The Reluctant Entertainer- Book Giveaway!

By the winners are…
#22 Terri
#9 Sherri@Design to Shine
#14 Natasha@ Saved by the Egg Timer

Congratulations, I will be emailing you for your addresses!

I have books on the brain of late. I think we all do as we send our children back to school. I love books. To read them. Give them as gifts. And treasure them. Have any of you met my friend Sandy yet? She is the writer of the blog Reluctant Entertainer and author of the book named for her blog. From reading her blog you should be able to conclude that Sandy is one of the nicest people in the blogisphere. Her genuine stories gently lead her readers who are Reluctant Entertainers into confident hostesses.

Years ago Sandy realized that the gift of hospitality was quickly becoming a dying art. Less and less women were comfortable with opening their homes to friends, family, and their neighbors. She discovered an array of excuses, “My home is too small, messy, too simple. I can’t cook, I’m clumsy, I’m too shy, I am afraid.” In her beautiful book, The Reluctant Entertainer, Sandy maps out ways women can gain confidence in opening their homes to guests. Her prose are gentle and kind as if she were sitting right there with you, holding your hand as she encouraged you to share your home and yourself. Using the saying, Keep It Simple Sister- KISS, Sandy’s simple tips on decorations, recipes, and conversation will turn any reluctant hostess into a hospitality goddess! I loved reading her book and have already sent one as a gift and have it on my favorite “books to give as gifts list.” If you are a Reluctant Entertainer or know one, may I suggest Sandy’s book. It is truly the bible of entertaining!

Big Red Kitchen is happy to announce that we are giving away 3, yes THREE, of Sandy’s beautiful books.

1. To win a copy, leave a comment telling of your favorite hostess triumph or even funnier, mishap.

2. For an extra entry, tweet this contest being sure to include @bigredkitchen. If you don’t tweet, facebook it.

3. For another entry, mention this giveaway on your blog with a link to Big Red Kitchen!

4. I must have a way of contacting winners, so please leave your email address.

Contest will close Sunday September 12, 9 pm EST.

Place this book on your Christmas list, to give or receive. Christmas is only 107 days away! Scream!!!!


  1. slip4
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    My kitchen mishap involved turning on the oven to Broil instead of Bake. The fish was a LITTLE overdone! Nuf' said. I read Sandy's blog and would love to own her book. She has helped me so much!

  2. Kelly
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    I don't really have a huge entertaining triumph of mishap. But I do enjoy entertaining and would love to win this book!

  3. Kathleen Bakka
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    I cooked thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws (at the time I wasn't "in" the family yet) and have successfully pulled it off ever since. Even when I was 9 weeks pregnant and the smell of Turkey made me hurl!

  4. Anne
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    I'm sure I've had more mishaps than triumphs but they mostly involve boring things like overcooking and the like, nothing exciting. I can say that I have learned not to try out a brand new recipe on guests, unless I have time to taste-test it beforehand AND have a back-up plan in case! Minor example: I found an iced tea (yes, even things as simple as iced tea!) recipe in a magazine and decided to make it when my family came over for dinner. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I think it involved fresh ginger and some kind of juice and other things, too. I didn't even taste it before I set it out to drink. Thankfully, my family was bold enough to say, "That's disgusting!" instead of trying to bravely force it down in a polite fashion, lol. My email is quickeasycheaphealthy at gmail dot com.

  5. Pete the Brit
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    The first place I lived away from home was a tiny apartment with only a small Baby Belling Oven – 2 rings and a mini oven standing on the counter. I had friends coming over that night so I decided to bake a vicotria sponge layer cake for dessert.

    When I took the pans out of the oven I discovered that the oven wasn't level so that my layers were thicker on one side than the other. Never mind I thought, if I just rotate the layers no one will really notice.

    Because I forgot to grease the pans properly one of the layers split in half when I tried to extricate it from the pan. Oh well, icing can cover over a multitude of flaws so I went to the cupboard and grabbed my icing sugar.

    Unfortunately I had not anticipated on the damp in the house causing the icing sugar to clump. I tried sifting, I tried pounding, and I even tried heating my icing, but it still had this really curious sandy texture, and, when I tried to ice the cake it flowed off the top, into the crack, and down the side.

    This disaster did not look edible!

    In a fit of desperation I grabbed some vanilla ice cream from the freezer and covered the entire cake in it and then put it back in the freezer to firm up.

    I very nervously served it at the end of the meal when my friends arrived and they loved it!!!! It is amazing the mistakes you can hide in a mound of white ice cream.

  6. Pete the Brit
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    oops forgot to include my email addy.

  7. Missy
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    I had my entire family over for dinner in my brand spanking new apartment just after I left the nest at 18. I made a pretty mediocre dinner served on mismatched dollar store plates… and then I served dessert.

