Peanut Butter Caramel Corn {cookbook giveaway}

I’m sharing a recipe today that you’re going to love. In fact, if you begin munching on this stuff… you’re likely not going to be able to stop. It took all of my available willpower to package up this Peanut Butter Caramel Corn and deliver it to my neighbors. But that was only after I ate a few cupfuls myself!  Giveaway details are at the end of this post.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

This Peanut Butter Caramel Corn is good stuff… every bite of it. And it’s worth every.single.calorie consumed. Picture caramel corn- only HOMEMADE- and with a peanut buttery flavor. Yeah.

Heather Christo's Generous Table

The recipe comes from a new book by Heather Christo: Heather Christo’s Generous Table: Easy and Elegant Recipes Through the Seasons.

Heather Christo Spring
I love that Heather’s book is organized by seasons (that’s totally MY kind of book).  And how adorable is her little girl??

Heather Christo's Lake Picnic

Each season is divided into menus.  This “Lake Picnic” menu includes Yellow Nectarine Mojitos, Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta, Roasted Pork Tenderloin Sandwich with Zesty Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Raspberry-Peach Bars.  Everything sounds so good, doesn’t it?

Heather Christo Halloween
Her “Halloween Supper” menu includes Macaroni and Cheese with Pumpkin and Bacon, Spicy Arugula with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Dressing, Pecan-Caramel Coconut Bars and Pumpkin Gingersnap Trifle.  I’d enthusiastically eat all of that.

Heather Christo's Greek Chicken
The recipes Heather chose for the book look delicious… like this Greek Chicken and Potatoes (from her “Sunday Dinner” menu)…

Heather Christo Chocolate Raspberry Tart
…and this Chocolate- Raspberry Tart (which comes from her “Holiday Dinner Party” menu).

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn - RecipeGirl.com
And then, of course, there is this completely and totally addictive Peanut Butter Caramel Corn (from Heather’s “Snow Day Lunch” menu).  If you try one new recipe this month, try this one!  You’ll be pleased… and stuffed… and over-sugared.  And happy.  Here’s the recipe!  And below the recipe are the giveaway details!

Print Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Yield: 16 cups

Prep Time: 5 min + rising time

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min

Ingredients:

POPCORN:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup popping corn
kosher salt

PEANUT BUTTER CARAMEL:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

2. First make the popcorn: Put a large pot over medium heat, and add the oil and popcorn. Place a lid on the pot, slightly askew, so that steam can escape. Pop the corn until there are a few seconds between pops, and it sounds like they are mostly cooked.

3. Pour the popped corn into a large roasting pan (like one you would use to roast a turkey) and sprinkle with kosher salt.

4. In the same pot that you made the popcorn, melt the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, peanut butter and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring, for 7 minutes.

5. In a tiny bowl, mix the baking soda and vanilla together until the baking soda is mostly dissolved.

6. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the vanilla and baking soda mixture. The caramel should be very light and frothy. Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn, and gently fold the caramel into the popcorn to coat it. (At this point, you might think there is not enough caramel for the corn, as there will be globs of caramel, and a lot of the popcorn will not seem well-coated. But don't worry! There will be plenty.)

7. Bake the caramel corn for 15 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and gently stir the popcorn into the melting caramel until the popcorn is better coated. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, after which the popcorn should be evenly coated with the caramel.

8. Return the caramel corn to the oven and bake for a final 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and give the corn one final stir to coat thoroughly. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

9. When the popcorn is totally cool, it will have a nice, thin, crispy coating. Serve immediately or store in airtight containers for up to 10 days.

Tips:

*If there is a nut allergy in the family, simply leave out the peanut butter for a still-perfect caramel corn.

Source:  RecipeGirl.com (reprinted with permission from Heather Christo's Generous Table)

Giveaway

Heather Christo’s book is totally near and dear to my heart because she wrote the kind of book that I absolutely love to have on my shelf.  Be sure to watch her BOOK TRAILER VIDEO to learn more about Heather Christo and her new book.  So great.  I LOOOOVE to plan seasonal menus and entertain and throw parties, so this book is perfect for me.  The Recipe Girl Cookbook ALSO has entertaining menus included in it.  So that makes Heather and I like Soul-Sisters, doesn’t it??

Let’s celebrate Heather’s book release with a giveaway!  For a chance to win a copy of Heather Christo’s Generous Table AND a copy of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (both signed copies), leave a comment below sharing an entertaining tip or trick you’ve learned… or if you’re not so good at entertaining yet, you can share that too!  Heather and I will help you out with our entertaining menus and tips!

This giveaway is open to USA + CANADA and it will close at the end of the day on Friday, May 10th.  The winner will be chosen via random.org and will be contacted via email and announced here.  If the winner does not respond to email outreach within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Giveaway winner is commenter #248: Melissa, who shared the entertaining tip: “If you don’t have a lot of a particular item, place it at the end of the serving line so that guests’ plates are more full by the time they reach the item that there isn’t a lot of.” I love that tip- Thanks, Melissa. You’ve been emailed, so please respond so you can get your new cookbooks!

Disclosure:  A copy of Heather Christo’s Generous Table was provided for me to review, and another copy has been provided for this giveaway.  I’m providing a copy of The Recipe Girl Cookbook for the giveaway.  Amazon affiliate links are included within this post.

Leave a Comment




389 Responses to “Peanut Butter Caramel Corn {cookbook giveaway}”

  1. 1

    Marty — May 6, 2013 @ 3:12 AM

    I lay out my platters and put sticky notes in them. Assures I have enough platters, and don’t forget to take any menu items out! (Which has happened to me)

  2. 2

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 6, 2013 @ 4:07 AM

    I’ve learned to not make things that are fussy and that I can make ahead as much as possible so Im not stressing out when I really wanna be socializing with guests!

  3. 3

    ashley — May 6, 2013 @ 4:09 AM

    i think its best to be easy going and go with the flow…

  4. 4

    abby — May 6, 2013 @ 4:15 AM

    when i’m planning a party or dinner i always make a checklist – that’s the best advice i can give! that way you don’t forget anything :)

  5. 5

    Katherine — May 6, 2013 @ 4:31 AM

    Relax, and don’t worry about making everything perfect!

  6. 6

    Melissa — May 6, 2013 @ 4:32 AM

    I always, always make lists and check off tasks as I go!

  7. 7

    AH — May 6, 2013 @ 4:39 AM

    Lots of veggies and dip – everyone is watching their weight.

  8. 8

    tina phillips — May 6, 2013 @ 4:50 AM

    Ohhhh this popcorn sounds addictive….lol. Most of my entertaining is kid related. I have five boys and their friends pretty much take over the house. I think they would love this recipe! Thanks for a chance to win!

  9. 9

    Linda — May 6, 2013 @ 4:56 AM

    Can’t wait to try the popcorn! As a rule people eat less sliced meat – flank steak goes a lot farther than if you we’re to give everyone their own steak. This works for chicken as well. Helps when you’re in a budget!

  10. 10

    Tieghan — May 6, 2013 @ 5:00 AM

    That Halloween menu sound so fun and so good! I love planning themed menus!! Both of the books (Heathers and yours) are amazing. You girls did an awesome job!!

    This Caramel corn?? Dying over here. I mean it looks so perfect!!

    Sadly we do not entertain to much, but we I do I try and get as much ready before hand as possible. This way I am not running like a made person before or during the party!

  11. 11

    Magela G. — May 6, 2013 @ 5:08 AM

    I am not very good at entertaining yet, but would love to learn more.

  12. 12

    Celeste B. — May 6, 2013 @ 5:08 AM

    I try to make as much as I can ahead of time so I am not stressing out when guests arrive.

  13. 13

    Ladywild — May 6, 2013 @ 5:09 AM

    The best entertainment tip I can give is to keep it simple. Set a theme and make on,y a few things. Don’t overdo it or have too much variety. You will be stressed and your guests will be confused.

  14. 14

    EllenCF — May 6, 2013 @ 5:09 AM

    I do not entertain at my house, but I have done so at others. My one tip is to make sure your friends have what you need utensil and appliance wise to make the menu planned. Having them but the groceries is not the end of their contribution. It can be fun trying to make-do in someone elses’s kitchen…

  15. 15

    Sharona — May 6, 2013 @ 5:09 AM

    take out all your platters In advance then stash them in the oven ( assuming you are dune cooking).

  16. 16

    Tracey A — May 6, 2013 @ 5:11 AM

    I always plan ahead, make LOTS of lists and set the table the day ahead. That takes a lot of pressure off of me. LOVE the books, would love to win! One can NEVER have too many cook books! :)

  17. 17

    Kathryn Louise — May 6, 2013 @ 5:11 AM

    My tip is do as much prep work as you can the day before your occasion.

  18. 18

    Elizabeth G. — May 6, 2013 @ 5:11 AM

    I love to entertain but I’m not so good at it. I get overwhelmed easily and always seem to forget simple basic things, so what I always try to do is make very simple recipes and decor.

  19. 19

    Dawna — May 6, 2013 @ 5:11 AM

    I love getting as much food prepped ahead of time as possible. Leaves me more time to spend with my guests. I love cookbooks and it would be awesome to add these to my toolbox :)

  20. 20

    Janet T — May 6, 2013 @ 5:12 AM

    Simple homestyle meals seem to go over best.

  21. 21

    Kat Bleyl — May 6, 2013 @ 5:17 AM

    These look awesome!! I am not really too good in entertaining. I would LOVE to learn some ideas to help me out. :)

  22. 22

    Jan — May 6, 2013 @ 5:18 AM

    I always make entertaining more difficult by worrying about how things will turn out and afterwards end up thinking, “that wasn’t so hard!”. I would entertain more if I could get over this.

  23. 23

    beth dunlavy hoppe — May 6, 2013 @ 5:18 AM

    I use those nice throw away plates to save time on dishwashing

  24. 24

    Nancy L — May 6, 2013 @ 5:18 AM

    I’m all thumbs when it comes to entertaining or parties!

  25. 25

    Kat Bleyl — May 6, 2013 @ 5:20 AM

    I am not very good at entertaining, and I would LOVE some new and fun ideas. These look awesome!

  26. 26

    Heidi — May 6, 2013 @ 5:20 AM

    For years every time I had a dinner party everyone cancelled at the last minute!!! Finally in February I had a successful attempt. It was a classy cocktail party with a vegetarian menu. I made things ahead of time like Greek Yogurt Horseradish Dip and Totally Veggie Tomato Soup. On the day of the party all I had to do was look pretty and set up the table, heat the soup and I was done in under an hour.

  27. 27

    Andrea J — May 6, 2013 @ 5:20 AM

    I just got married a month ago, and we really haven’t done much entertaining. We’ll be combining two groups of friends, and two sets of parents when we do…I’m guessing a well stocked bar will help!

  28. 28

    Diane — May 6, 2013 @ 5:20 AM

    I like to plan and prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Planning ahead ensures that you can relax and enjoy your guests. I like learning new tips & tricks and always look forward to new recipe ideas.

