mother's day tea

Mother’s Day: Ideas to Celebrate Mom

Heads up: Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Year after year, moms are treated to a Mother’s Day brunch. But what if mom isn’t a huge fan of brunch? What if your mom would prefer another sort of celebration for Mother’s Day. Here are some ideas of fun things to do for your mom on her special day.

Treat mom to a cooking class. Cooking classes have popped up at many places other than schools. And they span many categories: seafood, vegetarian, Holidays, ethnic cuisines – you name it. Has your mother has expressed interest in a certain type of cooking style? If so, sign her up for a cooking class. Even better, sign both of you up for a fun couple of hours.

Tea time! When I was a kid, I used to come home from school to a house with a mom, grandmother and often times a couple aunties too. Around 3 pm, without fail, we would all have a cup of tea. Why not rekindle this special time and make an appointment for tea at a fancy tea house and be waited on?

Is your mom and wine lover? Why not look into wine pairing dinners around the area (there’s always one going on somewhere) and book one at a restaurant your mother enjoys or would like to visit?

Has it been a while since your mom got all dressed up and went out for cocktails? Why not plan an outing to a fancy cocktail bar or speakeasy (they’re springing up all over) and have a lovely evening?

The best gift is you. As we get older, we get busy with our own lives. Work, friends, and our own kids supersede making time for our parents. It would be a treat for mom if you were to set aside a day or even just an afternoon to spend with your mom. Get takeout from her favorite cafe and enjoy a relaxing lunch. After that, take her to a movie, or help her with stuff around the house.

And don’t forget, just because the day is “Mother’s Day” that doesn’t mean it has to be only your mother you celebrate. There are probably a number of women who have contributed to making your life better through the years. Don’t forget these women on Mother’s Day.

CO cinco de mayo

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo: we love to celebrate it but do we truly know what it is and why we celebrate it? Truth is, it is not Mexican Independence day as many often incorrectly believe it to be. Cindo de Mayo celebrates El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla). It commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces on May 5, 1862.

Cinco de Mayo is much more celebrated in the US than in Mexico. What’s the best way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Embrace Mexican cuisine. And we don’t mean tacos and nachos. Did you know that Mexicans rarely eat nachos?

So what should you eat? A first choice should be chile rellenos. Chiles are stuffed with cheese, vegetables and meat. Another traditional Mexican item is mole sauce. Pronounced (mole-ey), the sauce made with over a dozen ingredients, is rather spicy and is usually served over enchiladas.

Another traditional dish is Molcajates, a mixture of meats, cheese and peppers served in a stone bowl. The stone bowl is actually called a molcajete, just like the meal itself. Molcajetes are usually supported by three short legs. There is usually a carved head of an animal on the edge of the bowl, which gives it the appearance of a short animal. Much like a cast iron skillet the molcajete “seasons” items cooked in it. Molcajetes also serve as a cooking dish, where items can be heated or cooked over an open flame and then served in the same dish.

What would Cinco de Mayo be without Mexican beer and Margaritas? If you are throwing a party make sure to stock up on these items. Make it even more fun with a piñata that everyone can take a swing at when they’ve had a couple libations.


Get to Know the Chef: Marcus Samuelsson

Chef Marcus Samuelsson is of Ethiopian heritage but was adopted and raised in Sweden. He spent most of his early adulthood in Europe. Learning to cook from his grandmother, it has been his passion ever since. After getting an education and kicking around Europe, Samuelsson decided to move to America and work his way up the culinary ladder. He’s now a partner at one of the top restaurants in New York City, Red Rooster in Harlem.

Now, Chef Samuelsson is a well-known chef who’s been a guest chef at the White House and been featured on Top Chef Masters. As if being a restaurant owner and cookbook author doesn’t keep him busy enough, he travels all over doing cooking demos. We caught up with him at one of his demos, and he shared some of his insights about cooking, life, and food in general.

Here are a few memorable quotes:
“Telling your family history through food is one of the best things you can do.”
“Food is one of the best ways to look into another culture.”
“Eating with a spiritual compass is very important.”

Fun Facts:
President Obama’s favorite dish at Red Rooster: Cornbread
Favorite Food Country: Japan
Go-to dish: Swedish Meatballs

Cooking Tips:
Always insist on sushi-grade, when buying seafood. It doesn’t cost more but the difference in taste is amazing.
To get the most nutritional value out of vegetables, try undercooking them.
Next time you fry chicken, try a mix of peanut and grapeseed oil for a unique taste.

Throughout his cooking demos, Samuelsson charms the audience with his sparkling personality and quick wit. His restaurant, Harlem, Red Rooster, continues to thrive. If you are in the area, give it a try!


Pantone Color of 2013 is Emerald


The Pantone color of 2013 has been announced. The color of choice for 2013 by Pantone is Emerald green. The bright shade of green “enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight, as well as promoting balance and harmony,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green.“

Color extends beyond wardrobe and décor. Are you hosting a party this year? Chances are the answer is yes. Why not serve tasty cocktails in honor of the color of the year: Emerald. Here are some drink recipes you may want to include. And don’t forget the beautiful glasses you’ll need to serve theses drinks.

