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Dinner Delivery for New Parents

There are more babies being born around me than I can count. As I’m making my way around to see the new bundles of joy, I am attempting to do what I can to make these first few days a little easier on my friends. Last night, I went to visit a pair of my long time friends who just welcomed their first into the world, a little girl. She is not quite a week old. This first couple of weeks can be quite a challenge for new parents. All of them that I know welcome a helping hand or a prepared meal. I prepared a meal for them and based on my tastes and theirs being very similar, here is what I came up with:

  • Risotto with chicken, mushrooms, and truffle oil
  • Roasted carrots and parsnips
  • French bread
  • Bottle of Chardonnay

And for Mama to snack on later:

  • Sectioned oranges
  • Bunch of seedless grapes

Here are a few notes on the preparation:

With just a little butter and truffle oil, saute the onions and garlic first for a few minutes, then add in the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are about halfway cooked through. I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery for this. Shred some in the skillet and remove from heat.

In a different pot, prepare the risotto as directed on the package. Make sure your broth is hot and keep stirring the risotto. I added in a cup of white wine and a little more truffle oil. I also took a scoop of the vegetable mixture and stirred in while cooking as to start blending the flavors. When the risotto is almost finished, add in the remaining chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir and let rest just a minute. The heat here will cook the mushrooms thoroughly, but still have them looking lively.

The carrots and parsnips were easy. Slice or cut them as you wish. Place in a baking dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil, fresh chopped thyme and rosemary, and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Salt and pepper if desired. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so. Just until they start to shrivel a bit. That will leave them with a little firmness.

When planning for this type of meal, think about their needs. Do all the preparation for them and have it ready to serve and/or easy to reheat. Also, Mama will be ravenous, especially if breastfeeding. Fresh items are best. Fruits, veggies, nuts, etc. She needs lots of nutritious meals and snacks.

Apologies for lack of pictures. In my haste, I forgot to take them.

I hope this inspires you make pleasing dishes and do good things for those you care about.

Cheers, O.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Food

 

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Good Cooks Never Lack Friends

This just sounded like a fun group and I wanted to share.

Martina in Jozi

As you can read about here, I’m part of a cooking club.  We had our second meeting and Laura was the host.  She cooked a delicious roast dinner.  The chicken was so moist, and I found out later that she uses Jamie Oliver’s method, which obviously works well.  I was excited for Laura’s turn as I actually know her from London and know that she cooks a mean roast.  Also, I was hung over as hell and a roast dinner is a great recovery tool

A jug of Pimm’s was served that went down very well – it was all so British!  I think the best thing about a roast dinner is that no one does it quite the same – there are so many variations and so you never get bored.  There were only so many times I could invite my friends over for lasagne in the UK…

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Activities, Reblogged

 

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Holiday Etiquette

Parties and gatherings are upon us! We are traveling, cooking, loving, hugging,shopping, sneaking, peeking, wrapping, and enjoying! At this point we are all around people for days and days, family, coworkers, neighbors, and friends.  As all these functions are happening, let’s be aware of of our behavior.  I am already being reminded of how important it is to maintain a good sense of etiquette in all of these interaction (in my actions as well as those of others around me).

The first tip that comes to mind is this: You go to an office or group party in which everyone is required to bring a gift that will go to anyone at the party.  (As in having a drawing for the gifts or just picking them at random).  At this point, you realize that the gift you recieved is from someone that you don’t like or don’t get along with.  If that is the case, some people would prefer not to keep the gift.  So be it. What is the proper thing to do? Be gracious! Take the gift and thank the person.  What you do with it later is your own business, but be an adult and take it home with a smile and an open mind.  Then later, you can re-gift it (true, I have no problem with that) or sell it on Ebay or donate it to charity.  Do with it what you will, but be reminded that they thought enough to bring a gift to the party.  Also, how would you feel in their shoes? You look over only to see a person with the gift you brought grimacing about having your gift.  No so nice… And for the love of Pete, please do not leave the gift behind.  Take it with you.

Secondly, I will talk about food and drinks.  When you go to a person’s home for a party, they generally will have food and drinks that they have lovingly prepared.  If you see something that does not appeal to you, please do not bring it to the host’s attention.  To tell someone that you are not interested in a particular dish because of the way it looks is completely off the chart inconsiderate.  Pick what you like and eat that instead.  If the host offers you something you don’t want, ploitely decline and say that you would rather have the cookies intead.

Thirdly, if you are invited to an event, bring a small gift for the host.  Be it a bottle of wine, some goodies that you made (cookies, jellies, cheese straws, etc) a pack of cocktail napkins, or whatever.  It is a small way of thanking the host and being gracious.

Holiday dress.  Make sure your outfit is appropriate for the occasion.  Typically around this time of year, the dress is more festive and formal.  The invitation should specify they type of event and attire.  If it doesn’t specify attire, then read between the lines.  Cocktails? Dressy.  Tree trimming? More casual.  Dinner and drinks? Definitely a slacks or dress type of event..  When all else fails, call the host and ask what they would like you to wear.  He or she will be able to set the tone for you easily. Please folks, leave the tennis shoes at home.

I will close with this adivce.  Be flexible.  Most likely, everyone has multiple places to be right around Christmas.  Don’t get bent out of shape if  everyone can’t be there right at the same time.  Look at all the options and see what works for everyone.  This is not an appropriate time to be demanding of someone’s time.  State your request and work it out.  Spending time with each other is a gift in itself.

Have a safe and happy holiday.  Share your love.

Anything you would like to add to this short list? Please do!

Cheers and hugs! Olivia

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Life

 

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Corks 3 Ways

Merry Christmas from the Myers household!

