Meal Preparations Archives

Recipes for Cheesecake, Banana Bread, and Lasagna

Someone asked me for one of the following recipes, and I noticed that these 3 recipes were in my first book, but I failed to put them in my second book.

Italian Cheesecake

1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 lb. cream cheese
1 ½  cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon extract
3 T. flour
3 T. cornstarch
½ melted butter (cooled)
2 cups sour cream
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 T. chopped lemon peel

In large mixing bowl cream ricotta and cream cheese. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract; Mix well. Add flour and cornstarch. Add melted butter. Fold in sour cream.

Grease 9″ spring form pan and sprinkle generously with graham cracker crumbs. Pour cheese mixture into pan. Bake in a preheated 325 oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave cake in oven for 2 hours. This is very important. Do not open the door for 3 hours after the cake is placed in the oven. After 3 hours, remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Best Banana Bread (350º for 60 minutes)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 bananas, finely crushed ( for a very moist bread, use 4 bananas)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and crushed bananas and blend well. Sift together flour, soda and salt, add to creamed mixture, and add vanilla. Keep well if refrigerated.

Santino’ Lasagna 

8 oz. olive oil
2 large diced onions
2 lbs. chopped carrots
3 lbs. ground beef.

Cook ground beef, onion, and carrots in olive oil until done. Add 5 cans of kitchen ready pastene tomatoes and 3/4 T. salt.

While this mixture is cooking in an open pan, make a roux with 2 sticks of butter, 4 T. flour, and 2 cups milk.

Have a pot of water boiling for noodles. Dip noodles in and out of boiling water. Layer noodles, spaghetti sauce, and milk sauce in pan.  Bake for 20 minutes and then add mozzarella cheese on top. Continue baking another 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

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The rule of thumb when planning a banquet is, if you are honoring someone, you usually plan a sit-down dinner. If it is more of a casual get together, plan a buffet.  If possible, always opt to do a buffet. Sit-down dinners are more work and more expensive.

Tips for Planning Buffet Meals

• Get friends’ recommendations for good caters. Independent caterers are usually cheaper than large companies. Don’t be embarrassed to negotiate for price break or ask if they’ll throw in more appetizers for the same amount.
• Keep a laminated copy of proper placement of food for buffet settings on hand.
• Before food arrives, label area where want your food placed. You can do this by putting a slip of paper where you want each dish placed. This also helps others know where to place the food.
• Decide if you want to set up a for one or two-line buffet. For a one-line buffet, guests move around all four sides. For a two-line buffet, set table with twin arrangements of plates, food, silver, and napkins on each side.
• Use warming trays or crock pots to keep food hot.
• Don’t serve everything on buffet table. Use a different area for appetizers and another area for coffee and desserts.
• Make sure to leave space between dishes so that people can put their plates down to get food.
• Use small frames to label items such as decaf coffee, various flavored coffees, and sugar free desserts.
• Do not be afraid to use prepared foods when necessary; just display in a beautiful way.
• If serving a bland food, serve a tart or spicy food to complement it.
• Serve a cold dish with a hot dish. (Use crushed ice to keep certain foods cold)
• Serve a soft food with a crisp one. Bread sticks are an example of a crisp food.
• Use color in planning meals. If color is drab, consider garnishing with parsley, cherry, tomatoes, or beets.
• Plan a variety of foods by considering flavors, textures, and temperatures.
• If you use prepared foods, display them in a beautiful way.
• Plan an entree, a vegetable, a fruit or vegetable dish, and a dessert and beverage.

Entree -This is usually a meat dish. It could also be meatless pasta dish.
Vegetable -Fresh or frozen vegetables are the best for color, texture, and flavor.
Fruit or vegetable salad –This will also supply the color and flavor.
Dessert– They can be elaborate or simple.

Tips to Help Feed Large Groups

• The best meals to cook for large crowds are spaghetti and meatballs, soups and salads, and casseroles.
• Have everyone bring a dish and create big buffet.
• More selections equal smaller portions.
• Stick to easy recipes with simple ingredients.
• Use 6 oz. protein per person meat selection.
• Use 1 # 10 can of vegetables per 5 person.
• Use 1 potato per person.
• Use 1 head of lettuce per 5 people.
• Use a 9×12 main dish to serve 10-12 people.
• Add plenty of bread when feeding large groups.
• If you are not using chafing dishes, choose foods that taste good at room temperature.
• For an inexpensive meal, prepare 2 kinds of soups and 2 large salads. Add chips and cut-up veggies.
• Do not serve tough meats if using plastic utensils.

