Getting Practical in Hospitality (my favorite resources!)

One of my goals this year was to learn in a tangible way (not just in theory), what biblical hospitality looks like. I've been blown away at how God has already answered this prayer in just the first half of the year, and I'm excited to see what else there is to learn!

How to get practical about hospitality....my favorite resources for the heart and the practical // Natasha Red

I've written about hospitality several times on the blog, but there are a few resources that I go to over and over that I just love. For those who are wondering "where do I start?" for both the heart motive of hospitality and also in the practical, I have some great resources for you.

hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

 

"Meal with Jesus" by Tim Chester

Hospitality involves welcoming, creating space, listening, paying attention, and providing. Meals slow things down. Some of us don’t like that. We like to get things done. But meals force you to be people oriented instead of task oriented. Sharing a meal is not the only way to build relationships, but it is number one on the list.
— Tim Chester, Meal with Jesus

I've only made a dent in this book and it's already highlighted a ton! I'm loving Tim's depth of perspective on how Jesus loved the most broken people in society, using food as a catalyst for that. Get the book here.

"For the Love" by Jen Hatmaker

Although this book isn't solely about hospitality, she talks a lot about how food draws communities together and gives a safe place for relationships to form and deepen. I love her thoughts on Supper Club and the value of cooking in this book.

IF:Table

If you sign up for the IF:Table newsletter, you will receive a monthly email with recipe inspiration and gospel focused blog posts about sharing a meal and extending hospitality. They even sell conversation cards (you can also download them for free). This has been a great resource for my own Supper Club, especially when I was first thinking through what I wanted that time to look like.

Gospel Coalition Podcast on Hospitality

Here's the link to the podcast - such great stuff including how to think about other cultures and welcoming strangers into our home.

My Posts

And here are all the posts I've written myself on the topic. Click the picture to read the post.

I love sharing what I'm learning and continuing to grow....do you have any resources to add to this list?

2016 NR Customer + Reader Survey

Hey friends! One of the BEST ways for me to continue to bring you the highest quality content on the blog, and through my shop is to get feedback from you! Everything I share with you here in directly from my heart, and what I'm learning but it's to benefit YOU, so tell me what you think!

I've created a 5-minute customer and reader survey to gain as much valuable info as I can for this next year of business. Would you take it and share your thoughts? I'd be so appreciative! PS: At the end there are instructions for entering to win a $25 shop credit! YAY!

Veggie Packed Meat Sauce

We love vegetables in our family, so anytime I can add a whole bunch to a meal, I'm all for it. I don't know many other families who aren't in the same boat as us - needing healthy, simple meals to nourish their families with. This recipe would be a great one to double and freeze half for later, and would also make a great simple meal for having friends over for dinner.

Veggie Packed Meat Sauce recipe for a simple dinner and perfect for freezing ahead!

Ingredients

  • cooking oil (I prefer coconut oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper (I used orange), cored and diced
  • 1 tablespoon herbs (rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, etc.)*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (15 ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped

 

Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot, and add onion, carrots, pepper and garlic. Sauté on medium-low heat for about 7-10 minutes, until they start to soften.
  2. Season with herbs, salt and pepper and stir everything together with a wooden spoon.
  3. Push vegetables to one side of the pan and add ground beef. Break up the beef with a wooden spoon and mix it in with the vegetables as it starts to brown.
  4. When the beef is almost completely browned, add tomato sauce and tomato. Cover the pot with a lid and turn heat down to low, simmering for 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce has absorbed into the vegetables and meat.

The end result is a creamy, hearty meat sauce packed with veggies and so much flavor!

* Notes:

  • After sautéing your vegetables, you can pulse them in a blender and add them back to the pot as you cook your beef, if you want to disguise them for picky kiddos.
  • We used this sauce with some mozzarella and made calzones! You could serve it over vegetable noodles, pasta, spaghetti squash, roasted brussels sprouts or sautéed greens, or on homemade pizza! Here's the recipe for the calzone crusts we LOVE.
  • If you don't have fresh herbs or a pantry stocked with various dried herbs, try using herbs de provence. It's a blend of marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and other herbs.
Veggie Packed Meat Sauce recipe for a simple dinner and perfect for freezing ahead!
Veggie Packed Meat Sauce recipe for a simple dinner and perfect for freezing ahead!

Hospitality: Does it have to be dinner?

