Posts Tagged ‘summer’

mousse-cupsWith the temps high, patience short and everyone in the lazy mode of summer, keep your entertaining efforts simple.

Think about hosting a BAD (Beverages, Appetizers and Desserts) party. This type of party is easy on the host, very casual in atmosphere and is a fun way to get everyone together, especially when no one is into eating heavy food.

Follow these few pointers and you will once again be the host with the most!

  • Make it very clear in your invitation that you are serving only beverages, appetizers and desserts.  If your guests come expecting a full sit down meal, they may be disappointed.
  • Choose items that are easy to eat when seated casually or standing. Something that requires a steak knife or additional bowls will not be appreciated. Think about finger foods or bite-sized pieces that are super easy to eat while moving about.
  • Stick to a casual buffet when you are setting out the food.
  • BAD parties work well with both small and large numbers attending. It works particularly well with an open house format.
  • You can also set up stations for the buffet in different areas. One station might hold the beverages, one might have the appetizers, one could have cheese, crackers, dips, veggies, fruit and another area may be the dessert station.

Remember to have fun with it, keep it casual and focus on your guests.

If you would like more tips for party theme ideas, please leave a post here or send me a message!

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Since July is National Ice Cream Month and today is the last day of the month, it seemed appropriate to share an ice cream recipe today.

My Aunt Karen makes the best chocolate ice cream. At a recent family reunion, there were several of us cousins (the known chocoholics) who would have willingly passed up the meal to have a bowl of her ice cream first. Unfortunately, there were too many little ones watching for us to abandon all reason and dive directly into the ice cream. You know, setting a good example, and all that.

So with limited restraint, we anxiously awaited the appropriate time to forsake our hamburgers and get in line for a bowl of this smooth, creamy confection. It isn’t too sweet or too rich. It is frozen perfection with a light chocolate flavor. She has graciously shared her recipe with me, so here it is:

Aunt Karen’s Chocolate Ice Cream

3 cups sugar
Rounded 1/2 cup measure of cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 quart heavy whipping cream
Approximately 2 quarts of whole milk

Blend sugar and cocoa powder together then add 1 quart of milk in large kettle (saucepan). Bring to a simmer, add a small amount of the hot mixture to the eggs to temper. Beat well and add back to the kettle.  Bring this to a boil and then remove from heat. After it cools a few minutes add vanilla, half-and-half and the heavy cream.  Refrigerate until cold, stir occasionally.  Overnight is good. Add cold mixture to your ice cream freezer can and fill up to the one gallon mark with whole milk. Freeze as your ice cream freezer directs. Makes one gallon.

If you have a great ice cream recipe you’d like to share or want info on a great ice cream scoop, leave a post here.


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Although most of us don’t think about it, entertaining at home can really be broken down into three main areas: inspiration, preparation, and presentation. Although very different, each category has equal importance in your entertaining success.
Today we’ll focus on inspiration. It boils down to “what’s for dinner?” What are you going to serve the people you are entertaining?
The type of event or celebration will help narrow your selections. Choosing a theme also narrows the field and helps create some guidelines. Themes are a fantastic way to entertain, but we’ll talk more about those another day.
Inspiration can come from many different areas. Maybe you have been to a party and saw or tasted something there you want to try. Maybe you are under the gun to host a family event – like a family reunion. If you like food magazines or collect cookbooks, you’ll find a lot of ideas and inspiration there. The Food Network and websites such as allrecipes.com can also provide some great inspiration.
Take a look around you. What is fresh and in season? Let it inspire you! This time of year it is so fun to entertain with all the fresh goodness that abounds from gardens.
Inspiration doesn’t have to be difficult. Have fun with it and see how much your guests enjoy the fruits of your labors!
What is your favorite way to find inspiration in the kitchen? Please feel free to share your ideas!

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napa-trayThere is nothing quite like a nice, cold glass of iced tea on a hot summer day to really quench your thirst. You can do all sorts of variations on the basic black tea with lemon.

You can add sliced fruit or berries, mix in frozen juice concentrate or even use herbal tea for some fun flavors.

One of my all-time favorite iced teas is mint. A very dear friend is positively convinced I make it just for her. I’ll let her keep thinking that as long as she lets me have a glass or two!

Here is a quick and easy recipe. Enjoy!

Mint Iced Tea

3 mint tea bags (I’ve tried a variety and Bigelow Plantation Mint works the best)

4 cups boiling water

8 cups cool water

2/3 cup sugar

Mint sprigs

Stir sugar into the boiling water until it is dissolved. Add the tea bags and let steep for about 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and pour tea into a 12 cup pitcher. Add cool water and stir. Toss in a few fresh mint sprigs and serve over ice in chilled glasses.

Do you have any fun variations you add to your iced tea? Share your comments here!

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