Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Recipe for Friendship

Our closest friends from Texas visited last weekend. We were remembering old times and thinking about how our friendship developed. We first met in our adult Sunday School class at church. Our class used to get together every month and play games. We got to know them a little better at these get-togethers. We ate at a certain Mexican restaurant (Oh, how I miss you, Del Pueblo!) at least twice a month. Once or twice we ran into these friends there. Somehow, a couple of months into our casual, but growing, friendship, we started talking about summer trips. Less than six months after knowing them, we planned a family vacation to Destin, FL. Yes, we went for a week-long vacation with some people who we thought we liked along with their 7, 5, and 3 year old children and our own 3 year old.

Amanda and her new friend that first year
(They aren't as angelic as they look)

Well, the rest, as they say, is history. We all had a great time. It became a Saturday tradition to meet up at Del Pueblo ("Table for 8, please."). We enjoyed another great trip to Destin the following summer. The next two summers were out, unfortunately, since they had an infant that next year and I had an infant the year following. Then we moved. We stay in touch through visits (my family is still there in Houston), and I think that another family vacation is in our future. The friendship is of the slow-cooked variety.

Friendship Stew
Ingredient list:
Others in your same stage of life (age, family, or location)
Sharing common values
Sharing interests

Preparation: You can't just look at the recipe and think that it sounds good. You have to go out and find the ingredients. This is easier said than done, while juggling children's activities, work schedules, and family, but it can be done if you have an appetite for it.

Cooking Time: You have to turn on the heat. Looking at the ingredients that you've already bought, or flipping through all the great magazines full of recipes doesn't get dinner on the table. Take a plunge and invite someone over or meet for dinner, or take a vacation with some acquaintances (Okay, this is a little risky, like trying out a new recipe for the first time for company, and I'm sort of joking, but it has paid off for us. Two or three different times, actually).

If you're lucky with the recipe, you end up with leftovers and can eat on it again and again. We have. It was great to see our friends and remember old times, see how the kids had changed, and create some new memories together. When they left, I had a tangible reminder of their visit. My friend left me one of her favorite new recipes, so I bought the ingredients the day after she left and I made it last night. It's a keeper!

The recipe for the Chalupa Dinner Bowls is saved here at Southern Living. A few notes on the recipe: I also wanted to confirm that the two teaspoons of salt it calls for is not too much at all. It also wasn't at all spicy (my two kids ate it without any trouble). I did use the green chilies, but instead of the Rotel with lime juice and cilantro (which I didn't find), I used petite diced tomatoes and squirted in some bottled lime juice. Also, it makes a LOT. I have the regular sized crock pot, and it was full to the brim. This will feed our family three full meals. On the site, they give some great suggestions for how to serve it. I actually just served it over rice this time, and will make burritos next time. I was actually thinking that it would make a good tortilla soup if you thinned it out with more broth and added some corn tortillas or chips.

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Lori4squaremom said...

I posted a recipe on my blog recently for the same thing, but my recipe came from my Fix it and Forget It is very delicious! It is going on our menu for next week again :)

Thank you for sharing your story of your friends....we have a couple of friendships like that that we have had for 17+ years since before we got married....we have remained close even through moves, babies (and lots of them!) and all the trials and demands that happen in lives as you add children to family.

annie said...

Thanks, this sounds really good!

Sandra said...

This sounds really good, thank you for sharing and for playing along :)

Jen Robinson said...

Good stuff, Jennifer. We've definitely found that taking a trip together is a good litmus test. It either brings you much closer together, or ... not. But mostly we've had good experiences with that, too.

Katrina said...

The recipe looks delicious, and I love the added bonus about friendships. We haven't vacationed with another family in quite some time, but I agree it can be a real bonding experience, even for hesitant husbands. :)

org junkie said...

How great is friendship stew! Although I must admit to not having people over for dinner too often what with my cooking abilities and all. It is a definite hangup and I should just get over it already!!

Isn't it nice to have couple friends like that. So glad you stay in touch with them.

Overwhelmed! said...

Oh, the friendship stew recipe is adorable! The Chalupa Dinner Bowls recipe looks good too. :)

Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Jennifer. I will add this to my collection.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

What a wonderful story of friendship - I love the recipe!

We also take vacations with our friends, inviting them up to our family's cabin. It is so great for everyone - the kids get an extended play date and we adults get lots of visiting time after the kids have gone to bed! :)

Thanks for your encouraging comment at our place! :)

Emmie Johnson said...

Oh I simply love yum food..Simply devour it...