Saturday, December 29, 2012

Party planning 101

I've been asked for guidelines for planning a party.  The basics are:

1 month to 2 weeks before event

1.  Determine occasion  (reason for the party) and guest list

2.  Distribute invitations  (manner depends on time; soon and
     casual = email; future and formal = printed)

3.  Decide style of party  (cocktails, buffet, sitdown dinner)

2 weeks to 2 days before event

4.  Create menu  (consider theme food, dietary restrictions, budget)

5.  Design decor ideas (centerpiece, color coordinated linens,

2 days to day of event

6.  Shop, prep, and party

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Party planning

2012-12-23 13.34.35.jpgMore than one guest asked how could I pull off a party after working all day; another remarked how difficult it was to decorate for another theme at Christmas, and Mel simply asked why are you doing this? Well, the End of the World  theme doesn't present itself, hopefully, too often. Underlying all the questions was concern about the stresses of planning, preparing, and hosting a  party.  The answer is this:  I enjoy the creative elements, the execution, and most of all the camaraderie shared during the event.  Everyone has a worry about a party:  will all show up? (I had 'no shows' - no worries - simply no further invitations), will the food turn out alright? ( some  people eat gluten free; some like it hot; some not)  will the guests mesh? ( it's one night, people - not a lifetime).  Don't stress - just party.  Someone said they wanted to have a party but didn't know what to do.  Just go for it.  Read my blog for ideas or hire The Party Bee for some or all elements.  So put 'party' into your vocabulary and as my tagline says entertain more often, less infrequently; more imaginatively, less expensively; more assuredly, less stressfully  in 2013.     Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

End of the World party

The forecast for December 21, 2012 was "mushroom cloudy with a chance of an Apocalypse'.  Today we are recalling a fun night with friends that thematically didn't pan out. Whew! In the fun was the preparation of a suvival kit or 'bug-out bag'.  Included with a water bottle, Twinkies (thanks to Jeff), batteries, MacGyver supplies, etc. were our solar ray reflector  hats. 

Tom attributes our safety to the well-crafted designs of some (No, Mel, yours won't make it to publication!).  However, Candy felt she won but I liked Kitty's stylish version.   

While the world didn't end, another 26,000 year cycle of parties begins! 



Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World party

The thought I put into my menu names, I wanted revealed to my guests so tags were made for each creation.  They also helped to explain the composition in case the name wasn't a giveaway.  For example, the meatballs in a ring around a can of fuel gel didn't require the signage 'Great Balls of Fire' but 'Doomsday Dip' needed to be identified as spinach and artichoke dip.    'Satanic spheres' were, duh, deviled eggs.  'Mushroom clouds' were mounds of mashed potatoes while 'Hellfire and Damnation' was a spicy Mexican chile verde.  'Apocalyptic apple pie'  (thank you, Nancy) speaks for itself but 'Cataclysmic Cake' wasn't revealed until it was cut open when a cataclysm of fruit oozed out! 

It was simply an angel food cake with the top third cut off; a tunnel torn out, filled with sweetened strawberries, top returned and covered with whipped cream.  

And in keeping with the Mayan origins of this party, guests left with a baggie of chocolate, 'the gift of the gods'. (in this case, Lon.  Thank you)

              Happy Beginning of a New World!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World party

A signature drink is always created for my parties.  This one is thematically called:

2012-12-23 15.37.47.jpg
A killer concoction of 151 rum, amaretto and oj

End of the World party

The menu was planned with thematic names for each dish, for example, a chicken casserole has been called 'cosmic convergence'.   And people wonder at times what I'm thinking about!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December celebrations

This month brings us a plethora of party occasions:  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and the Winter Solstice.....lots of feasting with these festivities.  Yay! 
While embracing the traditional, I also look for unusual occasions to celebrate.  That is why my December event will be a "the End of the World" party. There are theories that this will occur on 12-21-12 according to the Mayan calendar.  Follow along as I'll share my ideas in the next few posts.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bar tips

Setting up a bar allows you to mingle and not pour drinks all night. A pre-mixed pitcher with accompanying recipe will make it easy for you and your guests.  They can also see what else is offered and therefore won't ask for something with ingredients that you don't have on hand, for example, a Rusty Nail.

