Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Soup 'r Sundae

so many soups...which do I choose?  I finally decided on 3 - one  meaty, one veggie and one creamy.  Clam chowder came to mind for the latter but I settled on a corn chowder with chicken and potato. Also, a bean soup with spinach and tomatoes and the beef will also include mushrooms and rice.  A selection of condiments - croutons, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, sour cream, baconcrumbles - and a bread basket will round out the menu.

          All this brings to mind the old folk tale, Stone Soup.  The theme of sharing, especially food, really resonates with me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soup 'r Sundae

Plans are underway for this party that's a play on words for the biggest day in football.  For me, it's all about food and friends.  As the name indicates, the menu will have a choice of soups followed by a make-your-own sundae bar.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Caramelized Onions

Think onions and wrinkle your nose...not when cooked low and slow.  Then they develop such sweetness with much versatility.  They are the basis for French onion soup, make a wonderful fruited jam, work well atop most meats as a condiment.  You need patience, however, not my long suit in the kitchen.  So make a batch ahead and keep refrigerated  up to 2 weeks when tightly sealed .  Here's how:  Thinly slice 3 large yellow onions.  Heat 6 Tblsp. olive oil in a skillet over low heat.  Add onions and 1 tsp sugar.  Stir occasionally.  This will take about 45 minutes to develop into a nutty brown color. Then enjoy.  One way that I love is as an appetizer atop a layer of apricot preserves mixed with balsamic vinegar spread on crostini.  For added flavor, broil some cheese on the bread first.  Mmmm

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Dear readers, 
Today I reached 3,000 views in the past 10 months. Thank you to faithful followers and those who have visited from Russia, India, and Portugal.  I'm having fun and I know some of you have had comments or questions that you've emailed me rather than post.  I would appreciate some comments on the blog itself and more of you to become followers.  Let me know what you would like to see more/less of and I'll accommodate. 
With gratitude, Susan, The Party Bee

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year

The Year of the Dragon begins on January 23rd in 2012 and lasts for 15 days.  The start date varies each year but the traditions remain the same.  Visits from friends and family are important and red envelopes with a coin inside are often exchanged.  The house is cleaned to remove any bad luck from the previous year to allow for good luck in the new year.  New clothes are worn, usually red and hair is cut. Certain foods are considered lucky.  Noodles are eaten for long life, fish for abundance, and round shaped food like coins symbolizes wealth. The festival is marked by parades and fireworks.  Gung hay fat choy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blonde Brownie Day

Blonde Brownies Recipe     

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 cup optional additions below
  1. Stir the butter and brown sugar together until well combined.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and stir until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the flour and stir until just combined.
  4. Stir in any additions.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and pop into the oven.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  8. Cut into desired size blonde brownies.
 Optional Blonde Brownie Additions
  • Chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamia, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts)
  • Chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, extra dark, white, or any combination)
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Chopped caramels
  • Dried cherries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Chopped dried apricots
  • Coconut
  • Oatmeal     
  • Recipe source :  Best-ever-cookie-collection.com

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Goodwill Hunting

"Neither rain, snow or sleet shall keep the postman from his appointed rounds"    Substitute 'Susan' for postman and 'rummage sale' for appointed rounds ....well, you get the drift (pun intended).  In blinding snow I ventured out for these fabulous finds.


         Not all my treasures but the best buys. 
              Can you see the little price tags
                     with the little prices?

                                                This picture will be 
                                                     the perfect background
                                                           for a French dinner 
                                                               with my red

                    And this silk embroidered square highlights
                            my oriental platter, just in time for 
                                    Chinese New Year dinner.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thesaurus Day

Today is thesaurus day, your source for "what's another word for______?" So.... let's be social, gather with friends, assemble for fun, have a blast, celebrate, carouse, kick up your heels, raise the roof, let loose, create an affair, plan a function, host an event, have a ball, feast, fete, revel, get your groove on, live it up, make merry and party!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Frugal Friday

