Archive for the ‘All About the Home’ Category

Food Safety First, Food Taste a Close Second

September 7th 2010

list

If you are almost always the host in parties for family and friends, you should have knowledge of the food safety guidelines for many reasons. For one thing, your guests’ welfare is in your hands while in your home, which include safety from the health complications of food poisoning. For another thing, food safety guidelines are also a big factor in making food taste delicious and look attractive, two things that you want guests to compliment you on.

We can say that food safety comes first and food taste will come after it has been achieved. There are for main principles to follow when cooking for yourself and for others during parties – clean, separate, chill and cook. You need not worry as these principles can be applied in simple but effective ways in the home without the necessity of going to culinary school.

Clean

You have to clean all the equipment from the spoons and forks to the pots and pans used during the cooking and serving process. You may have to sterilize these cooking utensils and equipment but your conscientiousness will pay off most handsomely. Naturally, your kitchen must be clean as well – no cockroaches, no rats and no other disease-carrying pests.

You must also wash your hands before, during and after cooking. To paraphrase the old adage, too many unwashed hands spoiled the broth simply because the bacteria, germs and other unhealthy microorganisms are transferred from one dish to the next primarily through your hands.

Separate

You must separate the equipment like the cutting boards, knives and even sponges for poultry, meat and seafood on one hand and fruits, vegetables and herbs on the other hand. Keep in mind that raw meat contains bacteria that can contaminate fresh produce, the latter of which is often raw or cooked in a lesser time that the former.

You may think that it is a hassle to keep separate equipment for the two food categories. Again, we prefer a few minor inconveniences for the greater good of your guests.

Chill

You have to chill the prepared foods, leftovers and other perishables within two hours after preparation or purchase. If possible, we suggest marinating foods before placing in the refrigerator as the natural preservatives in the marinate help in keeping the food fresh and safe for consumption.

We cannot overemphasize the need to load the refrigerator according to its capacity and to load the foods in the refrigerator according to the ideal temperature. For example, poultry requires placement in the freezer while fresh produce are in the refrigerator.

Cook

You should follow the instructions on the cookbook about the oven temperature or the number of minutes for cooking. You must know by now that meat and fresh produce have different cooking temperatures and times for good reasons.

And of course, make sure that you serve food according to the way it is recommended by the recipe. Serve food like soups hot with the use of chafing dishes, warning trays and crock pots and keep food like ice cream cold by storing in the freezer before serving. After all, the delicious taste of food also depends on the way it is served.

In the end, you want to ensure food safety balanced with food flavor. If you can balance these two aspects of food preparation, you are a great host.

Posted by admin under All About the Home & Party Food | No Comments »

Grow a White Garden

April 16th 2010

moonflower Grow a White Garden

This year plan ahead for your outside parties and add in some easy drama to your yard. A white garden is simply different white flowers that are grouped together. While it sounds uneventful, it will catch the attention of all your guests once a little moonlight hits it.

You see, the beauty of a solid white section in your garden is that once night falls it almost appears to glow. It’s simply that white reflects the moonlight more than darker colors, but you don’t have to tell any of your guests that.

If you have a small patch of garden to spare try planting a few of these (in white varieties, of course):

  • alyssum
  • baby’s breath
  • bachelor button
  • petunia
  • yarrow
  • zinnia
  • inpatients

If you don’t have space in your yard (or a yard at all) buy a container and plant a mixture of the above list for your patio or balcony. My very favorite white flower is a vine called moon flower. You can easily start it from seed. Just make sure you have a trellis or tee pee shaped bunch of bamboo for it to climb up. They get about 15 feet tall, but you can have a shorter trellis and wind the tendrils to get it where you want it as it grows.

It will take a few weeks for it to get going, but once it does you’ll have beautiful blooms every evening, all summer long. Moon flowers are about 4 – 6 inches big and last only for one evening. Keep an eye out because a flower can open in a matter of minutes if the weather is just right.

The vine gets covered with buds, so you will get a few each evening once it starts blooming. It’s a relative of the morning glory, which only opens in the morning. It is an annual so it only lasts one season. But it is easy to harvest its seeds in the fall. Just let the vine dry out and bring in any seed pods you find on it inside. You’ll have a few handfuls to plant next year.

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home & Garden & Summer Entertaining | 3 Comments »

Accent with Linen Napkins

September 6th 2009

An easy way to add a bit of pizazz to your dinner table is by accenting with linen napkins. Choosing linen napkins that have a bright pattern, an elegant detail, or a vintage flair can add a uniqueness to your dinner table settings. Here are a few examples of linen napkins that would definitely spice up your table top.

wintage print linen napkin

Vintage Floral Print from Plum Party

Stiched linen-napkins-

Hemstitched Detail from Country Living

bright floral napkins

Bright and Bold Floral Print from Casa Sugar

Changing out small details (such as linen napkins) is an easy way to change the look and feel of your table top. You an also get creative with napkin rings which would provide even more interesting detail the next time you are setting your table.

