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Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

Last Minute Entertaining - Quick Cleanups
by Sloan Adams

Did you just find out that a bunch of guests will be dropping in on you at the last minute and your house is a mess? Don't despair! Sloan Adams starts off her new Last Minute Entertaining column with her tried and true steps on quick cleanups for unexpected guests.

It happens every now and then. You arrive home late to a message on the machine that lets your know your spouse and guests will be arriving within minutes. Or else your mother-in-law calls you and tells you she will just be "dropping in for a minute". It is called last minute entertaining, and this column will discuss how to deal with the pitfalls of this situation and give you practical information, check lists, strategies, and all the rest of the tools you need to make sure you can be prepared for this type of situation.

Maybe it is because I always seem to have food on hand, but I never stress about the food when I have last minute guests. I will share my techniques and tricks about how I have perfected a system to make sure last minute guests never go hungry or end up eating last night's leftovers over the next few columns. For this first column, however, I will address what sets of my major panic button when I find out guests are on their way: the cleanliness…or rather lack of cleanliness of my house.

I freely admit it. I am not much of a housekeeper. I love to cook and entertain, but dusting and picking things up are not my forte. Hey, that is what the maid is for, right? Unfortunately, I don't have a maid. Therein lies the problem. My house isn't raided on a daily basis by the clean police, but on the average day it can be pretty messy. Dust bunnies flourish and multiply as only dust bunnies can, and things don't get put away like they should. Dirty dishes, socks, magazines, books, and craft projects tend to just hang around until I get inspired and embark on a massive cleaning spree. Or until someone makes that dreaded "I'll be by in a little while" phone call.

The minute I get that phone call, I spring into action. The first few times, it was hideous. When the people showed up, only half the room was cleaned, the vacuum cleaner was in the middle of the room, and I looked like I had been mopping the floor with my face and hair. I quickly realized I needed to develop a plan. Once I talked to a few other spontaneous entertainers and analyzed my house, I was able to work out ten steps to make sure my house and myself were ready for company by the time they arrived. In a perfect world, my house would always be pristine and I wouldn't have to worry about it. In my world, I get thrust into this situation a lot, and my plan has worked perfectly each time. I hope it does so for you too.

Next Page - 10 Steps for Last Minute Cleanup
Sloan Adams is a freelance writer specializing in cooking and entertaining topics. She can be reached at

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