Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Festive Fourth of July Sweets

Out-and-About Cheesecake

This no-bake dessert combines sweetened brie and cream cheese with fresh blueberries in single-serving cups that are perfect for backyard parties.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes

save to recipe box
already saved
add to shopping list Ingredients
1 4-oz. round Brie cheese
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup butter toffee-glazed sliced almonds or honey-roasted almonds
8 purchased maple leaf candies (optional)
1. Remove and discard Brie rind. Let Brie and cream cheese stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften. In a medium mixing bowl beat Brie, cream cheese, sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Set aside.

2. Divide blueberries and cheese mixture among eight 10-ounce disposable drinking glasses, alternating layers of berries and cheese. Sprinkle almonds over cheese mixture. Cover each cup with plastic wrap; secure with decorative string. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving. Top with maple leaf candies before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Test Kitchen Tip: To make one large cheesecake instead of individual servings, place blueberries in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart rectangular plastic storage container. Dollop with cheese mixture and spread over berries to form an even layer. Sprinkle almonds over cheese mixture. Cover to tote.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8 servings Calories 225, Total Fat (g) 16, Saturated Fat (g) 9, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 4, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1, Cholesterol (mg) 45, Sodium (mg) 193, Carbohydrate (g) 15, Total Sugar (g) 11, Fiber (g) 4, Protein (g) 6, Vitamin C (DV%) 14, Calcium (DV%) 7, Iron (DV%) 3, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Frozen Berry-Orange Bombe
This layered dessert, featuring raspberry sorbet, chocolate ice cream, and orange liqueur looks flashy but it's so simple to make. Prep takes just 15 minutes.

Prep: 15 minutes
Freeze: 1 hour plus 4 hours

save to recipe box
already saved
add to shopping list Ingredients
3 cups strawberry or raspberry sorbet, softened
2 cups low-fat or light chocolate ice cream
1 tablespoon orange liqueur or orange juice
2 cups fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or strawberries
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
1. Line a 2-quart bowl with plastic wrap. Press sorbet on bottom and two-thirds up the sides of the bowl to form a shell. Cover and freeze at least 1 hour.

2. Soften chocolate ice cream. Gently stir in orange liqueur or orange juice. Spoon into the center of the sorbet shell, pressing down to remove air bubbles. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours.

3. Unmold frozen mixture. Remove plastic wrap. Serve with berries. If desired, garnish with mint. Makes 10 servings.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 123, Total Fat (g) 1, Saturated Fat (g) 1, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 0, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 2, Sodium (mg) 17, Carbohydrate (g) 27, Total Sugar (g) 24, Fiber (g) 1, Protein (g) 1, Vitamin C (DV%) 40, Calcium (DV%) 4, Iron (DV%) 1, Fruit (d.e.) 2, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Berry Dessert Nachos
This dessert is ideal for backyard get-togethers. Bake cinnamon tortilla chips until they're crispy and then top them with fresh berries and low-fat whipped cream. Serve cinnamon ice cream on the side.

Bake cinnamon tortilla chips until crispy, then top with berries and low-fat cream topping.
SERVINGS: 6 servings

3 8-inch plain or whole wheat flour tortillas
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup fat-free or light dairy sour cream
3/4 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups fresh raspberries and/or blackberries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon grated semisweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, dessert topping, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and chill while preparing tortillas.

2. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges; arrange on two ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely.

3. To serve, divide tortilla wedges among six dessert plates. Top with raspberries and/or blackberries and sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with almonds and grated chocolate. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Servings: 6 servings
Calories 213
Total Fat (g) 7
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 8
Sodium (mg) 168
Carbohydrate (g) 31
Fiber (g) 5
Protein (g) 5
Diabetic Exchanges
Fruit (d.e.) .5
Other Carbohydrates (d.e.) 1.5
Fat (d.e.) 1.5

Receipes provided by Better Homes & Garden

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Plan a Wedding Reception Seating Chart

Planning the seating chart for a wedding reception can be time consuming and stressful. Reduce the stress by following this simple plan.

Follow the steps outlined below to plan the seating chart for a wedding reception.

Map out the room on a piece of poster board. Make sure to note the band or DJ, cake table, restrooms, dance floor, entrances/exits, and buffet table if applicable. Draw each table and the amount of seats that accompany each table. Talk to the event coordinator at the reception site and ask him/her how many people each table can sit comfortably.

Decide whether the guests will be assigned to a table or a specific seat. A couple can specify that guests sit at a certain table number, and the guests can seat themselves where they choose to sit at that specific table. Or the couple can put place cards at each seat.

