simplified entertaining – and a little Grand Marnier fudge

Part of the Mother’s Day gifts for the Grandmas.

Another busy weekend over for us. A fun one, but busy.

We like to entertain at our house. We don’t go out much because dinner with a family of four can get expensive in a restaurant. We also don’t spend a lot of money going to movies or amusement parks or other entertainment venues. We do that once in a while (once or twice a year), but the rest of the time we make our own entertainment.

We invited friends for dinner on Saturday night. Two other couples, both with children close in ages to our own – 12 of us in total. The children entertained themselves on the play equipment and with petting the ponies and the adults were able to enjoy a few glasses of wine on the deck while dinner cooked.

We made it easy on ourselves by assembling a dinner that we could cook entirely on the barbeque – my husband bbq’d a pork roast that he tied with fresh rosemary and sage, we bbq’d the potatoes sliced with onions in between each slice and wrapped them in tin foil, and when the roast was finished, we grilled some fresh asparagus (from the neighbours garden) that we had marinated with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.

The whole thing was delicious; we served it with a spinach salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing and lots of homemade iced tea for the kids (they drank a gallon and a half of it!). Even the kids all ate everything on their plates – and we served them outside on the deck, away from the adult’s watchful eyes.

For dessert, to make it appealing to the kids (and none of the adults refused it either), we served chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. We used this Toll House Cookies recipe (we are on a constant quest for the best chocolate chip recipe and this is the best of them so far) and would have used our own homemade 3 ingredient ice cream, but I ran out of time to make it and bought some instead (sometimes you just have to let something go).

All in all, it was a successful dinner and visit – the kids were still outside playing hide and seek even after it was dark, and the adults were enjoying adult conversation.

And after they went home, the clean up and preparations started for Mother’s Day Brunch. We made up a batch of fudge to give the moms along with some homemade cards that the kids made and a couple of gardening magazines. I made the fudge with Grand Marnier this time and everything that didn’t get given away as a present was gobbled up by the end of dinner.

Grand Marnier Fudge

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 3 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
  • 1/3 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or butter (gives a nice shine to the fudge)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)

Slowly melt chocolate and condensed milk together over medium low heat. Add Grand Marnier and nuts. Scrape into a 9″ square pan (either use a silicone pan or a pan lined with saran wrap – it’ll come out easier). Chill in fridge until set.

Cut into small pieces to serve – it’s very rich, so a little goes a long way.

For the brunch, my husband made Eggs Benedict, I made a spinach salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing and a fruit salad with some chopped mint and we were done. We served rhubarb syrup and Prosecco and I made a pitcher of rhubarb syrup and soda water to drink (both drinks went over very well). And for dessert, leftover cookies from the night before and fudge.

Again, everyone seemed to enjoy the food and the company. This time around there were 13 of us in total – lots of busy-ness in the kitchen, but there are also lots of people around to help with the clean up afterwards. My china and most of the silverware can go right into the dishwasher on the china setting – and it comes out just fine. The only things that we have to wash by hand are the silver knives (something about the way that the handles are glued – they shouldn’t go in the dishwasher), the crystal and the pots and pans. It was all cleaned up, the guests had left and I even had a while to sit and read for a while. And then we were off for dinner at my in-law’s house. See, I told you.. busy.

I do love weekends. I like entertaining too, when we can keep it relatively low-key like this. Sometimes Mondays at work seem relaxing too.

Linking to Beautify it Monday, A Pinch of Joy, Frugally Sustainable, Cozy Home Scenes, Simple Lives Thursday

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18 thoughts on “simplified entertaining – and a little Grand Marnier fudge

  1. I agree – you have to keep entertaining low-key or it will make you crazy. Sounds like a great menu!

  2. slowborg says:

    That’s a lot of people to entertain in less than 24 hours! You are clearly very organised.
    It all sounds delicious my mouth is watering!

  3. Heidi, that all sounds lovely! Thank you for the fudge recipe, too. I’m always looking for ways to bring together my vices 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day to you!!

    • I know, booze and chocolate – the perfect combo. You can make it with any liqueur that you think will taste good with chocolate. The Bailey’s fudge that I made for St. Patrick’s Day was quite popular at work.

  4. Sounds perfect. And all your dishes/menus made me hungry this fine Monday morn 🙂 I, too, love the relaxing and simple entertaining–seems you get the most of the time with friends/family that way as well. And thanks for the liqueur tip–That fudge sounds fantastic, don’t have any on hand, but I think I might have Bailey’s in the pantry 😉 Have a great Monday!

  5. I am going to try that fudge -sounds great and a wonderful gift. Love the insights into your friends and family–that is what it is all about.

  6. We do a lot of entertaining like this, too. It is so much nicer than going out: the kids are safe and happy, the adults can talk for longer than you would be allowed in a restaurant without spending a huge amount on drinks. And it’s healthier!

    • Exactly! Its what my parents used to do too (minus the wine). Sunday was for visiting – we just do it on Saturdays instead. Sundays too, sometimes. It keeps the kids happy and us, too.

  7. mmmm good..I think I want to live at your house lol Diane

  8. Shira says:

    Great post! I love a good barbeque dinner and don’t do it at home often enough…the hubby barbeques his meals mostly (meat on the grill = not my fave place to cook!). It sounds great! I love easy dinner parties! 🙂

  9. Sounds like a lovely weekend. We can’t afford to eat out much either and also entertain at home a lot. Mostly, we take turns with two other familes. We have 6 boys (at home) among us – 5 of them teenagers, another five autistic and they get along really well. It started as playdates for them (autistic kids sometimes have problems making friends) but it’s just as much for us adults now. I’m not much of a cook, but my partner is and she loves to entertain and cook for a crowd. (I do simple prep-work and clean up after.)

    • The prep and clean up is my usual role too. I was also lucky enough to find someone who loves to cook. It works out perfectly all around. Great that you were able to find such a great fit in your friends, too.

  10. Lynne Ayers says:

    It was the Grand Marnier Fudge that got my attention!

  11. cozyhomescenes says:

    My family and I are real homebodies too, so this sounds like a fun get together to me. I love fudge, so thanks for the recipe. I really appreciate you dropping by Your Cozy Home Party this week!

  12. […] most of our cookies and desserts. This month I posted recipes for Chocolate Chip Banana Beer Bread, Grand Marnier Fudge (not for the kid’s lunch pails) and some drinks you can make with rhubarb (again, probably […]

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