Sabtu, 22 September 2012

Looking At A Few Key Questions About Dinner Parties

As you grow older, it can become a bit difficult to keep up with your old friends - and for that matter, it can be difficult to find time to even hang out with your newer friends; most adult couples, in fact, end up discovering that the only people they really hang out with are each other (or, if they have children, of course, they are around them all the time as well), and it is for this reason that it is beneficial to come up with some things you can do to spend time with your friends. And when it comes to "things you can do to spend time with your friends," there is not much that is as productive or as much fun as a dinner party - but of course, when someone is planning to throw a dinner party for the first time (or for the first time in a long time), they tend to have plenty of questions.

One of the major questions people often end up wondering about, when they are planning to throw a dinner party, is how to handle appetizers; after all, you will want to make sure there are little things for people to snack on, but it can be difficult to determine how formal or informal you should make this ordeal. Even though different people handle things differently, most dinner hosts find that it is best to have light appetizers on trays around the house, so that people can pick on these before it is time for the actual meal.

Another big question people tend to have is how they should handle the seating arrangements. There is a pair of thoughts on this, and the approach you decide to take will be largely dependent on what you feel is best for the group in question: you can either assign the seating yourself, or can allow people to choose their own seats (in fact, you can even go casual, allowing people to sit on couches and in chairs throughout the house). The majority of people discover that assigned seating works best, as it eliminates confusion - but a fun way to do this can also be to draw for seats, for instance, putting everyone's names into a hat, and drawing for who sits where!

And lastly, "conversation" will be a big thing people end up having to figure out - that is, how to get everyone talking to one another. If all the people you invite know each other already, this will hopefully not be a problem, but if people do not know each other beforehand, starting the night out with a card game that gets everyone acclimated to one another is a great way to also stir up conversation!

In all, throwing a dinner party can be a great deal of fun, and can be a great way to get together and keep up with others; and of course, as long as you are taking the right approach, you will be able to throw dinner parties of your own that everyone enjoys!

~Mario Ruiz

Learn how to throw the best dinner parties!

Dinner Party Ideas - For Every Different Season

If you are the type of person who tends to throw parties on a somewhat regular basis, you are probably constantly on the lookout for new, creative dinner party ideas; and if, on the other hand, you are not the kind of person who throws dinner parties regularly, you should realize that dinner parties are a great way to keep up with your friends and to make memories together - and for that matter, they can just plain be a whole lot of fun!

One of the most fun times to have a dinner party is in the springtime, as this will enable you to throw a garden party (or better yet, to do a "full moon" garden party) - enjoying a beautiful evening outside, in a candle-lit garden, with all your friends; if you have a house that is conducive to one such party, you will be able to transform your garden into a magical escape for the night, creating a Gatsby-esque atmosphere and a bunch of great memories!

In the summer, a wonderful idea is to do a rustic-style party, underneath the stars. For this, you can even consider renting a cabin (or a similarly rustic setting), and can have all your friends come out to it for a night of hanging out, chatting, eating, and making wonderful summer memories.

When the cooler autumn weather rolls in, one of the great ways to take advantage of the natural ambiance is by having an urban rooftop party; of course, you may not have an available roof yourself that you can use, but if you happen to have friends who live in the city - at a place where there is access to the roof - this is a marvelous way to get everyone together. And in fact, even if you do not have a friend with one such home available to you, you will often find that hotels in the city will be happy to rent their roof out to you for the night!

And finally, when it is winter - and the main thing people want to do is stay inside and feel cozy and warm - you can throw a "fireside" dinner party; set up the house in such a way that it feels comfortable and cozy, and have a roaring fire going - complete with complementary food and drinks to match (such as hot chocolate, egg nog, cider, and so on).

In all, you should recognize that throwing a dinner party does not need to be a major hassle, and does not need to be a cause for stress; instead, a dinner party is something that can be a great deal of fun - and when you do it the right way, you will be able to actually enjoy it yourself, and will be able to enjoy all the memories that are made!

~Mario Ruiz

Learn how to throw the best dinner parties!

Looking At A Few Holiday Dinner Party Ideas

If you are always on the lookout for things you can do to have people over to your house, and for all of you to make memories together - regardless of whether these people are your friends, your extended family, your siblings, or your children - one thing you have probably discovered is that dinner parties provide a great opportunity to get everyone together and have a lot of fun making memories. And of course, one of the best excuses for a dinner party that brings everyone together is to throw them for different holidays!