  29. 29

    Elizabeth Fletcher — May 6, 2013 @ 5:20 AM

    I find that it is better to stick with what you know and are good at. Your signature dishes only get better as you prepare them. Add a “special” dish to go with your signature dishes..Just have fun..

  30. 30

    Alicia Keen — May 6, 2013 @ 5:22 AM

    make as many things as you can the night before

  31. 31

    Nichole — May 6, 2013 @ 5:23 AM

    When entertaining, I like to use seasonal foods and when planning the menu I almost always pick my main dish first, then base everything around that. Make ahead as much as possible !

  32. 32

    dc — May 6, 2013 @ 5:25 AM

    Always have a signature cocktail (and a virgin one too). Less drink mixing, more time to be the hostess with the mostest and more time with your guests!
    I’m in for the cookbook, please.

  33. 33

    Robin O — May 6, 2013 @ 5:25 AM

    I am not so good at entertaining yet and could use some tips…but I do think it’s fun to pick a theme (a holiday or a color or something else) to give unity to the gathering in terms of menu/decorations/games/etc.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  34. 34

    Melissa B — May 6, 2013 @ 5:30 AM

    I set my table ahead of time, put out my serving dishes, and make a list on my refrigerator of all the food to be served.

  35. 35

    Veronica — May 6, 2013 @ 5:32 AM

    It’s all in the planning.

  36. 36

    Lea D — May 6, 2013 @ 5:32 AM

    I wish I was a good entertainer but I just don’t have the time to even try. :(

  37. 37

    Sadie — May 6, 2013 @ 5:35 AM

    I’m no good at entertaining. I do know that adding chocolate to that peanut butter caramel corn would make my guests happy though.

  38. 38

    Tina — May 6, 2013 @ 5:35 AM

    I love having get-togethers with friends and family but I do not have any tried and true entertaining tips. Maybe if I won these wonderful cookbooks that would change. Thanks Lori and Heather for the opportunity :)

  39. 39

    danielle — May 6, 2013 @ 5:40 AM

    Keep the alcohol flowing!

  40. 40

    Alicia Cornelison — May 6, 2013 @ 5:41 AM

    I’m still working on my entertaining skills but I do love to play hostess!

  41. 41

    Leslie Moore — May 6, 2013 @ 5:43 AM

    I like to make things that can be prepared ahead of time so I am not spending the whole party in the kitchen!

  42. 42

    Donna A. — May 6, 2013 @ 5:43 AM

    What a ‘Generous’ giveaway! I’m intrigued by the recipe and wonder how easily the roasting pan cleans up. This leads me to a good tip…use All Clad cookware…it cleans up like a dream! Another tip is have drinks ready when your guests arrive, it puts everyone at ease.

  43. 43

    Sara — May 6, 2013 @ 5:43 AM

    I am not such a great entertainer! I have tried and failed! I did a craft party once and just had snacks/finger foods set out for the people who came…and only 3 people came!:( So I need to try new things and these recipe books will be AWESOME! I might even be daring enough to actually do it!

  44. 44

    Robin O — May 6, 2013 @ 5:44 AM

    A good entertaining tip is to serve finger foods–it’s easier, and people especially seem to like nibbling on mini versions of traditional treats.

  45. 45

    Janet — May 6, 2013 @ 5:46 AM

    Not very good at entertaining so to win would be wonderful :)

  46. 46

    Mikki freedman — May 6, 2013 @ 5:47 AM

    I get babysitting help for my children a few hours before the party so I can get things ready while they have fun and keep out of the way

  47. 47

    Linda — May 6, 2013 @ 5:47 AM

    Would love to own this gorgeous cookbook!

  48. 48

    susan — May 6, 2013 @ 5:49 AM

    I used to get so stressed about having company that it wasn’t any fun..Over the years, I have accepted that my friends are coming to vist not judge how perfect my home looks. Now I try to do as much in advance and try to keep it simple yet still serve outstanding food. Grilled/roasted assorted vegetables is always a big hit and can be served at room temp. Desserts are a must and can definitely be made in advanced and frozen. Homemade cookies and biscottis plus some fresh fruits are perfect. A glass of wine is also a must!

  49. 49

    Pauline Gudas — May 6, 2013 @ 5:49 AM

    I never ever serve a dish that I have never made before. I am too afraid that something could go wrong or else not turn out the way it should

  50. 50

    Layla Cloud — May 6, 2013 @ 5:49 AM

    I’m a stay home mom and I LOVE to have friends and family at my home! However, as much as I love to host and entertain, the hardest part is trying to figure out what to serve! So, thank you so much for the recipes I receive that make my choices even better:)

  51. 51

    Boo — May 6, 2013 @ 5:50 AM

    I quantity cook for two churches…My tips are “Cleanliness is next to Godliness when cooking for others and keep check the temps of your food for safety” because you can’t be too cleanly and you never want to make anyone sick! :-)

  52. 52

    susan — May 6, 2013 @ 5:54 AM

    I always prepare my desserts in advance and freeze them until the night before. Usually some homemade cookies and biscottis. I also make a nice asst. fruit platter and dip. Easy and a great selection. grilled/roasted veggies is also something that everyone enjoys and can be done earlier in the day and served at room temp. Key to remember….keep it simple but classy!

  53. 53

    Patricia Speers — May 6, 2013 @ 5:54 AM

    Making lists is the way to go! Have to be organized.

  54. 54

    Summer — May 6, 2013 @ 5:54 AM

    Do as much prep work and make-ahead dishes as you can, so when your guests arrive you can spend your time visiting and enjoying a cocktail instead of stressed in the kitchen trying to get food ready.

    We had company over for a bbq last week and when they walked in door I was happily sipping wine knowing everything was ready to go. Meat and veggie skewers were marinating on a rimmed cookie sheet in the refrigerator and a trifecta of homemade guacamole, hummus and salsa were ready to set out when company arrived. Rice was ready in the rice cooker and homemade ice cream and an almond tort were all done, being made the day before. Entertaining is fun with a little prep work beforehand! This book looks amazing btw!!

  55. 55

    Susan Hatcher — May 6, 2013 @ 5:55 AM

    I’ve learned to let others help…and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for a good time to be had.

  56. 56

    Nina — May 6, 2013 @ 5:58 AM

    Not only do I make a list, but I calculate how much time I need for each task, so I don’t have to think about what to do first or when to start – it’s right there on the list! Work backwards from the time you want everything to be ready, and add an extra 1/2 hour – if your guests are coming at 6:00, plan to have everything done by 5:30; because likely as not, you’ll be ready exactly at 6:00!

  57. 57

    Rebecca — May 6, 2013 @ 5:59 AM

    I would say just make lots of lists and schedules to make sure you don’t forget anything!

  58. 58

    France — May 6, 2013 @ 6:01 AM

    I don’t have tips or tricks to share because I’m not really good at enterterning. Or maybe the only thing that helps me if to prepare some dishes in advance.

  59. 59

    Sarah @ The Chef Next Door — May 6, 2013 @ 6:03 AM

    My best entertaining tip is to get as much prep work done as possible the night before or the morning of your party. It helps with stress!

  60. 60

    Julianne — May 6, 2013 @ 6:03 AM

    Recycle-Recycle-Recycle… Use what you have in different ways!!!!!

  61. 61

    Eri — May 6, 2013 @ 6:03 AM

    This is not really a trick but the best thing to do is to have everything ahead of time and relax with the guests and not so stressed out. I make everything ahead of time (a day or 2 in advance) so the day of the party, I can just pull everything out/heat everything up and relax!!!

  62. 62

    Kerry — May 6, 2013 @ 6:04 AM

    I like to put notes in my cookbooks saying what I cooked and who was over at the time. That way, I don’t end up serving the same thing twice, and if there is a favorite I can be sure to make it !

  63. 63

    Andrea — May 6, 2013 @ 6:05 AM

    Keep it simple and choose dishes that can all be prepared in advance so that you are not a slave to the kitchen and can enjoy the party too!

  64. 64

    Stacy — May 6, 2013 @ 6:06 AM

    I’m not a big entertainer, but I do know that it’s all about enjoying the people you’re with, and not worrying about everything being perfect. Great food helps too!!!

  65. 65

    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — May 6, 2013 @ 6:07 AM

    What a gorgeous cookbook! Love that it’s organized by seasons. My tip is just to enjoy the moment. Don’t be so stressed out over food and drinks that you miss the opportunity to socialize with your guests. If your menu is stressing you out, simplify it!

  66. 66

    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — May 6, 2013 @ 6:10 AM

    I’ve learned to plan out on paper time-wise what you’re going to do the day before/day of a party. Give yourself some buffer time in case something goes wrong.

  67. 67

    Lisa P — May 6, 2013 @ 6:12 AM

    The only tip I have is to be organized, but don’t stress too much. Simple is better. In the past, I put way too much thought into things and would be so stressed out that I couldn’t enjoy myself. I have since learned that people are not that picky, they just enjoy getting together, so now I keep it simple and don’t stress about it.

  68. 68

    Diane Goldberg — May 6, 2013 @ 6:14 AM

    KISS Keep it simple sweetie!! That’s my motto!

  69. 69

    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — May 6, 2013 @ 6:14 AM

    I think I’d die for this popcorn.

    I’ve learned to do as much as possible in advance, and to make lots of a few apps instead of a gazillion different kinds!

  70. 70

    Misty — May 6, 2013 @ 6:14 AM

    I love entertaining… My favorite tip is variety. I always know my guests diet needs, whether it’s a small dinner party or a large celebration, enough to know there is a variety of delicious options for everyone. The worst thing would be to make a guest feel like a burden.

  71. 71

    Angel G. — May 6, 2013 @ 6:15 AM

    Checklists — with everything on them. From food that needs to be prepped to the cleaning that needs to be done. A timeline on the checklist is also good — from the morning to the time of the event, budgeting out when you are going to prep what. That way, there is no scramble.

  72. 72

    Donna Becker — May 6, 2013 @ 6:19 AM

    I’m not that good at entertaining so this book would be a godsend, thank you

  73. 73

    Peggy K — May 6, 2013 @ 6:21 AM

    As I get ready for a get-together, I make a list, check it twice, and try to make as much ahead of time as possible. Then we can all enjoy our guests! I also make card labels for items so others know the flavor/main ingredients.

  74. 74

    Elena — May 6, 2013 @ 6:22 AM

    Keep appetizers light so people don’t fill up before dinner. I like having a fun pre-dinner cocktail planned as well. Serve food that can mostly be prepared ahead of time so you’re not stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is enjoying appetizers.

  75. 75

    Jen W — May 6, 2013 @ 6:25 AM

    Prep ahead so you can spend time with your guests!

  76. 76

    lili — May 6, 2013 @ 6:25 AM

    Take it easy, eat good and healthy.
    enjoy your life.
    :)

  77. 77

    Linda — May 6, 2013 @ 6:28 AM

    Make a checklist, clean up as you prepare the food, relax and enjoy the evening with your friends.

  78. 78

    Denise Wilson — May 6, 2013 @ 6:29 AM

    prep ahead of time!

