From the Kitchen of heygoodcookin

Feeding People One Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich at a Time

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Feed the homeless – and make the world a better place – one peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich at a time.

Jory John, The Peanut Butter Plan

What feeling does a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich evoke for you?  Perhaps it’s a reminder of childhood; of brown bag lunches and eating with school friends.  Whatever memory comes to mind, I think we can all agree that a PB & J sandwich can take away the noontime pangs of hunger and leave us feeling filled.

A friend introduced me to the efforts of a local grassroots movement in Los Angeles serving sandwiches to the homeless.  Its called the PBJ Movement,spearheaded by Terrence Woodberry.  The concept is simple: volunteers make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hand them out with bananas and bottled water to those in need.

I jumped on Google to see how far this crusade extends beyond Los Angeles and found, among several organized groups, one in particular with chapters in various major cities named The Peanut Butter Plan, originally a campaign started by Jory John, a children’s book author in San Francisco.  “It’s a grassroots organization with no federal subsidy, no foundation, no food vouchers, and no official sanction from anybody. Just strangers, goodwill, and a lot of peanut butter”, says Mr. John.

All of the programs with websites or facebook pages I read through offer different messaging but strive for the same goal: to help others in need of a meal.

The simplicity of the movement is what attracted me initially.  Anyone can make this sandwich and hand it out: no cooking skills needed here.  According to Mr. John, there is a bit of a trick to making a PB&J that can keep the sandwich from succumbing to soggy bread: more PB and less J.

Or, more specifically, 3 parts peanut butter to 1 part jelly. But don’t look at my example, I am a jelly gal!

Open face Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

We love learning about groups of volunteers who give their time, talents and resources to help others in need of a meal.  It is still hard to imagine in 2016, that people go to bed hungry.  If you know of an organization in your area that shares a similar mission,please contact us at support@heygoodcookin.com so we can spread their story.

Cutting a PB and J sandwich in the half

Get involved in a PB&J Movement or start your own chapter then tell us about it on facebook!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with a bite in it

 

Posted By: heygoodcookin

The Hey Good Cookin' Kitchen has become a place of food inspiration and savory discovery to share with our cookin' singles community. We search out new recipes or sometimes just adapt familiar ones to test, taste, photograph and share in the triumphs and mishaps of creating new dishes.

See heygoodcookin's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of barb0812

7 Fightin’ Foods for the Common Cold

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Tasting The Soup Before Eating

I have been lucky enough to dodge every nasty cold that has come my way for the past two years. But don’t hate me for sounding braggy, life has already issued a challenge as a good reminder to keep it humble.

The challenge came the other night as I was giving myself props for staying on top of my health.  Just before dinner, as I pulled up a chair to work on the computer, I was suddenly struck by the unmistakable signs of the funk. All the usual suspects were there–chills, aches and even an upset stomach!

Thankfully, I was feeling spirited enough to take charge of the situation. I did not want a pesky bug bringing me down or standing between me and the savory beet salad that was chilling in the fridge.  I quickly made a mental inventory of my usual go-to’s for fighting off a cold –  Airborne, Tylenol  and a shot of trusty willpower to do the trick. Out of nowhere, (ding ding ding), I remembered a post on super foods. Of course!  Chicken Noodle Soup!  Time to pull out the Crock Pot.  

I changed course and decided that this was the moment to take a dose of my own self-prescribed medicine. I rolled up my sleeves, recited the “food is medicine” mantra, crossed my fingers and hoped that the healing power of food would prove to be more than an idealistic theory.   

It was a big decision, but I had a full week ahead and no room for interruption.  I decided to compromise. I mean, why not enjoy the wonders of modern medicine AND the soothing benefits of traditional home remedies?

For those of you interested in the exact science, my immediate tactics included Airborne—4 of those babies,  Zyrtec—for when in doubt, and a hot cup of Nature’s Own Ginger Tea. I ingested my special cocktail and planted myself on the sofa with steeped ginger tea in hand and waited.  

