New Years

Here we go again.

This is where Magical Thinking meets Enlightened Acceptance.

Here are some examples of Magical Thinking:

fruits_vegetables.jpg1.)   I’m going to lose 15 lbs. this year.

2.)  I’m going to eat right this year (less sweets and fat).

3.)  I’m going to walk the dogs more often.

4.)  I’m going to read more rather than play Jewel Quest on the computer.

5.)  I’m going to re-do the garage/kid’s room/my office, without spending any money.

6.)  I’m finally going to read that material about learning to do books on tape for extra money.

7.)   I’m going to plan meals more so that everyone in the house isn’t grazing the whole day, including me.

Read more ...

baconwrappedshrimpI always like to put the word "easy" before the word "entertaining," because I think entertaining should be easy, fuss-free, and uncomplicated, especially for the host or hostess. Making foods that are easy to put together, simple in their essence, and even easier to clean up are the key when entertaining on easy street. That the holidays are still in full swing and New Year's is just around the corner means that there is still time to flex your easy entertaining muscles. Any recipe that can go under the broiler and be done in minutes is my kind of easy. This shrimp hors d'ouevre is just that.

We all are familiar with the old-school appetizers of bacon-wrapped chicken livers, scallops, or dates. Well, there's also bacon-wrapped shrimp. Basically anything wrapped in bacon tastes good, right? These shrimp are jacketed in strips of flavorful applewood-smoked bacon. A dusting of hot paprika also adds to the smoky flavor of the finished bar bite. Clean-up is also made simpler since the pan is lined with foil. These hors d'ouevre are great for parties, especially on New Year's eve. They pair well with a variety of cocktails or a simple glass of bubbly. Now wasn't that entertaining made easy?

Read more ...

partytipsHoliday time and the sipping is easy. As for the food—I have four words to help you take your New Year's Eve bash over the top: fire up the grill. Yeah, it's cold out there—especially if you live up north, but live fire and wood smoke add high drama and depth of flavor you just can't achieve on the stove or in the oven.

So what makes a great holiday hors d'oeuvre spread? Three words: snap, crackle, and salt. Appetizers should be small enough to snap up with your fingers and salty enough to drive you to drink. The appetizers offer a contrast of textures, the most important texture being crunch. (I'm thinking crisp bacon exterior with gooey cheese center.) The short list of world-class starters includes poppers and chicken wings, dips and chips, mini sandwiches and sates.

Here are 7 indispensible tips to help you take your New Year's Eve cocktail party over the top.

1. Variety matters and so does abundance: If hors d'oeuvres are the only food served at your party, figure on 6 to 8 pieces per person. Serve at least 3 to 5 different items—the more the better. Your reputation as a savvy host and accomplished grill master is directly proportional to the elaborateness of your menu.

Read more...

chinese-dragon.jpgChinese New Year or the spring festival celebration lasts for 15 days starting with a parade headed by a large size red dragon dancing its way through the streets and businesses of Chinatown. In Boston, the New Year started with a bang! Firecrackers were exploding loudly echoing on the narrow street, lettuce leaves and orange peels were littering the pavement in the wake of the dragon,tossed to symbolize prosperity and good fortune.

The date for the new year changes every year. It is based on a combination of the Chinese lunar/solar calendar. Chinese New Year is always celebrated on the second moon after the winter solstice. That is why the date is never the same. Chinatown is decorated with red lanterns (red for good luck). Bright red packets with gold writing hang from all the trees outside and plants in restaurants symbolizing lucky money and everyone has been sweeping and cleaning their houses, sweeping out any bad luck from the past year.

Read more ...

honolulu-hawaii.jpgNew Year's eve has got to be the most over-rated holiday of the year. I'm all about celebrating any holiday, even the ones I have never heard of but I always dread New Year's eve. Something about being forced to stay up late, wearing a sparkly, tacky hat and tooting a horn, trying to be cheerful and chatty when I am actually dog tired from the Christmas holidays. Otherwise the option is to stay home and feel depressed that everyone else is out having a good time except for me.

I discovered several years ago that the answer to all of my New Year's eve trauma was to go to work. Since I work for a major airline and the 'Senior Mamas" (our semi-affectionate term for the stews who have been flying for 35+ years) don't want to work on any holiday, I can pretty much pick up any trip I want. I debated on a 5 day trip to Prague or Stockholm but decided it was too cold. I looked at long layovers in Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires but decided I wasn't in the mood to always be looking over my shoulder. Bingo, 50 hours in Honolulu popped up on my computer and I took it immediately.

Read more ...
Page 1 of 4