Archive for the ‘Holiday/Party/Entertain’ Category

Floral Art, Floral Business … Bouquets to Art continued…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
MY neighbor had a flower shop in Santa Cruz… Downtown on Pacific Avenue. Then the Bonny Doon Flowers moved into the new New Leaf Market. She has since sold that and continues to do her floral design business from her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Bouquets to Art is on tonight, and through the weekend. Your local museum may do something similar. My sister told me her Boston art museum also had this type of special event. Look for it on their calendar. Another crazy way for people to be creative.
Are you a lover of flowers and you just think you enjoy doing it for your parties and for friends and family? Well, maybe you could actually make a business from this hobby or passion of yours.  I have done the floral arrangements for friends and family, for weddings and school functions, probably saving friends thousands of dollars on their events. Perhaps you can do it on the side and collect some clients for weekend parties and then larger events like weddings and when you have a strong enough client list, you can take it all the way and have your passion support you.
Your life, your passion…. Believe in yourself and you can do it.

Candy and Flowers for your Valentine?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

And so are you

Silly but it is all about sugar and flowers for the traditional Valentine.If you are buying for a boy friend, why not a nice potted African violet or some fragrant bulbs such as a pot of narcissus, or a hyacinth, both named for male gods and with interesting stories, though not really complimentary as narcissus liked to stare at his reflection in the water.

For a woman, anything! Not daisies though unless they are her favorite. They don’t even smell good, although the idea of their simple innocent  beauty is a powerful message.

You can still order chocolate and flowers on line for delivery tomorrow. I have sent my favorite men, my sons, Vosges Haut Chocolate. They are really unique, yet a bit expensive. They have spicy chocolates, and chocolate seasoned with spices from all over the world.

See’s Candy was a favorite growing up in California. Really excellent chocolate. My favorite is the bourdeau  truffles, having nothing to do with wine and everything about the rich butter cream filling.

Maybe a simple yet not so simple chocolate bar from the grocery. My favorite markets carry the great quality of Scharffen Berger chocolate bar for the discerning palate. Simply and elegantly packaged, not to distract you from the full bodied flavor inside.

So roses are always Nice, a bit cliche, but if they are in good shape and have fragrance you can’t go wrong. A single rose is just as sweet as a bouquet. No need to over do it. It is all about Love in the end and if you have that then you have a lot. Those of us who are single would love to have the love… But we don’t even get the chocolate and flowers unless we buy them for ourselves.

Viva l’ amour

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Well, well…it’s the day before V-day and if you’ve had no time to get your special someone a gift, don’t despair.  There are plenty of last minute ideas that are thoughtful for this special holiday about love.

There are always the gift certificates that you can pull right off line.  iTunes is always great for a gift card and if you have the time you can instantly send a special song or playlist as a personal gift.  Get creative.   Order a set of Frends headphones to listen with.

Many local places offer instant gift certificates you can print for anything from manicures, massages, to your favorite stores and restaurants.   Print a personal Valentine coupon from this site or create your own.

I say when in doubt…think food!  While a nice dinner out on the town is always a good idea I find Valentine’s Day can be over booked, over priced, and over rated.  If you have the time cook a simple meal like Sally’s heart shaped pizza, or always a good idea a delicious pasta.  Maybe splurge on some lobsters which are easy to cook at home if you’ve never tried it.

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day are a perfect match.  How about making something decadent like strawberries dipped in chocolate fondue.  This is a fun for two or a party.

Have fun this Valentine’s Day. Keep in the spirit of love and friendship, and whatever you do you will have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Chicken Pesto Pasta…with love

Friday, February 10th, 2012

One thing I love to do is cook for my sons Luke and Jack Mitrani and their frends because no one appreciates it more.  It’s a habit I got into traveling around with them all over the world at snowboard events.  It’s easy to understand that they get sick of being on the road and long for a home cooked meal.

Recently, I was visiting SoCal where my son Jack lives with his best friend Kevin Pearce and this is the meal they requested.  Chicken Pesto Pasta and a salad.  Can’t beat it.  I cooked it up in a big skillet and served it in the middle of the table.  Everyone loved it. If you’re looking for a pasta that works for a party I heartily recommend trying this one.

Super Bowl Sunday Party

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Oh yeah, the big game is this Sunday and for many it’s more than a football game…it’s a partay.  New York Giants vs New England Patriots and Madonna is singing at half time.  A perfect excuse to gather a group of your friends together to watch the game and that’s right eat.

Super Bowl is all American style and all about easy party foods  Check out our cook book at whatwouldmomsay for some ideas for making your party one to remember.  Everyone loves chicken wings.  Try these jalapeno cheddar  wings, or some chile.  If you are ordering a cold cut platter for sandwiches try making some home made potato salad or  Sal’s cole slaw. Everyone loves my cold ziti salad.  The list goes on.  Ribs are easy to make and a crowd pleaser.  Serve with creamy macaroni and cheese.

Super Bowl Sunday is about fun.  Doesn’t really matter whom you’re rooting for, just make sure you do it with some good food, good friends, and dance shoes for half time.

