As core leader at Camp All-American, Harleigh is in charge of discipling and mentoring a group of seven counselors. In addition to that, she handles camper/parent/counselor issues of all kinds. It's been a challenging summer, but she has loved the problem solving and leadership in a way that makes me so proud. Every Thursday night she leads a Bible study with all her counselors (infused with time beforehand to relax, talk and laugh, and enjoy time together). The Thursdays rotate amongst the girls' homes, and with me being off this past Thursday, I was more than happy to host the girls. And don't I love to entertain!
I wanted to do a menu a little more robust and homemade than ordering pizza or serving a big lasagna. Here is the menu I came dished up:
- Appetizer of edamame sprinkled with sea salt (the girls went through two big bowls of these).
- Appetizer of Smashing Bean Dip, a really healthy choice. I'd had this recipe forever and decided to use the girls as guinea pigs. While not a very pretty dip, the girls ate it all. I ran out of the sliced 3-foot baguette I served it with and pulled a sleeve of water crackers from the pantry so they could finish it up. (The recipe calls for it to be served with yellow summer squash, but I decided on the bread since I had plenty of veggies.)
- Maggiano's Little Italy Salad. This salad is THE BOMB. It's the second time I've made it, and eating it again made me realize it needs to be my go-to salad for more lunches and dinners. Don't ignore putting in the prosciutto; I swear it's what makes this salad so tasty. I buy the 4-ounce pack from Trader Joe's and fry it until it's brown and crunchy on the edges, then put it into a food processor and give it a few taps to make sure all the pieces are small.
- Chicken skewers with peanut butter dipping sauce. With the girls being in a camp environment where there are absolutely no nut products allowed, I thought I'd serve something nutty. I boiled a bunch of chicken breasts (my preferred method for moist chicken; must make sure you boil them only until done and no more), cut them up in bite-sized pieces and put two to a skewer. A big platter of these and the warmed peanut sauce were a huge hit.
- Friend Laleah's frozen fruit salad is one I've done a zillion times. It worked as a side and a dessert. Not too sweet, but sweet enough. Here is a version I found online, but Laleah's recipe uses sour cream and confectioners' sugar instead of the milk and Cool Whip, and also has grapes, banana, and maraschino cherries in place of the cherry pie filling. Hands down, an easy side.
What's more rewarding than a houseful of girls gobbling up my home cookin'! And I love adding the touches of fresh flowers (even if they are just a huge, cheap bouquet of mums from Trader Joe's) and cloth napkins (these Vera ones were thrift store finds, especially appealing because there are fourteen of them!).
I love tucking flowers into a tin from my collection (a tin teapot did double-duty to hold the utensils).