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Monday, August 23, 2010

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Theme dinner anyone?

For me, cooking is a less than desirable chore at the end of the work day.  Thus, weekday dinners tend to fall into one of three categories:  cheap eat-outs, frozen, or quick mix.  In the fall and winter I'm more likely to whip up a soup or try my hand at something with a few more ingredients and steps during the week, but I burn out quickly.  Weekends, then?  Restaurants.  Failing that, cereal.  Cold cereal.  Sometimes an antipasto platter or bread with pesto and cheeses if I'm feeling really daring.

Last school year, though, I got my gumption up and tried to plan for more home cooked (thank you, Sandra-Lee Semi-Homemade) weeknight dinners and even some at-home date night suppers for the weekend.  I can be creative when I want to be and one of my favorites was the Verona Night - a theme dinner.  I spent snatches of time online all week looking up the traditional foods of Verona and planned a not-too-complicated menu including a traditional dessert of Juliet's Kisses (again, semi-homemade).  We supped by candlelight and then went out to see Letters to Juliet.  It was fun.  I wanted to try it again.

A couple of months passed and Bruce's birthday was on the horizon.  A local business supporter and semi-green person, he likes the challenge of shopping for all of our gifts locally.  We have fun doing Christmas at flea markets and used bookstores.  He had mentioned wanting to reread some of M.C. Beaton's Hammish Macbeth books.  I found a few at the used bookstores and supplemented with a couple of new copies, wrapped them in green and blue plaid fabric and tied them with a green satin ribbon.  I purchased a c.d. of bagpipe music (yes, I really did) and planned a Highland breakfast.  Scotch Eggs (using vegetarian sausage), oat scones, carandash (I think that's how it was spelled - layers of real whipped cream with brandy - or in my case brandy extract - raspberries and toasted oats), and Scottish breakfast tea.  It was so yummy and so very fun.  I want to try it again.

As the school year gets started, I'm looking forward to the entertainments of the season:  high school football games, school dances, ice hockey, band concerts, theatre, and the return of all the best autumn has to offer by way of cuddling opportunities with one's Honey.  I'm also thinking that another Theme dinner might be on the menu soon.  So, I'll be perusing the offerings at our local independent movie theater, the stage plays coming up, and all the free things our nearby university has to offer (thank you, Missouri State!), and even dvds we haven't watched in so long I've forgotten we have them.  With a little invention, a little investigation, and a little investment of time and effort, our table will be set with a thematic flair once again.

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