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Indian Food Buffet Options for an Animal Rights Luncheon

If you’re organizing a buffet for an animal rights group, you might want to reconsider serving meat or fish. While there might be some people who are not vegetarian, a great many in attendance very well could be ethical vegetarians or vegans. So, you should design a buffet menu with those people in mind. One of the best cuisines for vegans and vegetarians will be Indian cuisine. The country is home to many vegetarians, and therefore there are lots of wonderful options to choose. Also, Indian food is well suited for buffet style serving. There are many rice dishes and stews that are easy to serve in buffet trays. This list will include vegetarian friendly dishes, which may include cheese or eggs, and there will also be vegan dishes for those who are super into animal liberation and don’t want to have any animal product in their meal. Spicy Chana Masala Chana masala is a chickpea dish that is made with tomatoes and onions. The tomatoes are stewed and sauteed onions are sautéed, along with garlic and chili peppers. Spices such as mango powder and garahm masala (the floral spice mixture which gives the dish it’s name) are added to the tomato stew and then cooked chickpeas are added and left to absorb the flavor. The dish includes no ghee (a type of clarified Indian butter that is common in many Indian dishes) so it’s awesome for vegans. Saffron Basmati Rice Basmati rice is the perfect compliment for the spicy chana masala. It’s also vegan, or can be ordered to be vegan. Many rices (such as yellow rice in Spanish cooking) will be made with chicken stock, but basmati rice is not cooked with chicken stock. Most chefs will add a touch of ghee along with the crushed saffron when mixing the rice, but if you want it to remain vegan you could ask the caters to use olive oil or grapeseed oil in lieu of the butter. Vegetable Pakoras These are small, fried fritters. They can be made of spinach, cabbage, eggplant, or cauliflower. They are somewhat similar to Japanese tempura or Falafal from the Middle East. The vegetables are cooked and then...

Reasons You Need Your Wedding Catered If You Think You Can Handle It Yourself

Planning a wedding is a joyous thing: you get to pick out a lovely menu of appetizers and meals for your guests, create a guest and song list, and choose the perfect venue for your big day. A lot of people love planning and executing their weddings on their own with huge success, while others cave to stress, anxiety, and the sheer overwhelming amount of aspects that can accompany this type of event. If you are on the fence about whether you need your wedding catered or not, use this guide to help you decide if you can handle the job on your own or if you need professional assistance. Size of your wedding If you have a smaller wedding in mind or something more like a family reunion than a wedding ceremony, you can likely handle the event on your own. You can order food from a local restaurant to be brought in and have someone serve guests easily. A large guest list can mean lots of food that needs to be served and kept warm, however, and you may find yourself struggling to find enough tools, help, and space to keep everyone happy once the reception starts. It’s best for larger weddings to hire a caterer who can bring their own equipment and menu to the event for easy serving. Menu offering ideas You may want to serve decadent foods at your ceremony, such as tiny hors d’oeuvres of water chestnuts or or crab cakes, but you may have someone attending your wedding who has allergies or gluten sensitivities. If you have a delicate menu in mind or exotic foods you want to serve, wedding catering is your wisest option. You can achieve professionally prepared and served meals and appetizers that will impress your guests and taste simply divine. Many caterers also offer options that are gluten free. As a bonus, your guests can have the opportunity to try foods they have never eaten before. Your wedding caterer will make sure you have access to the types of foods you like, and if you are having a themed wedding, they can also make suggestions for meals that revolve around your choice of...

Tips for Planning an Affordable Wedding Reception in a Barn

A wedding is one of the most special times in a person’s life, but it can also be one of the most expensive investments of their life. While shocking for some people to learn, the average budget for a wedding in the United States is $31,213. Although a wedding is an important event, this budget can be incredibly overwhelming for many people. Thankfully, planning your dream day without an enormous budget is possible. With this guide, you can plan an affordable and stylish wedding reception in a barn. Amenities Placing a few tables and chairs into a barn may provide your guests with places to sit and dine, but your wedding guests will require a few more amenities that you may not have thought of. In most cases, your barn will not have electricity or plumbing, which can be problematic in extreme temperatures and when your guests need to use the bathroom. To heat the barn, you will need to bring in portable heaters. Gas and electric heaters are good options to consider, since they are available in a variety of sizes and designs. If you are choosing electric heaters, you will need to run cords from the barn to an outdoor power source. This can clutter the barn and increase the risk of guests tripping and falling. Renting flushable portable toilets or mobile bathroom trailers will also be necessary. Unfortunately, these rentals can increase costs tremendously, so consider standard portable toilets to conserve your wedding budget. Many couples plan their ceremony and reception at night. While this is romantic, bringing in enough lighting for evening barn weddings can become expensive. To cut costs, consider a morning ceremony and an afternoon reception. Traditional and battery-operated candles placed all through the barn will provide sufficient light for your daytime barn wedding. Dining A full-course dinner is too formal for a rustic wedding reception in a barn, so consider cutting the formality and the costs by serving appetizers on your special day. Bite-size versions of your favorite comfort foods will add style to your wedding while curbing the cravings of your guests. Small cups of macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, or even grilled steak and vegetable...

