Archive for the ‘Budget Bash Book’ Category

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Now this is an ice bar ready for New Year’s Eve!

Happy New Year, 2011, and for any last minute party tips, click here.

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

Delicious Chocolate Cake Recipe

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Just in time for your holiday entertaining, this delicious chocolate cake recipe is a simple chocolate cake and takes no time to make, yet everyone loves it and can never get enough.  Here are the ingredients and instructions.

8-ounces sour cream

½ cup canola or vegetable oil

½ cup water

4 eggs

1 box chocolate cake mix with pudding in the box

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

12-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cocoa powder for dusting the cake pan

Powdered sugar to dust the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour (use cocoa powder not flour) a bundt pan.

Blend with a mixer the first four ingredients.  Then add the cake mix, then the chips and the pudding last.  Do not over-mix once you put the pudding in.  Then quickly transfer to the bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.  Insert toothpick to check cake is thoroughly baked and remove from the oven and let cool.

When the pan is cool enough, flip out this simple chocolate cake onto a baking rack and continue cooling.  When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve.  This delicious chocolate cake recipe is a no fault recipe and the cake comes out perfect every time.

An alternate idea to this delicious chocolate cake recipe is to substitute mint chips for chocolate chips to give the simple chocolate cake a minty cool taste.

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

Simple Flower Arrangements for a Holiday Centerpiece

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Don’t have much time but still want an elegant holiday centerpiece for your special events this December? Simple flower arrangements such as submerged flowers are easy to make and will dress up any table or buffet.

For this holiday centerpiece, Jennifer McGarigle of Floral Art designed this table decoration using floating candles and ilex berries.  She also wrapped the votive candles with silver ribbon.

Decorative Christmas flowers don’t need to be expensive or lavish.  Especially for those on a budget, simple flower arrangements will light up a room and the components can easily be reused.

Just take a large cylinder glass container and place a couple of ilex berry stems inside and fill the container with water.  Create a cool streamlined design using different size containers.

Other simple flower arrangements for the holidays include using a pink Cymbidium orchid stem with these large containers.  You can either place a little water on the bottom of the container to keep the orchid fresh, or submerge it as well and add a floating candle.  A twist on this idea is to place colored pebbles or glass rocks on the bottom of the glass container.  Add a bit of light using light up cubes in the water.

Another holiday centerpiece idea is to place pomegranates in these large cylinders with either green apples or pine cones.  You can use plain pine cones or buy pine cones painted in gold, or spray paint them in the color you choose.

For more ideas on simple flower arrangements, click here.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Grilled Swordfish Recipe with Pineapple, Mango and Papaya Mint Salsa

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Here is a simple grilled swordfish recipe that I recently made.  It took only minutes to prepare and tasted delicious.

Prior to cooking your fish, prepare your salsa.  Use about 4 oz each of fresh and ripe pineapple, mango and papaya. If you decide to use canned fruit for this grilled swordfish recipe, just make sure to drain the juice prior to mixing the fruit together.

Cut the fruit into small squares and stir together with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint.  Place the salsa in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld.  Take the salsa out about 20 minutes prior to serving to ensure it is at room temperature.

For each swordfish serving, consider one 6 to 8 oz swordfish steak per person.

Take your swordfish and brush both sides of the steak with extra virgin olive oil and season it with salt and pepper.  Place the fish on the grill, either stove-top or BBQ,  and grill until opaque, about 8 minutes in total.  It is important for this grilled swordfish recipe to continue checking the fish so that you don’t overcook it.

Once your swordfish is cooked, top it with the salsa and serve.  For added garnish, grill some papaya and place it on the plate as well.

Enjoy this easy-to-make grilled swordfish recipe and for more quick yet impressive recipes, click here.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wild Rice with Cranberries Recipe from a Los Angeles Event Planner

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Just counting down to turkey day and wanted to share this easy-to-make wild rice with cranberries recipe.  As a Los Angeles event planner, I am always on the lookout for anything that will add glamor and flair to an event, even a simple recipe.

The recipe for the wild rice with cranberries is as follows:

1. Cook the wild rice per the package instructions.

2. Once the rice is cooked, add the dried cranberries.

3. Allow the cranberries to plump up and then add a tablespoon or two of orange champagne vinegar.

4. Make sure to sample the rice after each tablespoon pour, you don’t want the rice to be bitter or tart.

Being a Los Angeles event planner, I sometimes look to the obvious then give it a twist. Here is an easy-to-make table decor item that will add some style to your holiday table.

Gourds such as mini-pumpkins and squash can easily be turned into votive candle holders.  Not only do they take no time to make but you can pick them up at the market while food shopping!

Just take the gourd, cut it in half and hallow it out. Then place the candle inside and light!

I’m getting started a bit early on the Thanksgiving cooking.  Today especially, I am craving vegan pumpkin pie. Click here for the recipe.

I hope you enjoy the wild rice with cranberries recipe.  Having been a Los Angeles event planner for over 15 years, I have picked up quite a few party and entertaining tips for the holidays and other special occasions.  Click here to learn more.

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

Dinner Party Menu Ideas from a Los Angeles Event Planner

Friday, November 11th, 2011

This time of year can be the most fun to host a party but for some people it can be very stressful. Deciding upon a menu alone is reason enough for some people to just pack it in, eat out and forget about planning a holiday dinner all together.

Having been a Los Angeles event planner for over 15 years, here are a few tips I would like to share with you in order for you to keep in mind when thinking of dinner party menu ideas over the next six weeks.