Basic bar might be vodka with mixers such as cranberry juice and tonic water.  Don't forget to offer something non-alcoholic.  And have lots of ice!  Recently I've noticed that many parties only offer beer and wine thus eliminating the need to mix drinks.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving leftovers

Rarely do I set a table with paper plates but was considering these as I loved the message.  Moreover, I love a plate the day after Thanksgiving when filled with great leftovers. 

For example:
Turkey Empanadas
Bon Appétit | November 2009
by Maria Helm Sinskey

Turkey Empanadas


yield: Makes 6
These empanadas are moist and full of flavor. If your gravy is thin, simmer to reduce and thicken it, then chill before using.


  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey (white and dark meat)
  • 1/2 cup chilled gravy
  • 1 1/2 17.3-ounce packages frozen puff pastry (3 sheets), thawed
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes, divided
  • 1 cup stuffing, divided
  • 1 egg white, beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon cold water (for glaze)
  • Cranberry sauce


Mix turkey with chilled gravy in small bowl. Roll out 3 pastry sheets to 12-inch long rectangles on floured work surface. Cut out 2 six-inch rounds from each pastry sheet, using small plate as guide (6 rounds total). Place each round on one 8- to 9-inch parchment square.
Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons mashed potatoes onto half of each pastry round; press lightly to flatten, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons stuffing, then about 1/3 cup turkey mixture.
Brush glaze around filling on 1 pastry half. Fold plain pastry half over filling, stretching dough to cover. Seal edges with fork tines. Repeat to form 5 more empanadas. Transfer empanadas (still on parchment squares) to 2 rimmed baking sheets (3 on each sheet), spacing 2 inches apart. Chill empanadas 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Press edges of empanadas again with fork tines. Brush empanadas with egg-white glaze and cut small slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake empanadas 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake empanadas until puffed and golden, 25 to 35 minutes longer. Serve empanadas, passing cranberry sauce alongside

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saying Grace

At times, I've been seated at a table with everyone looking at one another as to who will 'say grace'.  Awkward.
Anticipating that, I now arrive with one prepared in the event that all eyes fall on me.
For each gathering, it will be different.  You must gauge the tone and religiosity at the table.  Family or close friends will share a blessing that includes personal or faith-based references.  When at a table with lesser known people or that includes strangers, a quote from a famous author may work well.  My favorite is:


By Ralph Waldo Emerson

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

An alternative is "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice". By Meister Eckhart.  Then thank your hosts.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Soon families will gather together for Thanksgiving dinner.  This can be a large group and to prevent milling around the table and delaying the start of the meal, placecards are suggested.  They need not be purchased but can be hand crafted quickly.

This placecard is made by threading ribbon through 2 slits and tying around the napkin.  Use card stock (in patterned paper, if desired) for sturdiness.

         You can write your  guest's name with  
a dry erase marker on a flute

or place a coaster ring around a wine glass or simply write the name on a paper square placed under a wine glass
        Another fun place marker is using Scrabble tiles,  If the name is long, just use initials!      .

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Autumn Moon Festival

Just came across this post that never got published...

This party had a simple table to set
Placemats from the local Chinese restaurant and lotus bowls for the first course, hot sour soup....a few Chinese symbol decals and a low centerpiece that reflected the theme of autumn and moon light.  A gold table cloth glowed against the white plates and the heaping serving dishes

This party had easy menu to execute:  appetizers all came from the restaurant and were served on a round lazy Susan (who, me?) on the cocktail table in the living room.  Our specialty drink of the evening was a Double Happiness, a mixture of two rums, apricot brandy and fruit juices.  The meal was prepared by me and the beef and broccoli as well as the cashew chicken stirfry were well received accompanied by my house fried rice.  The hit of the evening was Candy's contribution of Peking (pecan) pie.  That and pineapple chunks, almond cake with coconut ice cream finished the dinner.  No evening of Chinese food is complete without the fortune cookie.  Mine predicted  
                                     A whole different party

Monday, October 29, 2012


I'm licking my lips after finishing one
of my favorite morning pastries.   

