Light My Fire !

 

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As the seasons transcend from autumn to fall and then into winter, my mind turns to the memories of a roaring  fire in my Colorado home. There is so much to be said about the way a fire brings people together to converse; to chat and to romance.

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In Florida, I was once told that there was no need for a fireplace. Yet the attraction of an outdoor fireplace or as a focal point in a family room is often a gathering place in many Floridian homes.

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If you have not given it much thought, let me throw some ideas at you:

Candles make a dinner party come alive and often a way to suggest reflection on one’s day or to speak of visions to be.

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If you are concerned about the hazards of a real candle, the Luminera  is a safe alternative.  Such a thoughtful gift from my sister last Christmas; I set mine to come on each evening at 8:00p.m. Whether alone or with guests; this is a relaxing way to watch the sun set with a glass of wine.images copy 4

In the southwest, the chiminea is a reminder of  how life was like some 400 years ago; when it was a way to cook and to keep warm. My chiminea offers a sentimental addition to my southwestern home and a reminder of my many visits to  Santa Fe, New Mexico .

 

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Such a mood setter, a stress reducer, a way to get inspired; candles are used by many spas all over the world. You can create  your own sanctuary by adding scented candles around your bath area and of course some music always helps.

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Which music?  How about some Alicia Keys ?

 

Bring Your Own Pot…Luck !

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For my many friends in Colorado, you may think this blog is about the recreational sport of smoking weed. It is not.

This is about the old fashion way of entertaining where everyone is asked to bring a dish…commonly called a pot luck.

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Well good luck with the pot luck meals if your friends don’t have a crock pot; now being called, the slow cooker.

Pick up one from Walmart  or Target and enjoy these fantastic recipes with your family and friends this fall.

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Crock Pot Lasagna is a winner for a big party:

And here are 5 more; surely you’ll like one of them:

     For you guys in Colorado, use this easy  secret  to  making  enchiladas :

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 Desserts, stews, soups and  much  more;  download a slow cooker App.

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Can you believe it…no more thick heavy cook books!

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Finally, of course, for any gathering of mine where pot luck is the focus; background music is a must .  Grab a plate everyone !

Ooh La Latte!

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On any given day, whether a close friend or a book club gathering, how nice to have latte offerings.

Of course, you will  need your own home expresso machine; but once  you have that expense out of the way, come up with an excuse to serve lattes.

images copy 2I simply love this drink and have probably spent way too much buying them at my favorite coffee shop…can you say Starbucks ?

But Starbucks is also about an attitude, an environment and a competence to be able to say, ” I’d like a grande caramel macchiato skinny.” And while this sounds good, being able to make one at home is less expensive and quite impressive when coffee drinkers gather in your kitchen.

With the season changing and my heart yearning for cooler weather, the time is now to talk about lattes..on ice or in a mug…frappuccinos , spice latte, pumpkin, I love them all!

Here’s a new one: Maple spice latte:

Finally, let me say that having a latte in a mug is simply a must when serving at home.

The  perfect pottery mug just makes the flavor come alive.

Can I offer you a cup ?

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All Hail to the Kale!

Is there anyone not eating kale these days ?

images copy 2What has made this green so popular ?

According to Jeffery Lee,  with Awesome Sauce:

“Kale became popular quickly because of the super food trend and

because of the variety of ways you can prepare it. Once people

started hearing aboimages-1ut how nutritious it was people went crazy

over it.  Kale provides high amounts of vitamin c, vitamin k, beta

carotene and calcium. “

What are people doing with this new found green the stores can’t keep in stock ? Take a look at what you can do with kale :

Does the idea of a smoothie sound good ?

But what about the other greens ? Are they just to be discarded like an outdated piece of furniture? I think not !

Take a look at turnip greens at the Loveless Cafe:

Or creamed winter greens with bacon! Yum!

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Nothing against the kale but don’t leave the collards and turnip greens out of the conversation ! Send me some Keith !

Can I Offer You a Beverage ?

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There is nothing more pleasing to me then to start a conversation over a beverage.

Whether you prefer a latte or lemonade there is always something to be said about the person who offers you a drink when you first arrive at their home. This is how impressions are made and perceptions begin. Shame on you if you don’t offer your guest a drink the minute they walk through that door!

While most host will ask your preference;  the host that can guess what you like and  can make it for you is the best host of all !

With summer hopefully moving away from us; I’ve turned to thinking about beverages to offer friends and family over the festive seasons ahead.

Gathering up a few of my favorites; I could not help but think about the traditional sangria I loved so much when living in the southwest. Not everyone can make a good sangria but there is no more lively way to break the ice then with a sangria!

As a lover of good conversation, I have found the more subtle approach to beverage with guests is to offer a good coffee. It is unbelievable how many cannot make a good coffee…I’m talking Starbucks coffee can be made in your home !

Of course on a hot summer’s day, a nice lemonade; not too sweet , creates the relaxed environment of sitting on the back porch with your best friends.

Since I am a communications person, I must say that I enjoy the expression on the faces of those around whenever they discuss their favorite beverage. For some it may be a good bottle of water or sweet tea.

While mixed drinks and wines are traditional entertaining favorites; I welcome the person that can make me the rare:

Colorado Bull Dog !

Here’s Lookin’ at You !

Time of My Life Party !

 

Now that we have a better idea about conversational space; it’s time to actually put the ideas to work…so let’s entertain with music, food, drink and friends.

I really like the upbeat music that Pitbull and Neyo provide. As a way of saying it’s okay to be yourself, their “Time of My Life “song has taken over the charts and it gives a contemporary tone to folks gathering around the buffet.

While some may frown upon the lyrics, the music is definitely one to get the party going. Nothing could be worst than no music and poor food selection at the buffet.

I like to start the party line with shrimp tacos,

Some other favorites:

A nice watermelon margarita with chilli! YUMMY !

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Gucamole with chips and salsa of all varieties; mild, hot and off the roof spicy!

Add a few pizzas with various toppings; don’t forget there is always someone that just wants cheese; but for those of us with lots to talk about and looking for someone to connect to; add mushrooms and pepperoni to ours; we can’t get enough!8bf5a400f260534a18fb17664b80bfd6

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images copySprinkle in a few desserts that are not too sweet but just enough to make you reach for two more.

images-1In the south, I’ve learned that banana pudding is a must !
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Chocolate lovers gotta have it !

 

 

 

Now let the music ease your way into the time of your life!