I don’t know about you, but I love having people over. Bringing friends and family together for delicious food, refreshing drinks, and engaging conversation is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures - even more so when the weather is gorgeous like it has been this week in San Francisco. It’s a double bonus when we’re able to entertain al fresco.
As much as I do love having guests, I somehow always seem to over commit. Call it a curse of wanting to be friends with everyone. I find myself inviting over neighbors, colleagues, friends, family, the nice mom I met at the playground with a child of similar age to my own. If I have a connection with you, chances are you’ll find yourself with an invite to sip wine on my deck at some point in the near future. This is great, but I sometimes get overwhelmed by the details that go into making sure everyone will have what they need, let alone then just enjoy myself!
After scrambling to pull together elaborate meals and fancy cocktails one time too many, I realized entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. At the end of the day, what I remember the most is the company and the conversation, not the unique or interesting dish I served. Truly, with good products you don’t have have to cook at all, ha! Here are a few tried and true methods I have to quickly pull together spreads that impress any guest and meet my expectations of being a gracious host:
- Keep simple and easily prepared food on hand. Olives, cheese, crackers, fresh vegetables, cut up fruit, a nice bar of chocolate, etc. - we keep all of these items stocked at all times, not only for entertaining, but also for snacking throughout the week. When we have last minute guests, these things come together quick and easy for a snack or even a light meal.
- Dress up your table with a tablecloth. Lately we’re obsessed with fringed blankets from Paradise People. Their bright colors and beautiful material will totally transform your space. Plus, they are multi-purpose. We use them for guest towels, outdoor blankets, beach picnics - whatever the weekend brings!
- A beautiful serving platter goes a long way. You’d be surprised how fancy a water cracker looks on a lovely serving platter. Keeping a few of various sizes tucked away in your cabinet to bust out when you have guests. They can instantly make whatever you’re serving look like it came from a 5-star kitchen.
- Set something on fire. Okay, okay, by this I mean a candle. Or, if you’re spending the evening outside, a fire pit. There is something magical about candlelight and sitting around a fire and sharing stories with friends.
- Remember, it's not about what you’re serving, but who you’re spending time with. No matter how much I stress about hosting guests, at the end of the day I rarely remember how elaborate our meal was, but rather the people that I spent time with and the memories we shared.
What are your tips for easy entertaining? I could always use a few more! Share using #AjnaLiving on Instagram.