Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Choose the Right Food and Drink For a Party

Having a party can be fun but it can also be a rather nerve wracking and mind-boggling endeavor if you do not know how to properly plan. Especially, when it comes to food and drinks. Here are some tips you might want to consider when you are planning a party and want to have quick ideas for what chow to serve your guests:

Plan around a theme – one of the easiest ways to plan a food and drinks menu for a party is to plan around a certain theme. When you have a theme, you can easily select food types and drinks that will complement these foods to revolve around your theme. For example, if you are planning on a Western style party, you can opt for foods that are reminiscent of the Wild West like huge slabs of roasted beef, corn on the cob, wild rice, pumpkin pie and other similar food.

Consider your guests preferences – if you have guests who are vegetarians or are allergic to certain shellfish, you may want to consider these as things you need to work around when coming up with a food and drinks menu for your party.

Consider something simple yet tasty – some people go overboard with trying to impress people with what they serve at parties. Simple yet tasty fare is actually a lot better for them. Try to incorporate some of the simpler foods to prepare in your menu along with a few impressive ones to help you manage your time better and to leave you a little less frazzled.

 

 

9 Simple Ways to Save on Food and Drinks at Your Wedding

The food and drink you serve at your wedding can easily take one of the biggest bites out of your budget (no pun intended). But it doesn’t have to. Check out the following tips to see how you can save, instead of spend, on your special day.

TO SAVE ON FOOD…

  • Opt for the Buffet: Choosing a buffet over a sit-down dinner can save you a bundle on your food bill. Why? Because buffets generally require lower operating costs, have fewer details to manage, and are less labor-intensive than more traditional sit-down meals. Buffets also offer a wider variety of food, increasing the chances that there will be something for everyone (think kids, picky eaters, and even guests with special dietary restrictions).
  • Embrace Brunch: It’s the New Dinner:Brunches are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to traditional sit-down dinners. Not only are they classy and sophisticated, they can save you as much as 40% off your total food costs. One reason for this is that breakfast foods (and even light lunch options) are less expensive. People also tend to eat and drink less around the typical brunch time (from about 10:30am – 1pm) than they do in the evening.
  • Get the Best of Both Worlds with a Cocktail Party Reception:A cocktail party reception gives you the variety and flexibility of a buffet with the refinement and elegance of a sit-down meal, while slashing anywhere between 15%-40% off your total food bill. Cocktail party receptions call for a generous array of appetizers, hors d’ourves and cocktails, of course! What makes this option significantly less expensive than many other types of receptions is the fact that you’ll be serving less food. Additionally, cocktail receptions last about half as long as the average dinner reception (2 hours, compared to 4 hours). While this option certainly isn’t for everyone, it’s a great compromise if you’re on a budget yet still want great food.

TO SAVE ON CAKE…

  • Accept that Wedding Cake doesn’t always “Take the Cake”: According to the Bridal Association of America, wedding cakes average about $550. If you’re on a budget, that figure is almost too absurd to be taken seriously. Luckily, there are many ways to lower your dessert expenses, but you must keep an open mind to those possibilities. Try not to become “set” on any given tradition or get caught up in the idea that your wedding won’t be a REAL wedding without ________. Weddings are all about being flexible, making compromises and setting priorities. With that said, consider taking an unconventional route to find an amazing dessert that you can afford.
  • Dare to be Different: If you’re open to the idea of forgoing a traditional wedding cake in lieu of other dessert options, you’re in luck. There are numerous alternatives that not only will cost you less (in most cases), but will provide your guests with a truly unique experience, one that they’re sure to remember. Some examples include cupcakes, donuts, pastries, candy buffets, pies, cake pops, cheesecake, chocolate fondue, truffles, funnel cake, and fruit tarts.
  • Piggy-Back from the Caterer: If you’re already using a caterer, consider picking a dessert straight from their menu to serve your guests. Usually they will have several elegant (and scrumptious) alternatives to choose from, and you probably won’t have to pay extra because the price per-person generally includes dessert.

