Archive for the ‘Budget Bash Book’ Category

Savory Bites Cookbook

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

One of my catering chefs, Hollis Wilder, who also happens to be the only 3-time Cupcake Wars winner, just published this great new cookbook called Savory Bites.  She takes her delicious recipes (from years of catering the A-list Hollywood crowd) and formats them so that the meals are prepared in cupcake tins and then served in portion controlled sizes.  This method of serving food is great for those watching their calorie intake as well as for people who want a quick small bite on the run or pack a lunch for weekend picnics with friends.

I made the Crab Napoleon from the Savory Bites cookbook. I followed Hollis’s suggestion and instead of roasting the tomatoes, picked up a jar of pre-made roasted tomatoes in the market’s deli section and assembled the crab salad and sauce and then layered all ingredients into the cupcake tins. It took about 15 minutes to make and then I chilled them overnight.

Note, it is best to line the cupcake tins the short width with two pieces of plastic wrap and make sure that you firmly press the plastic into the wells to create the cups prior to assemblage. Leave at least three inches of wrap on all sides and don’t worry if your middle wells have overlapping plastic wrap.

Serving these Savory Bites was easy. I just took them out of the cupcake tins, garnished with lettuce and served.  Of course, I ate four (so much for portion control!) but what can I say, they were delicious!

What is also great about this cookbook is that you gain a recipe within a recipe. For example, I love crab salad but never thought to make it on its own. Hollis's recipe was easy to make and delicious and can stand alone as well. Once you have made the crab salad, you can then take a roll and make a crab salad sandwich or add it to a bed of lettuce.

Next time, I think I will add some thinly sliced cucumbers on the bottom of the Napoleons and garnish with lemon. 

Savory Bites cookbook includes recipes made in cupcake tins for breakfast, eggs and cheese, vegetables, meats, fish and pasta. Using fresh whole ingredients makes these cupcakes nutritional, and Hollis is always quick to recommend short-cuts for those chefs who have just a few more items to juggle then their kitchen knives. Click here for your link to Savory Bites and enjoy!

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Birthday Lunch Party

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Here are some ideas and pictures from a birthday lunch party we recently produced that can easily be done for Mothers Day lunch.  Instead of round tables, we sat everyone at one long table and assigned seating with place cards to ensure everyone was comfortable with the person they were seated next to.

The room decor highlighted the color French blue, and we used French blue checked linen to compliment the room. Since this birthday lunch was at a beach venue, we incorporated a beach theme into the centerpieces.  We had our florist place shells at the bottom of the flower arrangements for decor, and we also filled empty square containers with sand and shells to compliment these flower arrangements.


Other ideas from this birthday lunch that can be used for a Mothers Day lunch are the party favors.  We provided all of the adults with a box of truffles and for the kids, we gave them chocolate lollipops.  

A cost savings tip that you can use for your Mothers Day lunch is to bring your own wine and champagne to your event. Most venues will allow it, there is usually a corkage fee but often you find that you save some money and drink the wines and champagnes of your choice.  

Whether you celebrate a Mothers Day lunch, dinner or brunch, enjoy and remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Silent Auction Tips for Non-Profit Silent Auctions

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Non-Profit silent auctions can generate a lot of money for fundraising events. Here are a few silent auction tips to help your charity with their fundraiser.

  1. One of the most important silent auction tips is to know your audience.  Don't price items at a premium if you don't have guests willing to pay.
  2. Most charities use the cocktail time for bidding at silent auctions. Make sure this time period runs at least 1.5 hours.
  3. If you have well over 200 silent auction items, then consider closing down the auction at various time intervals.  

Other silent auction tips include:

  • Create easy to read bid sheets on clipboards and provide pens.
  • Display items for silent auctions in a clean, orderly fashion so people can see and touch them.
  • Make sure your bid sheets include the retail value, starting price and bid increment as well as donor recognition.

Most important of all silent auction tips is decide upon the exact time the auction will close and stick to that time! Nothing can be more frustrating for the auction management team then changing the closing time, not to mention how maddening it is for the guests.

If you plan to hold a charity event with a silent auction in the Los Angeles area, we would be more than happy to provide you with a free quote on managing silent auctions and share a few more silent auction tips

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

DIY Christmas Decorations

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

DIY Christmas decorations can be simple yet elegant.  Here are some ideas for easy Christmas centerpieces from a party we recently produced.

My client found these cute pots in cherry red and apple green and then we planted holiday greens and built a table centerpiece. For these easy Christmas centerpieces, evergreens, Poinsettias, roses and berries were planted in the pots. Also, on every table for these DIY Christmas decorations, we filled two small pots each with peppermints and chocolates.

What was so fun about these DIY Christmas decorations was that at the end of the evening, each guest got to take home these centerpieces as their party favor. Some guests took home just the candy pots while others took the larger pots that were filled with Poinsettias or evergreens and roses.

To add to the atmosphere of these easy Christmas centerpieces, we placed votive candles on the tables and for our DJ's stage, placed Poinsettias as added decor.

For more easy and budget friendly decor and party ideas, look to Budget Bash.  Happy Holidays and until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Citrus Chicken

Friday, November 30th, 2012

This easy roasted chicken recipe for citrus chicken is delicious and takes no time to make. All you need is:

1 orange cut in quarters

1 lemon cut in quarters and seeded

1 small onion cut in quarters

2 bay leaves

Salt, pepper and olive oil

For this easy roasted chicken recipe, stuff the orange, lemon and onion quarters along with the bay leaves into the empty cavity, drizzle olive oil on top and bottom of chicken and add salt and pepper to taste. Then  place the citrus chicken in a roasting pan, add some water and bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for about an hour and 15 minutes or a bit less. Make sure the chicken is cooked but not dry.

