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 App├ętit | 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