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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

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

Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie

This dish is an absolute hit no matter where I bring it. Every time someone has tried these pot pies they have asked for the recipe. The puff pastry is a delicious alternative to pie crust and adds a very tasty flakey dimension to the dish.

Once the chicken is poached, I prefer dicing to shredding, though either will work. Utilizing the leftover poaching liquid as the base of the pot pie gives the filling an even richer flavor. I like using Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base over regular chicken bullion, if you do not have either on hand though, add a teaspoon of salt instead. The fresh rosemary gives these pot pies a flavor profile that is different than your tradition pies and is a must try!

Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie
Download PDF • 360KB

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: 40 minutes + 30 minutes to chill

Cook Time: 40 minutes


*1 pound chicken

*1 cup chicken broth

*1 3/4 cups whole milk

*2 teaspoons chicken bullion, I like using Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

*1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

*3 tablespoons salted butter

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*1 onion, diced

*3 carrots, sliced into small pieces

*3 celery stalks, sliced

*1 teaspoon dried thyme

*2 tablespoon lemon juice + 1/4 cup water together in a measuring cup

*1/4 cup flour, heaping

*1/2 cup grated parmesan

*1 cup frozen peas

*1/2 teaspoon pepper

*1 sheet puff pastry

*1 egg + 1 teaspoon water

Preparation of Chicken:

*Combine broth, milk, and chicken bullion in a large pan. Turn to medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Add chicken and rosemary.

*Place lid on pan, simmer on medium-low, ensuring it does not boil.

*After 15 minutes remove the chicken and dice. Place lid back on pan and set aside the poaching liquid.

Preparation of Pie Filling:

*Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in garlic cloves and onion, cook for 3 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and thyme, cook for 5 minutes or until carrot is soft.

*Pour in lemon juice and water mixture. Stir continuously until liquid is mostly evaporated.

*Add flour and stir for a minute.

*Combine about half the reserved poaching liquid, stirring it in until all the flour is combined. Making a thick sludge.

*Stir in remaining poaching liquid, parmesan, and pepper.

*Add in diced chicken and peas, stirring til well combined.

*Once mixture is steaming, stir constantly and cook for 3 minutes to thicken the sauce.

*Move off of burner and spoon into baking dishes.

*Cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preparation of Pot Pie:

*Once mixture is in fridge, remove puff pastry from freezer and let thaw for 20 minutes. Then cut into squares large enough to cover the edge of your baking dishes.

*Preheat oven to 350F.

*Prepare egg wash by mixing egg with 1 teaspoon of water.

*Brush the edge of the baking dishes with egg wash.

*Top dishes with puff pastry, folding down over the sides.

*Brush pastry top with egg wash. Cut a small slice in the middle of the puff pastry with a knife to allow steam to escape while baking.

*Bake 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is a deep golden color.


Recipe Creator - Alina Gersib