Category Archives: Recipes & Entertaining

How to make Butternut Squash Crostini

Today I am going to show you how to make a delicious appetizer. This is a great appetizer to serve because it is so simple to put together, you only need five ingredients and it is a really beautiful and vibrant bite to serve your guests while you are preparing the main meal. (Or reheating your prepared meal).

List of Ingredients

1 lb. butternut squash

Sprinkle of salt

½ c  water

1 baguette, cut into ¾ inch slices, toasted if you like

7 oz  whole milk ricotta

¼ c of balsamic glaze

½ c toasted and chopped hazelnuts


The first thing that you need to do is to prepare your butternut squash so start by cutting off both ends of the butternut and once the ends are off, you just want to cut through the length of the butternut, then you are going to take a melon-baller or spoon to scrape out the seeds.

Put the butternut on a sheet tray, sprinkle the tops with some salt and bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes until the squash is nice and tender.

After the butternut is cooled, you can scoop out the flesh and put it in the bowl of a food processor. Now add a half cup of water to start and a pinch of salt, you are going to purée this until it is nice and smooth. If your butternut squash purée is a little bit too thick you can add a little bit more water to thin it out.


Now you’re ready to assemble everything, Take a spoonful of the butternut squash pure, spread that on the piece of baguette, then take a spoonful of whole milk ricotta, add that on top, then finally add a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Balsamic glaze is basically a reduction of balsamic vinegar, it is a bit acidic and it is much thicker and sweeter than balsamic vinegar, it is a really great ingredient to have on hand.

Then you are going to finish this with some toasted and chopped hazelnuts. The taste is absolutely delicious; there are so many flavors and rich textures in here. This is a great appetizer to serve with some nice orange juice or a tropical blend of banana and orange, your guests will surely appreciate this.


Chef Linda Rosario is a food blogger from Chef Needs, one of the trusted suppliers of unique bar stools. She also loves to paint and dreams of having her own art gallery. Aside from painting and drawing, Linda has a heart for cooking and food.


Meal Ideas for Couples without Children

Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo for two
Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo for two

You could be a senior couple whose children have left the nest, or a younger couple who happens to be childless. Either way, it’s hard sometimes to come up with meal ideas that don’t leave leftovers. Here are some recipes and tips just for you!

  1. Of course the number one recommendation is to order frozen meals online from With the large and ever-changing menu, you’re sure to find meals you’ll agree on! Like us on Facebook!
  2. Here are some gourmet recipes for two: Food Network Meals for Two.
  3. On quiet weekends, you might enjoy these breakfast recipes for two.
  4. Trying to stay healthy? Here are some healthy recipes for two.
  5. Here are some different  healthy recipes for two.
  6. If you love to travel and want great recipes for two, bookmark this blog about food and travel.
  7. Enjoy this list of tips for planning healthy meals for one or two.
  8. Looking for vegetarian recipes? Look no further than this site with vegetarian recipes for one or two.
  9. Here’s a blog with Vegan recipes for two.
  10. Are you on Facebook? Get daily updates on recipes for two.

I hope you’ve enjoyed investigating these sites- happy cooking!

Melody- blogger




Setting a Holiday Table

Most Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are family affairs, with close friends invited as well. So the table setting doesn’t have to be formal, but you do want it to look nice.  Here are 8 tips for creating an attractive holiday table!

A selection of small colorful gourds look great in a glass bowl.

1. Centerpiece – Keep a low and simple centerpiece so everyone can see each other. A beautiful glass bowl with many-colored squashes, or filled with colorful glass balls or ornaments would be lovely.

2.  Runners – Try a white tablecloth with a brightly colored runner (plaid is great) to give the table a striking look.

3.  Chairs– Attach a bow to the back of your chairs, with the name of the person you’d like to sit there, if you have a seating plan.

4. Place settings– feel free to mix up your plates and bowls, play around with different patterns and colors. Do you have blue plates and green bowls? They might look great together!

5. Wonder where everything is supposed to go? Here’s a diagram from Wikipedia. If you’re not using everything, put it in the same general location and move it in!

6. Napkins – There are no rules for napkin placement- lay it on the plate as above, with or without a napkin ring, or tie with a ribbon or silver or gold wire. Roll it up and put it into the water or wine glass for each place.  Or fold it in half and lay it under the fork at the left side of the main plate. If you want to get fancy, Google ‘folding napkins’ and fold them into fantastic shapes and put them on the main plates!

7. Color Schemes- You don’t have to stick with autumn colors for Thanksgiving, or red and green for Christmas. Break out of the mold and try a table color scheme of elegant white and gold,  pale blue and silver,  deep yellow and tan,  sage green and deep black.