Tips to Help Prepare Drinks for Large Groups

• Use 1 lb. coffee for 50 8 oz. servings (2-cups cream).
• Use 1-cup tea leaves for 50 8 oz. servings.

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    Thanksgiving Delights

On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs

William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony
To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation, George Washington in 1779
Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!” Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863
After George Washington authorized the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789, 74 years passed without another such day of thanks. Then, Abraham Lincoln authorized our annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863. He did this in the midst of the Civil War.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.

And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find”; he turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.

Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.                                                                                        Source Unknown

True Gratitude, Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. 

The Blessing Jar by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

My normally quiet house is bustling with activity as I’ve got lots of company spending the week here, with more expected this weekend. It looks like we’ll have fifteen to twenty people of all ages together for Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year, after a wonderful meal around candlelit tables, we gathered in the living room on sofas, chairs, and the floor. I printed out the following questions on slips of paper and put them in a “Blessing Jar.”

We passed the Blessing Jar around, and one at a time, different people (including children) picked a question out of the jar. Then, a few shared their response to that question. It was a sweet time of reflecting on God’s goodness and blessings in our lives over the past year.

Here are the questions I included in the Blessing Jar:

Name a song that has been a blessing to you this year.
Name one friend who has been a blessing to you this year.
What is one book that has been a blessing to you this year?
Share a Bible verse that has been a blessing to you this year.
Share one special memory from the past year for which you are grateful.
What is something about your church that has been a blessing to you this year?
How have you seen the heart of Jesus in a member of your family?
What is one financial or material blessing from the past year for which you are grateful?
How have you seen God at work in the life of an unbeliever this year?
What is one area of your life where you have seen God at work this year?
What is one answer to prayer you have experienced this year?
Share something from the past year that has been “hard,” for which you are grateful.

Blessing Box by Glenda Embree
We’re freshly moved and almost completely unpacked. As I sit here this morning, it occurs to me that we don’t have a Blessing Box this year. When our grown daughters were small we started this tradition. Over the years, we have had times when we were so caught up in life and just getting through it, that we didn’t really stop to enjoy everything in a day that is a blessing, a gift. There are so many, no matter what your present circumstances. A Blessing Box is a way, even for just a moment, to take a deep breath and be thankful, to stand still in the middle of your day and say, “Thank you, Lord. I know you’re in this and I am so blessed to ______________ . You fill in the blank.

Ideally, you will make this box, as a family, on Thanksgiving; and then have the whole year to get it ready for next Thanksgiving. You could hurry and whip one up for this year, but this is my personal experience when we have done that in “off” years. People tend to try to “fill the box” and so something is lost in the heartfelt thanks of the moment. It’s more about the box than being thankful. My suggestion is to work together on Thanksgiving Day and make it beautiful. Then take a year to “count your blessings”.  Next Thanksgiving, when you open that box and pour your “mountain of blessings” in the center of the table to read, you and your family will be reminded of just how much you have been blessed and cared for and as you read through what others have written, you will share and relive those awesome memories.

Decorating Tips

  • Place a tea light inside a carved out mini gourd to put at each place setting.
  • Place mini white or orange-stripe pumpkins on various height candlesticks. Add a vase filled with fall branches and a few gourds scattered around the area.
  • Place various size pillar candles on a mirror.  Scatter evergreen branches, pine cones and clementines around the candles.
  • Place a hollowed out white pumpkin in the center of your table. Fill it with a fall flower arrangement.
  • Place water-soaked florists’ foam on each tier of a 3-tiered cake stand. Place pomegranates, grapes, figs, and fresh fall flowers on each tier.
  • Place a water-soaked florist foam into a soup tureen. Place a combination of gourds and fall flowers in it.
  • Place cranberries in a clear vase. Add a painted white branch. Using yarn or string, fasten pictures of family members and friends to the branch. Call this your Thankful Tree.
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Is “Hospitality” a True Ministry?

Although hospitality today seems to be a lost art and not considered to be a true ministry, the Bible still commands us to use hospitality and not to complain about doing it.

Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality…
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

The stresses of everyday living can be very demanding to God’s servants. We must lift up our eyes and see the needs of those hurting around us. We must look for opportunities to provide special times of relaxation for the discouraged and weary.

Many times in this self-centered society, not only unsaved women, but also Christian women, make excuses for not opening their homes and exhibiting hospitality. Today very few people invite you to their homes for a meal or just fellowship. Maybe it is because of the fast paced lifestyle people live. People become so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t seem to have the time to reach out to others.

What are some of the excuses women use for not practicing hospitality?

