8 ways to maximize refrigerator storage capacity when entertaining

Do you find yourself playing Tetris with your refrigerator on summer holidays or the average action-packed weekend? Trying in vain to squeeze one more platter of shrimp and tomato kebabs in between a watermelon and the ice tea jug?

Often the contents of a refrigerator are manageable on a day-to-day basis: however, as soon as you turn hostess, it fills to capacity—and over! Overnight, shelf space becomes precious real estate, and items risk getting crushed, or worse yet, spilled, from the influx.

Welcome to a common entertaining dilemma.

My very first apartment was a small loft with a postage stamp kitchen and a only mini-bar for a fridge, but I found ways to make it work—even with my love of fresh produce. Now, even though I have a regular-sized refrigerator, I still take similar measures to keep things organized when I’m entertaining.

Here are some creative strategies I developed to keep things cold and maximize the storage capacity of my fridge before a long weekend of entertaining.

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An Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

It almost seems like a cliche to write about a shower in April, but I had to share a few details from a recent celebration that was a long time coming.

This afternoon tea is also another chapter in my sister’s story, and since you’ve already joined us virtually for the winter engagement, the West Coast wedding, and the backyard reception here on the homestead, it’s only fitting we tie things up with a baby shower.

Now this joyous event had originally been planned to take place back in November, when my sister, Miranda, was six months pregnant, a comfortable stage of the pregnancy to travel from her Halifax home.

The invites had been sent, Miranda had purchased a plane ticket  – and then my nephew was born early. Almost 2 months early.

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Feed-a-Crowd Perfect Chocolate Cake

We’ve just come through our birthday season, celebrating both Clara and Mateo with two different events and enough cake from both parties to feed a small army. Honestly, with the size of our extended family, there’s no such thing as too much cake.

I wasn’t planning to share this recipe here, because, well, it’s full of sugar and you, dear reader, tend to enjoy naturally sweetened recipes like the beloved Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake, a Apple Spice Cake or this Banana Layer Cake.

But the practical side of me won out because this slab cake feeds a crowd with ease, and keeps them very, very happy. This is a recipe you only come across once in a lifetime, after far too many ho-hum chocolate cakes. This one makes you stop talking and pay attention to the slice on the plate in front of you. It makes your guests exclaim aloud – and when the party has dwindled, make a request for a piece to take home.

In short, it’s perfect for your Easter long weekend entertaining [Read more…]

Fall cooking and Thanksgiving menu ideas

Temperatures have dropped around here, sending us scampering to dig out warm sweaters, matching socks and windbreakers. Fall is indeed in the air; invigorating me in a way the warm summer winds never can.

I’ve taken refuge from the cooler weather in the kitchen, which is no surprise, I am sure. A quick trip to market on the first day of October was all I needed to get in the spirit of fall cooking and baking. I filled my basket with pears, leeks, winter squash, fresh cranberries, beets and sweet potatoes  – all locally grown – and rounded out the haul with herbs from my garden.

Then, I fell to menu planning: weeknight meals, recipe development, and the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. We’re hosting a small gathering for eleven people this weekend, with turkey and all the usual trimmings.

Today I’ve rounded up my favourite recipes for Thanksgiving — and fall cooking in general. Whether you are setting a holiday table for for family, or serving up Sunday dinner to friends, you’ll want these recipes within reach.

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A Winter Engagement Party

My computer and I have been enjoying time apart over the holidays. Remember all that kitchen time I was missing earlier in the month? Well I’ve made up for lost time this past week.

I’ll be keeping this short because I still have a house full of family, kids and dogs, but I wanted to share a few photos from the engagement party Danny and I hosted for my sister and his brother recently.

It was the perfect excuse to throw a party and I had so much fun working with a rustic winter theme – right down to the vintage toboggan that I turned into a buffet table. Whether you are hosting a winter dinner party or a big New Year’s Eve celebration you’ll find some good ideas in this post.

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