We spontaneously decided to invite our colleague, Linh to come for a work meeting (a.k.a. a surprise birthday brunch) at 9.30 AM and had half an hour to make it happen! This was a fun challenge! Here is how my friend Linda and I made the very rapid preparations!
- Turned on oven to pre-heat (400 degrees)
- Put on our aprons-pretty ones help!
- Set the table
- Hospitality Tip-Start by setting the table first- if someone arrives and the table is set and ready, they will feel welcomed and loved! You can always cook when they are with you.
Hospitality Tip-It is worth investing in a few pretty table cloths. Small, square ones work really well as they can be put over other cloths, used on a rectangular table or on a round table such as mine.
Hospitality Tip-A cake stand turns every occasion into a celebration! If you don't own one, put a plate on an upturned bowl to get the same effect.
Hospitality Tip-Keep some pretty napkins on hand. (Check out 10 Uses for Napkins other than Wiping Your Mouth).
No flowers? I quickly added extra napkins in a milk jug to add color and interest!
I began with the baking by making scones in my food processor. They are easy to make and taste wonderful when they are warm (there was no choice but to have them warm, as this all happened so fast!)
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- Mix briefly in food processor
- Measure 1/4 cup of oil into 1 Cup baking cup
- Add one egg and fill to the top with buttermilk.
- Add to flour mixture in food processor and process quickly (don't over process)
- Place dough on floured board or parchment paper and pat down to about 2 inches think.
- Cut into small circles and bake for about 10 minutes until lightly brown on top and cooked through. Serve with butter, jam and cream (if you have it, which I didn't!)
Hospitality Tip- Always keep some small cakes or little tarts in the freezer, as these can be pulled out at the last minute to be used as a birthday cake or for some other celebration. We had Trader Joe's mini fruit tarts all ready to be popped in the oven.
While I made the scones, Linda fried bacon and scrambled eggs and had that ready to cook at the last minute. When the scones were in the oven, and the eggs and bacon ready to go, we added some other touches.
Hospitality Tip- Add light! I love my small, sparking lights and I use them so often to make a festive atmosphere. We added them to the table and a lit candle.
Wine glasses make any occasion more special, so put one at each place setting. Although we put out sparkling wine, none of us drank it as it was a work day! We enjoyed tea and coffee instead.
Hospitality Tip- Keep birthday cards on hand. I signed a birthday card, added a small gift and put cards on the table for affirmations. I had made the cards at an earlier time using wrapping paper that I loved and had them ready to go.
Hospitality Tip- Make the occasion meaningful through words that are shared. We have a tradition with our staff that we spend time honoring, affirming and praying for each person on their birthday. We took a few minutes and wrote our affirmations in the cards, while Linh waited patiently and then we read the words out loud to her. This is always a very meaningful time for all of us. We have also grown in our ability to speak out encouraging and uplifting words.
If you don't feel comfortable writing an affirmation, check out this blogpost: 10 Tips for Writing a Good Affirmation
Surprise! Linh arrived and we had a special time together celebrating our friend.
Hospitality is not hard. But it requires practice, so give yourself a bit longer than 30 minutes and you'll do fine.
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