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A few weeks ago Isaac and I moved into a house and I am LOVING it. After being in three different apartments the past three years (yes, if you’re counting, that means we’ve moved FOUR times since we got married- yikes!) finally being in a house is amazing. Not only is the peace and quiet much appreciated, but I love that we finally have space for some fun summertime entertaining. I’ll be posting all about our new house soon, but for now I wanted to share some tips on how to make summertime entertaining a breeze! Or should we say… easy squeezy? ; )
Since we moved in we’ve had multiple friends over for dinner and even hosted a 4th of July party that was so much fun! I love having people over and finding fun, delicious foods to make for them. It also motivates me to keep the house clean and decorated, #noshame. One of my favorite parts about the house, and one of the reasons I have enjoyed entertaining people lately, is our patio! When our landlord moved out of the house, I bought the patio furniture from her and am SO glad I did. Isaac have spent many a night just hanging out in our favorite chairs, and now that there are the lights strung all around the decking and flowers all around, I l-o-v-e it. It was perfect for our 4th of July party, and so much fun to sit out there eating dinner with friends. Especially when a summer cookout is happening!
And because we’ve had so many people over lately, I’ve come to find that works and what doesn’t when it comes to summertime entertaining. And lucky for you, I’m here to share some of the things I’ve learned with you today!
Summertime Entertaining Made Easy!
I know this is a no-brainer, but let’s be real. Too many times I’ve been preparing dinner for company when I realized I forgot to get a critical item in the recipe, or actually have no what I’m going to make. That’s when I take a note out of my mom’s book and start making lists. She’s the queen of planning ahead… Maybe it’s because she has six kids and you HAVE to do so, or maybe it’s because she’s just that good. Whatever it is, my mom is always prepared for company and there was never a want for food. So when having friends over for dinner, make a list of the foods you are going to make, and what you need to buy at the store to have everything you need on hand. A little bit of planning in the beginning saves a LOT of stress later on, trust me on this one!
The other day when I had friends over for dinner, I knew I wanted to have a little summertime cookout, so I planned for kabobs, corn on the cob, green beans and fresh biscuits. It was simple, delicious and fun to make! Best of all, there were lots of veggies that you just couldn’t help but love. ; )
Keep Things Simple
I’m definitely one to go a little overboard when we have people over for dinner. I love playing “hostess” and sometimes it can come to bite me when crunch time comes around. I always seem to either plan on making meals that were just a leeettle too complicated and elaborate, or I make WAY too much and had to live off leftovers for the next week. So by remembering to keep it simple, it not only helps me in the prep stage, but means less food goes to waste and I can enjoy my time with my friends rather than slaving away in the kitchen when they arrive.
By making some things ahead of time (like the biscuits) and only having one semi-complicated food to make, instead of spending my entire afternoon in the kitchen and exhausting myself, I had time to rest, clean a bit and even take a nap (#pregnancyprobs) before our company arrived. Since the corn on the cob is super simple, and the green beans took no time at all to make, the only time consuming thing to prepare was the kabobs, which really weren’t that hard either once all the veggies and meats were cut. I don’t know why I stress myself out sometimes trying to prepare a silly 10 course meal, because I’ve found that keeping it simple is definitely the way to go!
Make it #EasySqueezy
Have you ever found one of those products that makes life a whole lot easier? Well I found one that I’m excited to share with you today. I don’t know about you, but I love me some butter. Maybe it’s the southern side of me showing, but there’s just something about that creamy goodness that adds so much flavor to a dish that can’t be replaced! But sometimes butter gets on my every last nerve. Either it has crumbs in it from previous bread buttering, is too hard to even spread around, or is way too much work to incorporate in my recipes.
And that is where the new Land O Lakes® Soft Squeeze™ Spread comes into play. I had never seen it before, and when I found it at Walmart in the butter section, I thought I’d give it a try.
Y’all this product is SO easy to use! I’m glad I had it for our cookout the other day, because not only did it add amazing flavor to my dishes, but there was less mess and I love that it’s made with real butter. Since the squeezable spread is in a bottle (rather than the traditional tub I used to use) it’s super convenient to just grab from the fridge and add to your favorite dishes, plus it stays crumb and mess free. Win, win win! Buttering biscuits and corn on the cob has never been easier! I didn’t know I needed this until I tried it, and now I’m never going back.
Are you starting to see why this squeezable spread helps make summertime entertaining a breeze? I added about a tablespoon to the green beans after they finished sautéing for some bonus flavor. Yum! And of course we buttered up our corn on the cob and homemade biscuits with it, and wow… SO much easier than tub butter and super tasty.
But my favorite way we used the spread was on the kabobs. I wanted to try something a little different, and decided to make a baste to brush on the meat and veggies before cooking. I shared the recipe below, and remember- the more the better! You’ll get a delicious buttery flavor, and your guests will find themselves going back for more and more. ; )
Over the years I’ve come to see and appreciate the beauty of delegating. Not only does it lighten your load, but guests enjoy bringing something to contribute to the meal! So don’t be afraid to ask them to bring something, whether it be drinks, a side dish or dessert, anything helps! I generally like to ask people to bring something sweet because 1. It means I can focus on the main meal, and 2. I love ending a fun night with friends with something sweet. Plus it’s fun to try something new!
So after prepping and making your meal, the most important thing is to sit back, relax and enjoy the company. I mean, that’s why they came over in the first place right? Some of my favorite memories over the past three years of marriage with Isaac are those we spent gathered around our dining room table with friends. Inside jokes, lots of card games and delicious food has been shared in our four different “homes”. And I can’t wait to continue making memories in our house! Especially once James is born, I know those times will only get sweeter and more meaningful.
So I encourage you to be intentional at your next summertime gathering to spend time with the people you’re with. Keep things simple so you’re not in the kitchen all night. Try new foods and products, because you may find a new kitchen staple! Delegate tasks so things don’t get overwhelming. And soak in these beautiful summer nights, because before we know it, the days will be shorter and summer will be gone.
Generously brush the baste all over your meat before cooking. More is better!
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
What are some tips you have to make summertime entertaining a breeze?
Have you ever given the new Land O Lakes Squeezable Butter a try? If not, you can save $0.50 off ONE (1) Land O Lakes® Soft Squeeze™ Spread! (coupon expires 12/31/18)
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