My home is not good enough.Through the years, it has not been the women who had gorgeous homes or who prepared  lavish meals that made the greatest impact on me. It has been the women who genuinely loved the Lord and offered me simple gestures of friendship and love  by offering me simple acts of hospitality. One of my fondest memories goes back many years ago when my husband and I were in Bible College. On weekends, we drove back and forth to Arkansas to minister in a small church. We stayed in the home of a widow woman named Mrs. Medlin. Although she lived on a small pension, she loved God’s servants and wanted to be a blessing to them. Many Sundays, our dinners consisted of only oxtail soup. Even though those were just simple meals, she made them seem like feasts. She willingly shared what she had with us. She did not try to impress us; she just wanted to make us feel special.

It is just too expensive. Hospitality does not have to be costly.

• Invite someone over for just soup and salad or just coffee and dessert.
• Invite several couples for dinner. Ask one lady to bring a dessert, another to bring a vegetable, another to bring a potato casserole, and you provide the meat.

It takes too much time and effort. Hospitality does not have to take a great deal of time and effort. We have time to do exactly what we want to do. We have time to shop, to watch our favorite television programs, to garden, to craft, or even to read good books.

• Stick to meals that are easy. Make things the day before, such as lasagna, and then put it in the oven.
• Forget complicated recipes! When you make a dinner for your family, make a double batch and stick the other one in the freezer.
• Use your crock-pot.

My house is just not clean enough. People are not coming to your home to inspect the dust bunnies under the bed or do the white glove on your furniture.

Here are some simple tricks to practice to always have your home ready to minister.

• Don’t go to bed at night until you have made sure your living room and bathroom are picked up.
• Always put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink.
• If you have children, assign a various job to each child.
• Keep a designated play area, other than the living room, for the children to play.
• Do designated morning chores every morning. (Empty bathroom trash, make beds,  put clothes away, and put dishes in dishwasher)

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Texas Place Setting


Proper Place Setting

1. Salad bowl 2.Napkin 3. Salad fork 4. Dinner fork 5. Dessert fork 6. Dinner plate
7. Knife (blade facing plate) 8. Teaspoon 9. Iced tea spoon 10. Coffee cup
11. Iced tea glass 12. Water glass

If you want to make your guests feel more comfortable, place dessert forks on individual dessert plates.

If you are not going to serve iced tea, skip placing ice tea spoon next to teaspoon.

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Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 11:26) All utensils should be clean and rinsed with boiling water. 1½ cup plain flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¾ cup whipping cream. Blend together thoroughly. Knead for 15 minutes (it will become less sticky). Roll out to desired thickness. Mark in squares and size depending on your need. Bake until golden at low heat 275° for 20-25 minutes.

A website for other recipes for unleavened bread

              Recipes to Feed Large Groups

Best Ever Cake (Can be cut into 210 pieces)   18-cups sugar, 18-cups flour, 18 eggs, 18-teaspoons soda, 9-teaspoons vanilla, 180 ounces undrained crushed pineapple, 9-cups chopped nuts. Bake in 3 (11x7x2) greased sheet pans at 350° for 30-45 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 325 cookies) Cream together 12-cups butter, 9-cups brown sugar, 9-cups white sugar. Add 24 eggs, 12-teaspoons vanilla, 12-teaspoons water, 12-teaspoons salt, 27-cups flour, 12 packages chocolate chips, (12 ounces package), 12-cups chopped nuts. For best results, chill dough. If you freeze dough, it will have a better consistency. Roll in balls and place on cookie sheets (ungreased). Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cookies (Makes 275 cookies) 9-cups butter or margarine, 9-cups peanut butter, 3-tablespoons salt, 9-cups brown sugar, 9-cups white sugar, 18 eggs, 6-tablespoons, 7-tablespoons vanilla, 22 ½-cups flour, 13 ½-teaspoons soda, 9-teaspoons baking powder, Chill dough. Roll into balls. Dip fork in white sugar to mash cookie. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (Makes 1 quart) ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 2 cups olive oil, juice 1 lemon, ½ cup Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoon honey, 2 garlic gloves, 4-6 chopped basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in blender.

French Dressing: 11/3-cups oil, 2/3-cup vinegar, 1-cup sugar, 1 large can tomato soup, 1-teaspoon salt, 1-teaspoon paprika, ½-teaspoon pepper, 2-teaspoons mustard, juice 1 onion. Blend well.

Ranch Dressing: To make batches of dressing, whisk together: 2-tablespoons dry mix, 2-cups mayonnaise, 2-cups buttermilk, 1½-cups sour cream, 1-teaspoon lemon juice; Refrigerate2 hours. Makes 1¾-Quarts. To make light Ranch Dressing use buttermilk, sour cream and mayo. This tastes better than the purchased light versions.

