Create a Tapas Board for Your Next Get Together

Create a Tapas Board for Your Next Get Together

Now that summer is in full swing and 4th. of July Barbecues, Cook-Outs, and Picnics are done it’s time to plan simple adult get togethers.  Sure the hot dogs, burgers, games, and fireworks of last week were great even though at our house it was on a smaller scale than usual (social distancing and all are still practiced at our house); but I for one am ready for something calmer and more sophisticated.

For the rest of the summer, at least until Labor Day, I’m thinking adult time with a few friends are in order.  Under normal times friends and I usually get together for meals at our favorite restaurants, but with the ominous warnings of second and third waves of this virus going around it seems that most of us are avoiding public places that can possibly get crowded.  So small gatherings at our homes are just the thing.

But hosting any type of event no matter how small still calls for some planning.  Basically what to serve, I don’t worry too much about entertainment as my small gatherings are usually “talk story” time as we say on the island.  I focus more on what to serve.  I try to keep it simple, something I can prepare and serve quickly so that I can spend most of the time with friends and not in the kitchen.

Recently “Boards” have become the rage when it comes to at home entertaining.  I’ve seen Cheese Boards, Charcuterie Boards, Snack Boards, Breakfast Boards, French Fry Boards, and more; some of them are quite elaborate. Boards are really just a way to display and serve food based on some sort of theme.  I love it!   I love and embrace the whole Board idea!

After toying with this whole Board idea I decided that a Tapas Board was something I needed to make.  And why not?  I filled it with our favorite hot and cold Tapas.  Well actually I couldn’t think of a neat way to put my favorite Gambas Al Ajillo on it so I had to serve it on the side, but no big deal.  So what’s on my Tapas Board?  I have Patatas Bravas, Torta (Spanish Omelette), Blistered Peppers, Olives, Pickles, and Queso Fresca. I served a basket of breads on the side, mostly for dipping in the Gambas Al Ajillo’s buttery garlic sauce.  Now served with cocktails, wine or a pitcher of Sangria (I love the Cava Sangria made with a sparkling wine) this Tapas Board is amazing!

Here are a few ideas and recipes you can put on your Tapas Board.  Just remember Tapas are really small portions of Spanish food or any other food you prefer. And a Board is basically a display of the food you’re serving creatively placed on a wood or glass cutting board or tray.  So go ahead and create a Tapas Board for your next gathering!

This article contains affiliate links.

Patatas Bravas

Click here for the recipe!

Torta

Click here for the recipe!

Blistered Peppers

Click here for the recipe!

Blistered Olives

Click here for the recipe!

Gambas Al Ajillo

Click here for the recipe!

 

 

 

 

You can also add:

Olives

Pickles

Cheeses

Nuts

Crackers

Dried or fresh Fruit slices

 

Should You Get Your Kids a Dog for Their Birthday This Year? 5 Considerations to Make

Should You Get Your Kids a Dog for Their Birthday This Year? 5 Considerations to Make

Undoubtedly, receiving a puppy on their birthday is any kids’ idea of the perfect present. However, should you get them a puppy as a surprise? Will they be able to care for your pet for the years to come? 

It is undeniable that welcoming a pet into a household has wonderful benefits, from making your family more social to helping you adopt a more active lifestyle. 

However, before rushing to the nearest breeder, there are some considerations that any parent should do. Don’t underestimate these, as they can genuinely make a difference in the experience you will live with your dog for the years to come.

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels

https://www.pexels.com/photo/portrait-of-a-smiling-young-woman-with-dog-332974/

Getting your kids ready to care for a dog

A dog can change the life and habits of a family, which is something to keep in mind before introducing a dog into a household. Even if you are fully conscious of these changes and ready to adapt, you should avoid surprising your little ones with a puppy for your birthday.

Instead, getting them to participate in the process can help them adapt to the idea of having to care for someone else. Something that you should communicate with your children before adopting a pet include:

  • The necessary change in habits – dogs, especially when they are still puppies, might need a precise routine to follow, which might not be the ideal for you. Indeed, a puppy might need to walk very early in the morning or late in the evening. Your kids should be aware that this is something they might have to attend to, even if it does not fit their schedules.
  • Training – a young puppy will not be house trained at the moment of adoption. You might be fully prepared for it, but your kids should learn to do their part towards it. 
  • Compassion and care  – a dog is a lifelong present that can drastically change everybody’s lives in your household. Your kids need to understand to treat him or her as part of the family and with respect. Indeed, dogs, especially when they are still puppies, are highly responsive to their surrounding environment. Their owner’s behavior can shape their personality and have a significant impact on their attitude.