Easter: When you are throwing a "dinner party" for Easter, the best way to do this is actually to turn it into a "brunch party"; with an Easter party, you will hopefully be able to follow up brunch with decorating Easter eggs (hint: this is fun for adults as much as it is for children), and by then doing an Easter egg hunt (again: fun for adults as well!) while enjoying a lovely spring day!

Fourth of July: Fourth of July is a wonderful time to have a dinner party outside with your friends and family; when you throw an Independence Day party, you can barbecue outdoors and even make homemade ice cream, and you can spend the afternoon playing yard games, capping off the day with a fireworks display of your own!

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving, of course, is usually the main holiday people think of when they think of food and holidays going together - but there can be a lot more to a Thanksgiving party than just the dinner itself; you can start the morning with a game of flag football, can wrap up the morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, can watch football in the afternoon, and can kick off the Christmas season by watching a favorite Christmas movie (such as Christmas Story, White Christmas, or Miracle on 34th Street) at night!

Christmas: And of course, Christmas is the other big "food holiday" - but what you may not have thought of is that you can do your big party on Christmas Eve, which will allow you to relax on Christmas; bust out the egg nog, have a big dinner, and maybe go see a local Christmas play or drive around and look at Christmas lights, and you will enter Christmas Day really feeling like you are in the Holiday spirit!

Throwing dinner parties for your family does not have to be a bland affair; all you actually need is a few ideas, and you will be able to throw a dinner party the right way - having lots of fun with it, and making plenty of memories!

~Mario Ruiz

Learn how to throw the best dinner parties!

Our LDS Food Storage, Ways To Manage Rotation

Before talking about LDS food storage, have you made sure you have a supply of water that will last you a minimum of 3 months? This is a crucial precaution that needs to be taken care of before even worrying about LDS storage. If you have, then continue to the article.

There are various types of food canneries that operate uniquely from each other. Although, most canning hubs can be organized into two divisions: Dry pack canneries (or dry canneries) or wet pack canneries (wet canneries).

There exist less wet canneries than there are dry packs. These facilities use pricey equipment for sealing various types of moist and wet food, such as pumpkin bread, carrot cake, fruits, stew, soups cooked vegetables, spaghetti sauce, salsa, meat, chili, tomatoes, and many others. All of these foods are items in which the LDS church has authorized.

If you want to can dry ingredients, such as wheat, rice, oats, beans, flour, dry milk, and other kinds of powders, you must go to a dry pack cannery. Storing dry ingredients in LDS food storage is much more common.

Dry canneries often provide ingredients that are already sealed and available to purchase right there. They commonly carry ingredients such as cocoa, flour, dried beans, and various other accessible items. The variety is pretty extensive. Dry packs will also can those ingredients you bring with you as well utilizing their gear. All edible is stored either in a #10 can or in a seven mil pouch made from thick Mylar. Any food that you can get canned in a Dry Pack cannery lasts for roughly 30 years, and at minimum twenty-five.

To reiterate, specific canning hubs might allow different food products and have different procedures. However, you can commonly purchase products like beans, wheat, and rice at dry canneries, or they can start you off with a "Starter Kit," which is 6 standard ingredients stored in number ten cans.

White rice is not suggested for your LDS food storage list due to having such little nutritional value. You'll end up burning more energy when you digest white rice than you'll receive from it. Consider brown and basmati rice instead.

You can also hire most of the sealing machines at LDS canning center for no cost, whether you need it for sealing the Mylar bags or for canning. The individuals that work at LDS food storage canning hubs are generally extremely friendly. Despite nearly working for zero profit, the workers are always willing to assist. The only thing you are expected to do is bring in all the food products you need to be canned, and they'll take care of the work for you.

Although, free as they may be, a handful of LDS food storage canneries are open only for members. In other words, you need to be a member of the LDS community to use the canning centers. Thus, you might be required to enlist in one of these "Congregational Units" before being allowed to utilize the gear. Even though it might seem convincing to take this arrangement, you may want to weigh any consequences before making your decision. Massive sacred organizations, such as the Latter Day Saints, seem to cover up their core beliefs using a fake persona. What usually happens with young religions like the Mormon Church, is that there is an infrastructure of leaders who are really making the decisions, usually unbeknownst to the great deal of the conglomerate.

Several of these "core leaders" have converted and revealed several secrets the Mormons were keeping, even from their own members. Also, the Mormon image of Jesus doesn't match the scriptures of Christianity. In conclusion, if you are approached with a choice in joining the LDS community or not, I would recommend not doing it.

