Blog stats don't lie ;) There are a lot of people out there searching for
soup party tips and tricks. Allow me to help you!
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I don't have to tell you all the things there are to love about soup... things like they're easy one-pot dinners, are healthy, filling, tasty, and toasty warm. You know all that. But four years ago, my kids didn't. Back then, when I decided I wanted to start serving more soups for family dinners, I also decided that I'd get my family "on board" with the idea by hosting our first Fall Soup Party. Anything called a party could get their attention! They sure were excited. They helped me make invitations and decorations. They helped set the table. And they ate the soup - because after all, it was party food.
Our first Fall Soup Party was a hit, and we've been hosting one annually ever since.
Are you thinking of having your own soup party?? I think you should! It's so much fun, and it really is a great way to draw your family together around the table to share in the warmth of homemade, wholesome soup.
I'm no professional party planner a la Martha Stewart. But my Blogger stats are telling me that my fellow soup-lovers are always finding my blog when they search for "soup party ideas and how-to's." So..... I can at least share with you how I do it! Hope you get to host your own party soon and let me know if you do!
(the photos throughout are a mix of 2013 and 2014 - just so you don't get confused :) )
Set the menu.
Choose 4 -6 soups to serve.
I typically choose six - 2 vegetable or pasta based soups, 2 chicken, and 2 beef.
I choose six because it's a good variety and I can keep six warm at one time - four on my stove-top burners and two in slow cookers.
Need some great soup ideas?? Check out The Soup Savvy Page for my up-coming series "10 Days of Family Friendly Soups" :)
(it will post end of January/beginning of February, 2015)
Prepare your soups the week before the party.
I typically buy all the ingredients I need in one grocery trip and cook similar soups at the same time. For example, if I'm making two chicken soups, I'll cook the chicken breasts in the Crock Pot overnight, shred the meat in the morning and make the two soups that day.
I usually don't have the fridge space to store six soups, so I freeze them in gallon-size plastic bags and thaw them in the fridge the day before the party.
Buy the "extras" the day before, or day of, the party.
I plan my extras according to what types of soup I'm serving.
Here are some toppings to consider:
salt/pepper (polite to put out on the table, but probably not necessary, since the soup you'll be serving will be delicious enough not to need them ;) )
shredded cheese (cheddar, mixed Mexican, Parmesan, feta)
crusty french bread for dipping, corn bread, bread sticks, oyster crackers, croutons
tortilla chips or tortilla strips
beverages - wine, beer, apple cider for the kids :)
Set the table.
Our soup party is in the fall, so I try to go with a seasonal centerpiece, place settings, or decorations the kids made.
I intentionally set the table with small bowls to encourage small helpings of a variety of soups. Small mugs would also work well :)
I love to use mason jars to set out the toppings and "extras" at the table. I think it looks pretty, offers some visual continuity, and it saves table space (because a jar is usually narrower than a bowl...) I'll put oyster crackers, croutons, shredded cheese, bacon bits in various size jars...
This past year I made seasonal place cards that doubled as party favors, which I thought added a pretty touch :)
Don't forget to gather the opinions of your guests (especially the kids) on the soups. With so many to choose from, they're bound to have a favorite!
If you have guests that are not your immediate family living in your own home, at the end of the night, gift them with an empty mason jar to fill with their favorite soup of the night. It's a lovely way to send them home with a bit of the party and a heat n' eat lunch for the next day!
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Hope you've gotten some new ideas or have been inspired to give the party a go! Maybe you're even on your way to launching your own annual tradition! Don't forget... I've got 10 great soup recipes coming up to help get you started!
(series coming January/February 2015)