Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Homemade Pound Cake Recipe

And here it neighbor's famous Pound Cake Recipe (be sure to top it off with the Chocolate Gravy or Grand Berries recipes from last Tuesday's post!)

Renee's Famous Pound Cake
Shift Together:
Flour 3 ½ C
Salt ¼ Tsp.
Baking Powder ½ tsp.

Cream together short. & Sugar
Shortening 1 ½ C
Sugar 3 C.

Add Milk
Milk 1 ¼ C

Fold in eggs
Eggs, Beatened 5

Add Vanilla
Vanilla 2 tsp.

Mix Well
Bake in Bunt Cake Pan 325 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Serve warm with toppings!

For more great receipes visit

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Worry? Wednesday - Packing Up Your Holiday Decor

Recyled post from December 2009:
AFTER Holiday but BEFORE New Years, TIPS
Now that the holidays are over, don't just stuff your trimmings in a box or take your trash to the dump - THINK about how you can re-think the way you end this holiday season and how it carries over to next year. When you only have a couple of days off - it's easy to throw it all back in the box but DON'T! Read through the following tips to tweak your routine in order to start the year off right - and get yourself better prepare for next Christmas!
Use these simple steps as a starting point to a great new way of Simpler Living...
As you starting pulling down your tree and gathering your other holiday decor, designate one area to collect and put everything there. I use the dining room table. I pull all my empty storage bins, tissue paper for wrapping delicate ornaments and my camera to the room. I go from room to room, gathering all the things to store and take them to the table. I try to separate the items into "piles" that will be stored together or stored by what room they go in. Example: All Christmas balls go in one storage bin so they are placed together. Everything that I use in the kitchen (cookie cutters, hand towels, etc) goes in one bin, so next year, when I start my holiday cooking , I can pull this one bin out to use if I haven't put up my other decor yet.
After I have been to each room and EVERYTHING is on the table (or surrounding floor!), I begin to pack. Each item is checked for damage and put in the "donate" pile if damaged or unwanted. Sometimes I go several years without using an item - when this happens I may keep it separate for a few years to see if I still want it. After a few years of not using it , I will offer it to my brother or it goes in the "donate" box. Last year my friends and I had a "Unloved Holiday Ornament Swap" where we exchanged good decorations with each other. I also make a list of what I may need for next year (lights, etc).

By carefully packing UP your items this year, it will make Unpacking them next year a breeze. I photo the inside of each bin and place the photo on the outside with a label. This helps me find items later.

TAKE STOCK NOW - not next December! Take a minute to make a mental list of what you need to restock for next year. Holiday wrapping supplies can be found at drastically reduced prices in January. Place gift wrap in tall kitchen trash cans that can be easily stored. Keep all your holiday wrapping supplies separated and stored with your holiday decorations. This keeps it from combining with your everyday wrap and handy when the holiday comes back around.

ORGANIZE your WRAP - Take loose rolls or scraps of ribbons and roll them around an empty paper towel cardboard roll. Use a paper towel stand to stack rolls of ribbons that have their own holders.
Use a clean small trash can to stack the long rolls of wrapping paper up. To keep rolls from unrolling and getting crushed, roll a rubber band around each roll, instead of taping the ends. This makes it easy to pull out what you need. Take a sturdy shoe box and fill it with everything you need to wrap - extra Scissors, multiple tape rolls, gifts tags, pens, etc. Any torn or unusable ribbon, save for kid's crafts in a clear tub. They can be used for homemade cards and crafts next year.

