This month the Eat Well and Spend Less series was all about entertaining in the summer months. Planning a get-together? Here are a few tips to help make your entertaining easier, as well as a chance to win a SodaStream Crystal Machine to make entertaining at home a breeze.
Funny as I write this that I have just returned home from a weekend in Pennsylvania for Big Summer Potluck where I was treated by Pam Anderson of Three Many Cooks and her gorgeous daughters, Maggy and Sharon, opening their doors to us and hosting, along with Erika from Ivory Hut. People who opened their doors and invited others in, for better or for worse, and it was for the better. If anyone knows how to do some summer entertaining, it is this group of women.
After I shared my thoughts on entertaining in small spaces last week, a number of people walked through my own door, people who were there to chat and get to know each other better, to talk business and to talk about the weather. We utilized several of my tips for entertaining in small spaces, moving conversation outside, serving buffet style and occupying the kids while guests are around.
Aimee shared tips on how to throw a successful potluck, one of my favorite ways to entertain, reminding you as the host of what your responsibilities are and how to avoid everyone showing up with the same dish. She also shares how to be a gracious potluck attendee, what to bring, when to jump in and how to show your host you’re thankful.
Hosting can sometimes be stressful, especially when you’re doing it all. Carrie has the answer to keeping a cool head and making it all happen. She gives ideas on different kinds of hosting and different times of day to invite people over, as well as possible things to serve.
Like Aimee, Jessica talked about the beauty of the potluck meal, but rather than focus on the aspect of hosting one, Jessica focused on the act of creating a dish to bring. What makes a good potluck dish to share and how to think outside the box to bring something everyone can enjoy are all covered here.
What about when you aren’t the host of the party? Katie has great ideas on how to show the host how thankful you are, including a recipe for vanilla scented sugar and several other homemade hostess gift ideas.
I love gifting food. If I could, I’d do nothing but cook and gift all day long, and Katie shares how important the simple gift of a meal can be and how cooking for others is the perfect way to show how much you care. She even includes several ideas to get you started on what types of meals to gift.
I mentioned in my post that we threw parties even when Ole was a graduate student and we were living on a shoestring budget. Mandi breaks it down, sharing how to throw a spectacular party even when finances are tight or you don’t want to break the bank.
Tammy breaks down the meal portion of hosting on a budget, helping you plan a frugal menu of delicious food.
One thing I learned this past weekend was the beauty of a self-serve bar. Bottles of tonic and ginger soda, vodka, gin and plenty of wine was poured at Big Summer Potluck. It is in that spirit that I’d suggest an Italian Soda bar, where guests mix their own sodas.
We have been trying out a SodaStream for the past week, carbonating our own water and adding bits of flavor. It was perfect for our ginger-infused simple syrup, and we even made a few other syrups recently to switch it up a bit (stay tuned).
One reader will win a SodaStream Crystal Machine Starter Kit to make your own carbonated beverages in your house, and I’m so excited to share it with you. My favorite things:
- The Crystal Machine features glass bottles, which are gorgeous in their own right. They’re perfect for entertaining.
- It’s cheap to use. One CO2 canister makes 60 Liters of carbonated beverage in your own home with zero packaging waste. It’s frugal and environmentally friendly.
- You know exactly what you’re getting. Use water directly from your tap or filter to carbonate. SodaStream makes flavorings for both soda and flavored water, but you can also add natural flavorings, make your own syrups and you have complete control over your beverage. That’s definitely eating well in my book.
- They’re available locally. Williams Sonoma, Sur la Tab, Macy’s and many other stores carry SodaStream products should you desire extra carafes.
HOW TO ENTER TO WIN a SodaStream Crystal Starter Set
1. Leave a comment about anything that strikes your fancy: when’s the last time you entertained, what’s your favorite dish to bring to a potluck, whatever.
Win a @SodaStreamUSA Crystal Machine from @FoodforMyFamily http://wp.me/puu57-2tT #giveaway
3. Join the Food for My Family community on Facebook. Come back and leave a comment letting me know you did so.
4. Join the SodaStream community on Facebook. Come back and leave a comment letting me know you did so.
This giveaway will run until Sunday, August 7th at 11:59 p.m. EDT and is open to all U.S. residents. A winner will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Each reader has 4 chances to win by completing the above tasks and leaving a separate comment for each entry method completed. Chosen winner must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!
SodaStream sent me a to review of my own because I’d seen their product at a booth and really wanted to be able to share them with you. I was not compensated for this post and the views and opinions are my own.
I hope these ideas have given you a few ideas on how you can eat healthy and wholesome foods without breaking the bank this summer. Enjoy the next few months of vacations, swimming and laying in the sun!