Welcome to my home and table, and to my “About Sandy” page from Reluctant Entertainer Blog! I’m Sandy—lover of food, family, cooking, charcuterie and cheese boards [The Big Board], travel, hospitality, and bringing people together.

Preorder my new book now, Big Boards for Families, Healthy, wholesome charcuterie boards and food spread recipes that bring everyone around the table, out October 2021.

Big Boards for Families book cover

Feasting on Life

Feasting on Life (my blog tagline) begins the moment we open our door (and hearts).

The big board “epic charcuterie” began several years ago when I hosted 12 bloggers in my home for dinner. We gathered in our backyard with a big board of tortellini skewers and charcuterie foods—served on one giant board. Soon that concept went viral on my blog. [Pics above and below, the actual board that got me started with THE BIG BOARD concept.]

Through great recipes (and Big Board dinners) and connection around the table, we become better, stronger, and more courageous people!

Feasting on Life is real, and every time we do it, we grow a little more.

Food is love, but the actual act of serving and making others feel warm and welcome, wherever you are, is what I love.

Here on RE, our home together, I’ll show you how. Trust me, it’s easier than you think.

(My family–2019)

Growing up

As a little girl, I watched my mom and her sisters entertain. Their main mission was to get a beautiful spread on the table for their guests, so everyone could linger around the table for hours, eventually with a cup of coffee in one hand and a dessert fork in the other.

A dinner party lasted for hours. But wait, there’s more. They really cared about the people around the table more than themselves. I watched and I learned, and later in life I started the process myself, of practicing hospitality and entertaining in my own home. [Above, me and my husband in the 90’s]

My family and life now

Now, my kids, ages 29, 27, and 24, know how to put on a party and make good food, as well. Because they learned from us.

See how the cycle of hosting others can change our lives? I’m here at RE to show you how. It’s all about the people, new friends and old!

These days my husband and I are somewhat empty-nesters … sort of. Our kids are coming and going, depending on their endeavors with school and careers. When everyone is home, our house is full of laughter and love, a lot of music (guitar, piano, violin), and plenty of good food being dished up! There’s way more harmony in the home now that the kids are grown and in their 20’s. (Above, Alder the Whoodle.)

I started Reluctant Entertainer back in 2006 to document my life in my kitchen, hosting and providing inspiration to “reluctant entertainers.” I felt that connection and community and sharing food together were missing from so many people’s lives, and I wanted to share easy tips and recipes to help inspire and show the long-term benefits of hospitality.

But my life is about more than recipes and entertaining, which is why I also share about my family, travels, and the outdoors. I’m a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, blogger; I also volunteer many hours to my husband’s non-profit, The Protectors.org, a freedom from bullying organization.

Feast on life

My tagline is “feast on life.” Bringing people together around food is what makes me happy! My mom definitely taught me how to burn the entertaining candles, and not just save them in the drawer for special occasions. I hope that my children have learned this from me as well.

This year let's burn the candles. What are we saving them for? Who are we saving them for? -Shauna Niequist

I’m often asked if we really entertain as much as I write about on the blog. The answer is a BIG YES. We’re always hosting, and we feel very grateful for the large group of friends in our lives!

Our home is a lovely kaleidoscope of people coming and going. Sometimes new friends, sometimes old.

Travel opportunities

I also love to share my travel adventures. Recently I’ve been to Mexico, Norway, Germany ,and Denmark. Last year to Prague, Australia, Switzerland, and France! Follow along on my Travel page on RE!

You can also follow on Instagram @ReluctantEntertainer or watch my Instagram stories, here.

If you are new to Reluctant Entertainer, welcome! A good place to start is to sign up for my feed by email, and then get started on some delicious recipes.

Random facts about me

To get to know me a little bit better, here are some random facts about me (no certain order):