SORT your DECOR, as you put it away - Go through an examine each item before you store it. If it's broke, get rid of it. If it still holds sentimental value - then store it with other valuable items, NOT with your usable ornaments. Do you have tons of things you keep but don't use? Don't put it back in the closet. Collect these unwanted treasures in one box and donate them to a children's shelter for their use next year.
ORGANIZE your DECOR - Use everyday household items to retire your decor for the year. Egg crates can hold delicate ornaments. Tissue paper and gift bags from this year's gifts can be packed with holiday tins, towels, stuffed decor. Put all kitchen holiday utensils such as cookie cutters, snowman salt and pepper shakers and holiday paper plates all together and store OUT OF THE KITCHEN and with your decorations. You only use them once a year, keep them with the other holiday items. Keep all the same holiday items in clean, matching, PLASTIC tubs. Label the outside with a picture of the contents.
DONATE unwanted gifts - It's sounds terrible to "re-gift" but if you don't love it and it's only going to end up in the closet - move it out. Take it to the women's shelter. Donate to the military overseas. Give it to your mother - just move it from your house! This is YOUR year to de-clutter, don't start by keeping unwanted gifts.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Lemon Scones, Chocolate Gravy and Grand Berries

The following post is a contiuation of my Simple Party Planning Course and the menu items are from my Simple Brunch.

Final week in the Simple Brunch Menu Series. Links to the previous recipes and your printable grocery shopping list is at the end of this post!

My Secret Lemon Scones

You would not believe how many people BEG for this recipe - lucky for me, there' nothing to it!

One box of Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffin Mix
One Box of Duncan Hines Poppy Seed Muffin Mix
Bake the blueberry muffins, as directed, LEAVING OUT THE BLUEBERRIES, and use mini muffins cups
Use the Lemon Glaze out of the Poppy Muffin Box on top of the mini scones.

That's it! I came up with this recipe after I bought the Poppy Seed mix one time and forgot to put on the glaze. The next time I made scones and needed a glaze, I remembered the left-over glaze and used it. It was a hit and nothing I make compares!
Chocolate GRAVY - Serve warm on top of homemade Pound Cake (that recipe is for another day!)
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1/4 Cup Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Stick Butter
1 box Powdered Sugar
Melt butter in milk on LOW - stirring constantly. Add sugars and cocoa - stir until melted. Add vanilla. You are now in Heaven!
Grand Berries - serve chilled on top of homemade pound cake (sorry - you still have to wait for that one!)
24oz Fresh blackberries - frozen will work if you must
1 MINI Grand Marnier
1 Tbsp Honey
Mix well and marinate overnight.
  For more great receipes visit

Hot Russian Tea

Smoked Salmon

Served with Capers, Red Onions and Lagniappe

Maries' Cheese ball

Served with Artisan Crackers

Spicy Tomato Grits

Thick Cut Bacon and Sausage Patties

Sautéed Spinach with Onions and Garlic
Lemon Glazed Scones

Coffee Bar
Grocery List
Fruit & Produce Section
Orange Slices – Three Oranges, sliced into circles
1 Lemon - or Lemon Juice
Grapes – Several Large bunches
Red Onion – One Medium, finely chopped
Onion – One large onion finely chopped
One large bag fresh spinach (apx. 2#)
Fresh Garlic – 6 cloves finely chopped, but not minced
Baking Goods Isle
Sugar - 4 Cups
Cinnamon Sticks – 3
Whole Cloves – 10-12 pieces
Lady & Sons Seasoning – see recipe
Accent – 3 Tbsp.
Worcestershire – 3 Tbsp.
Cheesecloth – for Tea
Grits – 1 cup QUICK-Cooking, but not instant
Blueberry muffin mix – Do not add the berries!
Poppy Seed muffin mix – Do not make the muffins, just need the glaze
Sugar Cubes
Mini Muffin Cups
Meat & Seafood
Beef Slices – See Recipe Notes
Bacon – One Package THICK CUT
Sausage – Two packages of 8 patties
Smoked Salmon – One large pre-packaged SMOKED
Dairy & Refrigerated Section
Cream Cheese – 4 oz. for the salmon plus 3 8pz. Bars for cheese ball
Eggs – 2, slightly beaten
Milk – 1 ¼ Cup
Velveeta – 6 oz.
Cheddar – 2 ½ Cup, shredded
Orange Juice – 2-64oz. Juice plus one Frozen OJ
Other Items
Capers – One small Jar
Rotel – 1 Can
Crackers – 1 large box of assorted crackers plus one box Tollhouse
Coffee & Tea Isle
Coffee – Foldgers Classic Roast or Blue Mountain
Individual Creamers
Tea – 1 Box of Regular Tea Bags

Champagne - 2 bottles

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Okay, Okay! Here's the Oreo Ball Recipe!

