3/6/09

No Rigidity & Upside-Down Chip Cake!


Remember the delicious cake that our guests brought to our house for dinner last weekend? I love how my friend Karen changed the recipe up a bit, to make it less complicated!

But let me back up a bit to that night …

Spot on the cloth
Even though I found a spot or two on my Williams Sonoma tablecloth while setting the table for my guests, I didn’t freak out! I knew that the intimate time we were about to have with our friends, Jeff and Karen, would be our focus – not the spot on the cloth!


Husband comes first
One hour before the guests were to arrive I realized that I had not really spent quality time with my husband that day.

So putting all rigidity aside, I felt the freedom to call our guests and push the dinner time back ½ hour.

Hubs and I were able to connect and relax


Read & talk with classical music playing


Even Haggis hung with us


Let rigidity go
Pushing all rigidity aside, I’ve learned to go with the flow. The table I had set for 7 needed to be changed to 5, as our kids started making other plans for the evening. Our dinner would be 4 adults and one 2nd grade boy! What a combination!


Just in case our “little” guest didn’t eat salmon


Changing the dinner time, (I would not have felt comfortable doing this if my guests were already on their way), re-arranging my table, preparing last minute Mac & Cheese, and living with spots on my tablecloth have helped me realize that things will never be perfect.
I’ve learned that going with the flow actually makes me a more gracious hostess!

Would you have felt comfortable calling your guests and pushing the dinner time back, if it gave you more time for you and your husband to connect?


Upside-Down Chip Cake
3 T butter
½ c. brown sugar
4 t. water
½ c. coconut
½ c. chopped pecans
Preheat over to 350. Melt the 3 T. butter in a 9x1 1/2 in. round baking pan. Stir in the 1/2 c. brown sugar and the water. Sprinkle coconut and pecans in the pan. Set aside.

Cake from scratch
1 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ c. packed brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
½ c. milk
¼ c. butter
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
¾ c. mini semisweet chocolate chips
In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, gran. sugar, cocoa powder, the 1/4 c. brown sugar, and the baking powder. Add milk, the 1/4 c. butter, the eggs, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. By hand, stir in 1/2 c. choc. chips. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake feels firm in center when lightly touched. Cool on a wire rack for 5 min. Loosen sides, invert onto a plate. Sprinkle remaining mini choc. chips over the topping. Let stand about 1/2 hour before slicing. Serve warm.


Karen’s fast, easy method
Instead of making the cake from scratch, use a box cake mix, making cupcakes with the leftover batter!

With Karen’s easy method, any flavor of cake mix would be very tasty!

Buy the cake mixes on sale and use what you have, right?

Read what Kelly has to say about the SPOT on her TABLECLOTH!

24 comments:

momof3girls said...

I would be okay with calling my guest and pushing back the time in order to spend time with my hubby. I do not believe you & yours could of been the best hostess & host if you had not first connected with each other! I also bet it was a much more enjoyable evening for all because you did push the time back 30 mins.

The cake looks so yummy! I can't wait to try it!

linda t said...

As always, so inspiring Sandy.
You give us all permission to be real and authentic... and go with the flow.
So proud of you and how you are influencing so many around the world in your gifting.
So blessed to have followed you from the very beginning.

Betsy said...

I probably wouldn't have changed the time for that reason, but think that's fine if it works for you! For us, it would have made more sense to have alone/catch-up time after the guests left. But... I'm all for being flexible and real! I agree that freaking out about the tablecloth or changing plans just makes everyone tense. Being laid back and going with the flow relaxes your guests, too!

And...that cake looks so yummy! I'm going to try this soon! :)

Sandy, have you ever had guests arrive and not like what you have prepared? We had a college student over for dinner this week. I had grilled chicken, baked beans, augratin potatoes, slaw and buttermilk biscuits. Pecan cookies for dessert. We did dinner a buffet style and I noticed that he only put chicken and potatoes on his plate. When offered cookies after dinner, he said he didn't like nuts. I felt bad, but decided not to make a big deal about it. I guess you take that risk unless you run the menu by them beforehand.

Kristen said...

So inspiring, I love this post. I never would have thought to postpone dinner. It is a great, thoughtful idea & something I need to work on. And that cake looks so yummy!

