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Monthly Archives: January 2014

“The Simple Celebration” Website Almost Ready!

Hello Blog Followers:

We will not be posting another blog until next week – and things will look different!  Our website, thesimplecelebration.com , will be launched next Monday, January 27.  You will be notified when it is ready for you to check it out.  We have been busy working behind the scenes to get ready for this next step and are very excited about our progress.

In the meantime, check out our Pinterest boards at pinterest.com/simplestpete/and Facebook facebook.com/TheSimpleCelebration for postings for what’s happening at The Simple Celebration.

Here's to The Simple Celebration website!

Here’s to The Simple Celebration website!

Light and Fluffy Angel Food Cake – Simply Heavenly

Need a light, homemade dessert?  Whip together this delicious, fluffy angel food cake – it is truly heavenly!  You only need six ingredients, which you probably already have on hand.

6 common ingredients

6 common ingredients

  • 1 cup Swans cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large egg whites, brought to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries – raspberries, blueberries or blackberries (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Sift together flour and salt into a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium-high until whites have a foamy consistency.  Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until you have soft peaks.  Then, while mixer is still running, add sugar and continue beating until you have stiff peaks.  Finally add vanilla and beat until just combined.  Transfer this mixture to a large bowl, carefully.

Using a large sifter or fine wire sieve, sprinkle 1/4 of the flour mixture gently over the egg whites.  Very gently fold the flour into the egg whites.  Repeat this 3 more times.  Make sure when you fold the flour into the egg whites you cut through the middle and gently scrap the sides.  Watch our YouTube video to see how it’s done:

http://youtu.be/CGcit1djRQQ and  http://youtu.be/TygLc4WwZTc

Very gently, pour the batter into an angel food pan.  Using an icing knife, gently smooth the top of the batter.

Spread Gently

Spread Gently

Bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and center springs back when touched.

Golden Brown

Golden Brown

Once you remove cake from oven, invert pan onto its “legs.”  Let pan cool on its legs for one hour.

Angel  Food Cake on "legs"

Angel Food Cake on “legs”

Once cooled, gently run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and lift cake out by the center tube.  Next run a knife along the bottom of the pan, remove from pan and place on a pretty platter.  Serve the cake with fresh berries.  This will serve 10 people.  Keep leftovers wrapped and will last about five days.  This also freezes well.

LIght and Fluffy Angel Food Cake - Heavenly!

LIght and Fluffy Angel Food Cake – Simply Heavenly!

Make Ahead Tips for Your Simple Celebration

One of the things we believe in most when it comes to entertaining is having fun at your own party.  It can be done!  Preparing your dishes in advance of company arriving is the key.  Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time?  Not us!  Follow these tips to do as much ahead of time as possible:

Lists:  They are essential to organizing any party.  After deciding on your menu, make a list of non-perishable and perishable grocery shopping.  Purchase the non-perishable items well in advance so you are not overwhelmed with a huge shopping trip the day of your party.

Table Setting:  Set your table the day before or the morning of your party.  Have serving platters and utensils out and ready to go.

Make Ahead Recipes:  Look over your menu and see what can be made in advance and re-heated.  For those dishes that will be made the day of the party, follow our Mise-en-Place entertaining tip:

Mise en Place Entertaining

Mise en Place Entertaining

Seating:  Mix it up!  Have couples sit apart from one another – sit guests next to someone they’ve never met before or don’t know well.  Conversations will flow with ease – promise!

Just Before Guests Arrive:  Put on background music, light candles, pour yourself a glass of wine.  You are ready to open the door!

Let’s Have Some Friends Over

Home Entertaining – Two words should NOT be feared!  If you are new to home entertaining, don’t start out by having your mother-in-law over as your first guest.  Start by having some friends or siblings over that you are completely comfortable with and will overlook any whoops’ that might happen!

This week’s menu is for a dinner party of six.  The recipes  are delicious and “simple,” but will definitely impress!  On Wednesday we will offer some “make ahead” tips and on Friday … well, we’re posting a new dessert recipe, we just haven’t decided which one yet!

Let’s have Some Friends Over

  • Manhattan – Get things “shaking” with this tasty cocktail!