Funny thing, that how you're working on something and all the sudden you are bombarded with requests for the recipe/how to.

Luckily, I LOVE to share... I am finished with my bazillion Oreo balls for this season so have at it!

This original recipe comes from the famous so be sure to check out all her cool recipes too. There is also a slide show "how-to" on my website.

Ingredients: Makes apx. 3 dozen balls
1 Package of regular Oreos
6oz. Cream Cheese
1 bag of Chocolate Candy Melts (Hobby Lobby)

Twist the Oreos apart, leaving the cream on the cookies. Put into food processor and grind until they become fine crumbs. You do not want any large pieces. (Surprisingly, the crumbs will be dry even with the cream.)

Put the crumbs in a large bowl and add the softened cream cheese ½ at a time. Mix well WITH YOUR HANDS! Roll gumball sized balls in the palm of your hand and place on wax paper. FYI – These are really rich so if you make them any larger – it’s almost too much of a good thing.

Melt the chocolate melts according to package instructions. Put 4 or 5 balls in the chocolate at a time and roll them around to coat evenly. Using a fork and a spoon, remove the balls individually, tapping the excess chocolate off as you place them back on the wax paper. Before they harden, sprinkle with your favorite topping, if desired.  No need to sprinkle them as soon as you put them on the paper.You can usually dip an entire bag before they dry out. Eat them all yourself or wrap them up and give away as gifts.

Green Tip:
For my teacher gifts, I dove into my clean recycle stash for wrapping ideas. I covered Velveeta cheese boxes with tissue paper, wrapped the Oreo balls in colored saran wrap and placed them in the box. Then I put the box in a gift bag. You can also reuse the original Oreo cookie plastic container (see photo). Just cover them with colored saran wrap and top with a bow. Easy and inexpensive!

For more great receipes visit

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Party Countdown- Part 3 in a Series

Thursdays are for "thinking" out of the box. Together with Yummyday Tuesdays and Why Worry? Wednesdays - Thursdays are a part of the Simple Party Planning Series I am posting this month.

Party Countdown Schedule - if you've been following the entire series - this countdown will help you prepare for your Holiday Brunch

The 10 days to 1 Week Before:
Make a guest list for 5 to 6 couples – what ever your table will comfortably accommodate. For a simple last minute brunch, no need to mail invites. Call, but do not email, your guests.

Look through your kitchen to see what items you have on hand and make a list of what you will need (use LIST below for recipe items.)

Check all dinnerware, crystal and utensils and wash everything that needs it. Use real dinnerware, not disposable for small intimate gatherings – it makes your guests feel important.

Polish any silver you plan to use

Two Days Before:

Survey your front walk and front door, use simple decorations

Iron your linen tablecloth and go ahead and place it on the table.

Set your table with correct place settings, add place cards for an added touch

Set up the food table – See HINT #2, chose what serving dishes and utensils you will need, place on table and label with a post-it note

HINT #1: When setting up the food table, go ahead and place the serving dish and serving utensil needed for each item on the table. Using a note card, label each piece so you know where everything will go. This will allow an early guest to help place food on the table while you are doing last minute things in the kitchen.

HINT #2 - Never deep clean your home before a party. The only time your guests will be alone to take note of your housekeeping is in the guest bathroom. Be sure to deep clean here, but the rest of the house should just get a light cleaning.

Go to the grocery store. (See Shopping List Below)

The Day Before:
Follow the Prep list below:
Slice the oranges into circles, cover and refrigerate
 Chop Red Onion into fine pieces, place is small bowl. Cover – refrigerate

Put capers on a bowl that matches the red onion bowl, cover and refridge

Mix 4oz. Cream cheese with a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder

Make the cheese ball - see recipe

Prep the grits, but do not bake yet

Bake the Scones - see recipe

Setup the coffee and tea station - Get the coffee pot ready, set out sugar, stirrers, and cups

Place a carafe for the tea

Chill the champagne

The Morning of:

HINT: If your brunch is set to start at 10:30, go ahead and shower first thing in the morning. Put on work clothes until 9:30, then change. If your party is a late brunch, wait until 1 ½ hour before starting time to shower – you’ll feel refreshed. You need to be dressed 1 hour before start time to ensure you have time to do all last minute details w/o worrying about finishing your makeup!

