If you’re as frugal (read: cheap) as I am, but also love good food and socializing, I have two words for you:



I didn’t actually organize this potluck, we have them at work about 4 times a year.  I don’t want to impress you too much, leading you to believe that I’m a hostess rivaling the likes of Rhodey Girl because that would inevitably lead to a let down.  And I wouldn’t do that to you.

Plus, I don’t want you to think this is my own decor.

I believe that’s called Golden Girls Chic.

I do have some potlucking tips for you, though.

1.  Contribute.  If you’re invited to a potluck, bring something.  Homemade food is always nice, but someone has to be the one to bring the beverages and plastic forks.  Just don’t show up empty handed.

2.  Don’t overreach. If you go the homemade route, pick a dish that fits into your schedule and budget.  There are plenty of things you can bring that are cheap and/or don’t take much time.  Case in point:  my beer bread.

The cream cheese was $1.99 at Trader Joes and I had all the other ingredients in my pantry.  I had some time on my hands to make the bread (who am I kidding, we all know that’s a lie- refer to yesterday’s post- just go with it) but I didn’t want to drop a lot of cash.

3. Bring the popular kid to the party. This is totally an ego thing.  Everyone likes to know that other people enjoy their food, right?  So make something that people are guaranteed to like.  In my experience, these are the first things to go:

Mac ‘n cheese, chips and dip, fruit (I made skewers once with chunks of pineapple and watermelon and they were GONE) and brownies.  The fewer utensils and dishes that people need, the more apt they’ll be to pick up your dish.

Also, pay attention to presentation.  I think one of the reasons that my fruit skewers went so fast is that they were really pretty.

And remember, if your dish for some insane reason doesn’t seem to be moving, don’t fret.  You’re getting a great meal regardless!

I’d also like to take a tip from Grace (of Will & Grace fame)- when navigating a buffet of any kind, stock up on the pricey foods first and then eat the cheapies.  Ruthless?  Yes.  Cheap?  You bet.  Smart?  Duh.

What’s your go-to dish to bring to a potluck?

Overscheduling Monster

The overscheduling monster strikes again.

I am notorious for over-booking myself.  If there’s an opportunity to make some extra cash, I’ll take that little side gig that requires me to leave my house before 7 am.

I basically have 3 careers going at any given time.  Masochistic?  Perhaps.  I was a theatre major, after all.

So when my company has a potluck, I’m usually not the one bringing the soda or the paper plates.

This time around, I signed up to bring homemade beer bread and spread.

Because clearly I don’t have a flag football game tonight and I have tons of time to be baking bread.  Oy.  At least this is a simple recipe.

You’ve seen me make this before for someone special’s birthday.  I decided to take it in less of an Italian-savory-meaty direction and more in a sweet-indulgent direction.

Insert:  nuts and honey.

Or nut ‘n honey.  That was a good cereal.

I used the basic beer bread recipe, found here (also used by Madeline) and used one of these:

Plus I added some extra brown sugar and a little honey and chopped Sesame Honey Almonds from Trader Joe’s.  I ended up having to use extra flour and baking powder with this combo (maybe another 1 1/2 cups?)

For the spread, I softened the cream cheese a little bit and then worked in the same elements as I did in the bread: honey, brown sugar and sesame almonds.

If you have a Trader Joe’s near you and you haven’t tried these yet, go buy some immediately.  And then hide them from yourself because you will want to eat the entire bag.

Just enough time to change and take the bread out of the oven before I have to head to football…phew!

Are you like me?  Do you like to have lots of things planned or do you keep things low-key?