Two hours went by. With eyes closed, I simply relaxed and entertained rich inner visions of myself freed from the grips of nausea.  But more importantly, I continued the willful pursuit of that beet salad. And then, just like that, it was gone.

Could I swear it wasn’t allergies?  No. Did the rest help?  Probably.  But what matters most is that I’m now solidly in the camp that believes that the right plant and food remedies DO promote well-being.  

Thankfully, there was still time to enjoy that meal. Excited by my experience, I grabbed a fork and a notepad and started to make a list of other common foods that help put a stop to what ails you.

Barb’s shortlist of  Seven Fightin’ Foods:

  1. Chicken Noodle Soup

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Time to pull out the slow cookers!  There is just something about chicken noodle soup that helps move a cold along.  Like many of my soups, I  freeze single portions so no need to cook when sick. Chicken soup may be good for the soul, but it can also lessen the effects of a cold by slowing down that congestion production, and that’s a good thing!

  1. Tea

Green tea with ginger, lemon and honey

All varieties of teas including black, green, white and herbal offer a variety of benefits in fighting colds. Baker by Nature swears by her Healing Ginger Tea which uses a base of green tea, then adds fresh ginger, cinnamon, lemon and honey to battle congestion and a sore throat. I’m gonna give this a try next time I get hit with a cold.

  1. Honey

Spoonful Of Honey

I know a lot of people who use this as their go-to for relief of a sore throat.  Some take a spoonful daily of ‘local only’ honey to reduce allergies.

  1. Orange Juice

oranges and orange juice

 

Fresh squeezed O.J. with pulp offers plenty of Vitamin C which medical research indicates is better coming from food.  Red Bell Peppers are also a terrific source of Vitamin C.

  1. Bananas

Banana Bunch And Sliced Bananas

I just learned that bananas are rich in potassium, which is often depleted with some flu and cold symptoms. They’re easy to digest (A+ for bland foods!) and may help lower body temperature. They can also help replenish lost electrolytes.

  1. Ginger

Ginger tea made with fresh root

Opinion says ginger offers some virus fighting potential as well as acts as an excellent tummy soother.  I for one am a believer in ginger.  When I get hit with nausea, I steep fresh ginger for 10 minutes and drink a cup with no added sugar, lemon etc.  Some (like me) believe it can stop a cold in its tracks!

  1. Garlic

Ceramic knife chopping garlic preparation cooking. Garlic, aroma

This is one food that sounds the least appealing to me when battling the crud.  However, it does contains allicin, a compound that destroys bacteria and makes it difficult for viruses to thrive. I usually add garlic to many of my soups anyway, and that is probably the best way to benefit from it.

I hope by now you are as inspired to use foods as a healthy ally as I am. Whole books are written on this topic, so I had to choose my favorites. Let me know in the comments if you have a go-to recipe that helps you fight off illness and maintain your bragging rights!

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

Treat Yourself Tuesday

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Happy blonde lying and having breakfast in bed at home in the bedroom

For many busy people, breakfast during the work week means juggling a piece of toast in one hand and a cup of coffee and car keys in the other. It’s about finishing the last few bites of the most important meal of the day at a stoplight.

This is what makes the contrast of weekend breakfasts so special. It’s leisure time at its finest. There’s nothing like a slow start to the day. In fact, we encourage you to have breakfast in bed. Next time you have a day free from the hectic morning rush, paddle out to the kitchen in your old, comfortable pajamas, pour yourself a steaming cup of java, grab your favorite Hey Good Cookin’ breakfast foods and head back to bed.

Cinnamon Roll

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Take a handful of napkins to bed with you for these sticky cinnamon rolls!  The best part is this is a small-batch recipe, so you won’t have tempting leftovers around the house.

Microwave French Toast

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A traditional plate of French toast and syrup is challenging to navigate in bed. This microwave French toast in a mug contains the messiness without giving up on flavor.

