In the spirit of getting healthy in the new year, we turned to consummate hostess Daphne Oz, co-host of ABC's food talk show The Chew and author of Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun, for her advice on entertaining.
RELAX Your guests take their cues from you, so the more you're stressing, the more uneasy they'll feel -- and the more fun you're having, the more they can kick back. Plan for perfection and do what you can ahead of time, but once your guests start arriving, slip into party mode and enjoy yourself.
PRE-SELECT YOUR ENSEMBLE Pick out your outfit ahead of time. If you wait until the 11th hour -- when you're standing in the middle of a pile of rejected clothes -- you won't be putting yourself in the confident, relaxed, happy mood you want to be in when you entertain.
STICK TO WHAT'S TRIED AND TRUE Use recipes you know and love. Especially if you're not the biggest cook, start with a recipe you love to eat; that way, you know what you're shooting for. When you're entertaining, you want to stick with recipes you've made successfully a few times (this is not the moment to attempt a tarte flambé for the first time).
BE MRS. CLEAN Give the guest bathroom a thorough scrub the day before. It's the number one room I notice when I'm over at people's homes: if that bathroom floor isn't clean, chances are the kitchen isn't much better! Stick a pretty candle in there and load up on toilet paper and hand soap/lotion.
DELEGATE MIXOLOGY Let guests fix their own drinks. Even better, put out a selection of wines and a pre-made specialty cocktail. I love tequila with lots of lime, soda water, and a splash of pineapple juice -- it's something they can help themselves to without making a mess. It takes one thing off your plate and also lets your guests do something comfortable and familiar that makes them feel at home.
ADOPT A DJ If you don't have time to do it yourself, beg your friend, sibling, or significant other with the best music taste to make a playlist for you. Or, if you're in a bind, opt for a Spotify or Pandora selection -- my go-tos are ABBA, Michael Jackson, Lana Del Rey, and Calvin Harris. Don't let bad music be the death of a good party: put a little thought into the kind of guests and the kind of evening you'll be hosting and plan accordingly. Catch The Chew weekdays at 1 p.m. EST.
|Fudgy Chocolate Banana Flax MuffinsInsanely fudgy, dense, and high-fiber muffins that make brunch taste like dessert.|
|Grilled Vegan Caesar SaladA fancy twist on a timeless favorite for lunch or dinner.|
|Chai Raspberry Chia-Seed PuddingAntioxidant-rich and heart and brain-healthy, this delicious pudding means power brunch.|
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