2nd Sunday Dinner

2nd Sunday – Oct 2016

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2nd Sunday Dinner

I had my left knee replaced, making both with total knee replacements within a three week period and this Second Sunday was even more difficult than the last one….but our awesome neighbors came to our rescue!  I feel terrible that I didn’t even take ONE picture of the set up, or dinner – that’s how weak I was feeling, sorry folks. 

So, before the first surgery I had made Au Jus and purchased the deli style cooked roast beef to serve as French Dip Sandwiches.  Both were in the freezer along with a few batches of brownies and Circus Sugar Cookie bars.

However, the problem was sides/salads and more desserts.  I was not feeling well and Stan had his hands full of taking care of me AND getting the house ready.  Our son Derek came over Saturday night to help set up the tables, chairs and some other things (thank you a billion times over Derek!).  But, during the week, I was worried about it and just knew I couldn’t make anything….I wasn’t even making food for us, unless making a glass of chocolate milk counts.

So I put out a call for help on the neighborhood facebook page, and boy, everyone was so willing to help! In no time at all people volunteered to bring the food we needed and it was all set.  Stan and I are incredibly grateful to our friends-neighbors (same thing) who came to our dinner and help to strengthen our community in such positive ways. 

ANNOUNCEMENT:  We have a new grand baby coming in November and we are SO THRILLED! However, because this little one is not geographically close to us, we are on stand by and will be traveling as soon as we get ‘the word’ the baby is on it’s way:) This means that we will be taking a hiatus to our 2nd Sunday dinners for November and also through the holidays.  When we start up again, we will post and let y’all know!!!

Now for the dinner:

I served the BEST EVER FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES and you can get the recipe HERE

Au Jus and Beef Sandwich for French Dip

The BEST Ever French Dip Sandwich with Homemade Au Jus

Also CIRCUS ANIMAL COOKIE BARS and you can get that recipe by clicking HERE

Circus Animal Cookie Bars

Circus Animal Cookie Bars

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

2nd Sunday Dinner, Sept 2016

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2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016
2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about preparing ahead for this particular 2nd Sunday dinner.  You can read about it HERE
My right knee replacement went well and everyone did a FABULOUS job pulling off 2nd Sunday….as I sat 🙂
My handsome hubby Stan was the hero, as usual to pull it all off!!!  He, our son Derek and daughter Delsi put out all the tables and chairs (as well as any cleaning that still needed to be done) the night before. THANK YOU so much!!!!


For the menu:

I made the Raspberry Cheesecake Salad, but that was about it – other then what I made ahead, of course.

We had Coleslaw with my really easy homemade dressing.  

You can get the recipe HERE

Perfectly seasoned Homemade Coleslaw

Stop HERE Best Colesaw

And this Raspberry Cheesecake Salad that went super fast – wow! The recipe is HERE

Cheeesecake Salad with raspberries

Raspberry Cheesecake Salad

Baked beans simmered in the crock pot.

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

Rolls to go with the Slow Cooked Pulled Pork to have with or without BBQ Sauce.  

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

See the recipe for the Pulled Pork Sandwiches HERE

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Tawni (my daughter-in-law) brought over the Peach Pound Cake and Zucchini Cakes I had made ahead and stored in her freezer.  ***BIG TIP:  Give your cakes enough time to thaw, I miscalculated, and people were so kind, they still ate them – they really did like them a little chilled:)

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

2nd Sunday Dinner Sept 2016

Here’s the recipe for one of the most popular recipes on my site: Peach Pound Cake HERE  Thank you Virginia and Bryce for the scrumptious peaches for the cakes!
Fresh Peach Pound Cake

I LOVE this dessert and it was pretty much gone.  Recipe for the Zucchini Cake HERE

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Easy and Moist Zucchini Cake

Stan and I can’t tell everyone how much we appreciate your help with this dinner particularly.  And especially the for chance to meet people in the neighborhood, some who just moved in and some who have lived here awhile, but now they are new friends!!!
Carrie Groneman’s recipe. Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

2nd Sunday - 9/16

Getting ready for 2nd Sunday Dinner, Sept 2016

2nd Sunday - 9/16

2nd Sunday – 9/16

Well, I thought last month was a challenge….this one proved to be one also.  You can see my list and the yellow pad had THREE pages!!!  I don’t usually do a post on getting ready for the 2nd Sunday dinner, but this one is special. 

