My mother grew up eating Danish crepes. Slathered in butter and sprinkled with sugar, they served as the perfect snack to welcome her and her brothers home after a long day at school. As an adult, she carried on the crepe-making tradition by mixing up a batch every Wednesday night before my brothers and I left for our weekly catechism class. Served with a bowl of scrambled eggs mixed with fried potatoes, it was one of my favorite meals of the week. I had no plans to follow in my grandmother’s and mother’s footsteps until my oldest brother (who is big on tradition) bought me my first cast iron griddle. Almost twenty years later, I am still using it to make a weekly batch of pancakes so that my youngest can heat one up every morning before heading off to school.
To start your own crepe-making tradition, follow the recipe below.
1. Place the following ingredients in a blender:
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups of all purpose flour
2. Blend the ingredients, adding more milk as necessary until the crepe mix is easy to pour.
3. Heat a lightly oiled cast iron griddle over medium high heat.
Note: To minimize the amount of cooking oil that is needed, I purchased the Misto Gourmet Oil Sprayer (which can be used with any vegetable oil). Another option for spreading a small amount of oil onto a griddle is to use a silicone basting brush that is heat resistant to 500F/260C.
4. Pour a soup ladle of crepe mix onto the center of the skillet and tilt the pan in a circular motion so the batter coats the surface evenly.
5. When the bottom of the crepe is lightly brown, loosen with a metal spatula and flip the crepe over to cook the other side.
6. Remove from heat when the second side is lightly browned.
7. Serve hot and refrigerate leftovers.
Over the past several months, our guest room has gotten a lot of use. When a friend asked if I minded having so many visitors, I didn’t hesitate when I told her that it’s a privilege to welcome people to our home. Luke 12:48 says that much is expected from whom much is blessed. We are blessed to have an extra bedroom and anyone who has stayed with us knows that we go out of our way to make it (and our guests) comfortable. What people don’t know is why.
Why did we decorate the guest room with Bill’s mother’s old Christmas decorations before his aunt came to visit last December?
Why did I set a tray of freshly baked cookies and bottled water on the bed the last time a friend stayed the night?
And what prompted us to develop dozens of pictures of friends and family members so we will have the perfect snapshot to frame and place on the nightstand the next time one of them is scheduled to spend the night?
If my youngest daughter had to answer the last question, she’d say that it makes us look like stalkers; but I am less concerned with making an impression than I am with making a difference. Since our move to Illinois we have traveled to Nebraska on many occasions and, like the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:20, we know what it’s like to be in want and what’s it’s like to have plenty when we stop somewhere to spend the night. My goal is to use that knowledge to anticipate what would make visitors feel welcome and affirm their importance to our family.
If you would like to send the same message to your guests, here are twenty ways to make them feel especially welcome in your home:
- When visitors are arriving late, think beyond the porch light by placing a mint on their pillows and turning a lamp on low in their bedroom.
- Have a nightlight in the hallway so guests can find their way to the kitchen or bathroom after everyone goes to bed.
- Place a tray on the bed with a plate of cookies and a card to welcome them to your home.
- Save your wireless password to a text file on a clearly marked flash drive so high-tech friends and family members can access your network from their laptop or smartphone.
- Store a cable guide by the television if your guest room has one so visitors can easily locate their favorite channels.
- Purchase a brochure holder from an office supply store and use it to hold information about local tourist attractions.
- Keep a photo album of past visitors checking out local tourist attractions so new guests will have an idea of what attractions they might want to see while they are in town.
- Add flowers to surface areas and artwork on the walls to give guests something beautiful to look at.
- Place a notepad and pen on the nightstand so people can capture late night thoughts.
- Empty the drawers of a dresser and place extra hangers in the closet so people can use them if they are staying for more than one night.
- Provide a luggage rack , bench or other flat surface so guests won’t have to bend down when opening their suitcase.
- Store extra blankets and pillows where guests can easily find them.
- Place a fresh roll of toilette paper on the dispenser and a second one within easy reach so guests won’t run out during their stay.
- Set box(es) of tissues, disposable hand towels, and travel-sized toiletries where visitors will find them.
- If you subscribe to magazines, store recent copies in your guest room for visitors to peruse.
- Keep your iron and ironing board in the guest room closet so visitors will have access to them.
- Place a full length mirror where visitors can use it and keep a spare blow dryer under the sink.
- Store extra blankets, towels and washcloths so they will be easy to find.
- Hang two matching robes in the closet for guests to use during their stay.
- If your guest room is drafty in the winter, consider putting a space heater in the corner of the guest room and an electric blanket on the bed.
Photos illustrating many of the suggestions listed above can be found on Pinterest.com but before you view them, remember that implementing even one is pointless if no one stays in your home. Good things don’t always come to those who wait: Sometimes you have to make an effort by extending an invitation and trusting that the people who take you up on your offer will be the ones God has given you the privilege to serve.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. – Luke 12:48b
Every year, someone asks for the recipe to make the brandy slush that I serve at holiday parties. It works great for larger gatherings because it can be prepared ahead of time and added to a punch bowl so guests can serve themselves.
10 cups boiling water
6 tea bags (I buy the kind with a blackberry flavor)
2 cups white sugar
1 (16 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (16 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 pint of blackberry brandy
1 (2 liter) bottle Hawaiian Fruit Punch
- Boil 10 cups of water in a large pot
- Add the 2 cups of sugar and 6 tea bags (I buy the kind with a blackberry flavor)
- Let the teabags soak in the water/sugar mixture for 2 hours
- Remove the tea bags and add the Hawaiian Fruit Punch, frozen lemonade, grape juice and brandy to the water/sugar mixture
- Freeze mixture, stirring once or twice so the brandy doesn’t settle on the bottom of the container
- Add two scoops of slush to a glass of 7-Up or Squirt and serve with a straw