Thanks, Jen, for your great idea... I thought I would reproduced her tips and recipes here for those of you who are sure to loose a piece of paper, but know how to find the blog back again (that would be me!)
Maybe we can all take a minute to add some tips (and a recipe) from our kitchen, too? (PS. if you choose "new post" and then pick "edit posts" off the top menu, you can see all the recent posts. Find this one, click "edit post" and go ahead and add your tips right to this post! Remember to click "publish post" and not just "save now" when you are done.)
And a big THANK YOU!! to all of you who open your homes to book club month after month. We certainly benefit equally from the emotional boost of a true welcome into someone's home - and all the TLC that goes into preparing that welcome, and the "flair" that is so often shown in preparing for our arrival - as we do intellectually from all the great discussion that we have as we sit around the livingroom or the dining room table and share our thoughts and our lives with each other. You are all such amazing, gracious hostesses - and you are touching lives as you open your homes.
Hospitality Tips from the Kitchen of Jen Nobels:
As I often have unexpected guests on the weekend (especially Sundays) I have learned to at least have something yummy with coffee or for dessert. When I shop, I make sure I always have whipping cream in the house, fresh strawberries in the fridge, or frozen berries in the freezer. If I have time for baking, I will make a basic pound cake and/or a 9X13 pan of brownies. Both are great for kids lunches if not fully consumed on the weekend. Then, if guests appear, both are fantastic topped with berries and whipped cream. If I haven't baked, my freezer usually holds waffles or store-bought pound cake or a sponge cake which will do as well. Add a little maple syrup and/or custard with the cream and berries and you have a wonderful dessert.
Bremer's Pound Cake
(Thea may not be here tonight but her family is represented)
2 c sugar
1 c melted butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
5 large eggs
2 c flour
In a large mixing bowl add the ingredients in the order given, mixing after each addition. Continue mixing or 5-6 minutes. Spoon into bundt pan and bake at 350 for about 1 hr. Cool in pan before removing.
1 1/3 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Combine these three ingredients.
1 c butter (melted)
1 c cocoa powder (less can be used for less chocolatey brownie)
2 c white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine these 5 ingredients and add to flour mixture. Mix well. Add nuts or chocolate chips if desired. Place in greased 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Taste best if left a little gooey...