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home & Table Setting | 1 Comment »

Decorate with your Dinnerware

September 3rd 2009

Did you know you can decorate with your dinnerware? No, I am not talking about tablescapes either…think wall art! Grouping a few graphic dinner plates for wall display can add a dramatic touch to your interior decor. Not only will your unusual decor make a statement, but it is a cheap alternative to expensive framed photos and paintings.

dinnerware decor

 

plates as decor

brocade home Decorate with your Dinnerware

Not only are these wall displays interesting, they have a really cool eclectic feel to them. You can also check out more plates displays over at Casa Sugar, they even have some DIY tips for making one of your own.

images via the Santa Makers Journey blog.

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | 3 Comments »

Dinnerware with Personality

August 8th 2009

counter 170 Dinnerware with Personalityserveware 170 Dinnerware with Personality

If you want your looking for  dinnerware that has a punch of personality, check out the Fiesta collection that has an art deco feel. Not only are these pieces bold and vibrant, they are very practical.

- Dishwasher safe

-Oven Safe

-Microwave and freezer safe

The Fiesta dinnerware collection comes in 15 fabulous colors; a little something for everyone!

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | No Comments »

What are your Entertaining Essentials?

July 9th 2009

 fav kitchen item What are your Entertaining Essentials?

Every party hostess finds those “things” she just can’t do without. From a favorite pitcher to a favorite serving tray– often we have a few go-to pieces in the kitchen.

For me, I can’t entertain without using my large rectangular (white) serving platters. I have a large one and a medium sized one and have found many uses for each. From serving drinks on them to passing appetizers they have gotten many uses at my cocktail parties. They are such a basic kitchen staple for me that I often even use them to grab the patties off the grill during weeknight cooking.

I’d love to know what kitchen item you couldn’t do without. Share what items you use most and how you use it!

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | No Comments »

Cleaning Before a Party

June 25th 2009

 cleaning before a party

A lot of party preparation cannot be done until a couple of days before you plan to have guests over. However, there is one thing that you can (and should) do about a week before- CLEAN. Here are a few areas that you might not clean on a daily basis but should be given a little attention when you are having guests over (especially if they will be staying overnight).

- The inside of your refrigerator and freezer

-The outside of your kitchen cabinets

-Your coat closet

-Wipe down any patio furniture

A little elbow grease about a week ahead of your party and you will not only have less to do the day of but you will also be able to rest assured that no guests will be turning up their nose at the sight of jumbled coat closet.

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | No Comments »

Garden Goodies

June 18th 2009

I love to garden. There is something so soothing about dewy grass and the smell of soil to me. During Spring and Summer, I like to be outdoors in the garden as much as possible. If you like to garden as well, I am sure you will enjoy these fabulous Etsy garden goodies I discovered. Bring a bit of your love for the garden indoors. Take a look!

Garden PillowGarden Journal

herb markers

I love to browse through Etsy finds and discover new items. My garden goodie search was very successful! Above: Handmade Garden Pillow ($39.00), Garden bound Journal ($10.00), and Stoneware Herb Pot Gift Set ($36.00).

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | No Comments »

Easy “Green” Cleaning

June 3rd 2009

cleaning with lemons

You’re getting ready for that big dinner party and cleaning like a mad person…put down the toxic cleaning spray and use what is already in your cabinets! Here are a few of my favorite “green” household cleaners:

1. Vinegar! For what? Bathrooms, mirrors, floors, etc. Add one part vinegar to two parts water and a squeeze of lemon juice for a fresh scent.

2. Baking Soda! For what? Scrubbing out your sinks, cleaning smelly sponges, cleaning your stove top. Simple make a past using baking soda and water, scrub, then rinse!

3. Lemons! For What? Freshening up you smelly sinks. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice in your kitchen sink, garbage disposal, and bathroom sinks to freshen them up!

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | No Comments »

Decorating with Photos

May 20th 2009

photo decorations

Using family photos is a great way to decorate not only your home, but also any party space. The next time you are entertaining in your home, consider using personal photos as decoration. If you are hosting a formal dinner party with friends, gather a few photos of your guests and place them in simple frames. Set the photos in your entry way, the bar area, or the dessert table. Not only will this add a personal touch– I am sure the photographs will stir up conversation as well.

If you are celebrating a birthday, graduation, bridal shower, or other memorable occasion– gather photos of the guest of honor to display. Selecting candid shots always gives framed photos a sense of life that others will enjoy looking at.

Posted by Myriam under All About the Home | No Comments »

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