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Plan A Fun And Successful Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

The wedding rehearsal dinner is a celebration with just your closest inner circle before the public celebration of your wedding vows. It gives everyone a chance to relax and visit before the wedding day, and it may be one of the only times for the bride and groom to mingle with out-of-town guests. A little bit of planning can remove any stress from the dinner so you can enjoy it to the fullest. Etiquette Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is hosted and paid for by the groom’s parents, although modern dinners often come out of the overall wedding budget provided by both sets of parents and the couple. Only the main wedding party, which participates in the rehearsal, requires an invitation. The rest of your guest list won’t be offended if they aren’t included. The rehearsal and dinner may take place up to two days before the wedding. Usually, it is the night before the wedding, to ensure that out-of-town wedding party members arrive in time to attend. The dinner is typically formal to semi-formal, although an informal event isn’t considered a faux pas. Planning Steps Make a reservation. Most modern rehearsal dinners are held at a restaurant or catered. This ensures no one has any cooking or cleanup to do right before the wedding. Call the restaurant and make reservations four to six weeks in advance. For a large party, the restaurant may have an event or party room they can provide. Work out the menu. If your dinner has a strict budget, you may want to work out a menu with the restaurant before the big night. Some restaurants have party menus, which provide discounted prices or a smaller selection of entrees to choose from. Set the bar rules. If the host isn’t covering bar tabs, make this clear to both the restaurant and the guests ahead of time. Remind the waitstaff upon arrival that they will need to deliver separate bar checks to any guests partaking. Make a head count of expected attendees one week before the dinner and deliver this final count to the restaurant. Don’t forget to includes spouses and partners in the final number. Make transportation arrangements. If everyone can drive from the rehearsal to the dinner location, great, but you may need to arrange some transportation help. Whether it’s a simple carpool with designated drivers, or arranging for cab service, work out things in advance so everyone arrives at the restaurant on time. A little bit of planning ensures you can sit back and relax with your closest friends and family before your big day. For more information, contact Sawmill Prime Rib & Steak House or a similar...

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Unusual Uses For Dairy

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

If all you do with your dairy products is eat them, you are missing out on some great uses for all things milk-based. Here are five unusual and wonderful uses for dairy products. Use Milk to Soothe a Sunburn You might have heard someone mention that butter can be used on a kitchen burn. In a similar way, you can use milk to treat the pain of a sunburn.  Start with cool, but not cold, milk. Soak a clean washcloth in the milk, and apply it to the sunburn for about 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary. This works because the milk coats the skin with a thin layer of protein.  Use Yogurt as a Hair Conditioner Yogurt can make your hair soft and smooth and active cultures can moisturize your scalp to prevent dandruff. Simply apply plain yogurt to your wet hair in the shower. Wait 10 minutes and rinse.  Use Butter to Get Gum Out of Your Hair Butter is slippery and can be used to get yourself out of many sticky situations. So when the gum falls out of your child’s mouth and becomes entangled in hair, reach for a stick of butter. Rub the butter liberally on the hair and then carefully use a comb to help it slide out.  Use Milk to Polish Silverware You can use a combination of milk and vinegar to keep your silverware looking shiny and clean. Simply mix one cup vinegar with one cup milk. Soak your silverware in the mixture for about 20 minutes. You can do this for a longer or shorter period depending on how dull your silverware has become. Scrub any tough stains with a toothbrush. Place the silverware in a pot of boiling water and soak for 10 minutes.  Use Yogurt to Tighten Pores Treat yourself to a mask by coating your face with plain yogurt. Leave it on for 10 minutes while the lactic acid works to tighten pores. Rinse the yogurt off with warm water. Your skin should feel moisturized and rejuvenated.  Use Butter to Shine Your Leather Use a stick of butter to add shine to anything you own that is made of leather. Use it on jackets, shoes, belts and any other leather products. It won’t hurt the leather, and it leaves your items looking great.  Dairy from a company like Mr. Dairy and Food Distributing Ltd. may taste great by itself and as an added ingredient in food, but it also has many household...

