Take Meals From Ordinary To Extraordinary

Pretty spring tablescape at my mom’s house.

I grew up in a home where family meals during the holidays, especially, were occasions worthy of sitting at our grand dining room table and using the good china and silver, beautiful linens, and placing fresh cut flowers in a glass vase as a centerpiece. My mother is a wonderful cook and homemaker and she strives to make every family meal special. My older siblings and I all live in different cities and the times we gather around the table are definitely occasions to cherish.

I’ll make a confession to ya’ll, though. I do not have or want to spend hours cooking. I’m a busy working mom and blogger with an even busier husband who runs his own business and two girls involved in school activities and sports. I’ve perfected the task of multi-tasking while multi-tasking, but I don’t want to overlook the special details that make family meal time an occasion, and not just another item on my never ending to do list.

Pepperidge Farm has been a brand synonymous with quality and delicious food for me for years. We always pass around a bread basket filled with hot rolls at special family meals, but I don’t want to spend time kneading dough. Pepperidge Farm makes prepping for special occasions simple, though, with products like their stone baked artisan rolls. These rolls are ready to serve in about 10 minutes, which is my kind of speed!

I’ve been challenged by Pepperidge Farm to come up with some tips to help families enjoy an elevated experience when gathering for special occasion meals. I can’t wait to share my tips with ya’ll in a follow-up post, just in time for Easter Sunday.

Today, though, I want to hear from YOU.

How do you help take special occasion meals from ordinary to extraordinary? Do you use a special serving platter handed down from your grandmother or make a special family recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a stipend for time and materials invested in the Pepperidge Farm® Stone Baked Artisan Rolls tip challenge.


  1. Busy Mom says:

    I was going to day it’s extraordinary when I actually cook the meal, but I won’t.

    If we’re looking for something different, we change things up and eat in the dining room, kids make place cards, and we use the fancy dishes.

  2. Michelle Smiles says:

    Setting the table. A vase of flowers. Putting food into serving dishes and putting them on the table instead of dishing it out of the pans on the stove. We are fancy around here.

  3. Susan says:

    We make a coffee cake for every holiday gathering. It’s one of those recipes that’s been passed down in the family. A holiday isn’t complete without it! Plus, we like to do the same as Michelle – actually put the food into serving bowls and platters instead of scooping things out of the pans on the stove or out of the drainer in the sink. And we get holiday themed napkins.

  4. Katie says:

    Honestly, if it’s just my immediate family — all of us sitting down together and eating the same meal off of real plates is fancy. I do try to make it sorta special by lighting candles which doesn’t always work as the little one assumes it someone’s Birthday and wants to blow out the candles and then eat cake, cake which we don’t actually have. But as long as we have some sort of hot bread / rolls in the oven then it’s considered a special meal and it’s a lot easier to get everyone to sit and stay at the table — it’s amazing the amount of power hot bread has over my family! LOL

    BTW, these rolls sound amaaaaazing!! I am gonna pick up a few packages for Easter dinner. Thanks for the heads up!! 🙂

  5. Jamie says:

    Ya’ll have some awesome ideas! Keep it up!

    Katie I love your comment about hot bread. Add real butter to the mix and we are high dollar. Ha! 😉

  6. ernestine says:

    Mom – says thank you
    I always loved setting a pretty table
    Now solo
    I still set my place attractively
    and light a candle
    in the evening 🙂

  7. Kris says:

    Here’s a unique site savvy Mom’s like us love… http://www.YardGopher.com

    You can search photos and descriptions of everything for sale at local yard sales before heading out. For example, you can type “bike” in the search box and it will show you all garage sales in the area that have bikes for sale. It’s a great way to find bargains because I’ve found some really really great deals at garage sales.

  8. Mary Bernard says:

    One “special” thing we enjoy is using our red “You Are Special Today” plate and mug for the “special” person. We got these items for a wedding gift almost 16 years ago and still use them.

    So, if it’s someone’s birthday, first day on a new job, got a good grade, made the team–whatever–they get to use the plate and mug. Or I’ll split it up for more than one: one gets the plate, the other the mug.

    You could even make your own at a pottery store. My kids enjoy using them.

    And those rolls look so yummy!

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