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Hostess With The Mostest
"Thank God for His Gift to us, His Son Jesus."
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
My favorite holiday seasons of the year are Thanksgiving and Christmas. For weeks before these special holidays, which take me back to past treasured family memories, my days are filled with great anticipation, excitement, love and preparation, as I carry on our Southern traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas Celebrations
There is an art to entertaining. It is indeed a gift. As a child, born and raised in the South, my Mother and her friend, Mrs. Mayme Runyan taught me not only to cook, but most of all made me understand that it is an art, and a true pure act of service and love.
While living and traveling overseas as a young adult, I became a gourmet cook, and learned how to entertain royally. But my most favorite way of Southern entertaining and cooking has been passed down to me from my family for many generations. One Thanksgiving morning, as someone very dear to me, once said, when they walked into my country kitchen, filled with the rich smelling aroma of all the foods I had prepared for forty guests, “You were born to this!”
Now I know that many women today, do not enjoy cooking or entertaining. And I understand in today’s helter-skelter busy society with all the diversified modern lifestyles, with working women, wives and mothers, that many do not have the time to plan and cook meals for themselves, or their children and families alone, much less time and energy to even think about entertaining guests on holidays.
This is written especially for those of you who do love to cook and entertain. But it is also for those of you who do not have the time, the inclination, or perhaps even the desire, to give you encouragement. It is also for those younger women who have never planned and prepared Thanksgiving and Christmas Lunches and Dinners, but would like to know how and where to start! So in essence, this is for all of you women, no matter who you are, how old you are, where you live, or whatever your lifestyle.
Aspire messages now are viewed in over 48 States, and 43 foreign countries throughout six continents across the globe. So I dedicate this with love to all of you. I praise God for you. I thank Him for each and every one of you. And at this beautiful season I want to reach out in love to all of you throughout the world, as together we join our hearts in unity to thank God for His boundless love, amazing grace and His abundant blessings.
SCRAMBLED EGGS, CHOCOLATE PUDDING ‘N LOVE
I have written and complied a Southern Entertaining and Recipe Book that I plan to self-publish for my children, grandchildren, sisters, family and friends.
I have dedicated my Cook Book to my Mother, Mrs. Mayme Runyan, her daughter Jane Terry, my four sisters, my children and grandchildren.
This is the foreword to my cookbook:
“First! Second! Third! Fourth!” I can still hear the voices of five little girls, me and my sisters stair steps in age, shouting and running up the stairs to the one bath room in our big old Victorian home! These and many treasured memories of my childhood come flooding back to me. Growing up in a small Southern town. Laughing, singing and dancing up the sidewalk after going to see a musical with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, in the little movie theatre, located on the one city block of stores and shops downtown.
But the best memory that stands out most is all the time spent with our neighbors and precious friends, Mrs. Mayme Runyan, and her daughter Jane Terry. On hot summer days my sisters and I would set up a stage under a giant old oak tree in their front yard. We would sing and dance for Jane to her hearts delight. Jane had cerebral palsy, could not sing, talk or dance and was bound to a wheelchair all of her life. On golden days in the Fall we could not wait to come home from school and run across the street from our home to Jane’s to tell her all we’d learned in school that day. We were her eyes and windows to the world outside. Jane loved best the old gospel songs and hymns, when she sat ever so quietly listening, her eyes filled with tears lifted up to God in Heaven. Praise God, Jane and her precious Mother have gone on to Heaven with Jesus And Jane now has a perfect healthy body. I know that she is dancing and singing with Jesus!
Mrs. Runyan was like our second or surrogate Mother to us, and she kept us while my Mother worked at the small hospital in our town. Not only was Mrs. Runyan a saint on earth, but she was the best cook in the entire Tennessee Valley. She was especially known for her cakes and homemade rolls. In her home, life was centered around the kitchen. We loved sampling all her goodies. And licking the homemade creamy white divinity icing from big spoons, and cake batter from electric mixer beaters. Very often we were treated with new recipes she was trying out. On one such night when Mother came to pick us up she asked if we’d had a good day and evening. Our baby sister said, “Mrs. Runyan fed us scrambled eggs and chocolate pudding. Now isn’t that a funny supper?”(In the South we call dinner time, ‘supper time.’)