I leave it to a bakery to create croissants.  While a dough of flour and butter sounds easy it is quite difficult, almost magical, to end up with those delicate, flaky layers that melt in your mouth.  I enjoy a croissant with tea and while it needs no accompaniment (butter would be gilding the lily) a spread of a good preserve (my favorite is raspberry) or Nutella (makes a mock pain chocolat) elevates the enjoyment.  Croissants also make a lovely sandwich filled with chicken or egg salad. Once I let some go stale for a day to create a bread pudding with sliced almonds that resulted in a delectable dessert. Very versatile.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Garbanzo Bean Day

Garbanzo beans also known as chick peas can make a great snack or party food.  Keep a can or two in your pantry for last minute entertaining.

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In jelly-roll pan, toss chickpeas with oil, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt, then with flour to coat.
2.  Roast 27 minutes or until golden and crisp, stirring once. Cool on paper towels.

Source:  Good Housekeeping

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alaska Day

On this day in 1867, the U.S. formally took possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President.     Happy birthday, Alaska!

            Baked Alaska Cakes


Cake and Filling:

4 slice(s) 3⁄4-in.-thick (from middle of loaf) purchased fat-free golden loaf cake

2 tablespoon(s) chocolate-flavored liqueur (crème de cacao) or maple syrup

1 pint(s) lowfat mint chocolate chip ice cream or cappuccino chocolate chunk, slightly softened


3 1/2tablespoon(s) Just Whites powdered egg whites

cup(s) warm water

cup(s) sugar

teaspoon(s) vanilla extract


1.Clear a freezer shelf large enough to hold a small baking sheet. Line sheet with wax paper; place in freezer. Using a round 3-in. cutter, cut cake slices into rounds (save trimmings for snacks). Brush rounds with liqueur and top each with a 1⁄2-cup scoop of ice cream. Transfer to baking sheet. Freeze 6 hours, or until solid.

2.Meringue: Place oven rack in top third of oven; heat to 450°F. Beat Just Whites and warm water in a large bowl with mixer on low speed until whites dissolve. Increase speed to medium; beat just until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla. On high speed, beat until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. Scrape meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain or star tip (or the meringue can be spread on ice cream cakes with small spatula).

3.Transfer ice cream cakes from baking sheet in freezer to another part of freezer. Discard wax paper from sheet; keep sheet in freezer. Working with 1 cake at a time, pipe small stars or dollops (or spread meringue) over cake and ice cream to cover completely. With a broad spatula, carefully transfer cake to sheet in freezer. Repeat with rest of cakes.

4.Place sheet with ice cream cakes on high rack in oven. Bake 2 1⁄2 to 3 1⁄3 minutes until tips of meringues are golden-brown and set. Transfer to dessert plates.

Tips & Techniques:  Can be prepared through Step 1 up to 3 days ahead. Freeze in an airtight container

Source:  Woman's Day

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moldy Cheese Day

Cheeses injected with blue mold are commonly called blue cheeses. Some popular types are Stilton, Gorgonzola and Roquefort .  Blue cheese can be soft or firm and is recognized by its strong flavor.  I like Gorgonzola which has a milder taste and is excellent crumbled on a salad, melted over crostini, or served with a fruit course.


Read more about it at,1715,158174-242192,00.html
Content Copyright © 2012 - All rights reserved.

1 1/2 c. dry white vermouth
2 1/4 c. heavy cream (no substitutions!)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 lbs. tortellini
3/4 lb. sweet Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Bring vermouth to a boil in a small heavy saucepan and reduce by half. Add heavy cream, bring to a boil, and lower heat to a simmer. Season to taste with pepper, add nutmeg, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until reduced by 1/3. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot, add salt and cook the tortellini until tender. Drain and return to the hot pot. Remove cream sauce from the heat, stir in half of the Gorgonzola and the Parmesan, and pour over the tortellini. Set over medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly, for 5-8 minutes, or until cream has thickened slightly and the tortellini have absorbed some of the sauce. Serve immediately and sprinkle remaining Gorgonzola on individual portions. Serves 4-6.


