Category Archives: Blog

Reduce Stress and Save Time This Thanksgiving With Disposable Dinnerware

thanksThis time of year, recipes and time-saving tips to get us through the holiday season are coming at us left and right. Despite the goal of making our lives easier during Thanksgiving – the short cut recipe tips, shopping lists, menu planning, advance food preparation, and inspiring do-it-yourself centerpiece ideas, all make our to-do lists a whole lot longer.

Starting with Thanksgiving (the 2nd favorite and biggest family holiday of the year), then Christmas (the #1 favorite holiday), and followed by New Years Eve (the #6 favorite holiday), those of us who are preparing the meals and hosting the parties, all share at least one common goal: to spend more time feasting with friends and family, and less time in the kitchen doing clean up and dishes.

To prepare for Thanksgiving, so much time is spent cooking, planning and shopping for food. In fact, according to a report in thanksgivingtips.com, people living in the South are more likely to start their shopping up to 3 weeks before Thanksgiving. While here in the Northeast, people are more likely to start their shopping closer to 1 week before. This means that no matter you live, many have already started (and finished) their holiday food shopping. While caterers are accustomed to planning events and know lots of time-saving short cuts, entertaining during the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful for those of us that do it only once or twice a year.

According to a survey, after getting the preparations done on time, cleaning up after the meal is the second most stressful part of Thanksgiving.  While serving food on fine china may up the extravagance of the tabletop, it is not a necessity for a truly special meal. Plus, china most often needs to be washed  BY HAND.

palm-leaf-plate-dish-eco-friendly-biodegradable__15758.1406555081.1000.1200

9.8″ Round Palm Leaf Plate

bambooleafplate

10″ Square Bamboo Plate

One easy way to create an inspiring autumnal tabletop AND reduce the stress of kitchen clean up, is to use eco-friendly disposable dinnerware.  The Bio & Chic disposables are modern, durable, and made from sustainable materials including bamboo, palm leaf, paper, sugarcane, and light wood. The mini dishes, bowls, plates, and platters are all well suited for an elegant (or rustic) autumnal tabletop and are a perfect tie in with the celebration of the harvest festival. There will still be pots and pans left to wash, but by eliminating the task of doing the dishes, more time can be spent with friends and family.  Click here to see Bio & Chic’s complete line of dinnerware.

Here are a few more “insider” tips to for easier clean up:

  • When prepping, cover the counter top with plastic wrap or newspapers
  • Put foil at the bottom of your oven to catch spills
  • Spritz measuring cups with cooking spray before filling with sticky ingredients like molasses to make cleaning easier
  • Spread a thin layer of cooking oil along the inside rim of your pots to prevent boilovers
  • Fill a large plastic dish tub with hot soapy water right before you sit down for dinner and let all of the dirty pots and pans soak while you’re eating

WISHING YOU A HAPPY, SAFE AND STRESS-FREE THANKSGIVING!

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Candy Crush! (DIY Candy Apples)

Candy apples are a seasonal favorite this time of year. With apples in high season, and Halloween days away, this is a perfect time to add these indulgent treats to your party menu. Better yet, why not be the house that hands out homemade candy apples instead of Starbursts and Milky Ways!

Granny Smithcandy apple.1406554147.1000.1200, Gala, Braeburn, McIntosh – choose your favorite tart, firm apple to get started!

The Food and Wine Dictionary defines candy apples like this: “an apple that’s coated with a cinnamon-flavored red sugary syrup. This candy coating can be either crackly-hard or soft and gooey. A candied-apple clone is the caramel apple, which has a thick, soft caramel-flavored coating.”

But traditional apples-on-sticks have gotten much more creative with chefs and home-cooks making up exciting candy-coated variations for kids and lots of boozy variations like Red Wine Caramel or Bourbon-Pecan Caramel to please the grown ups.

Here is one version by Giada De Laurentiis: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/caramel-chocolate-and-candy-apples-recipe.html#lightbox-recipe-video

In the red candy coated version, that bright red color is a big part of the allure. Instead of using artificial red coloring to give your apples that vibrant punch, there are natural colorings made from organic plant extracts that can be easily made or purchased.  Try experimenting with extracts from beets, elderberry, purple sweet potatoes and other vegetables to make your apples irresistibly and deliciously red.

Candy apples also make whimsical wedding favors. Make Your Wedding Favors blog suggest picking a theme to create apple favors like the Garden theme (red candy apples coated in half crushed nuts), or the Monogram theme (apples dipped in dark chocolate with white frosting to create the bride and grooms initials).  Wrap creatively in natural containers, tie with raffia or ribbon, and offer as one-of-a-kind homemade take-home party favors.

Here are a few eco-friendly products to get you started:

Have a Happy and Safe Eco-Friendly Halloween!

 

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Bake to Make A Difference

file5451310599949Who doesn’t love a bake sale?!  A spontaneous homemade treat, and guilt-free because it that usually supports a good cause!

Bake Sales, one of the most sacred traditions of the American school system, now go far beyond schoolyards and soccer games. A favored type of fundraiser for its simplicity AND for its potential to raise A LOT of money for your cause.

In addition to schoolyard and community center sales, bake sales have gone nationwide, even worldwide, as ways to raise money for good causes, from hurricane relief to helping end childhood hunger (read more about Share Our Strength’s Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry). Cookies for Kids Cancer is a non-profit organization that all began when founder Gretchen Witt had her first bake sale to raise money for pediatric cancer. She baked and sold 96,000 cookies and raised more than $400,000 for research. Today, hosting grassroots Cookies for Kids bake sales are one of the major ways that individuals, businesses and organizations continue to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. For great bake sale tips, photos, inspiration and delicious recipes, see Gretchen’s Best Bake Sale Cookbook.

Here are a few things to think about when having any bake sale, big or small : 1. find a great location where there’s a lot of foot traffic, 2. recruit volunteers early to bring food, tables, napkins, signs, and to promote the sale, and 3. package-to-sell and great presentation.

Packaging-to-sell — this saves a lot of set-up time. It also eliminates any sanitation issues people might worry about.  But most importantly, packaging-to-sell gives you the opportunity to present your food creatively and professionally.

Presentation is probably the MOST important factor in a successful bake sale. Think about setting up your tables by price point — for example $1, $3, $6, or $12. Or, maybe you can divide the goods into categories like cookies & brownies, cake pops & fudge, cakes & pies, cupcakes & muffins. Especially if you get a crowd, the way you set up the table can help you sell more quickly.

cupcake-cups-no-watermarkYou can sell goods by the piece or in larger packs. If you are selling individual items, think about putting them in fun flower-shaped eco-friendly baking cups, or simple Kray boxes with window lids, wood baking molds, or bright colored recyclable cupcake boxes.  Presentations like these quickly impress! Plus, the nicer the presentation, the more likely it is that people will buy (more) items to give as gifts.

If you are packaging your sweets in largermacaroon-cupcakes quantities you can get a little fancier with your presentations. The nicer the presentation, the more you can charge and the more you can make for your cause. At Bio & Chic, our assortment of recyclable containers and packaging pretty much covers all the bases!

Great packaging really can make your bake SALE table look more like a bake SHOP!

Click here to see Bio & Chic’s complete line.

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