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food

Food October 7, 2014

Tip 7 – Transform Your Coffee Station

Welcome to 31 Women’s Ministry Tips!

Tip #7 is all about transforming your coffee station from boring to extraordinary.

5 Ways to Transform Your Coffee Station from Boring to Extraordinary

Coffee.

It’s become a fixture in many churches.

It’s expected at most morning Bible studies.

It’s prepped in big pots to wake up your MOPS mommas.

It probably goes without saying that most of your women find a good cup of coffee a treat.

Coffee is not necessary, but it is most appreciated.

Here are 5 ideas to take your coffee station from ho-hum to extra-special:
(Affiliate links below – you do not pay a penny more, but I receive a small commission that helps cover the costs of this site.)

1. A couple of flavors of liquid coffee creamer – big bottles are best but the shelf-stable little creamers are good too. French Vanilla is almost always a hit. Consider adding a seasonal flavor during the holidays.

2. Pretty serving pots. Our team invested in a 60-cup pot like this Hamilton Beach 60-Cup Coffee Urn. They look so nice you don’t feel like you need to hide them in the kitchen! Consider two – one for hot water for tea, cocoa, or hot cider and use the other exclusively for coffee.

3. Styrofoam travel cups like these Dixie Paper Cups and Lids are a big hit. Lids prevent spills and allow women to take a second cup of joe with them as they leave.

4. Stirrers They are dirt cheap. Set them out in a pretty cup, basket, or small pot.

5. An array of sugar packets. Many of your women are particular about their sugar substitutes. Your women will love if you have their favorite brand – I suggest stocking Sugar, Splenda, Truvia, and Sweet ‘N Low. If you have the budget, you might want to get the Mind Reader “Organizer” Coffee Condiment Caddy to make it easier to set up your coffee station each time.

If your event is in the afternoon or evening, one pot of regular and another of decaf is always nice. The later the event, the more decaf and less regular you’ll need.

Your turn to share: Do your women expect and enjoy coffee at your Women’s Ministry events?

You may also want to read:
31 Women’s Ministry Tips
3 Easy and Creative Ways to Serve Fruit at Your Next Event
Addressing Food Allergies & Diets
Fellowship Food Fix
Food Bars
10 Tips for Serving Food Faster


Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

 

Food July 22, 2014

10 Tips for Serving Food Faster

The speed at which food is served at Women’s Ministry events can make or break your schedule and  your guest’s experience.

Nobody likes:

  • Waiting for their food
  • Cold food
  • To be the last table served

Getting food out fast is a challenge!

10 Tips for Serving Food Faster at your Women's Ministry events

I’ve got 10 tips to share with you today to help you get food out faster.

1. Set up double buffet lines. Pull those tables away from the wall and have lines going down both sides of the table.

2. Call tables up to get food. Your guests can visit while they are waiting and it eliminates standing for long periods of time which can be difficult for some of your older women.

3. Place your salads and desserts on the table before the event begins. It also removes the temptation to over-decorate the tables.

4. Increase the number of servers and kitchen help. Enlist youth and college students if you are struggling to find men in your church that are willing/able to serve. A good rule of thumb is at least one server per table – 2 is even better!

5. If you are distributing box lunches or pre-packaged meals set up multiple pick up stations.

6. Utilize separate beverage and dessert stations with pre-filled drinks and plated desserts. Place someone there to re-fill and pour to keep things moving.

7. Buffet style for a large group? Set up multiple buffet stations (with the same foods). The more lines you have the faster they will move.

8. Pre-portion any food you can. Cut cakes, brownies, pies, quiche, casseroles, etc. so that your women can scoop rather than scoop and cut.

9. Put a suitable serving utensil with every single dish. Load up on utensils at The Dollar Store. This is a great help for those with food allergies too.

10. Juggling silverware at a buffet slows down the line. Either place the silverware on the tables or wrap it all nicely in a napkin so it’s easy to carry.

Your turn to share: What do you do to speed up the food service at your events?

Food July 15, 2014

Addressing Diets & Food Allergies

Do you all struggle as much as I do with selecting foods for events?

There’s so much to take into consideration.

There are women who must follow a low-sodium diet, a low-sugar diet, or a low-fat diet.

There are those that have food allergies such as dairy, eggs, or peanuts.

Others have a gluten intolerance.