Monday, October 1, 2012

October celebrations

October is National  Clock, Apple, Dessert,  Energy Awareness, Pizza, Popcorn popping,  Roller Skating, and Stamp collecting Month.  you can also hold a party to celebrate the birthdays of  John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Picasso,  Grover from Sesame Street, Little Orphan Annie, or Mickey Mantle,

Anniversaries this month honor the first singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the first airing of Captain Kangaroo, the first demonstration of the light bulb, the first publication of the Peanuts comic strip, the premiere of American Bandstand, the launch of the first space vehicle, Sputnik I, the organization of the International Red Cross, and  the opening of the Guggenheim Museum.  How about a fall themed party on Look at the Leaves
Day?  Or getting into party clothes on Tuxedo Day?   Happy Halloween

Friday, September 21, 2012

International Banana Pudding Day

The 50th anniversary of the International Banana Pudding Festival is celebrated in Kentucky (!) with a one ton banana pudding.  Should you decide to invite fewer friends, you might try this recipe:
Banana pudding with warm chocolate sauce
Banana pudding
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons banana liqueur (or 1 teaspoon banana flavoring)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chocolate sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
To assemble
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, 1/2 banana per serving
  • 2 cups fresh whipped cream, 1/4 to 1/2 cup per serving
  • 1 cup warm chocolate sauce
To make the banana pudding, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk a little at a time into the egg mixture. Once the bottom of the bowl is warm, slowly whisk in the remaining hot milk. Pour the mixture back into a clean medium saucepan (cleaning the saucepan prevents the pudding from scorching), add the banana liqueur, and whisk over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Cook while constantly whisking until the pudding is glossy and quite thick, 1½ to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pudding to a clean bowl. Add the vanilla extract and butter to the bowl and gently whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated into the pudding. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
For the chocolate sauce, bring water and corn syrup to a simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add both chocolates and stir until smooth. Remove from heat, set aside and keep warm.
To assemble, place banana pudding in serving bowls, add the sliced bananas, top with fresh whipped cream and drizzle with warm chocolate sauce.
Serving Size
6 servings
Source:  The Scottos  Valentine dinner on The Today show February 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Make a Hat Day

The hat that I'll make today is the Bishop's Miter.  It is a napkin fold often found in restaurants and will look very elegant standing up on your dinner plate.


Easy to follow directions at

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September celebrations

September marks National Rice, Piano, and Courtesy Month; as well as International Square Dancing, Little League, Better Breakfast and Classical Music Month.  We can party on Be Late for Something, Ask a Stupid Question, or Positive Thinking Day
and honor newspaper carriers, teddy bears, grandparents, elephants, Uncle Sam, and skyscrapers on their days.  National days are commemorated for cream-filled donuts, butterscotch pudding, cheeseburgers, comic books, chocolate milk shakes, good neighbors, and apple dumplings.  And who doesn't want to party on International Talk like a Pirate Day?!  Most importantly, say 'thank you' on the 21st, World Gratitude Day.  This year I think I'll celebrate Chinese MidAutumn Festival, also called the Moon Festival on the 28th.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Toasted Marshmallow Day

While the day is recognized at the end of summer, toasted marshmallows are enjoyed at every BBQ all season long.  Who doesn't love s'mores?  The same fan club applies to this ice cream cake that Marge brought to Candace's house last month.  Every plate was licked cleanShe attibuted the recipe to America's test kitchens.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Craft, Chat and Chew

This was the theme yesterday when we created mosaic clay pots and then had lunch.  Gazpacho was made from produce straight from Joe and Sue's garden.   Delicious!   

   Sandwiches and pasta salad were accompanied by Cape Codders. 

