Saturday, December 08, 2012

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Metro

'Tis the season - for entertaining! So many parties, so much cleaning and decorating, cooking and prepping. So little time! I love the holidays, and I love to decorate my home and then welcome friends and family in to enjoy the festive spirit. But it can get pretty stressful trying to make everything "perfect" for your guests.

Come closer. I've got a secret to share. It doesn't have to be perfect. Don't drive yourself to distraction (and exhaustion) trying to pull off a perfect, 100% homemade party. You are not Martha, nor do you need to be. Yes, clean the house, and yes put thought into your guest list and what refreshments will be most appropriate to serve given their preferences and any dietary restrictions they may have. But, there are excellent, ready-to-serve and ready-to-heat options out there to take at least some of the stress out of your evening. Do you really want to spend your time in the kitchen, or would you rather offer up some pre-made appetizers and instead enjoy your time with your guests? Yeah, I thought so. Me too.

I do have a couple of "signature dishes" that I always make from scratch (like my rum balls, guacamole, goat cheese raviolis), but I am a big fan of taking advantage of the offerings at my local supermarket as well.

Metro's Irresistibles line of products offers a great variety of options for your holiday sideboard, from smoked salmon pastrami, to shrimp tempura, to coconut chicken bites and spanakopita, you'll find something for every taste. Did you know they even have an Irresistibles dark fruit cake? I am a bit of a fruit cake connoisseur, so believe me when I tell you this one is delicious! Dark, sweet, moist and rich. And covered with pecans. It is divine and brings back wonderful memories of Christmases past for me.

If you are serving a hot appetizers, why not try the Irresistibles Spanish Style Tapas alongside Irresistibles Indian Style Delights, for an international flair? Add in some Irresistibles Salmon Wellington for the seafood lover, and you have a unique set of appies all ready to delight your guests, with a minimum of fuss.

Metro is gearing up for the holidays, and they have the following entertaining tips to share:

Holiday Party Planning: 10 Tips for Festive Fun!
From decking the halls to trimming the tree and preparing your feast, holiday party planning can be exhausting! Metro has some stress-free tips to make your party the talk of the town! We've done the research and put together a list of need-to-know tips and techniques for an effortlessly unforgettable get-together.
  1. Creative serving – Instead of communal bowls of nuts, try a more eye catching and hygienic presentation by putting snacks in clear-glass, narrow-necked decanters. Guests can pour nut and trail mixes themselves, and it looks great, too!
  2. Stagger serving times – If all food is served at the start of the night, guests are likely to gorge and go home early. Keep your party hopping by serving your tasty hors d’oeuvres all night long.
  3. Impress with a signature cocktail - Channel your inner mixologist and offer guests a unique signature cocktail for your holiday party. Be sure to have other non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages to offer alongside this cocktail.
  4. Prep in advance – The ‘day of’ for the party planner is always hectic! Between set up, last minute errands, and wrangling the kids – stress is high. Try prepping what you can a few days before. Things like fruit trays, cheese and cracker platters and Swedish meatballs can all be put together a day or two in advance. 
  5. Presentation is everything – When preparing food trays and hors d’oeuvres platters, have fun! Use the Canadian winter landscape as inspiration by placing pinecones and frosted pine needles in your tray display. 
  6. Fast and fancy – Limited time? Solicit the help of the frozen food aisle! Metro’s private label line, Irresistibles, offers delicious appetizers perfect for party planners, with selection and creativity covered.
  7. Tidy as you go – No one likes waking up to a mess, by tidying bit by bit during your party, the house will be kept clean for your guests, too!
  8. Set the ambiance – A beautiful candle display can never go wrong at a holiday party
  9. Provide plenty of options – Be sure to provide an assortment of appetizer options at your holiday bash to keep all types of appetites full and happy!
  10. Enjoy yourself – This is your party, too! You've worked hard and it's important to enjoy the environment, interact with your guests and taste your delicious treats!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Metro, and they have provided me with some Irresistibles products to assist me with my own entertaining this season. Metro is my regular supermarket, and all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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