  79. 79

    Erin — May 6, 2013 @ 6:30 AM

    I have learned to make a plan and do as much as you can during the days leading up to the party so that you are not so stressed

  80. 80

    Cindy Huelskamp — May 6, 2013 @ 6:31 AM

    Have everything made ahead of time or as much as you can – definitely cuts down on the stress after you guests arrive.

  81. 81

    Rebekah W — May 6, 2013 @ 6:32 AM

    Love to entertain but not always great at thinking of good ideas for decorating ..love to cook but always go for the easy not too much prep to make. These cookbooks look great!

  82. 82

    Sandra — May 6, 2013 @ 6:34 AM

    Make as much as you can in advance (the freezer is your friend) so you can spend time with your friends, not your kitchen! Unless they all join you in the kitchen, which can also be fun.

  83. 83

    Kim Porter — May 6, 2013 @ 6:34 AM

    I have never been a confident entertainer. The most creative thing I’ve done is to set up a taco bar when I had a large group over for a football game. I am open to learning! :)

  84. 84

    Margene — May 6, 2013 @ 6:35 AM

    I love to entertain, and one of the things I like to do is get the table set.

  85. 85

    Heather — May 6, 2013 @ 6:37 AM

    I make sure I have some appetizers set out before my guests arrive, so if I’m behind in the kitchen, they have something to keep themselves busy with!

  86. 86

    Carrian — May 6, 2013 @ 6:38 AM

    Lovely review and photos!

  87. 87

    Heather S. — May 6, 2013 @ 6:39 AM

    We have a pool and get lots of company during the summer months. I’ve learned to always make more food then you think you will need. Friends will always show up when you don’t have enough for everyone. Not a position I like to be stuck in so I make extra no matter what the situation is.

  88. 88

    Ang — May 6, 2013 @ 6:40 AM

    If you have plenty of counter space, USE IT, even for small family dinners. Do not be afraid to sit all of the food out and let your guests serve themselves. It’s less stress, allows the guests plenty of room to enjoy the food without worrying about where to sit the bowls and plates in the table. There’s also the added bonus of allowing them to get up and get second helpings without having to stop the entire table, and its lovely conversations, to pass around items. It’s saved my sanity, not to mention my table clothes, lots of times.

  89. 89

    Kirsten — May 6, 2013 @ 6:41 AM

    Instead of finding counter space (a precious commodity!) for a drinks bucket, or having people going in and out of my refrigerator all night, I fill up my island sink with ice and drinks. Once everyone’s gone, I just open the drain and take out the unopened drinks in the morning.

  90. 90

    Rose — May 6, 2013 @ 6:41 AM

    I prep as much as I can the day before and have everything setup outside. To me it’s important to keep as simple and causal as I can so everyone can be at ease and comfortable. I w ould really like to win these cookbooks for all their new ideas!

  91. 91

    Julie — May 6, 2013 @ 6:42 AM

    Having a checklist on hand ensures that I don’t forget anything and helps with pre-planning and shopping too!

  92. 92

    Michele E. — May 6, 2013 @ 6:42 AM

    It’s nice to make something ahead of time and use crock pots to keep it warm. That way you’re not constantly checking the oven.

  93. 93

    TanyaS — May 6, 2013 @ 6:45 AM

    I can use all the help I can get! :)

  94. 94

    Laura — May 6, 2013 @ 6:45 AM

    My menus include several items that can be made ahead, and nothing, other than grilling, that requires last-minute work.

  95. 95

    Christy Cummins — May 6, 2013 @ 6:47 AM

    I write down everything ahead of time, from the menu and shopping list to which serving dishes I need to get out. Otherwise, I would be scrambling the day of to find everything.

  96. 96

    Jackie Doeden — May 6, 2013 @ 6:48 AM

    Keep things small, children like bite sized treats, lots of veggies and dips. Make as much ahead as possible so you aren’t working instead of enjoying!

  97. 97

    Cora — May 6, 2013 @ 6:51 AM

    Hi, I am “older” now, ha, and do not entertain anymore. I always enjoyed having parties and was always determined to make everything from scratch! Serving something homemade was enjoyed by all! Thank you!

  98. 98

    amanda — May 6, 2013 @ 6:51 AM

    Relax and really have fun!

  99. 99

    Rachel B. — May 6, 2013 @ 6:52 AM

    Serve snacks or appetizers that guests can munch as they arrive–it looks as if you planned things out even if dinner happens to be ready late! :)

  100. 100

    Liz @ Virtually Homemade — May 6, 2013 @ 6:52 AM

    What an absolutely beautiful cookbook. The popcorn looks divine!

  101. 101

    Kendra — May 6, 2013 @ 6:52 AM

    I love making Cheese Balls ahead and freezing them before baking. Then it’s into the oven for a few minutes for a lovely appetizer!

  102. 102

    Mary K. Wessling — May 6, 2013 @ 6:53 AM

    Would love to win these cookbooks, the Peanut Butter Caramel Corn looks luscious, drool! My entertaining tip is to get done what you can the day before so you can relax the day of the party.

  103. 103

    Pinch Of Lime — May 6, 2013 @ 6:55 AM

    My husband would absolutely adore this. He’s been making your regular caramel corn lately (which is delicious!) so I’m sure he’ll give this one a try next. I’m not a peanut butter fan at all, but I’ll admit that this looks pretty darn good.

  104. 104

    Torre — May 6, 2013 @ 6:59 AM

    I’m not much of a cook but I am very excited to try some new recipes and prepare meals for family and friends.

  105. 105

    Shelly Pittman — May 6, 2013 @ 7:00 AM

    When I entertain I try to do everything that can be prepared a day in advance that way there is not as much stress in you and you can enjoy the party as much as your guests

  106. 106

    Lisa Langston — May 6, 2013 @ 7:01 AM

    I am not very good at entertaining! I tend to freak out. But I would love to learn how to be a great hostess!

  107. 107

    Pam — May 6, 2013 @ 7:01 AM

    Keep it simple, don’t try a new recipe without giving it a trial run before your company comes and don’t forget that you invited these people because you like them and they like you (hopefully anyway!) so relax and don’t forget to have fun!

  108. 108

    Nicole — May 6, 2013 @ 7:02 AM

    I love making stews and dips when I entertain because it can be made in advance and I can take it easy the day of the event.

  109. 109

    Leanna H — May 6, 2013 @ 7:02 AM

    Always count on taking more time than you might think snd fo as much as possible ahead of time.

  110. 110

    Kim — May 6, 2013 @ 7:02 AM

    Great books! I do lots of prep work – laying out dishes for each item is a must!

  111. 111

    Stephanie H — May 6, 2013 @ 7:03 AM

    I don’t entertain much, but I always use a checklist for reference and provide veggies and dips for a start.

  112. 112

    Keri Tieman — May 6, 2013 @ 7:03 AM

    They look like wonderful books. I would love to be entered. I’ve never been very good at entertaining. I would love to learn ideas to make a table look fabulous!

  113. 113

    Laurie Smith — May 6, 2013 @ 7:07 AM

    To make perfect hard boiled eggs, drop a few elbow macaroni noodle in water while boiling eggs, when pasta is cooked so are eggs.

  114. 114

    Daniela — May 6, 2013 @ 7:09 AM

    Make things ahead of time as much as possible – chopping, setting up, etc.

  115. 115

    Donna D — May 6, 2013 @ 7:09 AM

    I like to get all my serving dishes arranged with notes on what is going in each one.

  116. 116

    Joanna H. — May 6, 2013 @ 7:10 AM

    Go easy on the appetizers and plan ahead.

  117. 117

    Cindy Parisi — May 6, 2013 @ 7:12 AM

    I am a list maker from way back. I check off and recheck up until the time of my dinner party. I also set my table a day ahead and mark where I will have my platters and such.

  118. 118

    Kel — May 6, 2013 @ 7:14 AM

    I try to get things done in advance. Both of your cookbooks look awesome! Congrats!!!

  119. 119

    Jennifer B. — May 6, 2013 @ 7:15 AM

    Prepare as much food in the days before the party as is possible.

  120. 120

    Linda K. — May 6, 2013 @ 7:15 AM

    Best tip – do as much in advance as you can!

  121. 121

    Marla — May 6, 2013 @ 7:16 AM

    Definitely plan ahead and try to make everything I can days before.

  122. 122

    Shannon C — May 6, 2013 @ 7:17 AM

    I start prepping things CRAZYYY far ahead of time. (whenever possible, of course).

  123. 123

    Margie — May 6, 2013 @ 7:18 AM

    I make lists and more lists and cross off things as I complete the tasks.

  124. 124

    Michelle Moore — May 6, 2013 @ 7:18 AM

    I am definitely not an entertainment diva and could definitely use some help in this area!

  125. 125

    jana ellis — May 6, 2013 @ 7:21 AM

    Desperately need these books. Am entertaining impaired.

  126. 126

    Norma — May 6, 2013 @ 7:24 AM

    I love looking thru cookbooks and gathering the recipes and definitely making a list and crossing off to make sure I don’t forget anything.

  127. 127

    Dana Munoz — May 6, 2013 @ 7:26 AM

    I try to find recipes that I can make the day before a gathering, to help with the stress and all that’s involved to host the perfect party!
    Can hardly wait to get my hands on Heathers new cookbook!
    Dana Munoz

  128. 128

    carole — May 6, 2013 @ 7:26 AM

    like to make food that can be prepared a day ahead so I”m not so busy on the party day that I cant enjoy the party

  129. 129

    Maria in NJ — May 6, 2013 @ 7:26 AM

    KISS…keep it stupid simple, nay never but you get the idea, when you stress over a get-together that much it could take the fun out of it. When you are entertaining you have to plan, when you plan, things just fall into place…

  130. 130

    Stephanie — May 6, 2013 @ 7:26 AM

    I’m a casual entertainer. We love to have family and friends over for good food and chatting. But not a whole lot of planning usually goes into it so we always have paper goods on hand.

  131. 131

    naomi — May 6, 2013 @ 7:28 AM

    When I’m serving a number of food options (main course, a few sides, salad & dessert), I leave a few of the easy things to the end. (Slicing garnish, setting out wine glasdes, filling water glasses, etc) This way, if i don’t get to them, I have something i can quickly delegate to the early bird who offers to help. It saves me time, they feel useful and it buys me a few minutes to finish off the meal.

  132. 132

    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy — May 6, 2013 @ 7:28 AM

    I love making my own popcorn too. So much better than any you can buy.

  133. 133

    Virginia — May 6, 2013 @ 7:29 AM

    I try to keep it simple…Make things I’m familiar.

  134. 134

    Muffin — May 6, 2013 @ 7:30 AM

    I am an entertaining rookie. I want to do more, having only hosted one true game night/dinnerish pasty, and want to have a fun and delicious dinner party someday!!

  135. 135

    Yvette N — May 6, 2013 @ 7:31 AM

    I have learned that planning everything out in your head is key to successful
    entertaining. I also keep the menu simple, with preparations that can be done
    in stages, eliminating panic mode.

