Today’s “a day in the life” is the amazingly kindhearted Sandy of The Reluctant Entertainer. I want to be Sandy when I grow up. She’s the perfect hostess, the perfect friend and loves to entertain. She inspires me to put away the yoga pants, open a bottle of wine and invite some friends over. Best yet, her site is full of tips to make achieve all your entertaining goals easily and without spending a fortune. 

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Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.The-Reluctant-Entertainer

I started blogging back in 2006 when I realized so many people were fearful of opening their homes to others for a meal. I started thinking about the reasons why, and I started blogging about it. My goal back then, which is the same today, is to help people get over their fears of entertaining and to experience the benefits of having people over to dinner. My blog is for everyone, but there are many posts that are perfect for the ‘reluctant entertainer.’ I also wrote a book, The Reluctant Entertainer, back in 2009.

I’m a wife, mom to 2 boys in college and 1 daughter in high school, and I also volunteer for  my husband’s non-profit, The Protectors.org, which is a freedom from bullying program that he runs and speaks nationally in schools around the world.

We have a dog that we are crazy about, Haggis McStitch (Cairn Terrier, which is a “Toto” dog), and 2 cuddly cats, Filly and Hobbes.

Take me through a day in your life.

My days are so random and different.  Seriously, they are never the same because I run at 5:30 on 2 days, and the other days of week I sleep in and go to gym at 8:15.
I get up read, pray, espresso, plan my day, jump on computer.
But if I’m running, I do that after. If to the gym, I do that first.
Then I work unless I have appointments (I do a lot with H&D), I volunteer and do stuff for theprotectors.org – my husband’s non-profit. I go to soccer games, lunch dates, some days I work straight through and don’t even get out of work out clothes.
I generally cook in the evening for dinner and will photograph what I’m making. But again, sometimes I’m inspired in the AM.
My husband is a Varsity soccer coach at a high school and my daughter plays, too, so lots of games and random dinners now that it’s Fall.
We wing it where we eat dinner, sometimes at the table, sometimes out by the pool, sometimes we sit in the living room.
The other thing is I’ve been traveling so much, I never feel like I have a normal organized week!
My main focus is morning time to focus, then exercise, then plan to see people (do something for someone, go to lunch, appts.) and home to fix dinner. We love leftovers so some nights it’s leftovers.
Bed is usually around 9:30 on a week night. We love watching THE OFFICE reruns, but if my husband falls asleep early, I’ll sneak on The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Hu Lu. :)
On weekends we entertain a ton or we go to other dinner parties! We stay out late!|

What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?

A very small food processor I bought at a yard sale years ago for $1. The size is perfect for garlic, onions, jalapenos, herbs, nuts, etc, it’s quick and easy to clean. I use it on a daily basis.

What is the most important part of your day? Why?

Morning time. I get up and read something inspirational, drink my coffee, plan my day, and usually head out to exercise. I’m way more motivated in the mornings!

What is your favorite part of your day? Why?

Morning! I either run with my running partners or head to the gym. And then I get to work on RE!

What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?

I can’t say I really have a part of the day I don’t like. Of course every day isn’t perfect, and comes with its own set of disappointments and setbacks, but I try to be joyful, no matter what the task at hand is.

If you could choose one room in your house to spend the WHOLE day in, which room would it be? Why?

Living Room. I love the big windows in our 1978 home, and I often sit on our sectional and write.

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If you could choose one room in your house to remodel (on an unlimited budget!) which room would it be and why?

Oh, for sure our bathrooms. We live in a 1978 house, which we love, but the bathrooms indeed need some help! It doesn’t stop us from entertaining though. I realize my house will never be perfect, and I don’t want to wait until it is and let life pass me by. We love having people over. Sitting around the table with friends is one of the greatest gifts in life!

What is your favorite day of the week? Why?

I love Fridays! It’s the end of the week, we usually are entertaining over the weekend, or we have an invite over to a friend’s home. Lately it’s soccer season, so we have several soccer games to attend. I cook more on the weekends – it’s just more interactive family time. Fridays say to me: It’s time for some fun!

If you had to choose one place to travel to every year, where would it be? Why? Have you been there before?

We love to take our kids to Sunriver Resort every year, which is near Bend, Oregon. It’s a beautiful part of Oregon—the high desert—which we find so relaxing as we ride bikes, hike, fly fish, and eat good food.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go and how long would you stay?

Back to Ireland. Our trip there in 2007 was so incredible, but we didn’t get to stay long enough! There’s so much more we’d love to take in …

What is your favorite quote or verse?

One of my favorite quotes is: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”. — John Wayne

It goes well with this post. I think many of us lack courage and are too afraid to open our homes to others, because of perfectionism.

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What is your favorite cookbook?

Over the years I’ve devoured the Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks. I love the explanation they provide in the science and method of cooking.

What recipe on your blog are you most proud of? 

Recently, I love this Mushroom and Tomato Frittata. It’s also one of our last breakfasts with our boys before they head back to college.

I also am proud of my Smokey Zucchini Salsa recipe that I can and give away for gifts. I adapted this recipe around our garden, and added in the sweet smokey flavor with people love!

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I also recently taught my very sweet friend, Jessica, how to can! We had so much fun together!

 

Lastly, for a late summer recipe, our family can’t get enough of this delicious salad:

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What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?

Summer Squash Casserole is one of my most popular posts from this summer.

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What is your guilty food pleasure that you’re embarrassed to fess up to? Kraft Mac & Cheese? Spagetti-o’s? Canned cheese? We promise not to judge!

Oh, it would be chocolate. For sure, chocolate.

What have you learned since you began blogging?

Comparing yourself to others is like poison. Just like I taught my kids when they were young, you will never be invited to every party. Having a good attitude and being thankful for each opportunity that comes my way–not looking at others and what they have or what they’ve been invited to–and maintaining a heart of gratitude for my life, is the key to joy and happiness.

Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in cooking or food blogging?

Read the book, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It’s a book about being creative. Get in the kitchen and do what you love and share it with the world!

 

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Thanks Sandy! I loved reading this and I loved your answer for what you learned since you began blogging. Such great advice.  

You can find more of Sandy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.