Last month, I hosted lunch for eight and I kept the menu really simple and it worked out so well. All of our guests said the soup was delicious. I was so happy!
I basically have one set of ‘dressy’ dishes: the china we registered for for our wedding. Nine years later, and I’ve managed not to break any of the place settings. The dishes are Mikasa’s Cameo Platinum setting and I like them because they are simple (white) and elegant (platinum edging). Since I pretty much always use the same dishes, it’s fun to create different looks with the other table decor. This time, I used silver chargers as well. I found them at Goodwill a few months back but I noticed Michael’s carries them too (and right now they are on sale!).
In the center of the table, I placed a glass vase of corks, disco ball, small bunches of fresh flowers, sparkly mini pumpkins, and a candle on top of a piece of burlap. I made sure there was still room for the two main food items: soup & salad.
I put the faux wood ceramic server on the table as a trivet to have a place for the hot pot of soup and the salad bowl was placed on the other side. I like using my faux apples for place card settings, but I changed it up and used fresh leaves from the yard as place cards instead. I wrote the names on the leaves with a gold Sharpie paint marker.
I made my own Shrimp & Corn soup, which warmed us up on a cold day, along with a chopped salad.
5 slices bacon
4 celery stalks diced
1 small yellow onion diced
2 parsnips (cut into pieces)
3 medium red potatoes (peeled and cut into pieces)
4 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
medium sized shelled, deveined shrimp (as much or as little as you prefer)
fresh crushed black pepper
Cook bacon in pan and set aside once cooked. In the same pan, using the oil from the bacon, saute celery and onion with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer sauteed celery and onion to a pot large enough for the volume of soup and pour in chicken broth, water, and potatoes and parsnips. Cook until root vegetables are tender. Use an immersion blender to blend cooked parsnips and potatoes in liquid. Add in cream and then corn to the pot and continue cooking on medium. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once seasoned and ready, add in shrimp and cook until pink and firm. Sprinkle served soup with crumbled bacon and a few slices of green onion. Bon Appetit!
We also enjoyed a wonderful dessert made by one of our guests. The blackberry tartlets were delicious and I’ll have to figure out the recipe to make them again: blackberries in a baked pie crust topped with cream cheese. Easy and yum!
Let me know if you have any other easy lunch menu suggestions or if you try out this soup!
Note: The Projects page has been updated to include a quick reference for recipes too!
I used to make this pie often: with a homemade crust of flour, walnuts, and butter. I hadn’t made it in quite awhile though, since I cut flour out of my diet earlier this year. I recently had a taste for it so I modified the crust to be flour (and gluten) free.
Instead of regular flour, I used ground almonds and a gluten free baking mix to make the crust but I think ground almonds all by themselves would work out just fine.
1 cup ground almonds (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 cup gluten free baking mix
1 stick of unsalted melted butter
Mix ingredients together and press into pie dish. Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and slice two bananas and layer banana slices on top of the crust.
Move on to either making your own vanilla custard filling or follow the package directions for french vanilla instant pudding mix.
1.5 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar (I substituted one dropper full of stevia instead)
Once pudding is cooled, pour into pie crust and top with whipped cream. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to whip the cream, adding in a little stevia and vanilla for flavor while it whipped.
It was so yummy! Let me know if you try it.
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