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Love Italian Desserts? Learn How To Make The Perfect Cannolis

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

Have you ever had a feast at an Italian restaurant such as Naples Pizza? You may have enjoyed a fresh Italian salad, pizza, pasta, or even a meat dish. Once you were through with the appetizers and the main course, you may have looked at the menu for desserts and decided to try a cannoli. If you couldn’t get enough of the dessert and would love to have some again, you can attempt this recipe for a flavorful authentic Italian dessert at home. Creating the Perfect Crispy Cannoli Dough A cannoli consists of fried dough with a sweet creamy filling in the center. Before you can make the filling, you’ll need to make your dough shells. These are the ingredients and supplies you should have: 2 cups almond meal 1 ½ tablespoons white sugar ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 egg white ½ cup white wine 3 cups vegetable oil 5-inch round cookie cutter Rolling pin Pastry brush Directions: Place the almond meal, white sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in the bowl of a large electric mixer and blend them together for a minute. Pour your coconut oil, vanilla extract, and white wine into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Begin mixing those ingredients together until they create thick and sticky dough. Use your hands to grab the dough from the mixing bowl and set it flat on a table. Knead the dough with your hands and knuckles for 3-5 minutes until you’ve turned it into the shape of a ball. Set your dough into a bowl, cover it with a clear wrap, and leave it in the fridge for 4-6 hours. Remove the dough from the bowl, set it down on the table, and begin rolling it out until it’s flat. Use a 5-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles in your dough until you no longer have any left. Take one of your round pieces of dough, grabbing the left side with one hand and the right side with the other, and then overlap the sides to create a shell-like appearance. Press down on the center of the dough with your thumb and pointer finger to seal it shut and continue the same process for each round piece of dough that you have. Pour your egg white into a small bowl and use a pastry brush to gently wipe egg white on each of them. Place a large pot on medium-high heat on the stove. Fill it up with 3 cups of vegetable oil and allow the oil to heat for 3-5 minutes. Place 2-3 dough shells in the oil at a time. They’ll need to cook for about 3-6 minutes, or until they become golden. Remove them from the oil and set them down on a baking sheet to drip dry. Preparing Your Sweet Filling Making the shells for the cannoli is the most challenging part of this dessert. Once you’ve got your shells created, you can focus on making the sweet filling. Make sure that you have: 2 ½ cups ricotta cheese 2 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons cream cheese 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup chocolate shavings 1 large sandwich bag Directions: Place your ricotta cheese into a strainer to...

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5 Tips For Planning A Living Remembrance Party

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Why wait until a funeral to honor someone’s life? A living remembrance party shows that special someone how much they are loved and respected—while they are still alive to enjoy it. Living remembrance ceremonies are sometimes planned when the person is suffering from a final illness, but you can also celebrate someone with many healthy years still ahead of them. Whether you are honoring a parent or grandparent, beloved mentor, or a retired employee, these tips can help you pull off your event without a hitch. Tip #1: Arrange a Presentation A simple presentation touching on the reason for the party and showcasing the guest of honor’s life achievements can provide the highlight of the event. Presentation ideas include: A slideshow of photos from the person’s life. A short movie about the person or about a defining moment in their life. A reading from the published work of the guest of honor. A colleague presentation of hallmark accomplishments. Tip #2: Make It Fun Many people wish they could hear their own eulogies. It’s fun to find out what others would think or say about us after we are gone. If your guest of honor wouldn’t be offended or saddened by a eulogy, select a few people to deliver a speech. Three things to keep in mind: This isn’t an opportunity to roast the person of honor. Instead, the eulogies should be uplifting and touching, with a bit of light, inoffensive humor thrown in. The speakers should mention actual memories they have of the guest of honor. Avoid empty “he was a good man” speeches, and instead paint a picture with words that shows just how he was good. Avoid bringing up past problems or sore points from the person’s life, unless the point is to show how they rose above them. Bringing up old hurts won’t make for an enjoyable party. Tip #3: Plan a Feast No celebration is complete without plenty of good food. A caterer is the way to go to ensure you aren’t too busy in the kitchen to enjoy the event. Using a caterer also ensures food safety, which can be vital if the guest of honor is terminally ill. The food doesn’t have to be a formal affair. Sandwiches, soups and wraps, such as from Soups Sandwiches & More, are perfect for a lunch or informal daytime event. Simple fare that appeals to everyone, instead of fussy food, ensures the meal will be enjoyed by young and old alike. Tip #4: Decorate to Impress Whether you host the party at home or at an event center, dress up your surrounding. Use easels to display photographs of the guest of honor or newspaper clipping of their life. Colorful streamers can also add a festive touch. This isn’t a funeral, so use bright colors to make the atmosphere fun and relaxed. Tip #5: Keep Memories Alive The best parts of a living remembrance is that you are sharing and making new memories. Hire a photographer or videographer to record the party for posterity. A scrapbook or guestbook from the event can also make a lovely gift for the guest of honor. Don’t wait until someone is gone to show them how much you care. Celebrate with them now and show how much they mean to...