Dry Mix: ¼-cup black pepper, 1½-cups parsley flakes, ½-cup garlic salt, 2-tablespoons kosher salt, ¼-cup granulated garlic, ¾-cup granulated onion, 2-teaspoons dill weed. Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container (makes about 3½-cups of dry mix). Use 2- tablespoons mix for each batch..

Thousand Island Dressing: 8-cups Miracle Whip, 8-cups ketchup, ¼-cup mustard, 2-cups sugar, 6-cups sweet relish (drain juice from relish), 1-tablespoon salt, 1-teaspoon black pepper. Blend well.

  Tips to Help Feed Large Groups 

  • The best meals to cook for large crowds are spaghetti and meatballs, soups and salads, and casseroles.
  • Have everyone bring a dish and create big buffet.
  • With larger groups, offer more selections.
  • Stick to easy recipes with simple ingredients.
  • Use 6 oz. protein per person meat selection, 1 # 10 can of vegetables per 5 person, 1 potato per person. 1 head of lettuce per 5 people.
  • Use a 9×12 main dish to serve 10-12 people.
  • More choices offered equal smaller portions.
  • Add plenty of bread when feeding large groups.
  • If you are not using chafing dishes, choose foods that taste good at room temperature.
  • For an inexpensive meal, prepare 2 kinds of soups and 2 large salads. Add chips and cut-up veggies.
  • Do not serve tough meats if using plastic utensils.

       Tips to Help Prepare Drinks for Large Groups 

  • Expect guests to drink 2 servings the first hour, and 1 serving each hour thereafter.
  • Use 1 lb. coffee for 50 8 oz. servings (2-cups cream).
  • Use 1-cup tea leaves for 50 8 oz. servings. 
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Planning Meals for Those in Your Church

Great Idea for Pastors’ Wives!

I am staying in the home of Pastor and Mrs. Farinella in Washington State.  As she and I were visiting, she has been sharing different ideas with me.  She shared something with me that will save you as the Pastor’s’ wife much time.  It is a great website to help you organize meals for your members when they have hospital stays, births, funerals, or general illnesses.  You or a staff worker will be the administrator of the website. Your ladies can get on this website and sign up for meals.  Diana said that she sends an email to all her ladies at once informing them of the need. She then gives them the password in that email.  If some of her older ladies have a problem getting on the site, she tells them to call her. After the phone call, she then immediately goes to the website and logs in their information. Check this out!



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Setting an Elegant Tea Table

Gathering Tea Table Linens

1. Search Good Will Stores and yard sales to find dainty linens to use.

2. If you have plenty of time and have a sewing machine, make your own table linens.  Although there are many ready-made table linens, you can make linens that are more beautiful, and  they are more special to those attending your parties because you made them.

  • Measure your table’s length and width, and the height from floor to tabletop.
  • Purchase solid or printed cotton cloth to cover the tabletop.
  • Leave a minimum 12-inch to full-length floor-to-tabletop overhang on each side.
  • Make your tablecloth floor length on all sides for a formal, banquet-hall appearance.
  • Sew lace or eyelet to the edges of your tablecloth.
  • Make matching or contrasting cloth napkins if you wish, or purchase cloth napkins in complementary colors or patterns. Use printed napkins with solid tablecloths and solid-color napkins with printed tablecloths, or the patterns and colors may clash.

Gathering  Tableware

1. Gather enough tea pots that you can use one teapot for every 10 guests. Place 1 pot at the end of  each table. You can use loose-leaf tea or teabags. If using loose-leaf tea, make sure you have a tea ball for each pot.

2. For each table, use decorative service platters for each type of finger sandwich.

3. Serve sugar cubes and lemon wedges, arranged on a tray, and serve cream in cream pitchers that match your teapot. Provide sugar tongs at each table with your sugar trays.

4. You can use teacups, saucers and dessert plates that match your teapot and cream pitcher for formal teas, but mismatched cups, saucers, and dessert plates look beautiful.

5. Provide a silver or fine stainless-steel spoon and a dessert fork per guest.

6. Fold cloth napkins into attractive shapes and place them on each plate, along with a handwritten place card for each guest.

Presenting Food

1. Cut finger sandwiches into quarters, with crusts removed. Line serving trays with fresh spring greens, or lettuce leaves. Stack sandwiches in a floral patterns and garnish with fresh herbs.