Yes, Mrs. Runyan had fed us scrambled eggs. But even her scrambled eggs were heavenly! How can someone prepare scrambled eggs in such a way that never before nor since have I ever tasted any so good throughout my long life? What possibly can be so “different” about simple scrambled eggs? Was it in fact, all the joy she put into all she did, even the most mundane tasks? Or all the love she showered us with?
This one evening in particular, Mrs. Runyan had fixed a new recipe of the most unbelievable hot Chocolate Pudding, baked in one dish that made a rich divine chocolate fudge sauce! (I have included the recipe for you at the end of this message, ladies.)
And so to my children, grandchildren, my precious Mother, my four beautiful sisters, and in loving memory of Mrs. Runyan and Jane, who have both gone on to Heaven, I have lovingly and gratefully dedicated my cookbook, and also this message to women all over the world. I can still hear Jane giggling uncontrollably until she just went limp in her wheelchair, at my baby sister’s remark.
Yes, Jane is dancing and singing before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She has an audience with her King seated on God’s Glorious Throne of Grace. And if in fact those in Heaven do eat, her precious Mother, Mrs. Runyan is humbling serving Jesus her delicious scrambled eggs and divine chocolate pudding, with love. Just as she served others on this earth, including my sisters and me, with the love of Jesus. Our lives were so much richer, fuller and blessed because of her. She taught us the true meaning of God’s Divine Love and Jesus’ Amazing Grace.
One of Mrs. Runyan’s and Jane’s favorite songs was ‘Come Home. It’s Suppertime.’ When I hear that song, my eyes fill up and overflow with tears of joy and gratitude, and I am reminded of the “funny supper” and all the other suppers Mrs. Runyan lovingly cooked and served us. Otherwise my sisters and I would have gone to bed hungry many nights, without supper. I know that Jane is singing that song in Heaven. And she and her Mother, and Jesus are laughing together as they share that story of my baby sister. And Jesus is saying to Mrs. Runyan, “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Thank You for sharing My love.” They are waiting for us. And I look forward to the time that we can all be together for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. As Jesus calls us all, ‘Come Home. Come Home. It’s suppertime!’
And I want to say to each of you now, if you do not know Jesus, go to our prayer of salvation. Jesus is calling to you. ‘Come Home My beloved. I am waiting for you. I love you.’ ”
SANDRA’S SOUTHERN THANKSGIVING DAY CELEBRATION MENU
“We Gather Together To Ask The Lord’s Blessings.”
Turkey and Cornbread Sage Dressing Chicken and Dumplings
Honey Baked Ham
Sweet Potato Casserole Broccoli, Cheese and Rice Casserole
Squash Casserole Fresh Green Beans
Fresh Cream Corn English Peas with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions
Southern Orange and Coconut Ambrosia Potato Salad
Copper Pennies Cranberry Sauce Fresh Cranberry and Orange Relish
Cole Slaw Pickles/Olives/Corn Relish Homemade Rolls
Pumpkin Pie Carrot Cake Orange Cake with Divinity Icing
Pecan Pie Derby Pie
Coffee, Iced Tea and Mints
PLANNING, PREPARING AHEAD
Two Weeks Before Thanksgiving
1. HOUSE CLEANING. I do a deep thorough cleaning of my home from floor to ceiling in each room. I usually do this in two days, however you may wish to take a room or two at a time. First pick up all clutter throughout the house. This makes it much easier and faster to clean.
2. MENU. I make out a Menu of what I want to serve for Thanksgiving Lunch or Dinner
I usually serve lunch and guests stay throughout the day and have seconds for dinner.
3. GROCERY LIST. I then get out all my recipes and make out a grocery list of all items to be sure that I do not have to go running back to the store when I begin preparing and cooking meal.
