Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Countdown to our 2009 Divas In The Kitchen Membership Drive is upon us!


With 2009 quickly approaching, we could not be more excited to kick off our 2009 The Divas In The Kitchen Membership Drive!!
Start Your Own Chapter
In starting your own chapter, you become an official Hostess Diva - a position of honor and respect.
The Divas In The Kitchen Foundation will send you a Hostess Diva Membership package, including club information, an original Divas In The Kitchen Chapter Charter, signed by The Divas In The Kitchen Foundation, an official Divas In The Kitchen rolling pin (our form of "gavel" to call your meetings to order!), a Pink Polka Dot benefits badge (entitling you to discounts on The Divas In The Kitchen hostess goods), newsletter and email updates!
Hostess Diva Charter Membership is $20 per year. Welcome!

Join An Existing Chapter
You can join a chapter in your area and will be graciously welcomed as a Pink Polka Dot Member into your new network of diva friends!
For information on chapters in your area, send The Divas In The Kitchen? Foundation an inquiry email message at: thedivasinthekitchen@gmail.com. The Divas In The Kitchen Foundation will receive your message by email and contact you either by phone or email as requested.
Your Pink Polka Dot Membership includes club information, a Pink Polka Dot benefits badge (entitling you discounts on The Divas In The Kitchen hostess goods), newsletter and email updates!
Pink Polka Dot Membership is $20 per year.
If you'd like to join our organization, please send us an email at thedivasinthekitchen@gmail.com.
50% of your annual dues will go to your local chapter. The remainder of your dues goes to the administrative and maintenance fees associated with the operations of our organization.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays


From all of our staff we would like to wish you a very happy holiday season!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas China

My sister-in-law inspired me to collect china. The holidays are especially fun.

After searching and searching for the perfect pattern, here is my favorite:



It's Villeroy & Boch Toys Fantasy. There is a huge collection of accessories that go with this pattern.

They have coffee mugs, ornaments, coffee pots, bowls, figurines!
I am extremely interested in what other people like. Please post to this blog today and share with us your favorite holiday china pattern!
Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How do YOU help??

I was brainstorming with some other Diva's about how to raise money for a charity. We came up with some fantastic ideas, but was wondering what other great concepts are being done!

Our list included:

~A Vendor Day-Each vendor would donate a percentage of their profit for for the day

~A Boot Camp Fundraiser

~Make something, sell it and give a % of the profit to the charity

~Babysitting
Please share anything you have done to raise money or any ideas you might have!


Together we are making a difference!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Christmas Presents
From LoveToKnow Christmas


Although some people enjoy wrapping Christmas presents, others consider the task to be even more unpleasant than fighting the crowds at the mall on Black Friday. If you feel like you’re all thumbs with the tape and scissors, take our crash course in Gift Wrapping 101 to reduce your stress level this holiday season.


If you’re pressed for time, you may wonder why you need to wrap your Christmas presents. Here are a few reasons why the extra effort makes a difference:


Attractive gift wrap makes even a small gift seem special. Even if you’re on a budget, a thoughtfully-wrapped gift lets the recipient know that you care.


If you plan to display your gifts under the Christmas tree or in some other central location, beautiful gift wrap adds to the overall effect of your holiday d├ęcor.


Even though most gift wrap does end up in the trash, your gift wrap will still be preserved in your Christmas pictures. Do you want to be memorialized for future family gatherings as the relative who gave gifts that looked like they were wrapped by a preschooler?

Quick and Easy Gift Wrapping


Of course, decorative gift bags are the easiest solution to wrapping Christmas presents. While they are slightly more expensive than wrapping paper, you can often find attractive bags in a variety of sizes at your local dollar store. Another way to cut down costs is to reuse bags from previous years.


If you don’t want to use decorative gift bags, check out the following articles for easy to follow gift wrap tutorials:



If you’re feeling ambitious and want to give your gift recipient a special keepsake, use a decoupage gift box for your present. Choose either holiday-themed papers or embellishments that reflect the recipient’s hobbies and special interests.


