Set your party’s mood right with appetizers

Little appetizers have a big role to play when it comes to successful entertaining. The right appetizers often can set the tone for a truly memorable cocktail or dinner party. Unfortunately, some timid cooks have been content to stick with chilled shrimp or cocktail wieners, but now’s the time to learn how to make some classic appetizers for real zest and zing at the next party.

Parties have themes, and if the appetizers that you serve must go with it – nachos with guacamole dip will look really out of place on a Hawaiian luau. You can start by looking at cookbooks and searching the Internet for recipes that match the theme you want to go with.

Some Asian foods have transcended their origin and go well with just about any theme. Crab Rangoon – a fried treat of creamed crabmeat wrapped in wonton – is one of these universal appetizers. Making authentic Crab Rangoon can be too much for a beginner. The easiest part is making the filling. You just mix crab meat with cream cheese and add minced garlic and onions along with a splash of soy sauce.

Crab Rangoon- A Classic Appetizer

The real trick to Crab Rangoon, however, is learning how to wrap up the wonton, a Chinese style dough wrapper that resembles the phyllo dough used to make Greek dishes such as baklava and spinach pie. Wonton usually comes in diamond shapes that are folded in half to create triangles, like a mini turnover. To create one Crab Rangoon, you need to put a heaping tablespoon of the creamed crab into the middle and spread it out. Then you have to moisten the edges of the wonton with water using a fingertip, fold it together and seal the edges, remoistening if necessary. These little triangles should be kept in a damp paper towel until it’s time to deep-fry them. The result is mouth-watering deliciousness!

Something Simpler…

For something a little simpler, you may want to try the Italian appetizer known as Bruschetta. This favorite is made by chopping together tomatoes and basil and then combining them with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. This mixture should stand for about 30 minutes. It is now ready to top a loaf of toasted French bread that has browned on both sides for extra crunch. Bruschetta is served warm, sometimes with Parmesan cheese added, for a delectable combination.

Of course, you can always resort to sliced vegetables known as crudites with salad dressings, or crackers and cheese. Every once in a while, though, you really ought to try something familiar yet a little more challenging, such as sweet and sour meatballs.

For this version, the meatballs are made as usual by mixing hamburger with milk, salt, egg, breadcrumbs, onions and Worcestershire sauce. After the meatballs are browned and drained of fat, the cook prepares a sauce of brown sugar, cornstarch, pineapple, vinegar and soy sauce. When this mixture boils in a skillet, the meatballs are returned along with chopped green peppers and simmered until the peppers are tender. The combination of sweet and sour flavors in these appetizers will thrill guests.

You see, you got scared over nothing. Appetizers are a simple way of taking your dinner parties to a whole new level. All it takes is the right recipe. Start going through the Internet now to uncover hidden gems like the ones here.

How to choose the most appropriate birthday card?

There is a birthday somewhere 365 days of the year and the most traditional way of acknowledging someone on their special day is with a birthday card. Birthday cards come in all shapes, sizes, types and messages. You can find cards ranging from comical to romantic, sappy to sexy and everything in between. Cards are appropriate for people of all ages from their first birthday until their last. Almost everyone enjoys getting a well chosen card on their birthday.

Birthday cards can be found in a variety of themes. You can locate a birthday cards that specify the child’s age from one to eighteen. After that you will find birthday cards that specify the landmark ages, such as age twenty-one, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, and eighty. Other themes range from “over the hill” to the character cards for children such as Princesses, Cars, Aladdin, and any variety of children’s movie and television favorites. Some of these birthday cards are pop-ups, and some of them are musical. Disney birthday cards are always a lot of fun to open, read, and play with again and again. 

It’s almost like another gift! More adult themes for birthday cards include sexy women, alcohol, or crude gestures. The ideas usually range from encouraging the birthday boy or girl to live it up on their special day, something to indicate that they aren’t getting older, but only getting better or in some cases poking fun at the aging process.

Two other types of birthday card that are popular for the giver who either doesn’t have time to shop or doesn’t know what to buy the recipient are the cards designed to hold a cash or check gift and those specifically made to hold a gift card. Gift cards can be purchased at almost every retailer these days and the gift card holders are usually free, bonus!

You can easily find a birthday card to suit any taste or budget. You can buy them at the grocery, department or drug store as well as specialty card shops such as Hallmark or even the local dollar store. You can even find great birthday cards online. These can be ordered in print individually, in bulk, or in variety packs for all your birthday needs. Another idea is the e-card which allows you to send birthday cards electronically through email. 

There are many websites that allow you to pick your general birthday card and add your own message to the birthday card. You can even send musical and animated birthday cards. While many of these services are free, they usually require registration and some designs are for paying members only.

Another option that is rediscovering popularity is the hand made birthday card. You can find handmade birthday cards at flea markets and craft shows or take a class and make them yourself. You can also occasionally find handmade birthday cards at wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco. You may think that handmade birthday cards are expensive, but really they can be quite reasonable. You can often find boxes of handmade birthday cards for around ten to thirty dollars. 

The birthday card is just a small token of your feelings, but it means a lot to the person who receives it. With the abundant styles, types, messages and delivery options of birthday cards available today you are sure to find the perfect birthday card for your son, daughter, grandchild, spouse, or other friend or family member.

What will the band do at my party?

Many folks only hire a band a few times in their life. Perhaps for your wedding day, a special party, or for an event your corporation is planning. In today’s world, with so many choices in front of you – how do you know when you’re really getting the best? 

We think you should expect unwavering professionalism for the entire duration of your event and an absolute commitment to excellence. 

The band’s primary concern should be to make your time easy and enjoyable – from that first point of contact via email or phone til after the lights go out at the end of the event. With that in mind, the band should partner with you to make a smooth experience musically and logistically. No matter what, they should be part of the solution. 

