Hey there! Long time no see! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately, time has just gotten away from me I guess. Now that Christmas decorating season is here though I have plenty of projects and things to write about, so I’m back!
While I was away I had the amazing opportunity to tour Richmond’s Ronald McDonald House and learn more about the phenomenal organization that gives families a place to stay while their children are in the hospital. The Richmond House is in a gorgeous older home on the historic Monument Avenue. I toured the house before Thanksgiving, and they were already in the Christmas spirit. The function of the Ronald McDonald House is to offer families a place to stay when their children will be in the hospital for an extended time. Rather than staying in a hotel the families get to stay in house complete with a full kitchen, living rooms, laundry, and a play room. I didn’t get a picture of the kitchen, but it was recently remodeled and absolutely gorgeous. Various groups and people volunteer to work in the kitchen each night to provide the families with a hot home cooked meal. There are also a variety of snacks and a fully stocked fridge for the kids.
This particular location has nine bedrooms for families to stay. There are also several rooms at the local hospitals for families to stay if they need to be close by for dire procedures or circumstances. Each room is simple and homely, though you wouldn’t think so after seeing all of the fabulous Christmas decorations. A local Christmas decorator (yep, wouldn’t you love to have that job?!) did all of the decorating before she got busy for the holiday season. Now, many people think that the Ronald McDonald Houses are funded by McDonald’s, but the fast food restaurant actually only pays for a fraction of their expenses. The rest of the money is raised through various donations and fundraisers. One of those is through can tabs. You can drop your tabs off at your local Ronald McDonald House, then the house will recycle them for money. Another fundraiser is through the sales of the holiday cookbook. The cookbook is put together by Southern Living and is sold exclusively at Dillard’s department stores. It’s only $10 and 100% of the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. We decided to have people over to try out a recipe from the book, because you can’t write about a cookbook without taking it for a test drive! Since the book is by Southern Living there were plenty of southern comfort food recipes so we went super comfort and made chicken pot pie. The pie was made with chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, shredded carrots, onion, and peas in a cast iron pan. It was Jesse’s first time making a southern dish but he did a fabulous job. Southern Living made it way easier to follow the recipe by including refrigerated pie crusts. Plop one on the bottom and one on top after you make the filling and boom! Now, I could just give you the recipe, but then you wouldn’t buy the cookbook and the Ronald McDonald House wouldn’t get your money, so too bad.
We also made dessert from the cookbook, which were these amazing fluffy chocolate chip cookies with a chocolate Bourbon ganache. Oh my gosh. The recipe originally called for the ganache to go between two cookies, like a sandwich, but we preferred the drizzle. It was just the right amount of chocolate. Our friends were big fans of the meal and even texted me afterward for the cookie recipe. They were seriously amazing. I’m definitely making these again as soon as the Whole Life Challenge is over! Not only is the cookbook filled with a ton of recipes for the holidays, from breakfast, appetizers, entrees and desserts, but it also includes a bunch of ideas for hosting other gatherings. There were a few pages on bridal showers, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July that even included ideas for place settings and centerpieces.
I’m planning on picking up a few of these cookbooks for Christmas gifts, because it’s killing two birds with one stone! I will be donating to a charity that I love and buying gifts for people that I love at the same time. I’m so efficient.