8. Placemats- If you have a beautiful wood table, then placemats are a good idea to keep the finish. But if serving a meal for four, a criss-crossed runner could act as placemat. have fun with placemats and napkins- same color, matching colors, colors on opposite sides of the color wheel- whatever looks like fun.

Most of all, have fun and don’t stress out this holiday season!’s Thanksgiving meals delivered and Christmas meals delivered can really take the stress off.

Melody, blogger


How do you celebrate Halloween?

We’d love to know what you do to celebrate Halloween. Are you crazy about it, and love nothing better than dreaming up a costume idea, making the costume and then partying the night away? Do you eschew the costume yourself, but dress your dog to the nines? Or do you have a bowl of candy next to the door and wait for the kids shouts so you can enjoy the fun and energy of their Halloween? Whichever way you enjoy it, here are some costume, party and recipes ideas that will make your Halloween a fun success!

1. Costume ideas:

  • Pixelate yourself! Wear a black top, and glue on squares of tissue paper in different colors.  On your face, use squares of colored tissue paper held on with spirit gum(found at costume shops, remember to buy remover too!), or just white glue watered down with quite a bit of water. Just blur the edges of yourself!
  • Stick figures – wear all black and tie glowsticks to yourself . Stickman halloween costume Instructions here.
  • Zombie! So popular these days, here’s an instruction manual.
  • Candy Box- Get a box you can fit into, cut armholes and a head hole. Then use craft paper to cover the box, and some paints to paint on the logo of your favorite candy- Reese’s pieces, M&M’s, whatever you love!

2. Halloween Party Ideas

  •  Once we created a headless man and hung him from the back of the bathroom door so when people closed the door they got a surprise. Of course, all the lights were colored bulbs for extra spookiness.
  • If you can’t afford to make your whole house creepy, then really concentrate on your front door. Bats, chains, gravestones, spiderwebs, blacklight to make everything glow.
Photo by
  • Use mini-pumpkins, spider web(available at most dollar stores this time of year), bats on fishing line, candles and fall branches to make your table pretty but appropriately spooky.
  • Keep the lights low, and hang ghosts in all the corners.
  • If you have black lace anything, now’s the time to use it, draped over red tablecloths. OK, fancy lace undies might not be appropriate!
  • Put more spiderwebs around family photos, and add scary vampire teeth to the photos themselves.

Halloween Recipes

Although all these recipe ideas are scary, if not downright gruesome, it might be a good idea to have a homestyle meal on hand from, for the squeamish. here are some of the best Halloween recipes we’ve found from around the web.


Recipe and Photo from

Whatever you do this Halloween, Have fun and be safe!

Melody, blogger


Simple Party Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests


          Image by Birdies100

I don’t know about you but all too often my dinner parties- which are supposed to be an enjoyable event- turn into a nightmare. While I’m trying to whip up a culinary delight, my kitchen slowly starts to look like a bull was let loose. Recently I’ve discovered that it doesn’t have to be like that. You can make food that will blow your guests away, that is anything but complicated.

Here are some simple party recipes that will leave you with the time for a relaxing glass of wine, before your guests arrive.

  • Spinach Quiche

A spinach quiche is a surprisingly easy dish- not that your guests will know that! Just mix together shallots and spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts. Then divide this mixture and cheese between prepared crusts. Pour whisked eggs and nutmeg on top. Finally, all you have to do is bake it for an hour. If you have the time, making your own pastry is a nice touch. Martha Stewart has an easy recipe.

  • Thai Fishcakes

Thai fishcakes add an exotic touch to your dinner party, and are incredibly easy to make. The main ingredients are fish (of course), onions, chilli, Thai red curry paste, coriander leaves, fish sauce and lime juice. This may sound like a long list, but all you have to do is blend it all together and then fry flattened discs of the mixture. Here’s the full recipe.

  • Prawns With Spicy Dip

If you’re looking for an easy starter that requires little preparation, this is the dish for you. All you’ll need is some good quality mayonnaise, harissa, lime juice and honey. Mix it up to make the sauce and start dipping your beautiful prawns in it. For a detailed recipe click here.

  • Warm Potato And Steak Salad

Salads are an easy option when it comes to the main course, requiring minimal cooking. They should also go down well with any guests who are watching their waistline! The potato and steak make the dish suitably filling, while the greens keep it light enough for summer dining. Salads can easily be tailored to suit your tastes, but take a look at this recipe by Magazine Delicious for inspiration.

  • Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser- they are pretty much impossible to dislike! There’s no end of twists to the recipe, from chocolate to lemon and every flavor in between. You can also get creative and customize them with ice cream and sprinkles for a colorful addition to your table. Here are some great ideas.

  • Chicken Fajitas

A simple classic and a great way to get everyone interacting and sharing. Simply cook spices such as garlic powder, cumin and onion powder with chicken and vegetables. Then serve with warmed tortillas. Food and Wine has a great version of the recipe.

  • Get Creative With Your Table

Every cook knows that presentation is half the battle and making sure your table looks amazing will make your food seem extra special. Simple touches such as getting creative with place settings make all the difference. Try ideas such as blown up photographs or blocks of wood. Decorating with accessories such as party balloons will also give your dinner party a nice flair.

Dinner parties don’t have to be a nightmare. These recipes are guaranteed to impress your guests and are super easy to make. They’ll never know how little time you really spent in the kitchen.

-Elise Leveque is a freelance translator who enjoys throwing dinner parties and eating good food. She currently lives in Bristol, England.



VW Cuisine- Blog post 2

Greece became our home away from home when we were traveling in the Kombi.(VW bus). It is a crossroads, and we ended up there 4 times on our 14 months out. I’m enamored with Greece; I find the language and alphabet to be intriguing puzzles. To walk up to an ancient Greek site like Delphi and be able to translate a few words, perhaps the name of a deity or ancient playwright, made me feel like I had found the Rosetta Stone.

Of course, I also loved the beaches, the beer, the food and the people of Greece. It is amazing that they welcome millions of visitors each year and still maintain their innate warmth and charm, making you feel at home.

Pasta is the be-all and end-all of Kombi cooking. Sometimes days go by when the only variety in your diet is the shape of your pasta. Bows, spirals, radiators or shells are the options you discuss for dinner. Often in Greece we would buy small cans of meatballs in tomato sauce and olive oil and pour that over pasta. But one day we got some fresh shrimp.

Shrimp and Feta Pasta

1/2 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/8 lb Feta Cheese, crumbled
6 oz. pasta, cooked and drained
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic gently over medium-low heat in the oil. When onion is translucent, add tomatoes and shrimp and turn heat up slightly to medium. Toss and stir until shrimp is cooked and tomatoes are soft. Toss with drained pasta, feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, get’s Shrimp Fettucine.




10 Strangest Foods to Grill

Grilling inspires the inner chef in most of us, leaving us with that inner voice that is constantly asking “is this grillable?” If you’re looking for new ideas check out the following 10 strangest foods to grill.

1. Clams are so scrumptious during the summer months, and grilling them up is fun and fast, done cooking almost as soon as you toss them on the grill; they’re also a great snack that will keep your family and friends close by.

Photo by QuinnDombrowski

2. Grilling, smoke, and a trace of salt makes Watermelon surprisingly savory, and a bit “meaty” tasting. Just brush watermelon slices (about 1 inch thick) with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced onion, grill for around 5 minutes on each side until caramelized; yum!

3. Octopus you say? That’s right; if you like octopus you’ll find them even better tasting if they’re grilled (whole). Depending on the heat of your grill and the octopus’s weight, it can take between 10 to 25 minutes to cook them, marinating frequently.

4. Just imagine how amazing pizza would taste if you grilled it? That’s right; you can grill pizza and it’s easy. Just buy some ready made dough, let it get to room temperature and form it into balls in a size that once they’re rolled out will fit on the grill. Next, place them on the grill until grill marks lightly appear and flip (coat a bit of olive oil on the grill first). Toss on some toppings, cover until heated and enjoy.

5. Bring a whole new meaning to “grilled” cheese! You can put firm, thick slices cheese like aged provolone or halloumi on the grill (over medium heat) with a bit of olive oil; delish! Just grill for 1 to 2 minutes, flipping once and enjoy on fresh bread with a few tart/sweet grapes on the side.

6. Romaine lettuce takes grill heat surprisingly well and grilling them creates a smoky flavor that’s ideal for a hearty salad. Slice 2 romaine heads lengthwise, brush the cut sides with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Next place the lettuce cut sides down on the grill and cook 1 to 2 minutes over medium high heat; top off with red wine vinegar and grated Parmesan and enjoy.

7. Grilled cake; really? How awesome is that? Grilling cake gives it a yummy warm interior and sweet, caramelized crust, all balanced out with a slightly smoky essence. Cut a pound or angel food cake into slices around 1 inch thick, butter each side then grill until golden brown (about 2 minutes on each side); top off with ice cream or fresh fruit with whipped cream; what’s not to love???