Sue came up with a clever, albeit a tongue twister, name for her casual dinner party last night  - Five buck cluck and three buck chuck. It referred to the main course of a $5 rotisserie chicken accompanied by the $3 Charles Shaw wine.  This was rounded out with squash and potato salad and was a fun, frugal Friday with friends.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Last year I hosted a Friday the 13th party (search blog) in May as it was the only chance to do so.  There was only one occurrence.  This year there are 3, the most that can happen in a year. So if you haven't a party planned for tonight, schedule one in April or July.  See  thepartybee.com for a party in a box with this theme.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


According to urbandaddy.com, January 12 marks the official start of fondue season.
The Melting Pot’s Coq Au Vin Dipping Sauce



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Women's Wine or Whine party

                    Quotes about wine
                      were sprinkled 

Powder room door


                                                     Dessert table

Monday, January 9, 2012

Women's Wine or Whine party

A good time was had by all.  A walkway lined with bottles greeted guests.  These not only reinforced the theme but served as the 'wine cellar' since the outside temperature kept the chardonnay chilled.  Buzz:  have at least 1 bottle per 2 guests.  Also, note who drinks what for future events to be a successful hostess

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Women's Wine or Whine party

The ham and cheese sliders served will be baked and are delicious.  I adjust this recipe somewhat and of course, double it.


  • ¾ sticks Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • ½ Tablespoons French's Mustard
  • ½ Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
  • 1 package King's Hawaiian Rolls
  • 12 slices Honey Baked Ham
  • 12 slices Provolone Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a saucepan and then add the brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds.
Brush the bottom of a 13 x9 inch baking dish with some of the glaze mixture.
Cut the entire package of rolls in half horizontally and brush the inside of each roll with the glaze.
Now add a slice of ham and a slice of cheese to each roll.
Place them in the baking dish and brush the tops with the remaining glaze mixture. Cover the rolls tightly with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
Recipe source:  http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/baked-ham-cheese-sandwiches/

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Women's Wine or Whine party

While conversation amongst women, especially fueled with wine, never lags, it's fun to have a party game at the ready.  Since there is always a new addition we usually play 'two truths and a lie' so everyone can get to know each other.  This year I've created some mad libs that will, possibly, be even more revealing!  Scenarios are written with verbs and adjectives left blank and random words will be inserted - usually with hilarious results.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Women's Wine or Whine party

Today I'll create the menu and shopping list.  Buzz:  use this week's store circulars to see what's on sale.  If shrimp isn't, then you don't serve shrimp.  To entertain affordably you must be flexible.  I want  plenty of substantial appetizers.  A recipe found at Dinners for a year blog for mac 'n cheese mini bites sounds perfect to accompany sliders, won ton cups, mini quiche, onion marmalade and feta palmiers, etc.

Recipe credit:  http://dinnersforayear.blogspot.com/2008/08/double-mac-and-cheese-bites.html

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January celebrations

January is Hot Tea Month,National Blood Donor Month,National Braille Literacy Month, National hobby, oatmeal, soup, and staying healthy month which brings us to National Thank You Month. We all have blessings in our lives to be grateful for. We can also party on the anniversary of the patents for the drinking straw, the first super bowl and the Eskimo Pie. How about Paul Revere's, Elvis' and Winnie the Pooh's birthdays?  And don't forget National Bird  Day when we all can go a little cuckoo.

Women's Wine or Whine party

The invitation calls for a gift in a brown paper bag.  This insures anonymity during the Yankee Swap.  This exchange is always lively and laughable.  You cannot imagine the awful presents some receive!  It goes like this:  Slips of paper correspond with the number of guests and are placed in a bag.  Everyone  picks a number and the swap goes in order.  You can take a gift away from anyone who chose before you so it's desirable to get a high number or number 1 as she gets the last choice. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Women's Wine or Whine Party

 This year will be the 16th anniversary of this annual event. It began with three single women sharing their holiday experiences over a glass of wine and has continued since. Follow the timeline with me:  Invitations were delivered last week and RSVPs are coming in. Each year the invitation has looked  different and has taken different forms, paper, wood, glass and this year, plastic.  Inside the bottle is the rolled up invite and a metal wine charm. 
 Buzz:  Timeline is tight but invitations were meant to arrive after the holidays so as not to be lost among the holiday trappings.  Most know that this event occurs each year on the first Sunday following the first of the year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, and James Bond (of movies) turns 50.  Let's find lots to celebrate this year.