There’s also a lot of women that are just trying to eat healthier.

Addressing Special Diets & Food Allergies

God has been softening my heart over this issue for close to two years.

At our church back in Kentucky, three dear friends had to be on gluten free diets for medical reasons.

I got to see first-hand their struggles during church potlucks and women’s ministry events.

When someone you love has little on their plate and yours is overflowing, that’s hard.

God used this experience to remove my sorry sinful attitude about dealing with special diets and food allergies at women’s ministry events.

My old way of thinking: It affects so few women; surely they are used to dealing with it and will make their own needed arrangements. (I know – that was awful and extremely insensitive!!)

My new way of thinking: There needs to be effort made so that all women have something on their plate they can enjoy.

salad-enjoy

I’m not asking you to become gluten-free, low-sodium, or health food experts. But I am going to share some food ideas with you.

The basic thing to remember with gluten-free is that if it contains wheat – it contains gluten (other things contain gluten too, but that’s the first rule, if you will).

Here are some food ideas almost every woman will appreciate (whether they are trying to stick to a diet, avoid gluten, or eat healthy):

  1. Fresh Fruit
  2. Cut Veggies
  3. Make Your Own Salads – with serving utensils for each individual topping item (croutons have gluten and will cross contaminate your other toppings).
  4. Yogurt  – most are gluten-free; if setting up a yogurt bar, provide serving utensils for each topping.

What practical things can you do to make meals enjoyable for all of your women?

  • Save your packaging and labels so anyone with food sensitivities, diet restrictions, or allergies can read the labels.
  • Provide an alternative meal. Most caters are accustomed to fixing gluten-free and low-sodium entrees.
  • Consider including a spot on your reservation forms for women to notify you of any food allergies or special diets.
  • Allow women to bring their own food. If they aren’t eating the meal, reducing their ticket price would be much appreciated.

That little bit of extra effort will leave those women feeling loved and included.

I can’t end without sharimg that this has become a personal issue for me… This spring I needed to remove gluten from my diet. I now know first-hand the challenges of eating away from home.

Your turn to share: How do you handle food allergies and special diets at your Women’s Ministry events?

Fellowships, Food, Volunteers June 17, 2014

Fellowship Food Fix

Food costs can quickly sink your Women’s Ministry budget for an event.

Fellowship Food Fix

I know a team that grew tired of making food for every event so they decided to add a line to their budget.

They budgeted around $125 for food from Sam’s Club.

Which is okay. Except this was for a gathering of only about 25 women.

Ya’all that’s at least $5 per person for snacks.

For most of our budgets that’s too much…

My heart sinks thinking about how half that money (really, more) could have been used to buy supplies for a Missions Project or some other cause…

Asking your own women to bring food does two things:

  1. It encourages them to come to the event. Chances are they won’t come alone, either. They’ll ask a friend to meet them there.
  2. It gives your women the opportunity to serve one another.

Food provides an invitation and opportunity for women to serve one another.  More thoughts on Fellowship Food Fix at Women's Ministry Toolbox.

Why you should ask your women to bring food:

  1. They have great recipes to share! Aunt Ida’s apple pie. Mama’s famous cheese ball. Women will be begging for the recipes and lavishing them with compliments.
  2. There is a group of women at your church that would love the excuse to try a new recipe – you can thank Pinterest!
  3. There are women who would love an opportunity to cook for someone else. Not everyone has someone to cook for and not everyone’s efforts are appreciated at home.
  4. It will decrease your clean-up and set-up time when you use the plates and serving dishes the women bring.

That being said, some women would stay home if you required them to bring a dish.

You need to build a Food Team.

My 2-in-1 Door Prize/Volunteer Form is the easiest way I know to build volunteer teams.

You will also need to recruit a Food Team Leader. Your Food Team Leader will be responsible for calling the needed number of women 2 weeks prior to the event.

  • Ask your women to bring something sweet, salty, or healthy.
  • No need to take notes or pass a sign-up sheet – it almost always works itself out and if there’s two of something it really isn’t a big deal.
  • Set the gentle expectation that these women will stay for the event. I.E. “We’re having a Fellowship next Friday night, could you come and bring a snack?”
  • Spread out the work and only ask each woman to help 2-3 times per year if possible. Keep track on a spreadsheet.

