A Few Texan Secrets for Hospitality

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I learned a lot of tricks for hosting, cooking, and cleaning while growing up in Texas. When I moved out to California, it became apparent that people were not aware of the tips and tricks that go into the image of southern hospitality. 
It's not as hard as it looks y'all. Pinky promise. 
Here's a few of my Texan secrets to hospitality. 

1. What's your go-to "someone's coming over" recipe?

I have aspirations of being that person with cookie dough ready to go from the freezer. But the reality is I kind of hate baking, I'm not a sweets person, and I'd rather sip then nibble.

If it's a last minute get together - I put some coffee on, pull a dip together, and I don't sweat it.

For planned dinners, I lean on the crockpot. This is one of my absolute favorites. I like to add some thickly cut potatoes, carrots, and onion for the chicken to cook on. After the chicken is done cooking, lift out the veggies with a slotted spoon and broil in the oven until golden brown. Delicious!
Sometimes, if I get ambitious, I'll make a gravy out of the remaining drippings. Or I leave it in the crockpot to become part of the chicken stock I'll make from the bones of the meal later.

I don't like to always serve the same thing, but I do hold a general "recipe" of sorts in my head when thinking about a company dinner: a protein, a veggie, a "base", a sauce or dressing, and something sweet or umami.

I prefer to think of the carbs as a base instead of a starch. I use them more as a staging grounds for the protein instead of a side. Polenta/grits or mashed potatoes are some of my go tos, and focaccia is one of my favorite breads to make and serve. I also love wide egg noodles. Because if it's big, it's fancy (I don't make these rules, I just acknowledge them.)

Every good southern girl knows the secret to making a dish fancy is adding a glaze, sauce, or dressing. I have a lot of go to easy ones, but I'm starting to think I should just make another whole post about this.

On to the next question!

2. You have 5 minutes to tidy before guest arrive. What are your tidying shortcuts?

Baskets - everywhere.

It's like some sort of rule with kids that their main method of picking up is throwing everything into a basket. So I roll with it. The only toys allowed in the living room right now are our "Advent toys" aka Little People Nativity Sets and it's got it's own basket. All other toys have to live in the kid bedroom, and also get thrown into baskets for picking up.

So do kid books. So does dirty laundry. It works. It allows me to give a useful assignment to the kids while I tackle the bigger cleaning chores.

Vacuum as you go

The extra step of making a nice sweeping pile and using a dustpan might not be in my 5 minute cleaning budget. Solution - vacuum! I have a cordless vacuum that will switch quickly from floor to carpet and get be lifted up to quickly get the sofa and upholstered chairs.

Start from the door

I start cleaning from where guests will enter and prioritize from there. You know your home's hotspots. Mine are: entry way, table surfaces, sofa, bathroom surfaces. I take the vacuum with me to the front door, and start going!

3. What sort of music sets the mood for the perfect gathering?

I'm generally a country music girl (Texan roots don't die), but my current trick for making a gathering more cozy is playing this:

Nothing like the sweet sweet sound of a crackling fire. 


Your turn! Answer the questions in your own post or in the comments below. Here they are again:
1. What's your go-to "someone's coming over" recipe?
2. You have 5 minutes to tidy before guest arrive. What are your tidying shortcuts?
3. What sort of music sets the mood for the perfect gathering? 

Next Week we're talking Faith Formation!

1. Do your children attend your parish’s religious education program? 
2. Do you or have you ever taught religious education? 
3. What is your favourite religious education resource for kids?


  1. I, too, am a *huge* fan of baskets!! They are such handy "stuff-hiders"!

    And, like you, our overflow goes in the appropriate bedroom. Thankfully, with all bedrooms and majority of toys on one floor, that allows my main floor to remain relatively uncluttered!

  2. I would love to hear more of your southern cooking thoughts! I'm all about making a simple dish seem fancier, and I'd love to read about your sauces or glazes that help accomplish that :) Baskets are amazing! There's a thrift store by my apartment that always sells loads of baskets-all sizes-really inexpensively. Most times that I walk in the store, I come out with at least one basket to either use in packaging a gift for another person or for in my home. Baskets look so nice, and they are a really great way to contain items. We don't really do much entertaining in our home yet, but the few times that people have come over, I've gone for really simple foods, like spaghetti, meat sauce, and garlic bread-easy to put together, and I can do a lot of the work much earlier in the day, which is handy.

    1. Every time I go into a thrift store, I hit up the basket section. :)

  3. 'Start from the door ' is what I do too... great tips and I would love to come for dinner one day 😉

  4. I'm going to need more baskets in my house! I completely love reading all of the quick cleaning tips on this linkup :)


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