The Connection Series
Marriage Mondays has been a blast! Thank you for being a part of it! Remember if you missed a week, you can catch every bit of it in my marriage book here.
The close of one chapter allows room to birth the next. I am deeply excited to bring to you this Connection Series.
This is something so close to my heart. I feel like I am rediscovering connection in a new way in this season of my life.
A new season Prioritising Connection
It was not long ago that I was caught up in a hectic work schedule, study, and a wrong mindset where relationships were not prioritised. In fact relationships, true transparency and vulnerability with my friends and family is something I am rediscovering this year. I am finding myself come alive as I give myself to it. I want this for you too my beloved ones.
Using Food For Connection
There is nothing that brings us closer together than food. Connecting over food makes everything so much more intimate and personal. Cooking recipes that I have grown up with, within our home, brings an immediate bond with whomever is partaking in it. It is something so sacred and beautiful that it provides the perfect scaffolding to connect with one another in a deeper way.
Each week Mark and I have at least one dinner where I have the honour of cooking for beloved friends in our lives. These times are often the highlight of our week. Here I plan a menu, and Mark and I always go for a big walk up our mountain before our guests come over and we talk about the connection questions that we could play that night.
In this series, week by week, I want to share with you the dinner menu I have used and the games that we play.
Life is busy. Who has the time for complicated menus and food prep? Not me. And even if I did have the time, I am not interested in that time in the kitchen constructing a croquembouche. So my menus may surprise you with just how easy they are. Dessert? I rarely bother doing dessert anymore. When people ask “What shall I bring?” I ask them to bring fruit and dark chocolate for dessert (no washing up). If there is more than one couple, I get the others to bring drinks. This takes the stress out of cooking and frees you up to be out of the kitchen and with your guests.
These are questions that Mark and I get from various sources or make up on our walks together. They help to inspire conversation that goes beyond the superficial. Have you ever had dinner where conversation is painfully slow and awkward? Even if you really want to get to know one another and genuinely like each other, it can be hard at times to go beyond the superficial. Even when you are with people you are comfortable and love, it can be so easy to just make small talk while your heart craves deeper conversation than the usual banter. Connection questions provide the scaffolding for this. It also allows people to be as deep or as superficial as they wan,t depending on their mood, the atmosphere of the night and your relationship with one another. Having said that you will be amazed at how transparent people get within the safety of this game.
One conversation Rule
Mark and I love to practice the one conversation rule. This is where we ask everyone at the table to have one conversation at a time. Then only one person can speak at a time, nobody is ever left out or excluded, and the whole table gets to be involved and engaged.
Without further ado, allow me to share with you my dinner menu and connection game from our dinner this week.
Chicken Adobo with grilled Eggplant and hummus
Sides of Big Garden Salad and Brown Rice
Dessert Fruit and Dark Chocolate
I have included this recipe as I grew up with chicken adobo. It is a traditional Filipino dish which has so many happy memories for me. However, it is also one of the simplest dishes you can make. It has less than five ingredients and you can make it in a hurry with ingredients you always have at hand. This works for vegetables like potato and cauliflower as well.
I like to use the whole chicken as that brings the taste to a whole new level, however if you are pushed for time, chicken drumsticks or thighs are fine. This quantity will serve four with other mains. I usually always make double this. Remember that the quantities and method is very forgiving. You do not have to be Ultra precise. It will always turn out delicious!
- 1kg of chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup of soy sauce
- 4 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn grounded
- 3 bay leaves
Combine whole chicken (thighs or drumsticks), vinegar, soy sauce, crushed garlic and peppercorn with bay leaves in a large pot and leave to marinate for 1-3 hours. (this step optional and I OFTEN skip this step and it is still juicy and delicious).
Bring the chicken to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 30 mins stirring occasionly. Remove the lid and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened, and the chicken is tender. This should take about 20 minutes or so.
Grilled Eggplant and Hummus
Okay this recipe is so easy and is a Show stopper.
- 4 Eggplant
- Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the eggplants in half and place skin side down on baking tray.
- Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil.
- Season with plenty of cumin and salt and pepper.
- Place in oven for 30-40 minutes until a fork easily pierces the flesh.
- Put on Grill for another 10 minutes.
- Take out and allow to cool.
- Place on a serving tray. Top each eggplant with hummus and drizzle with extra olive oil and salt and pepper.
- 1 tin of chickpeas
- 1-2 heaped tablespoons of tahini
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Squeeze of lemon
- Salt to taste
I just throw together some rocket, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. I add whatever is in the fridge that I want to use up such as carrots, avocado, red onion.
Usually I use apple cider vinegar to dress the salad, olive oil and balsamic, and/or a big blob of feta if you have that handy.
I usually use a rice cooker and do ½ a cup per person. There is always left overs but better to have a bit more than not enough. Follow the packet instructions to make the rice. Brown rice is always better as it is lower GI and has a nuttier flavour. Don’t worry about whether or not people would prefer brown or white. It is your party and brown is better than white. You get to choose. If you don’t like brown rice, Quinoa works well here as well.
Who is one person in your life who has deeply impacted you and why?
What is one place that you have been to in the past that you will remember forever?
If you could tell or teach your children one thing, only one, what would that be?
There you have it my beloveds.
Our dinner party menu and connection games.
Trust me…..hosting dinner parties is so much easier than you think.
The rewards outweigh any inconvenience and mess. The depth of relationships that you will build will blow your mind. And the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Will you join me?
Invite a couple of people to your house each week.
Cook a simple menu, play a game or two, and connect in a new and deep way.
Use my menu and connection games each week if that helps.
Then write in and tell us all about it.
For to reign in life is to build deep lasting friendships.
And there is no easier way to connect, than over food in one’s home.
It is intimate and restorative.
You are deeply loved and richly cherished
Reign in Life
Wink: Before I learned about connection games, I have sat through my fair share of awkward dinner parties. Or those wedding parties where you are seated at the worst possible table!?? Oh my goodness. Terrible. These connection games are so useful for times like this. You can play them with strangers or close friends and go as superficial or as deep as you like. It is amazing how fast you can connect with strangers. It is even more amazing what new things you can learn about friends you have had for decades.
Connection games. Seriously. They should be on the tables along with the menu at restaurants and weddings…….
P.S. If you are interested in nutrition, wellness and connection, please jump onto my Facebook and request to join my closed community group CG Reign in life.