Dinner at Our Place With Friends

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On Thursday our friends Julie and her husband Guy came over for dinner. You’ve met Julie here before, after I met her at a social event last fall, but you’ve not yet been introduced to Guy. That’s because we hadn’t had the pleasure until Thursday evening either. And now we are glad to know them both and that we can call them friends.

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Setting The Table : (Feel free to skip this section if you’re not as into linens and dishware as I am … I’ll totally understand!)

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The table setting began with the gold runner. Well, it’s actually just a piece of nice fabric that I frayed at the ends and call a runner. I got it at a clothing exchange (That’s where a group of friends and friends of friends gets together at someone’s house, bringing along clothes that they are no longer wearing that they’d like to pass along to someone else. Whatever is left over is then donated. Someone had brought along some of her fabric stash that she wasn’t going to get around to using and I nabbed this piece of gold.)

The napkins were cotton ones that my sister thrifted and passed along to me. They’re a unique colour combo and I hadn’t used them before, but they were stored in the same drawer as the gold fabric and when I opened it the other day, I noticed how well they went together.

The linens were completed by a blue cotton tablecloth that I got from ebay a while ago, and some green place-mats that we’ve also had for some time.

As for the dishes, we just happened to have 4 lime green plates! These were part of a set that I bought myself just after I’d gotten my first apartment after university. The set, coming from the 50s and bought at a vintage shop that used to be on Queen Street West, is a neat one in that the plates are green, the bread plates are yellow, the bowls are a different shade of green, the saucers are burgundy and the cups are yet again a different shade of green. I bought them thinking they would be my everyday dishes, but then I wimped out because I was afraid I’d break them. Now, years later, I’m glad I set them aside and used them with care, because it’s fun to have them to add and accent to table settings. (So instead of using those ones for everyday I bought myself my first set of Corelle dishes … readers will know I’m a bit of a nut for Corelle! And we are still using those dishes too, although a couple have broken along the way.)

To give you a feel for how I’ve always liked tableware, I bought those fruit plates with a Christmas bonus I received in the first year of my ‘big girl’ job. My colleagues were busy spending theirs on purses and jackets, while I used mine to buy 6 Villeroy and Boch plates at William Ashley. The link is to their online shop but we have their flagship retail store here in Toronto, which is a bit of a window shopping nirvana for me. I was going through a fruit phase at the time that these plates entered my life.

The vintage condiment bowls were purchased from ebay and discussed in detail in this post.

The glass salad bowls are from the 80s and were gifted to me by a friend’s mother who was clearing some of her stuff out. I gladly accepted them, still wrapped in their original box.

Our wine goblets are a newer addition, also bought with a little bonus from work. A few years ago I was working at a place where for a fun team building event to celebrate Canada Day (which is Canada’s birthday), the boss gave us each $142 (the number of years that Canada had been a country at the time) and sent us all shopping for the afternoon. Later we all reconvened at the office and showed off what we had bought. I got these 4 Mikasa glasses, each with a different engraved pattern making them excellent when there are people over (and we save them safely in the box until those occasions), and 4 champagne flutes with the same patterns (one of which is now broken), plus a few other little things. The object of the ‘game’ was to come as close to spending all the money we were given, and I actually ended up winning a prize because I came in the closest with only 11 cents to spare. That whole thing was really fun and now when I use the glasses I think about my former colleagues who I certainly miss seeing on a regular basis.

You saw the amber coloured pressed glass plate I used to serve the appetizer on in a Thrift Store Find post this. (I am actually just back from a quick trip to the thrift store as I type and I found a small bowl that goes exactly with that plate. I’ll be sure to show it to you when I show you today’s haul.)

I set out a small vase (this blue thrifted one) into which I put some sprigs of lavender greens and a couple of wild onion flowers, from our garden (like these shown in the garden with a butterfly here. I’d never noticed before how much lavender greens which are evergreens, resemble pine branches when in a vase, so I plan to remember that when decorating at Christmas.

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What We Ate and Drank :

The appetizer was a Curried Bean Dip with vegetables and pieces of Bosc Pear for dippers. Our guests seemed to enjoy it, as did Nick and I when we snacked on it over the weekend, so I’ll write out the recipe and post it soon.

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I made a salad with arugula, mixed greens, blue berries and feta cheese, topped with this homemade dressing, made with raspberry vinegar.

Nick made us individual Turkey Pot pies. Since it’s impossible to make these without using left-over turkey, I’ll admit to serving our new friends left-overs! The turkey was some stored in the freezer from our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner last month, described here. As a garnish we served the left-over homemade cranberry sauce that was also frozen, that I previously told you about here.

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For dessert we had a recipe passed down from my maternal grandmother, a Raisin Caramel Baked Pudding. But a minor user error occurred during the baking (the lid of the casserole dish was left on when it shouldn’t have been) it came out looking rather unappealing so I didn’t photograph it. But it tasted just as I remembered it and everyone seemed to enjoy it, especially Nick who’s favourite flavour is caramel. So I’ll be making it again soon and passing on the recipe here.

To drink we had Xavier Cote du Rhone wine, made in the Rhone Valley of France (which was delicious), and some locally micro brewed Saint Andre beer. It’s a lager brewed in the Vienna style with specialty malts brought in from Belgium, described as “Lager in the bohemian style”, which is right down our alley. Nick once met the gentleman who brews this beer himself.

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And look at this cutest of hostess gifts these fine people brought over! Julie had read this post on my blog about me seeing a white squirrel in the park, and knows about my general love of the creatures, so she thought I would like it. She was not wrong in that assumption at all. I love him and he now sits safely and predominantly behind glass in our china cabinet.

And how about the wrapping? It’s as though they knew that lime green and yellow would be the colours of the evening.

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Here’s a shot of the little guy the next morning in better light. Sweet, right?

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All in all, it was a really good time that seemed to have flown by, and we are thankful to have such lovely friends.

Hey, and who is that sitting back there?

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I am also thankful to have you reading what I have to say! Hope you are all doing well.
xo loulou

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5 Responses to Dinner at Our Place With Friends

  1. Julie says:

    this was such a fun night, thank you so much for having us! I’ve tweeted about your blog post. ;)

  2. Vix says:

    Your parties are always a joy to witness, I love how much care and attention goes into the planning (and the execution!) xxx

  3. Hollie says:

    You guys are awesome hosts! If I ever come that way, I am SO giving you a call!

  4. Annika says:

    You guys seem such lovely people to make friends with, really caring and considerate, attracting the same kind of great person. I like that you have a little story about all your tableware, it really shows how much you care. And I need my boss to give me money and send me shopping! That must’ve been an awesome surprise.

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