Niomi is an online Holistic Embodiment Coach & Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and a mother of four (with one more arriving any day!). She and her husband live in Sweden and love hosting guests in their home.
I wanted to feature her on the blog because I think you'll appreciate how laid-back and centered she is when it comes to entertaining. Please join me in welcoming her to The Welcoming Table community!
Welcome, Niomi, to the Welcoming Table! Would you share with us what you like about entertaining and cooking for friends?
I am an introvert and prefer my own company, but I love being with people too. I think human connection is important. I notice for me, it's really important to honor both parts of myself. And entertaining and cooking for friends is a way to do this.
I also love nurturing and looking after people. Cooking a meal is an expression of love and friendship. I believe we can taste the difference in food that has been prepared with love and attention (for example, a home cooked meal from your mother vs. McDonalds).
I love the planning part, too. Preparing what we will eat, seasonal food and if we will do 3 courses or just 2. Dessert is non negotiable!
How do you involve your kids when hosting guests?
I have 4 kids! There is no escaping them, so they are always involved. My husband gets them to help in the kitchen. Four kids, when directed well, are actually very helpful assistants.
My 3-year-old and 4-year-old mainly help tidy the house and set the table, and my kids ages 6 and 7 help with washing vegetables and cutting them with a blunt knife. They all wear chef's hats and aprons from IKEA.
Of course, being an introvert, my husband and I have fantasies of dining with other couples and having deep, meaningful conversations with cocktails. That happens occasionally, but mostly our kids and theirs are running around in the background. It's the phase of life we're currently in!
What would you say is your entertaining style?
I prefer to keep things casual. I might ask my friends to bring a bottle of wine or snacks if their kids have allergies or are a bit picky. We are a large family of 6 with a baby on the way, so it's not a bother for us if we have a lot of people over for dinner.
I live in Sweden, and I'm mostly vegetarian/vegan, but when I cook for friends, I accommodate their food preferences. We eat alot of game here like reindeer or elk, for example.
Tell me more about how you accommodate your friends’ food preferences when you yourself are vegetarian/vegan. Is this a challenge?
I'm not a strict vegan, especially during pregnancy. I would never impose my own beliefs on others either. We usually end up making two meals, one of which is a simple vegetarian version of our main dish or a huge protein heavy salad (beans- and broccoli-based).
That said, I am pretty rubbish at cooking meat dishes due to lack of practice. So this is the part of meal prep that my husband is definitely in charge of. Have I mentioned that my husband is a great cook and really enjoys it? So it's always convenient to delegate certain things to him.
As an introvert, how do you navigate entertaining?
I am an introvert, but I carve out time for myself everyday in a very conscious way so I am always recharged and rejuvenated. I do this through prioritizing self-care activities that bring me joy.
This is actually the message I deliver in my business and is an important concept within my work as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. Making time for those activities, people and situations that give us energy daily is essential to our holistic wellness, especially as women and mothers.
I meditate daily and find being out in nature helps me prepare and unwind before and after busy moments. Eating outside is perfect!
I also have strict boundaries. I don't take on more than I feel I can handle. If I need my guests to help prepare some food or contribute in some way because I've had a busy day at work or the kids have been ill earlier in the week, I am happy to ask and receive help.
What are your top 3 must-have kitchen items when it comes to entertaining?
Beautiful place mats, glasses and napkins from Indiska, a popular Swedish shop here.
I love how Ni and her husband share the load of meal prep and how they include their kids in preparing for guests. My biggest takeaway from Ni, though, is the conscious effort she makes as an introvert to actively stay recharged so that she has energy for the people she's hosting.
She's a great example of an introvert who hosts well!