8. Bacon skewers; that’s right – thread chunks of bacon, thick cut, on metal or wood skewers and grill them over an indirect heat. Eat them as is (or with a slice of grilled pineapple), crumble and add to a salad, or serve on top of grilled burgers.

9. How about grilling nuts? Any nut lover will want to try it; just wrap your favorites in tin foil and gently grill them. Grilled nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.) not only taste great in salads, or just as a snack, you can even grind them up and make your own amazing nut butter.

Photo courtesy of Meatless Monday

10. Lightly grilled avocado halves add an extra special, smoky flavor to fresh guacamole or top of just about anything you grill.

Think out of the box and take on some of these strange grilling ideas. Your friends and family will appreciate your grill mastery; or at the very least admire your courage.


Cheryl, blogger


How to serve Champagne-Fresh Flavors Sure to Delight Your Party Guests!

Image: Velo Steve

You might think that “cold” and “in a glass” would be the perfect serving suggestions for this festive, sparkling libation and – for the most part – you’d be right. But, if you want to give your guests a real treat be sure to take notes on these fun and fabulous ways to serve up a cool glass of sheer class!

Peach Splash

This is fresh and fruity take on the classic Bellini. It makes a delicious brunch cocktail and a gorgeous party piece.

Blend fresh peaches with Schnapps and a hint of lime juice. Freeze the mixture for about an hour until it has a slushy consistency. Decant the mixture up to the halfway point of a tall glass and top up with chilled champagne. Stir and serve for a perfect peach of a cocktail!

Red Stockings

For a cheeky pink cocktail that will bring a flush to your guests’ cheeks this burlesque-inspired serving suggestion was served at Dita Von Teese’s variety show for Valentine’s Day. This hopelessly romantic cocktail is crisp, tart and perfect for an evening of indulgence.

Tip 50ml of Cointreau into 30ml of cranberry juice. Add a squeeze of lemon and shake the blend with ice. Strain the mixture into a flute glass and top up with freshly popped champagne. Serve with a garnish of fresh cranberries and a smile!

Champagne Floats with Raspberry and Lychee Sorbet

This decadent treat is a sensory revelation, combining the sharp chill of sorbet and the tingle of bubbles! This cocktail is a little more time-consuming but doubles up as a dessert that’d be a perfect end to a meal.

Puree 280g of frozen raspberries and a can of lychees until smooth. Press the puree through a fine sieve to get rid of any seeds and stir in a couple of drops of rosewater. Pour the mix into an ice cream maker and freeze until set for around twenty minutes and then transfer to the freezer for another hour or so until firm. Add a scoop of the sorbet into a glass of champagne and garnish the top with fresh raspberries

Menning Mimosa

This cocktail is a favorite of foodie guru Martha Stewart and combines the traditional sunny mimosa recipe with tangy orange liqueur.

For each glass combine a squeeze of lemon juice, two tablespoons of orange liqueur and about six tablespoons of orange juice. Mix together in the base of a Champagne flute and top up to the brim with sparkling white wine. Garnish with a couple of mint leaves and serve!

Image Source: Istelleinad

Garnishes: the final flourish!

For fun, fruity garnishes you could consider try topping your Champagne with a skewer of frozen fruits and berries, or for those with a sweet tooth wrap strawberry licorice laces into tightly coiled spirals and push a damp wooden skewer through the center to set.

Fresh strawberries and raspberries are wonderful in any instance and will soak up the flavor of the champagne beautifully while keeping a burst of their summery fruitiness intact.

Do you have any alternative serving suggestions for Champagne? Share your recipes and favorite garnishes by commenting below!

Elise Lévêque writes for Tanners Wines and loves nothing more than an excuse to get dressed up and host a dinner party for her nearest and dearest.


Gluten-Free New York Cheesecake

Maybe you’ve seen the pictures of our cheesecake and wished you could order some, but you’re gluten-free?  Here’s the answer.

This is a lovely recipe for a rich, creamy, gluten-free cheesecake done exactly like the traditional New York cheesecake. The added bonus to this is that celiacs won’t suffer any ill effects from it because of the nature of the recipe. It’s made from cream cheese, sour cream and graham-style crackers and topped with a very nice cherry pie filling. This is an easy recipe which takes about an hour and a half to complete and we guarantee you’ll be willing to share it with friends and family. Or you could have it all for yourself, we wouldn’t blame you. Before you begin you will need to prepare these ingredients:

The Crust:

1 ¼ cups of graham cracker crumbs, gluten-free

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg


The Filling:

2 lbs (900 g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

2 tablespoons cornstarch or sweet rice flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

The Topping:

1 cup sour cream

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cherry Glaze

1 can cherry pie filling, 21 oz or the equivalent in maraschino cherries

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ tablespoon vanilla extract

You need to preheat your oven to about 325°F (163°C), then take a nice spring-form cake pan. Take the graham crackers crush them to a fine dust with a rolling pin. You may want to place them in a Ziploc bag or something similar to avoid spilling beforehand though. Next pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add sugar and nutmeg, then stir until they blend well together. Add the melted butter and keep stirring until they are combined.

