Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Family. Friends. Food. Fellowship.

It's been fourteen years since we've seen our friends, the Lynches. Many, many changes have taken place between our two families since Craig and Brad first met (at a Bible study?) in California back in 1992 or '93. (My memory is awful.)

One thing that hasn't changed is Craig's occasional tendency to lose track of planning, leaving me to find out that we will be having overnight guests in less than 24 hours, and I haven't gone grocery shopping or organized sheets and towels yet. 

But, hey! I am "Chava"!
(That's Craig's Hebrew nickname for me. The "Ch" sounds like you're gearing up to hawk a loogie.)
And I have a "staff"!
So, when I got a message from Brad's wife, Lisa, squaring up details on their upcoming visit, I got right to work.

Lisa was a bit nervous about revealing to me her gluten (& dairy) intolerance, for fear that it would stress me out.
I was a bit nervous about revealing to Lisa that I don't usually serve beverages, other than water and coffee.
In the end, neither of us had any reason to worry! 
I've at least heard of gluten-free dietary guidelines, and I love to try new things; and she and her family don't drink other beverages, either!

Caelyn and I got busy on meal-planning immediately and headed to the grocery store while the rest of our "staff" put the house in order.

Here's what we came up with for dinner:

Grilled chicken
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Vegetable Kabobs in Balsamic Marinade
Vegetable/Pineapple/Shrimp Kabobs in Teriyaki Marinade
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños Stuffed w/Ricotta & Smoked Gruyere Cheese
Tortilla Chips with Salsa, Mango Salsa, & Guacamole
Sauteéd Green Beans
Corn on the Cob

Caelyn worked on the kabobs.

Craig came in to say that he finds my cooking "sexy".

Gabriela has moved right into a position among our kitchen "staff". She does very well.

How do people function without lists? I'd be lost without them.

For dessert, Gabriela made this recipe from Karina's Kitchen, with a slight modification.

This recipe originally came from The Pioneer Woman, but I feel that I can teach her a thing or two. ;-) Actually, I just wasn't entirely pleased with cream cheese as a filling. We like a different texture and richer flavor. So, I used ricotta and smoked Gruyere cheese, instead, with a little salt and pepper.
Obviously, this wasn't any help to Lisa's dairy intolerance; but it did wonders to prove to my husband that I will also go out of my way to please him.

It was such a joy to see Craig and Brad interact again after such a long time. They've always been like brothers, and Brad has been a tremendous encouragement to Craig. We had a marvelous time discussing the Word together. (Isn't Brad cute with Gabriela's little fabric-covered Bible in his hands?)

Lisa is delightful! We covered many topics, from homeschooling to genetically-modified food to theology. 

Gabriela and Kaitlin had a blast together! There was so much cuteness concentrated in this little area!

Our girls thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Holly. She's such a joyful young lady.

After a gluten-free brunch the next morning, the Lynches had to head back home. We're so grateful that they made the trip to see us.

"Iron sharpens iron,
   and one man sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

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