Most of our friends do not come from the same group and this is something, ongoingly, that I lament. I long to have a half dozen couple friends who all hang out, all the time. But for now, I am thankful for what I *do* have. And over the last few weeks, I've realized that some of my loneliness stems from this fact and thus, have tried to set up dinner dates with these friends.
One of my favorite memories of childhood were the nights my mom implemented "pick your own dinnerware." My sister and I had a blast scouring the kitchen for unusual item might hold our meal: a mixing bowl? a juice glass? a serving platter? a cookie sheet? And of course, what utensil(s) we might use to eat our meal: a ladle? a giant serving spoon? a spatula? measuring spoons? We were giddy with excitement for over this one, simple pleasure. Kids are so easily pleased.
I've started this with my own family and I do find it works best with a soup-like meal. My meal of choice has been a taco soup in the crock-pot: 2-3 uncooked chicken breasts, 2 cans of corn, 2 jars of your favorite salsa, and 2 cans black beans. Cook on high for 3 1/2-4 hours, shred chicken and put back in crock-pot, then serve. Top with chips, tomatoes, cheese, greens, and sour cream. So good, healthy, and EASY.
Our friends Jason and Lindsey (who is starting a photography business, including newborn and birth photography; she's so talented!) joined us and rocked silly serving bowls (a star, anyone?), spatulas, and salad tongs. Another night our friends TJ and Jessie joined us and my crazy husband ate his meal out of a teapot. Maggie found it hilarious.
Try it one night, I promise for an entertaining family meal.