Simple Overnight Oatmeal

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You had me at simple!  Plan ahead for your breakfast in bed with this simple overnight oatmeal.

Quinoa Squash Oatmeal

Pic 09 Quinoa Squash Oatmeal

Love your morning oatmeal, but craving something a little more exotic?  This quinoa squash oatmeal will hit the spot.

From the Kitchen of barb0812

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

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Couple cheering at outdoor sport event

Truth be told, sporting events are not my first go-to for a date night.  I’m not very good at anything requiring the skill of a kick, run, punt, shoot or throw, so I am equally untasked at being a good spectator. So, it becomes a bit of a dilemma when your date is into sports.

@oregonwingnut and I joke about the fact that we were always “last chosen” for team sports starting in recess and then in school Phys Ed. Being the last kid picked makes you quickly appreciate your other talents.

Second confession: I tell myself empty calories don’t exist at sport events. Admittedly, I love the buttery salted popcorn and the the soft pretzels washed down with a cold beer…and, maybe a few of those red vines thrown into the mix. I suppose they also serve as a distraction from the game since I really don’t know what is going on anyway.

So, when the question of “why don’t we go to a game” is asked, I quickly find a compromise.  Why not mix cheering on a friend, family member or co-worker playing in a local softball league with some awesome homemade snacks? Cooking and cheering I can do pretty well. Thanks to one of the members, I now have this tasty Truffle Popcorn for my next date night at the softball field–surely a home run!

Truffle Popcorn

 

 

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

TYT–Treat Yourself Tuesday

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A woman is listening to music while coloring for relaxation

Welcome to our Treat Yourself Tuesday Series!  When we decided to do a series on pampering yourself we wanted something more than just hair, nails and bubble baths.  DIY spa days are so overdone and look like more work than just going to the spa.

At Hey Good Cookin’, we want our self pampering to be a little less traditional and just maybe a little more fun.  We’re kicking off our Treat Yourself Tuesday with the ultimate in relaxation, at least it was when you were a kid…coloring and Kool-Aid. 

Wait! Keep reading… 

Remember the feeling of cuddling up with a coloring book and falling into a peaceful, Zen-like trance.  Coloring doesn’t just have to be child’s play.  If fact, it can be a spiritual and centering activity.

Here are a few of our coloring and Kool-Aid recommendations:

Mandala Coloring

The origin of the word mandala derives from Sanskit meaning “circle.”  Mandalas are made up of a concentric structure and symbolize harmony and unity.  They can be used to aid in meditation and as a spiritual tool for creating a sacred space.  Invest in a mandala coloring book or print off some sheets and get started. 

The Zentangle Method

If you are a doodler this is your ticket to a creative, relaxing way to create beautiful images.  The best part is it’s easy!  According to their website, The Zentangle Method “increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being.”

Coloring Book

If you’re a coloring book purist and not wanting to explore yourself too deeply, by all means, grab any old coloring book and just color!  Invite some friends over and make it a party.

Kool-Aid, or our adult version of it has the same qualities you loved as a kid…a bit sweet, pretty and oh so yummy.  You might also know it by it’s adult name, Sangria.

 

Sangria-001sq

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

Singled Out Road Trip Snacks

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Woman and her dog on a road trip

There are places where I just love being alone. My car is one of those places. I look forward to hitting the open road, radio blaring, snack bag perched on the passenger seat with the speedometer registering a tad over the speed limit. When it comes down to it, it’s the sense of freedom and the feeling of driving toward possibilities that I love.

For me, the car is like Vegas. What happens there is private, especially when it comes to snacking. I have a belief about snacking and traveling…calories don’t count in the car. I munch on things in my car that I never allow myself to eat in any other setting. I’m guessing many of us have the same belief.