  • I lived in the Rogue Valley (Medford, Oregon) for 53+ years, born in southern California, but this past 4 years, we’ve lived in Bend, Oregon.
  • We bought a “cozy mountain fixer upper” and you can take a peek at it, here.
  • We recently bought a “modern mountain fixer upper” and I’ve posted several places on the blog, but have a “highlights” reel on my Instagram.
  • My husband can’t figure out why my parents gave me the middle name, Renee’, because there is nothing French, at all, about our family.
  • I went to a community college, and then ended up working in dialysis for 27 years before my blog career began.
  • I work full time+, at home, as a food and travel writer/blogger, plus volunteer for TheProtectors.org.
  • I’ve traveled outside the USA to Ireland, England, Africa, Canada, Caribbean, Belize, Mexico, Turkey, London, Italy, and Cairo. Recently to Prague, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, France, and Switzerland!
  • I never played sports growing up, but I skied and rode bikes every chance that I could.
  • I am not a reluctant entertainer myself. My blog offers help for “reluctant entertainers,” from one who has gotten beyond reluctance, to joy!
  • My husand came up with the blog name, Reluctant Entertainer, when I was always complaining of the people we knew with big, beautiful kitchens, who never had people over for a meal. Why were people so reluctant to open their doors?
  • I still have a brief sense of panic when I see our guests drive up or hear that knock on the door …..
  • My mom passed away in 1997 from Ovarian cancer. My sisters and I decided that we’d not let anything come between us and remain very close. We truly love each other!
  • My dad remarried right away and we are the luckiest family in the world to have Ginny in our lives.
  • My indulgences are good-quality chocolate and coffee.
  • My favorite kitchen tool is my Wusthof knife (that The Pioneer Woman gave  me).
  • I grew up on a farm/ranch and at one time had my own bunny, duck, cow, kitty, and shared the family dogs and horses.
  • I grew up playing the piano and flute (and piccolo), and now my kids are musicians. They play violin, piano, and guitar. Our home is heavenly when they are all 3 in the nest.
  • My friend, Barb, reads and edits my writing before I post on RE. She is a saint, and also one of my best friends (who lives in WI, and who I met online).
  • My favorite scents are sunscreen, Baby Magic, and lemon or Thymes Fraiser Fir. (I love the beach, babies, and a clean house!)
  • My favorite holiday is Christmas. But after a month of celebrations, I’m ready to move on.
  • I met Martha Stewart, in passing, and she wasn’t too interested in my life. (HA HA)
  • I had dinner with Rachael Ray in NYC and she was charming, interesting, we talked about our gardens, and she was interested in my life.
  • I rode horses and spent the weekend with The Pioneer Woman on her ranch. Yes, it’s true. She’s a dear friend to this day.
  • My first blogging friends to meet IRL (in real life) were Melissa, The Nester, and Emily.
  • I try to work out daily, but let’s be real. Your body changes big time at 50+! I love CrossFit and try to walk 5 miles a day when the weather is nice.
  • My daughter does most of  my photography, but occasional a post is done with my iPhone or my little travel camera.
  • My dad has remodeled 2 beautiful kitchens for us (we’ve lived 10 years in each home), which we are extremely grateful. We are now remodeling our 4th kitchen since we have been married for 30 years. Not that fun …
  • My best friend growing up, since 4th grade {Lisa} is still one of my best friends today.
  • I love to travel with my sisters. {There’s nothing quite like a sister.}
  • I cannot get into an unmade bed at night.
  • I used to run the Pear Blossom run every year in our home town (1/2 marathon) in my 20’s.
  • I had 10 roommates before I married Paul. (Betsy, Linda, Carol Ann, Debbie, Simone, Lori, Mary Ann, Jane, Leanne, and Laura – all amazing ladies!)
  • I was a bridesmaid 12 times before I married Paul.
  • I met Paul {the love of my life} at a restaurant in Jacksonville, Oregon. We got married 9 months later, and had our first baby boy one year after we were married! This year (2021) was our 30th wedding anniversary!
  • My favorite authors: Henri Nouwen, Shauna Niequist, Brene’ Brown, Bob Goff. I’m currently reading, Walking on Water by Madelieine L’Engle.
  • I wrote a book back in 2009 called The Reluctant Entertainer, a book on the fundamentals of hospitality.
  • I’m proud to say that I started the “epic charcuterie board” and THE BIG BOARD concept back in September 2017, the original creator of the epic Pier One board. What sets me apart from many charcuterie makers is a board with a lip, or raised edge. 
  • I’ve partnered with JK Adams and their premier woodmakers in Dorset, Vermont, with my own line of RE boards in October 2020. The boards are food safe with a raised lip, with perfectly designed undercut handles. They are exclusive to RE, thanks to my dear friend Cyndi (Hyacinth), and they come in 4 epic sizes. You can buy them, HERE.
  • My most prized possession is … not a dish collection, or anything material, but my precious family. I’m so thankful to God for what he’s given to me in life, the freedom to live in America, and that I get to be creative and do what I love for a living and help inspire others.
  • Oh, and we a Whoodle. Alder is a darling Whoodle who has stolen our hearts. BIG TIME.

I hope that joy and grace spills over to you on the pages here at RE!

Thank you for being here with me today!

Let’s connect!

Friend me on Facebook {Sandy Coughlin} or hit “like” to my RE FB page (thank you very much!)

Find me on Twitter. {@SandyCoughlinRE}

Check out my pins on Pinterest.

Peek inside my life on Instagram  (@ReluctantEntertainer)

I love to get emails. Email me any time with a question or just to say hi! Subscribe to my blog by email, here.

I do not accept article submissions or guests posts on RE! Thanks!

My bio & other stuff

For over a decade, Sandy Coughlin, the full-time blogger and recipe developer at Reluctant Entertainer, has inspired readers to step up their hosting and hospitality. Sandy has garnered hundreds of thousands of fans at ReluctantEntertainer.com, where she shows readers how to gather people around their table with easy tips, good food and great conversation.

She enjoys hiking, camping in her family’s Sprinter van, traveling, hosting parties, sharing hospitality wherever she goes, and bringing people together. Sandy lives in Bend, Oregon, with her family and the famous Alder the Whoodle. Find out more at ReluctantEntertainer.com

Sandy’s been featured here at Social MomsRachael Ray’s magazine, Better Homes & GardenTraditional Home, Great KitchensMSN.com, FoodieCrush MagazineThe Huffington Post, Yahoo, Harry & David, Buzz Feed, The Inspired Room, USA Today, and is a contributor at The Art of Simple, RecipeGirl, Bush’s Beans, The Bean Life, Country Living, Woman’s World, MSN.com, more!

Sandy’s contributed to the following books: Gift of Friendship, by Dawn Camp, and Where Women Cook: Celebrate!

Woman’s Day online, April 2019

Article in The Food + Diet issue of Simplify Magazine, June 2019

Taste of Home – October 2021

The Epic Baked Potato Dinner Board went viral in January 2020 on Facebook in Australia, reaching millions.

Presenting at Paws Up Ranch, MT at The Wonder Women of Food & Wine with a cheese board class, in May 2020

Previously Published Book: The Reluctant Entertainer, Bethany House (2009)

Reluctant Entertainer is a US registered trademark. Please ask my permission before reposting any of my photographs anywhere. Please do not copy any content or recipes I have posted on this site without permission. Here’s an awesome article about recipe attribution. Thank you!

I do not accept article submissions or guests posts on RE! Thanks!