I grew up in a Jamaican household which means tea was a part of my everyday life. You were not allowed to leave the house without something warm in your tummy. Every ailment was met with a cup of tea…stomach ache… ginger tea…start of a cold… garlic tea. Let’s just say I grew to have a love for tea.
Enter Teavana. ..I had the pleasure of joining The Brains & Beauty Academy meet-up for a tea tasting. We got a chance to taste many blends including Oprah’s chai tea. I enjoyed the subtleness of it in comparison to their Maharaja Oolong Chai blend, which had a strong spiciness to it. But the tea of the day was their Iced Raspberry Limeade. ..addictive. When you get a chance head over to Teavana at Phipps Plaza for a great cup of tea. This is definitely Chef In Pearls approved.
So they passed the baton to you this year. You now have the honor of hosting the holiday meal. Yeah!? Wait a minute you just realized that you’ve never done this before. Time to panic. I mean you know how to cook but a holiday meal? Get those Martha Stewart ideas out of your head… I mean it’s your first holiday meal. Don’t get me wrong she’s phenomenal but kinda makes you crazy trying to get that picture perfect Holiday dinner.
So how do you go about having an unforgettable Holiday meal? Easy….all it takes is planning. “If you don’t have a plan, plan to fail”. It’s true. So here are some steps to get you going in the right direction.
1. Create a menu. Yes, actually know what it is you want to feed people. My rule of thumb is don’t try new dishes unless you have time to try them out beforehand. Stick to the dishes that are your strong points. This is also your opportunity to delegate. Yes it’s okay to ask your aunt who makes the best macaroni & cheese if she would do the honor of gracing your table with a dish. Or if you like you can cater a portion of your meal. I’m not judging and if the people at your table are then maybe you shouldn’t invite them to next year’s holiday meal.
2. Have a head count. Nothing worst than having a table full of people and not enough food for everyone. Talk about embarrassing. Knowing your head count helps you with the next step.
3. Create a shopping list. Now that you know what and how much of it you’ll need to cook. You can make a list of all the things you’ll need to actually cook dinner. Re-check recipes to make sure you have everything listed to complete dishes.
4. Shop. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE NIGHT BEFORE TO GROCERY SHOP! Waiting until the last minute causes so many problems. It’s unnecessary stress
b) unable to get all the items you need cause you’re not the only one wanting them
c). You miss out on taking advantage of sales.
5. Prep. Check recipes to see what you can make in advance. Make a timeline going from things that take the longest to the least amount of time. This way you’ll know what dishes need to be started first, do things that will help ease your cooking … like chopping onions and freezing them until you are ready to use.
These are some suggestion to help make your turn at holiday meal hosting easier to handle. If I’ve missed something or you know of anything that can make this easier please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.
My blog is less than a year old which makes me a newbie at blogging. Half the time I’m not even sure if I am doing it right, I learn something new everyday. I don’t have a problem with saying I don’t know something. I think that makes it easier to learn and for people to share. As long as you act like you know people assume that you know and won’t share.
Because I’m new to this blogger game I knew I was going to need help. I needed someone who had the experience, the willingness to teach and a great personality. I turned to Ms. Stacey Taylor, the SistahChick. She felt honored that I would ask her to guide me along this bumpy path of blogging. I felt even more honored that she accepted the role. We connected on so many levels, We are both mothers, entrepreneurs, natuaralistas and fabulous in our 40’s. What more can a newbie want? I know there is a lot of hard work to come but I’m looking forward to it.
P.S. She doesn’t know this but I am officially making her my fairy godmother…hehehe
Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube @thesistahchick. And don’t forget to follow me if you aren’t already on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TheChefInPearls
As you already know I am a football girl. To be more exact I am a New York Giants football girl. Unfortunately I now live in Atlanta Falcons territory. So when my Giants were scheduled to play dem dirty birds of course I had to hit the kitchen.
I wanted to keep it simple so I went with making a batch of loaded potato wedges. Pretty simple to do and you only need a few ingredients.
thick cut bacon
green onion or chives
cheddar cheese ( shredded)
Lay bacon strips on a baking sheet. Place in cold oven and adjust temperature to 400(by doing this you actually have strips that don’t curl up)should take 12-15 minutes. Split potatoes in half(cuts baking time down). Drizzle potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & black pepper. Place potatoes cut side down on baking tray and place in oven, roughly 25-30 minutes. Check tenderness with a knife. Remove bacon from oven and place slices on paper towel to drain. While potatoes finish baking dice bacon and cut green onions. I like to thin my sour cream out with heavy cream to make it easier to drizzle(you can add thinned sour cream to a squeeze bottle for even easier drizzling). Remove potatoes from oven. You want to work with them while still hot. Place a couple of halves on a plate and slice into wedges. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon, drizzle sour cream and then top with green onion. Viola.
I wanted to add something else to the pantry list, flatbread. I usually keep naan in my freezer. Naan or nan or khamiri is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in West, Central and South Asia. I keep them for times like today where i needed a quick fix for lunch.
On my last supermarket visit I decided to try Flatout’s Artisan Pizza Crust. I thawed one added sauce, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic and cheese (all leftovers from yesterday’s frittata) placed it on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
Voila. ….lunch. Cut & plated and added some wine. It’s all about the pantry baby.
I don’t know if it’s because I was raised by a Jamaican mother or if it was the era I was raised in but I always feel like you should never leave your home not properly dressed. As a kid I remember seeing my mother getting dressed to leave the house, face made up and clothing well-chosen. She never left the house less than and she never allowed her children too either. Now as an adult it is engrained in me. Where nowadays people travel in jeans, tees and flip-flops I still (even with having to basically undress for the TSA) show up dressed to impress. I agree with Miss Chanel…..you never know who you might meet that may change your life even at the local Kroger…. so get up, dress up and show up.
OK so everyone should have a good idea that I love fashion and looking good. As a plus-sized woman a take great pride in how I look so being able to find fashionable clothing is very important to me. One store that I frequent (a lot) is Lane Bryant. At one point I only shopped there for the bras (topic for another post…good fitting bras and why they’re important) . Lately I’ve actually been buying more clothes. They have been doing designer collaborations with pieces that have been very stylish (although I’ve been wanting more color). One designer they have partnered with was Isabella Toledo, she even did a fashion show with real plus models.
A more recent collection has been 6th & Lane, which they kept with the black and white theme. As I flipped through their look book for the collection I happened upon what I felt would be the ultimate addition to my closet. It was a leather moto jacket but not just any kind of moto jacket. It gave me new life. It seemed to be part Edward Scissorhand part Sons of Anarchy, it made me drool a bit. I proceeded to create ensemble after ensemble in my mind. I went from softening it with a flowy dress, to pairing it with a great pair of boyfriend jeans and some heels.
In my mind I was in outfit heaven until……I saw the price. $499.99 Really Lane Bryant? It wasn’t even in store for me to touch and feel, to say yes the leather had come from a cow “that had died of natural causes”. or if the detailings were handmade by fairies. Don’t get me wrong for some folks $500.00 is nothing for a leather jacket but I am currently not one of those people. I will have to wait until this goes on deep discount before I will be able to get my hands on this. And pray they still have my size in stock. SMH!