The Entertainment Section

It makes me happy to have the house full of cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles. And I enjoy feeding everyone; it’s a physical expression of love. It is also a link to Abitos (my grandparents), the great-aunts and uncles and multiple generations who gathered every Sunday afternoon at Abitos’ house during my childhood in the sunshine valley of Cochabamba, Bolivia. It’s a family tradition six generations and two hundred years deep.

I also enjoy gathering friends around the table for delicious food and conversation that nourishes body and spirit. We entertain at least twice a month. Over time, I’ve developed tried and proven recipes, efficient cooking timelines and specific menus that I know will delight my guests.

Here you’ll find some of my favorite menus with shopping lists and event planning suggestions as well as links to each recipe on the menu.

A Southwestern-flavored Saturday Night

The poblano pepper and corn give this meal a Southwestern flavor. To go with the Southwestern theme, I made an Avocado Mousse and served it with blue corn tortilla chips as an appetizer.

Holiday Menus

What better way to spend special days than with people we cherish? Holidays brings family and friends together to enjoy joyous occasions and call for special menus. Here you will find my tried and true favorites. My wish is that they will help you embrace the holidays and enjoy hosting in your own home.

Organization is key. Grocery lists and planning tips are included. Shop early and try to buy everything you need to avoid last-minute dashes to the store. Plan your dishes, servings spoons, table linens and seasonal flowers/centerpieces ahead of time. Advance planning can make all the difference in how your event turns out and whether you enjoy it or are too stressed out.

Think about the flow of people in your house. Set up drinks separately from the food to prevent everyone crowding in one place. Make sure you set up glasses, drinks, and ice so everyone can serve themselves without your involvement; when trying to get something out of the oven you don’t want to be hunting down glasses, or having to run to the store for ice!

If you plan to have appetizers, place them separately from the drink area as people will gather around and graze. If you don’t have enough space, recruit a friend or family member to pass the appetizer(s).

Generally, it works best to serve the food buffet-style for everyone to help themselves. Many of the dishes can be prepared ahead of time so you can enjoy visiting with your guests rather than toiling over the stove. As part of each holiday menu you will find preparations guidelines. Happy holidays!

Thanksgiving for Four

How to make a Thanksgiving meal for two, or for a family of four without massive amounts of food that cannot be eaten?
This menu brings together a lovely celebration of fall harvest and traditional dishes in measured way: turkey, cornbread and sausage stuffing, butternut squash, and cranberries.

Half a turkey breast is enough for two with leftovers, because after all one of the favorite parts of Thanksgiving, is enjoying delicious once-a-year turkey for a day or two afterwards.
For four – six people, a full turkey breast is plentiful.

Tea for Two on Mother’s Day Eve

An impromptu tea for two; preparing it together was as much fun as sitting down to a pretty table to enjoy the savory tea sandwiches, scones bursting with blueberries and a lovely creamy mango sauce over luscious strawberries.

Good Friday Menu

Growing up in Bolivia seafood and salt-water fish were unavailable. Except for salted-cod at Easter time, a memory that reverberates in me still, evoking love. Bacalao (cod in Spanish) was the traditional Easter meal at my Abitos (grandparents) house where the extended family gathered.

Weekly Menus

Cooking dinner seems impossible given hectic schedules and limited hours in a day. But it all comes down to priorities. Eating and feeding my family delicious and nutritious meals is vital to our health. Planning is key to maintaining this priority.

Making (and executing) weekly menus has been part of my routine for years. My meals are planned on a foundation of super foods – greens, beans, onions, nuts and a variety of plant foods with some fish, and poultry a couple of times a week; beef and pork occasionally make an appearance.

Planning ahead simply makes my life easier on a daily basis. And making dinner most nights a week is part of my daily living. Knowing my menu plan takes the brainwork out of what to make for dinner, so it’s a matter of rolling up my sleeves and executing the designated recipe(s) for that day, rather than going through a fast food drive-through because I didn’t have a plan and everyone is hungry.

If making homemade meals is new for you, start easy and go slow. Pick only one or two meals to make a week. The more you cook, the easier it will get. Making homemade dinner can become a regular habit.

Tree branches with spring buds

March Weekly Menu

March seems to be an in-between time; winter is exiting, spring has not yet come through the door.