with all of her grandparents over the course of the year, even though she might not see them all at once!

I struggle with my shortcomings as a hostess.  All the things that normally drive me crazy about myself – a cluttered house, no consistent meal plan, a hectic schedule – seem to be magnified a thousandfold when I really want to provide the people I care about with nuturing surroundings, good – and timely! – meals, and time to relax together.

I rip articles out of magazines about how to make your guest room feel like a bed-and-breakfast, how to make your guests feel welcomed, how to take a trial run in the room yourself and see the experience from their eyes.  I’m guessing that selling the guest bed, emptying the guest room of furniture so Greg can move into it (giving them the choice of our room, an air bed or the sofas to sleep on) and leaving them to fend for themselves for meals while I go to work each day and race from health appointment to health appointment each evening isn’t exactly what Better Homes and Gardens had in mind.

So I guess I am not just lucky to have them here. I’m lucky that they love me so much that they understand my difficulties, realize that I am improving all the time, and still love me – and want to visit me! – despite it all.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for the fun time we had playing games last night.  I actually forgot to blog, and I’m unapologetic about it, because I was spending important time with my family.  Zufu is a ringer at Tumblin’ Dice.
  •  I’m lighter!  My fabulous husband (yes, that’s David) worked his tail off on our upstairs yesterday.  Our bedroom is absolutely beautiful… and also filled with stuff we are selling on eBay, but nice, neat stuff.  I joined in when I finally got home at 8:30 pm by doing laundry (3 loads!), playing games and putting stuff away.