This month has been interesting because of my knees.  YUP, my knees.  

See, they’ve pretty much always been a problem with dislocating and all sorts of issues most of my life.  About eight years ago I had to have total knee replacements.  The doctor put in ceramic replacements since I was in my early 40’s and they worked great, until the last couple of years, when they started giving me trouble.  Arthritis, which is the reason I had to have replacements the first time, has eaten under the replacements from behind causing them to shift and move, so now I have to have replacements again, but this time I am having titanium replacements. I will be superwoman!
I had about a week to get ready, including my site and business, things around the house (thank heavens for my handsome hubby Stan and ALL he does!), arranging insurance, other things I needed to take care of, AND cooking ahead for 2nd Sunday for September and October! WHEW!!!
I’ll show you what I did, and a huge shout out to my son Derek and lovely daughter-in-law Tawni for their freezer space to store desserts in.

The Menu for September:
PULLED PORK on rolls –  it’s seasoned and served with BBQ sauce on the side for those who want it
COLESLAW with my homemade sauce
BAKED BEANS – went with canned, but I linked my delish recipe for you!

To start, I seasoned the pork and slow cooked it in the crock pot.  When it was perfectly done and cooled (enough to handle and not melt the bag), I shredded it and put it gallon freezer bags.  

Then I strained the COOLED (otherwise if it’s too warm it will melt the bag) juices from the crock pot the meat was cooking in and poured it over the meat.

I cooked the pork, shredded it, strained the juiced from the meat it was cooking in, then poured it into the bag with the meat.  It keeps the meat from drying out and staying super scrumptious moist. Now it was ready to freeze for 2nd Sunday Dinner.  

2nd Sunday - 9/16

2nd Sunday – 9/16

I made up my coleslaw sauce, chopped the green onions and kept them separate. They are in the fridge, just chillin. This is just two days ahead folks, so no worries.

2nd Sunday - 9/16

2nd Sunday – 9/16

Raspberry Cheesecake Fluff Salad – I have all the ingredients ready to go, but will have others help me put it together on that Sunday, as well as these other items also.

Now THIS cake is one of my most popular posts EVER!  My amazing neighbors Bryce and Virginia Ragland gave me peaches off of their tree a couple of years back so I made a
Peach Pound Cake and it’s gone CRAZY I tell you!  

Well Bryce and Virginia generously gave me peaches again, so I decided to make up Peach Pound Cakes for this 2nd Sunday Dinner. I wrapped them up and they are in the freezer till the the dinner.

2nd Sunday - 9/16

2nd Sunday – 9/16

For another option for the dinner, I decided to add in one of my favorite recipes.  It’s this tender and really moist Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Make sure to serve it cold.  I placed parchment over the top, then saran wrap (by the way, get the large industrial box of plastic wrap at Sam’s or Costco/big box stores I believe they call them – MUCH cheaper that way and goes a long way).

The cakes are in the freezer.

2nd Sunday Dinner - 9/16

2nd Sunday Dinner – 9/16

Wish me luck.  I’m off for surgery today on the right knee and the left in three weeks.  But, I will keep in touch on FB, THAT I can do from my phone:)

Fast forward….you can see the dinner and how it turned out HERE

2nd Sunday Waffles

2nd Sunday Dinner, July 2016


2nd Sunday Waffles

Waffle 2nd Sunday

I had hoped that the last month with so much turmoil going on, that this month there would be only peace in our country, but it seems to be even more challenging.  So, our 2nd Sunday dinners hopefully will serve a good purpose to help unite our neighborhood in positive and meaningful ways.  To help strangers become friends and any prejudices be overcome as a meal is shared.

This dinner was not unlike the others in the obstacles in pulling it off; but we prevailed!

Oftentimes we are asked how we do this on a budget.  This month we had probably 45-50 people (sorry I didn’t count, it was so fun visiting!) and I didn’t have a lot of extra to spare.  I said a prayer over it, like I always do, and it came to my mind when my mom, Connie, had told me about a friend doing flavored waffles.  I got on the computer and happened on ideas for a waffle bar.

SO, I’ll bet you can guess what we served…yup…WAFFLES!

I want to thank my son Derek and my daughter Delsi who became my sous-chefs working the waffle irons.  I originally thought people could make their own, you know like at the breakfast bars in hotels? But—-I don’t have the space for that, so those two came to my rescue. THANK YOU Derek and Delsi!!!

