‘Tis the season for office parties, family gatherings, and catching up with friends, old and new. While these festive parties are fun to attend, hosting them can bring the burden of entertaining. Planning and preparing for a gathering or party can be stressful, especially if time is short – but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve got some quick and easy do-it-yourself entertaining ideas that help turn preparation into a party in itself. From appetizer through dessert, we’ve got you covered!
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TIP #1: Bruschetta Buffet
When you’re wondering what to do for an appetizer, bruschetta is a fool-proof staple. Turn this classic appetizer into a customized treat for your guests by leaving the bread bare and having the toppings laid out buffet-style for people to design their own creations! It cuts the preparation time for you, and allows your guests to customize their appetizer to their own tastebuds. All you have to do is slice a few baguettes into rounds and toast them in the oven so they’re warm and crispy. Then, arrange the toppings in festive dishes or mason jars: diced tomatoes, sliced onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, herbs, pesto – the choices are endless! Combine a few for pre-made toppings or leave them all separate for even more creativity. Put everything out on a table and watch your guests enjoy themselves!
TIP #2: Bacon-Wrapped Goat Cheese Dates
You can’t go wrong with cheese and bacon. Along with sweet dates, this appetizer is sure to please the palates of all your guests. And better yet – it takes almost no time to prepare. Step 1: pit the dates. Step 2: fill the dates with a dollop of goat cheese. Step 3: wrap the date with bacon, and skewer with a toothpick. Broil these babies in the oven until the bacon is cooked, remove, and serve.
TIP #3: Reuse
We live in a world where it’s become trendy to be green. This is good news for party hosts and hostesses! You’ve likely seen mason jars kicking around restaurants or people’s homes lately, being used for everything from vases to drinking glasses. They’re versatile, attractive, and add just the right touch to any event. For your next party, gather up all the mason jars in your house (or buy a couple from an arts and craft store). It doesn’t matter if they all match – in fact, the more variety, the better. Now you have two options: fill them with cutlery for your guests (making for easy party set-up and a classy touch!) or put small tealight candles in a few of the jars and scatter them on your main table or around the party area. This adds some elegance and creativity to the room and sets the party mood. Or, be creative and add your own personal touch to the jars. The opportunities are endless!
TIP #4: Drink it Up!
When it comes to drinks for a party, it’s always good to have a few staples: non-alcoholic choices, sweet drinks, coffee, and just plain water. When you’re having people over, this might seem overwhelming. But, similar to the Bruschetta appetizer bar, it’s easy to put a couple of choices together and let people make their own mixtures. Make a couple of batches of different punch. Some ideas might include: sparkling pomegranate, lemonade, raspberry apple, or plain fruit punch. Or, keep it simple and grab some Bare cocktail mixers—great on their own or mixed with alcohol. Next, have a few bowls set out with a variety of fruit options for your guests to add to their beverages: lemon and orange slices, raspberries, and lime wedges are some good options. Lastly, have a couple of alcoholic options available for people if they wish to spike their drink: champagne and white wine are a couple easy, mellow choices. Have a bucket of ice out, and voila! Your guests can enjoy their own custom made beverages.
TIP #5: Fruit & Dip Buffet
Assuming your guests aren’t too full from your perfect appetizers and fun bevvies, dessert is the next thing on their minds. With so many dietary concerns and restrictions these days, it’s hard to know what to prepare for a treat. What is someone has a peanut allergy? Are people gluten free? One way to play it safe is a quick and easy fruit and dip bar. Have a variety of fresh, organic fruit in different bowls, such as strawberries, raspberries, apple or pear slices, pineapple, and blueberries. Next, have two or three dips available: we’re talking dark chocolate fondue, organic whipping cream, or plain yogurt. Finally, have some toppings available: crushed nuts, shredded coconut, or shaved chocolate. Your guests will have fun choosing their fruit, dipping, and topping!
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