Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hostess with the mostess!

Parties are intended for relaxation and pleasure for the guests as well as the hostess, but when things go wrong, everyone suffers.

In order to ensure that everyone has a great time, the hostess is required to flit from one guest to another like some social butterfly. “How’s everything here? Good? That’s great!” Then on to the next guest. This routine is inevitable, and I assure you the hostess loves it, but that’s only because she’s already sure the majority of her work has been completed.

Parties are anything but easy. Ask any hostess. First of all, she must decide who to invite–without offending anyone. In other words, if she can’t invite all of her clients from work, it’s best not to invite any. That way no feelings will be hurt when Client Number One runs into Client Number Two and mentions the great party you threw. The result: immediate hurt on Client Number Two’s part, and hard-feelings for life. Avoid this scene by grouping. Office people, clients, family, friends. But, remember no one will be upset if you cross list a good friend or family member.

Secondly, send invites or schedule evites, but remember to call everyone on the list at least one week prior to the actual party and personally invite them, again. This is the single best way to eliminate hurt feelings when an invitation is lost in the mail.

Food choices are optional, but food is a necessity. Choose wisely. If you have a guest who is allergic to shellfish try not to use any seafood. Don’t be the party everyone remembers because of the ambulance that crashed through the gates in the wee hours of the morning. The same goes for other allergies. Of course, no one can catch everything. For example, a food dye allergy is more complicated than it sounds. Many items have dye in them. In that case, ask the guest what types of dishes he/she can consume and make sure at least two dishes are present.
It’s generally not acceptable to ask guests to bring a dish–except close friends and relatives–but most guests will volunteer. If they volunteer, never say no. It’s rude. They want to help, let them. If they have a dish in mind, don’t say no unless someone else is already bringing that particular dish. If it’s something you wanted to make, bow out and let your guest bring a dish to pass. It’ll make them feel special.

If alcohol is to be a included, remember to let the guests know what type will be served. That way if they prefer a different type of alcohol, they have the option to bring their own. Remember to have caffeine-free coffee and soft drinks, as well as water. The Hostess with the Mostest would NEVER allow her guests to drink and drive. Safety is her number one issue.
If you do not want children in attendance, don’t give the go ahead to anyone. Sally and Joe will be taken aback if they show up childless and find that Susie and Stanley brought theirs. Don’t play favorites. Again, there is always an exception to the rule. Your sister is from out of town, staying with you, and her child becomes ill. Naturally she would bring the child home from the sitters, any parent would do the same.

Keep pets locked up. If kitty is an indoor cat, don’t give him the opportunity to wander out when a guest doesn’t shut the door quickly enough. Put kitty in a kennel or back bedroom until after the party. It could save a lot of worry in the long run. The same with Fido. Not everyone loves dogs. If Fido is running from one guest to the next, jumping up on their lap and barking like a burglar has just entered your home, lock him in the basement, tie him up by a dog house, or secure him in the kennel. Admiring him from a distance is the best policy. Also, you never know when Fido might become too excited and bite someone accidentally...keep your guests safety in mind.
Decorate with candles and white lights and music that matches your crowd. If you’re using a jukebox for music, play music from the Nifty-Fifties through the 70s. If it’s a stereo and an older crowd you might opt for slower waltzes and easy listening music. If it’s a band, go for whatever they can play. If you hire a DJ, order all kinds of music and let your guests set the mood.
Dress should be at your discretion. If you want black tie only, don’t be afraid to say so. If it’s casual, tell them. It’s your party.

Finally, as we mentioned before, a hostess would never allow her guests to drink and then drive. If your guests have had too much to drink, take their car keys and put them up for the night. You’ll all sleep more soundly knowing everyone’s safe.

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Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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