We have so much fun when we are all together! The fire crackles in the fire place, my cousin “Shag” is tending the bar, making sure everyone has a drink in hand and while he’s making jokes, making everyone laugh, while we are all catching up. My little “nieces” Sarah and Elizabeth are hanging with me being big girls before the big feast. Sarah is a cook so we always talk everything “kitchen and recipe”. I just bought her first cookbook this Christmas.

Our crazy family get-togethers always work us up into a frenzy to tell stories, laugh a lot, but most importantly, eat the best foods we all expect from Sandra. For more casual occasions, we are assigned to bring side dishes, but for this formal occasion, we savor tonight’s dinner. Sandra is an excellent cook. My cousin Sandra not only sets a gorgeous table, but she covers it with beautiful foods filled with love. She has excellent taste and knows how to make everything looks special. (Sandra is in the middle fireplace picture sitting in the red chair on the right in the cute black pants outfit!)
I look forward to her dinners, because she makes us feel special. She is a collector, so everything she serves is on a special plate, napkin, glass, cup, on a special serving tray or or pottery bowl that has meaning and a story. It is fun to hear how she found each piece or from whom she inherited it. Her mother, my aunt Jean, is also an avid collector and has even more stories just as colorful as was my mother. As you can see from Sandra’s antique collecting in these rooms, she has a knack for making her home a warm and welcoming place just like her table.
Look at this amazing appetizer Sandra served in this whimsical contemporary bowl and plate. It shows you can mix traditional with contemporary, which is what all young brides and young people should do. This appetizer was a mixture of 8 oz cream cheese, 4 oz bacon, 4 oz minced dates, 2 tablespoons of milk, 2 scallions, and balsamic reduction drizzled over. It was delicious without being too filling. Sandra also had fabulous seasoned pecans in collectable crystal bowls. We could nibble while enjoying a cocktail without ruining our appetites for her amazing dinner.
Needless to say, dinner was fantastic, as was desert. Paul got his guitar out and John should have brought his. Paul backed up little Elizabeth and Sarah as they put on a show with their keyboards and guitar to play and sing songs after dinner. Hearing their sweet voices and Paul’s acoustic guitar and all of us in the room smiling made me so happy that we were home with my wonderful Nashville family. So share lots of good food, music, laughter, love, and enjoy your extended family!!! Have a very happy and healthy 2015!!