  136. 136

    Alyssa — May 6, 2013 @ 7:32 AM

    I always double check the ingredients I need so that I’m not running out last minute to buy them. Also, I make myself a schedule of the things I can do a day before, the morning of, and what needs to be done right before so that everything comes out around the right time.

  137. 137

    Terry W. — May 6, 2013 @ 7:32 AM

    I have learned that I don’t need to make a large amount of different dishes for my company, rather a few very tasty ones at a time.

  138. 138

    Erin Wright — May 6, 2013 @ 7:35 AM

    Do as much prep ahead of time, clean up as i go, then relax and fun!

  139. 139

    Amy — May 6, 2013 @ 7:37 AM

    I always try to be ready 15 minutes before guests arrive. Gives me time to put up my feet, relax and have a glass of wine.

  140. 140

    Melinda @cooking ala mel — May 6, 2013 @ 7:39 AM

    I am a big list maker! I also make anything I can ahead of time and freeze it, so I only have the fresh stuff to make when it’s crunch time!

  141. 141

    Jacqui — May 6, 2013 @ 7:39 AM

    I learned to make as much as possible ahead of time! That way I am not spending the entire gathering in the kitchen, but can socialize instead!

  142. 142

    Amy J — May 6, 2013 @ 7:41 AM

    I like to plan food items that can be made ahead of time, or things that will require minimal prep at party time. I used to be stuck in the kitchen whenever we had people over, now I can let crockpots do the work of warming, and just keep it simple :-)

  143. 143

    Abby — May 6, 2013 @ 7:43 AM

    Always make sure to have more than enough food.

  144. 144

    Sonja S. — May 6, 2013 @ 7:49 AM

    I always make a list to check off as each thing is completed. I also set the table the day before or early in the day.

  145. 145

    Wade — May 6, 2013 @ 7:52 AM

    My wife and I have found it so much easier to try and get things done in advance. The more you have done the day of the get togethor the less stress there is!

  146. 146

    Keely — May 6, 2013 @ 7:55 AM

    This could be dangerous!!! Will definitely have to give it a try but with plenty of others around to share it. I don’t entertain that often but when I do I try to always make sure I have as much fun as my guests. What’s the point in entertaining if you’re stuck in the kitchen or miserable

  147. 147

    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom — May 6, 2013 @ 7:55 AM

    Even if you are not cooking, roast some garlic right before the guests arrive and it’ll smell like you were slaving away in the kitchen all day! And this isn’t really a trick but always have fresh linens and a new roll of toilet paper in the wash room and fresh flowers around the house!! Fresh flowers are always inviting and warm to me!

  148. 148

    Cathy — May 6, 2013 @ 7:57 AM

    I haven’t done much entertaining, but I hope to learn!

  149. 149

    Sharon D — May 6, 2013 @ 8:01 AM

    I start planning as much in advance as I can get time to with preparing a list of what I will serve for this particular Holiday or get-together, then a list of groceries needed, then I add to the original list the temps/times items need to bake and what time they need to go into the oven so everything is done together and just as guests are ready to arrive or eat.
    If I like the outcome, I keep these lists, except for the groceries, for another potential party with different guests. Makes planning what to serve so much easier and we are quickly ready to entertain another group of friends or just to remember what we served at last year’s Christmas party, etc.

  150. 150

    Carol Nelson — May 6, 2013 @ 8:09 AM

    The most important tricks I have for entertaining are to prepare ahead as much as possible, and to relax and enjoy the company of my friends and not be stressed.

  151. 151

    Gretchen — May 6, 2013 @ 8:11 AM

    Have nibbles in the kitchen since everyone seems to end up there anyways.

  152. 152

    Sarah — May 6, 2013 @ 8:14 AM

    Always plan ahead!

  153. 153

    Sunny — May 6, 2013 @ 8:15 AM

    I keep s notebook of foods I’ve served over the yeas as family or friends come to visit.
    And, I use a star rating system….1 star, only one liked it; 5 or 6 stars, everyone liked it!!

  154. 154

    Susana I. — May 6, 2013 @ 8:17 AM

    I don’t know much about entertaining, I just try to bake something sweet and have some snacks, our gatherings are usually very informal and we just talk with friends of whatever we may come up with. :)

  155. 155

    Cheryl L — May 6, 2013 @ 8:17 AM

    I always prepare a menu and keep lists posted on my fridge. Sometimes I’ll try a new dessert recipe to kick it up!

  156. 156

    Amanda — May 6, 2013 @ 8:22 AM

    Love this!! Am so going to make it next!!

  157. 157

    marcie@flavor the moments — May 6, 2013 @ 8:26 AM

    I try to do as much ahead of time as possible so that I have more time to socialize. That’s what entertaining is all about! I wouldn’t be able to control myself with this popcorn, and the cookbook looks beautiful.

  158. 158

    Jennie — May 6, 2013 @ 8:26 AM

    I think having the guests come in casual clothes makes all the difference!

  159. 159

    Patricia — May 6, 2013 @ 8:26 AM

    Oh yum. This looks so good. Well as long as there is plenty of food and good conversation then you are all set.

  160. 160

    jan s — May 6, 2013 @ 8:27 AM

    yummy food of course… but don’t forget the music.

  161. 161

    Leah — May 6, 2013 @ 8:29 AM

    I always make a list of what needs to be done and make a schedule accordingly. Then I try to prepare as much in advanced so I’m not stressed out and I can enjoy being with my friends!

  162. 162

    Bethany Wichman — May 6, 2013 @ 8:30 AM

    I set the table the day before–plates, napkins, silverware, centerpieces, favors, and all! That way the table looks beautiful when guests arrive, even if the food isn’t quite finished!

  163. 163

    Stephanie-Oh — May 6, 2013 @ 8:33 AM

    I make a schedule and a timeline of everything that needs done, working backwords.

  164. 164

    Maureen E — May 6, 2013 @ 8:34 AM

    I try to make it simple and I always serve a tossed salad.

  165. 165

    Jackie — May 6, 2013 @ 8:41 AM

    I try to make appetizers very small so that guests will keep reaching for more and I won’t end up with left overs! Sneaky, but smart.

  166. 166

    Natalie S — May 6, 2013 @ 8:43 AM

    A good tip is to prep in advance as much as you can!

  167. 167

    Pam R — May 6, 2013 @ 8:43 AM

    I make detailed timelines of when I have to do everything! That way I make sure everything gets done on time and stress free!

  168. 168

    Heather — May 6, 2013 @ 8:54 AM

    Sliced or quarter citrus fruits, then freeze overnight on a parchment- or wax paper-lined sheet. Pop the frozen citrus into the pitcher with the drink of choice (sangria, bloody mary, etc.) to keep it cold without watering it down!

  169. 169

    Eric Patrick — May 6, 2013 @ 8:54 AM

    We like to entertain with ‘local’ products, especially out-of-town guests. And, then try to do something they haven’t had before. BBQ asparagus is always a hit, and bbq’d local peaches with a cherry sauce and ice cream are two of our favs. Fresh fruits and veggies that we bbq always seem to have a ‘wow’ factor.

  170. 170

    mom@LTHfarm — May 6, 2013 @ 8:56 AM

    I’ve found that what works best in our family is to plan events together….usually my sister and I plan together, which takes a little bit of the load off of each of us! The family still enjoys just as much, but that way, we get to enjoy a little bit more! We share in the experience, and the responsibilities! ;o) BOTH of these cookbooks look beautiful! Thanks for the chance!

  171. 171

    Becky @ A Calculated Whisk — May 6, 2013 @ 8:57 AM

    Have everything ready beforehand! And, make extra! :)

  172. 172

    D Schmidt — May 6, 2013 @ 8:58 AM

    I am still not very good at entertaining, the only thing so far that I have learned is to be organized and plan ahead. I have let myself down many times by not purchasing things far enough in advance and then not being able to find them.

  173. 173

    Lori Hemmis — May 6, 2013 @ 9:04 AM

    I get so nervous when I entertain. I own an RV park and do themed parties about 4 times a year. Would love to have these cookbooks to be my Party Planners:)

  174. 174

    Sabrina — May 6, 2013 @ 9:05 AM

    I make list and try to make what ever I can ahead.

  175. 175

    Rebecca G — May 6, 2013 @ 9:07 AM

    My best entertaining tip – you can’t please everybody!

  176. 176

    Janelle — May 6, 2013 @ 9:07 AM

    Give real invitations! People love getting personal mail in their mailboxes, or being handed a pretty envelope. But in order to save yourself a headache, go ahead and follow it up with an Evite for easier RSVP-ing.

  177. 177

    Catherine — May 6, 2013 @ 9:08 AM

    I’ve learned to make quick and easy appetizers that are easy to clean up so I can enjoy time with my guests!

  178. 178

    Melissa — May 6, 2013 @ 9:09 AM

    I try to plan make ahead dishes so I’m not stressing as much at the last minute. I definitely could use some more tricks & tips!

  179. 179

    MaryB — May 6, 2013 @ 9:10 AM

    I’ve learned to “go with the flow”, make whatever I can ahead if time and let guests help with last minute things. If something unexpected happens or something doesn’t turn out perfect, I don’t obsess about it.

  180. 180

    Lori Lange — May 6, 2013 @ 9:11 AM

    Mine cleaned up very easily! The caramel sticks to the popcorn, not the pan.

  181. 181

    aimee @ like mother like daughter — May 6, 2013 @ 9:11 AM

    I’m not very good at entertaining yet. I need all the help I can get!

  182. 182

    Linda Franklin — May 6, 2013 @ 9:13 AM

    I have a friend who does a lot of entertaining in her home. When I know she has an event scheduled, I offer to come be the person who stays in the kitchen during the party/event and help get food out, re-stock platters, refreshments, clean-up, etc. That way, she can stay with her friends/guests and I take care of the details. She reciprocates this for me when I have a special event at my house. It really helps!

  183. 183

    Betty — May 6, 2013 @ 9:31 AM

    When serving ice cream for company, I like to scoop the ice cream early in the day and refreeze the ice cream “balls” to make serving a breeze!

  184. 184

    Kelli M. — May 6, 2013 @ 9:36 AM

    I love to entertain. the key for me is not only having great food prepared, but having a comfortable, fun atmosphere (music playing, etc.). I want all who come into my home to feel welcomed.

  185. 185

    Cindy W — May 6, 2013 @ 9:42 AM

    Prepare as many things as far ahead as you can. Remember that your guests are not only there to eat, they are there to visit with you and if you are in the kitchen or running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, they aren’t going to get to enjoy YOU, and you won’t get to enjoy them either. Keep things relaxed and make it look effortless.

  186. 186

    Michelle Palin — May 6, 2013 @ 9:48 AM

    My entertaining tip is to always contact anyone that is coming for a meal or party at my house to ask them if they have any food allergies or intolerances. I’d rather know ahead of time and have plenty of time to make sure I have something prepared that they can eat, rather than find out once they are there.

