Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebrating A Friend's birthday with a special meal.

                         ~Taking The Time~ to celebrate a Special Friend's Birthday at my home.

Bonnie and I have known each other since Junior High.  We found out about 20 plus years ago that we lived on the roads behind each other. We have become very close through the years. Being there for each other during hard times, family times and just being true great friends.!  I was so busy making the meal this morning, that I did not put lipstick on, guess I needed that glass of wine to give me some color. And I was a little tired, trying to get everything ready by 12pm! 

We usually go out to eat at a restaurant on our birthdays. But this year I decided to have her here and make a homemade meal for her.  It has been quite cool outside now that Fall has arrived. So figured I would make a hot meal, have a fire on and stay cozy.  Plus a glass of red wine, helped with the coldness. :-)

We usually give each other a small "Thinking of you " gift. The mums on the table are one of her gifts.  I also gave her a Friendship candle holder.

I wrote something on this package about having childhood memories of long ago. She is smiling as she is reading it so that is a plus .  

   The gift was Magnetic Paper Dolls!!  Something we played with long ago before Barbies and American Girl Dolls!  She was so excited with this gift. A step back in time of happy memories is always good.  I had found these in a catalog and thought I would get them for her. I had also ordered a few more to give to some other senior friends. She wanted to play with the Magnetic Dolls right away. But after cooking all morning, I was hungry. So we decided to put it on hold and ~Take the Time~ another day.! :-)

I decided to make a hot meal for the type of day that it was. So I found a recipe in the new Southern Living Magazine that I had just received in the mail.  The menu I choose to make was:  Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings served with Strawberry Salad.

I started some of the preparations the night before to save me time in the morning. Everything would be going into the crockpot. It took some time to cut up the vegetables, I have a new Food Processor on my counter that would  have been so much easier to use. Instead I did the old fashion way of hand slicing every thing.

                                           Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings
                                                           (makes 8 servings)

3 skinned, bone -in chicken breasts ( about 1 1/2 lbs.)
6 skinned and boned chicken thighs (about 1 lb.)
1 tsp. salt.
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

2 cans (103/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (32-oz) container chicken broth

1/2 lb. carrots sliced

1/2 lb. Parsnips sliced

 4 celery ribs sliced
1 sweet  onion chopped


1. Prepare Chicken:
Rub chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Place breasts in a 6-qt. slow cooker; top with thighs.  Add carrots and next 3 ingredients.  Whisk together soup and broth until smooth. Pour soup mixture over vegetables.  Cover and cook on High 3 1/2 hours or until chicken shreds easily with a fork.  Bone and shred chicken.  Stir chicken into soup-and -vegetable mixture.  Cover and cook on High 1 hour or until boiling.

2. Cornbread Dumplings


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flower
1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter, melted


1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp.chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2. Meanwhile:
Prepare Dumplings. Whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients.  Make a well in center of mixture  add milk , butter, thyme, and parsley to dry ingredients., gently stirring just until moistened.

3. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls into simmering chicken mixture, leaving about 1/4 inch space between dumplings.  Cover and cook on High 30 to 35 minutes or until dumplings have doubled in size. 


Than I made a Strawberry Salad to serve with the hot meal.  This also was in the Southern Living magazine.

                                                                Strawberry Salad

1 (16 oz) package fresh baby spinach
2 cups  quartered strawberries
1 1/4 cups crumbled feta cheese.
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bottled vinaigrette
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds. ( I used walnuts)
Makes 8 servings.

Toss all ingredients together and chill until ready to use.                                  

We really enjoyed both dishes. Bonnie went home with a copy of both recipes.  They are both something I would make again.
I have this tendency to make some type of new recipe when  we have company. Never trying it before the company comes. I have been fortunate to have made the right  choices .  Hope I can keep doing that. I am sure there will come a day when my experiments will not tickle someone's fancy. 

Now the dessert. This is my own recipe of putting some ingredients together. Started off by making a 3-2-1 cake.  This recipe was given to me by another school friend. It is so simple and just love making it. 

                                                                    3-2-1- Cake
All you need is a box of Angel Food cake mix and another box of any other flavor that you like. Mix the two boxes of mix in a large plastic sealer bag.
A coffee cup, perferably one with a wider base.
1 Tablespoon

You take out 3 tablespoons of the mixed cake mix. Put it in your coffee cup.  Add 2 tablespoons of water.  Mix together and put in the microwave for 1 minute.  Give a few minutes to cool. Than take out of cup.  Than you can use it for however you wish.  Some just like it with a cup of tea or coffee and not add anything to it.  It is a great idea for children to make their own miniature cake. It is so simple and who would have thought this would work.

Anyhow, the two mixes I made were Angel Food and Spice Cake mix.  I had some apples, so I chopped them up real small, added some cinnamon and cooked them until slightly soft.

     Took individual vanilla pudding cups to use in the parfait dessert I was going to make with the spice cake and cooked apples.     I put one of the small cakes on the bottom of the dessert dish. Than put some of the cooked chopped apples on top of the cake.  Next used half a cup of the pudding. Than did another layer in the same order.

And this is the dessert I came up with.  We had it later with a cup of coffee.

The day turned out well. And even though it was a cold cloudy day, we had the warmth of our lunch and our friendship to share.

Hope everyone has a good week. And  ~Take
The Time~ to share a special occasion with a dear friend.
Whether it be an old friend or a new friend.  "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold."


  1. Yeah! A new post :-). Everything looks wonderful, you have always been wonderful at entertaining and I know you made her birthday extra special.

    Love, Jill

    1. Jill,
      A new post because I kept getting e-mails from a certain someone to put on a new post. lol

  2. How wonderful Eileen, to have such a long time friend, and one who lives so close too! The lunch looked so delicious! I loved the fire going in the background too.
    Fun to see a post! Love all of your warm comments Eileen!!!
    XO Kris

    1. Thank you Kris,
      I have been fortunate to keep in touch with many old school friends. Even though we have all moved to different areas from where we grew up. Even if we don't see each other, just knowing we are there for each other is a great feeling. And knowing that we, as we grow older, have the support of each other during the aging process.:-)
      Have a great week,

  3. A lovely meal with a good friend -- sounds like a great day. Your chicken and dumplings looked great! And I do the same thing - try new recipes out on company. :)

    1. Hi Patty,
      Yes, this has been my thing ever since I have been married. Have always entertained alot and always experiment with new recipes on our friends. We still have the same friends after 46 years so guess I am doing something right. lol
      The Chicken-cornbread recipe was delicious, I sent it home with her. And plan to make it again for my husband's old school friend, that will be staying with us for a few days. At least this one has been pre-tested.:-)


Thank you for visiting. Each and every comment is appreciated.
Enjoy your day and all the good things life has to offer.