3 Ways That A Water Softener Can Make Kitchen Chores Easier

If you are like many people, you might not like spending any more time on kitchen chores than you have to. However, if you have hard water in your kitchen, your chores might be tougher than they have to be. These are a few ways that a water softener can make kitchen chores a whole lot easier and more pleasant. 1. Get Cleaner Dishes Did you know that hard water can make your dishes look dirty, even if you have run your dishwasher or washed them carefully by hand? This is because the mineral deposits in the hard water can leave themselves on your dishes, which can cause glasses and silverware to look “streaky” and can prevent dishes from looking nice and clean. In the past, you might have blamed not-so-clean dishes on a faulty dishwasher, your dish soap or your own dishwashing routines. Once you install a water softener in your home, however, you might find that your dishes look better with less work…and you don’t have to worry about re-washing dishes anymore. 2. Avoid Drying Out Your Hands Have you found that your hands get really dry, itchy and uncomfortable when you wash dishes? If so, it could be because of hard water. Once you install a water softener, you might find that washing dishes or rinsing vegetables isn’t nearly as unpleasant as it once was and that your hands don’t feel as dry when you’re finished. You’re sure to notice a difference when you take a shower or bath, too. 3. Reduce How Often You Have to Clean Out Your Dishwasher Do you find yourself having to clean the inside of your dishwasher often to get rid of gross mineral deposits that can clog the lines? If so, you’ll probably notice a big difference once you install a water softener. A water softener can help get rid of these mineral deposits, so even though you’ll still have to clean your dishwasher out sometimes, you should not have to worry about these same clogs. This means that your dishwasher can work easily and more efficiently, you won’t have to worry about it wearing out as prematurely and you won’t have to clean...

Three Homemade Caramel Sauces to Top Ice Cream and Other Desserts

Caramel sauce makes ice cream and other dessert items even more delicious. If you want the ultimate indulgent experience, why not try making your own caramel sauce at home? These three recipes all make unique caramel sauces, each with their own flavor profiles and nuances. Try one, or try them all—but be prepared to ask for seconds! Quick Vanilla Caramel Sauce This sauce is made with caramel candies, so it comes together in just a few minutes. It’s great when you’re in a rush, but it certainly does not taste like you took a shortcut. Ingredients: 20 soft caramel candies, unwrapped 1/2 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter 1 vanilla bean 1 pinch salt Place the caramel candies, butter, milk, and salt in a saucepan. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean down the center, and scrape the pulp out if its center. Add this to the saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the caramels are completely melted. Then, continue heating and stirring until the caramels incorporate into the other ingredients, forming a uniform sauce. Serve immediately or store in a jar in the fridge. Raspberry Caramel Sauce The addition of fresh raspberries makes this sauce something really special. Plus, the purple-pink color adds a pretty look to your desserts. Ingredients: 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup half and half 1/4 cup butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup fresh raspberries Press the raspberries through a sieve or strainer. Discard the seeds, and set the juice aside. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, half and half, and butter. Bring to a simmer, and continue whisking as you simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. The mixture should thicken and become brown and caramel-like. Add the vanilla and raspberry juice and stir well. Remove from the heat, and serve or store in the fridge. Quick Butter Pecan Sauce Stirring toasted pecans into this sauce gives it a really balanced flavor as well as a hint of texture. Ingredients: 20 soft caramel candies, unwrapped 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter a pinch of salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup pecans, chopped finely Spread the pecans...

Have a Homemade Baked Good You’d Love to Sell? Consider Renting Out a Commercial Kitchen for Your Fledgling Business

A lot of professional bakers get their start at home; a favorite family recipe and an entrepreneurial spirit can combine to make a successful start from almost nothing. However, once you start selling your food products, there are a lot of legal restrictions that you will face. In some states, selling food baked in a residential kitchen is illegal. Instead, consider renting space in a commercial kitchen until you build a big enough revenue to support a storefront and commercial kitchen of your own. Here are some things to consider. Opening your own professional commercial kitchen is expensive. When you’re just starting out, building a kitchen that can accommodate commercial food preparation is prohibitively expensive. As of 2013, experts estimate that it costs between $25,000 to $100,000 to outfit a commercial kitchen with the type of equipment that you need.  Instead, consider renting out the commercial kitchen space that you need by the day or hour. This is a smaller investment, by far, and you can even try out the kitchen equipment in order to learn what you do and don’t like long before you have to make equipment-purchase decisions on your own. There are plenty of existing kitchens available for rent. There are commercial kitchens in many areas that are designed as rentals. As of 2013, some offer per-hour pricing at the rate of $10–$25 per hour. If you’re still in the market-testing phase of your production, that’s a very minimal expense. If your market starts to increase, you can often rent the same places by the month for a while instead. But there are other options that you can look at instead if such a kitchen isn’t available within a reasonable distance from your home. Look around for breakfast-only restaurants that have the baking equipment that you need and see if you can rent the space in the evenings for your production. Other potential options include local or family-owned restaurants that are closed on the weekend or one day a week, caterers that may be looking for extra revenue during times when their kitchens aren’t in use, churches, co-ops, community centers, and even actual bakeries (as long as your product isn’t in direct...