It may be difficult to imagine “holiday entertaining” and “easy” in the same sentence, but don’t despair! There is no real law that says you have to turn yourself inside out over the holidays trying new and complicated recipes. You’re entitled to as much holiday fun as everyone else, so here are some suggestions from Tailored Living® to reign in any overly-enthusiastic culinary expectations while still making holiday get-togethers special for your family and guests.
- Serving your family’s holiday favorites is always a good idea; spice things up with one or two new treats.
- Don’t spring a tofu turkey or spam-ham on the family instead of the real thing; they might mutiny!
- Serving untested and untried recipes to guests will drive your stress level up on the rooftop; stick with your never-fail signature dishes.
- Let kids or a significant other share the cooking load. Don’t expect perfection, but they just might surprise you.
- Order “biggies” well in advance, like special wine or champagne, Honey Baked Ham, gourmet free-range goose, or imported oysters for your special dressing.
Arm yourself with organization
There is no denying that the festivities of the holidays add stress to an already busy schedule. And if you have a working kitchen where you daily prepare meals and the kids help themselves, things can get messy. So, before the additional demands of holiday entertaining set in, you can make sure you’ll have user-friendly kitchen space and an organized pantry to make all your holiday baking and cooking an easier task.
- Clear kitchen counters of unnecessary clutter so there’s plenty of workspaces.
- Get rid of appliances and serving dishes you no longer use.
- Throw out old, expired or “we’ll never eat that” items from pantry, kitchen, and refrigerator.
- Assemble all recipes you’ll be using and make sure you have all the ingredients you need, including specialty pans, cookie cutters, tools, and toppings.
- Make a schedule of what needs to be done and prepare whatever you can ahead of time and assign tasks to your helpers.
- Holiday aprons, special music and treats can elevate the mood during the busiest times and turn baking and food prep into a party. (Even if you’re doing it by yourself.)
Stock your pantry for the holidays and every day
The few months of holiday festivities and entertaining can tend to expand to astonishing proportions what normally fill a pantry. Special foods and treats, extra baking supplies, and additional wines and spirits for every occasion vie for space with your everyday stores. If your pantry isn’t organized before adding the holiday supplies, you’re liable to find yourself in chaos. Running short on what you need or not finding what you want will make every meal or project a frustration.
Tailored Living can help with a custom-designed pantry. Not every home has the same requirements and our customizations can maximize your pantry space for food storage, appliances and dishes, a refrigerator, work area countertops, and more, depending on the size of your pantry and your lifestyle. From a walk-in pantry to a single-cabinet pantry, we can make every inch of space count.
- Floor-to-ceiling adjustable shelves
- Enclosed cabinets, drawers and pullout bins
- Countertops and workspaces
- Specialty spice and wine racks
- Shelf dividers to accommodate oversize or fragile serving dishes
You’ll be able to keep your shelves well-stocked with all you need for everyday cooking as well as extras for holiday favorites–brown, powdered, and white sugars, fresh baking powder, flour and baking soda, nuts, candies, cupcake liners, parchment paper, waxed paper, aluminum foil and those specialty oils, spices and liquors for tantalizing holiday desserts and drinks.
Here are a few more tips for eliminating stress to make holiday entertaining more fun:
- Do some baking ahead of time and freeze what you can, like sugar cookies to decorate later.
- Pick out your platters, bowls and serving utensils ahead of time so that in the heat of the moment you aren’t scrambling around.
- Consider serving buffet style instead of sit-down for a large crowd, including a self-service beverage bar.
- It’s not cheating to use some prepared items like pie crusts, frozen fancy hors d’oeuvres or vegetables, or an elaborate bakery dessert.
- Check out 45 3-Ingredient Dinners and Sides for Insanely Busy Nights from Taste of Home.
An organized panty will save you time, energy and trips to the store for forgotten items when the fun is just getting started. It will help keep your kitchen countertops clean and clear for when everyone gathers in the kitchen–you know they’ll come–and being organized will give you more time to spend with your guests instead of worrying about the clutter.
Call 866-641-8958 (US) or 866-973-8221 (CAN) today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you. They can get your pantry holiday-ready and also transform every area of your home from chaos to calm with custom closet systems, home office design, Murphy Beds, laundry room organization, mudroom storage, garage cabinets, custom garage flooring and more.