How to Have a Family Event Weekend – Part 2 The Food

by Kim Calhoun on June 19, 2011

One of the thing we have to do at our Family Event Weekend is eat. Over the years we have adopted a system that works well for us. I will be including our very favorite tried and true recipes for a weekend of grazing on really healthy food. And… some not so healthy,but very tasty food. We also eat out so the whole weekend is not about someone cooking.
Recipes included in this post:

Firehouse Rice
Uncle Bill’s Fudge

Family Food Assignments

Each group in our family has a certain food responsibility:

The South Carolina Group is responsible for snacks and Wednesday night dinner.

The Mississippi Gang is responsible for breakfast food items.

The North Carolina Folks are responsible for beverages, except for wine. That is generally chosen my the Tennessee contingency and me.

The Tenneesee contingency is responsible for bringing all the favorite things that I like that she makes. :) More on her recipes in a minute.

My other cousin, who is our leader, is an Air Force wife so we never know what state she will be in. She brings something unusual from where they are currently stationed.  She generally goes with the South Carolina ladies in bringing very cool snacks. Two of my favorites she has brought is Autocrat Coffee Syrup from Rhode Island and Santa Barbara Salsa from California.

Wednesday Night Dinner

We come in on a Wednesday evening. My two South Carolina aunts fix a wonderful dish called Firehouse Rice. My mother is a celiac so this dish is Gluten Free.

Firehouse Rice

Firehouse Rice


3 cups Uncle Ben’s Converted rice
1 large onion Chopped
3 cups water
1 Bell Pepper Chopped
8oz Tomato Sauce
1 cooking spoon Sugar
1 lbs Hillshire Sausage (all Beef)
1 cooking spoon Season Salt
Black pepper to taste


Sauté onions and bell pepper. Mix remaining ingredients. Place in pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 20 minutes 350 degrees uncovered. Stir. Cook 1 hour covered until done.

Along with this we make a huge salad bar, bread, baked beans and whatever else suits our collective fancy.
Salad Bar

Dessert is ALWAYS what we refer to as Uncle Bill’s Fudge. This is a very difficult fudge recipe that only my mother can make. I have to learn to make it before she goes to the great beyond. I have never been successful in many attempts.  The reason it is called Uncle Bill’s Fudge is because my mom makes this fudge in a tin every year for her brother, Bill,for Christmas. The family is only allowed ONE
(yes, I said ONE) piece and he eats the rest. So for our family weekend, my mom makes it for us as well so we can have more than one piece.

(Try at your own risk) I am not responsible for failure. If you succeed, it was my excellent directions. :)

Uncle Bill’s Fudge


3 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup whole milk or ½ & ½
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ stick real butter


Grease an 8* X 8″ cake pan. In a heavy large pot, mix together sugar and cocoa, Then add milk, stirring well. Put on medium-high heat and cook to soft ball stage without stirring. Do not use a candy thermometer for the stage. Instead use a glass of very cold water and drop a little into it to test. It must form a good soft ball. While the fudge is cooking, fill sink with enough cold water to come 1/2 to 2/3 up the side of the pot. When the soft ball stage is reached, remove from heart and set pan in cold water and immediately add vanilla and softened butter. Stir until fudge starts to thicken a little. (You can add chopped nuts at this time of you want to.) Pour into prepared pan and let set until completely cooled.

Thursday Crafting

On Thursday, we are usually doing our crafting for our scrapbooks ( more on that in another post) so we have a grazing day. We generally have ready to eat things for breakfast like cereal, poptarts, those little white powdered donuts. Treats that we don’t often buy at home but love to eat when we are there.  Lunch is my favorite because we graze. We bring out the salad bar again, salsa and chips, Aloette Cheese, Laughing Cow Cheese, leftover Firehouse Rice, and we have my two favorites made by my Tennessee cousin, Bruschetta and Hummus.



8 chopped ripe roma (plum) tomatoes
5 leaves chopped fresh basil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pinch of dried oregano
1 dash of crushed red pepper
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
2-3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, oregano, red pepper, salt, pepper and olive oil. Use more olive oil, if necessary, to coat the entire mixture. Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes for flavors to blend. It’s even better if you make it the day before though.

Spread the tomato mixture on the toasted bread slices, pita or bagel chips.



1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)


Drain the chickpeas, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the liquid. Combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, onion, garlic, oil, and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth adding the chickpea liquid if needed to thin the puree. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving to blend the flavors. Garnish with parsley or cilantro. Makes about 5 (4 oz) servings.

For supper, we generally try out the local fare in the area. So there’s no cooking then.

Friday Spa or Shopping Day

This changes from year to year. This year we went to the adorable mountain town of Helen , GA. So in lieu of the spa, we spent the day exploring the town and ate lunch at a magnificent German restaurant, the Old Bavaria Inn.

Saturday Tea Room Day

Wherever we go we find a Tea Room to visit on Saturday for lunch. Most of us, particularly those of us with sons, do not get the opportunity to be really girly. This is our shining moment.  This year we went to  the Baron York in Clarksville, Georgia.  Editorial Note* We just found out that the lady closed the Tea Room but that the store is still open. The owner was an absolute doll and we enjoyed all of our food. She even had gluten free choices for my mother. For supper, we generally graze again trying to finish up everything so we don’t have to take a lot home, plus we have our family meeting to prepare for the next year on Saturday night.

I hope that you have enjoyed Part 2 of How to Have a Family Event Weekend. The next installment is Part 3 –  The Photos.  I will show some photos,  but this post will be about how we organize and share the photos with each other. As you can imagine, 10 women with cameras take a lot of photos. If you missed Part 1 you can find it here How to Have a Family Event Weekend – Part1 The Plan.

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