Mara was baptized on Sunday. Such joy!
Corban talked through our time up front, asking for his “boc,” a.k.a. pacifier. No amount of discreet shh-ing can quiet a toddler who wants to be heard!
After, he got his wish.
We were blessed to have Mara’s grandparents, great-grandparents, aunt and uncles there to share in the occasion.
After the service, we had lunch at our house with a simple, make-ahead menu.
Mara’s baptism lunch:
- Hummus, spinach artichoke dip, salsa, chips and raw veggies
- Slow cooker Italian beef sandwiches (recipe at bottom)
- Sautéed green beans with sliced almonds
- Roasted herb potatoes
- Homemade dinner rolls
- Green salad with Ranch dressing
- White cake with vanilla buttercream frosting
- Cranberry champagne punch
- Non-alcoholic sparkling cranberry lemonade punch
Since I knew we’d all be arriving back at our house at the same time, and right around lunchtime, I wanted to have everything pretty much ready to go when we walked in the door. The key to making this work? Using the slow cooker, delegating side dish duties and getting the house 100% ready the night before.
Peter’s mom brought her signature dinner rolls. My mom brought the potatoes, ready to just pop in the oven for 20 minutes, and the green beans (haricot verts from Trader Joe’s), which she sautéed in olive oil for about five minutes and tossed with sliced almonds. My grandma brought the appetizers. Their help really made the meal come together easily!
I set the two tables the night before with a simple, fall theme.
I used my Goodwill mismatched “china,” dollar store placemats, my favorite (er, only) chargers and homemade coffee bean candles.
Just like when Corban was baptized, Peter chose two verses of scripture for Mara. The first, from our perspective. The second, from her perspective. Cards with the verses also went on the table to share with our family.
3 John: 4: I have no greater joy than to know that my children are walking in the truth.
Psalm 139: 14: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are you works; my soul knows it very well.
I also made a point the night before to get out every serving dish, pitcher and utensil that I’d need. That way it was all out on the counter and I wasn’t digging through cabinets when our guests were here.
The slow cooker Italian beef turned out great – juicy, tender and full of flavor. I mixed all the spices the night before then zombie-walked out of bed at 5 a.m. to put it all in the Crockpot. The recipe is, appropriately, from our church cookbook (and too good not to share so it’s at the bottom of this post).
I made two easy cocktails, one alcoholic and one not.
Sparkling Cranberry Punch (left) and Champagne and Cranberry Juice Sparkling Punch. And that’s her birth announcement (more on that in another post) and newborn footprint and handprint in the background.
It’s a triple layer cake, which I had never attempted before. Sadly, I greased my pans but forgot to flour them, so one of my layers would not come out of the pan, and ended up in a huge pile.
Fortunately, I was able to piece it together as the middle layer, and you really couldn’t tell the difference! Unfortunately, my layers didn’t seem to rise as much as the photo at Add a Pinch, so while I thought the cake had an excellent flavor, the texture was denser than it should have been. There also wasn’t quite enough frosting to cover all my messy crumbs from the jumbled layers.
Despite its imperfections, we enjoyed the cake and I have had no trouble polishing off the leftover pieces over the past few days.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon enjoying time with family and, of course, enjoying lots of Mara snuggles.
I was in love with her little outfit and didn’t want to take it off her at the end of the day.
How wonderful it is to be able to celebrate God’s covenant to us and publicly welcome Mara into our church family.
Slow Cooker Italian Beef
Makes 14-18 servings
6 pounds boneless chuck or rump roast
1 packet onion soup mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I used a pinch each of basil, oregano and parsley)
1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 teaspoon Ac’cent (I didn’t know what this was so I used Mrs. Dash — don’t ask why I own that…)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup water
Place meat in slow cooker, sprinkle spice mixture over it and add water. Cook on low 8 hours. When beef is done, slice or shred and leave in juices (the longer it sits, the better it tastes) until serving on buns.