Monday, April 28, 2014


Heaven knows through the years we have had allot of parties at our houses. More times than not, I am so exhausted after taking care of the details and the food prep, that I don't feel like a good hostess. I have been trying different ways to minimize my food prep time in the kitchen, and to create a pretty/easy centerpiece without tiring myself out to a point that I don't enjoy the party.

Here are some short cuts that have helped me.

1. TABLECLOTH--I added a bit of whimsy by using my new beach blanket as my tablecloth. I loved the fringed edge and the colorful stripes. The bold stripes in the blanket created a great foundation and gave
me an automatic color palette theme to work with.

2. CENTERPIECE---keep it simple. Pick up a pretty bouquet at the grocery store with bright colorful blooms of all sizes. Search your cabinets for different items to use as vases. In my case I used vinaigrette bottles, votive cups and one large vase. The large vase was filled with artificial blooms. The other vases are filled with the supermarket blooms.

3.  FOOD---I decided most everyone loves Bruschetta. I purchased a jar of Tomato and a jar of  Artichoke Bruschetta topping. I sliced and toasted 2 baguettes applying a bit of olive oil seasoned with a bit of McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb Salt-Free Seasoning. Bake the slices at 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes per side. They come out nice and crunchy and  are great for Bruschetta. Arrange on a platter and you are all set!

What could be easier than adding a nice Boursin and Hummus tray. I used crackers here, but veggies would be colorful and delish also!

Skewers are so easy and make such a pretty presentation. There are so many ways to skewer foods. I chose a simple Polynesian Shrimp Skewer. Most of the preparation is the cubing and threading of the food onto the skewer. Recipes appears at the end of the blog.

I love featuring a signature drink at every party. I found this recipe for Limoncello Punch years ago. It is not for the weak at heart, however, it sure is tasty! 

So a simple centerpiece and food choices can save lots of time and energy.  And don't forget it is also acceptable to ask your guests to bring an hors d'oeuvre to share. Today most people offer to bring something, so take advantage of their kind request. Besides, since anyone who brings something typically brings one of their own favorites, it is sure to delight the taste buds of your guests.

                                    Have a wonderful day!    

Makes about 4 dozen
48 fresh extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on)
1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pints grape tomatoes
3 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inc pieces
48 (8 inch) wooden skewers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Thread shrimp, pineapple, green bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and yellow bell
pepper onto skewers. Place in a single layer on a prepared pan.  Pour Polynesian
Sauce over skewers. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm.

Makes 2 cups

3/4 cup rice vinegar
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, honey,
lemon juice, ginger, and garlic powder, whisking until honey dissolves.

******Recipes above may be found in the May/June 2014 subscription of the
Southern Lady magazine.

1 Bottle Prosecco (I used 2 bottles)
3 cups limoncello
2 tablespoons simple syrup

Mix all together in punch bowl of beverage container. (This punch is quite strong, that is why
we added the extra Prosecco.) Your taste may be different.
Float strawberries for color.