Friday, November 28, 2014

Simple Pleasures with Good Friends

Do you have some unfinished projects that are in the back of your closet or stuffed in a drawer? 

Every month for the last three years, a group of friends gather at my home for Craft Day. We sit around a table and work on unfinished projects. Some people work on knitting, others are jewelry makers, some work on paper crafts, while others quilt or assemble photo books. We drag projects out of our closets that might not have seen the light of day again. We have a few hours together, but most of all, we chat about children, grandchildren, recipes, restaurants, vacations and problems.

We take a break at noon for "Stone Salad" (named after the children's story, 'Stone Soup') and soup. I provide the greens and the soup while everyone else brings just one item to add to the salad. Nuts, roasted vegetables, salsa, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, cheese, and dried fruit have all been added to the greens along with deviled eggs and home made rolls on the side. We bring whatever is handy so that no one has to work too hard to make a contribution. We are always surprised by the variety when all of the ingredients are assembled. Then we finish with scrumptious home made desserts.

At the end of the day, we have all made a little progress on our projects. Best of all, we have had a chance to enjoy each other's friendship again. When I started the Craft Days, I wasn't sure if the idea would catch on. Now I know it works because each person who comes brings with her a willingness to share.

When we first got together, we each made a postcard with a word or phrase that inspires us. I think those words have lead us to new adventures on Craft Day! 

Here's a recipe for Sweet Potato Soup that was just perfect for November's Craft Day!

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt
1 pear, peeled and cubed
3 ½ to 4 cups of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp. paprika
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
¼ to ½ cup of heavy cream
chopped pecans for garnish

Roast sweet potatoes at 425 degrees for 20 minutes
put sweet potatoes and pear in food processor and puree
Add broth and blend again
Add paprika and nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour into stock pot and heat through
stir in ¼ cup of heavy cream 
To serve: spoon into soup bowls. Add a small circle of heavy cream and garnish with pecans

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