Make the Russian Tea – See Recipe – When finished, place in carafe

Bake the Grits – once done, leave in warm oven until time

Set out cheese ball so that it can come to room temp.

Place crackers on appropriate tray by the cheese ball

Set out capers, red onion and cream cheese dip

Place additional crackers near the salmon tray

Sautee the onions and garlic for the spinach – reserve for last minute

Bake the bacon IN THE OVEN – Line the pan with parchment paper, preferably on a rack. Be sure to use a pan that has sides to catch the grease.

Cook the Sausage – keep in warm oven until time

Last minute:

Start the coffee

Place Salmon on appropriate tray. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary
 Take grits, sausage and bacon out of the oven and place on table

Pour the lemon glaze on cold scones, and then warm the scones in the microwave

Put the grapes around the cheese ball and salmon for garnishes

Sautee the spinach with the pre-cooked onions and garlic, drain on a paper-towel and add to table.
 Double check that everything is out on the table

Open the front door if you have a storm/screen door

Last check to make sure the bathroom is freshened

Take a last minute look around, put on some lipstick, make yourself a mimosa and enjoy!

Next Thursday.....Final Notes..... For more party planning tips visit The Kendal Companies

Thinking Thursday - Reducing Packing Materials

Living Green – Reduce Packing Waste

- Reuse a box instead of purchasing a new one for shipping gifts

- Use the smallest box possible to reduce packing materials

- Reuse bubble wrap and packing peanuts – NEVER throw peanuts away

- Create your own packing materials by using shredded newspaper

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why Worry Wednesday - What Food to Serve? Part 3 in the Series

Part 3: "Why Worry? Wednesday-Holiday Party Planning Series". Please be sure to check out the Introduction and previous posts if you are new to my blog.

What to do before, during and after your event to get guests to crown you
“Hostess of the Year”

To continue with "Things Women Worry About When Planning A Party," let's discuss...

Food Selection

The biggest concern of all! Again, KEEP IT SIMPLE. The number one rule of thumb as a hostess – never look stressed and never stay in the kitchen. Select foods that can be prepared before your event – and I mean in the days before, not minutes before. Save one or two specialties for last minute, but the majority of our foods should be prepared early. Chose things that can stay at room temperature and that can be kept out for long periods. Also chose items that can be easily swapped out as they are depleted. As you remove an empty tray, have another tray ready to replace, or better yet, just fill in the empty space by moving around trays already on the table. People expect the food table to deplete as the night goes on. You don’t always have to have a full food table. Just keep it clean throughout the night.

- Beverage Options – Alcohol or not? This is also a personal preference and a large budget expense. My recommendation is to provide minimal selections and ask guests to bring their own beverage of choice

Be sure to check out Full Menus and Recipes that are posted on Yummyday Tuesdays or on my website!

Next Wednesday......What Will I wear?!

For more great recipes, visit The Kendal Catering Company

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yummyday Tuesdays - Spicy Tomato Grits Recipe

The following post is a contiuation of my Simple Party Planning Course and these menu tiems are from my Simple Brunch.

It's Yummyday Tuesday! If you've read our Intro to Party Planning, then you know how this  works. If not, click over and start this party planning course from the beginning. Be sure to also read the Pre-Planning post as well. Now - on to the recipes!

My family LOVES this recipe - especially during the holidays.

