Elegantly Yours

Creating and Planning Events. Beautifully.

5 Crowd-Pleasing Hor’ D’oeuvers April 24, 2013

hors-d-oeuvre

 

No matter what type of event you’re throwing, there are some hor’ d’oeuvers that are sure to be crowd-pleasers! Whether you are ordering these tasty treats, buying them, or making them from scratch, they are sure to win over your hungry crowd. While these hor’ d’oeuvers are rather simple, you want guests to eat the food, so sometimes plain yet tasty is better! The key to a great party is great food; get your guests’ palate’s yearning for more with these succulent hor’ d’oeuvers.

 

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1. Mini Frankfurters. A classic. Simple and tasty, these mini frankfurters will please everyone from your 5 year old nephew to your 80 year old aunt. Everyone loves a mini-dog! Serve with a zesty mustard, honey mustard, or traditional yellow mustard.

 

2. Chicken Satay. Juicy meat on a stick? How could anyone resist? Go with a garlic-herb, teriyaki, or barbeque seasoning depending on the type of event you’re having.  Serve with peanut sauce or soy sauce.  Not a chicken fan? Go with beef satay. Both are delicious options!

 

 

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3. Coconut Shrimp. Perfect for seafood lovers, this is a sweet, savory, and crispy alternative to the above meat options.

 

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4. Vegetable Rolls. It is always a refreshing alternative to be able to spice up your hor’ d’oeuver options with a dish that may not exactly coincide with the rest of your appetizers and meal. Serve with classic duck sauce, spicy peanut sauce, or soy sauce.

 

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5. Bruschetta. Crunchy and bursting with flavor, bruschetta is a great appetizer for Italians and non-Italians alike! A fresh alternative to bruschetta is a slice of tomato and mozzarella, and a basil leaf on a crispy piece of bread. The tomato and mozzarella combo can be done without the bread too. Drizzle with balsamic or top with fresh pesto. Delish!

 

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The Perfect Party Favors April 4, 2013

What a cute idea!

What a cute idea!

 

Party favors are supposed to be a favor. As in thanks for coming, hope you had a great time, and not as in “oh great a mini lint-roller” or something random that would evoke a similar response.

 

Party favors should be fun and reflect your personality. Even so, there are still a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to choosing the party favor for your event.

 

Practicality. If you’re having trouble thinking of something creative that won’t be a wash, think practicality. People like gifts that they can and will actually use. No knick-knacks. What am I going to do with a little pail full of confetti? Build a miniature sand castle? No, throw it out.

 

Ideas for practical favors include:

  • Measuring spoons
  •  Ice-cream scooper
  •  Luggage tag
  • Tea light candle holder

 

These items can be personalized with a date, name, or phrase. They can easily tie in with your theme or event if you tie a bow or ribbon on them in a color that matches the overall color scheme of your event.

 

Relevance. Granted, there is usually no way something like an ice-cream scooper could be completely relevant to the actual focus of the party, but if you do have a specific theme, definitely try to stick with the theme when it comes to the party favor.

 

For example, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, little jars of honey is a great idea. Or packets of flower seeds personalized with your name on them.

My aunt and uncle had these mini honey jars as their wedding favors. So sweet!

My aunt and uncle had these mini honey jars as their wedding favors. So sweet!

For a bridal shower, the attendees will mostly be female so winning favor ideas include:

  • Nail manicure set
  • Bubble bath
  • Hand sanitizer

 

Food.  Food is great. Always a winner. People like immediate gratification and offering food as your party favor will encourage people to take your favor and eat it right away. Whether you’re planning a sweet sixteen or not, candy bars or gourmet truffles in a cute box always end the night on a sweet note.

 

Some other food related favors include:

  • Personalized bottles of hot /BBQ sauce
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Mini bottles of ketchup
  • Fortune cookies
  • Breath mints
  • Little jars of spices, honey, or jam
  • Tea bags
Sauce it up!

Sauce it up!

 

Anything Related to Alcohol. This is not a joke. Think a personalized bottle opener, cork stopper, or a shot or pint glass. Assist your guests in getting that booze flowing!

 

A Personalized Pint

A Personalized Pint

 

Price.  Although you may spend an ample amount of time, effort, and money on planning and purchasing your party favors, the truth is that some people may end up leaving it at the party. This is a frequent occurrence at events, so just be wary of the amount of money you are spending on the favor. While it’s always nice to leave from a big event with some memorabilia, it is not worth sacrificing an awesome DJ or a killer cake for party favors.

 

Dessert Discussion: The Declining Appeal of the Chocolate Fountain March 6, 2013

Filed under: Food — dziminski @ 11:43 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
The Classic Chocolate Fountain

The Classic Chocolate Fountain

If you’re like me, you start salivating at the mere presence of anything chocolate coated, chocolate dusted, or chocolate topped. While all this chocolate is appealing, chocolate-lovers will agree with me when I say that it is highly disappointing to bite into a lackluster, bland piece of chocolate. Unfortunately, this situation often occurs at events that have an aesthetically pleasing but tastefully disappointing chocolate fountain. Chocolate fountains grace their presence at many events including weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, and Sweet Sixteens, but their actual value to the event is minimal. Chocolate fountains may look beautiful; however, there are many downsides associated with this dessert.

