I own a local business called Hurley House, a purveyor of hospitality, specializing in baked goods, prepared foods, and catering for special events. Our company believes that hospitality is the art of creating space for others where meaningful change can occur. Whether it is a dozen cookies for your family, or a seated dinner for 200, we are committed to excellence and exceeding our client’s expectations.
My business was created as a natural extension of a how my husband and I live life at home. We are passionate about opening our home to others, celebrating well, and inviting friends and family to join us around our table. I also am a mother of four. Annie, Jake, Norah, and Lillian are my darlings, and they range in age from ten to four. My role as business owner and mother keeps me busy, and often the line between work and home becomes fuzzy.
Celebrations are my specialty, and birthdays are my favorite. Between my husband and I, our four children, and other very special friends and family, we see a lot of birthdays every year. In our family, one of the birthday highlights is getting to select the menu for the day. The birthday boy or girl gets to choose what will be served for special breakfast, family dinner, and, of course, a celebratory Birthday Cake.
Birthday menus are one of my favorite family traditions and are linked to a lot of very distinct memories. There was the year Jake requested steak, quail, and shrimp (no sides). Or the birthday that Annie requested Mixed Berry Pavlova instead of a birthday cake. Every year Norah requests Hot Hammies, Macaroni and Cheese, and corn. And this year, on her fourth birthday, Lillian really really really wanted only salad for dinner. Sometimes I have to coach them toward a more balanced meal (I made Lillian select a main dish to accompany her salad so that the rest of us would have something substantial to eat), but for the most part the menu is completely their choice.
Some years the kids need help deciding, so I encourage them to drag out my cookbooks and flip through until they find something that looks or sounds delicious. And of course there are years they’ve had their birthday menu in mind for months, just waiting to announce it (how determined these little ones are!). I have cooked for just the six of us around our table and for parties of 20. But regardless, every few months when it’s time to celebrate a birthday, it’s exciting to see what food the birthday girl or boy will choose.
Few things bring me greater joy than to prepare a special meal on a special day for a someone special. To get to do this professionally as a business owner as well as domestically as a mom is a double joy. There have been a lot of dishes that have made an appearance on our birthday menus over the years, but Macaroni and Cheese seems to make everyone’s list sooner or later. I hope you enjoy my version…and happy celebrating!
Click on the recipe below to start cooking!
Katherine Sasser is a Fort Worth mom of four, a celebrator, a chronicler, a musician, a creator, a hostess, and a lover of beautiful things. She has the great privilege of staying home with her kids all while running Hurley House, specializing in baked goods and special events. When she isn’t baking, you will likely find her designing, crafting, or pursuing her love of music. You can also find her writing here on her personal blog.