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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!

  • Cecelia Zook

Pumpkin Pie Taste Test

Updated: Dec 7, 2020



Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come 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!


Pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite dessert on the Thanksgiving table, so this recipe had high expectations! I am happy to say it met every one of those expectations. This pumpkin pie had every fall flavor all in one bite, and it was such a delight to enjoy. It was very quick to make with only about 30 minutes of prep and 60 minutes in the oven. I will definitely make this again next Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie
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Makes 8 servings (1 pie)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


Ingredients for 1 pie crust (or buy already made):

*1 cup all-purpose flour

*2 teaspoons sugar

*1/4 teaspoon salt

*6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter and cut into 12 pieces

*1/4 cup sour cream


Preparation for crust:

*Make the crust first by combining flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Pulse to combine.

*Sprinkle butter pieces over the mixture and pulse again until coarse crumbs form.

*Add sour cream and pulse again until mixture begins to clump together.

*Carefully remove the dough from the food processor and use your hands to shape it into a ball.

*Flatten slightly into a disc and wrap in cling wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

*Remove chilled pie dough from refrigerator and transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface.

*Allow dough to sit for 5 minutes and then roll dough out into a 12 inch circle.

*Gently lay the pie crust into a 9 inch glass dish, folding the excess dough over and under the pan’s edge then crimp the edges with a fork.

*Put crust into freezer until it’s ready to fill.


Ingredients for pie filling:

*1 - 15 ounce can (about 2 cups) pumpkin puree

*3 large eggs

*1 1/4 cups packed light or dark brown sugar

*1 tablespoon cornstarch

*1/2 teaspoon salt

*1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

*1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

*1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

*1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

*1 cup heavy cream

*1/4 cup milk

*egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk


Preparation for pie filling:

*Whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined.

*Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk.

*Vigorously whisk until everything is combined. Filling will be a little thick.

*Preheat oven to 375F.

*Pour pumpkin pie filling into the warm, pre-baked crust. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up.

*Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes. A small part of the center will be wobbly – that’s ok.

*After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown.

*Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours.

*Serve pie with whipped cream, if desired.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook