I'd love to create an atmosphere in my home (and of course, my kitchen since I am a Diva In the Kitchen!) of warmth and welcome! In our busy lives, it would be nice to have a place where you can slow things down a bit and share quality time with the people you care about.
So how do you do that?
For me, one of the things I like to do is have coffee and cakes available at a moment's notice! Nothing kicks off a more welcoming atmosphere than the smell of coffee brewing and cake warming in the oven. I usually stock up on petit fours at the grocery store and put them in the freezer. When a friend stops over, I get the coffee pot going, turn the oven on and pop the little teacakes in! Easy, yet rich in hospitality.
Another thing I like to do is serve sweet tea and sausage balls (especially on the porch!) As many people in the south would say, sitting on the porch is a way of life. It represents sharing conversation and once again, slowing down just a bit to keep in touch with neighbors.
I have found that making little "goodies" ahead of time and freezing them, really goes a long way when faced with entertaining unexpectedly! The key is to make it look simple and without thought!
You don't want to make your guests feel they have put you out in any way, so having something prepared for their visit will make them feel right at home!