The lemon custard pie was delicious.   The best part, however, was the lively conversation that lasted all afternoon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer-y settings

Lunch a deux   -   a table for two.  Light and bright as an August afternoon should be.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hawaiian shirt soiree

The party gods failed to get the weather gods on board and my annual backyard bash was moved indoors.  But the key elements were still in place - fun atmosphere, good food, and fabulous friends. 


All entered through the raffia curtain 
                and got lei-d by the hosts.   

                     E komo mai (welcome)

Next step was the bar

where my signature drink of the evening Kana maka u waki (pronounced can-a make-a you wacky) was served. 

 Other choices were Big Wave Brew or Aloha Ale 

Tom's beer got it's own hula skirt coozie. 

A video hula lesson played in the background but no-one seemed daring enough to try the steps.  Wait...the evening is young.  Between cocktail hour with coconut shrimp, wontons, deviled eggs and a cheese board and dinner, there was time for a photo op.

A simple buffet of ham with grilled pineapple, chicken breasts on mango salsa and teriyaki meatballs was emptied in minutes (forgot to take a picture prior)

and colorful plates and themed napkins set the tone.

 Deirdre's lemon meringue pie was a crowd pleaser - Mahalo (thank you) and some wicked wahines found their way atop cupcakes.

All quite casual as we remained ready to move outside if weather permitted.  An evening under the stars was not in the cards but it was memorable, at any rate.  Sue's rendition of Frere Jacques will be one for the books. 

Guests left with a mini ceramic Hawaiian shirt votive as a favor.

Malamapono a hui hou     (take care, until we meet again)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cheers to the USA Olympic team

The close of the summer Olympics with the phenomenal showings by Team USA coincided with dinner out at a Chinese restaurant.  My cocktail 'mixed' with conversation about the weather at the Olympic site so I decided to call it a "London Fog Cutter"

The original recipe called for gin and lemon juice. Originally gin was used in many cocktails because it was the lightest tasting clear liquor. Today vodka has replaced gin and it makes a smoother tasting drink.

 • ½ oz. rum
• ½ oz. brandy
• ½ oz. vodka
• 1 oz. sweet and sour
• 1 oz. orange juice
• ½ oz. orgeat syrup
• Dash of sherry
• Mint sprig garnish   Shake and strain
Source:  www.barschool,com

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Julia

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Julia Child who brought of French cuisine into the homes of millions.  She celebrated her 70th and 80th birthdays here on Cape Cod.
Inspired, I created a seven course meal.  The hors d'oeuvres (literally meaning 'outside the works')  were canapes, charcuterie (Trader Joe's white wine sausage), and cornichonsNext was the fish course. I served a coquille (sauteed sea scallop on a bed of mashed peas with crumbled bacon.) 
This was followed by lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate.
The 'plat' was poulet avec herbes de provence ( pan fried chicken breast tenderloins), accompanied by pommes Chantilly (fancy mashed potatoes), and haricots verts (skinny string beans). 
The traditional order for salad  (frisee avec vinaigrette moutarde) is after the entree.  Then the cheese course of Brie with honey and walnuts served with baguette slices.

 Dessert was creme brulee, a fan favorite.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Pie

Simply elegant, simply scrumptious, simply simple.

Mix together 5 cups (about 1 1/2 packages) sweetened flaked coconut with 1/2 cup softened butter.

Press into a 9" pie pan and cover edges with foil.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 350' until inside crust is light brown.  Remove foil and brown edges (about 5 minutes).  Cool completely.
Chop 1 cup bittersweet chocolate. (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao).  Heat 1 cup heavy cream to boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let sit 10 minutes.  Stir until completely melted and pour into crust.

Refrigerate until set (at least an hour).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lobster Roll

The must-have summer specialty in a coastal resort.  My favorite is made by The Seafood Shanty on Route 6 overlooking the Cape Cod Canal.  The sandwich is brimming with chunks of lobster meat and is served with french fries. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer entertaining

"Summer afternoon... the two most beautiful words in the English language" according to Henry James.

