Are you like me? Do you love entertaining? I do!
Is your family like my family? Do they like to do things spontaneously?
We like both – entertaining and being spontaneous; therefore, we like to entertain spontaneously. And that can present some problems. But I like to keep things at the ready for just those times when the urge hits us to enjoy some time with friends.
Let me give you 6 things that I do to ease the stress and make entertaining on the spur of the moment possible.
1) Always have paper products ready. I like the real deal when it comes to my tableware, but I learned a long time ago that I like people too. I also realized that the kind of tableware that is used effects how people feel. Paper plates make people feel really comfortable.
2) If you are going with the very comfortable paper product tableware, then corral the plastic forks, spoons, knives in a container ready all the time. You can pick up a “picnic caddy” in almost any style and material. Get one that matches a favorite tablecloth.
3) Keep the part of your home that you entertain in, at least picked up and uncluttered. Guests rarely venture all over your house. They will probably only venture to your kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom. Before you panic, your kitchen is usually clean; dirty dishes can be in the dishwasher or even in the oven (unless, of course, you are using it). The bathroom may need a touch up. It should be enough to simply wipe down on the surfaces. Your living room should be a quick pick up and the dining room is always cleaned up from the last meal. Don’t let the look of your home keep you from spending time with your friends. And there’s always the backyard.
4) Involve the whole family with any clean up or set up. Your kids will be learning to be good hosts and hostesses.
5) Have a go-to game that can be played with adults and kids alike. In our experiences, we had the pleasure of coming across some games that most people had never played nor even heard of for that matter. The novelty was entertainment enough.
6) Have go-to menus that you use and keep the ingredients on hand. Yes it is possible! Remember you don’t have to serve a 7-course meal. Believe it or not, you can just serve dessert. Maybe you have some ideas for a dessert with ingredients that you would always have on hand. Please share with us a favorite of yours.
Being with friends and family is delightful. Don’t get hindered by fear of what people will think. Remember that people come to see you not your house, and they come to enjoy the conversation not criticize the cooking.
This week we are making it easier to do do”stuff” by adding to our knowledge base.
You can’t really throw a decent graduation party or go to a family reunion or plan a wedding reception without knowing some of the quantities needed for the basics. How much coffee do you need to buy to serving 50 people? How much tuna salad do you buy to make 25 sandwiches?
Typically, we just make a guess and then eat leftovers forever. Not a good plan, unless you love coffee with your tuna salad sandwiches. 🙂
So download a copy of the Quantity Serving chart and start planning all of those fun summer get togethers.
In keeping with the stress-free theme from the other day, I wanted to talk about reducing stress in the kitchen.
This will be brief so as not to cause any extra stress. 🙂
Here are my 5 tips:
1) Plan meals at least a week at a time. Write them down and place them in an obvious place. If you use recipe cards instead of books, get the recipe cards out as you make the menus, then they will be readily available.
2) Use the crock pot. I hate taking the extra time on a busy morning, but I love it when I come home and dinner is ready and the house smells wonderful.
3) Simplify your meals. I’m from the South. Sunday dinner is always a big meal. From time to time in my family’s life cycle, I called a halt to big Sunday dinners, and we had simpler, easy to fix dinners. My family survived. They probably can’t even remember that the menus were pared down.
4) Purge your kitchen of unused equipment, such as canners, pressure cookers, electric appliances of any kind that you use only once in a while. Bear in mind that as your family changes so does your cooking. If it is less alarming to you, remove these items and store them nearby until you know for sure that you can sale them at this summer’s yard sale.
5) Clean out your utensil drawer. I promise you, you will throw somethings away. You know exactly what I mean – that thingamabob that goes in last decades Tupperware container for mixing your protein shakes. Cleaning up and having more space can mentally de-stress you and make you feel like you have a new kitchen. Well, almost.
A few things can go along way in helping you have a less stressful meal preparation and meal time.
What are things that you do to make meals easier and less stressful?