Simple, Essential Tips for Entertaining at Home

If you’ve pulled up your calendar recently and thought “This is the year I’ll host a holiday dinner or throw a festive party” then today’s post is for you, as we’re going to deep dive into entertaining at home.

Christmas Eve is just 6 weeks down the road and New Year’s Eve a mere 7 days after. It’s never too early to begin planning.

In this post I’ll explain how to choose a menu and help you discover your hospitality style. I’ll also list the questions to ask before planning to host and help you figure out the flow of the event.

So set the date for your party (ahem, bookmark this post for repeated referencing) and let’s get started.

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Do small things with great love

If we have no peace it is because we’ve forgotten that we belong to each other. ~ Mother Teresa.

I think we’re all at the point where we can’t go on tiptoeing around current events on the political front, and I’m mostly speaking for myself. Here in Canada we’re affected – no longer a country on the sidelines. We’re feeling the tremors; they’re impossible to ignore.

Quebec became involved this weekend, when an admirer of President Trump took brutal action against the Muslim community. The unthinkable. As a result, six families are fatherless and many more ravaged by fear and worry as their loved ones lie in hospital. And hate crimes spiked in Montreal today, because intolerance breeds intolerance, and it cannot be contained by borders or governments.

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My best suggestion ever for Thanksgiving leftovers

Our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, back when local harvest was in its peek, our homestead was still green and a vibrant display of colourful leaves carpeted the ground.

It wasn’t so long ago that I’ve forgotten my genius plan for Thanksgiving leftovers, however, and today I’ve shown up to tell you about it – and present you with a little challenge.

Perhaps you’re expecting Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup or Lemon Pepper Turkey Sandwiches, but no, it’s a different idea entirely.

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Sympathy foods to make and give in summer

Bringing foods to others, be they a new mother or a sick friend, is a topic we’ve talked about extensively in this space. You readers have a heart for giving, that is plain to see, but you like a few new ideas for foods for others beyond lasagna and banana bread.

I’m busy, too, but making a meal or three for a friend is something that can be integrated into daily cooking thanks to batch cooking and menu planning. Coming up with a nourishing meal in summer can be tricky, however, as it’s too hot to roast vegetables or braise meats. So what to do? What meets the criteria of traveling well, re-heating without drying out, and can be frozen if needed?

I came up with a few ideas for you, many of which I executed this week. But first, if you’ve never read my manifesto on the topic, head into the archives and read Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals. If you have time, reading the 100+ comments will warm your heart and remind you that there are still plenty of good people in this world. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals

Our recent Q&A on sympathy meals received a tremendous response. Thank you to all who took the time to share your experiences with either giving or receiving meals. It was very, very interesting to read your comments and I took note of all the questions. I hope to answer them in this follow-up post.

We agreed that there are people in need all around us, and a small gesture like giving a meal can be a blessing both to giver and receiver. In fact, by the sounds of things, lives were very nearly saved just because a meal -or series of meals- was received during a time of need.

It was interesting that many more readers had given a meal than accepted one. Those who had been recipients spoke passionately about how touched they were and how helpful it was to be given a practical gift, in lieu of flowers. And there was another theme – the food that was brought is the best, or very near to the best, food that they had ever eaten. I’d have to agree with that one, too.

Plenty of questions also arose, all of them extremely pertinent. When is the best time to deliver a meal? What about allergies? Should a casserole be pre-baked or not? Hot or cold? Frozen or fresh?

This post will highlight the best tips, helpful suggestions, and friendly advice on bringing meals to others. Hopefully you will be encouraged to look around and reach out to people in your community through a hot meal.

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