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RE: How to throw a GREAT party (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: fouramblues on 01.04.2013 at 08:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

Great thread! I'm trying to get back into entertaining as well. We used to be very active socially and entertained a lot. Then we had a late-in-life GLORIOUS surprise baby, and I was just too tired. For 6 years. No excuses anymore, and I want to show off my kitchen, even though still unfinished.

I plan to have some small dinner parties starting soon, with a detailed timeline for everything, down to minute, with as many nice make-aheads as possible (duck liver pate, creme brulee, etc.). We're also going to have the easiest big party EVER in March: a dessert and hors d'oeuvre contest. I buy the prizes and the booz (mostly wine in my crowd), and clean the house. Everyone else brings the food! Three winners are chosen by popular vote, prizes granted, then more wine imbibed. We had this party for years before our hiatus, and it was always a huge hit.

As for help, I do all the meal planning, cleaning before, food prep (used to have help with all this before our oldest got married and moved away!), but DH gracefully obeys my barked orders when I'm in the weeds, and does the dishes. And I'm a messy cook.

Oh, and our friends seem to very much enjoy the no entree heavy hors d'oeuvre format (I call it tapas), especially if I have a small smackerel of something sweet at the end, like homemade salted caramels with scotch.

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clipped on: 01.05.2013 at 02:11 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2013 at 02:13 pm

RE: How to throw a GREAT party (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: beekeeperswife on 01.04.2013 at 07:46 pm in Kitchens Forum

Well, first go to Home Depot and get plexiglass to cover the island...oh, ok, that was just me.

here are my tips:

Put the drinks in a room that nobody goes into. This way you will increase the flow of traffic and get the crowds moving away from the kitchen.

We did the food in the dining room. Again, it helped move the crowd.

Regarding what libations...We did one drink in a big dispenser, Mistletoe Martini--coconut rum, midori, sweet & sour mix, pineapple juice--equal parts. And we had one type of red wine and one type of white, and beer. We also had out a bottle of vodka and gin, along with OJ and tonic water. This was a big mistake. Couple of people (total strangers--it was a get to know you party for all the new neighbors) decided to tackle the Costco sized bottle of gin--they tried to finish it--3 people. Got a little messy, everybody walked to the party so thank goodness no driving, we would have had to cut them off. So, next time, I'm doing just martini, wine, and beer.

Sticky notes--put them on every serving platter and on every tray so you know what is going where, and also try to get a friend to help you and this will let them know where everything is going.

I forgot--if you are bringing several different social circles together, we have used a little game (and I hate games). You put famous people's names on a sticker, the guest upon arrival reaches into the hat pulls out a sticker and has it applied to their back. They can only ask one question of another guest while trying to figure out who they are. It really is a great ice breaker because after the question about "who am I?" they usually introduce themselves, etc.

This post was edited by beekeeperswife on Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 19:49

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clipped on: 01.05.2013 at 02:09 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2013 at 02:09 pm

How to throw a GREAT party

posted by: GWlolo on 01.04.2013 at 07:02 pm in Kitchens Forum

As people are just coming out of the holiday season and the memories of parties are still fresh, this seemed to be a good time to pose this question. Hopefully yen for simpler food and/or leftovers in the fridge will give time for sharing details.

a) What makes it a GREAT party as opposed to just a good party? Can you actually plan a GREAT party or does it just happen? The OCD in me is convinced that there is more than serendipity at play here.

b) Do just appetizers and drinks party work? Or should I always plan some main courses

c) What homework do you do? How far ahead?

d) FOOD - How do you decide what to cook and how much. Is there a formula like '2 appetizers + 1 entree + 2 desserts per person usually works well'.

e) What else besides food. I am most curious about this. Do you get the housecleaners before the party or after. DH and I differ on this. Is there a checklist (please tell me there is!)

f) How do you divide and conquer - What are the roles and tasks and how best to divvy them up between the chef, the supportive significant other, the 'reasonably-obedient-but-don't-push-your-luck' kid. I find that I have often have it all in my head and find it hard to delegate and instead try to do it all on my own. Parties make me tired! I think I will have more success with delegation if I can have some structure and logic to it and of course do it before.. much much before. We have had too many lemon runs (how many lemons can one zest - I think not enough but DH thinks too many.)

g) What do you do with kids. I like mine and tolerate and even enjoy others' but they do run a lot and get in the way in parties. Is there a clever way to corral them while also getting them to enjoy the party?

h) When you do sit down meals, do you serve it family style or do you actually plate courses, change plates etc. Do you recruit servers or is there an elegant way to do this yourself as the hostess.

i) Do you actually plan entertainment?
How do you mingle and have a nice time and not worry about the appetizers or drinks

j) Libations - So far, this has been DH's department and his strategy has not varied from multiple choice test days. So we dafault to ALL OF THE ABOVE and have all kinds of liquid sustenance in the fridge for a month afterwards. Orange Soda nestled next to IPA bottles and perrier for the I-am-on-a-XX-diet crowd. How do you do cocktails - does this need a bar person? Are some cocktails more amenable to make-ahead-and-serve?

