I recently read a book about hospitality called Face to Face: Meditations on Friendship and Hospitality. It was an excellent read and one I would recommend to anyone. It really kicked me in the tail. While I have a heart for hospitality in general, sometimes I find myself lacking in that area – even though it is referred to several times in the New Testament. Why do I struggle? Well, let’s be honest – whole foods aren’t cheap. I buy the good stuff now….so sometimes I want to hoard it for myself and my family. Sometimes it’s hard to use my coconut oil on someone who might not care. But here’s the thing…..it doesn’t matter if they care. What matters is that I’m showing love to them and filling their tummy. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 Hospitality is showing love to your Christian brothers and sisters by filling their tummy and making them a part of your home.
Most people struggle with the same thing I do – the money part. If you’re strapped for cash when feeding your own family, how can you feed other people? The answer is simple – hospitality doesn’t have to break the bank. The thought that hospitality is expensive is a LIE. Hospitality is sharing what you have with someone else – giving of yourself and your abundance. As Barry has said before, if you hold your money in a closed fist, it surely won’t leave……but nothing can get in either. Sharing what you have will fill you up with joy and fulfillment. And here’s how to do it without spending a fortune.
1. Just have someone over for coffee and dessert. If you want to have several people over and you don’t want to feed them an entire meal (or can’t), just ask them to come over for coffee and dessert. I’ve had a good many visits over coffee and chocolate cake. And really, you could talk about dirt and dryer lint over chocolate cake and have a blast. A pot of coffee is pretty cheap and you can cater your dessert to your audience. If you need to feed a big crowd, check out Pioneer Woman’s Best Chocolate Sheet Cake EVER. Also, Punch Bowl Cakes aren’t too expensive and can feed a large crowd.
2. Serve beans. When Dave Ramsey talks about cutting your budget he says you might be eating “beans and rice. Rice and beans.” Beans/rice makes a VERY cheap meal. And really, if Cracker Barrel can serve beans and cornbread, why can’t you? It’s really easy to make a pot of beans in your crock pot. Serve it with some skillet cornbread and you’re all set. Make sure to end the night early before the beans kick in….if you catch my drift.
3. Cook a whole chicken. Have you checked the price of whole chickens? Not too shabby. If you go with the organic version, they’re a little more pricey. However, if you need to feed a larger crowd, I’m totally cool with going with a conventional bird. Cook a whole chicken in your crock pot, slap on a few sides and you’re all set. Do you know people go to the store just to buy rotisserie chickens? The people coming over will think you’re serving a gourmet meal. And in case I’ve never told you, naked whole chickens give me the heebie jeebies.
4. Take your hospitality “to go.” For the most part, I see hospitality as bringing someone into your home….however, who says you can’t take your home’s hospitality to someone else? The next time you’re making bread, make an extra loaf and deliver it to a neighbor. When you make a batch of cookies, double it and take it to a new couple at your church. When you’re making tea, deliver a cold glass to the workers out front in your yard. If you make a batch of something and it totally flops, you probably shouldn’t deliver that. In fact, get rid of the evidence before your husband gets home so you don’t have to explain anything. *Cough*
5. Make Tortilla Pizzas. Have you ever met anyone who didn’t like a pizza party? No really…..pizza is where it’s AT. My recipe for Skillet Pizzas is really easy and it can be customized to each person. Serve some fruit, maybe some chips and salsa and you’re all ready to go. And if you’re really pressed for time and cash, you could always pick up a couple $5 pizzas from Little Caesar’s. I won’t tell. After all, we live by the 80/20 principle. 😉
Open your home to others and see how much fun you can have. It’s a blessing to both the hostess and those attending.
NOTE: Pick up the blocks before company comes – otherwise they might step on them and lose their religion – not really what we’re going for here.
What is your favorite “go-to” frugal meal for guests?