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Catering Ideas For Your Little One’s First Birthday Party

First birthday parties are a unique environment because the age of attendees can range from babies to grandparents and everyone in between. Picking food for such a diverse crowd can be tough. Not only will you want to design a menu that will appeal to everyone present, but you’ll also want to select foods that won’t make a mess when consumed by younger, less experienced eaters. Whether you’re arranging for catering or preparing the food personally, these suggestions can help you design a menu and prepare a meal that will make the experience enjoyable and memorable for all.  Entrees Since some of the guests (including the guest of honor) may have only a few teeth and a developing sense of hand-eye coordination, an emphasis should be placed on serving foods that are easy to handle and can be served in small, non-messy portions. A few examples include: Cheese quesadillas  Garlic toast  Pizza Plain pasta (with sauce on the side for adults and children who are able to handle the mess) Side Dishes  Like the entrees, the best side dishes will be easy to eat. Steamed vegetables are tasty for adults, but soft enough that small children and babies can consume them easily. Provide parmesan and salt to keep the dish tasty for older, more mature palates.   Dessert Freshly cut seasonal fruit like berries, watermelon and cantaloupe all make excellent dessert foods. Compared to more traditional birthday dessert foods, fruit can stay fresh without melting (unlike ice cream), doesn’t contain granulated sugar (unlike most baked goods) and appeals to crowds old and young. Of course, don’t forget to provide a smash cake for your baby. Smash cakes provide quality entertainment for guests and priceless photo opportunities for proud parents. Make a separate cake for the other guests to eat, so your baby can demolish the smash cake in its entirety.  Practical Considerations Regardless of your food choices, take this advice into consideration when laying out the food and planning the menu: Put out lots of napkins and wet-wipes, and have more on hand just in case.  Use disposable dishes and silverware.  Outdoor parties need outdoor-friendly food items. The food you choose should be able to sit...

How to Find the Right Coffee Flavors for Your Palate

The world of flavored coffees is a vast and often daunting one to the uninitiated. When faced with hundreds of options, and hundreds of variations on those options, it’s easy to just shut down and go with what you’re most familiar with. However, here are a few ways that you can find a flavor that’s right for you. Experimentation Of course, the easiest way to figure out what flavors will work best with your palate is to just try something new.  If some flavor looks or sounds somewhat appealing, then try it. If someone recommends something, then take their word for it and go for it. If you search, there are also services that will send you various types of coffee beans or coffee cups for you to sample. This kind of haphazard experimentation isn’t for everybody, though. You may not want something that tastes terrible to ruin your morning or relaxing evening. Flavor Profiles and Categories Flavor is a combination of both taste and smell. Additionally, everybody has their own sense of taste and their own sense of smell. That means that two different people can taste and smell the same coffee and have two completely different reactions to it. Knowing a little about how flavor works can help you choose coffee flavors with a degree of certainty that you may like them. In order to do so, you will need a little understanding of how flavor profiles work. Coffees from different regions have different characteristics. A regular cup of South American coffee will taste far different from a regular cup from India. These regional distinctions create profiles that can help you in many ways. If you try a few regional varieties, you can start to develop an understanding of how many or most coffees from that region will taste. Flavor on Top of Flavor Once you find a regional flavor you like, you will understand how a coffee with another flavor placed on top of it will taste to you. For example, Caribbean coffee typically has a flavor profile that says it’s balanced, smooth, and maybe even a little chocolatey. If you try it, and like it, then you can start thinking...

5 Easy Ways To Quell That Foul Refrigerator Smell

Refrigerators are essential to a kitchen because of everything they house; milk, eggs, fruits, and vegetables are just some of the items that can probably be found in your refrigerator. Unfortunately, because all these foods and drinks call one place home, the various smells sometimes blend together to produce a not so pleasant odor. And it’s not just the combination of items that produces a bad smell; spills, old leftovers, and improperly stored foods are all culprits for producing a bad odor. If you’re tired of holding your nose every time you open your refrigerator, consider using one of these five tips to keep your home or commercial refrigerator smelling fresh. 1. Dampen a cotton ball with vanilla extract and keep it on a shelf in your refrigerator; vanilla extract has a very potent smell that will help eliminate bad odors. You can take it out after 12 hours and repeat as often as you’d like. 2. Set your refrigerator to the proper temperature. In order to prevent or at least drastically slow down the growth of the bacteria on food which causes bad odors, your refrigerator needs to be set at a maximum of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The slower your food spoils, the longer your refrigerator stays fresh. 3. Put freshly ground coffee in a bowl and leave it in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Not only does freshly ground coffee smell amazing, but coffee is known to absorb smells, so it will add a good odor while taking the bad one away. You can even recycle the used coffee grounds by adding them to soil in a garden. 4. Don’t stuff your refrigerator with too much. In order for foods to remain as cold as necessary, the cold air needs to be able to travel easily; when your refrigerator is over stuffed, the cold air can’t do that and the food will spoil sooner and start to smell. 5. Make spills easy to clean. Spills are inevitable in a refrigerator, but getting them cleaned up right away is essential to stopping a bad odor from coming. Putting a plastic lid (like one from a plastic storage container) underneath anything that...