For many years of my early childless adult life, I committed most of my free time to charitable efforts. At that point in my life I had time and lots of it. I would be remiss to say that I didn’t get some sort of self-gratification in volunteering especially at a time in my life that I needed it, but it really meant a lot to me to give of my time to hopefully help the lives and families of someone, who was in some way less fortunate than me. Of all the organizations that I was a part of, my heart truly was wrapped around being a part of the Friends organization for the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. I’m not sure if I was trying to pay it forward to my future in some way when helping raise funds for the Hospital, but I definitely knew that when and if I ever had children and God forbid anything ever happened to them, I wanted to do my part to help continue the amazing efforts put forth by all those before me who made it such an incredible place.
Well, fast forward many years later and now I have a child of my own. I often think of our Hunter Bear as my little miracle baby. There was a good amount of time that I wasn’t sure if I could have children. Turns out, it just wasn’t God’s time, which in the end is the only time that matters. I was so blessed with an amazingly healthy pregnancy, a healthy delivery and a healthy child. I pray every day for his health and his safety, but I can rest easy knowing that if anything ever happens to him that the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is the best of the best. Being a parent has given me a whole new perspective on and appreciation for the Hospital.
During the time that I was a part of the Friends organization, we created a cookbook Entertaining with Friends. Not just because of the cause, the cookbook truly is one of my very favorite cookbooks on my shelf. Unfortunately it is no longer in circulation, but can still be found on Amazon.com. It is full of delicious recipes for any and all occasions. One of my personal favorites is the Goat Cheese Bites recipe. As with many recipes, I have adapted it a bit over the years either for sake of time or ingredients on hand, but it is one that is perfect for a quick appetizer for a party.
The Friends organization is still very much in force and I look forward to moving back to Nashville so I can get back involved. One of their longest running fundraisers is the Holiday Project. Each year different patients at VCH enter a drawing contest to be featured on the holiday cards,photo cards, gift tags, wrapping paper and gifts. The money raised with the Holiday Project directly benefits the Hospital. To learn more about the artists and their stories of this year’s Project click here.
What charitable cause is closest to your heart and why are you thankful for it?
The recipe calls for parmesan cups, which I have adapted to use Athens Mini Phyllo Shells for sake of time and ease, but the parmesan crisps are delicious, too!
The easiest way to fill the shells is to place the cheese mixture into a small Ziploc bag, cut off the tip, and pipe evenly into each cup.
I garnish the bites with a little paprika, but chopped chives are also colorful and festive as well.