Category Archives: Special Occasions

Valentine's dinner setting

Cooking for Two on Valentine’s Day

Valentine's dinner setting

Photo via pixabay.com [CC0 Public Domain]

I always know when my special beau calls me on my cell phone, for it suddenly will start playing “our song.” Every time I hear it, my heart flutters.

Do you feel that way about your special someone? If you do, you might want to share a special meal for two tomorrow in celebration of Valentine’s Day. You could go out and enjoy dinner together at your favorite restaurant or the restaurant where you shared your first date.

But then, there is something about a home-cooked meal that says “I love you” even more than an nice restaurant. The good thing is that cooking for two can be done and can be a lot of fun if you pour your heart and soul into the meal planning and preparations. (Of course, if you’re just thinking about this today, you might be a bit pressed for time.) That’s why I’m posting this today (besides it being a Wednesday, the day I usually post).
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Julia and Alpha's CNY Yee Sang Prosperity Salad

Chinese New Year Cooking Ideas

Julia and Alpha's CNY Yee Sang Prosperity Salad

Julia and Alpha’s CNY Yee Sang Prosperity Salad
Photo by Alpha via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Tomorrow The Year of the Rat begins, so I thought it would be a nice touch to talk a little about one of my favorite cuisines — Chinese!

There are few festivities that are felt around the world on quite the grand scale as that the Chinese New Year. In fact, I really feel for all those people in China who might not make it home for the holiday because of the dreadful weather.

This is an event that affects people all around the globe and the celebrations are quite exotic and a lot of fun for everyone involved. (Did you know that now is the time to put into place new feng shui remedies? If not, you might check out my dear friend Anna Maria Prezio at fengshuiharmony.net.)

One thing that many outsiders may not realize is that several of the aspects of the Chinese New Year celebration have a very specific purpose and meaning — including the food! Whether you are Chinese are not, I know very few people in the world that couldn’t use a small degree of good fortune to make things in their worlds run a little more smoothly.
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football

Super Bowl Party Foods

football

Photo via pixabay.com [CC0 Public Domain]

Do you follow football? Then I don’t need to remind you that Super Bowl sunday is coming up this weekend. Are you having a party to watch the game? Have you planned out your menu? No worries. I’m here to help out.

To be sure that you have an awesome Super Bowl feast use some of the following Super Bowl food ideas:

Think Dips

Use lots of dipping options. Chips and dip, fruit and fruit dip, vegetables and veggie dip, hot wings and blue cheese dip. The more dips the better!
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christmas meal

Easy Christmas Cooking that is Sure to Please

christmas meal

hotblack via morguefile.com

Christmas is a hectic time of year. (Now there’s an understatement!) Many families find that they barely have time to breathe much less cook dishes to bring for this or that function. In fact, a Christmas tradition that is developing for many is going out for Chinese! Grocery stores have gotten on the “help you have a happy holiday” bandwagon and offer “cheat” dishes that can be purchased and prepared for the occasions with very few people becoming the wiser. Though Christmas may be about being with friends and family it is not about broadcasting a possible lack of talent in the kitchen, time on hand, or a shortage of attention span that is required in order to prepare a stellar dish for your Christmas needs.

Of course, you could begin preparing and freezing large casserole favorites as early as August for the Christmas season. In this instance you could freeze all your family favorites and have great dishes not only for family functions that require a pitch-in dish, but also for those nights when you are far too busy to be bothered with something as demanding on your limited time as actually preparing a home cooked meal. If you prepare casseroles and similar dishes that work well with a holiday theme throughout the year be sure to double your efforts next time and freeze half for busier months such as November and December.
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sneaking a santa cookie

Fun Christmas Cooking for Everyone

sneaking a santa cookie

snowbear via morguefile.com

It’s great to have friends and family over for Christmas, but if you’re the one stuck in the kitchen doing all the cooking every year, that’s not so much fun. One way to avoid this is by rotating locations for the festivities from one year to the next. Another way — a much simpler way — is to delegate items of contribution from all guests in attendance each year so that the cooking and meal preparation duties are shared among them all.

Of course this isn’t a perfect plan. Pot lucks can often lack the flavor compliments that a meal prepared by one individual may have. So, another great plan is to prepare pieces and parts of your Christmas dinner well ahead of time. With careful planning there are recipes that can be prepared as much as a few weeks ahead of the big day and stored either in air tight containers at room temperature or frozen for heating or baking on the big day for best results. Any of the prep work that can be taken care of before the big day is one less thing to be taken care of when the time comes and that takes a load off your mind.
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Making my first cookie

Cooking Christmas Cookies with the Kids

Making my first cookie

Making my first cookie

Christmas cookies are as much a part of the Christmas tradition for many as a visit from Old St. Nick himself. As I’ve probably mentioned before, Christmas is almost synonymous with cookies for me. My grandmother made all kinds — Spanish roscos, sugar cookies, Corn Flakes clusters, jam filled cookies, the list goes on and on.

Christmas cookies are often prepared in hopes of Santa’s pending arrival by children who are as excited as they can possibly be. Their little heads are filled with all sorts of visions of great things to come as they dance around house. Preparing cookies during the holidays can be a great time of bonding with your little ones, but can also be a trying time if you don’t follow a few of the tips and hints list below.

If you want to make baking Christmas cookies with your little ones the very best experience for you all, make sure you do it on a day when this is the only thing on your calendar. You do not want to rush through this time of bonding with your child locking in a few precious memories of great times spent together. This is one thing that you want your children to look back on at Christmas with fondness.
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christmas feast

Traditional Christmas Cooking

christmas feast

Kakisky via MorgueFile.com

Christmas is a time of year when families around the world gather together and observe traditions that are the same for them year after year and yet vastly different from those that other families share around the block. There are very few universal Christmas traditions any more and there is nothing wrong with that. In America however, there are some recipes that many people consider traditional holiday cooking and there is little that will be done to dissuade these opinions. The truth is that many of these traditional holiday foods are largely traditional in specific regions rather than the United States having one nation-wide traditional Christmas dinner.

For example, my family usually served turkey and ham. Appetizers always included black olives and a relish made with pepperoccini. Many families are like mine and serve both ham and turkey. While others answer quite quickly that it is neither. One of the best all-American Christmas cooking ideas I’ve ever seen was lasagna. There are no right or wrong traditions — only those traditions that work well for you and your family. If you feel the need to change a long-standing tradition for a large extended family, by all means discuss it with everyone involved. Otherwise it is your tradition and you should feel free to make it your own.
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