TO SAVE ON ALCOHOL…

  • Just say “No” to the Open Bar: Hands-down, one of the simplest ways to shave money off your food bill is to forgo the open bar. Costing as much as $50 a head (not including tip and other add-on fees), an open bar is far from a necessity, especially when you can offer the basic stuff– beer, wine or champagne, and maybe a signature cocktail-at a fraction of the price. Offering two or three alcohol options should be more than enough, and everyone will still have a great time.
  • Time it Right: It’s your wedding, and you have the power to keep the bar “open” or “closed” at various times throughout your reception. For example, at many receptions the bar is kept open during “cocktail hour”, closed during dinner, then opened again after dinner. You can also decide to close the bar during “cocktail hour” (instead, serving just soft drinks and tea), or an hour before the reception ends. However you choose to implement this “start-stop” strategy, it’ll remain largely unnoticed by your guests (so everyone stays happy)!
  • Remember that More (Quantity) = Less (Money): If you’re lucky enough to pick a reception site that allows outside alcohol, you want to make sure to snag the lowest prices on spirits. Check out member-only warehouse stores like Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s, which are typically less expensive and provide a wider selection of spirits. Most of them will allow you to shop in their store without a membership, but only if you have a free one-day pass (try Googling the particular store plus “free one-day pass”). Despite the benefits of bigger outlets, don’t write off your neighborhood liquor store just yet. Most liquor stores, large or small, offer quantity discounts that could save you as much as 10% off your purchase. Before you make an actual trip, start by calling around to see which stores in your area offer the best deals.

Food and Drinks Blender Buying Tips

Almost every kitchen has at least one blender.  There are many different makes and models out there to choose from, and now there are even multi colored blenders that are affordable.

Most blenders are versatile small appliances that you can fit into any budget.  Blenders can do the job of several other kitchen tools such as a food processor, a juicer and even a coffee maker. This is due to the fact that blenders are powerful enough to mash vegetables and fruits and turn it into thick purees like a food processor. They can make juices, cocktails and smoothies like an ordinary juicer, too.  Another popular feature of a blender is that you can buy coffee beans and enjoy freshly ground coffee.  These are just a few examples of the endless list of uses for a blender.

Is it time to buy a new blender?  Do you already have one, but have it hidden away somewhere, and rarely use it?  Have you noticed that blenders are now coming in shapes and sizes to ompliment any kitchen?  This article is going to show you why you should be using a blender, and why you might consider buying another one if you already own one.

Blenders are used to create healthy food and drinks for you and your family.  If you are on a specific diet plan or have turned vegetarian, you will be amazed  by the usefulness of this small appliance. Now is a great time to buy a new blender.  Here are some tips on how to find a good blender.

  1. You can never go wrong by choosing the best brands.

One of the best blender brands in the market year after year is the Oster. The company has the honor in the apliance field of having the name “blenders” often called “osterizers”.  This is the same way that you often hear “tissues” called “Kleenex”.  The Oster brand blenders are the top of the line, and might be the most expensive.  However, it is known for being sturdy, and worth the money.  Especially  if you are going to make shakes and smoothies, or protein blended drinks often. These drinks necessitate crushing hard ice to give them that extra special taste and texture.

If you are going to be  crushing coffee beans, the Oster blender will not have any problem with multiple uses. You can also use the blender to chop nuts for garnishes or to add to cooking.   If you are going to use the blender for mainly making purees or juices, and not crushing a lot of ice, you can probably settle for the cheaper brands that are also well suited for this purpose. While a cheaper blender will crush ice, nuts, and coffee beans, remember not to overdo it just in case.  Pay attention to how hard your blender is having to work to complete these tasks.

  1. Do not buy a used blender

If you can avoid buying a used blender, you should.  Used blenders can last a long time, but you never know how much wear and tear it has on it, or how it was stored and taken care of. Your blender will be a well used appliance so getting a new one gives you the advantage of being able to exchange it if you are not completely happy with it.  However, if you are sure that the second hand blender has not been used often, then it will probably be a good buy, and you can learn whether or not you want to upgrade to a new one in the near future.

If you are going to buy a used blender you should check the product and make sure that there are no cracks in the container and the stainless steel blades are in good shape.  Check the seals on the blender, too, so you know that it is not going to leak, and make sure there are no oil leaks or grease built up around the base.

  1. Get a blender powerful enough to meet your needs.

The amount of power a blender has will vary by the model and the manufacturer.  Not all blenders are the same. You will want to know if the type of blender you are considering will be able to crush a lot of ice, if you want to make lots of drinks that need it.  Remember there are a lot of blender types available, and get your questions answered before you buy.

Making purees, or crushing cooked veggies, or most raw veggies, won’t need the same power requirements as a blender that you want to use for making peanut butter, or grinding a lot of coffee.

  1. Pick the size of a blender that fits your kitchen.

There are different sizes of blenders now, and there are even different colors of the same model.  When you shop for a blender have an idea where you want to keep it.  Look for one that has the size that meets your storage needs.

To summarize, there are several blender choices available now including different sizes, power for a variety of purposes, and price ranges.  When you are ready to buy a new blender be aware of what you are going to want to use it for, and how often you plan on using it.  Blenders can and should be used daily to add to a healthy diet, and just making good food and beverages.