I even jot down how much each item will cost, then add it all up. With the meal I prepare, it does get rather expensive. And at times, I may decide to cut back on some of the dishes or desserts, to save cost. However, I do like to go all out for both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I have so many traditional dishes that my family loves. And different members of my family like different things. So there is plenty of “something for everyone!” I don’t usually care for leftovers. But I love and enjoy these leftovers for the next few days!
Saving Cost. So actually, you may spread the cost over several days, and consider that if you plan it accordingly, your Thanksgiving meal will be enough food for days. And after all the cooking I do not want to cook for days afterward or even see my kitchen! (Smile) When you consider what you may spend over a period of three days for meals, then the cost is not so staggering! After several days of these rich and tasty leftovers, then what my family and I enjoy and want is simply a big pot of chili. Or a pot of pinto beans and cornbread! So for what many of you women may spend for groceries over a period of a week, when added up, may be a lot more than you spend on Thanksgiving (or Christmas) meal. So I plan and budget and have low cost meals for days or perhaps a few weeks afterward. It all will average out in this way. And you won’t feel as though you have been too extravagant or splurged!
Thanksgiving Week- Planning, Cooking and Baking
Monday -Grocery Shopping - Do not wait ladies until a few days before! The stores will be so crowded and many things picked over, or some things may be out of stock! Empty shelves!
Clean out Refrigerator and Freezer - to be sure you have plenty of storage space.
Tuesday-Bake Desserts. Prepare Casseroles. Anything that can be refrigerated or even frozen ahead of time. Take TURKEY out of freezer and DEFROST IN THE REFRIGERATOR.
Wednesday- Cook fresh vegetables. Make fresh relishes, slaw. Prepare everything for Ambrosia and salads so all you will need to do Thursday morning is mix the ingredients.
Bake Turkey. I usually prepare and place my turkey in oven that evening and allow it go cook all night. I want to make sure it is well done, so I do a slow roast oven.
I fill all salt and pepper shakers. Place new sticks of butter in several butter dishes. Fill up your sugar bowl. Put artificial sugar in pretty bowl. And place candy dishes with holiday after dinner mints, and gourmet chocolates throughout the house.
I put out fresh towels, linens and tissue, in all baths, with special guests soaps, lotions and fragrant holiday room sprays. Many times I do like to use the pretty decorative paper individual guests towels.
Set Table. I always pull out my best china and silver for holidays. And ladies, I also use my special china sets, often for anniversary, birthday and other special occasions. Or sometimes for no occasion.
I am fortunate to have several antique sets of china from Alex’s Mother that I love. Many women put things up and just pull them out a few times a year. But I love using the antique china, silver and glassware often. And I keep many lovely sentimental antique pieces of treasured glassware, Waterford cut glass-crystal, china, throughout my home. Actually every thing in my home has a very special meaning. A story. Many are gifts from family and friends. Others are things I collected while living and traveling overseas. And I love to see them and enjoy everyday.
If I am having fewer guests, I set a full table. But if having many guests I place stacks of china serving plates on a buffet or side table, and sometimes wrap silver ware in napkins and tie holiday ribbons around them.
Fresh Flower Centerpiece and Candles for Main Table- Most of the time I make my own flower arrangements. I love going to the grocery store and buying fresh cut flowers. For those of you that may not enjoy making your own, the grocery stores make beautiful ones. And they are less expensive than a florist. Sometimes I do splurge though, as I love having special arrangements from my favorite florist. I usually keep fresh flowers in my home all the time. My favorite flowers are roses, camellias, magnolias, peonies and gardenias. But for each holiday, I love the flowers for the season.
And I use candles all year. Ladies, make many meals special throughout the year, just by placing and lighting candles at dinnertime. I even did it when my children were young. They loved the festivities, fun and flair. Also have special date night dinners for your husbands and use flowers and especially candles. Or when you have friends or family over, know they will appreciate all those added special touches.
Set up card tables and patio tables if warm enough to eat outside. I like to coordinate colors of tablecloths with matching napkins for each table. And for smaller tables I use bud vases with same flowers and candles as large table centerpiece. I usually always use real cloth tablecloths and napkins, as I do not like plastic and paper. One year I actually had a large bolt of rather inexpensive Christmas holiday material with white background, and tiny sprigs of green holly with red berries all over it - and had a large table cloth made for formal dining table and some smaller ones card table size and dozens of matching napkins.