While most people will use bows to add a finishing touch to their Christmas gifts, there are many other choices available. For gifts that make an impact, consider one of the following suggestions:


Pinecones
Small Christmas ornaments
Jingle bells
Paper snowflakes
Silk flowers
Candy canes


For more impressive ideas for wrapping Christmas presents, check out the following articles:
It’s a Wrap
14 Creative Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas
No Waste Gift Wrap Tips

Supply Storage


Once you’re finished wrapping Christmas presents, how do you store your leftover paper, tags, and ribbon? Since gift wrap is fragile, it’s not a good idea to just toss it in the closet. Consider purchasing one of the following storage products:



If you live in a small apartment, or simply don’t have much spare storage space, you’ll have to keep your gift wrapping supplies to a minimum. Instead of using paper with candy canes and snowmen to wrap your gifts, choose solid colors or simple geometric patterns. For example, a package wrapped in white paper and tied with a red velvet ribbon makes an elegant Christmas gift. But, when you change the ribbon to a pretty pastel pink or blue, you can wrap a lovely baby shower gift with the same basic supplies.

More Gift Wrap Ideas


Need a few more ideas for wrapping your presents? Check out our Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas gallery!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Isn't it time you joined together to support your community?


You're starting to see us everywhere!!


Become a member of the The Divas In The Kitchen today and start giving back to your community!!


Together, we can make a difference in the lives of others.


How You Can Become A Member of The Divas In The Kitchen...


The Divas In The Kitchen™ are an elite group of women who share a passion for style, sophistication and the art of fine food and entertaining!You can recognize us by our brown and pink hostess aprons accessorized by our gracious pearl necklaces!


We are organized by chapters all over the country and come together to share our ideas, enthusiasm and creativity in the world of cuisine and presentation.We share a common "Diva Spirit!" - in other words, we take pride in ourselves for accomplishing the modern day balance of sophistication and traditional homemaking with zest and flair!


The Divas In The Kitchen™ are an emerging network of talented women who bring our unique experiences, education and sense of pizzazz to something we enjoy that has been around for centuries - hostessing elegant affairs, large ones or small, dinner parties or book clubs, intimate gatherings or soirees - it is our pride in preparation and detail that unites our group.


Most importantly, we share more than good times, we share our support with our communities.


As members of The Divas In The Kitchen ™, we dedicate at least one of our events each year to support our favorite charitable cause. While enjoying eachothers' company, we share our time to help make a difference in the lives of others.


The Divas In The Kitchen™ are on a mission: to celebrate our achievement in taking hostessing and homemaking to the next generation as well as to give back to the communities we so deeply cherish!


Congratulations. You have just taken the first step in receiving formal recognition as a true Diva In The Kitchen™ (You've been one for years – now you're finally being treated like one!)


Start Your Own Chapter

In starting your own chapter, you become an official Hostess Diva – a position of honor and respect.


The Divas In The Kitchen™ Foundation will send you a Hostess Diva Membership package, including club information, an original Divas In The Kitchen™ Chapter Charter, signed by The Divas In The Kitchen™ Foundation, an official Divas In The Kitchen™ rolling pin (our form of "gavel" to call your meetings to order!), a Pink Polka Dot benefits badge (entitling you to discounts on The Divas In The Kitchen™ hostess goods), newsletter and email updates! Hostess Diva Charter Membership is $20 per year.


Welcome!


Join An Existing Chapter

You can join a chapter in your area and will be graciously welcomed as a Pink Polka Dot Member into your new network of diva friends!


For information on chapters in your area, send The Divas In The Kitchen™ Foundation an inquiry email message at: divas@cookies4acause.com. The Divas In The Kitchen™ Foundation will receive your message by email and contact you either by phone or email as requested.


Your Pink Polka Dot Membership includes club information, a Pink Polka Dot benefits badge (entitling you discounts on The Divas In The Kitchen™ hostess goods), newsletter and email updates! Pink Polka Dot Membership is $20 per year.If you'd like to join our organization, please send us an email at divas@cookies4acause.com.


50% of your annual dues will go to your local chapter. The remainder of your dues goes to the administrative and maintenance fees associated with the operations of our organization.

