Tag Archives: celebration

Celebration Cocktails!

As the weather gets warmer, we are looking forward to poolside parties and backyard cookouts with friends and family. For those parties that allow for a little indulgence, impress your guests with delicious and unique recipes from Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz by Kat Odell. This collection features drinks for every season and event, from warm Irish coffees to thirst-quenching Micheladas. You’ll love the ‘70s design vibes and tones, perfect to create a relaxing mood for your party. Check out our favorite recipes in the May issue, and let us know if you try them on our Facebook page!

P.S. We are giving away a copy of the book on Monday, May 29 on Facebook! Visit our page for directions on how to enter!

 

Serve It Up Sassy: Celebrate It!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

What are black, white, and red all over? Are you guessing?  Nope… it’s not a newspaper, it’s not a sun-burned penguin, and it isn’t Santa, it’s a dessert buffet!  Time to Celebrate-It! what-ever the “it” occasion may be. Whether you are hosting a graduation party, bridal shower, or anniversary reception, celebrate the occasion with a black, white and red dessert buffet table.

Any time is an occasion to host a sassy soiree with simple elegance and delicious sweets as with this dessert buffet.  A dessert table is a festive and fun table that is spread with luscious little bites of small desserts usually in the same color family as the overall color scheme of the event. There are candy buffets, pie and cookie buffets, chocolate buffets and many other wonderful creative buffets that can be featured as a dessert table.

Tred-3his dessert table features all décor and food in black and white with accents of red. Behind our dessert table is a festive wall of hand-made tissue and paper flowers that bloom like a summer garden.  Each flower bursts open with red, black, or white centerpieces and is arranged on the wall touching other flowers for impact and drama at the dessert table.

The large tissue flowers are made from tissue paper that is accordion pleated, paper clipped, and edges cut to resemble flower petals. Each petal is spread open into a blooming flower and glued to a cake board round for support and attached to the wall with Command Strips.  For more information on the tissue and card stock flowers go to lizbushong.com.

The table top is draped with a solid black damask linen table cloth.  For the centerpiece and height, two different cake stands in black and white are used interchangeably to create a graduated large to small tiered stand that holds decorative mini chocolate cupcakes with tiny candied red roses. Black and white polka dot to stripes in cardstock, wrapping paper, and cupcake liners supports the overall black and white color scheme. Mixing pattern on pattern in the same color family will add interest and intrigue to your table.

red-6Desserts for this table are variations of the black and white color scheme. Black and white butter cookies, Pecan Honey Bites dusted in confectioner’s sugar, small round red and black macaroons with white butter cream frosting, and a pure chocolate Whippet, a “cloud-like marshmallow cookie coated in pure dark chocolate.” This cookie was purchased and accented with white butter cream stripes. You don’t have to be a baker or decorator to make everything for your table. Purchased little treats from your local bakery or specialty shop can be transformed by placing in decorative cupcake liners, paper cups and other decorative containers for a pretty presentation. Paper lanterns, flowers, pennants, and other party décor can be ordered online or purchased at a party shop. Just keep your theme and color scheme in mind and run with it.

whippet cookies-www.lizbushong.com (2)A dessert in small bites and variety keeps your buffet easy and elegant. Three to four mini desserts per person is the recommended serving size if the guests are not eating a slice of cake, as in a wedding. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with too many choices so offer 2-3 desserts per person with 5-6 dessert varieties.  Serving large cake pieces on the dessert buffet can prove to be messy and unattractive. To solve this challenge, precut the slices into a 1 X 2 inch slice and serve it up sassy on a special individual small plate or other decorative container. Decorative cakes are beautiful on a cake stand, but not really practical for a dessert buffet. Although, it is your party and if you want them to eat cake and see your masterpiece, let them eat cake. Weddings will have a separate cake table with someone cutting and serving the cake.

Presentation for any party is important. People eat with their eyes first so your desserts will need to be garnished with special details and displayed at various heights on the table. Take the time to think through how the guests will approach the table and how to serve each item. Provide small plates and utensils if your desserts require the assistance. Decorative paper napkins are appropriate and necessary. Small labels at each dessert will notify guest what the dessert is and if it has nuts or other allergens. These labels can be decorative with flourish and sometimes as simple as chalkboard stickers.

Beverages can be served, but on a separate beverage table. Colorful punches, small water bottles with decorative labels, and fruit juices make delicious drinks for simple receptions. Creating a beautiful table for your special events will bring great joy to you and your family and friends.

Celebrate some good times!  Find a reason to celebrate, be a clever hostess, and turn an ordinary day into a special occasion; just remember to “Celebrate It” with a lovely dessert buffet.