Spicy Tomato Grits

2 cups water
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking grits
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup diced green onions
4 ounces processed cheddar cheese, cubed (suggested: Velveeta)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies (suggested: Ro-Tel)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add the grits and return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. While stirring the grits add the 1/2 cup of butter and stir until butter is melted. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside. Using a skillet, saute the onions in the remaining tablespoon of butter for 1 minute. Add the processed cheese, garlic powder, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, and onions to grits, and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Pour the grits into a greased 8 by 11 by 2-inch casserole and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over the casserole for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

The tips to creamy grits in the initial stirring of the pot. It may be tedious, but it is worth it. I use the Extra Hot Ro-Tel tomatoes. I sometimes place sliced tomatoes on the top before I cook it in the oven for added garnishment.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Sea or kosher salt, optional Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves. In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it's browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.
For more great receipes visit

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Simple Party Decor - Part 2 in a Series

Thursdays are for "thinking" out of the box. Together with Yummyday Tuesdays and Why Worry? Wednesdays - Thursdays are a part of the Simple Party Planning Series I am posting this month.

Simple Party Decor - Making Your Party Special For Everyone

 - Use place cards to label the food for your guests. For cheeses, tape the place cards to toothpicks and stick directly into the cheese wedge. Nice touches make all the difference

•Set up your food table the day before. Decide where each serving dish will be placed, add corresponding serving utensils, and place a post-it note on each one to remind you what goes where. This is a great time saver!

•Use real dinnerware, crystal and utensils when possible. It makes the statement that your guests are important. It doesn’t take that much time to load the dishwasher and it reduces the amount of trash your party collects.

•If you don’t have enough real dinnerware to serve everyone, start with what you have then replace with clear disposable-wear. Buy purchasing all clear plates, cups and utensils, you can use the leftovers at any event. Instead of 10 plates in 10 different colors stacked in your cabinet, you will have something that matches it all.

•Use real linen, all-white tablecloths. Again, it makes a statement, can be used at all your events and is easily cleaned. Add layers of colored linens for dramatic (or subtle) décor. Make sure they are straight!

•Use clippings from your yard as décor in all areas. Magnolia, nandina with berries and pine are wonderful choices. Use fresh herbs such as rosemary to accent food such as creamy dips and cheese assortments. Store bought flower bouquets come across as cheesy – but taken apart, the single flowers of sunflowers, peonies and other large blooms are magnificent alone. Try placing one bloom in the bathroom on a plate for easy, classy décor. Using real décor also cuts down in the amount of decorations you need to store every year.

•If children are to be involved, have a special area just for them. They should have their own food table with special treats and an area full of activities to keep them busy. Try setting up a table where they can create their own gum-drop trees from Styrofoam cones.

•At the coffee station, use sugar cubes instead of regular sugar. You’ll be amazed how many people notice! Also offer Splenda, Sweet & Low and individual creamers as an added touch. All the leftovers can be saved for another party.

•Expand beyond the usual holiday balls in a bowl - Simple things like cranberries add color and create wonderful, simple displays.

•Take store bought foods and dips out of the container and put into nicer bowls and trays. It’s all about the PRESENTATION. Use grandma’s china – she did!

•Designate a “dirty dish” area. If guests can see where to place their dishes they are more likely to put them there than leave them laying around your home. Set up a bowl with warm soapy water for utensils and a trash can designated for trash/food. While working the room, casually pick up dishes and cups left laying around. This will cut down the time spent cleaning up later. NEVER load the dishwasher while you still have guests.

•Designate an area for coats and handbags.

•Simmer cinnamon sticks and whole cloves on the stove at the beginning – it will create a warm atmosphere.

Next Thursday....Party STARTER ideas. For more great ideas, please visit The Kendal Companies

Thinking Thursday - Reduce your gift shipping costs

From the Dec. 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens:

Give gifts you don't have to wrap or ship to save money, wrapping paper, postage and transport fuel such as:

Music and Movies from iTunes
Club Memberships
Charitable Contributions
Concert or Theatre Tickets purchased online
Virtual Gift Cards
Kindle Novels

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why Worry? Wednesday - Is My House Clean? Part 2 in the Series

Part 2:  "Why Worry? Wednesday-Holiday Party Planning Series". Please be sure to check out the Introduction and previous posts if you are new to my blog.