One other alternative is to become a pioneer for your area and work to organize your own community canning hub. Presently, there are Bible Fixit Hubs that are helping to fortify this idea, and will assist you with the information and resources to get a scheme like this on its feet in your area.

If you would like to find out more about LDS Food Storage, check out the linked website that follows. But before checking it out, could you please take a moment to discuss your opinions? Your comments are appreciated greatly. Thank you for your input!

Learn the best plan for disaster survival gradually evolved by people, who have the most experience. Visit

Why You Should Drink Filtered Water

Water. It is the primary source of fluid intake for most people. Drinking water is very important for everyone's health and holds many benefits towards a healthy lifestyle; that is if you are drinking healthy water.

That's right. With clean healthy water, you could be doing your body a favor. These benefits include digestion health, which prevents the over absorption of sugars and harmful chemicals, thus promoting metabolism, which also aids in weight control. It's also a great detoxification which promotes urinary tract health, and healthy water promotes kidney health.

So what is healthy water? As you may, or may not have noticed, many people have become very adamant about drinking filtered water. Tap water is not an option for these people and although many of us don't think that tap water is harmful, it really is. But why?

Did you know there are a series of bacteria's, pathogens, chlorine and pesticides that can make their way into our tap water? These things can be very harmful to our health. They soak into underground aquifers and enter rivers and streams from runoff when it rains which is how they enter into our tap water system. This can in turn lead to headaches, rashes, organ failure and even cancer. This can affect an entire family.

Here are a few signs that your water is not filtered:

1. The distinguishing differences in taste between tap and filtered. Although every part of the United States has different sources for this liquid, most people find tap water to have an unpleasant taste. There are several different reasons your tap water can have a strange taste, due to what type of cause has contaminated your water.

2. In some places the water has an odor to it, which is an obvious sign that it is not pure drinking water and has been exposed to a number of different things, as previously discussed.

3. Some may find their tap water to have a foul taste, along with particles when they go to get a glass at their faucet. Pure drinking water however, should not have a taste, especially an unpleasant one. It should be clear showing no particles in the liquid, and have no odor.

There are drinking water systems that can be purchased that will filter out a variety of contaminants to ensure you are consuming healthy water. Water filters provide better tasting and better smelling drinking water by removing chlorine and bacterial contaminants. So before you have a drink the toxins, bacteria, lead, rust and odors, or whatever happens to be in your tap, is removed.

Purchasing a water filter is a cheaper alternative to spending money on bottled water. Many people use only bottled water, but for those on a budget, it's much more convenient to own a filter. You can purchase an under the sink filtration application, a faucet filter, or just a pitcher to put in your refrigerator.

Everyone wants to provide a safe and healthy environment for their families. So, it is important to know about the risks of tap water, and the benefits of filtered water.

What Is Demi Glace?

It's only the most indispensable ingredient for making brown sauces. Professional chefs know that the secret to making rich and flavorful gravies for beef, veal, lamb or game lies in the few simple steps needed to make their sauces pop.

Demi Glace uses one of the mother sauces called "Espagnole". The brown sauce is combined with brown stock and reduced by half. This means that the two ingredients are combined and softly simmered until half the moisture evaporates, intensifying the flavor and reducing the volume.

The resulting ingredient is intensely flavored and extremely rich, with a full bodied texture. Espagnole sauce is already packed with flavor, but when you eliminate half the liquid in the sauce, it really packs a serious meaty punch.

This is an important food staple in the commercial kitchen, and can be in your home as well. It takes only a small bit of skill, but a lot of patience as you wait for the sauce to condense. However, the real key is to start with an excellent brown stock.

A quality brown stock is made from beef bones that have been caramelized along with carrots, onion and celery in the oven. Ingredients that are nicely browned give the flavor and color to a great stock. While these two elements are important, it's the marrow of the bones, cartilage, and connective tissues that turn to gelatin when cooked in a moist environment.

The toasted bones and veggies are then added to a stock pot with enough COLD water to cover all the items entirely. This should then be gently simmered for at least 5 hours to achieve a brown stock that when cooled and skimmed of fat will jiggle like Jello.

So, what is demi glace if you try to use stock versus broth? It's a thin and blandly flavored beef soup. It's absolutely imperative to use stock rather than broth because the stock has the gelatin that gives the texture and richness to all the small brown sauces that come from Espagnole.

