Seriously, there's no better way to explain what a loving, Christian home should look like than to model it. A friend asked me to post a few tips about having people over, so here goes (if you're from a recipe hop, the recipe is at the bottom and I won't be offended if you scroll down):
- Clean your house, but don't stress about it. I try to keep the front room and restroom presentable all the time - okay, most of the time, because we have a lot of impromptu company. But you don't have to give everyone a walk-through of your house. Simply close doors to rooms you don't wish people to see. And don't apologize for not dusting, etc. This draws unnecessary attention to things most people won't even notice. They're coming to spend time with you, not interview you for Good Housekeeping. (But if GH is coming over, clean like crazy!!)
- Get yourself ready before putting final touches on the meal. If people wait a few minutes for dinner, they won't think anything of it. But if they arrive and you have no make-up or your hair is still in curlers, they'll remember that :)
- Don't spend all your time in the kitchen. When your guests arrive, focus on them. I made this mistake when we first started hosting regular get-togethers. I love to cook, but I'd spend WAY too much time in the kitchen with these fancy meals (for teens!), and I'd feel uptight until someone paid me due compliments. How selfish is that?! Now, I try to serve items that can be warming, simmering, etc., when they arrive, so I can have everything prepared ahead of time. (some ideas below) Remember, the focus of hospitality is getting to know your guests, and letting them get to know you.
- Unless you're a gourmet cook, don't feel like you have to fake it. Just be yourself! Especially if kids are on the guest list, simple is usually better. With hospitality so rare these days, you are setting an example for your guests. Don't make them feel inadequate to extend an invite to you or anyone else because you went out of your way to show off if that's not you. I love making foods homemade, but if someone invites me over and serves a box of mac 'n cheese or a frozen lasagna, I'm still just as happy I didn't have to cook. Click here for a great website with easy, inexpensive company recipes.
- You can be frugal and still be hospitable! When we first got married, everyone who came over was served spaghetti. Super cheap, and one of the few things I was confident making. And we ate on our couch, because only 2 people fit around our table. But those are some of the best memories! Real friends don't care how extravagant the meal is, or the table settings. Those can be fun, but don't let that be your focus. A few ideas for hospitality on a tight budget:
* Dessert and coffee
* Soup/stew and bread
* Chili 'n cornbread
* Baked potato bar
* Nachos and cheese
- For large, informal gatherings, sandwiches are a great option. (Click here for a site with large quantity recipes) Here is a simple crockpot recipe (linking up on Tempt Us Tuesday)for Italian Beef Sandwiches, and they are delicious! I serve with veggies and dip or a salad, chips, etc.
Italian Beef Sandwiches (serves 10-12 easily)
12 buns, any style
3-4 lb boneless beef roast (I usually use chuck roast)
1 bottle of Italian dressing
1 T. oregano
1 jar pepperoncinis
Combine roast, dressing, and oregano in crockpot and stir to cover roast. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours (it will be done when beef shreds with fork). About 1/2 hour before serving, add 1/2-3/4 c. pepperoncini juice from jarred pepperoncinis, stir, and resume cooking. This is the key ingredient and totally brings out the flavor! Shred meat with fork. You can also add the pepperoncinis into the meat or serve on the side.
Hospitality, with a little time and effort, is a wonderful tool to build friendships and strengthen bonds. What are some tips you have for entertaining company?