 

red-4Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Roses|www.lizbushong.com

1-18.25 ounce package dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1-3ounce package chocolate instant pudding and pie mix-dry
1 1/3 cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
½ cup mini chocolate morsels
1-teaspoon vanilla

Garnish:
2 cups dark chocolate butter cream frosting*purchased
¼ cup dark cocoa for dusting-optional
Pre-made tiny rose Icing Decorations-tested Wilton

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare cupcake pan with liners. Combine all cake batter ingredients. Beat batter for 2 minutes to blend.
Fill plastic zip lock bag with batter, clip end of bag to ¼ “.  Pipe batter into mini cupcake liners.
Bake cakes 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Frost cooled cupcakes with dark chocolate butter cream frosting. Pipe frosting using small round tip or opening. Dust with dark cocoa powder in a small sieve if desired. Garnish with tiny rose icing decoration to center of each cupcake.  Serve the mini cakes in a decorative regular sized cupcake liner for presentation.  Do not remove mini cupcake liner from baked cakes.

Yield: 50 mini cupcakes /24 regular cupcakes

 

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.
Additional information: Black, White and Red riddle: http://wikipedia.com; Command Strips: http://www.command.com/3M; Whippet Marshmallow Cookies-Dare company http://www.darefoods.com/ca_en/brand/Whippet/17

Extraordinary Women: Krisha Chachra

For our 10th birthday (our first issue premiered in June 2006!), we profiled 10 local women who, against odds or in the face of uncertainty, raised the bar, achieved success, and continue to inspire those around them every day.  Interviews will be posted throughout the month, and you can pick up a copy of our June issue to read all 10! Enjoy!

In local government, it is important to have strong women who represent the community and advocate for diverse interests. That’s why we love Krisha Chachra. Krisha is currently serving her second term on Blacksburg’s Town Council. In 2013, she became the first Indian-American and first under 40 professional to serve as Blacksburg’s Vice Mayor. She continues to be heavily involved in the community through her duties as a council member and by serving on several committees. She also published a book of essays about her experiences while growing up in Blacksburg entitled, Homecoming Journals: Dreaming big in a small town. When she isn’t attending to her professional commitments, Krisha enjoys spending time with her husband, Derek, and their 11-month-old daughter, Mina.

What makes you passionate about investing your time, energy, and education in Blacksburg?

Blacksburg is my hometown, and I think that no matter how far you travel and how much you explore, it is always important to remember where you came from. I was very interested in community service and running for office, and there was no better place than my hometown to pursue both. The people here helped me become who I am, travel far, and experience different things. I knew I would enjoy being able to give that back to the community. 

KrishaWhat obstacles did you encounter as Blacksburg’s Vice Mayor? How did you overcome them?

I felt like I had to prove myself because I was younger than everyone that has ever held the position. I wanted to make sure people knew I was the real deal and that I had a vision for Blacksburg that was shared by many people in the community. I listened a lot and asked a lot of questions so I could represent my community in a very authentic manner. When I first got elected, some people were skeptical and had the wrong impression about what I stood for, but I just stayed focused and worked hard to build relationships. At the end of the day, the criticism faded and I was re-elected as Vice Mayor. 

Making connections with local businesses is very important to you. Can you tell us more about why it is one of your main objectives?

The small business sector of the economy is Blacksburg’s future in terms of job providers and bringing the type of creative employees and professionals that we want to be the future leaders of Blacksburg. It is very important that we support small businesses so they can be successful and hire people who want to live, work, and build a life here. This will allow for a more creative and diverse economy for years to come.

What advice do you have for young professional women who are looking for additional ways to give back to their communities and better ways to manage their time?

All of us are busy. Everyone is doing things that are important to their families, communities, and career paths. Saying you’re busy is not a good excuse for not doing things that you are passionate about or not being involved in your community in a meaningful way. 

Being organized, present, and having a sense of visualization helps me get through my day. In addition to that, I think it is important for women to know they don’t have to take on everything to be successful. It is better to do one or two things really well than to spread yourself too thin and do many things for the sake of being involved. You’re not going to be your best that way. 

Krisha and DerekWhat is one thing that people may not know about your background?

My family was one of the first Indian-American families to come to Blacksburg and make this town our home. There were only a handful of Indians when we first came, but now it is very diverse. Back then, a lot of people didn’t know too much about where we came from. When I would tell people my family was from India, they would ask me what tribe! Back then I definitely stood out in my classroom, but I always took it as an opportunity to exchange ideas, learn about other cultures, and teach people about mine. I was never offended by people who didn’t know where I came from or who I was. When people are brave enough to ask, it is important to answer with respect. 

My life is richer for that experience, because I can connect with people from different backgrounds since I have enough respect to take interest in them. I think we need more people to show more interest about other cultures respectfully. The easiest way to do that is just by asking people questions about their origins. We have such a diverse community and we could really learn from each other if we just talked to each other more instead of assuming that we know people’s experiences. 

Visit to www.blacksburg.gov for more information on Krisha’s background and accomplishments!