If you are looking for a great Waffle Iron that’s REALLY awesome you might want to check out THIS ONE

For the waffles I made 3 kinds of batter for the 2nd Sunday Dinner:

My Grandma’s FAMOUS batter, and you can get the RECIPE and easy to follow tutorial HERE

I also made Red Velvet Cake Mix and Chocolate Cake Mix.  

When experimenting before that day to try it out, we made Birthday Cake Mix – the one with the sprinkles in it, Lemon – which was really good, and you can do any flavor that a cake mix comes in.

One word of caution, we had to use spray release (like Pam) for the Red Velvet and Chocolate before making waffles with those particular batters.  It could have been my waffle irons…not sure.



To go along with the waffles I had – 

Maple Syrup for the traditionalists

Chocolate syrup

Frozen strawberries in sweetened syrup (thawed)

Ice creams galore

Whipped topping

Sprinkles for the kids

Anything that you can think of that works on a waffle!


This is how I had it set up before my neighbors arrived

2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016
2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016I did bring out the rest of the ice creams we had that I had experimented with, but it would be safe to get just these two for your Waffle Bar.That was 3 of the little containers of sweetened frozen strawberries from Walmart.  I needed to double that.2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016I dedicated THREE of the waffles irons and made EIGHT batches of Grandma’s batter because it’s always so popular.2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016I made 3 boxes of chocolate cake mix according to the box instructions.

2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016I made 2 boxes of Red Velvet cake mix.  We started making waffles ahead and kept them warm in the oven so there would be waffles when the people arrived.

For a family, have as many ice cream flavors as you’d like:)

For a crowd, I’d suggest only two to keep the line moving along. 

2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016They were yummy and fun to see what people created. 2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016

2nd Sunday Dinner - July 20162nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016Red Velvet Cake Mix with Maple Pecan Ice Cream and Maple Syrup2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016Grandma’s batter OR Lemon, Vanilla, Birthday Cake with sprinkles in it, or anything like that with Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup2nd Sunday Dinner - July 2016Any of the batters with Chocolate Chip or Fudge Chip Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup

It worked out great and people loved the breakfast and dessert together idea. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

2nd Sunday dinner

25th 2nd Sunday

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2nd Sunday dinner

2nd Sunday dinner

 Sunday was our 25th and last Open House Dinner for our neighbors. I’ve been asked why we started this and why we are now ending.  I’ll share with you our experience  (actually we went a few more and then we quit, lol) 


The Beginning Over two years ago Stan and I attended a class/workshop taught by Chef Brad Peterson.  As he was talking about cooking with grains (that’s his specialty), he paused and said he wanted to tell us all about a dinner he and his family did for their neighborhood.  Once a month they invited any who wanted to come, meet new friends, socialize and it worked to make the neighborhood safer also. At this point I’m thinking this is nice, but there’s no samples (he cooked usually during his class).  Stan leaned over and whispered, “I think we are supposed to do that”. I know what ‘we’ aka ‘me’ sometimes means, and I was not having the same thought (Stan was a definite WE as he took care of the yard, the set up, helped with food, and so many other aspects of the dinner).  Besides our house is not large, maybe 2100 square feet and where would we put everyone. Right then Chef Brad, as though reading my mind said, “Now for those of you who think you may not have enough space, my house is only 1400 square feet. Fine, but what about the money?  Chef Brad:  If you don’t think you will have the money, miracles will happen. Ok, so why aren’t my prayers answered so quickly and like this!?  I still wasn’t too sure.

Over the next couple of weeks I knew Stan and I were to hold these monthly dinners, but I was so nervous about the money, resources and time, I struggled.  Blogging takes a ton more time then I ever imagined and I needed to get my book out too.  I decided to listen to the prompting and dig in and do it.  The week before every dinner I spent 1-2 days really deep cleaning the house.   Then the time to plan the menu, shop and of course cook it all too. We began October of 2012 and it was a wonderful experience.  I was now grateful that Stan and I were prompted to hold these dinners.  

