The Mayes and the Cornelius
These two families know Dan and I really well. We have played cards together, sang karaoke (believe it or not John Mayes has a great voice), ordered pizza, ate homemade food and just always enjoyed each other’s company. When Dan and I ever get invited to one of their houses, we are SO excited. We know that we are going to be able to go over in our comfy clothes and just hang out. No expectations and nothing to stress about.
I will have to highlight the two special ladies from these families, Donna and Jolie. I do believe that whatever is taken away from you, you will end up receiving multiple. Sometimes I fantasize of what life would be like if I had that mother and daughter relationship many may dream about. Nothing seems better to me than showing up to your mom’s house whenever, going shopping together, coming to her house on Sunday and helping her cook a meal or being able to call her late at night because you are crying your eyes out and you need your mom’s comfort.
Donna and Jolie are two moms that have filled some of that void. Jolie always has a way to make me feel special and loved. She reaches out to me when I want to hide. She checks on me often and I have had many hard conversations with her in the past. Donna is a constant encouragement. I would not be where I am today, if it was not for her passing me through my negative thoughts about myself. They lift me up, they show me love and they listen when I can barely speak through the tears.
With that said, I do not want to forget to mention their husbands Ernie and John. Ernie is one of the easiest people to talk to and he tells the best stories. John is probably one of the funniest guys I know. We love both of them so much!
Gimme Some Oven
Shout out to one of my favorite bloggers: Ali from Gimme Some Oven. Her recipes are in correlation to sharing food around the table (perfect, right?). She makes her recipes EASY and delicious. It could not get better.
I made her Ravioli lasagna (WHAT?!). Yup that is right. The two best cheesiest Italian dishes into one. The recipe was great with only one little bit of confusion…(ONLY 1! I am feeling pretty good about myself haha). Her recipe called for two 30-ounce packages of frozen cheese ravioli. I ended up buying the Celentano brand that was in 12 -ounce bags and I bought 5 so it would add up to 60 ounces. Well, I don’t know if it was my baking pan that I was using or the size of the ravioli, but I could only fit 3 bags of the 12-ounce ravioli and I really tried to stuff them in but they need to be in one layer so I couldn't go too crazy. The recipe came out amazing though and everyone got seconds (the best)! I was so nervous about the ravioli cooking right.
Good news is, I know have 2 bags of ravioli that I can use in my freezer! You guys need to make this for company or your family. Check the recipe out HERE! I would also suggest for you to check out Gimme Some Oven! It is a great blog and very popular. I plan on making the “Pasta with Italian Sausage, Kale and Mushrooms” and “20-Minute Thai Basil Chicken” soon.
BTW this recipe uses Italian sausage (YUM) and I am sure anyone could make this. If buying sausage, you NEED to buy it from Lowes Foods. They make their sausage in house and it is always ½ off. The sausage that I chose for this dish was called “The Godfather” (how perfect?).
I made a simple salad to go with this meal because BALANCE. I used bagged lettuce, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and croutons (because an extra crunch is always necessary). The dressing was very simple and let’s face it, homemade salad dressing taste 20x better than bottled dressing from a store shelf.
To make this dressing mix:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp each tarragon, dry mustard, basil
I would also suggest halfing the recipe because it makes a TON and you only need a little bit.
It comes out nice and light and a little goes a long way. You never want to drench your salad leaves with dressing. A nice coating is always the way to go.
I must say; this dessert was the perfect addition to my dinner. Cream Brulee Tart (Shortbread filled with rich fresh vanilla bean custard and finished with a crisp caramelized sugar crust) from La Farm Bakery. If you have not heard of La Farm, you better put on your shoes and head there now. This is a legit French Café and Bakery in Cary. You do not want to miss the fresh bread, the array of French desserts or the appetizing meal choices like Quiche Lorraine.
Friends, one thing I appreciate is homemade dessert. I mean there is nothing like it and I was so excited when The Mayes picked up this dessert to come to my house because it was from a bakery. If I need to go over someone’s house and I cannot make something homemade, I always find a bakery that I can pick something up from. This is way nicer than a carton of Oreos (even though Oreos are life and I could eat all of them).
I probably say this about all my Sunday dinners but this one was extra special to me. The beginning of the day I was feeling stressed out and just in a plain bad mood. I think I might have cried and the last thing I wanted was company over. I texted Jolie and told her what was happening and she told me not to stress and that I could just order pizza. How lovely it was to see that it was not about me cooking but about being with ME. It is not all about the food. It is about the relationship. After drinking tea and taking a couple breaths in the afternoon, I got going with setting up At His Table. My husband and I worked great as a team and this dinner gathering ended up being one of my favorites. I am so lucky. I cannot wait to host next Month’s dinner.