With almost every thing done with thoughtful and practical planning ahead, I have very little left to do on Thanksgiving morning. This means I have a pleasant nights rest and sleep if I am not too excited! Get up refreshed and can truly enjoy celebrating with my guests. And be the ultimate relaxed, cordial, warm and thoughtful hostess. I take off my apron, and change from a “Martha in the kitchen” to a “Mary”, so I can sit and really listen, and have a wonderful visit with my family and other guests.
Usually all I have left to do is to mix potato salad and southern ambrosia. Heat up casseroles and vegetables. Prepare a fresh relish/pickle/olive dish. Heat homemade rolls. Have my husband carve the turkey. Early in morning make fresh tea giving it plenty of time to cool. And fill lots of pretty glass tea pitchers full, making both sweetened and unsweet. Bring out the desserts to display on a separate table, complete with dessert plates, forks, spoons and napkins, set out the night before.
I usually prefer serving a buffet style lunch or dinner. And all guests may serve their own plates, and feel free to go back for seconds, which will still be warm. I use electric heating dishes, bread warmers, electric skillets, as well as the eyes on stove to keep everything warm. And keep a fresh pot of coffee brewing with plenty cups and saucers, spoons, sugar and special creamers
And one thing I always do ladies, is make sure I have plenty of crushed ice. I never like to have to send my husband or call someone at the last minute to bring ice! Although my icemaker is a wonderful luxury and is one thing I don’t think I could do without, I always get many bags of crushed ice and have in freezer. I always remember while overseas that there never seemed to be enough ice. Never in restaurants. And I did not have the luxury of one in my home overseas, nor when I returned to the States for a long time. I think they are most wonderful inventions! Ice makers and dish washers! I am thankful for them! They make my life so much more enjoyable.
Before my guests arrive, I light candles all over the house. And choose and put on special music that is piped in throughout our home. After all my guests arrive we always gather them all around in a circle of love, with everyone holding hands. I like to go around the circle and ask everyone what they are most thankful for recently, or to share a special blessing. My sweet husband, Alex, leads us in a Thanksgiving prayer. And we are most blessed as the beautiful sounds of melodious holiday music blends harmoniously with the voices and laughter of our wonderful family and friends. So many beautiful holiday memories, festive occasions, and celebrations so completely fill the “evergreen places in my heart”.
MANY OTHER DETAILS -BUT MOST IMPORTANT - ENJOY-
ENTERTAIN IN THE WAY YOU LOVE, OR WHAT IS UNIQUELY YOU!
You Do Not Have To Entertain The Way Others Do!
Make It Easy On Yourself! Do What You Are Totally Comfortable With!
As recently I have seen so many special articles, messages and helpful hints, on planning and preparing for the holidays, in magazines, newspapers, on television and internet, I have not written all the details of what I do in preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. These I have included in my special Holiday Entertaining Cookbook that I wrote for my children years ago.
HOT FUDGE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Mrs. Mayme Runyan’s Recipe
Quick. Easy. Delicious!
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
Place pan or teapot of water on stove and bring to boiling hot.
Sift the following dry ingredients together:
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons baking powder
Mix dry ingredients together with:
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix in 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Pour into an ungreased deep baking dish
Mix 1 cup brown sugar with 1/4 cup cocoa and pour on top of batter.
Measure 1 3/4 cup of boiling water and pour over top of batter.
Put immediately in oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
Cake will rise to top and will make its own rich chocolate sauce in bottom of baking dish.
Serve hot with ice cream and/or whipped cream and cherry on top.
If you would like any recipes from my Thanksgiving Feast, please write to us
HAPPY THANKSGIVING. MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU!
Your Guardians of the Gate,
Sandra Bontemps and Janis Smith
You may subscribe here to InJesus,
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from Aspire Ministries.
Author Sandy Cox