Since great sauces always start with roux, the next step is to make a brown roux by melting butter in a sauce pan, adding flour to a paste-like consistency and cooking until it reaches a deep brown color and emits a toasted nutty smell. This will become the thickening agent for the brown stock you made and the first part of demi glace.

Once you've made a flavorful brown sauce with brown roux and brown stock, you're almost there. Since demi glace is half brown sauce, half brown stock, reduced by half, all that is needed is an equal amount of stock added to the sauce and some patience as you watch it release moisture and reduce.

The finished product can be used immediately to make a long list of "Small Sauces" that derive from Espagnole. Small sauces are the ones that utilize Mother Sauces as a blank canvas and continue adding ingredients for additional levels of flavor.

If you're still asking "what is demi glace" you're missing out. It might take some time to complete, but you'll be using a richly flavored, silky textured ingredient that will add a professional level of flavor to all the foods you cook. Plus, you made it, you created it, and it didn't come from a jar with mystery ingredients and binders. It's real, it's wholesome, it's natural and it's coming to your kitchen soon!

See Chef Todd's live culinary class on What is Demi Glace?.

Chef Todd Mohr has a passion for helping people improve their cooking with simple cooking techniques that work! His FREE Easy Sauces Webcast can transform home cooks into confident home chefs. Great sauces make great chefs and great chefs make great sauces. Become one of them!

Malaysian Food - An Experience

On buying a guide book my first port of call is always the "F" section of the index. On a recent trip to Malaysia I followed this same rule. Whereas before I would then make a list of all the dishes I was to try, all the time salivating with anticipation, I became extremely confused and frustrated at the ambiguity and random nature of the food described. I needed more information, more research in order to fully understand and appreciate what was to become such a massive part of my trip.

So, the venue - the world famous hawker stalls of Malaysia are a perfect way to sample local culinary delights. Their friendly family atmosphere and freshly cooked snacks usually entertain both locals and tourists alike. Learning a few local customs beforehand however goes a long way.

I decided to start with the basics - eating etiquette. As a six foot, red haired trekker with a huge rucksack and zinc cream smothered over my face, being inconspicuous is never going to be an easy task, especially in Malaysian hawker stalls. However, in order to avoid offending the locals in the hawker stalls I sought to learn a few simple Malaysian rules of thumb.

As with many Asian countries, one of the most important rules is the use of the right hand to eat. It is a massive faux-pas to use the left as this is used for other, very different things. It's quite simple to get the hang of really, even for a left-hander, especially when you consider how many forks are used to eat the wrong courses in England every day!

So, simple eating etiquette is sorted. We are almost ready to dig in, guns blazing, raring to consume something you just cannot find in Tescos. This brings me back to my original dilemma - what exactly is 'Malaysian Cuisine'. Many dishes in Malaysia have been derived from multiple ethnic influences from Indian curries to Chinese noodles. The combination of these influences have created some bizarre yet delightful, weird yet wonderful dishes where the only restriction is the chefs imagination. The question is, what to try and arguably what not to.

I've decided to concentrate on 'Nasi Lemak'. It has been dubbed, 'The Unofficial National Dish Of Malaysia', and the name is translated in English as - "rice in fat". I don't know about you, but that certainly does not scream "DEVOUR ME"! The basic dish consists of rice cooked in coconut milk served with cucumber slices, dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, pickled vegetables or 'achar', and a hot spicy sauce - arguably a pretty random mix. It makes our once long-standing national dish in the UK of fish and chips sound slightly bland I think you'll agree. As bizarre a combination it sounds, I found it delicious. It demonstrates the essence of Malaysian cuisine and the unusual combinations involved.

Malaysian cuisine is proof for me that the food of a nation really can represent the diversity of its people. We hear so much in the media about 'fusion cooking' and the art of combining different elements to create a 'crazy' and 'never-been-done' dish, especially using Asian cuisine. My guess is that the dishes we see as "odd combinations" and "innovative styles" in the West have probably been sold as standard fare for decades in a Malaysian hawker stall somewhere!

Eating different foods and trying local specialties in different countries is an all-embracing experience. The interaction we encounter with the vendor and fellow customers whilst sampling one of the few things we can all relate to can be one of the most rewarding and daring episodes of travel! Food can be a means of bridging any perceived cultural divide. For me, food is exactly this and more - a perfect excuse to explore the culinary and social delights of a country. It's an experience in itself. Perhaps that's the real culture shock we could perhaps feel. Not that the food isn't what we're used to at home, but the fact that we're not used to eating as a social event, too used to TV dinners inside our warm houses, insulated from our communities outside.