Serving with Love

 (our wonderful group)
 Many people have been blogging about their Memorial Day activities. I can't believe that it has been just over a week since I posted something. Things have been that busy. I am just now getting around to sharing about our long weekend.
(after their White Water raft trip on the Deschutes River)
Each year for the last 4 years we have taken the seniors from our youth group to Sunriver, Oregon, a resort community in Central Oregon. That is one of our family's favorite vacation spots and we love to share it with others.
(hubby even played Twister)
This year we took 9 seniors, one of our leaders and our family of 4. For the seniors that go it's 4 days of fun. For me, it's fun and a whole lot of cookin'. But it's a service of love and I really mean love. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and preparing meals for them, well, for anyone for that matter. This was a great bunch who pitched in and helped with some prep work and did dishes after every meal! Now, how could I complain about that.
(beautiful, scenic SunRiver)
We stayed in a great home with a very well equipped kitchen...a feature that I thoroughly love when staying in a rental home. (I e-mailed the owners ahead of time to find out what was provided in the home).

How do I put this all together? 

With 14 people how do I find meals that everyone will eat?

How do I do it when there may be a variety of dietary issues?

In the past, this really hasn't been an issue, however this year I was very close to pulling my hair out. I took a few deep breaths, got the brain cells going and I lived to tell about it. 
 (our wonderful young ladies...mine are the two on the far left)
We had people who will eat anything put in front of them, one who is a strict vegan, three who don't do dairy and one who isn't a huge fan of meat. It seems that dietary preferences are changing more and more and could potentially be "frustrating" unless you decide to take on a spirit of love. Taking on this challenge with love and joy erases any frustration. Research and good planning are key. I always come out of these things a bit wiser and with some new info. and recipes under my belt.
 (gorgeous Benham falls area/Deschutes River)
Because I really do enjoy cooking and cooking healthy, and I really love each and every person who is a part of our lives I find great joy in researching and finding recipes that everyone can enjoy. I AM NOT about making several different things to satisfy individual people. That is a waste of time and energy, and very expensive.
I start by assembling meal ideas that are easy to make and that are fairly inexpensive. I always ask the kids what kinds of things they like for snacks and even ask for ideas of foods that sound good to them for meals. Once I have that info. I sit down and make final decisions and lists. After a final list is made I run it by everyone to make sure it "passes"!

 (Ladies getting some exercise)

This year when I asked I received so many differing responses I began to feel slightly overwhelmed. I really had to step back and  take several deep breaths, telling myself that it was just fine, "you can do it". There are many meals that can be made with all dietary preferences in mind. See my post on entertaining without limits

Here is my list from this year:

  • Baked potatoes with a variety of toppings
  • Spaghetti: Red sauce with meat served on the side (I also made some alfredo sauce). We had salad, and I also sauteed/steamed broccoli, asparagus and mushrooms. We had two types of garlic bread, half with butter and garlic and half with olive oil and garlic.
  • Burritos: Turkey taco meat, black beans, refried beans, brown rice and also Zataran's Red beans and rice, as well as a myriad of veggies, taco sauce, and sour cream.
  • Burgers: Beef, chicken and vegan veggie burgers
  • Sandwiches: lunchmeat, vegetable, PB & J 
  • Vegan waffles and Vegan Crepes (so good you wouldn't even know they were vegan)
  • Sausage and bacon (totally not for everyone, but a few people wanted it)
  • oatmeal, yogurt, cereal
  • Lots of fruit!!!
  • Vegan peanut butter cups (I'll post recipe soon)
Snacks included, nuts, pretzels, granola bars, icecream, sorbet, chips, popcorn etc....
 (Kat made some amazing smoothies)

In the past I've also made chili, pizza, biscuits and gravy, BBQ chicken legs, etc...

To me, part of serving with love is finding ways so that no one feels excluded, and everyone enjoys what is offered. It's about taking into consideration various needs and making adjustments without a lot of hoopla (sometimes it can be awkward for a person when they are the only one with dietary preferences). I let them know what is or what isn't okay for them ahead of time.

I can't resist sharing a variety of pictures of our trip with you. So much fun!!

In the next few days I'll be posting two new recipes that I've made recently. Both are vegan, both are "sweet" treats! I'm so happy to have them available for our guests when they come.

With Joy UNquenchable,


  1. Oh - it is so refreshing to see your heart in this. You truly have a gift of serving and a spirit of love that the Lord has given you. Looks like a great time for all!

  2. Shirley, we did have a great time and I do love serving them. I was ready to come home after four days though (C:


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