Did you know????

*Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 380 gallons of oil


*The average American uses 7 trees a year in paper and wood, but by recycling one-tenth of your newspapers would save about 25,000,000 trees a year


*Recycling 1 glass bottle can light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours


*The US uses more than 80 million aluminum cans each year and by recycyling 1 can save enough energy to power a tv for 3 hours


*An estimated 28 billion plastic water bottles are bought each year. Almost 8 out of 10 bottles will end up in a landfill which takes over 1000 years to docompose!



Enough said....Do your part!!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Holiday Entertaining

By Fine Living.com


'Tis the season to be jolly! Gather your friends and family, and share some holiday cheer with these entertaining ideas.

Decorate Naturally


It's time to deck the halls! For your holiday gathering, create a festive atmosphere in your home, but forego those store-bought decorations. Do it simply and naturally with real boughs of holly, ivy and mistletoe. According to English-gardening.com, holly represents immortality and is a plant of good omen; ivy is thought to bring good luck and happiness; and mistletoe offers protection, peace and bestows life and fertility. It'll give your home a festive, earthy feeling - plus that mistletoe just might give your guests something to talk about!

http://www.christmasholly.com/

Holiday Scents

A great way to welcome friends into your home is through the aroma of simmering mulling spices. You can steep the spices in either low boiling water, allowing the scents to fill the air; or you can use it for mulling wine or cider, and serve as a warm winter beverage. Make your own mix by simply combining cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, dried orange and lemon peel, allspice, berries, cloves and crystallized ginger. Place in double layers of cheesecloth and then get brewing! Visit our link for recipes.

http://busycooks.about.com/library/recipes/blmullingmix.htm

Go Potluck

Want to entertain without all the stress? Throw a potluck dinner. Try something different and encourage guests to bring one of their favorite holiday dishes. Traditional favorites include turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving; Christmas pudding and oyster stew for Christmas; sufganiyot (donuts) and latkes for Chanukah; and sweet potatoes and banana custard with raisins for Kwanzaa. To find a variety of delicious recipes, visit our link.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Seasonal Spills

When you invite people over for a festive gathering, chances are something is going to spill. If red wine stains your carpet, first blot it with a clean cloth, then sprinkle a little bit of salt on the area. Leave it until it has absorbed the stain, and when it's dry, vacuum it up. Or, if you find water rings on wood, use a combination treatment of an abrasive and lubricant, such as an auto-polishing compound, to buff and polish it away. We've got more holiday quick fixes for you.

http://www.ivillage.com/home/experts/clean/articles/0,,165864_548542,00.html?arrivalSA=1&arrival_freqCap=2

Hostess Gift

Got a full social calendar during the holidays? If you've been invited to someone's home, bring a hostess gift. It's not obligatory, yet it is a thoughtful way to give thanks and show your appreciation for their hospitality. Try to think about your host's interests, such as bringing a nice bottle of wine to the oenophile or aged balsamic vinegar for the gourmet. We've got some great ideas that won't break your bank, especially when there's a party every weekend!


Serving Beverages

Raise your glass and toast the holidays! When you have people coming over, interior designer Sheila Bridges recommends premixing your cocktails so you can spend your time mingling; keep drinks on ice in galvanized steel or plastic containers; and use unique containers for a creative look. To get into the holiday spirit, skip the eggnog (too heavy!) and warm the cockles of their hearts with holiday cocktails such as Hot Buttered Rum, a classy Kir Royale or Gingersnap Punch. We'll get you mixing in no time.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/081184157X/qid=1065608251/sr=1-21/ref=sr_1_21/002-8186594-7643260?v=glance&s=books

Tree-Trimming Party

This season, invite friends over for a tree-trimming party. It's a fun and interactive way to celebrate. You supply the tree, your guests supply the ornaments. Go eco-friendly and choose a potted version, such as a deciduous or evergreen tree. This way you won't have to throw it away when the season is over. Make sure the pot is proportionate to the size of your tree; it should have a drain hole; and try to find a potting mix that is equal proportions of compost, shredded bark, leaf mold and sand. For a list of trees that thrive in containers, visit our link.

