Lets talk about hospitality.
Are you one that feels like everything has to be perfect before you have guests? Its so easy to look around my home and notice the old couches, the miss matched lamps, the stains in the carpet, the ugly floor and tiled walls in the bathroom, not to mention the decor (or the lack thereof!) Or maybe you’ve had a busy week and really don’t have time (or the budget!) to make a five course meal PLUS clean your house from top to bottom.
When my mind starts dwelling on these things it makes me want to shut the doors and not open them until my house is my Pinterest dream. But you know what? Having everything perfect is not what makes people feel comfortable.
Right after we got married Stanley would suggest having last minute company a lot. I don’t think most guys understand that its really not as easy as it looks to whip out a meal in 30 minutes. “Just make something simple” they say. Yes, simple…. thats humbling….and no matter how simple, that still requires food! And sometimes my fridge is almost empty.
He’s balanced me out. Helps me keep things simple and be okay with that. He helps me relax before the guests come even if everything isn’t picture perfect and assures me that a dried out turkey still nourishes the people. =)
We absolutely love having guests/friends but I also still love knowing a day or two before so that I can prepare and he’s learned to be considerate of that. But I’ve also learned to say yes to last minute gatherings. After all, we now have all the pizza shops and grocery stores at our finger tips so I don’t have a valid excuse. 😉
This past Sunday was one of those perfectly delightful afternoons of hosting some friends for lunch. It was so relaxing and filled with great conversations. And yes, dried out turkey was on the menu! Haha. I got up an hour later than I really should have (thanks to a restless night with my baby) so needed to crank the oven temperature up and yeah…… I guess I wasn’t sure exactly what temp to keep it at during church and its always scary being gone knowing that it could be raw when you get home or the opposite as was my case. We smothered our plates in gravy and it all worked out. I decided to laugh about it and enjoy the conversations instead of turning 10 different shades of red when thinking about the turkey.
For me, it comes down to a heart of contentment, thankfulness for what I do have, and a humble servants heart.
On the flip side of this – just the other Sunday we were invited into the home of a busy mom. I think we all felt extra special, like honored guests, with the delicious meal she prepared. It doesn’t get better than roast beef and cheesy potatoes and caesar salad, topped off with a Strawberry Cheesecake and strong coffee served.
I think there are different seasons in life and sometimes its good to splurge and be generous with your guests and make them feel special – putting hours of love into your food. But other times its okay to still open your home and bless even though its not gourmet. You’re guests can tell by your attitude and be blessed by your heart. After all, a few months down the road they will most likely forget what you served for dinner but might remember the words you said that encouraged them or the hug you gave.
There are so many ladies I could mention that have inspired me in this area but my parents have been my greatest heroes….they have had countless people through their home. As I write this, they are hosting around 20 youth for Bible School plus mom is head-cook for the evening meals. I remember one time probably 15 years ago when a busload of people came to visit our church from another state and who do you think invited them? My dad has a big heart and invited them all. Mom had her usual roast beef and potatoes in the cooker but told us girls that she knew it would not be enough to serve the entire group. Rather than run around in a panic trying to add more food (which we did more than once before!) she prayed a simple prayer that God would stretch the food. It was a modern day miracle. The pot did not get empty. I don’t remember how many leftovers there were but I just know that God truly did bless that meal. Talk about divine food. =) I’m sure the guests sitting at picnic tables out in the yard never realized what just happened but I can guarantee they felt loved by my parents. I want to be like my mom when I grow up.
This Caramel Apple Crisp was a hit and no one knew that I really intended to make pies but time did not allow. The homemade caramel sauce is what takes this beyond your normal apple crisp. I like to keep a jar of this sauce in my fridge and use it in desserts.
Caramel Apple Crisp
- Homemade Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 8 tbsp butter
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- In small saucepan, heat brown sugar and butter stirring constantly until melted and bubbly. Add heavy cream. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add a dash of salt and 1 tsp vanilla. Let set until completely cooled. Store any extra sauce in refrigerator.
- 2 quarts (10 apples) sliced granny smith apples
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- Peel and slice apples mixing with above ingredients. Layer on bottom of 11×15 pan.
- Drizzle caramel sauce over apples (I used at least a cup of caramel)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Pour heavy cream over apples and caramel.
- Oatmeal Crumb Topping:
- 2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup softened butter
- Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl, add butter, mix until crumbly. Spread over apples. (Optional: Thinly slice 3 tablespoons butter over crumb mixture)
- Place pan, uncovered, in preheated oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender and crumbs are slightly browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.