Go ahead and indulge, but instead of grabbing a bag of chips at your neighborhood convenience store, why not make your own snacks?  Check out our favorite road trip snacks–they are quick to do yourself and healthier because you know exactly what is in it. Oh, and don’t forget snacks for your dog…who can do a road trip without a fur baby at your side?  He or She will love our banana and peanut butter treats!

1. Spicy Ranch Crackers

A plate of Spicy Ranch Crackers with a crab dip

Why go to all the trouble to make your own seasoned crackers? Because these spicy ranch crackers are no trouble at all. In fact, they’re super easy and incredibly good!

2. Balsamic Sweetened Pecans

A handful of balsamic pecans

You can pack a lot of these bad boys in a small space. Pop them in your mouth one at a time and make them last or be greedy and eat these balsamic sweetened pecans by the handfuls.

3.Trail Mix

A mix of sweet and salty trail mix

I don’t know about you, but I can’t find the perfect trail mix, so it’s easier to make my own. If I buy a pre-made mix I pick through it until all that’s left are a few shriveled raisins. Save yourself the waste and DIY.

4. Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

Crunch, crunch, crunch. That’s what makes these roasted chickpeas so delicious. Explore using different spices and herbs and make a variety pack.

5.Vegan Banana and Nut Dog Treats

Bruno the dog tasting a Banana and Nut Dog Treat

Hitting the road with your best friend? Make sure to bring along a bag of special treats!

From the Kitchen of barb0812

How to Have Just the Produce You Want

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wooden bowl of freshly picked vegetablesI love the Farmer’s Market for all the wonderful veggies and fruit that I bring home each week.  Oh yeah, and maybe that bread and hummus, too…ahem.  In the name of cooking organic and fresh, my wallet takes hit with each food stand I decide has something I can’t live without.  But I tell myself that my health is more important than how much I shell out.  Something similar could be said when walking in and out of a Whole Foods Market.

It’s easy to buy more than what I need when it comes to the variety and abundance of fresh produce at my market.  Although I am lucky enough to have it available to me almost all year, it does get a bit pricey.  I remedy this problem of buying more than I need by indulging in one of my most peaceful hobbies each summer: gardening.

I actually thought gardening days were over for me because I made assumptions that to have a garden it had to be BIG—even if just for me—with loads of space and rows of every veggie under the sun.  Then I was invaded by squirrels and every contraption I could buy to keep them out was turning my dream garden into a money pit.

Last summer, I pulled up my big girl panties and finally outsmarted the vermin who were all set to feast on a smorgasbord of my veggies.  I started to think more practically for me:  smaller space, fewer plants, less work.  I was amazed to see that just one cucumber plant could yield enough cucumbers to feed me with plenty to share with co-workers and friends–and all right outside my front door.  Chaos from squirrels made me re-think a traditional vegetable garden and think “small.”

Not sure you could pull off a garden?  Check out my tips:

1. Make the initial investment!  Get some large containers (a foot deep or greater) and some decent gardening soil.  Home Depot carries their brand for under $3 a bag.  It’s a decent soil and not a lot of expense.  Check out yard sales, if you have the time, for fun pottery.

2. Decide on the veggies you want to grow and limit your plants to one or two of each.  The best veggies to grow in containers are squashes, tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, and peppers.

3. Pick all day sunny spots for your containers.  Veggies love sun—they will need plenty of it!  Make sure your containers are nearly filled with dirt and completely cover each plant’s root system snuggly with your gardening soil.

4. Don’t crowd those containers. Depending on the size, one or two plants are the max for each pot.  If planting in a small ground area, space about 2 feet apart.

5. Make sure your pots can drain. You may need to place a couple of bricks under each container to allow water to drain.  I recommend adding some small rocks to your empty containers around the drain hole then filling with dirt.  This ensures proper drainage and healthy plants!

6. Invest in watering each container a few minutes a day. If your patio or yard gets quite hot, you should consider an investment of watering in the morning and again in the later afternoon or invest in a small drip system.