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_trees_shrubs_deciduous/article/0,1785,HGTV_3644_1390120,00.html

Festive Finger Foods

At your soiree, be sure to serve a variety of finger foods. Minimize your time in the kitchen by serving room temperature items that can stay out on your table during the duration of the event. According to foodnetwork.com, professional caterers estimate 10-12 items total per person for appetizers. Before you entertain that crowd, explore our link for a variety of savory foods, including White Bean Hummus Dip, Grilled Eggplant Bruschetta and Herbed Spiced Nuts.

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/ah_entertaining_occasions/article/0,1801,HGTV_3115_1383352,00.html

Sending Invitations

So, you've chosen a date and marked your calendar for your festive fete. Now it's time for the invitations. If it's a formal event, send custom printed invites four to six weeks in advance. Going casual? Use store-bought invites and mail them two weeks in advance. Be sure to include the day, date and time of party; the place; suggested dress (casual to formal); and a phone number for RSVP. Visit our link for more holiday planning ideas.

http://superpages.com/holidays/holiday01/planning.html

Throw a Holiday Party

Long on friends but short on square footage? Why not invite friends over for an open house where guests simply drop by at different times during your soiree. If you stagger the arrival of each guest, you won't be overwhelmed with too many people in your home at the same time. Now even apartment dwellers can invite the whole clan. For more tips, visit our link.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cookies For A Cause™

The 2008 Cookies For A Cause Gala was a huge success! It was the largest cookie exchange in town with over 120 people attending. It was held at the Mint Museum Craft and Design, Uptown Charlotte. Thousands of Dollars were raised for Charity!! Charities Supported were: Cookies For A Cause, Barium Springs Childrens' Home; Humane Society; Lymphoma Research Foundation and Ace & TJ's Grin Kids.

COOKIES FOR A CAUSE™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization where participants host gatherings anywhere in the United States, put money in a cookie jar and donate the cookie jar proceeds to their favorite charitable cause.

The mission is simple, help others.

Check out the website for more information. www.cookies4acause.com

I am so proud to be a part of the "CHANGE" we are creating!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catalog Choice


If you want an easy way to start going green, here is your answer! Do you get catalog after catalog in the mail. What do you do with them?? Where do they end up?? Do you really need all of them or could you do without some!

Catalog Choice is an easy, free service that allows you to decline unwanted catalogs, reducing the number of catalogs in your mailbox and the number of trees that get sent to the paper mill.

Join me by clicking the link below: https://www.catalogchoice.org/signup

If you do get lots of catalogs, make sure you at least recycle or reuse them! Some ideas of how to reuse them is to let your kids look through and cut out pictures and words...etc.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ace and TJs Grin Kids Foundation


Their mission is to take as many children as financially possible to Disney World with their parents and siblings. Because of their special needs and financial strain, this is an experience that many of these children and families would not be able to know without the help of ACE & TJ's Grin Kids.

Ace & TJ's Grin Kids is a non-profit 501(c)3 charity, created by morning show personalities Ace & TJ in Charlotte, North Carolina in January of 2000. The name of the organization comes from Ace & TJ's motto on their morning show, "You Grin, You're In!" Ace & TJ's Grin Kids is designed to enhance the lives of children in our listening areas who are terminally ill and chronically handicapped, ages five through twelve, by taking them to DisneyWorld with their entire family. Each year, Ace & TJ's Grin Kids charters a 727 to take these children, with their sibling, parents, and health care workers to Disney World in Florida. Because of their special needs and financial strain, this is an experience that many of these children and families would not be able to know without the help of Ace & TJ's Grin Kids. Over the years, Ace & TJ's Grin Kids has taken over 200 Grin Kids and their families to Disney World. And during the 5-day vacation, all expenses are paid, including air travel, ground transportation, Disney Park-Hopper passes, meals, hotel rooms at a Disney Resort, and Disney Dollars for souvenirs. During the Grin Kids trip each year, the Ace & TJ Show broadcasts live from Disney World and shares the stories, the excitement, the fun of the trip, allowing listeners to share in the experience of a lifetime. Grin Kids is funded exclusively by listener donations. Some are large, some are small, but without the listeners, the "Radio Family" participating in various fundraising events, the Grin Kids trip would not be possible year to year.