Give each table a name or number. Some couples prefer to number the tables while some prefer to give each table a name that is personal to their relationship. For example, a couple that loves to travel may name each table a place that they have been together (Paris, Rome, Florida Keys, Wisconsin).

Retrieve the pile of RSVPs and sort them, so all the “yes” responses are together. If there are some missing and it is past the date listed on the RSVP, then call those people and let them know that a final count is needed.

Count all the people that will be attending the event and make sure that there are enough seats available in the seating chart that you made above. If there aren’t enough seats, then another table may have to be added. If there are too many seats, then add more space in places that might be congested by decreasing the amount of tables in that area. Consult the wedding coordinator for help.

Begin to sort the guests using the RSVP cards to get a rough estimate of who should sit together. For example, if the reception area can hold ten tables of eight, one would separate the RSVP cards into ten piles of eight. Couples should work together on this to make it easier.

Once the RSVP cards have been sorted into the right amount of people per table, check each pile for elderly, small children, pregnant women, and anyone with a disability. Place those people at the top of the pile, so they can be given priority seating near the front and close to the bathrooms.

Also, place family and close friends at the top of each pile, because they should be given priority.

Figure out how many children will be attending the wedding reception. Are there enough to have a children’s table? If the children are under the age of seven, they should probably sit with their parents.

Place each pile of guests on a table on the seating chart composed on the poster board. Arrange them until each pile is on a table.

Using a pencil (in case of last minute changes) print the name of each guest at his/her seat on the poster board. If assigning guests to tables and not seats, write their names inside the table.
A few more tips:

Go over the seating chart and layout of the room multiple times with the wedding coordinator before the wedding, so he/she can give advice and make comments. Give the wedding coordinator the seating chart the day before the wedding, so he/she can make sure the room is set up in the right order.

If there will be place cards, put them in alphabetical order before handing them over to the wedding coordinator. It will help him/her easily find the names when putting out the place cards on the day of the wedding.

Posted by April Bowles

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How To Choose The Perfect Gown

We are going to pick a designer to showcase their wedding gowns.

When you make a decision to pick your dress remember it is different from when you picked your prom dress, sweetheart dress, and even your cotillion gown. Now you have step up in the big lead.

As you take your journey view thousands and thousand of dresses you want to make sure you remember the important things....

(Maggie Sottero) www.maggiesottero.com

A long formal dress is suitable for a church wedding of a civil ceremony although many brides do prefer wearing a smart dress or tailored suit for the Registry office.

Some religions also frown on sleeveless dresses or low cut outfits and this will need to be taken into account too.

No matter which style you pick, remember that the back view is as important as the front, you will have you back to everyone during the ceremony.

Choose fabric that is resistant to crushing and creasing.

Detachable trains that can be removed or hooked up are also wise.

Dress ideas and colours will need to be discussed with the groom without revealing all the details so that the colours and styles of the wedding party can be coordinated.

Look in the mirror

Be realistic and don’t try and aim for what Hollywood starlets look like on their wedding days, most of us don’t have personal trainer and chefs to look after us and help keep us in shape.

Don’t set your goal posts too close to the moon, you will only be disappointed and feel like a failure when your big day is meant to be a celebration of your love for one another.

Concentrate on the real you!

Think about what you normally wear, what colours suit you and which styles flatter you figure and most important, which outfits make you feel on top of the world, What type of ceremony and theme are you looking to create- traditional or relaxed, formal or informal.


White dresses are not obligatory these days, if you don’t feel white is your colour or will complement you then don’t wear it.

Wedding gowns are becoming increasingly popular in cream, pale gold, pale blue, pale pink and red. There is also a trend these days to go for darker colours like burgundy or shades of green which is a beautiful idea for a Christmas wedding.

You will feel better in a dress that flatters your complexion or one of your favourites instead of going with white because it seems to be the norm. If wearing a bright coloured dress the details should be kept to a minimum.

The Right Style for your Shape

Choosing a style that flatters your shape can make a huge difference to how you look and also give you a huge confidence booster.

Trying on dresses that either don’t suit your body or the ceremony is not only a waste of time but can also depress you and you might find that you give in a buy the wrong dress anyway. A sure fire way to put a dampener on your big day. Dresses that don’t cost a fortune are available at http://www.everyweddithing.co.uk along with all the accessories you will need.