What to do before, during and after your event to get guests to crown you
“Hostess of the Year”

To continue with "Things Women Worry About When Planning A Party," let's discuss...

How clean is my house?
Quick tips for getting your house ready
The LEAST of your worries.

To simplify cleaning follow these basic steps:
 Front Door and Entry

-Front walk, porch and door should be swept clear, brightly lit and simply decorated

-Make it warm and welcoming. Turn on all the outside lights or use luminaries.

-Use a simple wreath on the door.

-Make sure your entryway is clear of clutter. Remove everything possible and replace with 
  simple décor such as a bowl of unshelled nuts, a fresh poinsettia or a guest sign in book.

Guest Bathroom

This is the only time your guest will be alone and have time to look around. Be sure the guest bath is extra clean, fully stocked with paper (you don’t want guests looking through your cabinet while searching for more paper), simply decorated (use a scented candle) and has hand soap and a guest towel out. Yes, people WILL look behind the shower curtain and inside the closet – remove bath toys and straighten the linen closet.

The Entertaining area

No need to deep clean your party area. The room will be filled with guests. They will concentrate on the food table and talk with other guests instead of studying the dusty baseboards. Lightly dust and sweep or vacuum. The deep cleaning will be needed AFTER your guests leave!

The rest of the house:

There WILL be guests that have never been to your home and they will want to look around. Don’t panic – lightly clean the other rooms in your home and keep lights turned down (or use lamps and candles). This will hide any imperfections enough for a quick tour .

And a quick note on decorating....

Make it simple.
Use what you have. Wait to put out all your extravagant decorations until AFTER the party. What your family enjoys is not always what you what to accomplish when decorating for a party. A simple wreath on the door, a few pinecones and limbs on the table and a nicely scented candle in the guest bathroom goes much farther than 50 strand of lights and Christmas balls everywhere.

Next Wednesday......Simple Food to Serve.....

For more house keeping tips, visit The Kendal Companies

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yummyday Tuesdays - Beverages for your holiday party

The following post is a contiuation of my Simple Party Planning Course....

Welcome to the first Yummyday Tuesday. If you've read our Intro to Party Planning, then you know how this will work. If not, click over and start this party planning course from the beginning. Be sure to also read the Pre-Planning post as well. Now - on to the first set of recipes!

The holidays are a wonderful time to share with your friends.
Instead of a heavy meal, invite friends over for a mid-morning brunch. The following menu is simple but can be elegant with a few added touches. With a brunch your guests can relax and socialize and still have a full day to run those last minute Holiday errands. December's Yummyday Tuesdays will breakdown my Simple (but elegant) brunch menu, starting with.....
1 bottle Brut Champagne or sparkling white wine
1/2 gallon fresh squeezed orange juice, strained
In a large pitcher, mix the Champagne with the orange juice. Stir thoroughly. Garnish with fruit slices or sweet cherries.

Russian Tea
1 1/2 Gallon orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
I Use Frozen OJ concentrate when I can't find the Tang
2 cups white sugar
12 COLD BREW Tea Bags
3 sticks Cinnamon
10-12 Whole Cloves
Orange Slices
Cheesecloth and String
 In a pitcher, mix the Tang, or OJ, with water per container directions. Pour into a large pot. In the same pitcher, put  tea bags in to seep with 1 quart water, then add to pot. In the large pot, heat the OJ (or Tang) and tea - add sugar and stir until dissolved. Wrap the cinnamon sticks and cloves in the cheesecloth, tie with the string and place in the pot. The longer the spices stay in the pot, the stronger the flavor. After apx. 30 minutes on LOW heat, taste test the tea. Add sugar or more tea/OJ as needed. Serve hot.

Coffee Bar
Brew your favorite coffee and serve with lots of condiments.
Flavored Creamers and Syrups

For more great receipes visit

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Party Theme Ideas - Part 1 in a Series

Thursdays are for "thinking" out of the box. Together with Yummyday Tuesdays and Why Worry? Wednesdays - Thursdays will be a part of the Simple Party Planning Series this month.