2. Arrange ladyfingers, macaroons, or other cookies on a tiered tray. Garnish with candied or real edible flowers.

3. Place fresh fruit in individual dessert papers and place on a serving platter. Garnish with edible  greenery.

4. Use fresh flowers and greenery to decorate the table as needed. Avoid centerpieces taller than 12 inches.

An opening line  for a Tea Party Program

Having tea together reminds us of gentler times of long ago when the ladies were able to sit down, relax, and enjoy drinking tea with their friends. We have set aside this time for you to relax, to forget your worries, and to enjoy each other’s company.

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Ideas for Choosing and Preparing Coffee

Tips for Choosing Good Coffee
People who really appreciate a good cup of coffee can tell if the coffee beans are fresh and of good quality. Someone once told me that if I would store my coffee beans that I just opened in the freezer or refrigerator, that would keep the beans fresh. My brother-in-law set me straight about that myth.

After my husband’s sister and husband retired, they purchased a coffee plantation in the Rain Forest area of Puerto Rico and began to grow coffee. After visiting their farm a few times, I have discovered that growing coffee takes much labor and thought. They are meticulous about growing and processing their coffee beans. The beans are picked by hand and then processed under specialty coffee parameters. When the properly dried beans are hulled in preparations for roasting, they are distributed to different women on the mountain. These women carefully hand pick out the damaged beans. Only the ideal beans are roasted and used in their brand of coffee. Each time I visit their farm, I learn a few more facts about coffee.

1. Arabica beans produce the best coffee. My brother-in-law discovered some Robusta coffee plants growing on his farm. He explained to me that Robusta is not Arabica. Robusta coffee has more caffeine and is more bitter than Arabica.
2. Robusta beans are the beans that are used to blend with commercial grade Arabica coffee to produce a stronger flavored coffee with a darker tint. Robusta beans are from a different family of coffee and generally cheaper than Arabica beans.The word Robusta refers to the type of coffee beans, not to the “robust” flavor.
3. Never store coffee in freezer or refrigerator. When you store in refrigerator or freezer, it deteriorates the flavor. Always store in an airtight, glass container with a rubber seal and keep in a cool, dark place. Never store in a plastic container.
4. Once you grind the coffee beans, and they are exposed to the air, store immediately. Coffee can lose its flavor within two hours if it is not stored properly.
5. After your coffee is brewed, use a thermal glass carafe to keep the coffee hot. This can keep the coffee hot up to five hours, and it seals in the flavor.
6. Never reheat coffee.

Difference Areas of Coffee Production
Arabian – Coffee is usually high in acid and low in mellowness.
Brazilian – Most of the coffee that comes from Brazil is usually very high in acid.
Caribbean – Of Caribbean coffee the best- know good coffee comes from Jamaica. It is usually very expensive, but it is a full-bodied coffee. Lower priced Jamaica Blue Coffee is a blend.
Central America – Coffee is usually rich and full-bodied. Colombian Supreme is the favorite of most people.
Indonesian – An excellent coffee which is lower in acid than other coffee.
African-This is a full-bodied coffee with exceptional sharp flavors that is medium to dark roasted.
Hawaiian-This coffee is grown on the islands in volcanic soil. It has a rich and earthy flavor. Many people who have visited the islands on vacation, continue to enjoy drinking it, because the distinct flavors of the coffee remind them of their vacation.

Different Roasts of Coffee
American – This is the lightest roast.
Viennese – This coffee is slightly darker than American roast. This makes a good after dinner coffee.
French -Since this is a dark coffee, you should plan to use cream and milk.
Italian – This roast is very dark and makes a good espresso.


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Etiquette for Dinner Conversation

Tips  for  Good Conversation

  •  Do not talk about questionable and unpleasant things.
  • Avoid sounding like a know-it-all. Guest’s opinions count too.
  • Be careful about giving advice which has not been requested.
  • Avoid using sarcasm to try to get your point across.
  • Avoid gossiping, because it shows poor taste.
  • Do not be oversensitive (this blocks good communication).
  • Avoid bragging. Don’t talk only about you, your ministry, and your family.
  • To avoid meaningless, boring conversations, keep current on world events.
  • Avoid the tendency to bore others with the same stories.
  • Use discretion when talking about your past misfortunes, illnesses, and surgeries.
  • Be a good listener and be genuinely interested in others.
  • Be teachable (teachability-the opposite of pride).
  • Be accepting as you listen to others. When a person does not feel accepted, he will not want to communicate.
  • Avoid using jargon to try to impress others.
  • When you receive a compliment, say” Thank you” Do not try to justify or make excuse; receive it with dignity.
  • Avoid asking questions about prices and the cost of items.
  • Avoid inquiring about a person’s age (Except inquiring about a child’s age; they don’t mind telling you).
  • Do not make fun of someone else’s nationality.
  • Do not correct another person’s story or happening.
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