Tall and Thin

-- Choose a ball gown with a strapless, fitter bodice
-- Bony shoulders or collar bones can will suit dresses with a higher neckline that are long and fitted
-- If you feel you are too thin for this style consider that you can set of your height and leanness with some delicate detailed embroidery or beading.

Short with a fuller, feminine Figure

-- Try an empire line dress which has a seam under the bust line and in the right fabric, the dress will flow instead of cling
-- A Knee length dress will also look good, the longer dress will add height and give you a taller silhouette
-- Sleeves should also be long but not too tight if considered.

Thick Waist

-- Conceal a wide waist with a boned corset or wear a decorative jacket that falls just below the waistline
-- Avoid fitted ballerina styles

Very Full Bust

-- To draw attention away from the bust choose a dress with a long bodice or cowl neck
-- Dresses with a natural waistline will draw attention to the bust area
-- Pick a plain bodice and avoid low necklines
-- Pick a detailed hem if you want to add a little something that you feel might be missing on the top

Full or Wide Hips

-- Avoid bustles and ruffles or tiered dresses
-- Most styles will look great but avoid tight styles around the hips
-- Princess styles that are fitted on the top and flare slightly to the hem will help disguise larger hips
-- Ball gown styles in simple fabrics will also draw attention away from the hips

Big bottom

-- Avoid bows or back fastening ties
-- Consider a light train from the top of the bodice or waist

Wide Shoulders

-- Wide straps will narrow the appearance of your shoulders or cover then completely
-- Draw the focus to a v-neckline
-- Wearing a sheer wrap will also soften the effect
-- Do not wear puffed sleeves, don’t even consider them!

Short or heavy legs

-- Opt for a long dress
-- Sheath styles which are straight but not too clingy will add height

Short Arms

-- Three Quarter length sleeves will be flattering
-- Do not go sleeveless

Chubby Arms

-- Choose long simple sleeves that are not too tight
-- Wear a bolero, shrug or wrap

Pregnant Brides

Maternity bridal wear is a fairly specialist item to fin and not offered at standard bridal shops. Having a bump does not equal frump. Pregnant brides can still have the dress of the dreams.

If you are having a baby or have just had a baby then take into account the fact that you are going to have long day, so go for comfort when choosing what to wear.

Don’t try to squeeze in a corset style dress in the size you used to be.
Your dress will have to allow for your changing shape and you will need to find a reliable dress maker for last minute alterations.

If you want to disguise the pregnancy go for a dress that is one size up and getting the bust altered. A big bouquet will also disguise the tummy area.
You do not need to sacrifice style to be comfortable, tight waists and figure hugging dresses with tightly laced bodices are not worth sparing a thought for as they will only torment you on your special day.

Focus on showing off your new curves with a focus on the shoulders or bust
Styles that are perfect for the pregnant bride are Empire lines, princess lines or A line dresses. These styles flare from under the bust, the empire line has a straighter skirt. A Chiffon overlay can be added to soften the lines of your dress or opt for a medieval style dress with long flowing sleeves.

Made to measure maternity bridal wear is available at www.everyweddingthing.co.uk at an affordable price.

Some guidelines when deciding on a dress:

-- Try on as many different styles as you like and view them from as many different angles as possible, take some shoes along that will be similar in height to the ones you may wear. To get the full effect have the shop fit you out in a veil with the dress as you wont want to take your wedding dress with you when you go veil shopping
-- Take your time to make a decision and don’t feel pressured by pushy sales people.
-- How much deposit is required and when is the balance due
-- Does the price include VAT
-- How much extra are the alterations
-- How far before the wedding must you order
-- How many fitting will be required and do they offer Saturday or after hours fittings
-- Can you arrange a fitting with accessories, lingerie and shoes
-- Get confirmation of all appointments and money paid in writing
-- How far before the wedding will the dress arrive
-- Do the shop offer storage garment bags
-- Ask about the care instructions for getting the crease out before your big day
-- What is the shops policy on cancellations
-- Have you added the dress to your wedding insurance
-- If you are going to hire your dress, check to see if the chosen dress will be available on your day, cleaned and ready for collection. Does the hire price include a full 24 hours. Does the dress have to be cleaned before its returned (an added expense) After the wedding who will be entrusted with delivering the dress back to the hire shop as it should be

About the author:
Hellen McMaster is a successful wedding professional helping brides pick the best dresses that suit them at www.everyweddingthing.co.uk along with all the necessary accessories like veils, tiaras and jewellery.

