Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful toddler daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.
Regular readers of Ms. Elaine Kneeous know that I love to entertain. I’ll dream up any excuse to have friends & family over just so that I can try out a new recipe or because I’ve thought of a fun theme. With the holiday season just around the corner this is my favorite part of the year. By the time I close the door to the last Trick or Treater, I’ve already planned my Thanksgiving menu, my Christmas cookie list, Super Bowl snacks and probably half of Kyla’s birthday buffet (and that’s not until March!)
Just because I like to plan & prep ahead of time doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Tell me if your special circle doesn’t reflect some (or all!) of these challenges: food allergies; varying levels of meat eaters; sensitive tummies; guests ranging from all-out foodies to those who think salt and pepper are exotic spices. You name it, we’ve got it.
There are times I won’t mess with tradition. I wouldn’t dream of hosting Thanksgiving without the basics of turkey, dressing, potatoes, veggies, rolls and pies. But really, don’t you get tired of the same old things?
I’ve found that the two easiest places to experiment are with hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Your entrees can remain sacred ground and you have some room to play. Think about ways to introduce new items that seem basic.
For example, chicken satay with Thai sauce might sound a little scary to timid taste buds. So when you set out the dish call them grilled chicken skewers and leave it at that. Do you have die-hard dip fans? 86 the Dean’s and make your own. Comfort food-seekers will be satisfied and you’ll have one more opportunity to prepare something rather than open a container.
This holiday season why not take a “bite” of inspiration from caterers, both local and “for the stars.” These menus wouldn’t be offered if they weren’t proven successful and popular. A little online research could give you an at-home version of many of these offerings.
To finish your gathering with a sugar rush, take a cue from dessert diva Amy Atlas. Her book, Sweet Designs, is nothing short of fabulous. Every time I open it I’m inspired, amazed, and ready to bake:
A menu for your family dinner or gathering of friends should reflect the group itself: the traditional (think Grandmas and Grandpas) and the latest-and-greatest (think the youngest & cutest!) Mixing old family favorites with items from the newest issue of Food Network magazine is definitely a Culinary Yes-Yes.