First and foremost, know your guests. Do they have any food allergies or major dislikes? I always ask when I extend the invitation to ensure everyone will enjoy the food.

Second, like any other event, determine your budget.  Can you substitute food items to keep your costs down?  For example, maybe serve a steak and arugula salad or some type of beef appetizer instead of filet mignon as one of the main course items.

Here are some other dinner party menu ideas to help keep costs in control.  For appetizers, serve various dips and tapenades and antipasti such as Italian meats, cheeses and olives.  These food items can be arranged beautifully and make any appetizer buffet look full and save you money.

The Los Angeles event planner in me is steadfast on my third rule, plan ahead! For all of my dinner parties, I make the list well in advance and then three days out start shopping for the food items.  Obviously, certain items can be bought and made in advance, others day-of. Plan early to avoid the stress of putting it all together the day of your party.

Here are some other dinner party menu ideas you can use at your next event. Keep it simple, if you are not much of a cook, then just do the basics or prepare what you make best. For appetizers, cheeses, olives, cocktail shrimp with sauce. And for dinner:

Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Herbed Tri-Tip Roast

Au Gratin Potatoes

Grilled Vegetables

Flourless Chocolate Cookies with Marshmallows and Ice Cream

The recipes for these items along with other dinner party menu ideas, helpful party tips and more can be found in Budget Bash. Click here to get your copy.

Again, make it easy on yourself. The Caesar salad dressing can be made in advance as well as the au gratin potatoes (just re-heat the potatoes night-of). You can always steam your veggies if you don’t have access to a grill and make the cookies in advance too!

I hope you found these dinner party menu ideas helpful. As a Los Angeles event planner, I know what it takes to put together an event, and no matter if it is for 4 or 400, it’s still hard work!  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Delicious Cupcake Recipe

Friday, November 4th, 2011

As promised, here is the delicious cupcake recipe for the caramel cupcakes I made last week.  The cupcake is cinnamon, then I dug out the center and filled it with caramel and then topped them with vanilla buttercream frosting. Yum!

Ingredients for these caramel cupcakes are as follows:

1 1/2 cup of flour

1 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon (I put a bit extra)

1 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup of light brown sugar (I used half light and half dark)

2 tablespoon of sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup buttermilk

To start making this delicious cupcake recipe, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Then sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time and remember to continue scraping the bowl so that the batter is well mixed.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the applesauce and then the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Add the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time until fully mixed.

Place cupcake liners into your cupcake pan and fill each one a bit more than halfway.  Bake for about 20 minutes and repeat with remaining batter.

Take the cupcakes out of the oven and let them cool completely.  Note, they may fall a bit.

Once the cupcakes are cool, start making them into caramel cupcakes by digging out the center with a small kitchen tool or spoon.  Be sure to leave the bottom of the cake.

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

Any recipe for buttercream frosting will work.  Here’s one that I varied a bit and used when I made this delicious cupcake recipe.

2/3 cup of butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 heaping tablespoon of sour cream (optional)

3 to 5 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Cream the butter until light and fluffy.  (If you use the sour cream, then add it after this step.)

Gradually add the powdered sugar beating well after each addition.  Once smooth, add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Prior to frosting your cupcakes, take caramel sauce and fill the hole you dug within the cakes.  Fill the hole just a tad below the cake line.  Then frost your cupcakes.

I like to use a pastry bag and pipe the icing onto the cakes.  This method gives your cupcakes a professional look and is easy to control.

Impress friends and relatives at Thanksgiving with this delicious cupcake recipe for caramel cupcakes with cinnamon flavored cake.  For more easy yet impressive recipes, click here.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Delicious Cupcakes

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Check out these delicious cupcakes I made.  Cinnamon caramel cupcakes with buttercream icing.

In fact, the icing on these delicious cupcakes is a modification of Sprinkle’s icing. Mmmmm.

Watch for the recipe for these delicious cupcakes (will be posted soon, I promise!).

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Fall Flower Arrangement

Monday, October 17th, 2011


Here is an easy to make fall flower arrangement that takes no time and adds a bit of fun and whimsy to your table.  This easy flower arrangement will work great for any outdoor event whether it is a wedding or backyard party.

To make this fall flower arrangement just pick your favorite type of flowers such as sunflowers and Gerber daisies to name a couple, mix the arrangement with some greens and cut the stems. Then, purchase mason jars from either a kitchen supply store or your local home accessory store.

Add water and there you have an easy flower arrangement that takes no time to make.

I’ve seen this fall flower arrangement for outdoor country weddings as well as western themed parties.  For more easy flower arrangement ideas, click here.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Non-Profit Benefit Tea

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Many benefits have come from writing my book, Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget. One of them is to offer a donation via book sales to the Diamond Tea Benefit taking place this year on October 22nd in Portland, Oregon.

The Diamond Tea non-profit benefit offers life changing speaker presentations, women-owned business vendor booths, a sophisticated high English tea menu and philanthropic opportunities which support women-in-need nonprofits and children’s programs. This year the proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity  Women Build Portland/Metro East and Pacific Crest Academy Camas WA Science/Technology and Teacher Enrichment Programs.

This non-profit benefit event still has table sponsorships available. Tables run $1000 for 10 guests. If you can’t make the event, don’t worry, your tickets will be put to good use via their new Pay it Forward Program whereby sponsors can donate their tickets to women in current financial need.

To help this non-profit benefit tea increase its donations to the selected charities, I will be donating 25% of each sale of Budget Bash from now until December 31st, 2011.  So hurry up and purchase your copy of  Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget today and make a difference in someone’s life.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!