Elegantly Yours

Creating and Planning Events. Beautifully.

Beat the Summer Heat July 11, 2013

Nothing beats Summertime!

Nothing beats Summertime!

 

The long days of summer are finally upon us! Summer is the perfect time for hosting outdoor events; however, beautiful weather means warmer temperatures. Whether the occasion is a graduation party, golf outing, wedding, or just a summer barbeque, there are a few things to remember when planning and hosting outdoor summer soirees.

 

Watch for bugs. Mosquitoes. Fruit Flies. Green Flies.  All of these insects can be considered our enemies when it comes to outdoor events. Fight back with citronella candles placed on the tables, on the food tables, or with tiki torches placed around the area. Don’t forget the bug lights and bug spray! Cute and stylish bug nets are a great way to serve food outside without insects contaminating the food.

Bug nets are a simple way to protect food from unwanted pests

Bug nets are a simple way to protect food from unwanted pests

 

Drinks all around. The heat easily dehydrates us. Make sure there are plenty of cold refreshments (beyond the alcoholic ones!) for all guests. We don’t want guests dropping like flies!

 

Watch the Sun. The sun is our friend, but only for so long. There must be shade; we’re not trying to send Grandma into another round of hot flashes! Try to find a location with shady trees, or a venue with a patio overhang. For instant shade, purchase pop up tents (Available at stores like Dicks Sporting Goods).  Also, a later start to the party, 3 or later, will save you from the sun’s strongest rays that occur from 10 AM to 4 PM.

 

Protect the Food. Warm weather provides ample opportunity for foodborne bacteria to thrive. Bacteria multiply quickly in the heat, and unfortunately for us this results in foodborne illness.  Prevent sickness by properly transporting, storing, and serving food correctly in the heat.

Cold food should be stored at 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth. Foods like salads and desserts in serving dishes can be placed directly on ice.                                            

Hot food should be kept above 140° F. Wrap it up and keep the food in an air-tight, insulated container until it’s time to chow down.

 

Whether hot or cold, food should not sit out for more than 2 hours. In temperatures above 90° F food should not sit out for more than 1 hour.

Outdoor Fun!

Outdoor Fun!

 

And lastly, Enjoy the Summer Festivities!

 

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.

 

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

 

 
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