7. Plant tags will tell you when it’s time to harvest.  Check your plant tags and record on your calendar when you planted and then make a note of days when each plant should be mature and ready for you to harvest.  Picking varieties that have varied maturity dates is one way to stagger your yield (tomato varieties differ in their maturity dates).  Depending on how long your growing season may be, you might be able to plant twice!  Just remember to plant after the last frost.  Mother’s Day is a good reference!

I am such a fan of small space gardening now.  I never realized how simple and abundant a few containers of veggies can be.  I am always looking for tips, ideas and creative ways in which people use containers and small spaces for a vegetable garden, and welcome your feedback here.

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

The Best Date Night Recipes

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r

Cooking to impress a date has long been a courting ritual. Choosing just the right dish, although sometimes stressful, is the easy part. Cooking it to perfection…that’s the challenging part! You want it to be tasty, beautiful and show off your culinary talents. You want it to be memorable.

This doesn’t mean learning how to make escargot or practicing days ahead of time to perfect cherries jubilee. Save yourself the singed eyebrows and stick to what you know. Keep it simple. Simple is the new elegant.

Rather than trying to make something fancy, focus on making something basic and give it a makeover. It’s the small finishing touches that upscale a recipe.

If burritos are your go-to recipe, stick to it. Grab some homemade flour tortillas from a nearby Mexican restaurant. There’s nothing like warm, homemade tortillas! Swing by your local farmers market and pick up some fresh cilantro and some juicy yellow and red heirloom tomatoes to add to your fixings. Abracadabra! You’ve just up scaled your old burrito recipe into a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

Add these fabulous dishes to your date night recipe box.

Pita Bread appetizer 0013
A simple flatbread can be transformed into an elegant appetizer. Kickoff your date night meal with a tasty Chicken Veggie Flatbread.

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Bring on the bruschetta! You can’t go wrong with crispy, crunchy and creamy Cannellini Bruschetta.

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Your date may be easy on the eyes and so is this Greek Salad. The presentation alone will have your date asking for more.

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Quick and Easy Pasta Salad with tangy vinaigrette is a sure bet as a side dish for chicken or beef. Using multicolored pasta adds visual appeal to ordinary salads.

Ramen-003
Pinching pennies and striving for elegance? This is the dish for you! This Quick Pad Thai made with ramen noodles will have you and your date reliving your old college days.

HGC Cookie Exchange 062
Sandwiches for date night? Absolutely! It’s all about the bread and the condiments. Arugula Mayonnaise can turn a boring sandwich into a masterpiece for your palate.

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Grill some salmon or a big juicy steak and top it off with a dollop of herb butter to make it pop. You’ve instantly gone from griller to chef.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies 003

Turn this simple shortbread recipe into a cookie to remember. Rosemary Shortbread served with a glass of red wine after dinner will have your date marking this day on the calendar.

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

Spice Up Your Outdoor Space

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three plans on wall

On a recent trip to Greece I was reminded that the little things often times have the greatest impact. While staying on the island of Naxos I had my first experience with bouzouki music. A concert was to be held at sunset in a castle high above the town. In anticipation, I hiked my way up hundreds of steps through the residential Kastro to the Tower of Sanoudos.

When I arrived I was delighted to find that the concert was on a charming outdoor patio. In the distance the Temple of Apollo was transforming with the changing colors of the sky. It was that money shot photographers dream of catching. The view was spectacular, but that’s not what made the night so magical. It was the attention to the finest details, the small touches that made the space feel whimsical.

The patio was dimly lit with various accent lights. The chairs were arranged in close proximity to the musicians, creating intimacy, and along one side was a rock wall filled with pots of lush basil and mint. As the concert was about to start, the host cupped his hands around the basil and began clapping. The scent of basil and the sound of bousouki music filled the air.

Just that one small touch changed the dynamic of the experience. As I sat there sipping a local wine during the concert, I noticed people sitting near the rock wall would reach out and jostle the basil. You could hear a communal sigh as everyone breathed in the aroma radiating throughout the patio.