If you've been around me or this blog for a while, you know my heart beats for hospitality. This year, one of my goals for 2016 has been to really dig in to what hospitality looks like beyond the regular "hospitality is not entertaining" mantra. I've wanted to really learn what God says about the matter, not just what sounds poetic or feels good for our culture, you know?

This summer I'm studying Acts, and already (only 2 chapters in) God is revealing so much about genuine community. Couple that with the intense amount of tangible love I've felt from friends in this recent season of my life, and the true heart of hospitality has become more palpable to me than ever before.

If we're going to ask "what is hospitality?," one of the obvious next questions for me is then "does it have to include food?"

The short answer is: no. For the woman who knows that cooking is not her gifting, or the woman who feels like they need to prepare a 4 course meal in order to invite friends over for dinner, and feels utterly exhausted by that, this is good news. But (and this is a really hopeful but) Acts is showing me that Jesus came eating and drinking - he came to call the marginalized into his circle and used the table as the place to do that. The table seems to be such a focal point for Jesus as he forgives the worst of the worst in the city, and extends gracious hospitality to them as he loves them well.

Hospitality is defined as extending charity and genuine care towards someone else, typically those visiting your home. So does this have to involve food? Not really. But (here's the hopeful but again) we get to involve food. It's a joy because no one can deny that food draws people in. Food provides a natural centerpiece for connection. Tell me you wouldn't jump at the opportunity to have dinner at a friends home if offered? So it's no wonder that in Acts 2, "breaking bread" (sharing a meal) was mentioned twice in a matter of a few short sentences spelling out a lesson on genuine community.

Community is cultivated, seeds planted, and relationships deepened around the table. This has been shown to me in such a tangible way recently. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was texting back and forth with a friend (both of us just had babies within a few weeks of each other, so we're both in that postpartum phase together) and she asked how I was doing. All I replied with was "not so good" and immediately she responded with an offer to bring us a meal. I didn't need to give her any more details, and already she knew what my heart needed.

She didn't shy away from community by just dropping something off, she invited her family of 5 over to our home to share that meal with us. In the midst of feeding picky toddlers, rocking babies in car seats, and nursing another fussy baby, such genuine and heartfelt community happened around our table. I can't tell you how loved I felt. That in a season of my life where my capacity has seemed to have dwindled down to almost nothing, someone in practically the same boat as me extended her arms to our family - speaking volumes about grace and love and hospitality in a crockpot meal shared around our table.

So, of course hospitality doesn't have to be dinner at my house at 6.....but it's a great option, don't you think? How can we keep our food simple and no fuss, so that we can free ourselves up to love people well? It's worth exploring and taking that risk, for on the other side of the table, I believe, is true intimacy.

This is what I have been learning lately, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic!

One Pot Chicken with Veggies + Artichoke Hearts

One evening when Everett was about 1 or 2 weeks old, my mother in law was over, helping with things around the house, and cooking dinner. She brought over a bunch of random ingredients from her refrigerator at home and just threw it all together. We had no idea what to call this dish, but it was delicious, and we've made it together several times since.

Simple Dinner: One Pot Chicken with Veggies + Artichoke Hearts

This meal is super simple, with ingredients you already have in your house, I'd be willing to bet. With the exception of artichokes, because I know I don't cook with them all the time, even though they are my favorite vegetable. I feel like artichokes are vastly under used. They are just so good. When I remember that I love something so much I tend to go a little crazy over them. Artichokes on all the things! Pizza, pasta, salads, so many possibilities. Anyway, the artichokes are what make this dish, in our opinion (my mother in laws and mine). Be sure to pick up the already marinated kind, for tons of flavor.

Simple Dinner: One Pot Chicken with Veggies + Artichoke Hearts

 

Ingredients

  • cooking oil (I prefer coconut oil)
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 russet potato
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts

Instructions

Heat up a large pot with coconut oil over medium heat and start chopping your veggies. Dice your onion, peel and chop carrots, and chop celery. Peel and chop potato into roughly 2-inch pieces. You don't have to be exact. Put all your veggies in the pot, season with salt and pepper and sautè for 10-15 minutes. Cut chicken breasts into 2-inch cubes and add those to the pot, seasoning again with salt and pepper. Give the artichoke hearts a rough chop if they aren't already chopped in the jar, and add the artichokes with the liquids into the pot. Cover the pot with a lid and let everything simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve over quinoa, rice, or alone with your favorite sides!

Simple Dinner: One Pot Chicken with Veggies + Artichoke Hearts