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Downsize the Party? Never!


“Meatloaf!” My friend exclaimed in amazement. “How did you bake this?”

It was a bit of surprise at our dinner party, I suppose. You see over the Christmas holidays, my stove along with its oven broke. Yep, it just gave up. Surrendered. It had cooked many a good meal not only for my family, but also for pot lucks, large parties, even catering for conferences. It always delivered until the day after Christmas. Good timing. Life was slowing. Cookies had been baked and celebration dinners were past. The thing is, I haven’t purchased a new one.

My cooking now is done on a hot plate. Yes, I know, many months have passed since December, but at the moment things are going fine. Call it an experiment in downsizing, BIG time. [Tiny house living is all the rage after all.] One burner, a crock pot, and a microwave. Well, a couple of other things you might find interesting. The aforementioned meatloaf was actually baked in the BBQ. It worked great.

A few weeks ago, I decided to do cupcakes with my special Browned Butter Frosting. Not wanting to borrow an oven somewhere, I recalled a time when I used a turkey roaster to do baking in my daughter’s kindergarten class. You know the kind. A black enameled, plug in, standalone oven of sorts. A friend had given me one that had belonged to her grandmother. It came complete with the original book copyrighted 1940. Anyway, I dug the roaster out of the storage closet, plugged it in, and voila, cupcakes were baked!

I guess my point in telling you all this is life can still go on without some of the conveniences we think necessary. In fact, many places I have traveled to around the world have had far less than my ‘down-sized’ kitchen and they still manage hospitality just fine. It’s not how the food arrived at the table, but rather who you have around the table that really matters.

I will get a new stove eventually, but for now, things are OK. I haven’t slowed down at all in the hospitality department. If anything, it has made me more creative, broadening the methods that bring good flavors to the supper table.

I love spending time with my friends and family. The simplest things in life give me the most pleasure: cooking a good meal, enjoying my friends.

~Cindy Morgan

Beautiful table setting for afternoon coffee with friends while visiting in Germany, 2014.


Italian Meatloaf

1 ½ pounds ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

½ chopped onion

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

¾ cup Italian bread crumbs

½ cup ketchup

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon garlic salt

¾ cup pasta sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven [or BBQ] to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Press into a 9×5 inch loaf pan [must be metal for BBQ], and cover loosely with foil.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). If using the BBQ, turn pan from time-to-time to achieve even cooking.



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