The Party is over…..it is time to call it a day….ok, for those of you who follow me, you know I am talking about two things here. First, on Saturday…the Kansas Jayhawks ended their run for the final four dance. They made it past the first and second rounds on to the sweet 16 and finally to the elite 8, but they didn’t have the “stuff” to make it on to the final four. I really thought they could have gone all the way, but alas…they had to get on the plane and go back to Lawrence, Kansas. But that is ok…they did win the Big 12 championship and they were a great team! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Secondly, the big Easter dinner party is over too! I love planning and executing all the details around a dinner party or family gathering! And I won’t sugar coat it….it is a lot of work, but for me it is rewarding work.
So yesterday, after the last piece of carrot cake was eaten and the last dish was carried in from the Lanai and the last guest had hugged and said good-bye….the Captain and I began the clean-up! I did something a little different this year…instead of saying “don’t worry about the dishes, we will get them later” as I usually do, I let my guests help when they offered. Of course, it was minimal, but it made a big impact on the clean-up. I planned ahead this time. I went to the dollar store and purchased about 6 white plastic tubs. These tubs come in handy for so many things in the past…I have used white plastic tubs to put the ice cream freezer in while cranking ice cream and I have used white plastic tubs to hand wash a piece of delicate lingerie, I have used these stack-able little tubs while camping and I could go on and on. But this time I used the tubs for assisting with the clean up.
I also set up a dish, glass, desert plate and flatware station in the laundry room. I laid towels to cover the folding counter and set a bottle of dish washing liquid along side. Then, I filled the 4 white tubs with a bit of warm water. When my guests asked how they could help, I directed each to a certain dinnerware. Example: one was in charge of picking up all flatware and placing them in one of the tubs and adding a bit of dish washing liquid and sloshing around just a bit. Then the guest was to leave that tub…their part of the cleaning was done. I did this with the dinner plates, the glasses, and the desert plates. Not only were the dirty dishes out of my kitchen, they were soaking nicely so that after the guests left….they just needed to be swooshed around in my kitchen sink of sudsy water, rinsed and the Captain dried them and put them away. The best part was while the guests were on their mission to assemble the flatware etc…I was making “care packages” for them to take home. I used disposable plastic with lids and chinese take-out cartons! Not only was my kitchen cleaned….my fridge was not over loaded with left overs. Perfect!
After the Captain and I finished the dish cleaning…we went around the rooms and fluffed pillows, put back furniture and placed the house back in order. Had it been a late party, we would have just left the dishes soaking til morning….but everyone left fairly early giving us time to tidy up before sitting in the Secret Garden sipping our wine.
A perfect ending to a perfect day!
So today, the day after our Easter feast….(I did keep a few left overs for the Captain and me)….while I reheated ham for our lunch, I whipped up the wonderful bread pudding, recipe below, using pineapple and maraschino cherries….and yes, the left over home-made dinner rolls with a few slices of white bread. What a wonderful treat as I did not keep any of the carrot cake from yesterday’s menu for ourselves.
Do you my dear readers have any tips for cleaning up after a family gathering or special dinner? I would love to hear about them!
Have a great day and blessings to all!
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- one small can of pineapple slices (6-8 slices in it, with juice, not heavy syrup)
- maraschino cherries
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 can of condensed milk (16ounces)
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1/4 cup of golden raisins (optional)
- 8 cups of white bread cubes (about 1/2 inch and day old is always better for puddings and stuffings)
- Mix the butter and brown sugar and lay over the bottom of an 8X8 baking dish
- Arrange the pineapple slices on the bottom, whole or half, but if you use half it seems there is more pineapple for the top of the pudding. Strategically place maraschino cherries between the pineapple slices.
- Whisk together the eggs, condensed milk, pineapple juice, vanilla, raisins and 1/4 cup of butter. Add in the bread cubes allowing the eggs to soak into the bread (about 15 minutes)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Gently spoon the egg soaked bread over the pineapple slices and cherries.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown (be sure the bread is not soggy in the middle, if it is put back into oven for about 5 more minutes)
- When bread pudding is done....loosen the sides with an icing spreader or case knife. Place a plate on the top and carefully flip (using hot pads) the bread pudding onto the plate.