Hellen also has a sister website specialising in wedding stationery design and favours at affordable prices. Widest range of Tartan and Scottish themed stationery on the internet and also uses the exclusive Pride of Scotland theme ribbon

By Hellen McMaster

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Tribute To Father's Day

A Dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.

A dad can be one
of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient
and helpful and strong
In all that you do,
a dad's love plays a part.

There's always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your dad!

Thank you, Dad...
for listening and caring,
for giving and sharing,
but, especially, for just being you!

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day Cocktail!

Father's Day is a special occasion and it is a great excuse to make your father a special drink. Whip up Dad this manley drink Azucar Morena!

Drink Recipe Ingredients:

1.5 oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label
2 oz. cream soda
1 dash granulated brown sugar
1 fresh lime(s)

Drink Recipe Preparation:

Rub rim of a rocks glass with half a lime and dip into brown sugar to coat.
Add ice, Johnnie Walker Black Label and squeeze a lime on top.
Add cream soda.

Drink Receipe provided by The Bridal Lounge

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Charlotte Combats Fatherless Homes

According to statistics, over half of Black American households are single-headed female households. The National Institute of Health, reports that almost 70% of Black children are born out of wedlock. This Father's Day marks a step in the right direction.

A major call to couples starts this week for those who want to get married via Marry Your Baby Daddy Day™, and are ready to strengthen their 2 parent home. These are loving couples who want a chance to tie the knot in front of their community and families. On September 24, 2009, 5 chosen couples will take a leap into the next phase of their journey together as husband and wife. Local celebrity wedding dress designers, cake makers, wedding planners and more are all on board to make this a day 5 loving couples with children will never forget in Charlotte, NC. It's a free all expenses landmark event.

"This is a momentous occasion for all of Charlotte and its families. I am glad to be a part of change," Amanda Sherman, Charlotte wedding planner and MYBDD™ licensee says. She and her company, Gala Affairs By AtUrBest, are facilitating the event in September at the Charlotte Museum of History.

Other Charlotte participating vendors include: Resident Inn Marriott, April's Floral Expressions,
Homewood Suites Charlotte Research Park, Uptown Limousine Luxury Car Service, and more.

"This is the first event of its kind in Charlotte. The phone is constantly ringing with couples ready to take their vows for their relationship and their kids. This September, fathers will not only be saying "yes" to mommy, but their children too," Reid says, author and founder of Marry Your Baby Daddy Day™. Recently, she wrote an article in Newsweek about individual responsibility and the impact of the Obama family on psyches of black unmarried parents and the growing number of out of wedlock Black children.

To date, MYBDD™ has been featured on CNN, 20/20, NBC Nightly News, CBS Early Show, Baltimore Sun, NPR, The New Yorker, the Wendy Williams Experience, etc.

Media interested in interviews or doing a series should call 212 946 5164 or email bstewart@marryyourbabydaddy.com.

For more information on MYBDD™ in Charlotte, NC please go to www.marryyourbabydaddy.com or call 212 946 5164.

About Marry Your Baby Daddy, Inc.

MYBDD™ is an all expenses paid wedding event that began in NYC in 2005 with 10 couples as an effort to strengthen 2 parent households in local communities. There have been several events since then. MYBDD has received national recognition for its efforts.

About Maryann Reid

Maryann Reid is an author of women's fiction for St. Martins Press and founder of MYBDD, LLC. She is also a sought after tv/radio relationship expert and can be seen regularly and local and national talk shows like the CBS Early Show, ABC NEWS, Wendy Williams, and others.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wedding Planning with Less Stress

Beginning to plan a Wedding can actually have fun during the process. At AFavor4U we help plan weddings everyday and we'd like to share a few key planning elements with you.

It is crucial to keep the right attitude. Don't let the importance of the day overwhelm you. Yes, it may be the most important day of your life, but something will inevitably go wrong and if you keep your sense of humor everything will be beautiful! It can only be the perfect day if you relax and let it be.

It helps to start your planning as early as possible. Nothing will stress you out more than having too many last minute details to deal with. Having all of the little details planned well in advance will give you luxury of time to pamper yourself on the day of the wedding.

Set a budget and stick to it. Wondering how you are going to pay for everything will suck the joy out of your wedding and WORSE your honeymoon!

Decide on a tone and style. Do you want a traditional or contemporary wedding? Formal? Casual? Deciding on these issues early will help with Gown selection, color selection, reception location, flower choice....well everything! Important Tip Don't be afraid to include contemporary, traditional, formal or casual elements to suite your personalities and style. It's your wedding, it should be about YOU not a rigid set of rules.

