Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gourmet Group

Gourmet Group-February 8, 2014
Linda, Michael, Leslie, Ken, Ken, Dave, JoAnne, Cary, Ann, Gary, and Nadya
My friend Nadya is a very special person. She loves people, and has more friends than just about anyone I know, her social calendar is always full.  If you want to book a lunch or coffee date with her you have to get in her calendar about a month in advance.  She is also one of the most genuine person I know. She not only loves people, but really cares about them... that is probably why she attracts friends like flowers attract bees. She is a good listener, but she is also good at sharing her life with you. When I think of Nadya I think of that old song girl scout song "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold." 

Ann, Gary, and Nadya
She has friends from all places in her life, old friends from school, different work places from over the years, her kids schools (since she has six kids she has made many friends through those years), neighborhood friends, and friends from her Temple.  Heck, she probably has friends she has made in line at Meijers, or waitresses from her favorite restaurants! That is one of the things I love most about her.

JoAnne and Cary
I met Nadya many years ago when I worked at a preschool where her 3 youngest children went, and then later I was lucky enough to have her move right up the hill in my subdivision.  We went many years were we did not see each other, but we ran into each other at a neighbors party and reconnected and we did not loose a beat!  

Drinks - White Russians, Black Russians, and Skinny Russians (Michael and Linda)
John and I have been invited to different parties and functions over the years at her and her husband Ken's home, from graduation open houses to engagement parties to Passover dinners (she invited us even though we were the only Christians at the table.)  She opens her home with warm hospitality and generosity to others and everyone feels welcome and blessed to be a part of their "family" of friends.

Ken, Cary, and JoAnne
For the last sixteen years Nadya and Ken have had a group of friends that they have been meeting with for "Gourmet Group."  This group takes turns at each of their houses about every other month for dinner.  They usually have a theme and everyone is assigned a dish to share with the hosts providing the main course. Here is a list of some of the interesting themes they have used over the years...

  • Holiday's
  • Countries
  • Childhood Memories
  • Foods From Costco
  • The School Lunchroom
  • Weight Watchers
  • Chocolate
  • Summer Solstice
  • Lake Party
  • Olympics (Russian)
Appetizer-Grilled Eggplant w/Tomato, Mozzarella, and Grilled Salami (JoAnne and Cary)
I think this is a fantastic idea to do with friends, and having a rotating schedule and a set date and time makes it easy to keep it going.  She explained to me, that they get their calendars out at the beginning of each year and set the dates! One of the things I am most amazed about is that this group has been together for 16 years.  They have really gone through so many of life's milestones together.  They have shared births, deaths, marriages, and divorces together. When you think about it, they probably see each other more than some families!

Appetizers - Herring and Marinated Mushrooms (JoAnne and Cary)
Because I think that this is such a great idea, I ask her if she minded if I posted about their group.  She hosted their most recent dinner party the other night, and I ask her to share some pictures, and of course recipes of their dinner.  Their theme this month was Russian, in honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and by the pictures she shared with me, it looks like they had a fabulous time! Each couple takes turns bringing an assigned dish, and their categories are:

  • Appetizers
  • Soup or Salad
  • Main Course (host)
  • Side Dish
  • Dessert 
  • Drinks

Their menu is posted below if you would like to give it a try!

Russian Chicken w/Feta (Nadya and Ken) 
Carrot Salad (Ken and Leslie)
Dessert-Napoleon Cake w/Ganache (Ann and Gary)
Russian Themed Dinner Menu
Appetizer - Grilled Eggplant w/Tomato, Mozerella, and Grilled Salami
Soup/Salad - Carrot Salad
Main Course - Russian Chicken w/Feta and Rice
Side - New Potatoes Romanoff
Dessert - Napoleon Cake w/Ganache
Drinks - Black Russians, White Russians, and Skinny Russians

Recipe for Russian Chicken w/Feta from Allrecipes.com
Recipe for New Potatoes Romanoff from Food.com

I also have a group of dear friends who meet for dinner often. We go to each others homes, or go out to dinner, or special events. We don't necessarily have a set schedule or a theme, but we try to do it at least once a month. Our next gathering is at our house for Valentines Day. We are hosting a "sweet heart dinner" and I have some fun couples games planned for the evening! They really feel like family to me, and I feel blessed to have them in my life.  

My hope by sharing others creative ideas like this, it will encourage you to give some of them a try.  Gather your friends around your table for a game night, dinner, or just coffee and dessert. Share your lives with each other and start making memories... you will be so glad you did!

Культивирование Дружат,
(Cultivating Friendships - Russian)

PS - If you have a creative idea that you enjoy doing with your friends I would love to hear about it!

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