I’m Planning A Party — Servin’ Chili For The Chilly Season

holiday entertaining

‘Tis the season for entertaining! And now that my new kitchen is in tip-top shape, I’m (we’re) ready to cook!

I’m sure we’ll be snowed in at some point this winter, so I’m thinking about my still-fave cookbook by Ellie Krieger. Called Weeknight Wonders, the book features a great chili recipe. Imagine being snowed in with a big pot of chili awaiting you! We add our own twists when it comes to chili.That’s the beauty of this dish — once we get the basics down, we can add whatever we like or what happens to be around that day in the refrigerator.

But before we get snowed in, I’m hoping my holiday get-together with my team next week will go off well (with no snow, as some are driving a long distance!). I plan to serve chili (with son Matt at the kitchen’s helm, of course — oh, to have a son who likes to cook!). We often use ground turkey or spicy chicken instead of beef, and we add a lot of vegetables that are already on-hand, including mushrooms.

Ellie Krieger shared with us on our recent post that she likes to serve chili at her casual get-togethers because it’s fun to put out a variety of toppings from which people can choose. I plan to try that and I’ll let you know how it goes.

The designer in me wants to use white dishes only. That seems casual but very elegant, at once! I love what I read in Elle Décor  about the new Hudson Grace San Francisco home store, “a neighborhood resource for entertaining” says Monelle Totah, former vice president of design at Williams-Sonoma. She and co-owner/partner Gary McNatton designed three signature dinnerware collections, handcrafted in Italy and Portugal— they’re all white and the shop’s signature pieces!


“Five classic choices made exclusively for us. Earthenware from Italy and Portugal. Porcelain from a family-run factory in France that’s been making it this way for a hundred years.”

Beyond using white, I have some other tips for winter entertainment:

* Plan ahead. I like to be WITH the party, so I do all my work ahead of time. That keeps stress levels at bay.

* Let there be mood light. I turn down all overhead lights and turn on table and floor lamps. I also light candles aplenty, including lots of tea light groupings, whether on the bar, on a side table, at the buffet, you name it. I place larger candles near the fireplace. Use just white or if you want more shine for the holidays, use candles with some sparkle or sheen.

* Always adorn your settings with fresh flowers and greens. Small vases on a windowsill, on the bar, at the table, etc. Repeat the same flower around the spaces. If people are dining at a table, be sure the flower arrangements don’t block faces.

* Variety is the spice. Tablescapes should showcase items of varying sizes, from high to low, big to small. And again, don’t block anyone from anyone else.

* Keep it simple. If you’re not a master of entertaining, just go simple, stay relaxed, and again, plan ahead.

Do you have some great winter entertaining tips/recipes/tablescape ideas? Please share!


  1. Karen Tilotti says:

    Great tips. LOVE your kitchen:)

  2. So glad you like our dinnerware! Love your ideas but don’t envy your hometown weather!

Speak Your Mind