Anyone who is into entertaining or preparing a wedding will just love these iced vanilla vodka bottles to display. To make these exquisite bottles you simply add a few vanilla beans to your vodka bottles and then set them into a milk carton. Using a bamboo stick you can arrange roses or just about any flower up along the sides and fill with water. To display place them in a deep dish to absorb any melting water or, better yet, place them in a water basin on ice. This concept fits in even more impressively with the ice bowls in our previous section, click here to see the ice bowls. If you are employing all of these iced floral concepts a "garden party" would be very easy to do. Pansies are another flower that comes through well when using ice techniques.
Perfect for a wedding these bottles can also contain non-alcoholic beverages, but a large glass bottle should be used in any design. The flowers at the top of the page are simply silk peonies that appears to be in water but are actually arranged in a gel. Click here for Did You Know?
Upgrade Any Desert with Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
In my pantry about a year now sat Godiva's White Chocolate Liqueur. When the Fourth of July presented a very pretty but ultimately basic holiday cake, I was able to make it outstanding by pouring a few teaspoons of this liqueur over each piece of cake being prepared for adults. The liqueur was a pretty white color and made a par average desert a gourmet wonder. I decided since then to keep a bottle on hand throughout each year to spruce up future basic deserts. If nothing else the Godiva works as a great gift, more so when you mention to the recipients on what to do with theirs.
The Real Pecan Sticky Bun Recipe
I discussed using ready made dough for out of this world pecan buns, but I came across the best recipe yet: The sauce is made of of equal parts of brown sugar, butter, pecans, and honey. A teaspoon of cinnamon and brandy also are great. Extra broken pecans are also fine. Click here for that article.
Basic Design Ideas for Entertaining
You do not have to stress yourself out to achieve ambiance for get together. I always prefer the French county casual atmosphere, such as simple brown and white boiled eggs sitting out along with different colored apples in a bowl. These are also great for after school snacks.
Flowers are so critical and probably to most over looked accoutrement!!! They are very inexpensive and should be "thrown" or positioned around the space being used to entertain. Some petals such as pansies can be place right on the food. Please click here for edible flowers you may even have in your garden! I like to put a little egg white and then sugar over my edible flowers. Flowers do not have to be that expensive, you may just look at the dumpster of a florist at the end of a busy day. They throw out TONS of beautiful flowers after each busy day that simply had a break somewhere in the stem. Crawling around in dumpsters may not be a healthy practice, but it is so true. I often ask a Florist for their "throw aways" to dry and make potpourris. Often they do not mind at all. More so if you are willing to sweep the floor in return.
Candles can have a remarkable effect on ambiance and more preferred to be protected by a lovely and inexpensive hurricane glass. Michael's Craft Centers sell these for $2. The purpose of the glass is not only elegance, but helps reduce the fire factor if a guest knocks the table down. I buy simple wreaths and glue gun beautiful objects onto the wreath before I insert the hurricane glass and candle. I like guests to leave with a gift when possible, so, if I am having a BBQ, I make make my special sauce and pour it into old IBC or Corona Bottles, cork it with a wine cork while hot. I would display them all on one table to take home a bottle as they leave. Funny if I had ten guests, 30 bottles would be gone!
Think "out side the box." Interesting ceramic dishes, such as clamshells and the Lettuce ceramic bowl above can be purchased at garage sales and simple stored in your garage until they are ready for use. One gourmet cook makes "Margarita Chicken Wing's" and serves them in a huge salt rimmed Margarita glass.
Foods to Entertain and Impress
They should be as easy to make as possible, unique and delicious. Former mistakes I have made is creating such a work intensive menu I never saw my guests and that was perceived as a little rude and that I did not care. My absolute favorite soup that I grew up with is Vichyssoise and it is so easy to make. Try it and you will become addicted. If you happen to grow your own chives, even better, most of the stalk can garnish the top of the soup. How to make it? I take the white part of 4 leeks (not a must) and 6 boiled potatoes. 1/2 stick of butter, 3 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of half and half or cream, and salt and pepper to taste. I puree all of this in a blender or food processor and chill for four hours. A touch of nutmeg makes the whole dish! Serving with French bread is a must.