Super Bowl 2013 Foods Wars-Manhattan VS New England Clam Chowder

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

There’s a war going on in football this weekend, Superbowl XLVI. It’s an east coast battle, New York Giants against the New England Patriots. A story that has been played out for much of my adult life between the two great cities.  Not only do they produce great football, baseball and everyday slang but food as well. So let’s talk chowder, clam chowder!Ahh, those beautiful succulent cherrystones. When made into chowder they explode with flavor.  Some prefer the creamy smooth taste of the New England Patriots while others crave the Giant’s lighter Manhattan Clam Chowder.  It’s a tough decision and even some love both (like me).  But rest assured, whatever side you are on on Sunday, you better pick the right one to serve to your crowd at the party. The super bowl is not taken lightly and neither should your chowder!

Manhattan-Giants Fan Favorite

Patriots New England Clam Chowder in bread bowl

Clams and Linguini

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Clams and Linguini is a classic Italian pasta dish that is a family favorite.  We often serve it as a first course before a fish dinner for a party.  Add a loaf of warm Italian bread and it is a meal by itself.

This is a simple recipe to make.  Use good ingredients like fresh clams, and extra virgin olive oil and you can’t miss.  I like to use a lot of minced fresh garlic sauteed lightly in olive oil and then reserve about a teaspoon full of raw garlic that I add at the very end along with a splash of extra virgin olive oil.  Some red pepper flakes and fresh parsley to garnish make for a festive dish with a lot of visual appeal.

New Years Good Luck Foods

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I never had heard of the Good Luck Foods for New Years until I met Sally. The idea of Pork bringing good luck if eaten on the first day of the year?! I can’t imagine… Yet my luck seemed to lessen since I became a reborn vegetarian/ ova-pescatarian( eating eggs and fish). But there are more ways to eat yourself lucky into the New Year!

Some “Lucky” foods for the New Year are:

… Eating 12 Grapes. The grapes signify the twelve months. If they are sweet the month will be good, and if sour it could be a month of challenge. If the fifth grape is sour, then May might not be an easy month this year. Carefully select some well ripened grapes bunches. Put them on a skewer and into your glass and eat them at  Midnight on New Years Eve.

… Eating a large serving of Greens, as the greens represent the wealth coming your way in the coming year… Chard, collards, kale, cabbage. The more you eat the larger your coming wealth and fortune… sauerkraut with apples, sauerkraut with sausage,

… Black eyed peas representing humility and inviting good fortune.

… Lentils… the many tiny little beans symbolize wealth.  Try them in a soup or in salads.

… Anything round… representing coins and wealth again. Cookies, Cakes, Doughnuts, Bagles.

… Lucky Coin… Bake a coin into your cake, or cook rice or tapioca pudding with a whole almond in it some where. The one who finds the coin or the nut will be the lucky one.

… Corn bread, with the promise of it’s gold and wealth in the coming year.

… Soba noodles… Eat them at Midnight. Called Toshi-Koshi on New Years Eve, “from one year to another”. Symbolizing longevity so the longer the individual noodle the better.

… Fish… herring is part of the midnight meal in Poland and Germany. In Japan herring roe represents fertility, shrimp for prosperity, and dried sardines for good harvest( having been used for fertilizing fields in the past).


Then there is the PORK, which due to it’s rich fat content represents wealth and prosperity or ” a year rich with happiness”.

Moving Forward… End of One Season into the Next… Happy New Year

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

OK.. everybody back to work.

There were so many SALES before Christmas that I am sure you got everything you wanted for yourself and for your gifts for friends. It used to be that you had to pay full price before Christmas, and you waited for the SALE items when you made those gift returns or to buy something for yourself after you bought the gifts for others. Then I remember people who would start their next year’s Christmas Shopping after Christmas when all the Christmas decorations went on sale… The nice little snowflake plates… The Royal Copenhagen Christmas scenes for your mother or mother-in-law, or as in my Mother’s case, from a god-daughter. This is the right time to get a discount on that “Christmas” or “Chanukah” gift that you can put away for next year.

Some people take their tree right down in the days right after Christmas.

I like to enjoy it through the New Year. If you are away from home, you just have to take it down when you are leaving.

Of course that is why I mentioned a few weeks ago that I like flowers that will last after this holiday and move you into the next one. The white cyclamen will work well with the silver and gold glitter and bling of the New Year Decorations. If you remembered to water the orchids, and the heat in your house isn’t up to high, these flowers will  follow through into New Years display and  right into Valentines Day with the similar red and white, roses and burgundy color themes.

I love purple and purple can go along with the Christmas reds and greens and add to the Party decor of the new Year and the passion of Love for Valentines Day.

For these days filled with fatigue after the holidaze when we keep celebrating, think of bringing a new beverage to a friends house. How about an aged Guatemalan Rum? A nice reposada tequila. The elderflower or violet liquer for a flowery addition to your champagne( I will probably mention this again for Valentines Day and Easter).

If you have friends that are facing some challenges with alcohol, encourage and support them and don’t push it . Please respect them and offer bottled water, sparkling water with a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice with a squeeze and a slice of orange, lemon, or lime. Put it in the festive cocktail glass on the rocks or in a flute so they don’t even have to explain why they aren’t drinking tonight.

Be sure to have the alcohol alternatives at your Party. Sparkling Cider, Sparkling Grape juice. Some wineries, like the Navarro Winery in the Alexander Valley, have special varietals in non alcoholic bottlings.

Left-Overs and Pantry Staples (Part Two)

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Christmas left-overs became a Jambalaya,

Vegetarian Chili with ham?

Spinach casserole



Enjoy your left-overs

Got Milk?