Cookies For A Cause is doing a fundraiser with Ace and TJ in February. Come back for more details soon!

Together We Are Making a Difference!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Banana Bread

As Christmas gets near I get that baking bug. So over the weekend my daughter and I decided to make banana bread. So I pulled the bananas out of the freezer to thaw out and the butter to soften. We like to get all of our ingredients and any measuring items out on the counter before we start(just to make things easier). We follow directions as written and follow through with greasing pan and preheating the oven. Forty-five minutes later we have yummy warm banana bread out of the oven. I don't know about you but I always use the timer and set it 10-15 minutes less then suggested time. After the buzzer goes off I usually set the timer every 4 minutes checking the bread with my oven light and not opening the oven door(every time you open the door heat escapes).

We pull it out and let it cool on the rack. We slice into it later and it seems to be very thick in consistency. As my husband takes his slice and bites into it he says "It tastes great but its dry."

Dry...Dry???? How could it be dry?

Over beating the butter can soften it too much, which will diminish its ability to trap air.
Over beating the eggs
whips in too much air and creates tunnels in the baked good.
Over beating once the flour
has been added, promotes gluten formation and toughens the recipe.

My daughter likes to help like any other child. In helping she likes to pour the ingredients into the bowl and stir, stir, stir so the only thing I can think of is that she/we over beat the batter.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The giving holidays are on the way~



How can you shop green for the holidays?? If you like giving items check out this website and you will find almost everything you are looking for.

I love the way the Daily Green puts it....to give without just giving stuff!! This year especially with the economy you can do a lot more than just give an item. You can give through volunteerism, charitable donations and more. Just to name a few in our community....Barium Springs is looking for people to provide a few items for kids at their facility. The schools in Mecklenburg county are also trying to help families in need. If you are interested in sponsoring a child or family, just let me know and I will provide you with information. :) Be creative and give from your heart!

Monday, December 1, 2008

What's For Supper Ya'll? Fruitcake!


Fruitcake Recipes
Recipes and tips for making delicious holiday fruitcakes
By Diana Rattray, About.com


Fruitcakes get an awful lot of bad press, especially the mass produced varieties, but a rich homemade version can be incredibly delicious.


The South, with it's great love for baking cakes, has offered many fruitcakes through the years. In Mary Randolph's "The Virginia Housewife" (1824), there is a recipe for "A Rich Fruit Cake" with a pound cake batter and 9 pounds of assorted raisins, currants, almonds, and citron. "Mrs. Hill's New Cookbook" (1872) gives recipes for five, including a "Cheap Fruitcake," "Confederate Fruit Cake," and "Black Cake."


Generally, fruitcake is a mixture of fruits and nuts with just enough batter to hold them together. When wrapped in cloth and foil, saturated with alcoholic liquors regularly, and kept in in tightly closed tins, a fruitcake may be kept for months or even years.
Have It Your Way...If there are certain fruits you don't like, you can always include more of another, or some of your own favorites. Dried fruits cooked in juice can take the place of candied fruits, and seeds can replace nuts. To convert a favorite "dark" fruitcake recipe to a "light" fruitcake, leave out the dark spices, use light colored fruits (golden raisins, dried apricots, etc.), and replace dark corn syrup or molasses with light corn syrup.

Fruitcake-Making Tips
To prevent overbrowning, line the bottom and sides of the pan with foil. If you leave extra foil overlapping the sides, it will be easier to remove the cake.
When baking, set the fruitcake pan in a baking pan (13x9-inch) half-filled with water to prevent burning around the edges.


Let fruitcake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
For long-term storage, bury the linen and foil wrapped fruitcake in a tin filled with powdered sugar.


Fruitcake Recipes and Related Cakes and Cookies

















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)
Directions
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 Recipes.blogspot.com

Featured Charity of The Week

If you're looking for a cause...

American Red Cross