When your women bring food to your fellowships you get a great variety, give women the opportunity to serve, and keep your expenses to a minimum.

How do you handle food for your fellowships?

Food August 16, 2013

Food Bars

 food bar collage

Need a quick and easy solution for the food for your next women’s ministry event?

Set up a Food Bar!

I love the ease of self-serve and the pretty rows of little bowls, plates, and food!

With allergy and food issues becoming more common, food bars often give these women options that might not otherwise have.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert – I’ve got ya’ covered! Let’s take a look!

mini fruit pizzas

(source)

Individual Fruit Pizza Bar – keep costs low by choosing fruit that’s in season.

smores food bar

 (source)

DIY Smores Bar – Be sure to click over to see how they set up the roasting station.
Do me a favor and get permission for open flames – okay?

Chili-Bar

(source)

A Chili Bar – what a great lunch/dinner idea for your ladies!
Did you know you can cook baked potatoes in a crock pot (wash, dry, wrap in foil, 4 hours on high)?
I like the fries and hotdogs as options too.
Or keep it simple and just go with chili and toppings. Maybe a mild, spicy, white, and vegetarian chili…

crepe bar(source)

 I’ll admit, I don’t know how to make crepes and this Crepe Bar
may be more work that someone would want to take on, but this is SO elegant!!

Breakfast burrito bar

(source)

Early morning events have been a big hit with our ladies.
Click the link to see all the topping ideas for DIY Breakfast Burritos.

baked-potato-bar(source)

Another great lunch or dinner idea – a Baked Potato Bar.
Love that this could be vegetarian and allergy friendly.
Store pre-baked potatoes in coolers to keep them warm.

trail mix bar

(source)

Whether you offer the Trail Mix Bar as a snack during a retreat or conference or make this their favor,
I love that women can customize their mix to include their favorites!

Yogurt Bar

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We had a mini-version of this Yogurt Bar at our last conference.
We served vanilla yogurt with granola and thawed frozen fruit.
Our GSF store has some smaller bowls that were perfect – not too big, not too small.

For more great food ideas check out my Feed the masses! Pinterest Board:

Follow wmtoolbox’s board Feed the masses! on Pinterest.

You may also want to read:

Fellowship Food Fix
Revealing What’s For Dinner
Addressing Special Diets and Food Allergies
10 Tips for Serving Food Faster

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Food May 10, 2013

3 Easy and Creative Ways to Serve Fruit at Your Next Event

3 Easy and Creative Ways to Serve Fruit at Your Next Event

I’m always on the look out for creative ideas for serving food at our women’s ministry events.

I personally like to balance the offerings with something sweet, something salty, and something healthy.

Often those sweet and salty treats are off limits for women with allergy issues and those who are on diet.

Fruit is a great healthy option for those women who might not be able to eat anything else on the snack table.

I’ve gathered and gleaned 3 easy and creative ways for you to serve fruit at your next event, Bible study, or Ladies Night Out.

Be sure to let me know if you use one of these ideas!

Mini-Fruit Pizzas

mini fruit pizzas

(source)

I love, love, love this idea!

I can think of so many fun fruit possibilities – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, peaches, pineapple, raspberries, clementines, … Use what’s in season – not only will it be more affordable, but it will taste better! Oh, and don’t skimp on the homemade cream cheese icing. Mmmmm….

Feature this on a round table as a serve-yourself dessert.

Perfect year-round!

Mini-Fruit Cups

Fresh fruit in mini treat cups

(source)

First of all these little cups are way too cute!

Again, go with what is seasonal. Avoid things like bananas or apples that will brown. If needed, enlist some help in cutting up the fruit.

Perfectly portioned, these cups will also keep your food line moving quickly.

Totally love these for a breakfast, brunch, tea, lunch, or summer dinner and for events of almost any size.

Fruit Kabobs

PartyFruitSkewersjpg_zpsbf19a44c

(source)

I would recommend making these fruit kabobs about 1/3 of the size pictured above.

They are super portable. No silverware necessary!

If you’re going to use bananas make sure you serve them immediately so they don’t brown.

Wouldn’t your team love if you brought these to your next meeting?!

 You may also want to read:
10 Tips for Serving Food Faster
Fellowship Idea: Comfort Food
Addressing Diets & Food Allergies
Fellowship Food Fix
Food Bars


Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags