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Guest Post + Giveaway - Five Tips for Easy Entertaining By Carla Laureano

Monday, February 5, 2018

I am super excited to have Carla visiting the blog today! She is sharing some GOLDEN tips about entertaining...Which I do a lot of! Look for my review in a couple days of Carla's new book which releases TOMORROW! YAY! The Saturday Night Supper Club is superb! Enter the Giveaway at the end of the post for your chance to win a print copy! Now, over to Carla...

Five Tips for Easy Entertaining
I’m a recovering perfectionist, which means I struggle with entertaining. Somewhere in the back of my head, I think my house isn’t clean enough or my kitchen big enough or my food good enough to throw a party. So I keep putting it off, when in reality all I want to do is hang out with some of my best friends.

I’ve started to break free of those faulty thoughts and invite people over more often now (though not as often as I’d like). Here are some tips that I’ve found help me shift my perspective on entertaining from stressful to enjoyable.

  1. It doesn’t have to be dinner.
When we hear the word entertaining, we tend to think it has to be dinner, which is one of the most elaborate and pressure-filled meals to prepare. More often than not, I plan for breakfast or brunch. For one thing, it tends to be a far more relaxed meal—my friends know that make-up and grown-up clothes are optional. For another, you’re usually not staring down the ticking clock, wondering if you’re going to make your hungry guests wait until 9 p.m. for dinner. Is brunch ten o’clock in the morning or one in the afternoon? No one knows for sure.

  1. Do the work ahead.
I love to cook big meals, but having too many hot dishes makes it feel like Thanksgiving—I’m stressed, my kitchen is a mess, and I never feel like I have enough free burners. Plus trying to get everything on the table at once is a hassle. Plan on serving only a single hot dish and let the rest be cold or room temperature. If I’m serving brunch my go-to meal is a big frittata served hot in a cast iron skillet; pastries from the bakery, yogurt, and fresh fruit are all easy, no-cook accompaniments. If you’re doing dinner, try pasta or potato salad served cold, veggies like roasted brussels sprouts that can be served room temperature, and save your effort for the hot meat/main dish.

  1. Let others contribute.
When your friends ask you if they can contribute something, let them! I’ll usually have someone bring juice or fruit for a brunch; dinner rolls, wine, or a veggie plate is good for dinner. Alternately, if you’ve got the food under control, don’t hesitate to have them pour drinks, slice tomatoes for the salad, or set the table. When I remodeled my kitchen recently, I replaced all my upper cabinets with open shelving—I love for my friends to be able to make themselves at home without feeling like they’re snooping.

  1. Be flexible.
I find nothing ever goes quite as planned, especially if I’m cooking a new recipe (a bad idea for a dinner party, by the way). Because I live at high altitude, everything takes longer to cook, and sometimes I have a hard time predicting when a dish will come out of the oven. Keep a few extra snacks on hand, plenty of drinks, and maybe a game or two to keep everyone entertained while they’re waiting. Rather than being a frustrating delay, you can turn it into a way to spend more time together.

  1. Give yourself permission to be imperfect
This is the corollary to #4: something’s going to go wrong. Every single time. The fruit will be overripe. A dish will be overcooked. You’ll drop something (a plate, a glass, the food). It took me a while to realize that I’m the only one who really fusses over these things—no one else cares! Laugh it off and move on. Order pizza if you have to. Your friends came to spend time with you, not for a restaurant-style five-course meal. When you can put it into the perspective of fellowship and not a performance, any mishaps become a fond memory to laugh about at the next get-together.

What about you? Do you like entertaining? What tips do you have for making a gathering enjoyable and stress-free?

About the Author

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Tyndale has graciously provided a print copy of The Saturday Night Supper Club for giveaway! Enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends 2/11/18 at 11:50pm PST. 

Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 


  1. I love down home southern cooking and love to entertain friends in our home along with fixing a good meal to share. I've found that if I'm not having fun and at ease no one else will be either. So I try to do as much ahead of time by finding dishes that do well made well in advance or made, frozen and then just heated up later. A prime example is the Three Day Coconut Cake. It has to be made at least 3 days prior to eating and the longer it sets the better it is. How perfect is that! Another thing is to throw a potluck and ask everyone to bring something. I even get specific and ask them ahead - "Would you like to bring a veggie dish or a dessert?" for example.

  2. I hate cooking but I live it when a meal comes together well. It makes me feel accomplished, lol. I think my tips for entertaining are like yours. I always think that I'm going to plan ahead, but I always procrastinate, and some stuff falls to the wayside. My guests don't care, though! I'm so glad that they don't mind my less than spotless home.

  3. I just saw the other question, lol. I don't think I have a favorite cuisine. I truly love spaghetti, orange chicken, anything Mexican that's loaded with cilantro, kung pao shrimp, chicken tikka masala, pho, and a lot more. We try to keep things interesting in our house and cook a nice variety of dishes. I love it!

  4. My favorite cuisine is Italian. When I invite people over, I don't tend to stress about the food, but I stress about whether everyone is having a good time.


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