Study Club

Over the past couple of years, I've been getting together with a few girlfriends on random Friday afternoons here and there.  We don't have a set schedule, just when we can all fit it into our week.  What do we study, you ask?
Well, life, I guess.

We chat about our families, share thoughts and ideas on our children and their activities, have a cocktail or two, and eat some yummy food.  It is such a highlight for me.  I know it sounds crazy, but these study club friends have changed the way I think about life.  
  

So, we had our year end finale a couple of weeks ago at my house.  These girls are so easy to please and will try anything you throw at them!  I decided to do "one bite" appetizers this go around.   


The Menu

These are so simple to make.  The trick is to cook your bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven (350 for 20 minutes) so that it's crisp and super flat.

I also used a homemade dressing on the french baguette - just to make them more interesting.  If you are inclined, you could also add avocado.

 
I grabbed a recipe off the Internet for the soup and made it a day ahead so the favors would marry and be super chilly.  Also, to make assembly even faster, I had my fish monger steam the pre-peeled shrimp for me in Ole Bay Seasonings.  They were a bit more expensive, but I only needed 16 of them so it was worth it.

 
This was the easiest "one bite" I made - grape tomatoes sliced in half, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a fresh basil leaf.

I then topped the whole thing off with a balsamic glaze (you can find it at almost any grocery store these days).  The glaze is thicker and richer than a balsamic vinegar and does not make the the tomatoes release their juices so your plate stays pretty.

These were my favorite, hands down.

The trick here is to use pre-made shredded pork and the bagged cole slaw with your favorite blue cheese dressing.  I also splurged on pre-made gourmet angel biscuits that I popped in the oven to reheat. 
There was only one of these left at the end of the party and my cute hubby came in and whisked it away!

(after all, I am in the South)

OK, I know this picture makes the desserts look green (bad choice of platter color on my part).  They are not green (I promise), rather a creamy wonderful vanilla color!

Sshhh, don't tell anyone, I made these desserts in votive candle holders.  Smaller servings are great way to make a heavy, decadent dessert, more appropriate for the summer.

 

I think this is a wonderful alternative to soda and you can make a ton of lemonade with just one bag of lemons - crazy how much it will make!

I added a splash of lavender infused vodka, for those in mood for a libation!

I saw this mason jar idea on Pinterest and just had to try it.

Now, I challenge you to come up with a fun group of girls and host a "study club."
You'll be surprised how much fun it can be!  Hope your week is going great so far. M.


16 comments:

  1. I could not be more impressed! Everything is beautiful AND it looks good! WOW....

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  2. I love this idea! Everything looks beautiful and delicious! What a great way to unwind and connect with great friends! :) I love the mason jar idea for lemonade!

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  3. Wow! You have inspired me...to make delicious one-bites and to move to the South so I can join this study group! Definitely bookmarking this post for a later date!
    Joanne

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  4. Love this! Am trying to link to recipes? Don't see a way to do it? Would love to use them for a gathering I'm having soon.

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  5. Hey Anne!
    I would love for you to link to these. If you will look at the bottom of the post there is a little pencil and the statement "those showing me the love" - click there and you can link to me! M.

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  6. Everything looks amazing! Love the mason jar idea:)
    ~Anne

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  7. I want to be apart of your club! What a fantastic idea. Very inspiring. Looming forward to trying out some of those apps.

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  8. It looks wonderful and so much fun. I think most women need something like this. In the old days we had women quilting together and supporting each other. I am impressed with the menu...Yum!

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  9. It looks fantastic and I bet the conversation was even better. I used to get together with a book club but we parted ways when we all started getting married and having kids - I'd love to get it back together again. And your one bite eats look so yummy!

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  10. You are amazing!!!!! Ever consider catering? What a fun idea....love it all, so many beautiful and inspirational ideas here. WELL DONE!

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  11. Sounds like a really fun night! Love your menu, especially the small bites, and the lemonade in mason jars is the icing on the cake. I like how you simplified the small bites with some pre-made, pre-cooked items - smart!

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  12. Mandi... I stumbled across your blog today for the first time and absolutely loved it. After reading several posts, I discovered your name and knew there aren't many people with the last name Smith T. My family's friendship with the Smith Ts goes back generations, so I was delighted to realize you were John's wife. I have dear memories of Miss Vera and Mr. Winston from my childhood as well as visits with my grandmother to Miss Edith's house - our youngest child is named after her. I am so looking forward to reading your blog - you have a fabulous eye for design! We just moved from Watercolor to Jacksonville - if you and John are ever down this way, we would love to see you. Elizabeth Dudley Alford

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  13. Elizabeth,
    Thank you so much for the comment! We adore your parents and have also had the pleasure of meeting Clay and Sarah. I'm so glad you found my blog! Please stay in touch. Mandi

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  14. How many wonderful ideas in one post!!! Wish I could have been at the party!

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  15. Brilliant! What a wonderful spread...everything sounds delicious!

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Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.