Posts Tagged ‘easy entertaining’

Now that the holidays are over, the Christmas bills have started arriving and the weather is dreary, everyone could use a fun pick-me-up.

Why not host a fun party? Provide the time and place for your loved ones to forgot about the January blues and have a couple hours of unbelieveable fun. You can pull together a great winter-themed party without breaking the bank and it will be just the thing to bring out smiles and warm some hearts!

Here are a few ideas:

* Snowman Party – The fun can snowball in a hurry with a creative theme. Use a simple menu like Snowman’s Soup (Potato Soup), Snowman Rolls (shape biscuits or rolls into a snowman shape). Cut your favorite white cheese with a small snowman cookie cutter, and place on top of  nice green salad for Snowman  Salad. Finish the meal with a snowman shaped dessert, easily made by stacking varying sizes of cupcakes, covering in white frosting and finishing with coconut or by dipping Nutter Butter Cookies in melted white chocolate and adding a face and a hat with frosting. Use snowman decorations left over from the holidays to highlight the theme. You can even make an easy centerpiece out of white styrofoam balls (available at craft stores) placed in a pretty glass bowl.

* Snowflake Party – Get the kids in on the decorating for this party. Have them cut as many snowflake as they can and hang them all around your serving and gathering area. Chiffon, organza or even tulle can be a great and affordable way to carry out the theme, especially when you combine white and icy blue. Layer white lights under the chiffon for a warm glow. For this party you could make snowflake soup (tomato soup with a sour cream snowflake floating in each bowl – fill a sandwich bag, clip a corner and pipe it on!) and snowflake sandwiches (grilled cheese sandwiches made by alternating a dark bread like rye with a lighter bread like sourdough or white. Cut out snowflakes from each then put the cut out of one bread into the cut out area of the other.)  Serve Candy Cane punch (1 liter cranberry or strawberry juice, 2 liters of lemon-lime soda, 2 quarts peppermint ice cream. Just before serving, put chilled  juice in punch bowl, scoop in ice cream, top with chilled soda. Garnish the bowl with mini candy canes) with snowflake sugar cookies for dessert.

* Skating or sledding party – use mufflers and mittens for your decorations. Use mitten shaped invitations to spread the word. Serve hot cider and hot chocolate (if you are serving hot chocolate make sure you have fun add ins read like marshmallows, crushed peppermint, mini chocolate chips and long peppermint sticks to stir with), snack mixes, and something simple like  mac and cheese with warm bread and salad. Make ice skate brownies for dessert. Cut a small skate shape our of cardboard for a template then cut out brownies, flipping the template over for half so the skates or heading different directions. Frost with white icing, make laces from red icing and the skate heel from a touch of chocolate frosting. Add a mini candy cane on the bottom for the skate blade.

* Winter Animals  – this theme works well and is most fun for younger children. Using the theme of animals that make you think of winter, it can be a really fun meal for little ones. Penguins can be made from hand-boiled eggs with olive heads and arms (use a whole black olive for the head and the tip of a mini carrot for his beak. Cut an olive into quarters lengthwise for arms and use tips of mini carrots for the feet. Toothpicks will anchor on the head and limbs. Be sure someone removes the toothpicks for younger ones before eating!). How about polar bear sandwiches? Just cut bread slices in the shape of a polar bear. You could do peanut butter, grilled cheese, meat, whatever you want. Serve milk as “artic punch” and have popcorn balls for reindeer cookies for dessert.

* Escape to Paradise – for the adults who are tired of gray skies and freezing temperatures, tell everyone to come dressed in their tropical best. Turn up the heater, play the luau music and put out a feast featuring “warm, sunny” foods and drinks like tropical fruit salad, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken and veggie skewers, crab pasta salad, orange-avocado salad atop mixed greens and tropical sunrise drinks (orange juice and ice with a dash of pomegranate juice). Make sure everyone has a lei to wear. A parting gift to each guest could be a votive that smells “tropical” like pineapple or coconut, as a a fun reminder of the evening. Tie it in a circle of tulle with a bright ribbon and it makes a lovely little gift!

However you decide to entertain this month, have fun, smile and enjoy the time spent with the people who are most dear to you!

Happy Entertaining!

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In case you missed it, we are officially into the holiday season which means ample opportunities to entertain and be entertained. If you have never hosted a gathering in your home before, don’t know the difference between and frying pan and a fondue pot, and have no idea where to begin, I have three little words for you: Keep It Simple!

Entertaining, particularly during the holiday season, should be as stress-free as possible and that is why keeping things simple is a must.

If you can’t cook or don’t have time, a great and easy rule of thumb is to serve something salty, something sweet and something to sip. Now, that doesn’t sound so hard, does it? You could serve something as simple as a  meat and cheese tray with crackers, some holiday cookies and hot chocolate.

If decorating isn’t your cup of tea, keep your focus on a few simple things that can bring a festive atmosphere to your home. Put a red or green cloth on your table. You can pick these up fairly inexpensively this time of year. If you are on a really tight budget, buy a flat red or green sheet at a discount store. No one will ever know the difference. Fill a basket or bowl with gold, silver, red or green Christmas balls or pinecones and use as a centerpiece. Purchase a few inexpensive poinsettias and place around your home. Hang a wreath on the door with a red bow, and you are set!

If you avoid entertaining because you hate to clean, get over it! Focus on cleaning just three rooms: the living room, the kitchen and the guest bathroom. Guests really aren’t going to be wandering through your home, so clean those three areas and call it good enough. Make sure the guest bathroom is shiny and spotless. This is one room that people will notice if it is less than pristine!

Light a few holiday scented candles or put a pan on low on the stove with a couple cups of water, some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. The house will have a warm, welcoming aroma as guests come in the door.

Pinecones and greenery are inexpensive (or free, depending on what is growing in your yard) and can quickly and easily be whipped into festive decorations. Just add some red ribbon and you are set!

Remember, the most important part of entertaining is to connect with your guests, be gracious and make them feel welcome in your home.

Happy Entertaining!

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