  187. 187

    Sheri — May 6, 2013 @ 9:54 AM

    I plan out my parties and family get-togethers with a checklist of foods on the menu and schedule as much prep work ahead of time as possible starting a week before. Then, on party day, I can be the relaxed and happy hostess!

  188. 188

    Jules — May 6, 2013 @ 9:54 AM

    My tip would be for when you are serving something like chicken wings,I make mine in a tinfoil lined pan, so that when you are done all you have to do is throw away the tinfoil and clean up time is cut in half!!!

  189. 189

    Beth T. — May 6, 2013 @ 9:58 AM

    I’m not a great entertainer, but what I’ve learned from the truly great ones is that the most important thing is putting your guests at ease, making them feel welcome. Everything that goes right after that is gravy, any problems are overlooked because of the happy feelings in the room.

  190. 190

    Kathy Goulet — May 6, 2013 @ 9:59 AM

    Keep appetizers light – so people don’t fill up on them – before the main dinner and I make sure there is at least 1 appetizer for the kiddies (ie: ants on a log — celery stuffed w/peanut butter with a few raisins on top )!
    I also keep the beverages (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) out of the kitchen / refrigerator area — I have a separate frig/bar set-up in the breezeway — this keeps the kitchen traffic down and leaves more room for me to move around :)

  191. 191

    Elaine Ellen — May 6, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

    I don’t get much chance to entertain much. But when we have had our family reunion weeks at our cabin, we have had one family plan a lunch, a dinner and their turns and clean-up. They all rotate so everyone shares the work and it is a lot of fun that way. No one has to spend all their time in the cabin in the kitchen and we get to try other recipes that we wouldn’t normally try.

  192. 192

    Candice — May 6, 2013 @ 10:06 AM

    I’m not good with entertaining and can use some tips. Thanks for the generous giveaway.

  193. 193

    Georgia — May 6, 2013 @ 10:09 AM

    Make your appetizers low stress… you cannot greet your guests at the door if you’re running back and forth between the oven and the stove!

  194. 194

    Kim B — May 6, 2013 @ 10:09 AM

    When emptying chips into bowls, be sure to keep the bags so that if you have any chips leftover, you can easily put them back in the bag.

  195. 195

    Bea Long — May 6, 2013 @ 10:17 AM

    OMG, I first have to say I love this peanut butter…the bomb! I have everything to make it right now too!!! Yeah! Everything you can make ahead “go for it!” I love to entertain and my tip is with all the new flavors of Philadelphia cream cheese you can make so many dishes with awesome flavor. The newest one is the Jalapeno, it was great in my Hot Artichoke Dip!

  196. 196

    Mrs. Z — May 6, 2013 @ 10:17 AM

    My tip, is start cleaning early and often. Then on the day of your gathering, the cleaning is minimal….just touch ups.

  197. 197

    MelissaDd — May 6, 2013 @ 10:23 AM

    I am a novice when it comes to entertaining. I have all sorts of ideas but when it comes to actually inviting people over, I chicken out. Heather’s book looks like the perfect inspiration though!

  198. 198

    Laura C. — May 6, 2013 @ 10:25 AM

    Not a great entertainer as of yet, but I would love to learn!

  199. 199

    Brooke — May 6, 2013 @ 10:34 AM

    I think the trick is not to overdo it, keep things simple. One or two food selections should shine with only 5 or 6 different selections, total. When you overdo things, everything get muddled and things start to go wrong.

  200. 200

    martha — May 6, 2013 @ 10:36 AM

    NOT TO MUCH AT ENTERTAINING ,,,, BUT SURELY KNOW HOW TO SHOW UP IF INVITED,,,,THANKS

  201. 201

    Natalie G. — May 6, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

    I totally agree with getting all dishes out and labeling them or at least thinking through what dishes will hold what the night before. Saves time the day of!

  202. 202

    Juli V — May 6, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

    Don’t stress about the little things.

  203. 203

    Laura Dembowski — May 6, 2013 @ 10:57 AM

    This popcorn looks insane! Caramel corn is one of my favorite treats! Adding ob makes it even better. I really don’t entertain yet, but hopefully I will one day.

  204. 204

    Rena — May 6, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

    I like to prepare my menu and shopping lists in advance. I cook in advance and freeze too if I have to! If something freezes well no one knows the difference :)

  205. 205

    Vickie — May 6, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

    A list of all the menu always helps!

  206. 206

    Karen — May 6, 2013 @ 11:05 AM

    Well, if it is really big,like Thanksgiving, then I do make a schedule of what to do on each day leading up to the event.
    If it’s just a simple get together I try to keep it simple…winter, a wonderful soup, salad, bread dinner….summer BBQ everything I can so I have very few dishes to clean.

  207. 207

    Kiki Corcoran — May 6, 2013 @ 11:07 AM

    First of all, take a deep breath and know whatever you do to make the occasion special will be appreciated. Make a list and include a food group you know attendees like, and try a new spin on it (skewers,fondue,etc.). It’s always nice to have dessert already made or not time consuming to complete so you can spend as much time as possible with guests.

  208. 208

    Kari — May 6, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

    Two cookbooks in one giveaway – awesome!! That soup on her cover looks fabulous.

    My tip is that I try to prep as much as possible in advance, but for anything that I’ll be prepping/cooking after guests have arrived, I really study the recipe instructions in advance so that I am able to chat with people while I finish the food.

    Thanks!

  209. 209

    Melissa @ Treats With a Twist — May 6, 2013 @ 11:15 AM

    I think I’d fall into the “I dream I’m an entertainer” group…as in, I have fantasy dinner parties yet would never be able to pull it off in real life. But here’s hoping I will some day!

  210. 210

    Meagan — May 6, 2013 @ 11:15 AM

    Always entertain with recipes that you’ve tried before and NEVER forget about the beverages!

  211. 211

    Kathy — May 6, 2013 @ 11:23 AM

    Cook as much as you can ahead of time and reheat!

  212. 212

    Kathleen Clegg — May 6, 2013 @ 11:23 AM

    I make sure I have a variety of items so that no matter what tastes a person has, there is something they can eat. Also, I don’t make anything for a party that I haven’t made before. You don’t want something that tastes bad to be on your menu.

  213. 213

    Auntiepatch — May 6, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

    I throw caution to the wind and make new recipes!

  214. 214

    Marci — May 6, 2013 @ 11:31 AM

    Lists….lists are my friend when I’m entertaining. They keep me on task, otherwise I feel too scattered!

  215. 215

    Claudia — May 6, 2013 @ 11:32 AM

    I’m still trying to perfect my hosting skills. I am always running late, no matter how I plan my days ahead.

  216. 216

    Michelle — May 6, 2013 @ 11:36 AM

    Have everything written down with any/every detail you can think, including a time table!

  217. 217

    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — May 6, 2013 @ 11:44 AM

    Awesome giveaway! Both of these cookbooks are on my wishlist!

    I’m not that great at entertaining so I’m usually in the kitchen, hiding away and slaving away behind the stove!

  218. 218

    Pam — May 6, 2013 @ 11:47 AM

    I love to cook and people love my food but timing all the foods so that I get everything on the table hot at the same time sometime makes CRAZY. I can get it done but that’s my worst fear of entertaining. This caramel corn looks crazy good.

  219. 219

    Vanessa Safie — May 6, 2013 @ 11:51 AM

    Every time I think I’ve got all things planned and covered for a party, something goes wrong. I’d love to find a go-to entertaining trick or two!

  220. 220

    Shanna — May 6, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

    One thing my mom always told me was to have my table set first, so even if the food’s not quite ready when people get there, at least you look ready!

  221. 221

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 6, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

    Casual, simple menus are the way to go! Create lists and check items off as you go. Enlist one of your closest friends to help with prep work the day before and make it fun. Relax and enjoy! Oh my stars…that popcorn! Peanut butter anything is one of my biggest weaknesses. Wish this PB popcorn was Paleo! Pinning… xo

  222. 222

    libby — May 6, 2013 @ 11:57 AM

    Always make lists way ahead of the event, so as to buy and have everything I will be needing for the function

  223. 223

    Marygrace — May 6, 2013 @ 11:57 AM

    I was diagnosed with celiacs disease in 2004 I have done a pretty good job of mastering baking and cooking without gluten for the most part the only thing I have not been able to do is get a bread recipe to work the way I would like it to. but one of the favorites around here is a lemon pound cake recipe I make that everyone loves. I make it using a recipe for regular pound cake only I substitute GF flour for it. I have used all different kinds of GF flour blends but the one consistent thing I do is add coconut flour in a 1:3 ratio with the GF flour blend it seems to add just that touch of a little something special to the lemon pound cake. When I come to parties people ask for that and my NY cheesecake with the
    GF nilla wafer crust now if I can just master a white bread I am golden. : 0 )

  224. 224

    Carolyn Kramer — May 6, 2013 @ 11:58 AM

    I set the table the day or night before and set out all the serving bowels and serving utensils also.

  225. 225

    Elizabeth — May 6, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

    I’ve not done much entertaining, but the one thing I have learned is try and get as much prep work and sides done before hand, so you’re not having to rush around to get everything done as guests are arriving.

  226. 226

    Jan-Elizabeth Marx — May 6, 2013 @ 12:05 PM

    Your recipes all look so wonderful — I can’t wait until I’m off my 500-calorie-per-day diet!!! Maybe I’ll make this caramel corn. I’ll feed this to my next group of guests and they won’t care what I have for the main course!!

  227. 227

    Saya S — May 6, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

    making lists, lists, lists!

  228. 228

    Kari M — May 6, 2013 @ 12:09 PM

    I’ve learned to keep it simple and make as much as possible ahead of time.

  229. 229

    Ruthie Bowler — May 6, 2013 @ 12:09 PM

    I make lists: When to buy ingredients, what can be made ahead, the exact time something goes in the oven and comes out, and what serving plate it goes on.

  230. 230

    Lakenya Jacobs — May 6, 2013 @ 12:13 PM

    ive learned the easier the better, the one trick that ive learned is to print out little place cards with everyone’s name on it that way no one is wondering where to sit and everyone has a place.

  231. 231

    Robin Moss — May 6, 2013 @ 12:19 PM

    I try to do things that can be made ahead of time and then just heat them up to seve. I also try to keep things simple so I can enjoy everyone and not end up in the kitchen all of the time.

  232. 232

    Leah — May 6, 2013 @ 12:22 PM

    I set my table, including all of the serving dishes I plan to use, the night before so there are no suprises the day of the event. Nothing is worse than getting everything on the table only to realize you really do need that extra leaf or that the bowl you thought you had you’d lent to a friend.

  233. 233

    jemmica — May 6, 2013 @ 12:33 PM

    I try to get as much as I can done the day before. I don’t stress if I forget something or that everything is perfect so I can enjoy myself as well.

  234. 234

    Doe Smith — May 6, 2013 @ 12:34 PM

    I’ve learned the hard way…I am not a catering outfit, nor do I have access to sou chefs. So trim, trim, my expectations and menu list. I do not have to prepare, a green salad, a potato salad, and coleslaw. A pie and a cake or bars. Plus a knockout main entree for the barbecue parties. People are happy with less, just the fact that it’s all homemade, that you’re bothering to do this for them. They are already pleased. So lower your expectations of You, your friends aren’t coming over and expecting a 5 star restaurant meal. You are putting the pressure on yourself. That’s by best tip.