Good band members are enthusiastic about what they do and natural talents who have put in the work to develop their skills. They should be great performers, on voice or instruments, who love entertaining and love to share this joy with the crowd. Make sure to look for a band that has experience as well as professionalism. A big repertoire and band size that’s flexible can help customize the music to the exact needs of your event. A band that has variety can meet the style you’re dreaming of: whether cool jazz or hot rock, Latin rhythms or quirky cabaret. 

It’s up to you which type of song list you want the band to pull from. Consider the following major genres, or do your own research to narrow in specifically on the type of music you are imagining: Great American Song Book, Contemporary Hits, Sounds of Motown, Party Rock, Jazz/Swing/Ragtime, Rhythm & Blues, Latin Favorites, Slow Dances, Society Standards & Broadway Hits, etc.

A band should combine substance, versatility and style to create a sound that is customized for your event. Just because your event is small, it doesn’t need to sound that way! Sharing the same interactive style and play list as the full-size band, a condensed version of a band can be a perfect match for events where smaller spaces or budgets are a concern. 

To sum it up: 

-Expect the band to be on time. 

-Expect the style of music you want (provided you’ve had clear communication with the band ahead of time, and that the band is able to provide it). 

-You should expect the band to be good and look/sound/feel like you experience them on their website or YouTube. -The band will probably take requests, but not necessarily. 

-You should expect the band to play for the agreed upon length of time (a standard gig is typically around three hours), but don’t be surprised if they take two or three short breaks (typically 10-15 minutes) between “sets.” 

-On breaks, most hosts invite the band to eat with the guests. Whether or not the band eats, you should still expect them to be courteous and professional (i.e. smoking only in designated areas, appropriately socializing with guests). Just because the band is on break doesn’t mean there has to be no music, though! Agree in advance who is responsible to run an iPod as “DJ” during those short times so the flow of the event can continue as the band takes a short breather. 

-It’s ok to ask the band to go overtime for an additional fee, but it’s a good idea to let them know in advance that this is a possibility. Otherwise, they simply may not be available due to other commitments. 

The band won’t solve all the problems. If you book a venue for 1,000 but only expect 200 people at your event, there’s not much the band can do to make your party feel intimate. If the flowers show up an hour later than scheduled and you hold the start time of the event for this, remember that the contract with the band is offered for a specific time (7-10pm) not length of time (3 hours). If you start late, you can still expect the band to end at the originally agreed upon time, unless you pay them for overtime. Additionally, if a drunk cousin gets up to make a 30-minute wedding toast, it’s not the band’s responsibility to kick them off stage. Have a wedding planner or family member keep an eye on this as well, and the band will recommence playing as soon as they get a “go ahead” from whoever is in charge. 

Most importantly, remember that for the band – this is business. The band is there to provide a service (live music) to a client for money. A good band knows who to answer to, and if you’re planning an event you should be clear about this as well. If a controlling mother-in-law has demanded only classic rock ‘n’ roll from the 50’s & 60’s and she’s paying the bill, you better believe that no matter what the “feel of the crowd” is, that’s what they’ll provide. 

No matter what, you can have the exact band you want! Be specific, dream big, communicate frequently and clearly, and expect the best.

Tiki decorations- get into the perfect party mood

There are a lot of reasons for us to throw a party for family and friends. Whether it’s for a birthday, a graduation, an anniversary, or any other special occasion, we just love having clean fun with our loved ones. And the most memorable among these gatherings are usually those that carry a specific theme. So, the next time you decide to throw a party for your peers, why don’t you plan a Tiki-themed event? Nothing invites people to loosen up and have fun more effectively than a good combination of luau-style food, cocktails, and attractive Tiki decorations.

When summer is here, it is definitely the best time to throw a Tiki party. Summer evenings are comfortably warm and Tiki torches look beautiful when lit at around nine or ten at night. Even if you’re just hanging out in your backyard, a Tiki theme can make your party feel like a fun-filled night at the beach. Here are a few tips on how you can create the perfect tropical party atmosphere with a few well-placed Tiki decorations.

Even if your party is taking place exclusively in the backyard, it is a good idea to decorate indoors as well as outdoors. After all, your guests will have to go through the front door as they arrive and several of them may need to use the bathroom as the night goes on. It would be nice if they got into the whole Tiki concept as soon as they enter and keep the mood all throughout the party. You may be concerned about the expense involved if you decide to decorate both indoors and outdoors, but it isn’t really very costly to do so.

You can create a Tiki atmosphere simply by placing either fake or real tropical flowers in strategic locations around the house. You may also replace curtains, throw covers, and placemats with brightly-colored fabrics typical of the Tiki decorating style. Switch off the fluorescent lights and set up paper lanterns and candles inside the house, and Tiki torches outside to achieve the ultimate tropical island appeal. Bamboo furniture, totem poles, and masks can also add to your party’s Tiki flavor.

Music is another important element. Choose thematic music that perfectly complements the Tiki decorations that you have set up. Drum-based music is a good choice if you plan to encourage dancing as one of your party’s highlights. Naturally, you will have to serve luau-style dishes in order to be consistent with your theme. Stoke up the fire pit, take out the barbecue, and cook up sauces that have a distinct island flavor. Tiki-style cocktails and rum punches tend to be on the sweet side, so make sure to add a bit of spice to the food that you prepare.

Tables should not be taken for granted when decorating for a Tiki-themed party. You may use cut pineapples as the centerpiece for a truly tropical feel. You may even use cups and plates that carry a tropical theme. If you have the budget for it, you may even set up something as elaborate as a Tiki hut, but something as simple as a portable bar made of bamboo will work just as well. No matter how simple your Tiki decorations are, as long as you arrange them strategically and plan the other details carefully, your friends should be in for one hell of a party.