What Do You Have to Give?

What Do You Have to Give?

I was talking to an Airbnb guest of mine this morning about love and relationships. Not that I am an expert by any means…I am on my third husband. But we have been together over 30 years and still living life. I am still In touch and friends with my first two husbands. Kindness feels better to me than bitterness and anger.

This woman I was talking to was 33 single very pretty and seemed to be discouraged . Her mother is also single. My sister, older than me by five years never remarried but has certainly tried to find a partner. She is also discouraged. There are other friends and family members in the same boat.

You’re probably wondering what does this have to do with the culinary corner….

Well, when I started my business it came from my passion to please others. When I cook a meal, or bake something to share I do it with love and an intention to please. Nothing warms my heart more than hearing the satisfied mmmm as you take a bite. My father always said his favorite sandwich was one made for him. I never stopped doing that and my business is still going strong all these years later.

So back to the discouraged single people…

If instead of focusing on all that you want or need from a mate start thinking about what you have to give! What you have to offer. It’s really amazing how our needs are met when we are giving rather than seeking fulfillment. Next time you write that profile for your internet dating site talk about the things you have to offer and like to do for your partner. The things you like to share, the places you’d like to experience with them. On that next date find out what really pleases that person instead of telling them what you want. You will be able to determine if you are the one that can fulfill those desires.

I think you will really be surprised how your needs are met if you don’t think about or talk about yourself so much. Now I’m not saying you should be a doormat, you do need to find the balance. I’m just saying, make someone a sandwich and see how it makes you both feel. You might be surprised.

Big Bash Small Space

Big Bash Small Space

My daughter is turning forty! I never feel old on my birthdays but having a forty-year-old daughter sure hits home. The story is not about her age but rather her well-deserved Big Bash.

There is nothing like a party at home. At least that’s what she says. Especially one hosted by her legendary party planning mother (her words).

So I’m going to share it with you. 

My home is small but open.

I have great neighbors and I have a fabulous front yard. Level, canopied with gorgeous trees, and Astro turf. The party starts out front around 6:00 as guest start to arrive. We will move all the outdoor lounge furniture to the front yard. I have enough for two or three seating areas. Add a few heaters a fire pit and most important a welcome bar cart in the driveway. I for one always head to the bar when I go to a party so why make people look for one. Greet them with a beverage. There will only be two drinks offered out front and water of course. Champagne and smoked old fashions. Bourbon is quite the thing these days. The rocks glasses of bourbon all lined up in the barrel smoker getting a good cold smoke. First the smell of applewood fills the air

Then out comes the glass, drop a ball of ice in and voila!

Before you head towards the house you will be approached with a hand passed fancy tray of something yummy.

The double doors will be wide open as you head into the house, another crackling fire and the music bellowing from the backyard. Soon to be approached with more food offered from a tray.

There will be another bar inside fully stocked when you’re ready. A menu with suggestions. Mock-tails included of course.

More hand passed food…

The backyard glistens with candlelight, standing height tables and small tables with a few chairs. More heaters another crackling fire.

Here comes more food, this time three bite short plates of hearty items, grilled Shrimp over risotto, boneless short ribs with a cherry Demi glaze over roasted corn mashed potatoes, and so on. Food you can eat sitting or standing.

The band is playing from the upper deck. It’s so pretty with the lights, the music, everyone in their finest cocktail attire.

Mingle, dance, talk, drink and eat and eat! All the food comes to you.

You will eventually have to say “no more!”

Around 8:00 everyone gathers in the back yard for a speech from the guest of honor. Out comes the little cakes, each with a single candle. Two bites maybe. The candles are lit, the birthday song is sung and everyone will make a wish for the birthday lady before blowing out their own candle.

More music, more dancing, visiting, coffees and more drinks.

As the band winds down around 10:00 guest start to leave, lots of hugs, big smiles, thank you’d, and a tasty departure gift for later.

Then the HEC crew will tear it all down clean it all up and take it away while I put my feet up and enjoy the fire. A very happy daughter with her head on my shoulder beaming with happiness.

You can have a party anywhere. This party was for 100 or so guests.  The key is to keep people moving, comfortable and well fed.

My garage becomes a kitchen for the HEC staff. Chefs to plate food, there’s three of them, four servers constantly bringing out food, two bussers picking up glassware and dishes, three insured Bartenders. You never want your guest to stand long in a bar line. And an Event manager to oversee it all. And keep the fires going.

