Archive for November, 2011

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!