New On The Blog

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Alina Gersib

Bananas Foster Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


If you are looking for an absolutely decadent dish, this is it! I am not exaggerating when I say that this bananas foster topping is one of the most delicious treats I have ever tasted. The combination of maple syrup and bananas creates an almost caramelly flavor, if you are a lover of caramel, this topping will be one of your new favorites. Not only is it delicious with the pancakes but it could also go well with a bowl of plain greek yogurt for an indulgent tasting dessert that would be on the healthier end! The tanginess of the yogurt would pair delightfully with the sweetness of the topping.


Growing up each year for our birthdays my mom would cook me and my siblings a special breakfast of our choice. My go-to was waffles with whipped cream and peaches, but if I knew this existed back then, I think my choice would have been different. If you have kiddos at home, this would be a great special birthday breakfast dish!


Bananas Foster Pancakes with Cinnamon Bu
.
Download • 1.88MB

Makes 12 mini pancakes

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients for the Pancakes:

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

*3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 tablespoon granulated sugar

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*11/4 cups milk

*1 egg, room temperature

*3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preparation for the Pancakes:

*Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and ground cinnamon twice into a large mixing bowl.

*Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

*In a separate bowl add vanilla, egg and (slightly) cooled melted butter. Beat lightly until blended.

*Lightly beat in milk.

*Add the wet ingredients to the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

*Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium to medium high heat.

*Pour batter onto griddle in approximately 1/4 cup increments.

*Lightly brown on both sides and serve warm.



Ingredients for the Bananas Foster Topping:

*1/4 cup butter

*2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/4 cup maple syrup

*1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

*2 firm, ripe medium bananas, cut into 1/2 inch slices

*1/4 cup pecan halves


Preparation for the Bananas Foster Topping:

*In 10 inch nonstick skillet, toast pecans over medium low heat until fragrant.

*Transfer pecans from skillet to a cutting board.

*Coarsely chop pecan pieces. Set aside.

*Using the same skillet, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and vanilla extract over medium-high heat.

*Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves and mixture is thick.

*Lower heat to medium.

*Add banana slices, gently spooning sauce over each slice. (I recommend tilting the pan to the side in order to pool the sauce, this makes it easier to spoon over the bananas)

*Cook about 3 minutes, or until bananas are glossy and coated with sauce.

*To serve, place 2 pancakes on each individual plate.

*Spoon banana slices and sauce over pancakes.

*Garnish with chopped pecans and whipped cream, if desired.

*Serve immediately.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib