Tag Archives: Patricia Mendez

Halloween Special: Guest Blogger Patricia Mendez

Patricia Mendez is here with us today with a great post about last minute Halloween party entertaining for our Halloween Special at As the Pages Turn.  While her suggestions might be too late for this year, print them out, bookmark’em, memorize them, because next year you’ll be able to give a Halloween bash to die for.  Patricia is the author of Easy Entertaining for Beginners by Maple Heights Press.

Last Minute Halloween Party Entertaining

It is two weeks before Halloween and you have had a brilliant stroke of genius. This is the year you will throw a Halloween bash for your family and friends! Yikes, did I say it is two weeks before Halloween? You need some ideas for entertaining and you need them quickly. While two weeks is definitely cutting it close, you can still pull off a fun and enjoyable bash for your guests in a flash.

1. When feeding a crowd, choose an easy menu and fill in with some terrific purchased food. Here are a few easy entertaining ideas. Prepare all the small munchies and a tasty fall salad with pears, nuts and blue cheese yourself. Some examples of small munchies are dips with veggies, pita chips or tortilla chips. Also, any easy bite-size appetizers such as hot wings or potstickers and mini-cupcakes decorated for Halloween or purchased popcorn balls or caramel apples for a little something sweet on the menu. Purchase tamales from a favorite restaurant for the main entrée. This really takes the pressure off from having to prepare the entire menu. Order the tamales at least 1 week before your party. If you wish to offer cocktails, make a “cocktail of the evening” such as apple martinis and prepare in advance in pitchers so you are not spending all your time bartending. Have an assortment of other beverages like beer, wine, apple cider, soda and water.

2. Invite guests via an e-vite. There are many great sites that offer free invitations. Your guests can RSVP online and even get a map to your home. This method gets the invitation to them quickly since you are short on time. Send these ASAP to give guests as much time as possible.

3. I would recommend that you make costumes optional. Some guests really get into getting dressed up and others – not so much. Since time is short, it may be too hectic for all of your guests to get a costume and you would hate for them to pass on your party because of that reason alone. You can always hand out small festive masks from a party supply store as guests arrive.

4. Download music from the internet and make your own custom Halloween party mix. Record songs like “Spooky” by Smokey Robinson, “Monster Mash”, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Ghostbusters” and other fun songs that set the mood.

5. Instead of exhausting yourself trying to decorate your entire house, focus on the table where the food will be presented. Purchase 3 pumpkins of different sizes. The morning of your party, hollow them out and cut out a different face on each one. Put a votive candle in each one and arrange in a grouping towards the back of your food table. Use a large upside down soup pot under the table cloth to put one pumpkin at a different height. (Note: Always use caution when using lit candles). Use a tablecloth in festive fall colors. Purchase paper goods at a party supply store. To save money, purchase plain orange or black plates with clear plastic utensils and glasses. Strategically place small black or orange votive candles and dishes of nuts and Halloween candies (such as candy corn, black licorice, etc.) around the house for added festivity.

6. If you would like to have some games or activities, simply do a quick internet search of “Halloween party games”. There are plenty of sites that have a variety of free games for both kids and adults. Choose 2 or three easy games for your party.

7. Pace yourself and do your party supply shopping a week before your party. Do your grocery shopping 2 days before and prepare as much of the food as you can in advance. Decorate the buffet table the morning of your bash and give yourself a bit of time two hours before your party starts to get dressed and ready.

8. Greet your guests at the door and welcome each one to your home and you will immediately put them at ease. Make introductions to guests who may not know each other well. And one last thing. Have lots fun with your guests at your party!

If you concentrate your efforts on the food, the table and the warm tone that you set as host you will pull off a spooktacular Halloween party in the nick of time!

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Book Review: EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS by Patricia Mendez

Easy Entertaining for Beginners
Patricia Mendez
Cooking; Entertaining
Maple Heights Press
172pages

Purchase your copy here!

Readers don’t have to be gourmet chefs or nervous wrecks to host casual at-home entertaining. Beginners will have all of their questions answered, from what to serve to what to do. Included are 13 delicious complete menus with easy-to-follow recipes, full color photographs, ideas for music, activities and drinks. Checklists ease readers step-by-step through every phase of planning, preparation, and presentation. Readers will gain confidence and have a terrific time putting together successful celebrations.

What can you say bad about a book that not only gives you mouth-watering recipes, but tips on entertaining, too? Easy Entertaining for Beginners by Patricia Mendez gives us such tantalizing recipes as Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Savory Sauce (perfect for dinners with the in-laws!), Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling (perfect for themed children’s birthday parties!) and for the holidays approaching, such delights as how to cook that Thanksgiving turkey complete with instructions and how to make that perfect pumpkin pie.

But that’s not all. Inside this beautifully designed book complete with color photos, you get such great tips such as how to plan your first cocktail party, how to set a budget and prepare for special events, mistakes to avoid when entertaining and tips to ensure success with any dinner party.

Easy Entertaining for Beginners has everything you can imagine inside to help you when planning your next dinner party. An excellent book and I look forward to more books from the talented and gifted Patricia Mendez.

I just had to try out the Cadillac Margaritas. Ymmmm! Patricia gave me the exact ingredients to make two full pitchers and it was a hit at my last dinner party! What I loved about this book is that never have I come upon a book that was as good as Betty Crocker’s cookbook. Serious!

Also, I loved her writing style. Being a past editor, I pick up on typos, grammar mistakes, fluff to fill a book just to fill it with something and there was no sign that this book wasn’t excellently edited. And it’s always so much nicer to read a book that didn’t distract you from the contents because of all the mistakes and, believe me, there are a lot of them out there.

Sorry, not a thing.

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In the Mailbox: Easy Entertaining for Beginners by Patricia Mendez

I have a funny story to tell before I introduce today’s book that was in my mailbox the other day.

When I first got married, I couldn’t even boil water. My new husband wanted me to make some tea and I had to ask him how to do it. That’s when I became the relative who couldn’t even boil water which my new husband couldn’t wait to share with the Thompson flock.

I remember making Hamburger Helper one day and it was so horrible, the dogs wouldn’t even eat it. I didn’t know you had to drain the grease out before you served it. As in, ych.

You want me to go on?

I made chili for the first time and instead of putting 3 teaspoons of chili powder into the mixture, I put 3 tablespoons. Needless to say, the dogs wouldn’t eat that either.

I eventually learned how to cook, but wouldn’t it have been neat if I had had this book I got in the mail the other day, Easy Entertaining for Beginners by Patricia Mendez. Patricia knows her stuff; but more importantly, she knows just what recipes to include in her 172-page book so that the aspiring Betty Crocker can not only feed her family, but throw a fabulous party, too!

I’m browsing now…all these recipes are great for entertaining. Easy, too! I’ll be giving Patricia a nice review on October 17, just in time for those Halloween gatherings and before the Christmas holidays so stay tuned for that!

Also, I will be turning the pages of her new book in upcoming blog posts to let you know just what’s inside! You’re in for a treat!

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