Tips for a Successful Italian-American Dinner Party

Through the years, the Italian people have always been known for one special thing, which could be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere– their food!  Italian food is one of the most versatile and well loved throughout the world, and this makes it the perfect candidate for the menu for a dinner party.  In fact, rather than simply use the Italian food for the party; you can use an entire Italian theme to make your own Italian-American dinner party your guests will be talking about for years to come.

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Photo Credit: Spicy Southern Kitchen via Pinterest

The best day to plan your Italian-American dinner party is one in which your guests will have a long time to linger around and enjoy all of the food you have to offer them.  In Italy, this day of the week is generally Sunday.  The informal gathering usually starts around one, since many people attend morning mass services, and doesn’t end until the evening time when it is time to take your children home to bed.

Your own Italian-American dinner party can be one of comfort and relaxation.  The focus should be on the food rather than on the table and room decorations.  Your tablecloth should be simple white linen and flowers for the table are unnecessary.   The best centerpieces are a bowl of nuts, some fresh breads, dishes of grated locatelli or parmesan cheese, and simple crushed red pepper flakes.  Your dinner service can be your everyday dishes and even the incorporation of simple plastic dinnerware for the children.

A simple wine will do for a classic Italian dinner party. Italian people enjoy wine with their meals and the wine is an excellent compliments to the various Italian foods you will be serving.  For those guests who do not drink alcohol, consider having some soda and bottled water available as alternatives.

The first course of food for your Italian-American dinner party should be an antipasto made up of meats (ham, salami and prosciutto), marinated vegetables, cheeses such as provolone and mozzarella, and roasted red peppers.  Your antipasto course can be served on a tray or mixed together in a bowl with an Italian dressing poured over it.

The second course of food for your Italian-American dinner party should be a simple Italian soup.  The soup should be served in small bowls so that everyone in attendance doesn’t become too full to enjoy the next courses of your meal.

Generally after serving your antipasto and soup, then comes the main pasta and tomato sauce dish.  The most popular options for your pasta dish are homemade ravioli, lasagna or manicotti served with a meat sauce which may or may not include meatballs.  To accompany your main dish you might choose to serve such foods as sweet potatoes, artichokes, salads or string beans.  While you want the focus to be on your main dish, you also want your guests to have some variety to choose from at all times.

For your desert course at your Italian-American dinner party, you should choose something from the following list:  fresh in season fruits, figs, cakes, cookies or an Italian pastry.  Because your guests will likely be very full, plan to serve desert at least one hour after the main meal, and allow for it to be something light rather than something rich and heavy.

It always amazes me that the above is the typical Sunday for most all Italian families.  How they manage to eat all of this food, week after week, and yet not gain a lot of weight is a serious mystery to behold.  However, for your once in a while dinner party, a traditional Italian feast makes a wonderful, and simple, menu which will be enjoyed by both the adults and children in attendance.

The most important thing you need to remember about hosting an Italian-American dinner party is that it is all about your guests and the food, not about the cleanliness and order in your home.  Cook some good food, and enjoy your friends and family.

DIY Halloween Props for Your Next Halloween Celebration

Halloween is just a few months away and the thought of being able to scare the kids around the area, and even their parents is just something to look forward to. However, spending too much on your scare props might be dangerous for your pockets. Aim to save but scare the neighborhood kids this Halloween by testing your handyman skills.

If you are the DIY type or you would want to explore this creative side of yours, starting with DIY Halloween props is the best way to start testing your creative juices. Here are some tips you can follow to transform your home and your backyard into a Friday the 13 fiasco this coming Halloween.

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Photo Credit: Home BNC via Pinterest

For starters, decide on which theme would you go for this coming Halloween. You can go with the usual skeletons, chopped torso and hands, flying ghosts, skulls, zombies, demons and witches. You can pump up the action with audio and lighting effects, or even with fog effects as you complete your spooky ensemble.

Clear your yard with hazardous items that may spoil the fun in scaring your neighbors. They may get too spooked and trip over stones and other items in your yard. Avoid accidents while enjoying frightening people.

One great Halloween prop idea you can do at home are floating spirits. Simply create a life-sized doll and have it in black. If you have an old mannequin lying around your attic, cover it with black paint or clothing. Dress it up with a long cape gown with a hood to look like a mysterious being cloaked in the night. Have several of these in your yard and you are assured that most of your neighbors would probably think twice stepping in your area during Halloween night.

Halloween pumpkins are also considered to be traditional Halloween decorations most houses have. To make yours unique and original from the rest, you can hang your pumpkins in a tree in your front lawn. Install electric candles or battery operated lights on the eye portion of your pumpkin to make it look fierce and scary most especially during night time.

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Photo Credit: Pikore via Pinterest

Your costume for Halloween is another important aspect to consider for you to be able to complete the look for the occasion. You can simply buy a mask and call it a day or create something even more interesting and scary for fright night. Test your make-up application tips by trying one of those “Attack on Titan” scary Titan look or paint your face to look like a skeleton or a deformed beast. There are a lot of make-up tutorial tricks you can view online. You still have a lot of time to practice and you’ll probably pull-off a monstrous look even without superb make-up skills to boot.

Stick with a simple and classic theme for your Halloween decorating ideas and see your talent flourish and bloom as you perfect the art of scaring this coming Halloween.

The Top 7 Tips to Help You Plan a Surprise Party

Planning a surprise party can be very fun and enjoyable for all of the people who are involved.  And, if you and your co-conspirators can keep up the charade until the party happens, then you can have one very surprised and happy guest of honor.

Even though the secret of your surprise party lays with all of the people who will be in attendance, there are some simple things which you can do, as the party planner and host, to help ensure the best outcome possible.  Here are seven tips to get you started to planning a surprise party which your friends and relatives will be talking about for years to come:

Tip #1 – Find out from your guest of honor, or even better from their significant other, what their schedule is like within the timeframe you are considering for the surprise party.  Use this valuable information to set the date for your surprise party.

Tip #2 – Enlist the help of someone who can devise a fictitious activity for the guest of honor to partake in on the day of the party.  The closer to your home this activity is, the easier it is for your helper to “have to stop in at your home for a moment” on the day of the party.

Tip #3 – Extend your invitations to all of your invited guests.  When you make your invitations make sure that each of your guests understand that the party is a surprise and should be kept that way.  Ask them to please not share the information with your guest of honor or anyone else who might mention it to them.

Tip #4 – Come up with a planned event which everyone who may run into your guest of honor can use as a diversion if they need to.  However, if your guests don’t think they can “lie” to the guest of honor with a straight face, suggest that they avoid them for the time leading up to the party, whenever possible and practical.

Tip #5 – Ask all of your invited guests to arrive at least thirty minutes before you expect your guest of honor to arrive.  If your guest of honor generally arrives early to events, then you might want to ask your invited guests to come a bit earlier, just in case.

Tip #6 – Ask your guests to park down the street and out of sight.  The only caveat to this is if the guest of honor believes they are attending another event at your home on that day.  If this is the case then it won’t really matter much were people choose to park.

Tip #7 – Once you have done all of the other things suggested, then the only thing you can really do is pray and hold your breath that no one will slip-up and tell your guest of honor about your planned surprise party.

Planning a surprise party can be a lot of fun.  If you take the time to build in some diversions into your plan, you are able to help those who might be asked questions by the guest of honor.  This will ensure that they are not caught off-guard and without a good, solid, quick answer to give to any questions that they may be asked.  By doing this you can have a wonderful surprise party.  Good luck!