 

  • It’s messy.  The treacherous 5 seconds of travel time from the fountain to your mouth or plate leaves many opportunities for you to drip melted chocolate on your party attire or for the table around the fountain to get drenched in sticky chocolate dribbles.
  • It’s rather unsanitary. There is no denying that some party-goers will breach chocolate fountain etiquette and double dip a piece of fruit or use their fingers to scoop up a glob of chocolate into their mouths.  Let’s be honest: I don’t care how many people you know or are related to at that event, it’s just gross.
  • The melted chocolate morsels used in the fountain tend to be low quality chocolate . Although a fountain may be more exciting than regular chocolate, it would be more beneficial to spend money on quality chocolate bars than a mediocre tasting chocolate fountain.
  • The chocolate may very well be re-used, yes re-melted and re-used, for different events. We all love to reduce, reuse, recycle, but not in this case.

 

There are many less messy and just as delicious, if not more delicious, alternatives to a chocolate fountain including the following:

  • A tray or party favor of high-quality handcrafted truffles.
  • Assorted pastries from a bakery. Think mini éclairs, napoleons, cannolis, and cookies.
  • Pre- dipped chocolate covered strawberries. Made with fresh strawberries and high-quality chocolate of course!
Decadent Dark Chocolate Truffles

Decadent Dark Chocolate Truffles

 

I’m not denying that a chocolate fountain can be pulled off at an event; just be wary of the ambiance you want your event to have and understand that the presence of a fountain could alter the aura of the party. In the end, chocolate is always a hit, so you can’t go wrong whether you go with a fountain or stick with other forms of chocolate desserts. Embrace your sweet-tooth!

 

4 Things to Consider When Ordering a Cake February 23, 2013

Filed under: Food — dziminski @ 2:34 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
mmm cake!

mmm cake!

If you’re like me and have a pretty large sweet tooth then you won’t be alarmed by my assertion that a cake can make or break an evening’s festivities. The cake is often the attraction where guests gather around and shower well-wishes upon the couple, man, or woman celebrating their day. To make the celebration even sweeter, read these tips about ordering the perfect cake for your event!

  1. Price. Specialty cakes will require a lot of dough. The floury kind and the green kind. If you’re trying to save some of the green kind, it’s not too hard to find a cake that oozes elegance without spending hundreds of dollars in additional icing. Your cake does not have to be from a famous cake shop; many local bakeries create exquisitely decorated and deliciously tasting cakes.
  2. Appearance vs. Taste. Be cautious. An overly decorated intricate cake, while it may look like a work of art, might not taste that great. I think simply decorated cakes are the best; they are classy, beautiful, and taste delectable! It is easy for a baker to tie in a few simple elements of your color scheme or theme into the cake. This is a better option than having an over-the-top cake that tastes like plastic. Nobody wants to bite into mouthful of fondant.
  3. Guests’ Tastes. If you simply love the taste of pina colada and want your cake to be coconut flavored with a pina colada filling, think again. It’s best not to go with an unusual flavor. You do want everyone to eat the cake after all, so stick with the basics: vanilla, chocolate, marble, coffee, strawberry.
  4. Other Desserts. If you are having a lot of guests and think that the cake alone may not suffice, or maybe you just don’t want to admit that you have a lot of, let’s say, heavy eaters attending, then don’t be afraid to bring on the desserts! A cake is staple piece of any event but it does not have to be the only piece. A great idea is to have the cake and then also have a plate of assorted cookies or gourmet chocolates placed at each table. Now that’s icing on the cake.
A beautifully decorated cake from The House of Elegant Cakes

A beautifully decorated cake from The House of Elegant Cakes

 “Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people”

-Audrey Hepburn

 

The New Trend in Buffets: Interactive Stations February 10, 2013

Photo Credit: Mazel Moments

Photo Credit: Mazel Moments

 

If you anticipate your party to be pumpin’, and you envision your guests sashaying over to chaffers to quickly grab food and then return to dancing and chatting with other people, then a buffet is clearly the way to go. While buffets usually offer more variety, flexibility, and mobility than plated dinners, many fear that a buffet could result in a stagnant, long line of hungry people. Total buzz kill.

 

So, if your event includes a lot of people, there’s a new trend in food service that is pretty nifty-Interactive Stations. They are a step up from a buffet, more like an enhanced Viennese table that incorporates an assortment of food groups, not just dessert. Interactive Stations offer a great way for your guests to be actively involved in choosing what they want to eat, and how they want it made. They’re a great alternative to a regular buffet because they truly bring the food to life and ensure the freshness of the food as guests can watch their food being prepared right before their eyes.

 

Depending on what your event entails, there are a multitude of stations you could offer. I found some great station ideas from Catersource.

 

Cultural:  If your party is themed or ethnically oriented, then these stations are for you. Think gyro station, crepe station, fajita station, sushi station, nacho bar, or even a bruschetta station.

 

Classic: The total crowd-pleasers, staple foods that people love. Think raw bar, pasta station, and a cheese and crudité station.

 

Seasonal: Many foods are seasonal, so have your stations feature what’s typical for that season.

Fall: pumpkin ravioli/butternut squash pasta station

Winter: mashed potato bar

Spring: assorted fruit bar, fresh salad bar

Summer: mini hotdogs, hamburger sliders, onion rings

 

The Bottom Line: Think of the tastes, personalities, and even the age of your guests. Are they a lively bunch that loves to mingle? Is there a variety of palates among them? If you have a lot of foodies at your party or just want to spice up traditional event food choices, then go for Interactive Stations. Get cooking! Or I should say get choosing!

 

Check out more creative Interactive Station ideas from:  http://www.catersource.com/resources/library/event-planning/steal-this-interactive-station-ideas

 

 
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