Manhatten

  • Elegant Smoked Salmon – Make 12 pieces
Elegant Smoked Salmon Appetizer

Elegant Smoked Salmon Appetizer

  • A Simple Salad – 1 1/2 times the recipe to serve 6
A Simple Salad

A Simple Salad

  •  Grilled Herbed Pork Tenderloin
Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

  • Healthy Black Bean Salad
Healthy Black Bean Salad

Healthy Black Bean Salad

  • Rice Pilaf
Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf

Frozen Key Lime Pie – A Sweet Fiesta Finish

Instead of the traditional Mexican desserts, i.e., flan or churros, try this Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe to end your Fiesta on a sweet note.  This is an original recipe from one of our favorite chefs, Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  One of the great things about this pie is you can make it days in advance!

Click the link below for Ina’s recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/frozen-key-lime-pie-recipe3/index.html

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Put the Festive in your Fiesta!

Serving pieces which match your celebration’s theme help bring your party to a whole new level.  When your guests walk through the door and see your special glasses, serving platters, napkins, etc. the fun and festive mood begins immediately!

For your Mexican Fiesta we have some suggestions:

Make sure you have Margarita glasses.  Using regular wine glasses really doesn’t work.  A tip about tequila – you don’t need to use expensive tequila for your Margaritas.  We recommend using white tequila.  A great one is pictured below which was purchased at Costco – Kirkland Tequila Silver for under $20.00.

photo_2

Purchase serving pieces that go with your theme.  In this case, a pitcher for Margaritas and serving bowls for guacamole make all the difference.

Great Pitcher

Great Pitcher

Great Serving Bowl

Serving Bowl

Set the table with bright plates, napkins and napkin ring holders.

photo 3

A great place to find these pieces at reasonable prices is Pier One – check out their clearance section for unbelievable deals!

Mexican Fiesta Party Menu

Mary-Ellen is ready to party!!

Mary-Ellen is ready to party!!

Whether you live in a cold climate and want to “heat things up” or like us, you live in a tropical area, it is always great fun to throw a Mexican themed party.  Here is a delicious menu that will serve 8 people.  Click on the picture for the recipe:

  • Hit the Floor Margaritas – make two batches

    Hit the Floor Margaritas

    Hit the Floor Margaritas

  • Guacamole – double the recipe
Guacamole Dip - A Fiesta Crowd Pleaser

Guacamole Dip
A Fiesta Crowd Pleaser

  • Southwest Black Bean & Avocado Dip
Southwest Black Bean & Avocado Dip

Southwest Black Bean & Avocado Dip

  • Fantastic Fish Tacos – be sure and serve with warmed tortilla chips and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc
Fresh Fish Tacos

Fresh Fish Tacos

This month we will feature a new party menu each week.  We will also post entertaining tips and a new recipe to go along with the theme.  Look for Friday’s posting of Frozen Key Lime Pie to add a sweet finish to your Mexican Fiesta menu.

 

“Every Hour” Party – A Huge Success!

The "Gold" Table

The “Gold” Table

The "Silver" Table

The “Silver” Table

We had so much fun New Year’s Eve at our “We’ll Do It Every Hour” party. We rang in the new year in style at Vicki’s house and want to share some tips and ideas on how to make your own “Every Hour” party a success.

Our recent blog explained the food concept –  each guest was assigned an ingredient to be made into a tapas-sized dish.  A different dish was served each hour.

The day before the party, Vicki had an idea which brought the party to a whole new level.  Not only did we have a different dish each hour, she assigned each guest a different seat each hour.  She had two tables, a “gold” table and a “silver” table.  They were decorated exquisitely with flowers, vases, “jewels,” tea lights, etc. in the table’s respective color.  A place card was at each place setting listing the time and name of who was to sit there and when.  Every hour, we took our wine glasses and moved to our next seat or table and had a blast doing it!

Fun and Unique Seating

A Fun and Unique Seating Plan

Some tips to make your “Every Hour” party a success:

  • Use wine markers or sharpies (it washes right off) to write each guest’s name on their wine glass – only one glass per guest cuts down on the dishes!
  • The hostess should have some wine and a light appetizer or two to get the party started.
  • With each food assignment, ask your guests to bring a wine pairing for their course.
  • Start with cloth napkins, then switch to paper so your guests don’t have to “travel” with their napkin.
  • Have plates and silverware laid out and ready for the next course to be served.
  • The guest in charge of the course plates, serves, and explains their dish to the party.
  • Have everyone help with the dishes between courses!
Make Sure The Guys Help with the Dishes!

Make Sure The Guys Help with the Dishes!

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