For our first Thinking Thursday, let's go over some great party themes and ideas.

•Create a poster or cork board with pictures of your guests from throughout the years. Ask guests to bring their own pictures to add and swap out. Your guests will love (and laugh) at pictures of themselves and others. To expand on this idea – try it with your neighbors. Many times neighbors do not exchange the many pictures they take throughout the year of each other’s children. It’s a great way to collect and exchange these photos.

•Have Santa make a surprise visit at your adult parties too. Guests can give Santa a wish list and have their photos taken. Great way to start the laughs – and maybe get what you really want this year!

•Arrange for the neighborhood kids or another group to stop by and Christmas carol for your guests. OR, have a Christmas Caroling party. When I was a child, we would meet at someone’s home and take a hayride to people’s homes to carol. Every third or fourth house we would go in for hot chocolate and treats before going on to the next house. After the last house, we would go back and the adults would socialize with Hot Rum while we decorated the tree. How I loved it!

•Have a Christmas Card Making or Baked-Good Baking Party – Gather your friends for pot-luck dinner while you all sign and address your Holiday cards or bake and package your baked gifts.

•For “Christmas in July” try the following: Place the lid of a large Rubbermaid tote on the center of your food table. Cover it with a tablecloth. Fill the lid with play sand. Add Barbies in swim suits, shells, and other summer items for décor. Suggest Hawaiian shirts, serve margaritas, mini BBQ sandwiches and homemade ice cream. Play Jimmy Buffet music and have everyone do the “limbo!”

•Create “stations” instead of a food table. Banana split bars, soup stations and taco bars are great easy to fix tables.

Next Thursday..... Holiday Party Decor. For more great party planning ideas, decor photos and recipes, visit The Kendal Companies

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Worry? Wednesday - Who To Invite and Will Anyone Come?

Welcome to the first "Why Worry? Wednesday." This is a part of my Holiday Party Planning Series. Please be sure to check out the Introduction and previous posts if you are new to my blog.

The series begins this week with "Things Women Worry About When Planning A Party." Included in this series will be:

Who to Invite & WILL ANYONE SHOW UP?
What to do before, during and after your event to get guests to crown you “Hostess of the Year”

We begin with:

Who to Invite & WILL ANYONE SHOW UP?

There are many things you can do before, during and after your event to ensure your guests will attend, and will want to attend, your events.

Date Selection -Getting your guests to attend takes more than just an alluring invitation. Think about your own obligations and apply it to your guest list. Consider more than just choosing whether a Friday or Saturday will work. Scan the local newspaper or school websites to find out what is going on in the community that might be a conflict for your guests. Sports schedules, school concerts and local community events such as holiday parades and tree lightings should be taken into consideration.

Send an enticing invitation - Be creative! This is an example of how I used humor to get party guests from the Georgia Coast to come to a party in Northern Georgia:

Intrigue them with a creative theme -When choosing a theme, think outside of the box. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to have traditional themes. Try “July in Christmas” for a fun theme . With traditional parties, add another dimension by having a centralized event such as having Santa stop by or have Christmas carolers stop by. Focus more on what you can offer your guests that is different than just the theme’s décor.

Simple Elegance during your event - Down play the decor. SIMPLE decorations make a stronger statement than lavish tinsel and bows.
Food that is different but wonderful - Add a few unusual items to your regular party table. Pickled watermelon Rinds or Okra Tea sandwiches are great conversation starters!
Make each guest feel they are the most important guest - take the time to sincerely thank each guest for attending. Everyone is busy during the holidays and they didn't have to take the time to stop by YOUR party. Be grateful!
Never let them see you sweat - Have everything ready so that you are out of the kitchen by the first ring of the doorbell.
Consistency is the KEY - Guest will remember and RETURN to your home for wonderful parties. Keep up the level of elegance at each function you host- whether it's the holidays or just afternoon tea.

- Send a card, or email, with pictures of you guests from the party, thanking them for attending.

Next Wednesday.... Is My House Clean? For more great tips, visit The Kendal Companies.

For more great party planning tips, visit The Kendal Companies