Comments : 26

Hi friends. how are you? Having a good week I hope, hard to believe summer is unofficially over!  We are just starting to settle into our new offices, plenty of work ahead and still tons of decision to be made but it will get done in time and I am trying to pace myself even though I have no patience and want everything done yesterday. My own office is a boring white canvas, so I am trying to figure out what I do in there, the wheels are turning! That said, it’s so nice to be there.

I started my Entertaining Diaries series a few months ago because I often get lots of questions about entertaining in general. This has been well received as its a fun topic and I think with more people entertaining at home, its particularly relevant now.

When I had people over the other night I thought it might be a good idea to do a post on the prepping stage and how things work the day of, the focus being on simple appetizers that I prepared. I did my best to take as many pics as possible but truth is once my guests arrive, the phone gets put to the side and I get busy living in the moment of playing hostess. So here is my take on what the day looks like when I entertain…..


In the morning, I lay out all my serving pieces, serving pieces, utensils, etc….

I first lay out everything I will be needing to cook that day-

Then I got busy making my Greek salad which was later refrigerated until later that day

I also picked up whatever white flowers my local market had and made small arrangements for the table using my cane hurricanes

All done!

I always have a container like this filled with half lemon juice and half olive oil. I was using it for my fish that night, the lemon potatoes and use it as salad dressing

Anything that needs to be marinated or can be prepped ahead of time does. In this case, the asparagus were seasoned and I cut up my crusty baguette, put in ziploc bag to stay fresh and not dry out

The asparagus I threw on the grill early and grilled until almost all done, took it off  as they still cook a little. Kept these covered in aluminum.

The prepping continues, cut up small wedges of lime and lemon (for drinks and the fish I was serving)

That morning made my delectable brushetta, key is super ripe tomatoes and an abundance of fresh basil

Cooked my shrimp earlier that morning, kept them in a sealed bowl and then made my bruhsetta

I will keep the shrimp in the fridge for about 3-4 hours chilled so the work is done, ditto for my brushetta

One of the very best inventions ever, peeled garlic!

Meanwhile, the table is set, happy any chance I get to use my beautiful etched glass hurricanes and of course monogrammed napkins!

Loved using my Mottahedeh plates (Imperial Blue pattern) with new chargers (coming soon) and my Juliska bamboo flatware

Table all set… can never go wrong with blue and white!

I like seving things in pretty dishes and thinking outside the box. I used this gorgeous Tiffany dolphin bowl for my shrimp cocktail

I could live on this tray of brushetta…my favorite!

Shrimp cocktail all done


I did not have a helper so was busy with my meal from this point forward. Made it simple, grilled branzino (Mediterranean style) lemon potatoes, a big salad and grilled asparagus. Any questions you have, feel free to ask them in the comments section and I will address them next post.

How about you? What are your easy go to appetizers? Would love to hear! Any entertaining tips that are tried and true for you? It’s fun to share ideas as we never want to stop learning. Thank you for stopping in, wishing everyone a wonderful day. Stay safe, until next time……

Want to see more Entertaining Diaries? Click here to see all the previous posts

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It all looks divine. You such an organised and elegant entertainer. I love the dolphin bowl for the prawn cocktail.

Love Entertaining Diaries! Do you ever add any type of vinegar to the Greek Salad or Bruschetta? Thank you for your uplifting and inspiring blog.

So great you share your entertaining tips & recipes. I, for one, really appreciate it! You certainly have a lot of energy & good taste we all can learn from.

Tomorrow I am having a meet and greet for my the women in my son’s bridal party. The timing of this menu is perfect. Just another reason why I love you, Tina!! Thank you!

Would love your recipe for the lemon potatoes and any comments on your grilled fish. Love your recipes

Well! You just planned our Friday night shrimp supper al fresco – if smoky skies clear off, that is. Otherwise, the dining room is ready. Thanks for inspiring me, as usual!

Now I’m hungry!!! My daughter grills whole okra just like you do asparagus . It is amazing… can dip like finger food!! (Pre C-19)

I am so hungry!!!!!! Thank you for all the tips and the wonderful suggestions ……

I enjoy reading how you prep for entertaining and love the recipes that you share with us.
When I make bruschetta, I add capers that are cut up. The combination of flavors brings it up a notch and my guests love it!

I love the clip on Charlie and his mates swimming in the pool ! What an adorable and loving group of dogs !

Aways appreciate your beautiful
Posts that have so much good information. I have made your bruschetta and it’s our of this world! Your tips are extremely helpful for someone like me for help entertaining does not come very naturally!
I love that you finished by a certain time so that you can rest a little I think I need to incorporate that into my own schedule…I find I am often so tired before my guests arrive.

Tina, I love your time line. I am always rushed to the last minute before guests arrive. Could you please tell me where the blue glasses on your set table came from? Are they from Enchanted Home?

Always enjoy the Entertaining Diaries posts. Thank you Tina! Love the gorgeous Dolphin bowl.

Hi Tina
Always appreciate your generosity in sharing your tips and delicious recipes.
Your table looked beautiful!
Many Thanks,

Thanks for all the notes! And read and reread the part about finishing by 1:00 and taking a bath and sitting down to relax! THANKS for that tidbit! I am one who loves to have things organized and learned to have most things done a long time ago! But fine myself in the bathroom right before guests arrive frantically getting myself dressed. Thanks as always for sharing you ideas!

Tina, I just love the Entertainment Diaries and wondered if you have these in a PDF format to print out and save. I think other posts have asked for this as well. It is so nice for guests to dine at a well appointed table because I think it makes them feel very special. You are certainly good at this!!

We feast with our eyes before our mouths..Your beautiful table and dinner are a gift of yourself to your guests.You are a gracious hostess who loves to have friends in her home.It shows.

Hi all! Doing as much ahead as possible is the key if you are having a crowd and don’t have other family members who love to cook to help out. I never used to be, but now am a big believer that if pinched for time, no shame in picking up good-quality appetizers to serve (guac, hors d’oeuvres in puff pastry), or even a bakery cake/pie along with your favorites.
If you or the men in your household love to and are good at grilling, building your menu around the grill will cut down your time in the kitchen. Even better, invest in a rotisserie attachment for your Weber, brine two chickens (SO easy) the day before and let the bbq do the work for you.
I am big believer in using your food processor as much as possible, have a small one that I use to make a hot artichoke spread and will also buy garlic in bulk, peel it, chop off brown end and process/mince them with a drizzle of olive oil. Then when I need garlic for cooking or bruschetta, it’s ready to go.
One thing I’ve learned is this: women may refer lighter fare but men still love ‘meat & potatoes’, so especially if it’s work-related entertaining in the summer, it’s Wegmans steaks (best in the area), baked or roasted potatoes and several salads (with vinaigrette to keep it light) and grilled veggies.
Estate sales are a great place to pick up serving dishes/platters/silver. My rule of thumb is that every piece needs to be in pristine condition, no crazing, no chips. Pieces that compliment my china or just simple white serving pieces are what I look for. Sterling or plate has to be in very good shape, none of the underlying metal showing through, no deep scratches. Great time to pick up silver plate footed casserole dishes – if the glass casserole dish is missing, chances are you can find a Pyrex dish to take its place at Wal-Mart/Target or even your local thrift store.

I love these posts. First question is, do you serve buffet style? Doesn’t seem to be enough room on the table. I always struggle with this. I love all the things on the table, but where does food go? Second, recipe for lemon potatoes, sound delicious. Love your blog.

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