Green Apple Martini
Cinnamon and sugar for rimming glass
5 tablespoons vodka
5 tablespoons sour-apple schnapps
5 tablespoons lemonade
5 tablespoons lemon-lime soda (such as 7-Up or Sprite)
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, schnapps, lemonade and lemon-lime soda. Cover and shake vigorously. Dip rim edge of martini glasses in a shallow dish with 1/4-inch water, then in a shallow dish with 1/4-inch of equal parts sugar and cinnamon mixture. Strain shaken mixture into prepared glasses and serve.

Green Tea Mint Julep
1 1/2 oz of Charbay Green Tea vodka
1 oz of simple syrup
3 lemon wedges
8 mint leaves
Muddle 3 lemon wedges with mint leaves. Pour green tea vodka, simple syrup and shake. Strain into highball glass over ice. Top with sprite. Garnish with mint leaves.

Recipe Source:

Emerald Isle
You will need: 1 teaspoon Creme de Menthe, 1 ounce Gin, a couple of dashes of Bitters, ice and a shaker.
• Add ice to shaker
• Pour ingredients over ice
• Shake well
• Strain into glass

Here are just a few cocktail recipes you can use to show off the color of this year – Emerald. Don’t forget to stock up on cocktail and barware glasses for any get togethers or parties.

crystal christmas tree

Nachtmann Crystal Christmas Tree Sets

There are special decorations that always make it on to the Christmas table or mantle each year. They are wrapped and stored with special care and always remembered to be put on display when the holiday season commences. We all have Christmas treasures that have been handed down to us from a previous generation. Perhaps it is a special ornament or a nativity scene. Why not start a new tradition of your own with these elegant crystal Christmas trees.

Decorate your table with one or with many of these holiday crystal trees to create a dazzling display as the light reflects off the details of these crystal trees. The crystal holiday trees come in your choice of colors: red or green, of course! There are two sizes to choose from. Get a set of two which are 3-1/2 inches tall each or get the large tree. This large crystal Christmas tree measures 6-1/3-Inch tall. They are easy to care for – just wipe with a damp cloth.

While these crystal trees are the perfect addition to your home, your guests and friends will no doubt enjoy them too. Why not give them as presents. These holiday trees make the perfect gift as they add such a beautiful touch to any home. Here’s the link to the full line of these fabulous crystal holiday trees.


how to host Thanksgiving

Hosting Your First Thanksgiving Dinner: 5 Tips to Make it a Success

If you are new to the cooking world and are hosting a dinner party for Thanksgiving or for the holidays, it can be a bit intimidating if it isn’t something you are accustomed to. Starting a relationship or marriage can thrust you into a role you weren’t anticipating. So here are some helpful tips for feeding a crew.

Plan Ahead
I’m a big believer in planning and planning. Get as firm a commitment as you can from those who will be attending your dinner. Make a list of everything you plan to feed to your guests. Then, make a list of all the ingredients you will need. Shop for non-perishable items about a week before. The days leading up to Thanksgiving are a frenzy in grocery stores. You only want to be shopping for essentials on those days.

Prepare Ahead of Time
When planning your menu, think of things that can be prepared ahead of time. Butternut Squash, for example, is a seasonal favorite. You can prepare the entire soup ahead of time and reheat it on the stove the day of Thanksgiving. Or, roast the squash and puree it, so it is ready to go into the pot on Thanksgiving, which means it is about 75 percent done. Also, cranberry sauce can be prepared the day before and taken out of the fridge for Thanksgiving guests. The bottom line is you don’t want to be overwhelmed by everything there is to do, especially when it is your first year hosting.

Take a little help when necessary
Do you have a guest who has offered to bring wine or dessert? There’s no shame in taking them up on it. Really. Some people are fabulous cooks, but not so when it comes to baking. So, if you have a guest who has a talent that you can use – go for it. Your other guests will appreciate your sharing their talents with others. Does your favorite restaurant make some superb stuffing or a sweet potato dish that knocks your socks off? Pick this item up and share it with your guests. There is no rule you have to make everything you serve from scratch.

Do a Dry Run
When entertaining, this isn’t the time to try out a new dish. I’ve had dishes go drastically wrong. Ovens vary. Cooking times vary. Taking 20 minutes longer on the stove to cook than the recipe says could throw your entire menu off. After all, you only have so many burners, right? If you haven’t tested a recipe out by two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, put that on your list to make next year.

Don’t Forget Décor
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, but do think about what dishes, wine glasses, decanters and silverware to use. As you start to think about this, you’ll know if you need to borrow any of these supplies from a friend. Does your table cloth need ironing? What kind of tablescape will you have? Also allow enough time to make sure your walkway is cleared of leaves and that you have time to tidy up a bit before guests arrive.

Hopefully, these tips will allow the new host to be unfrazzled during the Thanksgiving holiday or any dinner party you have. And by following these tips and planning ahead, this will free up time to spend with your guests instead of slaving away in the kitchen.