I realized this was a rich experience because all the senses were engaged. It isn’t difficult. By focusing on the small things and layering in the five senses you can give your outdoor space a mini makeover. These easy, inexpensive tips are all that you need to create your own sanctuary.

Sight
Re-purpose your bling. Dig out those solo earrings, the ones you’ve been holding onto hoping you’ll find its mate. Hang it from a pot or plant. The more dangle, the better. Add a solar light to the pot and see how your bling sparkles. It will add interesting little details that will be eye catching.

Spice up your outdoor space with jewlery

Sound
Outdoor sound systems can be expensive and require installation. Instead, invest in a small bluetooth speaker that works with your phone or tablet. Some cylinder speakers change colors with the music which can add a nice visual effect. And let’s remember simplicity; a simple water feature or wind chimes can bring calm to an outdoor setting.

Smell
Clap the basil! If it’s a good idea, borrow it. Thank you Nikos from Naxos. I’m sold on this latest ‘aha, why didn’t I think of that’ idea. Go one step further by adding a fan strategically placed behind your herbs to infuse a refreshing aroma into air.

Touch
Outdoor furniture can sometimes be made of rough, sturdy fabric to withstand the elements. Wood or metal chairs can be downright uncomfortable. Toss in a few soft throw pillows and seat cushions to add color and comfort. Don’t forget the basil and mint. Touch it!

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Taste
Have I mentioned basil? It happens to be one of my favorite flavors and scents. Place a variety of potted herbs and a pair of herb scissors close by for smelling, touching and tasting!

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

5 Tips for the Single Host

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Group Of Friends Having Dinner Party At Home

I love hosting parties for my friends and family. Days before the party I start perusing the internet or Pinterest searching for great ideas or a theme. A couple days before the party, I head off to the store with my old-school, hand written grocery list to purchase supplies. The day of the party, while rocking my kitchen to a retro 80’s station, I chop, blend, mix and bake my way through the day. As Bon Jovi fills my kitchen (I wish), I watch the clock tick away and I feel exhilarated and super STRESSED!

Last week, I decided to host a bruschetta party. I planned ahead, bought all the ingredients I needed and did a little prep work the night before. When I woke up on party day, I was sick. I considered cancelling the party, but I had so much food and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I decided to power through, but I had to change my plan of being the great host and having everything prepared and looking beautiful when the first guest walked through the door.

Instead, I put out bowls of tomatoes, avocado, various meats, spreads, herbs, cheeses and toasted baguette. My highly organized happy hour became a make your own bruschetta bar. As an added element, I created an inspiration station. I provided colored post-it notes and pens so my guest could write their personal bruschetta creation and stick it to the wall. My guests we delighted. Everyone was having a great time and I realized they weren’t just eating, they were having an experience with food and engaging each other in conversation.

This changed the way I think about entertaining a group of people. Parties don’t have to be time consuming or stressful! Let us help take some of the stress out of hosting a party so you can concentrate on…well, having fun.

1. Create a happy hour menu with a theme. There’s no need to plan a full meal deal. Host a casual happy hour and pick a theme that has a lot of toppings and condiments such as nachos, salads, baked potatoes, pasta or tapas.

2. Use the salad bar. Visit your local grocery store’s salad bar to save time and cut down on waste. Salad bar cooking allows you to buy fresh ingredients that are already chopped and diced.

3. Buy ingredients that are ready to go. I’m all about cutting down on prep work. For example, buy pre-shredded or sliced cheese, meat trays from the deli, spreads and sauces from a jar.

4. Engage your guests in the experience. Give each guest one ingredient to bring or provide everything and let your friends build their own meal.

5. Say no to clean up! We all know the worst part of entertaining is the post-party clean up. Use small storage bowls with lids. Just before the party, remove the lids and put the food out. When all the guests have gone just slap the lid on the bowl and into the refrigerator it goes.