Friday, December 28, 2012

Design Tips: Party Ideas for New Years and the Bowl Games

Happy New Year everyone! The first and last party of the year.  And the football games, go team! It’s always fun to have some people over, what happens when you don’t know you’re hosting a party until the very last minute?

I like to have a well-stocked beverage refrigerator for guests all the time, even a bag of ice in the freezer. I’ll pick a signature cocktail with ingredients I have on hand or just offer sodas, beer or wine. Chili, soup and stew recipes are easy to double with little effort and whatever you have on hand in the freezer and produce drawer as well as feed a crowd.

For the last-minute party, relax and lower your standards a little. It’ll still be a great time if everything’s not perfect and you don’t need to have the whole house party ready.

Here are some other great last-minute entertaining tips to keep in mind, and you should have as good of a time as everyone else.

1. Potluck / BYOB. No time to prepare a big feast? Call a potluck! Spread the work around so you don’t have to slave in the kitchen or at the grill while your guests are enjoying themselves. Pick a theme – Mexican, Italian, whatever. Assign main dishes, sides and appetizers so you know everything will be covered.

Or fire up the grill and have everyone bring their own protein and a side, appetizer or dessert. Boom! Instant party! All you have to do later is clean up.

If you don’t even have time to run to the grocery store, tell everyone “BYOB” which in the old days was “Bring Your Own Booze” but now, is perfectly acceptable to “Bring Your Own Beverages.”

2. Do a quick housecleaning pickup. No need to break out all the cleaning products, just quickly wipe down the sink and toilet, close the shower door or curtain, restock the toilet paper and change all the towels. Make the beds, close doors on messes and hide the laundry. Pick up the biggest of the dust bunnies and you’re ready to relax.

3. Supplies running short? Order pizza or take-out, water down soups and drinks, use more ice or ask for help with a beer run. Take up a collection if you need to. Chips, cheese, sweets, ice, soda and beer, and sometimes even some decent wines are readily available at convenience and drug stores, which are usually open on the most sacred holidays and late hours. I’ve even seen emergency stashes of New Year’s champagne at the corner gas station!

4. Walgreens and other drugstores are open late if not 24 hours, are usually pretty convenient and often have themed and solid color party cups, plates, tablecloths and other supplies. Pick out the colors of your favorite team or holiday, and your house is all decorated!

5. Plan ahead for next time. Know what neighborhood stores are open late. Keep a stock of paper plates, napkins, extra cups and silverware for occasions such as these. Have a bag of ice handy if you have room in your freezer, though this is usually pretty easy to buy even on a holiday. A few extra beverages in the fridge or garage, or the leftovers people bring over make a great variety for future parties. Pull out the ice and a cooler or bucket to chill them quickly if they’re not refrigerated.

Soup stock freezes well, and expedites a warm main dish. A can of chili or refried beans turns into a tasty and hearty dip or nachos pretty fast (just add some water as needed and taco seasoning mix or salsa to taste), and the fancy jams, crackers and candies left over from your last party or gifts are fun to share.

Just remember to relax and have fun!

Until next time!
Elaine Bothe

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 11:31 AM 

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