Smooth Planning for Get-Togethers

Fall is a wonderful season for gathering with friends and family.  Just don’t let the “get-togethers” leave you falling apart!  What can you do to make your events stress-free and fun?  Whether your parties are for three or thirty, the three top tips to follow are:

  1. Relax.  Forget perfection in your planning and execution.  Unless you’re preparing a meal for the food critic at a fine dining magazine, your focus should probably not be totally on the meal but also on the purpose: having fun together.  Large gatherings do require a lot of details, but if you encounter a bump in the road, just recognize it’ll make a great story for the next party.
  2. Delegate.  You don’t have to do it all.  You’ll save on your budget and reduce your own stress when you say “yes” to offers of help.  Practice like so: “Would you like for me to bring ice?” Yes.  “Can I bring a dessert?”  Sure.  “How about I bring an appetizer?” Super.  See how easy that is?
  3. Enjoy.  Do the main work in advance, and don’t plan a menu that keeps you in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying themselves.  Remember: It’s your party.  Make sure you take part!

Apples Plus Caramels Equals Delicious

Sweets and fall afternoons go together like caramel on apples.  What’s the best way to indulge your sweet tooth this season?

One time-honored favorite is the traditional caramel apple recipe.  Simply slide craft sticks into apples and dip them in a mixture of melted caramel candies (about 14 ounces) and milk (2 tablespoons).  Place the apples on a buttered baking sheet, set and enjoy.

For a fun twist on tradition, make your caramel sauce as usual.  Then scoop out the center of the apples (brush with lemon juice to prevent browning). Fill the hole with melted caramel.  Let it set, then slice.

If you’re looking for a truly decadent brunch treat, whip of a batch of french toast and then top it off with warmed apples, caramel sauce and even some walnuts.