Sunday, October 17, 2010

Casual Family Dinner

I enjoy entertaining family and friends; it's my special way to say "I care" or "I love you". Today we invited the in-law's out for a relaxed 'Sunday Supper'. I have a few party "rules" that I try to live by but will explain those later.

The Hubs and I decided that pot roast was on the menu tonight. It was a beautiful fall day and what better to serve then comfort food. I also decided that I would make an apple crisp since we hit up Greenbluff today; that will be on another post so stay tuned. I prepared the pot roast this morning before heading out to the apple orchards. My recipe is pretty standard, I think, and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. My favorite part of course is the company and then a close second is the vino. :)

My entertaining rules that I try to live by:

1) Set a budget; this is super important especially when you have invited more than two people over
2) Create a menu and stick to it. Also be sure to check with guests about dietary concerns if you don't already know.
3) Prepare as much in advance as the items will allow.

4) Always make a homecooked meal, even if it is something as simple as throwing items in the crockpot, like I did. It's always a great meal and requires little to no effort on my part. Score!

5) As the hostess, or host, you are responsible for setting the tone of the evening. So be sure to take a deep breath and relax at least a half an hour before your guests are to arrive. If you are rushed then your guests will feel the same.
6) Turn off your cell phones and TV, unless your TV is what is providing the music. Which brings me to my next rule...
7) Keep the music just loud enough that people can still enjoy the tune but not so loud that they have to shout to have a conversation with another party-goer. And while we are on the subject of music-ALWAYS keep it appropriate. Don't choose heavy metal or rap.
8) Keep the party simple; don't fuss over every detail and take everything so seriously. Things happen and while you may be upset that it didn't go just "perfectly", the events will be something to laugh about later. *(this one is a hard one for me)*
9) I never impose a seating arrangement. We may all be friends and family but sometimes you just want to sit where you want to sit. And that should be perfectly acceptable.
10) Candlelight; it's the most flattering light and it is a definite mood setter. I made cute little candle holders right before the in-laws arrived. I will show you that post later as well.

Oh and I just saw that in the November issue of House Beautiful magazine they have 101 party do's & don'ts. I opened it up and instantly saw a couple that I totally disagree with. Like don't use plastic or never use paper napkins but I also saw a couple that I might have to incorporate into my own tentative rules. For instance, always start with an empty dishwasher and warm plates before serving hot food on them-genious! Wonderful, wonderful ideas. You should check out the article yourself; for me I'm going to indulge in another glass of wine and read all 101 party "rules".

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