Celebrating a Graduation this Year?

Entertaining | May 30, 2014 | By

Here’s how to make it special!

If you’re throwing a graduation party, be free to make it unique to your graduate.

Celebrate their way.
If they don’t like crowds and shy away from too much attention, make the guest list small and let them open their gifts personally with the giver.

graduation-now-and-thenBut, if they like to be the center of attention, invite all their friends and let them take center stage! Set up a time to publicly praise your graduate and let others have a chance to affirm them too.

Show off their ‘then’ and ‘now.’


Limited on time to plan Easter Dinner?

great easter dinnerMenu planning takes time and creativity – two things most of us want more of!

When Easter rolls around (or other holidays), we find ourselves back to scanning recipes trying to make our holiday beautiful, special and delicious. Let Dream Dinners help make your Easter a cinch.

Try this Easter Dinner Menu:

  • Honey Chipotle Pork Roast with Almond Green Beans
  • Roasted Heirloom Potatoes
  • Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad
  • Rustic Country Rolls
  • Luscious Lemon Bars

Save your Holiday Menus
Have you ever sat down to a wonderful holiday meal or even a normal family dinner and thought, ‘Wow! That was perfect?’  Sometimes we land on a winning combination of sides with our entrée that we’ll want to remember and repeat. Why not start saving your favorite menus?

Create a ‘Menus’ file on your computer or start a ‘Menu Card Box’ like you would for recipes.  You can have a section for each major holiday, special events/parties, and everyday menus that work well for you.  When next year rolls around, repeat last Easter’s menu, or, add variety by substituting an item or two.  It’s much easier than starting from scratch.

With the baseline menu planning done, you can spend more time on something that stirs your creative energy like making a special beverage, decorating the buffet table, or preparing little gifts!

Happy Easter!

Helping your Kids Have a Hospitable Heart

hospitality in kidsThere’s something so heartwarming to see my kids practice hospitality as young adults. As parents we spend years teaching them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ among a host of other manners, so it’s nice to know it eventually pays off!

Arrive with a gift in hand.
Besides the usual table manners regarding napkins, elbows, and full mouths, I taught my kids to never go to a party empty-handed. They would always bring something to share like a bag of chips or soda. Today, it warms my heart when my daughter makes grandma dinner and my son brings her flowers.  Recently, my son went to a friend’s in Eastern Washington and I asked him what he brought. After mentioning donuts and some other items he chirped,


Hosting ‘Hang-ups’ worth Bagging (Part 2)

If you want to host more often but never get around to it, see if these tips will help you overcome the most common hosting hurdles:

lawn-partyWe are limited on space
Overflow into your yard, deck, and even garage. (Crowds can be cozy)!

I don’t know what to do
You don’t have to provide entertainment since guests love to visit, but, if you like, link your meal with an activity: a football game or TV finale, cards or games, a crafty project (carving pumpkins/ making snowmen), or a playful competition.


Hosting ‘Hang-ups’ worth Bagging

What makes hosting challenging for you?
I have a friend who rarely hosts because she doesn’t think she’s a good cook, although, whenever I eat her cooking, it’s always great! Does having people over for dinner seem intimidating? We have lots of reasons that hold us back. We can be low on: time, funds, energy, space, experience, and confidence all of which can make hosting challenging.

False Beliefs
Our beliefs and expectations of ourselves affect whether we will host or not. For example, if I expect everything I serve must be made from scratch; I will never have enough time to prepare it. Or, if I believe my house isn’t nice enough then I’ve mistakenly believed that the environment I present to my friends is more important to them than our friendship.


Make these Winter Game Appetizers in a Snap

Entertaining | February 18, 2014 | By

girl_in_snowGet in the spirit of the Winter Games and have a celebration.  Gather your family or a few close friends and turn some of your Dream Dinners meals into party appetizers for the Ceremonies or your favorite event.

The Slow Cooked BBQ Beef with Rustic Country Rolls are a savory winter treat. Serve them on a platter alongside vegetables and dip for your cheering fans.

Our Cheddar Filled Mini Meatloaves with Potato Pancakes turn any event into fun! Bake the meatloaves in mini-tins for a great appetizer for your party buffet.


Our Under-construction Christmas

Discover ‘True Hospitality’ and Never be Intimidated Again
What kind of friend are you: the one who hosts or the one who’s often the guest? Sometimes we let self-doubt, fears, intimidation, or an imperfect environment inhibit us from having people over. We can easily confuse the food and presentation with the art of hospitality.

When you’re a guest, what’s more important: Gourmet food or feeling welcome and included? A well decorated environment or feeling loved by your host who is so glad you came? You see, hospitality is how we make people feel when we have them in our home.

construction-christmas-2Our last Christmas gathering is one I’m sure my family will never forget. Not because it was ‘perfect,’


Super Bowl Appetizers

497-outlaw chicken-sliders-750x250

This year (2014), the Super Bowl will be on February 2nd so make sure to plan ahead with meals off the January menu that can easily be turned into game day appetizers. You’ll be able to spend less time focusing on food prep and more time enjoying the game! Try these great options.

Outlaw Chicken Sliders – A platter of these crispy, cheesy sliders are sure to be a fan favorite and take only 20 minutes to prepare.


Turn Your Dream Dinners into Appetizers

appetizer-creamy-tortelliniMany of our meals on this month’s menu are appetizer ready! It’s easy to turn these dinners into delicious bites for any holiday gathering. Instead of spending hours prepping food in the kitchen, you’ll be able to join the party and enjoy time with family and friends.

Creamy Tortellini with Bacon
Boil the tortellini and place 2 – 3 on a 6-inch skewer, place on large serving platter and refrigerate. Before serving, heat the sauce as directed and pour over the skewers.

Want to get extra fancy? Pick up some mini appetizer forks and bowls. We used this set by Mozaik. Prepare tortellini per cooking instructions. Then place three tortellini in each bowl and serve with mini forks.


Family Stories Month

As soon as November rolls around, we begin to think about and look forward to Thanksgiving – the relatives we’ll see, the food we’ll eat, the football games and parades we’ll watch and the family traditions we’ll treasure. But what about the stories we’ll tell? No family gathering is complete without an embarrassing, laugh-out-loud funny or even heart-wrenching story. Every family has stories that define who they are, teach lessons and instill values. Sharing these stories with your kids may be the most important thing you can do for your family.

In honor of Family Stories Month, here are some ways you can start sharing your family’s history: