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Bon appétit

Stress free dinners

manuelita otero

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you invite someone to eat or stay in your home you could relax and enjoy the moment without all the rush of “being the perfect hostess”? I love having people over, but usually when I have visitors I stress too much because I want everything to be just right and after they leave I feel guilty and sad.

It seems that when we invite friends to our home our ego takes over.  We want everything to be perfect. We want our house to be beautiful, our food delicious, and we expect our guests to compliment everything, including our well behaved children and of course how beautiful we look.  That's why to achieve all those compliments we end up obsessing over everything and sacrificing much more than needed.

Many times we plan more than necessary and spend more than what we have. Not only that but we sleep very little trying to plan our gathering, which makes us feel exhausted even before our guests arrive. Believe me, I value and appreciate all the work a host puts into a beautiful get-together, but I believe sometimes we exaggerate and we end up missing the opportunity to really enjoy time with those we love.  The dinner may be a success, the food delicious, the place amazing; but did we enjoy it?

When we invite people to our house we tend to do things that add stress like clean more than needed, try new recipes, and even “re-educate” our children so they will behave “accordingly” to the occasion. To avoid complicating things, here is a list of some ideas thatmay help avoid stress:

 -If you live with someone, ask them to help you plan an interesting menu, and if you don’t have much time, make sure the ingredients are easily attainable at any grocery store.  

- Use practical tools to find inspiration. Pinterest has a great variety of recipes and great ideas for table setting or decorating.  

-Even if we have heard this phrase a million times, it still applies: Less is more.

-Think about the whole experience. Instead of striving for each dish to be a culinary perfection, try a simple meal with beautiful flowers, good music, and great company.  The good mood will make the whole experience special.

-If you don’t have much time to decorate your house, use what you already have, things you love or things that you can easily get like fresh flowers or fruits.  

-Use only the time you have for planning, decorating, cooking, and try to leave some openings for the unexpected.  

By changing some small habits when it comes to inviting people over, we will have more energy and love to share, and everyone will love the experience.

Ana