  235. 235

    Amy — May 6, 2013 @ 12:38 PM

    I consider the tastes/diets of everyone coming and make sure I have something for everyone! And then prep, prep, prep!

  236. 236

    venetrise — May 6, 2013 @ 12:41 PM

    I’m pretty good at dessert tables, I’m a big believer in using items you have, instead of spending money on items you will only use once. Like stacking a plate over a bowl to create height.

  237. 237

    sherry carruthers — May 6, 2013 @ 12:44 PM

    Do ahead, do ahead!!! I spent years not enjoying my guests until I finally GOT the message.

  238. 238

    Rebecca Diamond — May 6, 2013 @ 12:48 PM

    Ina Garten taught me to serve mostly homemade dishes with a few key items that you can serve as-is to take some stress out of the equation – particularly as guests are arriving! That, and to serve items that can be prepped in advance.

  239. 239

    Lori H. — May 6, 2013 @ 12:54 PM

    Buffet style for everything!

  240. 240

    Kim N. — May 6, 2013 @ 1:04 PM

    I definitely need help in the entertaining department!

  241. 241

    Christina — May 6, 2013 @ 1:25 PM

    I have learned to go with the flow. If I don’t relax then I will be able to enjoy the party I am hosting!! Makes last min oops not so bad!

  242. 242

    Lindsay — May 6, 2013 @ 1:53 PM

    I just try to do a little bit each day before a bigger party and only do the things that really need to be done last minute day of.

  243. 243

    Emily — May 6, 2013 @ 1:57 PM

    I don’t entertain a great deal. However, I would love to have the cookbooks because I love to cook. I enjoy trying new recipes.

  244. 244

    Amy Wels — May 6, 2013 @ 1:59 PM

    Still learning how to entertain……I sure could use some advice!

  245. 245

    Glenda Broome — May 6, 2013 @ 2:03 PM

    Love to entertain. Always try to put the platters out with post-it with the name of the dish that will go in it. I use lots of solid white platters and bowls so that it all looks good on whatever tablecloth.

  246. 246

    Jan R — May 6, 2013 @ 2:05 PM

    Make notes on menus and check supplies…TWICE!

  247. 247

    Eve — May 6, 2013 @ 2:15 PM

    I love using puff pastry in appetizers. Do you have any tips on making gluten-free bread items?

  248. 248

    Lyndsay Renée — May 6, 2013 @ 2:17 PM

    I make sure I have lots of ice, an empty clean cooler packed full with clean plastic containers to store leftovers to send home with guests at the end of the party

  249. 249

    Melissa Brox — May 6, 2013 @ 2:34 PM

    If you don’t have a lot of a particular item, place it at the end of the serving line so that guests’ plates are more full by the time they reach the item that there isn’t a lot of.

  250. 250

    oregonjudy — May 6, 2013 @ 2:41 PM

    Popcorn…a food group unto it’s own.

  251. 251

    Tarn Alfson — May 6, 2013 @ 2:42 PM

    I always make lists to ensure I haven’t missed anything! Also, place cards make each guest feel special and adds an elegant touch.

  252. 252

    Tania — May 6, 2013 @ 2:47 PM

    Entertaining makes me anxious so I don’t do it often, but when I do I try to have make-ahead dishes.

  253. 253

    becca — May 6, 2013 @ 3:01 PM

    I’m a young new mama and just getting the hang of entertaining! Would love some tips and these books!!

  254. 254

    Ginny — May 6, 2013 @ 3:04 PM

    When grilling out we set up folding camping tables to serve buffet style.

  255. 255

    Joy T. — May 6, 2013 @ 3:06 PM

    My favorite tip is for children’s parties but can be used in adult parties as well… pre-scoop the ice cream, sorbet, what-have-you into cupcake papers in a cupcake pan, then place in the freezer until you are ready to serve… no more trying to scoop the ice cream as fast as the hungry waiting and anxious kids are yelling for ‘where’s mine?’….

  256. 256

    Nancy Holst — May 6, 2013 @ 3:19 PM

    Often we have friends stop by on the weekends to visit, say Hello, maybe a drink, maybe Iced Tea. I like to have something available in the Crock Pot for them to eat if they stay too long and we are hungry. I make many soups, stew, chili with lots of little nibbles available. In the summer I make a salad that can stay in the fridge until ready to serve, Something simple like a macaroni with sliced chicken, old fashioned chicken salad or a seafood salad, fresh fruit, and lot of cold drinks. Doesn’t take a lot of work, a quick trip to the store, and put together in the morning.

  257. 257

    Julie Bunt — May 6, 2013 @ 3:24 PM

    I have learned that if it doesn’t get done, it wasn’t supposed to, and my getting all flustered and upset about it will only serve to ruin the event for me. My first Thanksgiving as a married woman, my in-laws were all arriving from North Dakota, and my parents were coming to our house as well, for a 2:00 meal. Put the turkey in the oven, had my little list of when to put what in the oven, or on the stove, so it would all be done at the right time. I was so proud of myself! About 2 hours in, I thought to myself, “Hmmmm… I should be smelling turkey roasting by now. Wonder what’s up?” Went to check on the turkey in the oven, and there he was, shivering in my cold, never turned on oven. At least I remembered to take the bag of gizzards, etc. out of the cavity before I put it in the oven! OY!

  258. 258

    Kimi — May 6, 2013 @ 3:24 PM

    Anything that can be made ahead of time and frozen is a help. Then you just need to pop it in the oven.

  259. 259

    kesha — May 6, 2013 @ 3:27 PM

    An entertaining tip I use is to prepare as much in advance as possible. It will make things easier on the day you have guest to entertain!

  260. 260

    vaishali — May 6, 2013 @ 3:33 PM

    To freeze juices in ice trays and then add to cocktails/mocktails!

  261. 261

    Erika Blankenship — May 6, 2013 @ 3:38 PM

    Just food is good entertainment. As long as you have a lot of it plus wine youre good.

  262. 262

    Cori — May 6, 2013 @ 4:10 PM

    I make a grocery list….sounds simple but it normally prevents a 2nd trip to the grocery.

  263. 263

    Lisa — May 6, 2013 @ 4:10 PM

    We don’t entertain very much unless we can have use the outside space, our house is tiny. But when we do I find it’s always best to have as much prepared prior to the party as possible.

  264. 264

    Sandy — May 6, 2013 @ 4:12 PM

    Checklists, checklists, checklists!

  265. 265

    Rebekah — May 6, 2013 @ 4:15 PM

    Make a very detailed list!! That popcorn looks delicious!!

  266. 266

    Cellabella — May 6, 2013 @ 4:21 PM

    Mine is simple: whatever you can make ahead of time is better. As much as I love food, I’ve learned that focusing on my guests is more important than checking the oven and standing over the stove the whole time!

  267. 267

    Roseanne Burdick — May 6, 2013 @ 4:22 PM

    I make special ice cubes for tea or lemonade. I put a mint leaf or rose petal in the water before freezing. Use different things for different drinks.
    Thanks

  268. 268

    Joan — May 6, 2013 @ 4:40 PM

    I make lots of lists when I’m planning a party.

  269. 269

    Bianca Bautista — May 6, 2013 @ 4:51 PM

    I am definitely no expert, but I have learned to do as much prep/make ahead stuff as possible so I can enjoy my guests and the party, rather than being stuck in the kitchen.

  270. 270

    Kay B — May 6, 2013 @ 5:05 PM

    I like to plan my menu around what is on sale for the week. I like to entertain alot and cost is always a factor I take into consideration!

  271. 271

    desiree — May 6, 2013 @ 5:18 PM

    I can’t wait to try this recipe .. my family and I love popcorn1 love the recipes in cookbook and the pictures. fingers crossed!

  272. 272

    SaraJ — May 6, 2013 @ 5:21 PM

    Plan and prep ahead of time so you can enjoy time with your guests! Also, my Grandma always told me to dim the lights so people don’t see the dust. :)

  273. 273

    Lisa O'Neil — May 6, 2013 @ 5:26 PM

    I prefer to be entertained rather than being the hostess but love to take part in pot luck parties. It gives me a chance to try new recipes.

  274. 274

    Loretta — May 6, 2013 @ 5:32 PM

    I learned this trick for a great punch for parties and what to do with that beer that you bought the six pack of cuz you thought you would like it, but don’t.

    Into your blender put one bottle of your beer and half a can of frozen limeade, now thawed. Blend for like 5-10 seconds (yes, it will be foamy). I then add some diet sprite, seltzer water, whatever you wants to make it bubbly and cut the sweetness of the limeade a bit. Let it settle out and either pour into glasses or your punch bowl. It is the perfect summer drink. My husband and I do it every Friday night to celebrate the end of a work week. You can substitute frozen lemonade if you want, and really any beer. We had a blackberry witbier that we used last Friday with the limeade and it was great. Cheers!

  275. 275

    SheilaM — May 6, 2013 @ 5:46 PM

    Not so good at entertaining yet but hope to be one day! : )

  276. 276

    nessa — May 6, 2013 @ 5:47 PM

    Not a great entertainer yet…but with these books it will be simple!

  277. 277

    Jamie — May 6, 2013 @ 5:48 PM

    If I am going to grill, I always make a condiment tray ahead of time, and also make at least two non-traditional salads that go well with whatever meat I’m using.

  278. 278

    Maria — May 6, 2013 @ 5:50 PM

    I do a lot of prep work early on, so on party day I am not as stressed and can spend time with my guests. I make a lot of lists too. It helps me stay organized.

  279. 279

    Ashley P — May 6, 2013 @ 5:57 PM

    Lots of lists during prep time! Grocery lists, lists of ingredients, and to-do lists by day (and sometimes by hour) before the party. That’s how I stay organized and get everything done before the party.

  280. 280

    Lisa C — May 6, 2013 @ 5:57 PM

    My entertaining tip is to always have food that is not messy to eat for your friends and guests and always serve in a way that make each serving individualized. It is always best to have some of your dishes that are veggitarian friendly. And lastly always make a assortment of savory and sweet!

  281. 281

    Kathy — May 6, 2013 @ 5:59 PM

    I like to entertain for brunch… Seems less stressful to me.

  282. 282

    Susie — May 6, 2013 @ 6:05 PM

    When I entertain I like to mix a few new recipes with a few tried and true ones. That way I can focus more energy on making the new ones perfect!

  283. 283

    Katie Ault — May 6, 2013 @ 6:10 PM

    Spend more time being together with guests, instead of worrying about everything being perfect.

  284. 284

    Marie M. Conroy — May 6, 2013 @ 6:10 PM

    My advice is the same as everyones. Plan, plan, plan. Never do everything on the same day you entertain. Do as much as possible beforehand. You don’t have to make fancy, fussy food or recipes with 27 ingredients. (Unless you have a staff to help you!) Ask a friend/family member to bring something. Relax, enjoy!

