It’s Summertime: Easy Entertaining at Kimba’s!

Today’s guest post is by Kimba, from A Soft Place to Land. Thank you, Kimba, for the awesome advice to all of us who are learning to embrace our imperfections and reach out to others, through food and our homes! You are an inspiration!

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Here’s Kimba …

I have a confession to make. There was a time in my life when entertaining friends and family stressed me out. A lot. And it was my own fault.

I made entertaining too complicated.

Every gathering turned into a major party, because I didn’t understand the joy that comes from connecting with just a few friends over dinner. I pulled out my fancy cookbooks and tried out fancy new recipes that didn’t always work out. I scrambled to finish complicated decorations and my mood always suffered. I smiled on the outside, but by the time my guests arrived, I was stressed and tired. It was impossible for me to relax and enjoy my company.

The more I tried to entertain this way, the more reluctant I became. It was too hard.

Then something began to change. People came into my life who made it look easy, so I studied them. And I began to realize that the best hostesses weren’t the ones who cooked a fancy meal or had an immaculate home. The best hostesses were the ones who enjoyed connecting with their company. All the other stuff was unimportant.

In July of 2008, my husband and I moved into a new house. We were convinced that the Lord wanted us to be very open with our home. We needed to connect with our family and friends in a more personal way. I knew that I had to keep it simple if we were going to open our home to company more frequently.

Summer has become my favorite time to entertain and this is my go-to meal. It lets me spend my time focused on my guests and not myself.

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Hot dogs on the grill. That’s all. Not hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and kielbasa. Just hot dogs. I’m a bit of a hot dog snob, so I get the all meat ones from the butcher. But they’re still just hot dogs.

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A big bowl of juicy watermelon. Sometimes it’s cantaloupe or honeydew depending on that I find at the store. Not fancy tropical fruit salad with lemon basil dressing. Just a big bowl of cut fruit. Delish!

corn on the cob

Corn on the cob served straight from the stove. Nothing screams summer to me like yummy corn on the cob rolled in butter and sprinkled with salt. And nothing could be easier to make. Just shuck it on the back porch (I sometimes ask my guests to do this) and steam it in a big pot for 5-6 minutes. Done.

condiments

The condiments go right on the table. No sense dirtying up more dishes for serving ketchup. Dessert is easy too. I let someone else bring it. Someone always asks “What can I bring?”, when I invite them for dinner. So I ask them to bring dessert and it’s always something sweet and fancy. I always have popsicles in the freezer for the kids. Easy as pie…or cake…or pudding.

And, in case you’re wondering, that lemonade up at the top is Country Time.

Keeping things simple has made all the difference for me. I love being able to connect with my guests when I’m not stressed and tired.

Thank you, Sandy, for having me at Reluctant Entertainer. You constantly inspire me to be open with my home and be real in my entertaining.

What’s you’re favorite summertime dinner? Or do you have a favorite season where entertaining is easier for you?

(If you are wanting to win a copy of The Reluctant Entertainer, Kendra from My First Kitchen has a giveaway going on right now. I’m humbled by her words, I must say. Wow, what a review! Thank you, Kendra!)

   

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29 Responses to “It’s Summertime: Easy Entertaining at Kimba’s!”

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    The Training Table — August 3, 2010 @ 5:16 am

    There’s a rule of thumb for marathoners and triathletes that you never try out a new energy bar or sports drink on race day. You never know how your body will react to it, so if you didn’t train with it, don’t race with it. Like Kimba said, the same thing applies to entertaining. Don’t try out something fancy for the first time in front of guests. Stick with the tried and true. Cheers!

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    maura — August 3, 2010 @ 5:59 am

    This post is awesome. Just what I needed to hear today as I have my sister and her 4 kids coming for dinner. I have bbq chicken and corn on the cob planned and I have a pineapple sitting on my counter which will be a sweet treat for the kids. Thanks for letting me off the hook with the fancy stuff- I really needed to read this today!

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    Elizabeth@LongToLove — August 3, 2010 @ 6:09 am

    Love the simplicity!

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    Merry — August 3, 2010 @ 6:44 am

    Kimba, your attitude is spot on!
    We miss so many opportunities when we stress about the stuff around us. I think it’s a heart attitude and sometimes it just takes a focus adjustment. I love to throw a party with all the bells and whistles but when it comes down to it, I’m just trying to make an enjoyable time for my friends. So when things don’t go quite right I don’t get stressed, I figure I gave everyone else permission to not be perfect and God gave me an opportunity to stay humble. :o)

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    Jessi — August 3, 2010 @ 6:51 am

    I LOVE this post. And I’ve found it to be so true. I’ve tried fancy dinner parties, which people liked, for something different and on ‘occasion’, but what I get the most compliments about is that people like to come to my house because it just feels ‘homey’. I mostly make normal ‘comfort’ foods (that are easy), like a roast beef for a ‘Sunday dinner’ (throw everything in to the roasting pan before we leave for church and ‘voila’ when we get home!), or easy suppers like something on the grill in the summer, or pasta in the winter. (Pasta is an especially great entertaining meal because it’s cheap and easy to make large quantities! And most people like it.)

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    Karena — August 3, 2010 @ 7:00 am

    Sometimes simpler is better and everyone enjoys to just have a fun time!!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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    Amy from She Wears Many Hats — August 3, 2010 @ 7:43 am

    Those are the best kind of cookouts – the kind where you can visit and be comfortable enough to ask others to pitch in.