Confession: With any parties, I immediately dive into menu planning and cooking, and a lot of other things are very last minute as in I yell at DH and kids to get the party plates from high shelf and check the toilet paper as I rushing towards the shower 5 mins before guests are due to arrive. We have been known to throw impromptu parties to just get the fridge cleared (after all we already have most of the food and a TON of drinks). In 2013, my resolution is to learn to things well as opposed to trying new things, so this is in that vein. I love to entertain and that is one of the things I most missed during our long remodel and the thing I most look forward to once the kitchen is done. DH contiues to gently correct/remind me that it is when the house is done, but I digress :)

I look forward to reading about your parties.

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clipped on: 01.05.2013 at 02:06 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2013 at 02:06 pm

RE: finished backspash pic (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: marmoreus on 11.14.2012 at 10:25 am in Kitchens Forum

Thank you, lynn and chloe!

Below is the link to the thread where I posted more pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: finished kitchen pics

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WZ grammercy park heirloom white and pipe smoke gray
clipped on: 11.14.2012 at 12:28 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2012 at 12:29 pm

Water Softener - How do you get safe warm/hot water?

posted by: beeps on 08.29.2012 at 11:39 pm in Kitchens Forum

I'm having a soft water loop installed in my new build and will be getting a water softener. I've had a water softener before and am not sure how I dealt with this issue previously, if I even dealt with it. I may simply not have known or understood and used water for human and animal consumption that I should not have. I really don't remember.

My understanding is that a) you shouldn't drink softened water due to the high sodium content, and b) only the cold water at the kitchen tap will be unsoftened - it will bypass the water softener. So, water is really only fit for consumption if it comes from the cold tap.

This is sounding pretty inconvenient to me. The thing I have to do most often is reconstitute dried dog food with warm water. But, I won't be able to do that any longer because I won't be able to draw consumable warm water from the tap. How do you deal with only being able to use cold water from the tap?

I know there are solutions like microwave the 5-6 cups of water I need or warm them up in a pan on the stove, etc. But seriously... how inconvenient not to just turn on the hot water and mix his food? What do the rest of you do? I'm tempted to have them bypass the entire kitchen sink, but then the dishwasher won't have softened water.

Thoughts?

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clipped on: 08.30.2012 at 09:24 am    last updated on: 08.30.2012 at 09:24 am

Vapour barrier under backerboard or

posted by: alan_s_thefirst on 08.09.2012 at 02:07 am in Bathrooms Forum

waterproofing treatment OVER backerboard? (Kerdi, Redgard etc?) so many choices...

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clipped on: 08.12.2012 at 02:13 pm    last updated on: 08.12.2012 at 02:13 pm

Kerdi with wedi... Bill V?

posted by: gbsim on 07.14.2012 at 01:19 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Anyone with wedi board and drain knowledge?
The tile contractor for the new build is suggesting wedi board under the Kerdi and wants to use a Wedi drain. Not a curbless shower but I think he wants to do a very shallow step up.
So can you combine Kerdi with Wedi drains?
And is the cost of wedi board instead of Durock substantial enough that I should tell him not to use the Wedi board?
Thanks!

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clipped on: 07.16.2012 at 09:29 am    last updated on: 07.16.2012 at 09:29 am

How to make hood line up with channel for duct

posted by: phylhl on 07.11.2012 at 09:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

Our hood, which was semi-custom, will be wall mounted and will go to the ceiling. it will vent out the rear. the duct will run across the garage ceiling, in the previous channel (as luck would have it) and outside.

the cutout for the hood at the rear, is, say 4" from the kitchen ceiling. The channel for the duct is, say 3" or so lower (due to lower ceiling height in garage).

the walls are 4" thick, I believe.

Builder says the hood won't be able to line up with the channel, and needs to be mounted lower on the kitchen wall to line up, which will look ridiculous.

Any thoughts on how to resolve?

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clipped on: 07.11.2012 at 09:45 pm    last updated on: 07.11.2012 at 09:45 pm

Frameless Shower - U channel or clamps?

posted by: nziegler on 06.25.2012 at 05:54 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I am putting in a frameless shower enclosure and need some hardware advice quickly! The company I am working with asked me if I wanted the non-door panels (above the knee wall) to be attached with a u-channel or clamps. We will be using the CRL Pinnacle hinges. I have no idea which to pick. Is one better looking? When I look on the web for photos all I see are pictures of the clamps or the U-channel parts, not installed so I can't really tell. How about ease of maintenance?

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clipped on: 07.11.2012 at 07:21 pm    last updated on: 07.11.2012 at 07:21 pm

RE: Can someone advise me on either water filtration/softener? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: justalurker on 07.09.2012 at 07:21 pm in Plumbing Forum

You didn't comment regarding the whole house carbon filter.

Your posted quote shows a softener but no prices.