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2 Simple Strategies That Can Make Restaurant Selection As A Group Easier

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

Have you ever gotten ready for a night out with friends, only to find that choosing a restaurant that everyone can agree on was nearly impossible? Selecting a restaurant as a group is a task that few people relish, but this choice doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are two simple strategies you can use to take the stress out of restaurant selection in the future. 1. Take everyone’s budget into consideration. Gathering a group of friends together for dinner means that you will likely assemble people with differing incomes. Since most people don’t relish the thought of discussing finances with their friends, choosing an affordable restaurant can be a great way to reduce the stress that accompanies restaurant selection. Here are some tips you can use to limit your restaurant choices when trying to be budget-friendly: Check for deals online. Many websites offer discounts for popular restaurants. By logging on to your favorite online coupon provider you will be able to come up with a list of affordable restaurants. Having this list handy makes choosing a restaurant easier, since the group will be presented with a limited number of choices to discuss.   Select a restaurant with an extensive appetizer menu. Appetizers tend to be less expensive than entree items, and most restaurant appetizers provide generous portions. By selecting a restaurant that has an extensive appetizer menu you can reduce the cost of your bill. Plus, you get the added bonus of being able to enjoy a variety of food items by sharing the appetizers as a group. 2.  Set a theme for the evening. With nearly 72,000 restaurants operating in Canada today, the choices can be overwhelming for many groups trying to select a dinner location. One easy way to reduce the number of choices available is to set a theme for the evening. Here are some easy themes your group can use to reduce the stress associated with selecting a restaurant in the future: Set a cultural theme. Many restaurants specialize in serving cuisine from a specific part of the world. By setting a cultural theme for your evening out on the town you can eliminate all of the restaurants that don’t serve food that fits your theme. For example, if you plan to see an Italian opera, then you may want to limit your restaurant options to those that serve pasta dishes.   Set a geographic boundary. Determining that you will limit your activities to a specific geographic area can reduce the number of restaurant choices available to your group. Only restaurants that lie within the geographic boundary you have set should be eligible for consideration. Not only is this a great way to reduce the stress of choosing a restaurant as a group, it can also be a great way to explore new areas with your friends. Selecting a restaurant that will please everyone in your group of friends can be a social disaster. By taking the time to consider the financial limitations of the group and set a theme for your evening out, you can reduce your restaurant options. This will make it easier to find a restaurant in a reduced amount of time. To learn more, try contacting a company like Lotus Inn Restaurant with any questions or concerns you might...

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Plan Ahead For New Year’s Eve

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

Is it your turn to host the New Year’s Eve party? Even though that’s a wonderful event, it can also be pretty overwhelming, especially since you will have just celebrated Christmas and all that comes with that wonderful holiday. By planning ahead, you can make life a lot easier for yourself. The Invitations – Send out a “Save the Date” right after Thanksgiving. Then, around December 14th, send the actual invitation, and make it pop! Did you know you can send all kinds of things through the mail without putting them in boxes? One idea is to put your invitation in a plastic pop bottle and stuff it with colorful curling ribbon. The invitation could say something like “Pop Into Our House For New Year’s Eve!” Another idea is to put the invitation into a sealed chip bag with an address label on it and say something like, “Join Us For Chips and Dip and A Whole Lot More!”  The Decorations – Leave your Christmas decorations up, but mix things up with specialty New Year’s Eve items. Put festive party hats and noise makers in strategic places that you will bring out in time to meet the New Year. The Food – Hire a caterer, like Austin Gourmet! You may be surprised that hiring professionals is more affordable than people expect. By the time you figure the money of all the food you would buy, add the cost of party table ware, and factor the time you spend on preparations, you may even come out ahead, as the caterers will bring everything that is associated with the food that will be served. Make your plans early, as the caterer’s calendar will fill up very quickly. When you make your first connection establish the number of people at the event, the exact date and time, and how much you want to spend. If you have a menu in mind already, the caterers will serve that. However, it’s also a great idea to ask the caterer what their company’s specialty items are, and go with those. Is it a sit down, formal event, or a casual buffet? Either way, it’s smart to have finger foods ready right when your guests arrive, Don’t forget non-alcoholic beverages for those who are teetotalers.  Do you want to serve traditional foods? Baked ham, roast beef or grilled chicken are good choices and they are affordable. However, it might be a lot of fun to plan around a theme. Mexican, Chinese, or Italian foods are very popular and should be well received. Instead of just offering one dessert, an assortment of decadent ones will be just perfect. Congratulations on planning your New Year’s Eve...