Share some tasks with trusted friends and relatives. Lighten the load a little, you don't have to do everything.

Find good service providers and suppliers. Look for quality as well as price. Also, look for good service and the willingness to work with you. Check references, better business listings, get recommendations from friends. Quality dependable providers will reduce your stress tremendously.

Finally, remember to include exercise in your daily routine. After a day filled with tasks and decisions you deserve a little time to yourself. Set aside at least half an hour to do an activity that best suits you. This can involve going to the local gym, swimming, sports, yoga or even walking around your neighborhood. This will help relieve much stress and help you feeling fit, trim, and beautiful.

Provided by AFavor4U

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Perfect Wedding Guide's Summer Bridal Show

Date: Sunday, June 21, 2009
Place: Hilton Charlotte University Place
Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Price: $10 AT THE DOOR
Location: 8629 JM Keynes Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Contact: Cathy Terry
Phone: 704.814.0969
Email: charlotte@pwg.com
Website: www.charlottebridalshow.com

Perfect Wedding Guide's Summer Bridal Show will be the place to be on June 21st to plan your entire wedding in ONE day! The beautiful ballrooms at the Hilton University Place in Charlotte, NC will have some of Charlotte's finest wedding professionals on hand to help you plan your Perfect day.

Fashions, Photography, Catering, Bridal Consultants, Ceremony Locations, Hotel Accommodations, DJ's, Flowers, Gift Registry and more, will all be available in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

-Receive expert advice
-Win Fabulous gifts and prizes
-Taste cakes and catering specilaties
-Save time and money

One lucky bride-to-be will win a honeymoon giveaway compliments of Mann Travels and American Express Vacations!

Pre-register online and receive $5 off the $10 admission. Bride will be admitted free with one paid admission. CASH ONLY AT THE DOOR.

How To Pick The Perfect Wedding Music

If you’re about to be married, you, know that the most important part of the wedding is the actual wedding ceremony itself. And one of the most important aspects of the wedding ceremony, besides the exchange of vows, is the music.

"Music has the power to set a mood, evoke emotion, and give moment cohesiveness," says Nina Calloway of About.com. "Are you a traditional Wagner's "Here Comes the Bride" and Pachelbel's "Canon in D" type of couple? Or are you more contemporary, looking for a song that captures your spirit like Norah Jones's "Come Away with Me"?"

Experts say the most important factor in choosing wedding music for the ceremony, is where you are holding the event. "If your ceremony will not be in a religious setting, you can choose just about any kind of music you like -- although you will want to stay within the bounds of good taste!," according to WedAlert.com. "On the other hand, if your ceremony will be in a church or synagogue, or conducted by a clergy person at another location, you will probably need to stay within guidelines set by the clergy person or the church."

There are several distinct parts of the wedding ceremony and each merits different kinds of wedding songs. In the prelude, for instance, when guests are gathering in anticipation of the beginning of the ceremony, it is often advisable to have gentle jazz or chamber music, according to elegala.com "The music should not overpower the mood; rather, it should complement the budding excitement," says the site. On the other hand, the music for the bride’s entrance should reflect the excitement and be dramatic and sweeping. "The traditional selection is Wagner's Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride), but many brides are not afraid to insert something a little more reflective of their unique personality," says the site.

You might also choose to have a vocalist singing anywhere from one to four wedding songs during the ceremony, according to WedAlert.com: "Appropriate places in the ceremony for vocal selections, depending on church guidelines, may include: (1) during the seating of the mothers or lighting of candles by the mothers; (2) immediately before the processional; (3) before the vows; (4) during the lighting of the Unity Candle; and (5) during the serving of communion to the congregation, if this is included in the ceremony."

In order to find just the right songs for the vocalist, you can ask her for her own suggestions and then ask to hear her sing a few selections. "Before deciding whether the songs suggested by your musicians are really what you want, you should go to a store that sells sheet music and songbooks and browse in the wedding section," advises WedAlert. "Chances are, you may find something that more closely expresses what you want to say than the songs suggested by your musicians." Further, you might even want to hire a songwriter to pen a custom wedding song just for you.

However you choose your music for that special ceremony, keep in mind that the music is bound to be one of the things your guests remember most. If it’s special to you, it will be special to them, as well.

The Web has all the information you need to select the right wedding songs for your special occasion. Be it instrumental wedding music or wedding love songs for vocalists, you can count on sites like Ez-Tracks.com to provide a full complement of musical alternatives. Saying "I Do" has never been this much fun!

By Wendy Aron