With the celebration of Neighboring Month just behind us, we wanted to inspire and empower you to invite for your own neighbors to coffee & conversations. We love hosting these at our “house” and have created small Conversation Card sets to help get you started. We hope that these simple questions and simple menu ideas will take some of the pressure off.
Our General Manager, Daniel Terhune, has been a great inspiration to us over the years. We aren’t sure we know of anyone is who is a more thoughtful, kind, generous and an ever-willing helper to his friends, family and neighbors! While balancing his family & career, he manages to find time to volunteer his time and host simple coffee & conversation moments. So we asked him for his ideas on how he does this with ease…. here are some of his ideas. May you feel encouraged and equipped to continue opening your hearts and homes to others.
This “H” word doesn’t have to be hard or scary, but we know it feels that way sometimes. We also know that this “H” word changes lives. Open your time, your homes, your life and invite others in to enjoy meaningful time together. Here are a few ideas you can use to make hospitality a simple, daily practice in your life. Snacks. Nuts, dried fruit, whole fruit. I lived in Lebanon for a little while in my twenties, and everywhere I went, I was amazed to see small bowls of whole fruit and nuts on every table. As if the homeowners are expecting and ready to welcome anyone who comes knocking.
How easy is it to give someone a snack when you already have it waiting for them in the living room, all the time? Any ready to eat, simple, approachable items are a good choice, just have them ready, buy them on sale, and share freely.
Everyone needs it, everyone loves it. Food and drink have always been at the center of community gatherings, both big and small. You don’t need a Thanksgiving day spread just to have friends over for a cup of coffee and a chat, you just need something you can share with them, a catalyst for conversation, a talking point.
Here are a few ideas that are simple, tasty, and won’t break the bank.
Hummus, dips, veggies and crackers – Make it nice, put it on a plate, don’t eat hummus out of the tub.
Charcuterie board (aka fancy adult lunchables).
Grab a big ol’ plate and grab the following: 3- fruits and vegetables cut up – apple, carrot, cucumber, figs, olives 3- condiments: some savory, some sweet. Brown mustard, jam, hummus. 3- cheeses – no need to get too fancy if you don’t want to. Get what you can afford, cut it up, let it come to room temperature. Brie, cheddar, blue, goat. 3- nuts and crackers – get what you like, almonds, triscuits, saltines. 2- meats – sliced prosciutto, Italian salami, and American salami.
Gather everything, put it all together, and just leave it covered in the fridge until you’re ready, it can be prepared in advance which is always helpful.
Fruit + crumb topping = happiness.
Keep this shareable crowd-pleasing dessert fun by using a mixture of seasonal/frozen fruits.
Recipe serves 6 people
For the filling: 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 6 cups sliced fresh or thawed frozen fruit, such as peaches, plums, or cherries 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice For the topping: 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for buttering the baking dish 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Equipment needed: 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch glass baking dish Measuring cups and spoons Mixing bowls Whisk Cooling rack
Make it: Heat the oven and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch glass baking dish with butter; set aside.
Make the fruit filling. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl until lump-free. Add the fruit and lemon juice and toss gently to coat. Transfer to the baking dish. Make the crisp topping. Combine the oats, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir until combined. Drizzle the butter and vanilla over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Set aside. Top the crisp. Scatter the crisp topping evenly over the fruit mixture, leaving large clumps intact.
Bake the crisp. Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the baking dish and the topping is golden and firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool the crisp. Let the crisp cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. If transporting to a picnic or party, let the crisp cool completely to give the fruit filling time to set. Crisps will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Serve cold, room temperature, or re-warmed in a low oven for 20 minutes. Add a scoop of ice cream to really impress.
Make a pot of coffee that doesn’t suck.
What you need: 10-cup coffee maker Paper filter 44oz filtered water 80g (about 16 tbsp) medium ground coffee Fill the coffee maker water reservoir with cold water (filtered or bottled for best results) Place the filter Fill with ground coffee from Live Oak (couldn’t resist the product placement opportunity). Get it whole bean if you have a decent grinder at home, but don’t be afraid to have us grind it for you if that makes your life easier.
You may just want to drink it more quickly than if you keep it whole. If you have any issues, questions about equipment, different coffees, different brewing recipes to make a pot that you’ll love, drop us a line!
It’s not a curse word, it’s a cause. It needs to be easy – food is not going to be an excuse to not be hospitable. It needs to be approachable – tonight is not about the wow, it’s about the act. It needs to be shareable – sharing food and drink is one of the best ways to become comfortable enough to share stories, to share our hearts, to share time together. That’s all I’ve got to say about this subject for now. I hope a couple of these thoughts will be helpful to you and encourage you to practice hospitality in the coming weeks.