 Perfect for dining al fresco (outdoors) but some elements are necessary to ensure your guest's comfort.  Suitable seating is a must.  No-one can  sit for long on slats or webs without being imprinted.  Make sure wood seats are free from splinters and metal seats are not as hot as a skillet!  Best still, use cushions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August celebrations

August is American Artist Appreciation, Foot Health, and Home Business Month; also, National Catfish, Golf, Inventors, and Water Quality month.  We  can celebrate National Clown, Elvis, Apple, Smile, Dance, and Air Conditioning Appreciation weeks,too.
How about a birthday party for Francis Scott Key, Betty  Boop, Annie Oakley, Davy Crockett, Bill Clinton or Wilt Chamberlain? Other special days commemorate the debut of MTV, the founding of Switzerland, the first income tax, the issue of the Lincoln penny, the establishment of the Coast Guard, and the patent of the waffle iron.   I'm sure to celebrate National Chocolate Chip, Filet Mignon, Creamsicle, Peach Pie, Watermelon, Sponge Cake, and Ice cream sandwich days.
And let's not miss Middle Children's, International Left-handers, Book lovers and Sea Serpent days.
A party is called for on Wiggle Your Toes, Dream (MLK speech delivered), Be an Angel, Sit Back and Relax Days.
Enjoy the last month of summer!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

National Lasagna Day

Easy recipe...
9 no cook noodles
2 jars (26 oz) sauce (your favorite)
1 lb. ground beef or italian sausage, cooked
1 1/2 Tblsp. italian seasoning
1 15 oz. container part skim ricotta
1 egg
2 pkgs. (8 oz each) italian bend shredded cheese

1.  Mix together ricotta, egg, and spice
2.  Spread 1 1/2 cup sauce on bottom of 13x9" pan.  Layer 3 noodles
3.  Top with 1/2 cheese mixture, 1/2 meat, 1 cup shredded cheese and 1 1/2 cup sauce
4.  Layer 3 noodles and repeat step 3
5.  Layer last 3 noodles and rest of sauce and shredded cheese.  Bake uncovered 40 min.
     at 350 degrees.  Uncover and bake 15 min more until cheese is melted and browned.
     Makes 6 large or 8 regular servings.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer entertaining

Ding dong!  The doorbell rings and there are Jim and Nancy from 'down the street' but down the street 8 years ago and now they're "in the neighborhood"  Barring another appointment that had you headed out the door momentarily, you ask them in.  Or you can say you have somewhere else to be and make a date for later to 'catch up'.  (Don't forget that you then must leave the house!)  If they're invited in, don't stress.  You've read the Party Bee posts and have made a plan .  (Buzz:  To bee-prepared always have ice in the freezer and you won't have to keep a variety of drinks chilled).  Head to the refrigerator where a container of tea awaits;  Pour in a pretty glass, then pop in one of your prepared lemon ice cubes.  Unmold a package of Alouette (a fridge staple) on a pretty plate (Buzz: place a fresh leaf underneath for elegant presentation) and add some crackers.  Sliced cheese works just as well.  Now enjoy your guests

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ice Cubes

I always cut up fruit  (shown here are lemon, lime and orange bits) and freeze them in an ice cube tray.  The addition of these festive ice cubes makes any drinking occasion, a party.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer entertaining

Summer is a time for outdoor activities and indoor visiting.  To be well-prepared for seasonal entertaining, imagine some scenarios ahead of time.  Are any friends or relatives from out of town expected?  If so, plan a get-together rather than risk impromptu visits when time, food offerings, or even your stress level aren't optimum.  Will there be any birthdays or anniversaries that need to be be celebrated?  Plan for them and the attendant guests that might visit.  Here on Cape Cod, unexpected drop-ins happen often.  Those who've moved away return unannounced to see old friends and neighbors.  Plan for that as well.  More to follow.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Starfish-al start of summer

         forgot to post these photos 



Place setting 

scroll tied with raffia
was included in favor bag