The holiday season is here, whether we like it or not. Many of us are entertaining (some of us, because we feel we have to) and we’re learning to get over the state of our homes (who has a perfect home?) and focus on the real reason for the season.

When it comes to preparing a meal for others, cooking and serving can be very intimidating and overwhelming.

The first thing we need to do is acknowledge that we are not perfect and that there will be mistakes.

Keep your mouth shut
My husband and I invited 3 other couples over for dinner. I had a delicious Beauchamp Orchard Salad in mind to serve to our guests, having made it once before (and loving the simplicity of it), and thinking “holiday,” I was planning to serve the fresh Honey Crisp apples with the skins on.

Bright red, cheery, festive, healthy, fresh – a beautiful holiday salad.

Thankful that my husband volunteered to make the salad, I went in to our bedroom to quickly get ready for our guests.

When I came out, the Honey Crisp apples had been peeled and sliced. Still the same flavor, just not the “red festive look” that I wanted.

In the past I would have said, you peeled the apples? Or even thought about the possibility of starting over with fresh apples (what a waste – all for color and impressing?)

I kept my mouth shut.

I’ve learned, over the years, to not be critical of “help in the kitchen” although I admit that I’m not perfect at this. I’m still tempted …

Be honest with yourself
When you can overcome your critical eye and be honest with yourself, accepting the truth that your home and courses will not be perfect, you give yourself permission to experience freedom.

And for sure I was not going to point out to my guests that the “holiday salad” that was supposed to have beautiful red slices of apple (now peeled and a dull-plain-apple) had been messed up.

Why would I do this?

Pointing out our culinary mistakes only puts the focus on the mistake itself, and makes our guests feel bad.

And we feel bad.

So I kept my mouth shut.

Let it go
Learn to enjoy the moment. Forget about the little things, like peeled apples. Think ahead to what colored food item you could add in its place, such as cranberries, dried fruit, or even a handful of frozen pomegranate seeds. Or simply move on. Or better yet, think about the great people coming to your home!

Fight against worrying about the little things that don’t really matter. Others won’t care.

I promise!

Do you tend to be critical when things around you are not perfect?

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Beauchamp Orchard Salad

From the cookbook, Where Women Cook! Celebrate! Get the Sweet and Spicy Pecan recipe, here.


  • 2 large heads Romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 apple, Gala or Honeycrisp or pear, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 8-oz. tub of crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • Sweet and Spicy Pecans, recipe on RE Blog – Sweet and Spicy Pecans


  • Combine lettuce, cabbage, apple, and blue cheese in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together walnut oil, vinegar; shallot, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
  • Pour over salad and toss to combine. Top with pecans.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!


REVIEW all 5 posts and fabulous recipes:

Day 1: The Purpose of the Home, Roasted Grapes & Fresh Rosemary
Day 2: Culinary Mistakes and Beauchamp Orchard Salad Get the Sweet and Spicy Pecan recipe, here.
Day 3: Learning to be Authentic and Pesto Baked Potatoes
Day 4: Don’t Plan for Perfection and Crusted Pepper Prime Rib
Day 5: Laugh at Your Mistakes with Holiday Poached Pears

Photos in this post by David Gibb Photography.

The 2 recipes are taken from Where Women Cook! Celebrate! book. Read more, here.

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