Peppermint Mocha Panna Cotta

Planning the menu for your holiday festivities? Don’t forget to include a dessert that is just as gorgeous as it is delicious. Guests will enjoy the extra effort, and you are likely to see your creation throughout their social media! To create this lovely Peppermint Mocha Panna Cotta from Nielsen-Massey, you will need:

1/3 cup cold water
1 packet unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract
1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Coffee Extract
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (garnish)

NMV Peppermint Panna Cotta v1Place 8 mini martini glasses or dessert molds on a small rimmed sheet pan; set aside. In a small glass measuring cup, add water. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
To a medium sauce pan, add whipping cream, sugar, coffee, vanilla, peppermint and coffee extracts; stir to combine. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and the cream just begins to gently boil.
Reduce heat. Add softened gelatin, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Equally fill glasses with mixture, about 1/4 cup each. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 2-3 hours. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.

Love and Trust Yourself

Being recently divorced, it’s a struggle to write an article for the wedding issue. I feel like I don’t know much about the topic of marriage, but I do know a lot about being in an unhealthy and toxic relationship. It is dangerous, and breaks you down to the worst version of yourself.

My problem started with the engagement. I said “yes” because I didn’t know how to say no. I knew in my gut I wasn’t ready for marriage. I also knew my now-ex-husband was not the right person for me. Something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. So, I chalked it up to nervous jitters and said “ok” to everything everyone else wanted and expected.  I thought I could make it work, and if not, there’s always a way to undo it.

I also never even wanted a wedding ceremony. I knew it would stress me out and cost more than I could afford. I did not want to deal with the stress of my own divorced parent’s issues on the day of the wedding, but I agreed to a ceremony because my fiancé and my mother both thought I should have one. I didn’t trust my own gut and I didn’t do what I wanted. I was stressed out, spent more money than I had, and wasn’t happy about any of it.

Because I didn’t listen to my own truth, my own gut, I was resentful. I lost myself and felt trapped, alone and scared. When there are lies upon lies, there cannot be trust. And without trust, there cannot be love.

sad_bride_729-420x0

The life lesson in all of it is, “TRUST YOUR GUT.” Learn to really love yourself BY yourself.

The idea of a lover, a companion, a partner for life is wonderful.  However, forcing something you know isn’t right can not work – and it’s not worth it. I overlooked red flags. I believed the lies because I wanted it to be right.  I accommodated beyond my comfort level. I was afraid to take a stand on what was unacceptable.

I wish I had the guts and sense of self-worth to do what I knew in my heart was right for me years ago.

The wedding itself can be a fun celebration, but none of it is worth it if you don’t know, love and honor yourself first.  When you do, you don’t accept unacceptable treatment. And you know the cause of unacceptable treatment isn’t YOU – it’s them.

The flowers, the dress, the rings, the decorations, the band or DJ will all work to create the fantasy of “happily ever after.” But if you are not happy and do not truly love yourself now (without depending on validation from someone else) you won’t be happy “ever after” either.

by Heather Quintana, Certified Health Coach

The Gift of Luck

Waldo, Sluggo & Me is a company that offers novelty gifts for all occasions including many dolls that promote positive messages of good wishes, like this “Good Luck Graduation Doll.” Their dolls celebrate weddings, new babies, graduations, birthdays, retirment, and more!  If you find yourself in need of a little extra luck on St. Patrick’s Day,check out our favorites:

The Lady Luck Good Voodoo Doll – The Ultimate “Player’s” Protectress

ladyluckGive “the system” a gentle poke in the right direction when you make your wishes stick with the Lady Luck Good Voodoo Doll, the ultimate “player’s” protectress. Use the doll’s playful prompts or stack the deck using the three blank tags to tack on your own winning messages. This leggy showgirl can’t guarantee a jackpot but she always delivers a pay out of lucky wishes and a chuckle. Each 7″ fiber-filled doll is hand made in the USA and comes packaged in a presentation-style box with a clear plastic display lid.

Her tags read: “Lucky Streak,” “Poker Face,” “Beat the House,” “Friendly Dealer,” “Winner Take All,” “Hot Machine,” “Trust Your Hunch,” and “Lucky & Smart.”

           
The Good Luck Happy Birthday Dollbirthday

Do you know anyone celebrating a birthday this weekend?  We do! (But we’d probably be in trouble if we shared names.) If you are in need of a gift that will stand out from the rest, try the Good Luck Happy Birthday Doll.  This party animal is handcrafted from repurposed material and comes dressed for the occasion, festooned with glitter and plenty o’ ribbons.
Her tags include, “Facebook Frenzy,” “Funny Cards,” and “All Good Surpises,” among many other well wishes. 

 The Good Luck Graduation Doll

Graduation is right around the corner, and many grads will be receiving books and cards filled with advice.  Instead of the ususal words of wisdom, stand out with a gift that reflects your well wishes. Handcrafted from repurposed graduation robes and found materials, the grad doll is available in most school colors and is proudly topped with graduation cap and tassel.
His tags include, “Generous Gifts,” “Fun Summer Job,” Cool New Friends,” and “Dream Boss.”

For more fun gift ideas, visit their website www.waldosluggoandme.com.