With the holiday season just around the corner, most of us are turning our focus to family gatherings, hosting parties, planning menus and spending countless hours in the kitchen preparing traditional family recipes.  The kitchen is typically the hub of all holiday activity, which can be a source of great joy or major stress.  If your kitchen layout is well organized and efficient, entertaining can be fun and hassle free.  However, a poorly designed kitchen can often leave you feeling that you never want to host a gathering again. Please read below for tips that can help you create a kitchen that is ideal for holiday entertaining.      

1. Open Floor Plan

2. Kitchen Island

3. Butler’s Pantry

4. Warming Drawers

5. Ample Storage

 Open Floor Plan – This allows the cook to enjoy guests whether they are in the Kitchen or adjacent Dining Room, Living Room or Den. With this layout, no one misses a beat or feels left out.

 Kitchen Island – A large island allows for food preparation and serving, as well as a place for your guests to gather. In my house, this is where the action is, with family cozying up to sample whatever is being prepared. 

 Butler’s Pantry – This space can keep much of the mess out of sight, in addition to providing storage for larger kitchen appliances, serving trays, and seasonal china. I don’t have a Butler’s Pantry, but encourage clients to invest in this multifunctional space.

 

Warming Drawer – For anyone who loves to entertain, this appliance is a must! It is almost like having a second oven, and is perfect for keeping side dishes warm while your turkey (or other main dish) is still roasting. It also makes warming your dinner plates a breeze.

Ample Storage – Having ample storage that is well thought out (a place for everything and everything in its place!) allows for a clutter free kitchen. Open countertops can provide great space for guests to bring a dish, set up a buffet, or even multiple cooks to work at once.

Photography by: Ruby & Peach Photography

       You might be thinking that the above tips are all well and good, but what if they are not in the cards for this year? My best advice would be to do a thorough decluttering and reorganization.  Anything you can do to clear your countertops and create more space in the kitchen, as a whole, can be helpful.  This might include removing your kitchen table temporarily for traffic flow, or even adding an additional table for more food preparation space.  

      If the closing of another year finds you feeling a bit “bah humbug” and frustrated with your kitchen design, perhaps it’s time to consider making your 2022 New Year’s Resolution to create your dream kitchen.  With so many kitchen options and gadgets available, this process can often feel daunting and a bit overwhelming. Hiring a designer can help you navigate the many decisions that must be made as well as minimize potential costly mistakes.  Here’s hoping that 2022 finds us working together to create your beautiful kitchen for holiday gatherings and creating cherished memories. 

 

 Sweet Potato Soufflé

Please enjoy this easy & simple Sweet Potato Soufflé Recipe:

Filling:
4 large or 5 medium sweet potatoes (about 6 cups mashed flesh)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
5 tablespoons melted butter

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash and thoroughly dry outside of sweet potatoes. Wrap in aluminum foil and place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours; remove and allow to cool until you can easily remove the skins, about 30 minutes.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a glass 9- x- 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer or with an electric hand mixer, beat sweet potatoes on medium-high until they become smooth, about 2 minutes. Add butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon; mix until fully combined. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt; beat on medium high until the mixture is fully homogenous. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Step 3: In a bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. Add pecans and toss to coat. Add melted butter and stir until butter is evenly absorbed. Scatter across the surface of the soufflé. Bake until the center of the soufflé is set and does not jiggle when tapped, 45 to 55 minutes.