Posts tagged ‘Party Planning’

November 26, 2013

Turkey Day Changeup

This year’s Thanksgiving had been a bit turned on its head in our house. Some of our Thanksgiving family had a conflict so we decided to move the festivities to Friday so we could all be together. It has kind of thrown us for a loop in terms of planning and prep because we have a whole extra day! Nothing to complain about, I know but it does change the things you always do. The other big change for us is the menu…we didn’t want to just repeat Thanksgiving in all its glory, but have an upscale riff on leftovers. So, our planning has turned to making things a little differently and centering everything around sandwiches! How can you go wrong?? We have found that there are some traditional things that people can’t live without. So far, we have made dough for rolls and cookies, stuffing, cream puff shells, cranberry relish and chipotle cranberry sauce. Here is our menu (in progress as always):


Thanksgiving Menu 2013



Shrimp Cocktail

Sweet Potato Croquettes



Roasted Turkey Sandwiches

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches

Wild Turkey Casserole


Mashed Potatoes

Caesar Salad Spears

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Chipotle Sauce

Sweet Potato Rolls


Onion Jam



Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Cream Puffs with Pumpkin Mousse and Chocolate No-Moo Mousse Filling

Ginger Snaps


If you would like to see our regular schedule, check this out! Countdown Day 7, Day 5, Day 4, Day 1


It will be a great way to spend the day after turkey day! Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours! Back with more recipes post-Thanksgiving.


PS—I think the patrons at Whole Foods today need a good reminder of the spirit of the season since it seems we need police presence in the parking lot and a near riot over a lack of whipping cream! I am still trying to kill it with kindness and a smile! Thank goodness for some friendly employees. J


March 24, 2012

Last Minute Dinner Party

After getting back from a week away, a friend we hadn’t seen in a long time came into town. That developed into a small dinner party for six. I had to work all day, so here’s how it evolved. Dad went to the store and got some chicken and lettuce. When I got home from work, I took a look at it and sighed. Then got in gear. Took a look in the cupboard. Orzo. That doesn’t take too long.

We had some leftover Jerk sauce and some herbs, so half the chicken went jerk and half went in garlic, olive oil, herb puree to marinade. Set some of the herb mixture aside for the orzo.

Put our guest to work chopping salad (with a glass of wine of course). Kelly made some dressing.

Dessert? Chopped some strawberries, and while we were eating, Kelly put in some of our famous frozen cookie dough. There you have it.

Except for the cookies this all took about 40 minutes to prepare. It went well and I think our guests felt taken care of…anyway we tried.


February 29, 2012

Mediterranean Party

Party planning seems to be in my blood. I enjoy the creativity and challenge of creating a beautiful event whether it is for 4 people or 400. This weekend I was privileged to assist with a Mediterranean themed dinner party. Since it was a great success, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite parts of the party and some ideas that may help you with your next party. For those of you who entertain at home, this is my process. If you don’t, I will post some recipes this week, these are some good ones! (Please excuse my blurry low light cell phone photos as I, of course, forgot my camera. At least I didn’t forget anything important!)


When planning a party menu, I generally start with an idea, dish, theme, color, etc as a jumping off point. In this case, we had decided on paella and Greek salad so we went with a Mediterranean theme. I then think about the size of the party and the type of people attending. In this case, it was 10 people, and a fairly sophisticated crowd. This meant I could do some more labor intensive appetizers and be creative with my ingredients. I think it is important to have a variety of colors, tastes and textures within a menu. Even if people love meatballs, pigs in a blanket and chicken fingers, it makes for a very monochromatic spread with everything looking and tasting the same. For an event like this, I wanted some healthy options since I knew we had some diet conscious people in attendance. I like to use recipes I have tried (in some form or fashion) before so I don’t have to worry about learning new techniques. In fact, we tried a few new recipes ahead of time and axed some and kept others.

Mediterranean Party Menu


  • Melon Balls with Prosciutto
  • Gazpacho Shooters
  • Chorizo Stuffed Dates

First Course    

  • Greek Salad

Second Course    

  • Paella
  • Bread



  • Spanish Wine
  • Citrus Champagne Sangria

Once the menu is decided, I compile all the recipes and evaluate what I already have. Then make my shopping list by both store and department. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes to have a list like this (then you don’t end up in dairy and realize the only thing you forgot is in produce!) I also go through each recipe and estimate how much time it will take and what I can prep ahead of time. I create a timeline for the 3-5 days ahead of the party and plan when to shop and when to prep. Things will always end up slightly different than your plan, but if you have one, it is much easier to stay relaxed! It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just get an idea in your head. Now all you have to do is relax, have fun, and follow your plan!

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