A helpful hint for this easy roasted chicken recipe, is to add to the water in the roasting pan some orange quarters and onions to flavor the water and add taste to the natural gravy created while making the chicken.

Place the citrus chicken on a cutting board, slice and serve.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Party Planning Guide at the Kindle Bookstore

Friday, September 7th, 2012

I am pleased to announce that my party planning guide, Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget has been accepted at the Kindle bookstore by Amazon Books and is now available to download to your Kindle or IPad.

In Budget Bash, I share with you my insider party planning secrets. This party planning guide will help you create an elegant party from start to finish whether it is a cocktail party, personal event or wedding.  By following my methodical steps and drawing from my quick tips and imaginative ideas, you can entertain like a pro!

This book at the Kindle bookstore includes recipes for everyone and is filled with color photos and step-by-step instructions, so even the most inexperienced host can throw an elegant affair.

A few of the topics included in this party planning guide are:

  • ideas for event themes, invitations, and party favors;
  • sample event timelines, budgets and checklists;
  • venue selection tips;
  • design ideas and decorative napkin folds;
  • stylish floral arrangements;
  • recipes and menus, including vegan and gluten-free;
  • hints for recycling/reusing to save money and the environment;
  • and other helpful cost-saving tips.

Make your holiday entertaining simple, stress-free yet elegant with this budget-conscious easy-to-read party planning guide. Available NOW for just $4.99. Just click here.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Simple Flower Arrangements

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

During my travels to New York City, I came across a couple of simple flower arrangements that were quite dynamic.  Note this simple flower arrangement sitting on an entryway table.  Colors run from yellows to greens with various size and height vases.

All vases in this simple flower arrangement contain the same type of flower, starting with the lower tier of cymbidium orchids. These small square simple flower arrangements of cymbidium orchids are great for either cocktail tables or group them together with votive candles for a table arrangement.

To learn how to make simple flower arrangements including centerpieces with cymbidium orchids click here.

Here is another simple flower arrangement.  This floral centerpiece is great for either small dinner tables or cocktail tables as well.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Great Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

One of my favorite foods is macaroni and cheese. When I had to go gluten free, finding a gluten free macaroni and cheese recipe was a high priority.  I actually just modified the recipe found in my book Budget Bash and it was great! Here is the recipe.

1 box of gluten free macaroni (about 2 cups, I used quinoa macaroni)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 small onion

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup of gluten free flour

2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

3/4 cup of cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of Gruyere

1/2 cup of truffle cheese

1/4 cup of Parmesan

Truffle oil and salt and pepper to taste

The first step to this gluten free macaroni and cheese recipe is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On an oven top, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box.  Drain water and set pasta aside.

In a pan, melt the butter and sautee the onions and garlic. Whisk in the flour to make a roux and cook until mixture is smooth. Whisk in the milk and simmer until mixture is thick (about 15 to 20 minutes). I stirred the mixture as well to ensure it didn’t burn.

Once mixture is thick, then add the cheddar, truffle, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses along with the mustard and stir until melted. You might want to taste your cheese sauce and add some more cheese if desired. At this point, you can add the truffle oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Once your cheese sauce reaches its desired taste, add the macaroni to the pot and stir until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish and sprinkle extra grated cheddar cheese on top.  Cook the gluten free macaroni and cheese in the oven until brown and crusty on top, at least 30 minutes. Serve hot.

If you wish to modify this gluten free macaroni and cheese recipe, you can substitute the truffle cheese for blue cheese and the Gruyere cheese for Jack cheese and leave out the truffle oil. You can also add a little hot sauce or red chili pepper flakes if desired.

For other gluten free recipes as well as party planning tips and advice, click here.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!



Homemade Marshmallows

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Having to go gluten-free I have started to look at my gluten free dessert options. One of them is marshmallows and I have to tell you I made the best homemade marshmallows and thought I would share the recipe. They are so easy!

Click here for the recipe. It is from the Barefoot Contessa. Just one note on these homemade marshmallows. I used a glass pan and cut the marshmallows while they were still in the pan.

Some options for this gluten free dessert is to add mint for mint marshmallows or coco powder for chocolate. Be sure if you make chocolate marshmallows to dust them in coco, not powdered sugar.

Another great thing about these homemade marshmallows is that they travel well. I went clear across the country with this gluten free dessert and they arrived perfectly in their individual packages.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Dinner Event by a Los Angeles Corporate Event Planner

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Being a corporate event planner, I am called upon to produce all types of events.  From private dinners for 10 guests to galas which seat over 1,000 guests, no matter the event, I still need to take the necessary steps to ensure all runs smoothly night-of.

I recently produced a dinner at Mastro’s in Beverly Hills.  A couple of things we did a bit differently for this event.  First, our centerpieces were not all uniform. For the large round tables, our centerpieces were the above design. For the smaller narrow tables, we used the same colored flower but created small square centerpieces using just roses.

As a corporate event planner, I try to infuse as much creativity as possible with the budget. For this event, the restaurant allowed us to bring in our own wines and even with the corkage fee, we were able to help save the client some money.

Finally, first impressions count. Therefore, we always make sure that the venue and its team is ready to go prior to event start time since often guests arrive early.  Valet, servers as well as management were prepped to ensure everyone was on the same page as to the expectations of the evening.

Making sure all runs smoothly the night of the event is just one aspect of being a corporate event planner. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when you have a great support staff and a loyal client helping you as well.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!