Spotlight – Outreach Ministries

Spotlight – Outreach Ministries

Give to families in need in Polk County …

Personal-Chef-Patricia-Tryon-NC-2Do you have shelves full of food items that you just never get to using – a refrigerator that is overflowing? If you are like most families you do. In fact, the waste is so huge in America’s kitchens that most families waste over $1500 a year, all the while families in our communities are going hungry.
So, how about this – the holidays are the perfect time to clean out your pantry, to pick up extra food items while you are shopping and to give to families in need in Polk County via Thermal Belt Outreach.
From Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries … “Everyday, millions of people living in the United States go without food.  At Outreach, hundreds of people in Polk County seek our assistance every year.  Single moms, hurting families, out-of-work individuals, elderly or disabled people find themselves without enough food to survive.”
Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries

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Chef Tips for a Perfect Holiday Celebration

Chef Tips for a Perfect Holiday Celebration

Food Tips for the Perfect Holiday Celebration

With a little planning this just might be your best holiday yet!

Tip #1: For a successful celebration – “Keep it Simple.”
Here is a formula that works: 2-2-2. It works this way, I like to offer six items: two that are store bought, two that are semi-homemade and two homemade. That lets you take time to focus on your special recipes while keeping the other prep easy. Next you want to make sure you have something for everyone in the mix. These days that can be challenging. So many people are gluten-free, vegan, aren’t eating dairy and such so make sure you have that information when crafting the menu. In a perfect world offer vegetarian, seafood and meat options so it feels like a meal. People are moving more towards tapas so the basic crudité, meat and cheese board doesn’t cut it anymore. There is no shortage for ideas on the internet so menu planning is just a click away! If you find yourself stumped just take a look at my catering options and I am happy to help.

Tip #2: Focus on the Platters and Decorations and keep the dishes in the cupboard!
Select nice napkins, small paper plates, if needed, and plastic cups rather than creating extra work that comes with lots of dishes.They are perfectly fine for these holiday gatherings. You can then put some thought and design into your selection of platters and decorations to create a lovely setting. I have yet to hear anyone complain, especially when the food is tasty.

Tip #3: A Simple Self-Serve Bar
Provide a selection of beverages that includes sparkling water, craft beer, red wine and maybe a signature cocktail like an Aperol spritzer.

Tip #4: Bites per Person
People always ask me this and it’s the larger groups that can be challenging. The rule of thumb is 4-6 bites if a meal is being served and 8-10 bites without a meal. Having gourmet nuts, chips and olives and maybe a dip like pimento cheese with crackers staged in several areas will always help to fill people up!

Tip #5: Deserts
This is the time of year when people splurge! Either make your favorite holiday deserts or save yourself time and have Jessica at All Good Things Bakery whip you up an assortment of her beautiful creations! Actually, this is where fruit and cheese can also work well. A beautiful platter of warm brie drizzled with honey surrounded by dried and fresh fruit and chocolate covered almonds it’s just enough to finish off the evening!

Tip #6: One Bunch of Flowers Will Do
There is no need to a spend lot on elaborate flower arrangements. You can save a bundle by picking up a loose bunch of flowers from the grocery or florist and add to it with simple greens and berries from the yard or local garden center. With this inexpensive combination you can create stunning and memorable decorations without breaking the bank.

Tip #7: Cooks Tip:
No need to feel overwhelmed this holiday season. Look to your closest grocery store, like Ingles. They can make stunning holiday platters with just 24-hours’ notice. By delegating those labor-intensive items like tea sandwiches and deviled eggs you will have more time to do the holiday prep that you find the most fun.