Every so often my husband and I will sit down and evaluate our family goals and plan for the future. Last time we did this, we decided that we needed to put more of an emphasis on hospitality, both in and out of our home. I used to think that hospitality meant planning a large party and spending a lot of money & since we have always been on a tight budget, that was my excuse for not being more hospitable. I would love to throw a party with a main dish of steak & shrimp, appetizers, fruit trays, steamed veggies, and lavish desserts, but that is just not at all within our financial means. Over the years I have learned that hospitality is more about my desire to serve from my heart and can be done with either a lot or a little money.
Last weekend, we invited several friends over for a potluck lunch after church. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, catching up on life and encouraging one another in The Lord. Here are some tips for hosting a get together on a budget:
1. Potluck! – I provided a main dish, a side dish & a dessert, and then asked the guests to sign up to bring the other items that were needed.
2. Pick a fun theme – …and then think of frugal dishes that go along with that theme. We used “Mexican Fiesta” as our theme this time. I made some homemade tortillas, and then cooked up a big pot of chicken, rice, black beans & salsa and another pot of re-fried pinto beans so that our guests could make burritos. I opened up a bag of tortilla chips and set out the rest of the jar of salsa for people to munch on. I also made some individual “soapapilla cheesecakes” (recipe to come) in muffin liners that were really tasty. I also sliced a lime that I put in a pitcher with water.
3. Use what you already have – when deciding what dishes to serve, I checked my pantry and refrigerator to see what I already had. When it came down to it, I only had to purchase the cream cheese for the cheesecake, the lime & a couple of cans of beans. $7 total I think. After our potluck, there were still plenty of leftovers for me to send with my husband for lunch throughout the week.
I am so thankful that I no longer see our finances as a deterrent to inviting people into our home and taking meals to others. In fact, I have recently been trying to get creative about how to go about serving more through meals. At this stage of life with a little one, it is not practical for me to serve in some other areas that I have served in the past, but something that I can do with my baby on my hip is to make a meal and take it to a family in need. What joy it brings my heart to be helpful in this way & give to others! I pray that I will continue to look for practical ways that I can serve as a young mom.