A Little Inspiration

This weekend my friend Renee took me to Laura's Tea Room in Ridgeway, South Carolina. For pictures, directions and schedules, go here: http://laurastearoom.com/ It was some much-needed girl time and exactly what we needed. It's a sweet shop on the corner of a picturesque town, and the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of capitol city living for a while.

But what I didn't realize was that I would get a jump-start to my culinary creativity.

If you're searching for some great, fresh ideas for cooking, decorating and entertaining, look no further than your favorite restaurants. While we were out this weekend, I noticed that the most memorable, special places we go are the ones that make the dining experience fun and extraordinary.

There were several tables in the tea room, none 0f them alike. Each one was color-coordinated and everything matched like they were designed that way. We were served on antique dishes, with matching napkin rings and silverware. There were even fresh flowers and a view to die for. Even the sandwiches were cut into shapes and the sherbet was served in a tiny frosted mug.

I'm not asking you to spend tons of time using cookie cutters on your sandwiches or freeze tiny mugs for desserts. I'm not even asking you to match everything or fold a napkin. All I'm suggesting is that we as keepers of the home make dinnertime, perhaps the few minutes of the day we'll see our family, a little more special.

In the back of your cabinets there is probably some special china that you never use. Pick one evening coming up and pull it out. Even meatloaf will taste better when served in style.

Use quality ingredients, showing that you truly care about what your family eats.

Eat a meal together as a family at the table, not on tv trays on the couch.

Surprise one member of your family each night this week with their very favorite meal. What a fabulous gift - making someone feel special. It may have been awhile since you pulled that recipe out of the book, so start your planning now.

If you have to eat peanut butter and jelly some days, have a little picnic on the living room floor. Even an inexpensive meal can seem lavish if you set the atmosphere.

Dinner is not just another chore of the day. It's an opportunity to fulfill your God-given role of serving your family. When we look at the evening meal as an opportunity to care for our loved ones, providing them with both sustenance and substance, we get a serious attitude adjustment.

What can you do for dinner this week that is special, unique, different, out-of-the-box and family-oriented? Let me know how your creative juices get flowing!

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