Behind the Scenes: Dinner for 14 – Day 4

If you’ve been reading you know Jeff and I are hosting dinner for 14 at our house on Saturday evening.  I want to give you a behind the scenes look at entertaining during the week leading up to the dinner.  I didn’t blog yesterday, but you didn’t miss much….mostly it was prepping for a meeting for my consulting work, but there was also some shopping for the party.

I’ve been wanting to add two half sheet pans to my kitchen inventory.  The dinner on Saturday gave me the perfect reason to buy them – I will need lots of sheet pans to heat food on the day of the dinner; so I went to the restaurant supply and bought those.  Also, since we just repainted the powder room, I wanted to get some new hand towels.  Check!  And finally, until yesterday we didn’t have enough white cloth napkins; but now we do.  And a great surprise was that I had a gift card for the store at which I found them! Bonus.

That leads us to today.  Things are heating up in terms of party prep.  As I write, I have a tray of macaroon cookies in the oven and two trays on the counter waiting to be baked.  The macaroons I am making are the bite-sized French macaroons, not the coconut ones. Several months ago, my Aunt Pam visited and brought me a macaroon cookbook.  I’ve been looking for a reason to learn to make these and this party gives me one.  Although there are many yummy recipes in the book, I am adapting one for the holidays.  I am using the recipe for the chocolate macaroon cookies, but I am making a white chocolate peppermint filling.

Also on the schedule for today:

Jeff –

  • Work
  • Last minute grocery run
  • Help decorate the tree and house
  • Hang new photos in dining room
  • Bathe dogs
  • Make tiramisu

Jan –

  • Make macaroon cookies
  • Make macaroon filling
  • Photos for blog post
  • Write blog post
  • Select serving dishes and utensils for Saturday dinner
  • Iron cloth napkins
  • Decorate tree and house
  • Help with tiramisu
  • Make rosemary cashews

I have to tell you how good the house smells right now – so chocolately! Mmm mmm mmm!!!! And as I peek in the oven, I am thrilled with how great the cookies look.  The “frilly foot” that is present when macaroons are made right is starting to form on the bottom of the cookies.  Yeah!!!!!  I must admit that I did a test run on Tuesday evening so that I would know what to expect when working on these today.  And boy did I learn a lot from the test.  I learned that I needed to pipe smaller circles onto the trays in order to get the right finished size.  And I learned that I needed a firmer batter than I had on Tuesday.  I would highly recommend not making a brand new recipe on the day of an event unless it’s a recipe that is very similar to one you’ve made previously.  You never know what can go wrong, but a test run can give you a chance to make adjustments as necessary and can give you a boost of confidence!

The first tray of macaroons is out of the oven cooling.  The second tray is in the oven baking.  And the third tray is still resting on the counter.  As you can see from my list above, I have a lot to do today so I’d better get to it.

Just one final note.  Don’t make your days before an event so busy that you don’t have a chance for a little fun, some nutritious meals, and reasonable bed-times.  The last thing you want on the day of your event is to be so tired you can’t enjoy yourself.

I started my day with a warm bowl of oatmeal.  I’ve got Christmas music on the radio getting me into the spirit and I’m going to try to fit a walk with my two favorite furry girls into the schedule today.  It’s easy to get to “party overload” – I know, I fell prey to it many times in the past; but over the last several years I’ve mellowed and learned a thing or two about entertaining.

With the proper planning you CAN be an “unflustered” hostess!!!!

6 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Dinner for 14 – Day 4

  1. Hope you don’t mind, but I took a sneak peek at the dinner party prep.Can’t wait…your culinary skills are second to none. One question will there be curly fries served? LOL… sometimes I crack myself up with my stupid humor! See you guys Saturday!


    • Mark,
      I am sooo glad you are peeking! No curly fries, but I don’t think the potatoes will disappoint!!!!! Can’t wait for Saturday…….

  2. Love the behind the scenes look! I always thought you just threw everything together the day of…that just proves what a great hostess you are!!

    • I wish I had the energy to just throw everything together the day of, but I need to pace myself. All the prep feeds my soul, so I like to spread it out over a few days…it also helps get my creative energies flowing! We are sooo looking forward to Saturday. Glad you and Aaron can make it!

    • Hey, someone has to do the work while I sit on the couch watching t.v. and eating bon-bons!!!! Don’t worry, I saved you ONE! <3

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