Welcome As I get older, I would like to think I have acquired some wisdom along the way. I certainly know more now then I did even a decade ago. But there is an area of my life where I just can’t seem to mature. I’m talking about my patience today, and my speculation for the reason. Instead of a regular recipe today, I’m going to share some tips for budget-friendly fare at your next party or event.
Food For Thought How many times have you heard or said the following statement: “Life is short.” We had some family over a couple weeks ago and we sat around discussing the phenomenon of time seeming to pass quicker as we get older. Just last night I forgot it was March. It seems like 2018 just got started. In the blink of an eye, my daughter celebrated her 11th birthday last month and it feels like she was a toddler just a few weeks ago. I used to think my parents and grandparents were completely goofy talking about the speed of time passing. When we’re kids, time seems to stand still. Does any of this sound familiar?
I think time seems to go so quickly because we’re so busy in this stage of life. Work, family responsibilities, house chores, and trying to fit in time for ourselves keeps us going every waking hour. Sometimes we even try to cheat the clock by getting up earlier and staying up later to fit as many “hours” into the day as we can in order to complete all the tasks on our to-do list. And that’s when we turn around and say, “How did my kids grow up so fast? How is it already a new school year? Didn’t we just take down the Christmas decorations? Taxes are due already?” It’s a good reminder to slow down and be present, but that seems to only be part of my problem.
I’m a visual person and when I think about time in our life, I envision a great big spiral with a wide base. As the spiral goes upward, the rings get tighter and smaller and closer together. The rings of the spiral represents the years in our life. At the base, where it’s wide, we are young and our years seem to go round in long, lazy loops. The older we get, the faster the loops seem to circle back around. And the rings are getting smaller. We can see our time getting shorter. It’s not even just that our time gets shorter, but the issues that come with age. Health problems, medical bills, dementia, dwindling retirement funds…these are all things that impact the quality of life for individuals that are blessed with more rings in their spiral. And this is where my impatience comes in.
We are not guaranteed any number of days of life on earth. We are not given knowledge for when those numbered days will come to an end (Job 14:5). Even doctors will offer predictions to someone with terminal illness for how long they have left to live, but they are often quite wrong. Some patients live considerably longer than anyone would have expected, while others have their time come to an end much quicker. As I look at my own “time spiral,” I don’t know how many “rings” I have left or what the quality of that time will look like. I just know that on this end of the spiral, I am in fact getting closer to the end. That’s the way of life here on earth. It is inevitable and necessary. But I still have things I want to do. I have things I want to accomplish. I have places to go and people to see. This is why I seem to find myself getting more impatient as I get older. I don’t have time for nonsense and drama. I don’t have time to waste on people that make me feel bad or insecure. I don’t have time to debate with unreasonable people. These are not all bad ways to be impatient.
But I’ve got to check my patience with God. I’ve got to trust His timing. I’ve got to trust His book of life for me. I can’t be fearful of missing out on experiences in life. I just have to believe that if it’s meant for me, God will make it happen. I can be thankful that this impatience was not part of my personality when I was younger, or I likely would have rushed out and done some very foolish things. I can be thankful now that I’m older and wiser with the ability to reflect on all the times in my life when God’s timing was best, like every time! I can do these things, and pray for some patience, too.
Today’s Scripture This is a passage I find myself needing to read often these days. It does offer a comforting reminder.
Psalm 27:13-14 “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Today’s Recipe Unlike my patience, some things get better with age, like wines and cheeses. Okay, confession here! I don’t like wine! It has nothing to do with the alcohol content, either. I just don’t like the taste. I’d truly rather drink a glass of grape juice or cranberry juice. So people all over internet-land have gasped, “You like food, but not wine!” I can just imagine the chants of “Imposter!” So I won’t even begin to attempt to discuss wine and cheese pairings here today. Instead, I’m going to talk about putting together entertainment food on a budget. I have seen Charcuterie boards and Antipasto platters becoming increasingly popular in entertaining. So, with all of those cheeses and select meats, not to mention the variety of crackers and crudites, can this type of spread be budget-friendly? I say yes, if you hit up the budget-wonder of Aldi! (I am not affiliated with or compensated by Aldi for this post.) If you think Aldi is only known for cheap cereals and lunch snacks, you need to check out their new selection. Let’s take a look at what you can get.
This is a great idea for your next Bunco or Bingo night, Oscars night, or even if you’re planning a March “Craziness” gathering this month. First of all, don’t worry about getting fancy trays or specialty boards. I used my big wooden cutting boards to arrange the food items. They aren’t the same size, but that’s okay. I would recommend getting some nicer containers for dips and such. In hindsight, my plastic dishes look pretty cheap and tacky. Ah, well. Anyway, here’s what we served for our budget-friendly buffet, all purchased from Aldi.
Crackers: pita chip crackers, club crackers, woven wheat crackers-total cost $5.07
Vegetables: baby carrots, bell pepper strips, mini cucumbers-total cost $2.27
Fruits: grapes, strawberries, pear slices-total cost $3.87
Cheeses: Baby Bell gouda rounds, Muenster slices (cut into cracker-size squares), and Sharp cheddar (cut into cubes)-total cost $5.97
Meats: salami slices, Appleton Farms dry-cured Sopressata Salami and Prosciutto, Specialty Selected Black Forest Ham-total cost $13.86
Dips: roasted garlic hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, onion dip-total cost $5.27
Nibbles: Sea Salt roasted almonds, pitted black olives, stuffed green olives, dried apricots-total cost $8.56
Ladies and gentleman, you have a delicious spread of finger foods for $44.87. For less than $50, you can serve your guests delicious pairings like cheddar with pear, muenster with berries, gouda with grapes, pita with hummus, or my favorite new discovery–Sopressata with dried apricots. Seriously, the salty meat with the sweet and tangy apricots is AMAZING! This selection offers so many different selections, your guests are bound to find something they enjoy. And, there’s even more motivation for this budget-friendly spread! It offers kid-friendly tastes so it works for a family-oriented event. This is a LOW-STRESS way to entertain-no cooking required. Simply arrange the assortment on cutting boards or trays and set out. The most work will involve cutting and washing fruits and vegetables. Also, the list I gave above will serve 12-24 guests, depending on the situation, such as appetizers only or is this the actual meal. So, if you are a fan of the wine I mentioned above, you’ve just saved a ton on the food bill for a vino splurge!