Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bunco Girl's Night Made Easy

Bunco night is such a fun way to get together, hang out with some fun, talkative, gossipy (in a good way) women. It's girl time. It's get the husband and the boys out of the house time. It's getting to entertain time (this is actually fun for me, I get that not all people think entertaining as fun). I belonged to this Bunco group a few years ago but had to quit when I started nursing school. I since got asked to come back and I got January as my month. Even though I really like entertaining, I don't have a lot of time. So I thought I'd share some of my time saving tips.

Here's the Bunco layout, you need three tables for four. I had to borrow a card table and one table got a hodge podge of chairs.  I have a collection of vintage table cloths and it was fun to add some color and pattern by using them. I'll drop them off at the cleaners and they can deal with cleaning and ironing them (time savings here is worth the expense of the cleaners -- and we're talking 10$ for the three)

Table "1" in the family room

Table "3" in the dining room
Table "2" in the kitchen

So the food and drinks -- a lot of time this is what takes a lot of time. I decided to go really simple and only make a couple of things and buy everything else pre-made.  A total cheat and really if I had a lot of time I would have put more effort in this area because I really do enjoy cooking.
Drink choices -- bottled water, wine (including chocolate wine-yummo), and a variety of coffees and teas (I love my Keurig) I included some creamer and sugar etc for the coffee.

Okay, so I did take some extra time to fun up the water bottles.
  I admit, this is way over the top, but what a fun detail. I found the free pattern here (man I love Pinterest) and Jason (amazing husband) changed the pink to red and the kids were brow-beaten, bribed and guilted into helping me attach them (cut them out and scotch tape them to the bottles).
The starters -- another way I took the easy time saving way out. I bought some frozen Spanikopita and some pre-made some cheese and salami/prosciutto roll ups for the appetizers and filled it out with a relish tray.

The main meal -- nothing's easier than a crock pot and the cooler temperatures of January just scream soup -- so made a simple Italian sausage soup, salad with a store bought citrus vinaigrette, and cut up some yummy bread with a nice crunchy crust.
You won't believe how easy this recipe is. My friend, Shannon, who always makes cooking, baking, decorating seem so easy, gave me this recipe (to which I added peppers the peppers) and it's become a family favorite. I doubled the recipe for Bunco and still had a lot left over:

Italian Soup:
1.5-2 lbs of your favorite Italian sausage
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tbs of minced garlic (I use the jar stuff)
1/2 carton beef broth
2 cans, with juice, of diced tomatoes (it's really good with the Hunt's fire roasted tomatoes)
1/2 bottle good red wine (if you won't drink it don't cook with it)
2 tbs of Italian blend spices
1 - 2 cups of pasta

saute peppers and onions together
brown sausage
place in crock pot with all other ingredients (except pasta)
cook on low for 8 or so hours
add pasta last 1/2 hour-45 minutes

serve with parmesan cheese

see -- really really easy.

The salad:
romain lettuce
red onion
red pepper
yellow cherry tomatoes
grated mozzarella cheese
citrus vinaigrette 
Tres Leche Cake  - I made it in a 9x13 baker and added a ton of fruit on top. You can find the recipe here (I posted the recipe awhile ago -- again, pretty easy recipe and a family favorite)

Now for some of the fun details:
It's obvious I'm not a teacher, I can't seem to write on a chalk board in straight lines -- but I thought I'd fancy up the menu. I so wish I had that ability to do the whole chalk art stuff -- but I don't. Even sans talent anyone (if I can, anyone can) can make it a little fun (everyone can draw hearts and squares - right)

Didn't make these, found them on ebay after a google search on Bunco decorations (wasn't even looking for them)

My living room -- nothing to do with Bunco, but it was actually clean, so thought I'd post pictures. Jason did such a great job with my book shelves -- they're an Ikea hack that I should blog about some time.

Another time saving tip -- didn't clean the upstairs because who cares! Just concentrated on the first floor.

Most importantly it's not about the house, about the food, the cute decorations, or really even about the game -- it's about an opportunity to spend time with people, to open your home and be gracious, and to carve out some time to do something you love.


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