  285. 285

    Phyllis — May 6, 2013 @ 6:15 PM

    Always get an extra bag of ice and make twice as much dip as you think you’ll need.

  286. 286

    Kris M — May 6, 2013 @ 6:21 PM

    I don’t do a whole lot of entertaining, but when I do I keep things pretty low key so I can enjoy the company.

  287. 287

    Dana — May 6, 2013 @ 6:32 PM

    Finish as much as you can ahead of time so that you can relax with your guests

  288. 288

    Gail — May 6, 2013 @ 6:38 PM

    Go outside and cut leaves and flowers/whatever to put all around platters/table – whatever – live in FL so maybe its easier to do that here?

  289. 289

    Linda — May 6, 2013 @ 6:40 PM

    My tip is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time so not so much to do at the last minute. I love caramel corn and peanut butter and cookbooks. This cookbook looks fabulous :)

  290. 290

    Ashley — May 6, 2013 @ 6:43 PM

    My tip is to just relax. Things will go wrong, there will be awkward moments, maybe your handcrafted meringue mushrooms look more like miniature penises…your guests are just happy to get free food- it’ll be okay! You could have the most amazing, celeb-worthy affair, and if you don’t enjoy it or your guests feel uncomfortable, it’s worse than an epic Bridget Jones dinner party fail.

  291. 291

    Linda — May 6, 2013 @ 6:44 PM

    My tip is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time so you don’t have so much to do at the last minute. I love caramel corn, peanut butter and cookbooks. This one looks fabulous :)

  292. 292

    Robin — May 6, 2013 @ 6:46 PM

    Love to do as much preparation work ahead of time.

  293. 293

    tcmary — May 6, 2013 @ 6:50 PM

    Get as much as I can done ahead of time. Most important is planning it all out ahead of time. I’m a firm believer in doing the work before.

  294. 294

    Deana Jarrard-Heard — May 6, 2013 @ 6:51 PM

    I’m kind of new to entertaining, but I’m looking forward to learning.

  295. 295

    susan — May 6, 2013 @ 7:01 PM

    I’ve learned that simple is the best way to go when entertaining

  296. 296

    Jessica — May 6, 2013 @ 7:16 PM

    I try to start a week early if possible- baking cakes, making cake balls, cupcakes, etc. and freeze what I can. It is a time saver plus you never know when you need to give a treat.

  297. 297

    jamie — May 6, 2013 @ 7:24 PM

    I have learned over the years that when it comes to entertaining, good food has a way to bring people together and make good memories. Its not often we get together with family, so when we do, we leave the calorie counting at the door, gather around the table, and enjoy food made with taste in mind; food that will leave company wanting to come back for more. I love this site. I can’t afford cookbooks right now, nor do I have a printer. I have spent days on here hand copying a lot of recipes. I’m so glad I found this site. My family will be too as they start getting more varity at the dinner table. Thank you Lori for all your hard work putting this site together. So many recipes I can’t wait to try :)

  298. 298

    Ana F — May 6, 2013 @ 7:25 PM

    What works best for me is to do a lot of preparations ahead of time.

  299. 299

    Anne — May 6, 2013 @ 7:28 PM

    I find it helpful to have lists: Things to clean, things to buy, things to make (and when), things to prepare, things for other people to do, etc.

  300. 300

    Liza — May 6, 2013 @ 7:36 PM

    I am too nervous to cook for anyone, so we grill whenever we have guests. I am loving all the other ideas tho!

  301. 301

    Barb — May 6, 2013 @ 7:56 PM

    Keeping it simple so I can enjoy the evening also. Foods that can hold well. Great music during dinner, I love it

  302. 302

    SusanO — May 6, 2013 @ 8:19 PM

    Prepare as much ahead of time as possible, so you can relax and enjoy yourself.

  303. 303

    Mimi — May 6, 2013 @ 8:48 PM

    My mama’s best entertaining tip is to prepare things the night before and then bake the next day so the kitchen isn’t a huge mess!

  304. 304

    Heather — May 6, 2013 @ 9:44 PM

    I have a nice glass of wine or other cocktail available for my guests as soon as they arrive.

  305. 305

    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — May 6, 2013 @ 10:25 PM

    This looks just incredible! My favorite entertaining tip to try to make things you can at least prep in advance so you can spend more time with your guests!

  306. 306

    Rani — May 6, 2013 @ 10:54 PM

    I still have So much to learn and would love to entertain more! One simple trick I like is using real fabric napkins…. Makes for a nicer setting! Just place th in the laundry and you cut down on paper waste too!!

  307. 307

    Claire — May 6, 2013 @ 11:33 PM

    I haven’t had much experience with entertaining yet, but I would hope to learn many helpful tips and tricks from both cookbooks.

  308. 308

    lavi — May 7, 2013 @ 3:41 AM

    I have learned to prepare dishes that are fast and easy to do in advance so that i am not still standing behind the stove when guests arrive!

  309. 309

    Laura — May 7, 2013 @ 5:17 AM

    i love to entertain and try to make pleasing presentations of my food/apps. i could use some help though! :)

  310. 310

    Polly — May 7, 2013 @ 5:30 AM

    Lists, lists, lists — from grocery list to a timeline for prep and cooking. I even have a detailed spreadsheet for Thanksgiving (made at my daughters’ request) that starts a month in advance! The cookbooks both look awesome — would love to add them to my collection!

  311. 311

    Lisa Y. — May 7, 2013 @ 6:55 AM

    I learned recently that when making deviled eggs if you turn the eggs over the night before you are going to cook them, the yolks will be more in the center of the egg. Many may know this but to me it was an epiphany! :)

  312. 312

    Angeline — May 7, 2013 @ 7:00 AM

    I have learned that it is always better to have too much food than not enough and it doesn’t have to be super fancy as long as it tastes good :)

  313. 313

    Cindy @ Kicking it In — May 7, 2013 @ 8:18 AM

    Oh, Lori…I knew I should not have stopped by today! Just kidding. I am going to surprise my kids with this this weekend – they are going to go crazy over it! One tip I’ve learned relates specifically to the Christmas eve and the night before Thanksgiving: we usually have a house-full of people staying over, so I go with a huge pan or mac and cheese or chicken-and-wild-rice casserole and a very simple green salad. These two get devoured and people get huge smiles on their faces. Yay me! ;) Cheese in many varieties helps…I always stress about things being “fancy” enough but that really is not the point at all.

  314. 314

    Gianna — May 7, 2013 @ 8:18 AM

    Make what you can the day before (such as desserts) so you’re not so rushed the day of.

  315. 315

    Cathy Gross — May 7, 2013 @ 8:28 AM

    Whenever I take a casserole dish to someone’s house for a potluck, I always stick a return address label on it that way I know which dish to take back home!

  316. 316

    Pam Stewart — May 7, 2013 @ 8:31 AM

    Make as many things in advance as possible so you don’t spend all of your time in the kitchen when you guests arrive.

  317. 317

    Maria — May 7, 2013 @ 8:51 AM

    I’ve learned that you should try to be prepared enough that you can mingle with your guests when entertaining…no one likes to feel like they’ve made this great meal and had all these people over when they didn’t even get to speak to anyone!

  318. 318

    Rebeccammendations — May 7, 2013 @ 8:52 AM

    When entertaining, fun tableware can spruce up your display! I’ve found several small serving glasses with mini spoons handy from Pier 1, but any small dishes can be a great way to give everyone their own pre-made serving and make your display look snazzy without spending too much!

  319. 319

    jessica w — May 7, 2013 @ 9:07 AM

    NEVER try a new recipe while entertaining, do something you could do with your eyes shut so you aren’t stressed out!

  320. 320

    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — May 7, 2013 @ 9:15 AM

    Plan easy appetizers and go fancy on the main menu :)

  321. 321

    Carlye — May 7, 2013 @ 9:33 AM

    I always keep a variety of homemade cookies and bars in the freezer for last minute entertaining or friends that stop by. Life is short – eat cookies!

  322. 322

    Jeffrey — May 7, 2013 @ 9:35 AM

    I recently had a get together with family and friends and made it a grilled cheese party. I had various breads, meats, cheeses and vegetables and each person could construct their own masterpiece. It was a blast!

  323. 323

    Jenn K — May 7, 2013 @ 9:55 AM

    I love to have potlucks when I entertain … take the pressure off of me to provide everything, and I love getting to try new dishes!

  324. 324

    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet — May 7, 2013 @ 10:44 AM

    Love to have parties! We always have lots of foods and desserts and great wine!

  325. 325

    Laura — May 7, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

    I was JUST staring at that cookbook, trying to decide if I wanted it on my wish list. Sounds like I do! As far as entertaining goes, I believe strongly in the trick I learned from Barefoot Contessa, which is to farm some of it out (like buying fun prepared tapas from a good Mediterranean deli) so that you are not trying to prepare every single little thing.

    Also, assuming I don’t win :) is your publisher using bloggers to review your book? I cheerfully volunteer if so!

  326. 326

    Deb — May 7, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

    Try to do as much as possible before the event, keep it simple, relax and enjoy your guests.

  327. 327

    Sarah — May 7, 2013 @ 11:21 AM

    One entertaining trick: make a list of what you need to do on the day of the party and work backwards!

  328. 328

    Kelly - Life made Sweeter — May 7, 2013 @ 11:33 AM

    This popcorn looks deelish and perfect for that something sweet craving!
    I usually like to make and prep things in advance – especially the desserts – that way I’m not scrambling the day of.

  329. 329

    Catherine O — May 7, 2013 @ 11:34 AM

    I’m pretty new to entertaining, but one thing I learned early on was to simplify. It’s so easy to over do it and cause yourself unnecessary stress.

  330. 330

    Rachel Cooks — May 7, 2013 @ 12:03 PM

    Love this book and this recipe definitely needs to be the next one I try! How did I miss it my first time through the book?

  331. 331

    Linda Schatz — May 7, 2013 @ 12:48 PM

    If you fall short on prep time vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit always goes over well. :)
    Cookbooks look awesome thanks for the opportunity to sign up for the giveaway. Some lucky person will benefit for sure!

  332. 332

    Stevie — May 7, 2013 @ 1:25 PM

    Fresh Flowers and/or any Kind of Greenery always makes a Table setting even more Beautiful.

  333. 333

    Christine P — May 7, 2013 @ 2:43 PM

    I’ve learned that it is more important to have too much than too little of something. And that people always take in more drink than food :) Slowly but surely learning the tricks…

  334. 334

    Jen P — May 7, 2013 @ 4:11 PM

    Don’t stress out. Your guests don’t notice all the “little things”, but they will notice if you are not a cheerful hostess.

  335. 335

    Kelly — May 7, 2013 @ 4:21 PM

    Tried making the pop corn today – the caramel came out yummy, but didn’t coat the popcorn at all. sitting in the oven did nothing to loosen it up and thoroughly coat all the kernels. The caramel was very good so I might try it again or maybe add peanut butter to a different caramel popcorn recipe I like.