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Affordable Hors D’oeuvre And Drink Alternatives For Your Next Catered Event

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

Hosting a catered event doesn’t mean you must throw your budget to the wind. Here are some affordable hors d’oeuvre alternatives that your caterer will surely be able to accommodate you with. Caviar serves as a salty spread for crackers and bread. Consisting of fish eggs, caviar is a traditional French hors d’oeuvre that can bust your budget all by itself if you allow it. The finest caviars in the world sell for over $4,000 per pound. The alternative: Kelp caviar is tasty yet affordable. It’s 100% vegetarian because it’s made from seaweed. Available for less than $100 per pound, your budget will appreciate its salty goodness. Truffles are cherished as much for their rarity as for their musky, woody scent. Found underground in certain regions of France, certain truffles can sell for over $3500 per pound. They are used to flavor soups and stews, and pressed to coax their oil out for spreading on hors d’oeuvres such as bruschetta. The alternative: Mushrooms are in the fungi family along with truffles. To the unassuming, mushrooms and mushroom oils make a fine alternative to their pricey cousin, the truffle. Ask your caterer to make the substitution and credit your bill with the difference. Champagne originates from the region of France with the same name. True champagne sells for over $100 a bottle for the better brands. When you consider that a standard 750 ml bottle only pours two and a half glasses, you’d need a lot of bottles to satisfy a typical party crowd. The alternative: Sparkling wine contains the similar effervescence and coloring that your guests might expect from a glass of champagne. Domestic sparkling wines can be had for just over $10 per bottle, making this switch a smart move for your budget. Mixers consist of tonic water, seltzers and sodas. The name brand versions of these are priced at premium levels. In addition, your caterer may mark up the prices even more to improve their profit margin. The alternative: Reserve the premium brands for the hard liquor bottles that your guests will most care about. For your mixers, you can safely substitute store brands and off brands without it influencing the taste of the cocktails. Off-brand mixers are usually available for at least half the price of name brand versions. Talk to your caterer, such as Alpine Catering Ltd, about using these alternatives instead of their higher-priced counterparts. When you save a little money here and there, you’ll be able to spend more on the party elements that matter more to...

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5 Unique Food Themes For An Adult Birthday

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

Do you occasionally find yourself in charge of planning a birthday party for an adult? Creating a unique party for someone over the age of 21 can be a difficult task. Here are some food options that can make the party you plan one that guests will remember.  A BBQ Bar If you’re planning a party for a meat lover, ask your caterer about setting up a BBQ bar. Offer small portions of several types of meat like steak, pork and chicken with a range of sauces guests can use to dip, dunk and enjoy their food. Choose BBQ-friendly side items like coleslaw, baked beans and fries.  Favorite Things Make a list of favorite foods of the person being honored and set up the perfect birthday food buffet or meal based on those choices. Take your list to a caterer to determine the best way to present these foods. You might create a unique meal based on the person’s favorite meat, side dish, salad and dessert. Alternatively, you might offer an assortment of foods your loved one enjoys. Either way, the result will be a unique and personalized experience.  A Vacation Meal Take a culinary trip to a place loved by the person having a birthday. Perhaps the person has a favorite vacation spot or recently took a trip of a lifetime to someplace special. Make a list of foods most often served in that area, and work with your caterer to turn it into a meal.  Some places, like Italy or Mexico, lend themselves to being celebrated for their food. Other places might take a bit more creativity. For example, someone who enjoys Florida may like a seafood based meal while a Las Vegas enthusiast might like a buffet reminiscent of those found in a casino.  Trip Through Time  Try creating a meal using the person’s favorite foods from different times in life. Chances are that older relatives will remember what the person of honor used to like to eat as a toddler, child, teenager and young adult. Offer various stations with different types of foods. Include a station for kid foods like chicken fingers and mac and cheese, a teenage station with pizza and burgers and other stations pertaining to that person’s life.  You can also add foods that were popular during the year the person was born and other significant years in the person’s life.  Dessert Meal Everyone knows the best part of a birthday is the cake. Offer your guests a meal made entirely of dessert, ending with a big birthday cake.  You can throw a creative party for an adult, and food is a big part of that. Use your imagination to come up with a theme that is personalized to the person being honored and fun for everyone.  For more information, contact Gallery Café & Catering or a similar...

