Two house guest hacks

12 November 2018

‘Tis the season for house guests, friends! We just waved goodbye to my Mom, John’s parents are here now, and my parents and sister’s family will be here before the end of the year! We’re no stranger to hosting visitors (living 10 hours away from your family will do that to you), but for years, our visits would often feel logistically scattered, despite what felt like extensive pre-planning on my part. I’d get frustrated and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong… until I did! :)

Turns out I was focusing so intently on our dinner plans for each night that I was completely neglecting the other two meals of the day. It sounds simple, but when I started making an intentional (but loosely-held) plan for breakfast and lunch each day, things seemed to go so much more smoothly!

Just in case you find yourself in the same boat, I thought I’d share our go-to for both meals, courtesy of my sisters-in-law…

Sally’s Baking Addiction

For breakfast, our secret is frozen chocolate croissants from Trader Joe’s, introduced to us by Natalie earlier this year. They rise on the counter overnight, which makes them seem extra-legit, and they are so flaky and delicious! Pair with chopped fruit and/or scrambled eggs and you’ve got a great start to the day that feels special but couldn’t be easier.

For lunch, we’ll make gourmet grilled cheese (in our griddler – so easy!). Here, the game changer is using a rosemary loaf from Whole Foods, which takes the spread from ho-hum to unforgettable. Marget gets the gold star for bringing this combo to my attention, and for pairing the sandwiches with boxed soup for the perfect quick lunch!

I would love to hear: what do you usually serve guests for breakfast or lunch? A spread of bagels from our local favorite or big pot of soup, like this or this, is another go-to for us. Let’s get the ideas flowing and help each other out this holiday season! :)

P.S. More house guest tips.

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November 12, 2018 8:16 am

Yes to all of this! We have guests here for a week right now, and I tried to stock up our pantry and fridge to accommodate easy, delicious breakfasts — both together and on-to-go. Trader Joe’s frozen croissants are THE best (well, next to going downtown to my favorite spots), and we buy those often for guests. I also love to make egg muffins (filled with veggies and cheese and sometimes a breakfast meat) in advance, as well as have plenty of bagels, cream cheese, fruit, and eggs on hand for easy breakfasts. I also leave ALL of the coffee/tea-making options and ingredients out on the counter so no one has to go without an early morning coffee or tea option just because they can’t find anything!

November 12, 2018 9:52 am

Instant pot oatmeal with a variety of toppings – can make a big batch, and so easy!

November 12, 2018 11:20 am

I learned about the croissants from you mentioning them another time and now they’re a very special treat in our household.. they really are SO delicious! Like from a nice bakery!

November 12, 2018 10:42 pm

Ever since I had those chocolate croissants as a guest of yours I’ve had them on my list for hosting or even just a special family treat! They are so fun :)! Also, as a semi regular guest of the Thomas household, I am always impressed with your hosting abilities. I think one of the Thomas strengths is a plethora of low key activities.

Kelly Strawberry
November 14, 2018 9:53 am

Love this! I always love your recommendations. And love the above comment about the Thomas plethora of low key activities. :)

November 14, 2018 2:52 pm

Great tips!

I write the wifi password on a little piece of paper, have extra chargers, a hair dryer and soaps stocked in the guest room dresser. I made an extra copy of our house key so guests can come and go more freely. I always ask how they take their coffee and try to have that on hand and take dietary considerations into account. One snafu I made was not having an AC unit in our guest room – it needs one! And now that it’s winter – I’m hoping it’s warm enough. Stocked an extra blanket in there.
My main issue with houseguests is when they leave their stuff around… I am a neat freak and it pains me to see a suitcase overflowing in the living room or stuff all over our counters. I am thinking about being more explicit about my love for neatness.
Also, do you ever think about asking family to stay at an airbnb nearby now that you have two kids – I’m thinking I may have to do that at some point – I think everyone will be happier… but who knows, maybe that would really hurt their feelings…
Anyway, thank you again for the thoughtful tips! Whole Foods has gluten-free frozen pies that you can pop in the oven – one less thing to make from scratch!

November 29, 2018 8:02 am

We love interactive meals that we can all stand around and get involved – we love a big pancake bar or fry up for breakfast and then a BBQ or build your own salad for lunch x