Wednesday, April 17, 2013

No Time Event Dinner Preparation-Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Recipe Collection
I know there is a method to everyone's madness but sometimes it needs to be a little better organized.  There is a way to prepare stress free for a dinner event when you have no time.

Growing up it really looked like Mom had absolutely no time to stop and sit down for a full meal preparation like you imagine Martha or Paula Dean doing.  Of course she wanted to have the pretty table setting and well planned menu but commuting, two kids, full time job, 20 acres and a barn full of animals splintered those 24 hours a day so quickly that the left over time was squeezed so tightly she really had to prep on the fly.  
Set the Table the Night Before

First off, grab your family and have everyone in charge of SOMETHING.  If you don't want them in the kitchen have them drag out chairs, set up the table, throw down the tablecloth, grab all the silverware, dishes and glasses.  Do this the night before but make sure to turn everything upside down so you don't have dust bunnies settling onto your settings.  If you have rouge animals like mine, make sure to throw a sheet on top of the set table.  
Go-To Cook Book-Yes, that is a Squirrel Whisk!

Do yourself a favor and keep a pad of post-its in your junk drawer so you can tab off your favorite recipes as you find them so when you're in a pinch you don't have to dig through tons of pages.  Everyone should have a staple cook book.  Mine is Better Homes and Garden.  They have everything in there from learning how to boil an egg, rehydrating and cooking dry beans, to baking a turkey.  

Martha Stewart, Sunset Magazine and Better Homes and Garden also have amazing online recipe collections for the holidays.  The best part is that you can virtually book mark recipes by creating an account on their website and save it to your profile.  

This year for easter I made this ridiculously delicious ham.  When Sunday morning came around I simply logged onto my account through  

Imagine horror music that comes on when the shadow of the knife is being raised against the shower curtain!  

Remember, you have the same 24 hours in the day as your neighbor and you are in charge of your own happiness.  So live by your own expectations, not others.  

Simple suggestions-
*Ask everyone joining you for the meal to bring something.  April was in charge of bacon wrapped scallops.  Flanagan made the green salad.  Dan and Paula brought sorbet.  Bethany was in charge of dessert.  Cybil brought the deviled eggs.  Josh and Blair made sure we had bread.  Sean and I cooked the ham and scalloped potatoes. 

It can be just that simple.  

*Gather your non-perishable recipe ingredients the night before or early in the morning.  Feel free to group them in the fridge if you want EVERYTHING together.  

*Wash your produce the night before or early the morning of.  

*Put together the raw ingredients for your dish the night before or early the morning of and then refrigerate so all you have to do is pop it in the oven with enough time before the main event.  I made up the scalloped potatoes and applied the ham rub early Sunday morning and then went outside to garden until a few hours before everyone showed up.  

When everyone shows up for the meal you'll be happy and ready to party.  Bring out the games.  If it is nice outside play croquet.  If it is nasty stay inside to play rummy, palace or Life.  

Friends or family, you're all together because you love and care for one another.  They joined you at your home because they feel warmth and welcomed.  At least, hopefully.  Everyone also has a job for the clean up.  April did a load of dishes.  Sean took care of recycling.  No one is going to care that you ask, "Hey can you....".  Little kids or adults, you feel valuable to the group when you help contribute.  Even if that is taking out the trash.  

Preppy Love-Jessie


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