    I went all fancy and decided on Almond Cheesecake. I come from the school of "if a little is good, alot is better" – so I added nearly a half bottle of almond extract. It was inedible! It tasted like rubbing alcohol. My parents were so sweet and choked it down. haha

    I learned from my mistakes, but I will never forget the gagging noises. hahaha At least it was family – they can't get rid of me!

  8. Ellen
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    My worst entertaining mishap, which I'll never forget, happened in the 70's. A friend of mine's husband was running for circuit court judge, and I had a "Meet the Candidate" party. I invited 40 friends, borrowed tables and chairs, and my friend and I made cakes, cookies, and punch galore. And NO ONE CAME. NOT ONE PERSON. It was the most awful thing that could happen. But my friend's husband did win, and later became the attorney general of Florida. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  9. Sherri @ Design2Shine
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    My triumph had to be last year when I hosted a simple afterwork girls treats at my house. Everyone enjoyed and wants to do it again this year! I'd LOVE to wim!

  10. amfohio
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    After surviving one minor stove fire that resulted in a new kitchen, I consider every dinner party, cook-out or holiday dinner a huge success

  11. High Plains Drifters
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Mishap? Easy. Thanksgiving '02. Our 110 pound part Bernese, part Swissie, mostly mongrel got up on the table and devoured the turkey, all 27 pounds of it.

    Then the next day, got sick just about everywhere. Three grand bill to detail the inside of the truck. Had to rip the seats out and everything.

  12. JadeLD
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    My recent amusing mis-hap was when our gazebo blew away during our BBQ and landed in a garden a couple of houses up – it was fine though, everyone was quite amused!

  13. Anonymous
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    My favorite hostess triumph was just about anything and everything my dear mother attempted with hostessing! Unfortunately, I'm not my mother. :o/ I need help!
    Signed, RE Mae

  14. Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    I bet this is a great book! So correct about many people being an intimidated host and the death of hospitality! Many of my friends would love and need this book, lol!

  15. Laura
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Hostess mishap had to be dinner for 15 in my 1 bedroom condo when I put a lasagna in to bake, lit a couple dozen candles throughout the house, and then kept smelling a gas smell. The oven's pilot light had gone out. It's a miracle I didn't blow us up – but dinner turned out great!
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  16. The Real Me!
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    I just love Sandy. I've been reading her blog for quite awhile now and always leave inspired.
    Let's see my biggest triumph or mishap…..I would have to say that making my first turkey for my first Thanksgiving being married started with me being in tears trying to stuff the bird and get it in the cooking bag, but in the end it was a triumph because it tasted delicious!

    Have a fabulous day!

  17. Sara
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    First comment? Wow! We actually entertain alot so we are just a mess of successes and failures…but I think this book would be great to help me simplify my approach.

  18. pam
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Okay I need this book, I'm just about all of them, shy, afraid, too simply, etc…. What a great book, and I too believe the gift of hospitality is quickly dying. What a great book to have and treasure.

  19. Jennifer
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    At the last minute, I was asked to help out a close friend by hosting a lunch for her extended family. I didn't have time to go to the store, so I used what I had! baked chicken legs….lots of 'em, boiled potatoes, cornbread and corn were a huge hit! Simple, comfort food always makes for a great meal!

  20. Amanda
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    I've never hosted a big dinner party. NEVER. Usually someone else takes on all the holiday stuff. The closest thing I have is a date. I taught myself to cook and it was an uphill battle. I had practiced the recipe a couple of times before the date. Everything went great on the practice runs. But on the night of the date, somehow, my stove caught on fire and things didn't go so well. I'm hoping to host a thanksgiving or xmas dinner in the near future. this book would help. – Amanda A

  21. stacief
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Having the oven go out on New Years Eve and cooking a roast in the toaster oven…and it was delicious!

  22. Terri.
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    Last St Patty's Day I had corned my own brisket and it came out soooo good. I had never liked corned beef and I have to say I liked it. Everyone loved it.

  23. Elaine
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    My very first Thanksgiving after I got married was for 37 people, it went off well, but I was too busy to realize how intimidating it all was… good times, good memories, good food for family & friend!

  24. Susan
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    Mishap…Thanksgiving…Was going to fry the turkey, except the turkey fryer decided not to work THAT particular day…(talk about a mishap)! Fortunately, my sister worked at a restaurant and she had brought an extra turkey with her to make for sandwiches that afternoon. We heated it up for lunch instead! She totally saved me! [simpsos][@][]

  25. Natalie
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    i have a disaster hostess story….
    we had a dinner party a few weeks ago and i totally forgot that one of our guest was allergic to strawberries, gluten and lactose intolerant. this was a milk based meal and she had almost nothing to eat! to top it off her husband is diabetic (which i remembered) but between the 2 of them i'm not quite sure how much they actually enjoyed (besides for the company of course 🙂 ) oh well! better luck next time!


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