  336. 336

    wendy spencer — May 7, 2013 @ 4:25 PM

    I like to do as much prep ahead of time as possible!

  337. 337

    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — May 7, 2013 @ 4:41 PM

    I always try to prep as much as I can the day or so before. Makes for much less stress the day of! Awesome recipe, and congrats on the new cookbook!! :)

  338. 338

    Chantal S. — May 7, 2013 @ 4:49 PM

    Most important tip for entertaining: Don’t worry! Everything will be okay! Even if you forget a dish or two, no one will know, so just relax and enjoy the food and company. Also – lists, lots of lists. ;-)

  339. 339

    Lynna — May 7, 2013 @ 5:22 PM

    Plan ahead! There’s no way around it. I always make a checklist of people, food, and things needed ahead of time and plan what to do the days coming up to the actual event. :)

  340. 340

    Margie — May 7, 2013 @ 6:25 PM

    Make ahead as much as possible, and make sure you had a good list while shopping…you don’t want to be making your dessert and find you’re missing a key ingredient!

  341. 341

    Laura in Texas — May 7, 2013 @ 6:35 PM

    I like to freeze juice rings to keep the pitchers cold and avoid ice cubes all together.

  342. 342

    Pat Hollan — May 7, 2013 @ 6:59 PM

    Hello! Due to a medical condition of many years I don’t entertain, but I read recipe books like a novel!! I have 30 years of SL Annual cookbooks & would like to start a different collection, yours!! Thanks for your giveaways!

  343. 343

    Christine — May 7, 2013 @ 7:03 PM

    I make a checklist and try to do as much cooking in advance as possible. When pork roast is on sale, I stock up so I can make slow cooker bbq pork a couple of days in advance. As I clean the house, each clean room becomes off limits until after the party. We don’t entertain much because it becomes so stressful!

  344. 344

    Chrystyna — May 7, 2013 @ 8:11 PM

    Prepare as much as you can ahead of time, and ask your friends to bring dishes too!

  345. 345

    Karla G — May 7, 2013 @ 8:23 PM

    I make a detailed schedule for the days leading up to the party. This helps prevent a brain overload, when you don’t have to think about what to do. You just look at your plan and do it!

  346. 346

    Nutmeg Nanny — May 7, 2013 @ 9:02 PM

    I love making lists; to-do lists, check lists, anything to keep my thoughts organized! Also, finding things that are simple to make or that I can make ahead of time.
    This cookbook looks wonderful, I’d love to get a peek at it :)

  347. 347

    Elizabeth — May 7, 2013 @ 9:10 PM

    Be sure to do the shopping in advance and write everything down. It assures you know what you’re looking for and keeps everything organized. I’m also a big fan of desserts that can be made in advance and using my slow cooker for as much as possible.

  348. 348

    Karen Lynch — May 7, 2013 @ 9:44 PM

    Start doing things like making sure all dishes you are using a week ahead, and start doing prep a few days before. Chopping can be done in advance, season mixess.

  349. 349

    Jennifer C. — May 7, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

    From my experience, the best munchies to serve are ones that don’t crumble or can be eaten in one bite–it reduces the mess afterwards!

  350. 350

    Kelly — May 7, 2013 @ 11:55 PM

    Sometimes I freeze grapes and put them in my wine glass. Keeps the wine chilled and can be a pretty accent in the glass!

  351. 351

    Dezi A — May 8, 2013 @ 12:09 AM

    It’s been so long since I’ve entertained cause some of our kitchen chairs broke so it’d be great to have these books to encourage me to invite friends over. :)

  352. 352

    Kristin — May 8, 2013 @ 5:32 AM

    I also lay out all of my dishes/plates/platters ahead of time and label with what I am going to put in each dish! It takes the guess work out of it and also allows others to help me!

  353. 353

    Shannon — May 8, 2013 @ 6:25 AM

    My entertaining tip is if someone asks if they can help, put them on a task, even helping clean dishes along the way or chopping things. You don’t have to be superwoman and do it all by yourself!

  354. 354

    Rita — May 8, 2013 @ 8:34 AM

    I was invited to bring appetizers to a friend’s house for the dinner party she was hosting last week. Wanting to impress everyone I spent most of the day preparing two appetizers: polenta crostini with pesto, goat cheese , roasted red peppers and gruyere puffs. Of course I made everything from scratch and purchased the best quality ingredients. They were beautiful! Another guest also brought an appetizer: store bought pastry Brie served hot. Guess what? Few takers on my room temp appetizers but Brie was gone in minutes! Next time I’m going simple and serving hot/warm appetizers.

  355. 355

    Liz S. — May 8, 2013 @ 9:54 AM

    I always make menus ahead of time and plan everything out! I love holding dinner parties and it is best to be organized!! Btw I found this blog by reading the article about you in the UT today!! Congrats!!

  356. 356

    Chelsea Pyle — May 8, 2013 @ 10:18 AM

    Lead with your best, I always say. Since baking is my strong suit, sometimes it’s fun when you’re hosting a dinner party to do things a little topsy-turvy and start with dessert. I mean, who doesn’t like that!

  357. 357

    Melissa R. — May 8, 2013 @ 11:20 AM

    I like to have big buffets! and make them very informal!

  358. 358

    Linda C — May 8, 2013 @ 11:36 AM

    I like to make a list before a party with a timeline – it helps keep me organized

  359. 359

    bashfultuna — May 8, 2013 @ 2:50 PM

    Using a martini glass lined with lettuce leaf add diced beets which has been tossed with balsamic vingerette. Top with a small ball of goat cheese which has been rolled in chopped parsley. Easy but impressive looking and tasty

  360. 360

    SALLY Tews — May 8, 2013 @ 3:02 PM

    Can’t wait to try the popcorn~I am addicted to carmel corn.
    When I entertain I like to have my food and appetizers all ready so that
    I can enjoy my friends~and just go with the flow:-)
    I would love to win both books~especially since they are signed.

  361. 361

    Janet — May 8, 2013 @ 3:55 PM

    Entertaining=major stress. It needs to be relaxed.

  362. 362

    jan n — May 8, 2013 @ 4:39 PM

    I like to prep everything ahead of time…sometimes even a few days ahead

  363. 363

    Jennifer O. — May 8, 2013 @ 7:46 PM

    I need all the help I can get when it comes to entertaining.

  364. 364

    Rachel Rusticus — May 8, 2013 @ 8:22 PM

    I’ve learned to accept offers for help (drinks, dessert, sides). When I try and do it alone I end up too stressed and don’t enjoy my company…which should be the point of the meal after all!

    creativerachelr (at) gmail (dot) com

  365. 365

    Khadija Shabbir — May 8, 2013 @ 9:13 PM

    I get my husband to help me prepare as much stuff in advance as I possibly can!

  366. 366

    Vicki VanDerhoff — May 8, 2013 @ 11:24 PM

    I plan the menu and get all my shopping done at least a day before my party. The night before or the morning of, I prepare as much as possible which makes the hours before a lot less stressful.

  367. 367

    Maria Baron — May 9, 2013 @ 5:02 AM

    I am in love with those mini paper loaf pans. I bake up a batch of mini loaves and wrap up with colorful twine and send one home with each guest. They love them and you can make a bunch ahead and freeze them. It really makes your guests feel special, and puts you right up there with Martha.

  368. 368

    Lacey — May 9, 2013 @ 6:53 AM

    I plan a menu that will allow me to get a lot done ahead of time. That way on the day of the event I’m not running around like a crazy lady trying to get things done.

  369. 369

    Matthew — May 9, 2013 @ 7:40 AM

    yummy, this looks like a real tasty treat!

  370. 370

    Marissa — May 9, 2013 @ 7:57 AM

    Planning ahead is ‘key’ to entertaining.

  371. 371

    MaryAnn D — May 9, 2013 @ 11:49 AM

    I do as much in advance as possible so that I can enjoy the affair too. I have the serving platters out, decorations out & in place so that only the last minute items need to be done.

  372. 372

    Elaine M — May 9, 2013 @ 12:56 PM

    I don’t have a lot of tips—–I need some!

  373. 373

    Amy Reed — May 9, 2013 @ 3:41 PM

    I always try to find a good mix of menu items that go over well with both adults and kids. I like to have a lot of finger foods for kids so they can eat and run!

  374. 374

    Sarah L — May 9, 2013 @ 4:51 PM

    I love to entertain, but I’m not great at it. I tend to get stuck in the kitchen far longer than I intend to be.

  375. 375

    Alison W. — May 9, 2013 @ 8:44 PM

    Iwork on as many steps as possible early on so I don’t get rushed. Measure out spices or chop veggies ahead so you don’t find yourself still in the kitchen when guests arrive.

  376. 376

    Gayle Dorsett — May 9, 2013 @ 9:24 PM

    I try and do as much ahead of time, in order to enjoy the time with friends during the evening/tea party/or whatever the event may be.

  377. 377

    Chrystal — May 9, 2013 @ 9:41 PM

    I love to organize everything beforehand and plan make-ahead food for the most part so that I can spend more time with my guests and less ime in the kitchen.

  378. 378

    Cindy Brickley — May 10, 2013 @ 6:47 AM

    I entertain very frequently and I found that making things a head of time and keeping it simple is the best way to entertain. I also have a system for easy clean up.

  379. 379

    Susan — May 10, 2013 @ 2:20 PM

    Great idea to combine peanut butter, caramel, and popcorn. I’m going to give it a try. Thanks.

  380. 380

    Lori Lange — May 10, 2013 @ 3:40 PM

    Thanks!

  381. 381

    Christi Collins — May 10, 2013 @ 4:35 PM

    I don’t have an entertaining tip, but when cooking always toast your spices to bring out their flavor, for example after sweating your onions and garlic add your spices and stir for a minute out so before a adding your wine or broth. It adds a lot of flavor.

  382. 382

    Pat Shannon — May 11, 2013 @ 9:21 AM

    I really don’t like to entertain. It alot of work and is scary. Unsure if people will like what I made.

  383. 383

    Lisa Cornely — May 12, 2013 @ 4:42 PM

    Just wanted to share that the popcorn was a big hit and was enjoyed by all.

  384. 384

    Laurie — May 16, 2013 @ 2:15 PM

    How did I ever live without this in my life?!

    The best entertaining tip that I can give you is to put it up hight enough so that the resident bulldog cannot get into it! Bully’s love it too!

  385. 385

    Kathie Bartlett — May 22, 2013 @ 6:30 PM

    WOW…the peanut butter caramel corn recipe sounds great! Thanks!

  386. 386

    Janene — May 22, 2013 @ 7:43 PM

    Sew washers to the corners of your tablecloth so it does not blow away.

  387. 387

    Shannon — May 23, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

    Howdy dowdy!! Love this cookbook!!

  388. 388

    Lori — June 3, 2013 @ 12:55 PM

    This sounds so yummy going on weekend with friends gonna make for all to try!!

  389. 389

    Sonya — January 29, 2014 @ 8:43 AM

    I set different timers on my phone to remind me of when various foods should be prepped, put in the oven, taken out, etc. It helps a ton.