Entertaining: What to have on hand

We're renovating, exploring style and design with a dash of cocktail making and cooking thrown in. 

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Ever since college our place has been full of friends, family and whoever else wanders into our home. We love it because it’s casual and we get to spend time relaxing and chatting. But here is the biggest challenge: someone is coming over in 10 minutes, what are you going to throw together so you can entrain with style? We have some great tips and tricks that will help you look pulled together in a small amount of time.

Non-perishable items

Most of the items listed below are non-perishable, so if you can keep them in stock, you will always be prepared. This is a main fail-safe for us, it always works. We normally have more than a few of these items around. If you organize them on a cutting board, they look pretty fancy.

Shopping List: Non-perishable items

– crackers

– olives in a jar (fresh is great too)

– apricot jam

– fancy bread sticks

– black olive paste

– anchovies

– almonds

– dried apricots

– pistachios

– wine (lots of it)

Shopping List: Perishable items

– cheese

– fruit, such as green grapes

Style it up

Our entertaining style is casual, so we love using small, interesting dishes on a large cutting board. We layer by using wax or parchment paper. Using smaller dishes on a cutting board or tray adds interest and encourages guests to try different flavor combinations of food. If I see paper napkins with a nice pattern, I buy a few packs and keep them until I need them. The napkins in the picture are from Ikea.

Keep it in interesting

Anyone can put out a cheese and cracker spread, but the trick is to add a few unexpected layers of flavor. This makes the arrangement look more interesting and also serves as a functional way to please everyone. There is always that lactose free person or the ones on a diet, so this gives them an opportunity to join in and not feel guilty.

Good conversation, food in their mouths and a drink in their hand, now that’s what makes a great host. Remember these ideas and you’re sure to enjoy the party!

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