The rental equipment all came from HEC. Tables, linens, centerpieces, dishes, glassware,

Heaters and all the service ware.

I did prepare a great deal of the food (being a retired chef and all) but much of it came from HEC.

Do what you love, what you’re good at, but make sure you are a guest at your own party. Enjoy it.

Kindness

Kindness

We all endured trials and tribulations over the roller coaster of the year and a half that it’s been: physically, mentally, emotionally, the list goes on farther for that for some. As a mother of four school aged children, getting the kids back into “normal” school this year, has been the HUGEST blessing that our family could have asked for…little did we know until it happened! It was, by far, the most symbolic for my family – and I can presume many of yours – thus far.

Some of us have returned to our offices, gotten haircuts for the first time in a year, dressed up for an occasion, attended a party, flown on a plane, attended sporting events or other mass gatherings…we’re each returning to whatever “normal” we have missed so fondly over this time.

With all these “returns” that we’re experiencing to normalcy, I felt it appropriate to remind us ALL to do so with KINDNESS. We’ve had such a tumultuous year, between the pandemic with mixed opinions and judgement throughout, a horrific election year filled with hate and violence. As human beings, it is imperative to proceed with KINDNESS and GRACE that some of us lost over the past 18 months. Remember when your neighbor brought over a fresh loaf of baked bread, or seeing a young man helping an elderly man load his groceries, or just the simple touch of holding a door open for someone…? All these things CAN come back, and should. But it’s up to US, kind humans, to ‘pay it forward’ and return it all back to how it “was”.

Leave this small reading, and do ONE THING kind for a stranger today. They maybe one thing tomorrow. If we all do it, IT WILL COME!

Getting Back to It!

Getting Back to It!

Hopefully by the time this article publishes at the beginning of August, we’re all “Getting Back to it!” in whatever way that means to you…whether it’s getting back to work at your office, or getting the kids back to school, or getting back to your pre-COVID weight. Eventually we all want to GET BACK TO IT!…all while preserving the added time that most of us have come to enjoy in these finished unprecedented times.

So in light of getting back to our busy level of efficiency all while maintaining (or re-starting) the healthy lifestyle that [should be] important to us all in our quality of life, here are some tips to meal planning, prepping, and preparing quality meals ahead of time to grab on the go:

  1. Stock up on containers: There is no way around this; to pack a week’s worth of meals for out of the house, you’ll need a week’s worth of containers. Buying matching sets will help in storage, stacking, and utilizing mismatched pieces.
  2. Keep it simple: Some of the best recipes for long-lasting lunches are also the most basic. Simple sandwiches, pastas, salads, are all great choices for lunch on the go.
  3. Embrace repetition: Save time and sanity – Monday’s pasta salad with chicken can also be put in a tortilla for Thursday’s wrap.
  4. Pack some things frozen: yogurt, applesauce, corn, peas, can go in frozen, help keep it cold and will be cold once you eat it.
  5. Know the shelf life of prepared foods: As you proceed with your new efficient way of prepping lunches, take notes on your trial and error and make adjustments. For example, strawberries sliced on Saturday probably won’t make it to the end of the week – so pack them in Monday or Tuesday’s lunch.
  6. Leave a few things unpacked: As much as you’re trying to prep ahead for the weeks’ worth of meals, no one enjoys a browned avocado. So keep a simple list of that morning preps to make that chosen meal a well-balanced, healthy, and tasty option!
  7. Pack while you cook: Let’s be honest: packing a week’s worth of lunches (especially for more than yourself) will make a mess of your kitchen! So it’s best to utilize some of what you’ve prepped for lunches that week for dinner that night. For example, cooking chicken for dinner and using it for your chicken salad for lunches that week.
  8. Take shortcuts: Use pre-pared items as long as it stays healthy. Most produce departments pre-cut vegetables and package them to buy (without preservatives); those are safe to pass on to your lunches!
  9. Don’t overfill lunch boxes: Squishing food too tight can force wilting lettuce, soggy bread, etc. Using the bento style boxes helps to keep food separate since they could be in your lunchbox for a few days before eating.
  10. Pack wet things separately: With your chicken salad (from #7), package it separately from the bread. Then at the office, simply put the chicken salad on your bread and voila! Same goes for salad dressings, may for sandwiches, and the like.

Starting your first Sunday prepping meals ahead will hopefully be the catalyst in your new efficient and healthy routine to help us all to Get Back to It! post-COVID. Good luck to us all!