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Wreath of corks

This new wreath is adorning my front door.  It’s made of corks! Corks are an item that we obtain all year long.  There’s always a jar sitting around being filled, but what does everyone do with them?  The big jar is a great decorator item, so nothing wrong with that; it is a divine thing to look at and a good conversation piece. Other things that are commonly made with them are trivets and bulletin boards. I’ve got three ways to use them that you might not know about yet.

1. Starting above with the wreath, it’s my latest project.  I started with a straw wreath base and hot glued them on all the way around.  About 150 corks later, I added a bow that I made and hung it with fishing line.  It looks charming!

2. Table Leveler.  This is an old trick I learned from years in the restaurant business. Cut a cork lengthwise on the diagonal,  Then wedge under the rocking leg of the table and there you have it! Level table again! It is soft and stays in place.  Works like a charm.

3.  Felt Pad Substitute. If you use felt pads on the bottom of your furniture legs, cabinet doors,etc, corks are an ideal substitute.  Slice the end off with a sharp knife and use an adhesive appropriate for the material it is being attached to, and you are ready to go.  I used them on the bottom of this ceramic dish that I made.  The dish had a couple of tiny rough spots that I was having trouble filing down.  After getting one scratch on top of my liquor cabinet (where this sits) I decided to fix it.  I just used hot glue.  It will not effect the pottery if I decide to remove it.

Underside of dish.

Side view. Very thin slice.

Let me know your ideas or uses.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in 3 Ways

 

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Dinner Party Pointers

Karen T. from Alabama emailed me recently with a couple of questions. I answered the first one regarding RSVP etiquette. Now, on to the second half. She wanted advice on throwing a dinner party. There are a lot of deciding factors that go into throwing one of these dinners. Use these and you will be able to figure out what works best for you.

1. How much space do you have? How many people does your table seat? My table seats up to ten people comfortably, so I usually stay between 6 and 8 for this.

2. How big is your kitchen? Do you have enough space to get all of this food together? My kitchen at the moment is a resemblance of a NYC apartment. Very little cabinet and countertop space, tight quarters, and doors that all bang into each other and don’t allow for opening more than one thing at a time. Frustrating, but I make it work. The more space you have, obviously, the easier it will be.

3. How much do you feel comfortable cooking? Do you feel that you can cook for 10 or would it be better to start with a smaller number? Do you have the cookware to accomplish this meal? Whatever you feel you can take on, go for it.

4.  How much time will you have? Will you cook everything at the last minute or make some things that require some early prep? I recommend spacing out the time. If you start early, then you will have time to spend with your guests when they arrive and won’t be a slave to your stove. That’s why they call it entertaining. Also, something to think about is having extra help. Guests always ask what they can do to help. By all means, let them! Or maybe you have someone that could come by your house and give you a hand in cooking. A sibling, a parent, your child, perhaps a neighborhood child is looking to earn a little extra money or maybe you have a weekly house cleaner or helper that might be willing to help. (Asking a friend to help would be left to your own judgement. Make sure that person is not involved with the group at hand as to not hurt someone’s feelings for not being a part of the party).

5. Do you have enough place settings and serving pieces? Just make sure you have enough dishes to serve all of your guests the same thing. I.E. plates, bowls, glasses, stems, flatware, etc. If you don’t have enough serving pieces or enough room on the table, serve the plates from the kitchen and deliver them to your guests. A little pre-presentation effort is always a crowd pleaser.

6. Decor is something to think about, too. If you want a full table setting with cloth, flowers, candles, etc. By all means, do it. If you want to go simple and just use placemats, that is just fine also. Just make your table look put together and nice. Guests feel special with a warm touch to a table.

7. Meal plan. This is as broad as the Chattahooche River. (This should be a post on its own). Lots of factors to consider here besides the aforementioned. Budget, tastes, allergies, vegan/vegetarian, occasion, etc. What’s the occasion- just a Sunday dinner or holiday? How much can you spend on this meal? Are you on a chicken, rice, and salad budget this week or are you shooting for swordfish, pearl cous cous, and lots of vegetables? What about drinks? Alcohol or not? Who’s coming to dinner? Know your guests special needs. If you would like some menus, I can provide some.

8. What can someone else bring? Unless you’re doing potluck, it’s probably best to refrain from asking your guests to provide anything too complicated. Have them bring a bottle of wine or an appetizer or a loaf of bread to accompany the meal. However, there’s always an exception- if someone insists on preparing a dish, you are at total liberty to accept. It will save you time and money.

9. One last point to consider is level of difficulty. I recommend keeping some dishes easy. Having all the components at a high level of difficulty will make for a strained host and hostess. Let some dishes take center stage and have others as a support to the meal.

Let me know how your dinner parties are coming! What worked and what didn’t? Cheers. Olivia

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Food, House, Kitchen

 

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Wine 3 Ways

Wine is one of my very favorite things on this planet.  I drink it every single week and appreciate every drop I get.  Besides drinking it, there are lots of other things you can do with it.  Here are three to get you started. 

1.  Sauce.  Make a sauce or a reduction with it.  It is delicious over meat and accompanied by a starch and a good veg.  Mmmm. My mouth is watering right now.  Here are a couple of links to some recipes: 

Beef Short Ribs

Poached Pears with Port Wine Reduction

Roast Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

2. Dressing. Why not spruce up your salads?? Give it a try.

Riesling Wine Salad Dressing

Marinated Seafood Salad

3. Freeze it. Pour it into an ice cube tray or a plastic zipper bag and toss it in the freezer. That way, you’ll have some handy to cook with next time around.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in 3 Ways, Food

 

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