Humorous Experience I met a gal on the Frontrunner train who happened to live in my neighborhood.  I invited her and her husband to come to the next open house dinner so more people could meet them.  She said she would and took my name, number and address. The night of that particular dinner I had my oldest son and his family there because the gal is from Korea and my son lived in Korea for 2 years.  I also had let others that I knew were coming to watch for them, so they would have instant friends. The dinners began at 5pm and end about 6ish, with people staying as long as they wish, but we didn’t want anyone coming to feel like they had to stay all night and not come because of that. 

At 5:30 I was sad that they hadn’t come, but I understand things come up.  At 5:35 the doorbell rings.  It was them! Imagine this scenario:  This sweet gal had her husband with a large stack of books, which it turned out were wedding books.  I guess in Korea they have large mansion type places where every single room is decorated differently.  The bride-to-be will put on a wedding dress and pose in a room.  Then change to another dress and pose in another room, and on and on. Consequently she had several large books of these pictures to show the ladies. 

This cute couple also had a dog in tow. My house number is the same as another house 2 blocks to the west of me; and another house 2 blocks east of me has the same number also.  Well, this couple went to the wrong house originally.  She told us they knocked on the door and a man answered.  They walked in, took off their shoes (remember they are Korean), put the books down and held the wiggling dog.  The husband asked what was for dinner.  The man said rather perplexed that they were grilling steak.  They said that sounded good and couldn’t wait for dinner.   Then looking around they asked where all the people were.  The man looked very confused and probably not sure what to think of his house guests, and replied that no one else was supposed to be there.  They asked if I was in the kitchen, to which he responded that he didn’t know a Carrie.  Realizing their mistake they put on their shoes, picked up the books and left to come to the correct house! 

They were such a delight and everyone loved them.  They moved not long after that, but what a nice couple- with a great sense of humor.  

2nd Sunday Dinner 2

Dallin and Delsi

The Miracles There have been so many I could never name them all.  I think the most important one is how Stan and I became a team My mom Connie and my sister Jody have been a huge support.  Mom would scour the thrift stores for serving trays or bowls, always insisting she buy them to help our effort.  Mom truly has been an angel to help us in countless ways so we could put our best forward.   My sister Jody would also donate serving items when she came across them, and was at the dinners to help serve, clean up afterwards and anything else that needed to be done. Delsi and Dallin have been invaluable since they returned home from Brazil.  They help with preparations when they are home, and always with the setting up, visiting with guests who came and cleaning up afterwards. (People often think they are dating since they don’t look like twins, so they make sure no one gets that idea which is why the arms are folded, lol.) Derek and Tawni supported our effort by visiting with people who came and even helped me get the house in order a time or two when it was a real crunch-time.  (yes they are a couple, lol)

2nd Sunday Dinner 3

Derek and Tawni

God even  arranged time for our good a few times when needed.  Our last two grand-babies were born on the 2nd Sunday weekend, and it all still worked out that I could be here to provide food and a hospitable place for our guests, as well as help with grand kids and be at the hospital for the newborns too.  

Time to End Stan and I did not have a time in mind to stop these dinners, because we wanted to do it as long as God intended.  In September I was getting ready for the dinner and wondered in my mind how long we would do these and figuring food, paper products, and other details for the next several months in my head; when the distinct thought came that we were done.  We had been obedient,  given our best and whatever was to be accomplished was done.  I talked to Stan and he had the same impression.  So we announced in September that October would be the last one.  I did open it for pot luck for this dinner, as all the other dinners we had provided the food.   2nd Sunday Dinner 4

The Reward How can I list the blessings for the small sacrifice compared to the amazing blessing we are given from Him, even life itself! Stan and I have been married for more than 33 years.  During that time we, like all married people, have had ups and downs, health problems, money struggles, family issues and endured extremely trying times.  Yet, we chose to become closer, rather then further apart as these trials would come into play.  Also, after 33 years of marriage you think you know most everything about a person.  Because of this experience we learned even more about each other, and ourselves. A grand and unexpected advantage came because of this experience.  Stan and I have worked together in scouting, church, family of course, but this opportunity brought us a whole new way to work as a team.  We are now even closer and have an increased respect for each other because we know, for a certainty, that we can trust each other to do the hard things, while supporting and buoying each other up. If you are ever impressed/prompted to do something that is almost impossible and extremely difficult, I can promise the sweet peace and complete joy that comes as a result, is worth every ounce of effort. A very sincere thank you to all who have shared our 2nd Sunday dinners with us over the past 25 months. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Second Sunday Dinner

August 2nd Sunday – Open House Dinner

 It was a FABULOUS 2nd Sunday Dinner with a large crowd of about 60 AWESOME people! I went with a Hawaiian Theme and here’s a few of the items on the menu:

Hawaiian Sliders

Hawaiian SlidersRoasted Corn Couscous

Roasted Corn Cous Cous

Pineapple Dream Bars

Pineapple Dream Bars

It was a crazy, busy week for Stan and me, but we still managed to get the house cleaned.  The fridge, pantry, fingerprints on walls, wood, etc., you know the deep stuff I normally don’t do with my regular daily cleaning. And of course cooking and getting everything ready to greet our guests.

