Do you love entertaining?
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I love entertaining. But do you ever get to the point in your preparations where you become so stressed out from planning that you wish your guests would call to cancel. There are times, in the beginning, you have everything planned
out in your head and you see how nicely the evening will flow. You have the hors d’oeuvres (I never know how to spell this 😊) planned out and the exact time you will serve them. You have the first course planned out perhaps earlier on in the day and the exact time you will serve that. Then the main course comes out.
And while all this is happening, you don’t want to ignore your guests. You want to sit to dinner with them as well. After all you are not the hired help. These are your guests . . . your closest friends.
It’s nice to think and dream your evening will go this smoothly . . . but does it really? Heck nah!!
I pride myself in being a very organized person, but I tend to always go overboard when I entertain. I don’t get a chance to do it often. So, when I do see my friends and family, I want to splurge on them because I love them so much.
My day goes something like this:
- Last minute touch ups cleaning house
- I figure I have enough time . . . I have my wonderful teenage kids to help, right? Hmff !!
- Kids are doing their own thing and they are pretty much a no-show . . . lovely!!
- Start preparing appetizers (on my own) – 3 or 4 different appetizers (REALLY . . . 3?)
- I realize (too late) 3 or 4 appetizers is way too much (who’s going to eat dinner?)
- Also, I have the stove and oven going just for these (darn) appetizers and I’m trying to quickly plan out in my head when am I going to start cooking dinner with only one stove (yikes!!) All the while fixating on the huge clock in my kitchen counting down the hours to my guests’ arrival
- As the hour hand whittles away to showtime, I am now trying to figure out how to bake my potatoes while the roast is still in the oven and make sure that everyone’s meal isn’t totally cold – yikes!!
- By this time, the kitchen is full (kids finally showed up ☹) (husband too – sort of) and everyone is helping.
- By this time, I am stressed and dictating orders to everyone 🙁
- Guests have arrived on time (darn it)
- Table is set – thank heavens
- Serving plates washed, dried and ready to be filled with the beautiful roast that has come out of the oven
- Can I pull this off?
- It’s a touchdown 😊
Everything in the end turns out wonderfully. I think I care more about the fluff than my friends do. All they care (as do I) is that you are with friends you adore and spending an eventful evening talking about old times and catching up.
I don’t entertain as much as I would love to but when I do, I don’t hold back . . . as you can see. But it doesn’t always have to be this elaborate and cumbersome. Because if it always is, then you might not visit with your friends as much. There is nothing wrong in toning it down a bit. If you like entertaining, you can always do it on a lighter note – something less stressful.
Here are ways you can entertain with less stress:
- Pool Party – this is super casual and perfect for kids and the kids-at-heart
- Put some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill
- Beverages for the kids
- Beverages for the adults – some alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails
- Dessert can be as simple as a tray of fruit or even some frozen yogurt keeping it light and healthy
- Backyard BBQ – same idea as the pool party but if you don’t have a pool . . .
- Start with simple apps – spaducci
- Instead of hotdogs and hamburgers, put some chicken or steak on the grill if you are serving adults only
- Drinks – have a mini fridge or huge cooler filled with ice and have different kinds of beverages – alcoholic or non-alcoholic
- Dessert – keeping it simple again with fruits or berries with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream (yummy)
- Picnic – who says it must be in your home. Go to a picnic ground or park that allows for bbq. And host a friends and family celebration/reunion. There are so many conservation parks around your city to choose from that are used for such events
- You can make it potluck – everyone brings a dish – plan out who brings what
- Bring a cooler filled with beverages on ice
- Bring games and balls – football, soccer ball, baseball
- No one will want to go home
- Potluck Dinner – super simple and
- Everyone brings a fav dish of their own
- Plan out who will bring what
- Evening is very informal
- Coffee Bar – this is my favourite. So simple but you can dress it up
- You could set up a small area either in the kitchen at the extended peninsula or the dining-room hutch/sideboard
- Display your coffee maker
- Display different kinds of coffee – flavoured, regular, dark roast, etc.
- Have enough coffee mugs and saucers displayed
- Milk/creamer and sugar containers (fancier than your everyday) on a decorative small tray
- Dessert plates | Spoons | Forks | Serving set
- Napkins in a certain colour theme
- Perhaps a few shot glasses for before or after aperitif – a sweet liqueur (ex. Baileys-my fav) or a special whiskey, etc.
- Few trays of simple treats: cookies, coffee cake, cake pops, muffins, cupcakes, scones, etc.
So the next time you are planning a dinner party … don’t stress over it. There are more simple ways to entertain. Try using my ideas and you’ll end up enjoying your evening just as much as your guests.