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February 28, 2012 / staceyj

Help a Hostess Out…

Right out of the gate I am going to be honest.  Hostess gifts.  I don’t always think to bring these to the lovely people who invite me and my bevy over for dinner.  In fact, if the truth be told, I am probably batting under .500.  I tell myself that when my beauties are older I’ll do better and remember to thank my hosts/hostesses in the proper manor.  I’ve also told myself that when they are older I’ll be more organized, more spontaneous, more trendy, more well-read, more fit…ahh!…the beauty of pipe dreams!

Despite the madness of my day-to-day, I have had some brief shining moments when I’ve miraculously had my act together and brought the hostess a little something special.  One of my favorite things to bring is breakfast.  I know that after I’ve hosted, cooked and cleaned the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time the next morning in the kitchen.

Nothing says thank you like homemade blueberry muffins.

This is a really simple recipe (See below).  Get your little ones to help.

I usually bake extra muffins for myself so I don’t have to cook the next morning either.  I don’t know about you but I find it completely exhausting to be as witty and engaging and fabulous as I am while at a dinner party.  Ha!  There I go dreaming again.

Once cooled, place into an airtight bag.  Resist the overwhelming urge to nibble.

And then I like to throw them into a gift bag purely for the purpose of pretty.

Blueberry Muffins (Parents Magazine)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose baking mix (I use Heart Healthy Bisquick)
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar, divided
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 12 muffin cups with baking liners.  In a large bowl, combine baking mix, oats, and 1/2 cup sugar.  In a medium bowl, beat together the milk, egg, and vegetable oil.

Stir milk mixture into dry baking mixture just to combine.  Add blueberries and stir.  Using an ice-cream scoop, place batter in muffin cups.  Sprinkle tops with remaining 1 Tbs. sugar.

Bake in the oven for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Another easy, but fabulous hostess gift idea is fresh vegetables or fruits from your garden.

Carrots and tomatoes and more tomatoes…oh my!

And if your dinner hosts prefer the sweets to the veg just have this little gift delivered by a sweet-ie.  Awhhh!

On a trip a few years ago to the great state of Kansas, I was greeted one morning by the smell of Christmas wafting from the kitchen.  As I made my way toward that glorious scent I realized it was April so it wasn’t Christmas I was smelling, but instead delicious homemade granola baking in the oven.  I scored the recipe (shared below) and have made it since many times to rave reviews.

I like to make the heavenly granola deliciousness and then package it in a fun way.

I scoop the cooled granola into a 12 ounce mason jar.  (Don’t even get me started on how much I love me mason jars!)

I print a simple label from my computer and then cut it out with my 2 1/2 inch circle punch.  This punch is the exact size of the lid.  Affix label with double-sided tape.

I then wrap the top of the jar with bakers twine.  I found this twine at my local Michaels store.  You can also buy it in bulk online.  Isn’t it just fun?

Present your creation to your host(s) and guarantee yourself another invitation.  You can thank me later.

Crunchy Granola
2 1/2 lb. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. wheat germ
2 1/2 c. shredded coconut
1 c. sunflower seed
2 c. nuts (sliced almonds, pecans, or raw peanuts)
1 c. sesame seed
1 Tbsp. salt
1 1/2 c. brown sugar

Mix together completely.  Combine:
1 1/2 c. salad oil (I use canola.)
2/3 c. water
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Stir well and keep stirring as you add liquid to dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Bake in 250 degree oven in shallow pans, stirring every 10 minutes until coconut is light brown.  Store in covered containers.  I add raisins after baking.  Makes 2 gallons.  Translation: that’s a lot of granola my friend, a lot!

How do you show the hosts/hostesses in your life the love?

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2 Comments

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  1. Mollie / Feb 29 2012 9:34 am

    Love the overall theme of your blog — nice work!

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