Tag Archives: entertaining

A Mind Set For Entertaining

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en·ter·tain·ing — en(t)ərˈtāniNG/

adjective: provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment.

For some, the thought of entertaining can be intimidating. For others, their ready to throw open their doors and have people over, but might hesitate because “entertaining” might sound expensive. Some might worry about what they will cook, because they never learned how to cook or their skills aren’t strong in the kitchen, while others might worry about starting conversation. Others might worry about the planning and execution of a pary. Shyness and the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing might hold you back. Maybe you’re worried about whether people will come, or maybe you’re worried about whether you’ll “do it right.”

…Being in the moment with the ones you love is far more important than stressing out over the details of food or entertainment.               — Giselle

The fact is… you shouldn’t worry about anything.  You should look forward to having fun, communicating with your guests in a way you feel comfortable, enjoying time with each other, and making memories that will last a life time. These moments are for creating everlasting friendships, strengthening family ties, meeting new neighbors, learning about each other. Food is just icing on the cake… you can enjoy the moment whether you cooked, had a pot luck, ordered pizza, or carry out. Being in the moment with the ones you love is far more important than stressing out over the details of food or entertainment.

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I want to start a series that will teach you how to stock your cabinets and pantry with appropriate and inexpensive items that will enable you to entertain at any given moment. Whether you open your home for a casual meal, a football game, a cookout, a formal dinner, a Superbowl celebration, a bridal or baby shower, or a holiday family meal, the cost of purchasing disposable plates, cups, forks, spoons and knives should not be something you worry about for your special celebration. Neither should be what you serve, how you plan for the event, or even how you break the ice in a room full of guests.

I want you to learn the easy way to plan, execute and finally, focus on the fun part of entertaining, so that when you’re ready to start inviting your friends and family over for memorable luncheons and dinners, you’ll have the confidence in your self and in your abilities. Whatever the occasion is, your doors will always be open. You’ll be able to welcome someone into your home and “provide amusement or enjoyment” without stress or worry, and everyone will appreciate the time spent together! And that’s… According to Giselle!

 

 

 

Four Bean Salad

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I made this delicious, classic four bean salad as a quick side last night, and it was a great reminder of summer cookouts and picnics to come! It’s one of my husband’s favorites. If you aren’t much of a cook, and you were asked to bring a side dish for Easter dinner, or for any dinner in the future, trust me… you should give this one a try. It’s easy, it’s quick to throw together, and after just an hour in the fridge (or travel time), it will be delicious. Even better the next day!IMG_2326

A few tips:

  • If you aren’t a wiz with the knife, and don’t like chopping, try using a chopper like the Pampered Chef Food Chopper, the Oxo Chopper, or any other chopper you feel more comfortable with. But let’s keep working on those chopping skills!
  • I prefer the onions and celery to be diced finely in this recipe. It’s not the star in the salad, but it is necessary to add a fresh and needed crunch.
  • If you soak the red onion in water for 5-10 minutes and drain, it will remove some of its harshness.
  • If you want to take the salad over the top, add some freshly chopped cilantro or parsley after you add the dressing and toss it all together.
  • Use a large bowl to mix the beans, onions, celery and dressing together, then place everything into a nice serving bowl.
  • I prefer to drain and rinse all the beans with cool water to wash out the canned flavor.

Four Bean Salad

  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can light red or pink kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can waxed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 celery stalks, washed, trimmed and chopped fine
  • 4 spring onions, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 1/4 red onion, diced finely
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

In a jar with a lid, combine the vinegar, sugar, oil, salt and pepper. Close lid and shake well.

Combine everything in a bowl, mixing well. Transfer to serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour to over night so beans can absorb flavors.

A Little Bit About Giselle

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IMG_0702Where I Come From

I am a first generation Latin-American woman. But honestly? I have a lot more in me than just that. I’m probably more Italian-Irish-Peruvian-American. It’s confusing, I know. My mother was born in Peru. Her father was Italian and her mother was Italian-Peruvian. My mother came to America in her early twenties to work for an international organization. She met my father, and American-Irish-mix of a man, and married him in her late twenties. See what I mean? Confusing. So — This makes me a really crazy mixture of Italian-Irish-Peruvian-American.

My Childhood

When I was a small girl, I vividly remember my parents entertaining frequently. My mother loved to cook, bake and entertain, and honestly, she became an accomplished cook in her own right by reading numerous cookbooks — Julia Child, Bon Appetite magazines, The Joy of Cooking and her Peruvian cookbooks (I still have one!) were some favorites. She often made formal meals for our small family — my mother and father, me, my sister, and our nanny, as well as numerous of our beloved cousins that lived with us — because she wanted to teach us manners, and the importance of eating together in an informal AND in a formal manner. We spent all our meals around the table, together, talking, laughing, stealing food off each other’s plates, and enjoying family time together. That was our family time.

Alternately, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, birthdays… they were all celebrated in the dining room, with a formal three or four course meal, all served on my mother’s vast collection of beautiful china, sterling silver flatware, delicate linens, beautiful crystal goblets and glasses, and her girls dressed in their pretty dresses. It was mandatory, expected, and we loved it. When she invited guests or had parties, my younger sister and I helped in the kitchen and served the guests in the formal dinning room. I must confess, I didn’t like that too much, but it taught me how to set a formal table, which side to serve and clear from (which has changed now), and planted a love in my heart to cook, entertain, collect cookbooks, china and serving pieces, and discover new foods and recipes.

So much laughter, chatter, clanking of china and flatware, mmmmm’s and aaahhhs, ooooh’s, and more laughter. Clusters of friends and beloved family chatting, singing, guitars strumming, piano clanking, dancing, the smells of food, music, more laughter, tears of joy… some tears of sorrow… friends and family comforting each other, bolstering each other, eating with each other, and holding each other. Thats what I remember growing up. They are beautiful memories of an enormous, beautiful extended Peruvian family that came to America one by one, and they ALL love each other  through food, drink, music, gathering together, loving each other, laughing, singing and eating together. And it all started in my moms kitchen.

Today

What is entertaining to me today? It’s not just food, or cleaning the house, or the financial cost of purchasing everything. It’s those special memories that just blur into each other with sounds, smells, feelings and emotions. Its the joy of having a house full of people that we love, or that we’re just meeting; its the sounds of laughter, or even tears, music, clanging flatware, clinging glasses; it’s the smells of food, garlic, bubbling tomato sauce, a sweet smell of chocolate, or strawberries, the tart tang of lemon in the room; it’s the sounds of children running through the rooms. Serving my friends and family, cooking for them, being there for them… that’s my love language, and it makes me very happy, with a huge smile on my face. That’s who I am, and that’s … According to Giselle.