One of the neatest appetizers I have discovered is the kind you mix and bake in the oven in cup cake molds. They resemble a quiche, but are very easy to make the sky is the limit with the combinations of mini quiches. Recipes for these are in the subscribers index and library.
"When it comes to fancy cheesecakes and complex deserts, there is Sam's Club."
Another one of my personal favorite chilled soups is Strawberry Paradise which is my own recipe.
For easy to make quiche Appetizers in cup cake molds, click here for the PDF file "Hors D'oeuvres by the Dozen.".
For main dishes in a snap the grill is always offers the easiest assembly, clean up and guaranteed remarks of satisfaction. Aunt Marys eBooks, otherwise known as Judea Bentley, a writer for the Mabel White Dot Com company recently contributed three eBooks for the Subscribers library and they include "Butter Recipes" which talks about making homemade nut butters, cheese butter, onion butter, caper butter, and more. Perfect for entertaining as well as "Recipes from India." Her ebooks can be found in the 2003 subscriber library.
Tropical Smoothie Recipe
Very much into making our own yogurt, and loving it, we are constantly coming up with great smoothie recipes. This one is so simple and delicious it is worth a mention here. Requiring 8 ounces of plain yogurt for each serving, 2 tablespoons of vanilla flavored coffee creamer (we are big cheaters) 2 teaspoons of pineapple preserves, and 1 tsp of coconut extract this smoothie recipe is just one of those things you do not forget. As always, you can add wheat germ, honey or other ingredient variations as we do in ours. A few ice cubes in the blender will give you a thicker consistency if desired. For extra panache add an oriental umbrella (always so cool) and a slice of pineapple or a strawberry to garnish.
Before getting into making our own cereals, as we do our own yogurt and then smoothies, it is best to describe what basics a pantry (or refrigerator) should never be without. I listed the following for over all last minute satisfaction: Milk, and Flavored Coffee Creamers, Powdered Milk, Oatmeal (rolled oats), Wheat Germ, Honey and Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Powdered Vanilla, PRESERVES: Apple, Strawberry, Apricot, Raspberry, Pineapple, Mango, Coconut, and Pumpkin. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Oils, Almonds and Walnuts, Cinnamon, Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Bananas. All fruit preserves are now my answer to many smoothie recipes.
Making Your Own Cereals
Making our own yogurt has lended itself to making our own granola, more so when a few cups of granola run up to $5 in the store! Granola is JUST rolled oats with whatever tasty additives interest you. Baking is just a few minutes away from being done. That is it. Looking at the other spectrum, what kids like to eat, you may as well dump sugar into a bowl and call it cereal. That would be mini-marshmallows, a little cinnamon, and different colors. Subscribers have several granola recipe materials available to them in the subscriber library.
Available in the Subscribers Library Year 2003, this chart basically defines the art of natural cleaning with several simple and natural elements. Using orange as a base for de-greasing and de-gumming, and fragrance oils as enhancers, making your own cleaning products is not just simple, it saves money. The basic elements include baking soda, borax, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and salt.
Another way to package your soaps and bath bombs...
Using paper can offer a very whimsical effect as well as offer a very natural appeal. This technique can be used for soaps as well as bath bombs. Paper colors such as red, orange, purple, yellow can also be inspiring. Items that demarcate the product, such as a cinnamon stick for cinnamon soap or bombs can be tied around the neck with raffia. When using paper as a wrap, we still recommend shrinking the product inside in plastic so it does not bleed through. Primal elements ha many great finished soap products. Please click here for primal elements.
These Chinese take out are such a great idea for bath salts we started carrying them in our supply store along with the white window tin tie bags that can hold 3 or four bars of soap. The Chinese take outs come in a cute 8 ounce as well as 16 ounces. Chinese take outs do not necessarily need a plastic liner since they are designed for hot liquids. We feel a few cinnamon stick or other "chop stick" looking item tied to the handle with raffia would be quite pretty. Other additions to our supply company include a better brand of Coconut Oil and Butter, Mango Butter, as well as Palm Kernel Flakes, Sweet Green Tea, Lemongrass and Pink Grape Fruit Essential Oils.