Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘time saving’

The 15 Minutes Blitz: Turn Your Home from Disaster Zone to Party Ready

In Features on October 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Entertaining is difficult enough when you have time to organize, but what do you do when you only have minutes to prepare? Don’t panic, it’s entirely possible to pull it together.

You’ve already stopped by the market and picked up a few cocktail essentials and now with fifteen minutes left you have to make your home guest ready.  There’s no time for a full-scale clean, but a tidy home always looks more inviting.  Crank up some energy pumping tunes, grab the disposable wipes and get moving.  Here’s an easy fifteen minute plan:

Entryway or Foyer (1 minute)

Hang up coats and hats; organize umbrellas and any shoes.

Living Room (4 minutes)

Straighten up coffee and side tables. Neatly stack magazine and books. Throw out old newspapers. Hide computer cords and laptops behind sofa cushions or in the bedroom. Fluff sofa cushions and pillows, fold throw blankets.  Wipe down tabletops.  Give the room a quick spray of Febreez or other air freshener.  Light any scented candles.

Kitchen (5 minutes)

Empty dishwasher if full, then load dirty dishes.  Wipe down surfaces and counters.  Put away any pantry items left of the counter.  If you don’t have a pantry for storage, neatly organize dry goods.  Fold and hang dish towels.  Give the floor a quick sweep, take out any left over trash and turn off the lights.

Bathroom (4 minutes)

Put dirty clothes in the hamper and toiletries in a drawer or cabinet.  Fold and hang towels neatly.  Give the sink and toilet a quick wipe.  Take out any over flowing trash and put a new bag in the basket. Light a scented candle.

Close Door to Bedroom (30 seconds)

A quick note, if you have a studio apartment, quickly make the bed as best you can.  If you have a screen dividing the space, now is the time to use it.

Turn Off the Music (30 seconds)

Turn off the high energy music and put on a more soothing playlist for background when guests arrive.

Follow this plan and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can turn a disaster zone into a tidy space for entertaining.  You might even have enough time to pour yourself a glass of wine and take a deep breath before the doorbell rings.

For no-cook hors d’oeuvre ideas, click here.

Must Have Pantry Items for Impromptu Entertaining

In Features on March 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Entertaining is easy if you have a plan and time to prepare, but it’s those impromptu evenings that truly test your chops as a host.  Keeping a variety of pantry items on hand for these occasions will undoubtably take the stress out of entertaining unexpected guests.  If you keep at least a few of these things in the kitchen you can throw together delicious hors d’oeuvres or a meal in no time.

  • Plain breadsticks
  • Jars of olives, stuffed grape leaves, roasted red peppers
  • Mixed nuts
  • Cornichons or dill pickles
  • Jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • Few types of pasta like penne, linguine, farfalle
  • Good crackers
  • Variety of chips like tortilla, pita, root vegetable
  • Jars of salsa
  • Jars of mustard (dijon, whole grain, honey)
  • Dried fruit like cranberries, apricots, figs, raisins
  • Chutney / honey
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Dried Italian sausage and salami
  • Biscotti / cookies
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