Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday #1

So, I've known about "Works for Me Wednesday" over at Rocks In My Dryer forEVER (I remember the first week Shannon tried it) but I have never participated because...I don't know! I never remembered in time...I had other things to blog about...I just never bothered...I'm not sure.

But it's not for lack of ideas. Pragmatics are something of a specialty of mine, actually. So I shall begin to try and remember when Wednesday rolls around!

This week I will share our simple, no-fuss solution to entertaining large numbers of people with short notice.

There are 8 in our family, so if we invite one other family over after church, we have large numbers to feed quick! Our solution: Bagels with meat and cheese to make sandwiches, plus fruit and coffee, served on paper plates.

Yes, paper plates. And you wouldn't believe how many people comment on that as a positive. They feel more relaxed when it's obvious that we can relax too; and the friendship goes deeper, quicker, when they realize that our priority is not presentation but relationship.

So, the specifics. I always keep on hand Aldi's versions of this and this (can you believe they sell that there?), coffee (of course), and paper plates. I try to buy extra finger fruits--like grapes or strawberries--for the weekend, just in case. And if the guests ask, as they often do, what they can bring, I offer the fruit idea to them; then we have more fruit selections.

Sometimes it helps with timing to have them make a quick grocery stop on the way to our house too, because we have a stop to make ourselves--to Panera! (Einstein's will do, too.) We have found that the perfect mix seems to be: one Asiago Cheese bagel apiece, to make sandwiches, and a selection of sweet bagels--just less than one apiece. (We have tried buying a selection of savory bagels for the sandwiches, but the Asiago Cheese are always the favorites, so now, unless someone is lactose intolerant, that's all we buy.)

Don't bother with the cream cheese--you're going to be making sandwiches. (Or buy that ahead of time at Aldi too, if you want strawberry cream cheese for the sweet bagels. ) Just get the Bagel Bucket of 13 or Bagel Pack of 18 with no cream cheese--it's much cheaper that way. Have them slice the bagels in half in their slicer, and if they're not busy, in half again with a knife, so that kids can have half-sandwiches. (I usually do this step at home, though, as our Panera is always so busy at lunchtime.) And don't forget to have them stamp your card to get a free Bagel Bucket when the card is filled! (Did I mention I am also frugal?)

Are you or your guests South-Beachers? Don't discard the bagel idea. Chances are that the kids are not, so bagels fill the bill for something quick and filling for them, and there's meat, cheese, fruit and coffee for Mom and Dad. We've added salad and baby carrots to the menu sometimes, and Panera makes a good whole-grain bagel too, if it's on your diet.

We have forged so many friendships over coffee and bagels in our home on Sunday afternoons--it sure works for me!

For other great tips and ideas, see this week's Works for Me roundup at Rocks In My Dryer.


Liza's Eyeview said...

Our family loves to invite friends over after church. Thanks for the tips :)

mummymac said...

My husband visits with a large family when he goes to our Pastor's conference annually. The host always uses paper plates which I think is great as it saves her so much work when they leave for the meetings. She needs to relax after all that cooking.

Thanks for the tip.

Tracy said...

This is priceless info that I can definitely use! I think I want to have people over after church on Sunday more often now!! Seriously, THANK YOU!

Christine Smith said...

very workable, friendly idea for fellowship! Sounds like we travel the same sorts of circles - we are also a family of 8 ...who LOVES shopping at ALDI. Wow, do we save some serious money there!

Marcia said...

That is a great idea and quick too! You're right - it's about fellowship not fancy food :)

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elaine said...

Wonderful tip. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog title too.