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Heart for Hospitality - Spontaneity, The Perfect Plan



Our blog series where we will share recipes, tips, stories, and our hearts around hospitality. Inviting others into your home and around your table is a simple act that can bring profound joy and connection. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. What happens around your table is way more important than a clean house and a homemade meal. 


 

Happy summer! Something about the sun coming up earlier and staying out longer draws people together. One of my favorite things about summer is the chance to be spontaneous! Whether it’s neighbors meeting for an early morning walk, co-workers meeting for coffee, last-minute lunch plans, or a spontaneous dinner together, summer expands the heart of hospitality.


Growing up, I remember my parents announcing “pop-up” BBQ’s. (Before their time!) Last minute,  neighbors and friends or family would come over for dinner. There was no pressure to have a clean house. People weren’t expecting gourmet meals or a perfectly set table. It was stress-free. People were happy to be invited! They offered to bring food and drinks to share. A pop-up potluck unfolded! Or my parents told everyone not to worry and provided everything. The adults grilled and chatted and occasionally joined in backyard games. Everyone ate until they were stuffed. Kids ran around, gleefully chasing fireflies late into the night, bedtime forgotten. It was pure joy to be together spontaneously.


I always thought the best part was making s’mores. We always had a supply of marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey’s chocolate ready to go. At some point during the evening, while the charcoal briquets were still glowing (this was before gas grilling!) we all made s’mores to our hearts’ delight. Bliss!


Today, I still love to be spontaneous. As a perfectionist who procrastinates, the thought of organizing a gathering way in advance can overwhelm me. However, when I want to connect with others (and just happened to have vacuumed up the dog hair the night before), I love to spontaneously invite people over. It’s easy and stress-free. No cleaning, no prepping, no worrying. 


A few thoughts about spontaneous hospitality that I learned from my Mom: people love to be invited and feel included. They don’t care how your house looks. They don’t care what’s on the menu. They just want to be with you to connect. Spontaneous hospitality can mean ordering a pizza or takeout. It can mean leftovers to share. It can mean coffee and bagels or tea and dessert. It can be letting people bring things to share or providing everything. The most important thing is being together!


OK, I confess. I do plan a tiny bit ahead to be able to be spontaneous. I have a fridge with cold drinks, a container or two of ready-to-go lettuce, a few marinades in the fridge, and frozen homemade cookie dough in the freezer (more on that in a minute). So, if I decide to spontaneously invite people over, I can make a quick stop at the grocery store for chicken and rolls or a side dish. Or, if people offer to bring meat, I welcome it. Voila – a simple get-together with no stress for anyone. Come as you are!


And, yes, I do have s’mores fixings on hand! S’mores are the perfect spontaneous dessert! In fact, I’ll tell you a family secret: we have elevated s’mores to a new level. Put the expertly roasted marshmallows (2, browned perfectly on all sides, middle gooey but not charred on the outside. We can have a marshmallow perfection debate later!) and the Hershey’s (or dark chocolate, my preference!) in between two homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yes, two homemade chocolate chip cookies. You’ll never go back to graham crackers! It’s AMAZING!


Give it a try! Long days and beautiful summer weather, no pressure, minimal planning and freedom to invite family, new friends or old friends: a perfect recipe for spontaneous hospitality. You’ll be amazed at the results!


Note: Click on the image to make it bigger & screenshot to save it for later 😘




To be able to be spontaneous with the cookies for s’mores or anything else (the cookies make awesome ice cream sandwiches, too!), cook half the dough and freeze half. Use the ice cream scooper to scoop cookie dough balls and place them in a zip lock bag in the freezer. The dough freezes really well and is perfect to pop into the oven for a yummy, spontaneous dessert!


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Connie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on spontaenous hospitality. It's just the motivation I need for inviting friends over. I am going to try the chicken recipe - thanks for sharing.

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