Next you must press the mixture on the bottom of your pan. Make sure you don’t press the crumbs on the sides of the pan as this may ruin it. Place it in the fridge so it can cool down while you begin step two – making the cheesecake filling.

Grab a large mixing bowl and place the sugar and cheese within, then beat it an electric mixer until its creamy and smooth. Add the eggs next one at a time and then the rice flour, sour cream and vanilla. Once again beat the mix until its smooth and ready. Next you must take the crust from the fridge, followed by pouring the filling in the spring form pan. Using a spatula you must smooth top it and bake it for about 45 minutes until it is done.

While that is happening you can work on the topping by taking the sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract and whisking them until they have blended well and smoothly. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and spread the sour cream mix on top. Be careful not to damage the surface itself and work with a light touch. When that is over return the cake back into the oven for about 15 minutes so the topping can harden a bit, then turn off the oven. Leave the cake inside for an hour while it cools down and then refrigerate it for 4 hours before you have to serve it. The cherry pie filling is made in a similar fashion to the topping, but blending the ingredients together. You should spread the cherry glaze carefully on top before you serve each piece to keep it nice and fresh.

We hope you enjoy this recipe! Remember to always read the labels on the ingredients you use to avoid gluten contamination of your food. Many companies may change the contents of some of their products without warning so it pays to be extra careful.

This guest post has been submitted by SW16 Moving Services.


Christmas Home Decorating Ideas

There are so many wonderful things about the Christmas holidays, and getting the chance to fill our homes with dazzling Christmas decorations is at the top of the list. Cheerful decorations can be put just about everywhere and include themed Christmas trees and embellishments from traditional to modern.

There’s such a huge variety of options that can help make your home shine both inside and out with cheerful Christmas cheer, whether you are looking for a more religious décor or something that is simply colorful and fun like Santa and his reindeer, to something more modern like lining your roof edges with optically operated icicle lights. Then there’s everything from wreaths, tinsel, stars and garland to iconic images like manger scenes or Santa’s elves. Even though decorating your home for Christmas can be a time consuming process, it’s is a task that everyone seems to enjoy. After all, the holidays are about food, family, fun and let’s face it, jolly Christmas decorations; all of these together create the perfect recipe for a fantastic holiday season.

Christmas decorations are magical for those who get into them and they can create an image that represents the holiday spirit, turning your home into a winter wonderland that will brighten the lives of all those who enter. It can be difficult to choose which decorations to put in your home and help make it cozy, warm and colorful, but following are some ideas to help get you started.

• Start at your door. Add a wreath to your door and perhaps some poinsettia plants on the door steps.
• Use your lawn as a display of Christmas wonder that can be seen from the road.
• Get personal! The small touches from bows to bells will make your home stand out.
• Create a centerpiece for the dining room table.
• Dress up the mantle with cheerful figurines, stockings and candlesticks and you’ll get warm by the fire in style.
• Don’t be afraid to break traditions with your own unique tastes.
• Decorative Christmas throw pillows add a comfortable and beautiful touch.
• Garland, plain or with fairy lights can be used in many places including stairwells, doors, windows, etc.
• Color schemes are important. Stay consistent and build a designer quality holiday spirit.
• Lights have various patterns and designs. Get the ones that ideally accent your home.
• Presents under the Christmas tree add their own decorative appeal and perhaps a working miniature train set.
• Cluster various sizes of ornaments together and hang them from chandeliers.
• Use the windows as a display. Everyone can enjoy the decorations there.

There are tons of great ideas to consider during the holiday season and a lot of it comes down to personal taste, particularly when it comes to Christmas trees. Your tree can be festooned with ornaments that are basically family heirlooms, to your favorite cartoon characters, to elegant displays filled with designer ornaments and satin bows. Basically, when it comes to decorating your tree; do what make you and your family happy.

Luckily, while the decorations are up to you there are services that can make the other areas of playing host easier. offers a wide variety of delicious ready made meals that are perfect for the holidays, providing that home cooked flavor that will thrill you and your guests, and leaving you with spare time to relax and enjoy the holidays; how cool is that?

Cheryl, blogger