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    Handy Man, Crafty Woman — August 3, 2010 @ 7:48 am

    that’s the way I do summer entertaining…no fancy stuff here! (Not a fan of cooking, so I don’t do anything elaborate anyway). Nice post!

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    Tiffany — August 3, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    i LOVE this post! i have also been guilty of having to do everything fancy and it burned me out. as a result we went about 2 years without having anybody over even for dinner :( how sad. i need to just throw some burgers on the grill and have friends over. inspiring!

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    melissa @ the inspired room — August 3, 2010 @ 7:51 am

    Yay Kimba, a girl after my own heart. But I already knew that!

    Hot dogs are the easiest!!

    Thanks for the inspiration, except now I am hungry for hot dogs at 7:50AM.

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    lisa — August 3, 2010 @ 8:07 am

    I have a lot of fast, easy ones, but right now I have been making taco salad and cornbread using Bisquick. The salad can be made ahead of time and the cornbread smells good when the guests arrive. We are relaxed and can enjoy our guests!

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    Southern Gal — August 3, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    I think one of the best things you can do for your children is to have people over and often. Even though I began reluctantly, and still am at times, it’s fun for me now to be hospitable. I can’t wait to read your book.

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    sondra — August 3, 2010 @ 8:45 am

    Simple, easy to prepare menu’s aren’t just great for the hostess but also are relaxing to the guests!

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    Kirstin — August 3, 2010 @ 9:35 am

    Yummy! I’m into keeping it simple as well. I don’t think I have a favorite season for entertaining, I just enjoy it.

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    Carmen — August 3, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    Great post, Kimba! And I agree with everything you said. It makes me want to invite my neighbors over right now. Too bad my house is a mess. haha!

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    bonnie — August 3, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    thanks Kimba for the reminder. well needed.

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    Melissa — August 3, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    good advice, I think every Woman feels this way about entertaining.

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    Curtis & Sherrie — August 3, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    Great post Kimba thanks! My wife and I followed your advice and we didn’t even have it yet! On Saturday we had a few friends over, and this is new for us because our motto has always been if we are going to entertain, go through the trouble and mess of getting the house ready, flowers for the table and cook we needed it to be a big affair. Well we had two…. yes two of our dear friends over for steak grilled on the bar b que, corn on the cob and watermelon salsa and chips, for dessert ??? Watermelon, yep just watermelon cut and served on a platter. You know what ? It was a great evening and we enjoyed the company of great friends, and had the time to actually enjoy each other. Now isn’t that a great concept? We try too hard, and it does not matter what our house looks like , it matters that we invited someone into our life, and that we can, just maybe make a difference for them. Just do it, ENTERTAIN!
    Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

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    Mrs.B — August 3, 2010 @ 10:12 am

    Kimba,
    You are PRECIOUS for telling us this! Oh I am so happy. I have spent DAYS getting ready for gatherings…DAYS…
    No More! Hot Dogs it is! :)

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    Amanda @ Serenity Now — August 3, 2010 @ 11:16 am

    Smart, smart girl! I’ve noticed that my friends who are great entertainers are the ones who don’t stress over decorations, food, etc. They welcome us with their attitude. :)

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    Jessica @ This Blessed Life — August 3, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    “The best hostesses were the ones who enjoyed connecting with their company.” Yes! You hit the nail on the head. Wonderful post, Kimba. And I love how you clarified your food choices. Why do we always feel like we need a million options when 3 simple items is good enough? Thanks for sharing with us!

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    Debbie — August 3, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    I love this post. I’ve had the same experience. Always stressed, frazzled, and hurried. Thank you to Jody and Susan, who by their example showed me the same truth…keep it simple and laugh a lot!

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    Richella — August 3, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    Love this post! Good job, Kimba–and those photos show just how delicious and appetizing a no-frills dinner can be!

    Sandy, I’ve been out of town and have missed some posts. . . I’ve got some catching up to do! And I still want to buy your book. Can I order one directly from you?

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    Lisa — August 3, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

    I LOVE how you and your husband use your home to welcome people in and bless others that way. <3

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    Kristen — August 4, 2010 @ 5:30 am

    I agree this is my go to meal, very simple and a crowd pleaser.

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    Kim — August 4, 2010 @ 8:49 am

    WOW and WOW!!!!! What a simple but special spread… The love shown in the simplicity is just wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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    Julia — August 4, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

    Kimba, I love your approach. I would so much rather spend time with a friend when I visit than to have her running around worrying about food (or even more tired and stressed from doing it all ahead of time). I try to remind myself of that when I feel as though I need to do so much more when it is my turn to play hostess.

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    Tickled Red — August 4, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

    Summer grilling and just hanging out with those that warm your heart are some of the best times. I am hard pressed to pick a favorite I enjoy every season for it’s uniqueness but something about Christmas gatherings makes me smile.
    Glad I am not the only hotdog snob out there :)

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    Dawn W — August 5, 2010 @ 6:36 am

    We felt the same way when we moved into this house. Sometimes, we actually call friends and say, “Hey, we’re ordering pizza to be delivered – want to come over and share it?” It always tastes better with them and they enjoy it, too. Since I love to bake, I usually still find the time (and the enjoyment!) to throw something in the oven for dessert – even if it’s just brownies, cookies or a simple cobbler. Often, the best social events are the simplest and least “planned” ones!

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