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Inexpensive Dinner Party

November 26th, 2008 at 03:58 pm



I decided to have a small, impromptu pre-Thanksgiving dinner party last night for a few of my close friends and it was a great success. I'm a battling perfectionist and it's hard for me to have people over since I believe my house is never clean, organized, decorated well enough. I will stress myself out preparing for it that I will avoid doing it for a long time afterward.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I decided that I have to get over it and have dinner with my friends since we're going out of town to visit family too. That, and because they are always asking why I never invite them over!

The key was keeping the menu simple and focusing on the company and not the planning stresses. I basically had the variation of this party:

Dinner Party Menu

I worked with what was on sale and freshest at the store and the ingredients were less than $35. Guests brought wine and desert. I cleaned up the house and put out some fall decorations which were still the in Rubbermaid containers in storage. There were hours of laughter and fun and everyone loved the food. Success!

Entertaining can be so enjoyable when you keep it simple and don't try to make it like something out of a magazine : )

Trying to eat through my pantry, again....

July 17th, 2008 at 03:37 pm


Growing up we had a small European fridge and an even smaller pantry. Mom or sometimes dad would walk to the local market and pick up fresh produce every other day, if not every day, after work. Because we didn't have the space we didn't keep much and ate fresh and wholesome meals everyday.

Fast forward to today. I've got a fridge so big I forget, and sometimes am scared to see what's in the very back of it. My pantry is overflowing with canned and baking goods of all sorts. My freezer has some things in there from 2004. And here I was, last night, swinging open all the doors, exclaiming: "There is nothing to eat!!!".

I shouldn't complain really. Half the world is getting by with flour, rice and beans, and I have access to anything my little heart desires. But having so much choice is difficult and confusing. With 1, 3, 5, even 7 ingredients I can use my imagination and come up with a decent dinner for my fiance and I. But when I glance into my stuffed-to-the-rim pantry which is overflowing with everything under the sun, I don't get inspired, I want to slam closed the door and order out.

So here I am, deciding to really simplify my weekly menu plans, and it starts with slowly eating down that pantry until just a few useful staples remain. Simplicity will save me!

I'm not starting out on the best foot. Yesterday, since my fiance was out playing sports, I had a can of spanish rice and green peas for dinner. I figure there is nowhere to go but up from there, and my body agrees.

One site I found really useful in this process is www.allrecipes.com. They let me put in a list of random ingredients from my pantry and show me all the recipes that contain them. I'll leave off the 8 cans of sardines from my mom (why?), and the weird things that came with my fiance when he moved in last week (canned sausages, spam, hash). Those might have to wait out for the apocalypse.

I will not try and restock the pantry with any new ingredients until it's almost cleaned out. And when I do, it will be with a few things we actually eat, which I hope one day to be canned fruits and veggies from our own garden.