No inline filter will remove hardness, iron, or manganese so without a softener you'll be living with that and drinking it and exposing all your plumbing, fixtures, and appliances to it.

As for sodium added to softened water...

The formula for added sodium is 7.85 mg/l (about a quart) of softened water per grain per gallon of compensated hardness.

EXAMPLE 7 gpg * 7.85 = 55 mg of sodium added per liter of softened water, not salt.

How does this sodium content of softened water compare to sodium found in common foods?

The table demonstrates the usual range of sodium in common foods.

Food Amount Mg of Sodium

Ketchup 1 tablespoon 204
Milk 2 Cups 226
Frozen Peas 1/2 Cup 295
Bread 2 Slices 322
Corn Flakes 1 oz. 260
Parmesan Cheese 1 oz. 528
Tomato Juice 4 oz. 504
Tomato Soup 1 Cup 932
Chili 1 Cup 1194
Beef Broth 1 Cup 1152

Not as much sodium added as you think?

SFR is Service Flow Rate which is calculated based on plumbing size, pressure, and fixtures. SFR is a must consideration when sizing a softener otherwise hardness will leak through at peak flow.

If I were you I'd hit the Yellow Pages and call at least three local water treatment pros. Make sure you call at least one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan for comparison and at least a couple independent pros. DON'T TELL THEM YOU HAD YOUR WATER TESTED.

Give each an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide you with a quote to meet your water treatment needs. IGNORE ANY THAT DON'T TEST YOUR WATER THEMSELVES as they can't speak intelligently to water treatment without knowing what needs to be treated.

Ask lots of questions. Softening the entire house or just the water heater (IMO a bad idea)? Warranty, parts & labor or just parts, how long and on exactly what? Install, permits required, licensed plumber? Routine maintenance and costs? Do they stock parts? Response time for emergency (water leak) calls? If they don't explain things to your satisfaction that is a good indicator of how you'll be treated after the sale.

After they've gone use your water test to compare with theirs. Are all your treatment needs being addressed?

Ask your neighbors if they have any water treatment experience. They might tell you who's good or who to avoid.

Come back here and post the specific recommendations and hardware components with the costs and we'll give you our opinions.

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clipped on: 07.09.2012 at 11:24 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2012 at 11:24 pm

Whole house water filtration companies?

posted by: drtechno on 07.02.2012 at 11:47 am in Plumbing Forum

Hi guys

I am looking for a water filtration system for the house, and am exploring various companies. Who should I be looking at? I saw that some people on here say NOT Culligan?? Unfortunately, I just called them. What better companies are there?

Primarily looking for sediment filtration (that's it). An inline system (DIY style) does not put out the 20+ gpm I need so they are not an option.

Any advice?

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clipped on: 07.09.2012 at 06:58 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2012 at 06:58 pm

exterior gas grill recommendations

posted by: avidchef on 03.29.2012 at 11:15 am in Appliances Forum

Can anyone recommend a moderately priced (about $1200 or less) exterior gas grill which will hook up to my gas line? What features are "must haves" in gas grills? (I thought I posted this question last night - but didn't see it today - so please excuse me if this is a duplicate post.)

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clipped on: 07.09.2012 at 12:48 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2012 at 12:49 pm

URGENT: What water filter for steam oven?

posted by: eleena on 04.20.2012 at 02:57 pm in Appliances Forum

Ok, wise and knowledgeable folks on this forum advised not to use RO or distilled water for a steam oven.

However, everyone seems to be in agreement that filtered water may be beter than unfiltered.

What kind of filter should I use then?

(Urgent b/c i am about to buy such an oven.)

TX!

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clipped on: 07.09.2012 at 12:37 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2012 at 12:37 pm

RE: Recommendations for Water Filter (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: cat_mom on 07.06.2012 at 10:29 am in Appliances Forum

Our plumber installed an Aqua Pure whole house filter on the cold water line going to the kitchen when we did our reno. This filter "services" the water line to the fridge, the faucet at our sink, the pot filler faucet, and the added-post-reno outside faucet "on" our deck (plumber tapped into the line under the sink after we did the reno, so our flowers and herbs get filtered water by default!). We replace the filters every 6 months; spring and fall.

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clipped on: 07.09.2012 at 12:35 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2012 at 12:35 pm

will this gap in floor heat wires be a problem?

posted by: ShellKing on 06.12.2012 at 08:03 pm in Bathrooms Forum

They put down the wires for the in floor heat today. I'm not sure what brand was used, but the wires are held down by metal strips nailed to the floor. Then a layer of mud-like stuff was put down.

Looking at it now and it seems like kind of a big gap between the wires and what will be carpet in the two closets. I don't want to hit a cold spot walking between the shower and closet. Is this too big an area to leave without wires? There is 12" between the wires and the edge of the carpet in one closet and 8.5" in between them in the other closet.

Is this acceptable spacing?

Photobucket

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clipped on: 07.01.2012 at 06:03 pm    last updated on: 07.01.2012 at 06:03 pm