Sandy Toes said...

Well, you are so sweet and a testimony to all us ladies when it comes to the "husband" and watching for quality time.

That cake looks divine!
sandy toe

Shawna said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'm going to try it this weekend!

And maybe get some R&R in with my hubby too ;)

Our Complete Family said...

I didn't really 'get' this notion about the hubs until mine really started traveling a lot in 2005. Now I savor all the time he is home with us and I miss him terribly when he's away (we've got 5 1/2 months to go with this trip and he'll be home!).
So, I am tickled to death that you have the same awesome connection with your husband! That is awesome! What great role models you are to your children, friends and family!
And...the cake recipe looks so yummy! As soon as Lent is over and I can chow down on all things chocolate again I'm game!!!
Happy weekend ahead hun~ Les

The Bramble Patch said...

Thanks for coming by my blog and commenting!! I appreciate you :)

Mary Ellen (megardengal) said...

Loved your blog entry this week- I always seem to miss a stain when I do the tablecloths so more times then not yup, there is a spot! WHo looks at the tablecloth anyways!

THe cake looks so good! THanks for sharing and reminding us to slow down and just be real-

blessings
mary

rosemarie said...

i would be fine with postponing dinner -relaxed hosts are more fun

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I think I would have felt comfortable pushing back the time if I knew the guests well. And if they didn't have small children with an early bedtime.

Your table looked beautiful!!

-Andrea

LuLu said...

I have done this... called to push the time back for a breather moment and my guests were okay with it. I've learned to relax a lot more and when I do the night seems to be so much better. Thanks for the recipe it looks great, must try it!
LuLu

Amber said...

I will definitely have to try this recipe out! It looks delicious and I have everything on hand for it.

Kelly said...

Sandy,

My hat (and apron?) are off to you, mama, for being so gracious a host and remembering that the spot doesn't matter! I cringe at anything that can't be magic erased, LOL, so I know how hard it can be to overlook something like a spot and let the entertaining happen. I also am swooning over that recipe...yuuuuum!

Jen said...

I love to buy cake mixes on sale....its nice to make a cake on a rainy day or even when a friend needs a smile.

Kirstin said...

The cake looks yummy! I don't think I'd have a problem calling and pushing it back. In fact I probably have. I also don't have a problem with last minute guests coming.

Kirstin said...

by the way....I love your shoes (C:

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Sandy, I love that you changed up your dinner plans to give you & hubby a little more time together. I'm sure it gave them extra time as well. The cake looks SO good, anything with chocolate chips is great in my book. xoxo

Grace said...

what a coincidence that you should mention rigidity, as just this morning my mother told me i'm too rigid. i get the point, ladies!!
and clearly, great cake. :)

Elizabeth G. said...

Sandy, You are a very wise gal. Thank you for sharing that. Yep, the hubby can get pushed aside when entertaining happens and things get hectic. Good for you that you put him first.

Love,
Elizabeth

Stacey said...

I think I could call my guests and tell them we were running late. Maybe...

The cake recipe sounds wonderful!

kari and kijsa said...

Yum! This sounds delicious!!
blessings,
kari & kijsa

jennykate77 said...

I want that cake...NOW!! It looks so delish. I like that you say going with the flow makes you a more gracious hostess. I think if my guests weren't on their way, like you said, I would be ok with calling them and pushing it back 30 minutes. I love the things you have to say about being a hostess...makes me want to throw a dinner party ASAP!

Christine said...

I guess a spot on a table cloth wouldn't of set me in a tizzy...if I felt I just had to use that tablecloth I'd of just maybe put a large platter of food over it or not even used one. I thought your table looked wonderful! Your question about calling guest one hour before guest arrived... Nope wouldn't of called..I guess my hubby and I are ok enough to say to each other...let's connect later on after our guest leave or hey what about making a special date out of another evening...but an hour before the guest arrive, to me, seems kind of not right. I took it as not being thoughtful of your guests time. I guess if and when my life is that hectic, entertaing wouldn't be something I'd be doing a lot of...God, Family then friends. I wouldn't call you or anyone for that matter, rigidity, but loyal to a date "you" made with others. Wonderful recipe..yum yum! Glad it all worked out for your dinner party though. =O)