Gratitude comes in many forms — and flavors.
It’s somewhat ironic that the last week I’ve got a quiet home before the kids are home for the summer is always one of my busiest — and my kitchen gets even more of a work out than usual.
First up, there was the retirement party my amazing friend Karmen threw for two beloved teachers.
Karmen did all the planning, organizing and work — I just had to show up an hour before and help set up.
Look at the hand-sewn banner she made to go with the Voodoo Donut color scheme.
(There is some kind of school rule forbidding any homemade treats at parties so Karmen picked up three hundred donuts, instead).
She made a tower of these Voodoo Donuts — and the couple hundred kids assembled could not be more excited to delve in.
These two teachers, Sarah and Carol, are beloved by staff, parents and kids alike and generous funds were gathered to buy them each a new Ipad as a parting gift.
Don’t you just love the look of surprise on their faces?
Gosh I love these two and our principal Terry (who’s also retiring).
It’s going to be a very different place without them.
(Good job, Karm!)
Next up, I was asked to help out with a brunch at Kathy’s house. She’s the PTA chair and every year for the last couple years she hosts a fundraiser in her beautiful house across the street from the school.
Yesterday was that day.
Christine usually takes the lead on the majority of dishes, and I make dishes that go with hers.
Christine is an accomplished cook and baker and is able to whip up things like this in her sleep.
She also made a wonderful batch of scones and granola plus an avocado salad.
All I had to do was make some oven-roasted Yukon Gold and Butternut Squash Hash
and a batch of mini frittatas with caramelized onion, lox and green onion.
(thanks Kathy and Christine — well done!)
After the food was all plated I took a few minutes to hang out with some friends there, but I couldn’t stay long as I had dozens more yet to feed.
You see, I’d also promised lunch for a number of teachers at school (and not one to go small, I’d made enough to feed a small army).
The Red Lentil Soup recipe was one my friend Amy introduced me to in December when she came to my televised Soup Swap (you can read about that and find the recipe here).
It’s a surprisingly simple recipe but with a deep reservoir of flavor and because it’s vegan, you know it’s good for you.
The Greek Lemon Soup starts with a rich homemade chicken stock and then I add diced chicken, rice and lots of lemon (both zest and juice) plus egg yolks whisked in for added richness.
This time I added lots of roasted squash, grilled corn, and cilantro, too.
I refilled this tray 3 more times with soup, and enjoyed just popping into classrooms while the teachers were taking lunch break (many of whom had forgotten to pack themselves something to eat on this last day and were grateful for a cup of something warm).
I met quite a few staff I’d not met before and also bumped into some of my favorite teachers from previous years.
And so with yesterday being the last day of school, it was the perfect time to show some gratitude to this hardworking group.
A big thanks to all the gals who helped by cooking, baking, organizing, hosting or countless errands this week. I’m surrounded by generous and talented cooks and friends.
And even bigger thanks to the teachers and staff at our school; nothing is more difficult (or potentially important) than spending all day with these young adults, working to shape them into responsible, compassionate, savvy and independent thinkers and citizens.
Take a look at this.
I looked over after my soup party and I saw this massive group hug forming around Carol.
And here’s the best thing about coming home from yet another event.
That moment when you kick off your shoes and suddenly remember that you saved a few small treats for you and yours.
Like these Dark Chocolate and Skor Brownies.
While it’s cold and rainy right now, today is the first free day from school, meaning that around here, summer has officially begun.
(Cue ice cream trucks, lazy hammock afternoons and multi-kid sleepovers).