The menu consisted of: 

Hawaiian Pork Sliders with Slaw and Sauce – click HERE for the recipe

Roasted Corn Couscous – click HERE for this recipe

Island Baked Beans, Mini Cucumber Bites, Pineapple Dream Bars – click HERE to get this recipe

Toasted Coconut Poke Cake – always a fav, click HERE for this one.

I mentioned to my friend Diane at RecipesForOurDaily Bread I was doing a Hawaiian theme and she said she had a recipe she had that would go perfectly.  I asked her to send it and I will tell you, that it was so unique, that I could not even imagine what it would taste like.  Our friends that join us for 2nd Sunday Dinner are very adventurous (I try to introduce at least one food they may not have had before) and thought this would be a great time to try this.  I made a triple batch to fit in my over-sized pan, and people were scraping every little bit out and asking for the recipe before they left.  Can you imagine what it would taste like to mix pineapple and cheese together, then top it with butter and Ritz crackers?  Well – this is what the people were asking about and rushing the serving counter for.  Head on over to Diane’s place to snag the recipe for Baked Pineapple Cheese Casserole and see it for yourself.  Click HERE for her recipe.  Second Sunday Dinner

Second Sunday Dinner 1

Second Sunday Dinner 2

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.



July – 2nd Sunday Dinner

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The Menu consisted of:  Ham & turkey Sandwiches, chips, Orange Jello Salad (in my cookbook)  dill pickle spears,Dinner 1Best Ranch Beans (click HERE for complete recipe, and they seriously are THE best!)Best Baked Beans 1And then for dessert:   Easy Cinnamon Twists.  Full recipe can be found HEREQuick Cinnamon Twists

2x’s now a crowd favorite  aka scrapping the bowl clean – Roasted Banana & Nilla Pudding (clickHERE for the recipe)Banana PuddingThese great ladies (LDS Sister Missionaries) always help to make 2nd Sunday a wonderful time  Second Sunday Dinner 1 This awesome family have been friends for years.  Notice my son wants to be a part of them too!dinner 2

Sharon and Delsi were Bear Cub Scout Den leaders and had a blast working together. dinner 4 We are incredibly fortunate to have our friends Floyd and Karen are back home from their LDS Mission in Macon Georgia.  They did amazing things there working with military personnel, but we are sure glad to have them home! dinner 3

A HUGE thank you to all who came and brought new friends to meet!

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Thankful Thursday: 2nd Sunday Dinner

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Neighborhood Dinner!!!

Hey All, So after the blog conference we were experimenting with the camera and didn’t quite get it back to proper settings for ‘normal’ shots. I apologize for the blurriness, but I’ve included a few pics anyway.


  • Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
  • New Orleans Red Beans & Rice (my recipe on site)
  • Rolls and butter
  • Best Fudge Cake (my recipe on site)
  • Valentine White Chocolate Bark (my recipe on site)
  • Sweetheart Palmiers (my recipe on site)
  • Valentines Muddy Buddy’s (my recipe on site)

Pictured:   The center is the chicken noodle soup. Did you know that if you add oil to your pasta cooking water it will not absorb the liquid as readily? So depending on what your purpose is for the pasta, that determines whether you add oil or not. I did not want the noodles in the soup to take in extra broth causing them to be limp, so I added the oil to the cooking water. However, when I want pasta for a sauce, I do not add the oil do it will soak up the wonderful flavors.

This tip and tons more are in my new cookbook, “Carrie’s Cooking For Keeps”

Also, in my cookbook I teach you how to make perfect white or brown rice on the stove that will not fail you.

Thanks to all who came and to all of you out there who send love and warm wishes for our 2nd Sunday dinner, though distance makes it impossible for you to join us. Carrie