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Ensuring That Your Little Gremlins Act Appropriately At Fine Restaurants

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

At times, your children must accompany you to a fine dining restaurant, such as Gabriel’s Restaurant Bar & Grill regardless of your reluctance to have them join you. Certain occasions that warrant this scary outing are family celebrations, a new boss who wants to meet your entire family or a vacation where you and your spouse desire to be pampered. Ensuring that your offspring act like little humans instead of noisy, annoying demons requires a bit of planning on your part. Talk to Your Children Before the Outing Explain to your children that the dining experience is an important occasion. Tell them they will get to dress up and be in the company of adults who are spending a lot of money to enjoy their own dining experience. Tell the kids that there may not appear to be menu selections that they like, but you are familiar with their preferences and will help them choose something that is yummy. Explain that in their life, there will be many opportunities to use the skills they practice at the restaurant. Practice Before the Outing Most children enjoy play-acting and will enjoy pretending they are at a fancy restaurant if you join them in the pretense. Do this at home, in the hotel room or even at a patio table beside the pool while you are on vacation. Plan this play-acting a few nights before you go to the fine dining restaurant. This gives you a chance for a do-over if your children don’t grasp the lessons well the first time. Explain to your children that polite, quiet voices are crucial at this particular restaurant and that they must use their very best manners. Ask them to speak quietly to each other if the adult conversation is boring them. Caution them not to whine or constantly ask when you are leaving. Explain that the dinner may last longer than most restaurant experiences, but that is one of the reasons it is a special place. Ask them not to complain if they don’t care for a particular food item. Explain that many different courses are served at fine dining restaurants. Tell them to eat a few polite bites just to sample the dish and then to sit quietly while the others at the table finish the course. Assure them that will most likely enjoy the next course and won’t leave hungry. If you are on vacation, stick some silverware from home into your luggage. This allows you to give the kids some practice with various utensils that they may not be familiar with yet, such as a seafood fork, butter knife or salad fork. Give the Children an Incentive If you are on vacation, plan a family-friendly activity the day after your fine dining experience or treat them to a funny movie after the dinner. Another option is to tell them that the next night they can order from their favorite pizza place or go out to eat at a restaurant where they can win tokens and get a prize after eating. Enticing them with a special reward is often more motivating than threatening to punish them if they act inappropriately. Realize that Life Goes On If your children do not conduct themselves in a royal manner during the meal, don’t despair. Any client,...

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Taking Clients Out To Eat? Try These Five Food Trends

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Blog, Food & Cooking | 0 comments

If you regularly entertain business clients, you know how easy it can be to run up against the same old, same old. To wow your work associates and possibly land that big account you’ve been fishing for, you need to up the ante in the entertainment department. Try one of these five new food trends, and the business dinner will never be the same again. Hybrid Flavor Mixing two seemingly disparate flavors, like at Il Greco, is a big deal right now. Don’t confuse this with the fusion trend from the ’90s that left diners scratching their heads about what Hawaiian Turkish food meant. Instead, indulge in the joining of two tastes that you might never think to put together, like: strawberry balsamic chili grapefruit maple coconut chocolate basil Highly Customizable Food People are used to having so many options in other areas of life—why not food too? Custom-blend cuisine started with ice cream and being able to mix dozens or even hundreds of add-ons into your dessert. Now the trend has spread to main courses, with sauces and side dishes filling the menu. If you have a client you know to be very picky or on a diet of some kind, this may be just the kind of restaurant to appeal to them. Street Food A natural place to try out the customization of meals is in street food. Food trucks are taking advantage of this movement and offering a million and one ways to have your dumplings, noodles, or pork sliders. While many of these food carts are mobile, another new trend is to cluster them in one location to offer diners a huge selection without having to travel. This is truly having what you want, when you want it, where you want it. Not only do many dining trends get their start on food trucks these days, popular chefs are getting a leg up this way too. The food truck havens attract bloggers and social media journalists who spread the word about their favorites in a new method of brand seeding. You can take your clients to one of these food truck rows this year and see the restaurant on the cover of a national magazine the next. For folks who like to get in on the ground floor of hot, new things, this will definitely impress them. Food Festivals Television has spawned rock star chefs in the last decade, so it’s no surprise that food festivals of thousands are on the rise. Catch your favorite culinary idol on the main stage, and sample up-and-coming-cooks at the same time. This is another great trend for the client who loves to be on the cutting edge of pop culture. Open Eating Take down the barriers and bulldoze the booths—open eating is all the rage now. Enter the long dining table, bar seating, and loft-style floor plans. To go with this trend, family-style serving in large pans and trays is a natural. While this way of eating has been acceptable across the pond for centuries, it hasn’t been done here since the turn of the 19th Century. If you want to brainstorm ideas or share blueprints over a meal, the open table is the way to do it. Your assignment to up the engagement factor for your next business...

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