Ultimately, as ASPCA suggests, pets should be gifted only to individuals that have expressed the desires of owning one, and they are familiar with the responsibilities that come with it. If you are giving a dog to children younger than 12, you should be ready to take full responsibility for training, development, and care.

Educating your kids

Undoubtedly, a dog can fill any children and adults with joy from the moment of bringing him or her into the household. However, your children need to understand that a dog is not a toy to play with until it becomes cumbersome to care for him. 

  • Statistics and choices

While it might not be the easiest of subjects for a conversation with your kids, they should be aware that 6.5 million pets end up in shelters every year just in the US. Speaking about these types of statistics might help them make a conscious choice regarding adopting a pet and sensibilize them to such topics. 

  • Spraying and neutering.

Preventing pets from reproducing is another way to control and limit the number of animals abandoned and currently in shelters. It is essential, especially if your family cannot care for more than one pet at a time.

  • Microchips and collars 

Caring for a dog might also mean that you have to take precautions in place if an excited puppy gets lost on your daily walks. If found by someone else, they need to have the pet owner’s contact details to return it.

  • Pet safety and emotional care 

Lastly, it is vital to instill in your child the importance of treating your dog with care and compassion. Indeed, these loving creatures might be their best friends for the years to come and bring considerable benefits to their development – such as reducing anxiety and providing protection. However, the relationship should be mutual and based on emotional care.

A pet comes with responsibilities.

If you have already decided that your family is ready to welcome a dog, you should not underestimate the responsibilities that come with it. As we have seen, in the case of children younger than 12, you might have to take full responsibility for the dog’s development.

However, as your children get older, you could consider splitting the pet care duties. You might decide to ask your children to feed or walk the dog once a day if this is possible. Alternatively, your little ones might be in charge of picking up the dog’s toys and reorganizing them. 

These might seem little tasks at first, but they can help any family deal with necessary daily tasks. Moreover, you can use this time to teach your children to be accountable and assume their responsibilities. All this might represent a steep learning curve for the whole family, but it will be worth it!

Photo by bin Ziegler from Pexels

https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-dog-beside-little-girl-1364756/

A shelter dog vs. a breeder dog

After clarifying all the points above, it is time to decide on the adoption process. Purchasing a dog from a breeder and adopting it from a shelter has pros and cons. 

Adopting a dog from a shelter

A shelter dog is usually older and sometimes hybrids of mixed-breeds. These characteristics might prevent you from enjoying the puppy stage and have you deal with pre-existing issues. 

If you are not sure about the dog’s behavior and character, it can be dangerous to expose your kids to it. Indeed, if you don’t know how the dog can react in certain situations and what are triggers that can spike episodes of aggressiveness, you should speak to an expert first.

However, sometimes, in shelters, you can find well-behaved and trained dogs that belong to a specific breed. While they might still be older than a puppy, this choice can reduce the number of dogs euthanized each year.

Finding a breeder

On the other hand, deciding to purchase a dog from a respectable breeder allows you to have the first choice on its pedigree and breed. In turn, these characteristics help you choose the right dog for a family with kids. 

Wisely picking a breeder is essential in this case. Indeed, many breeders mainly focus on breeding puppies to increase their incomes. Such unethical practices can be highly detrimental to the health of the parents as well as for the puppies.

However, others are sustainable and knowledgeable and aim at breeding only healthy and high-quality puppies. If you have opted to purchase a dog from a breeder, head to this page to find a highly respectable breeder.

Picking the breed and the puppy

The choice of what dog to get has to take into consideration many factors. Aside from your budget and financial status, you should evaluate the size of your flat or house, as well as the time availability. Some breeds might be more kid-friendly, and some dogs might require a much higher level of exercise than others. 

Ultimately, while contemplating your kid’s opinion, you should speak to the rest of your family and experts before making a choice. When picking a puppy from a litter, remember that the puppy might become excited if the people around him are, and also, kids tend to make their choices based on emotions. Instead, it is vital to make this choice logically to find a puppy that matches your needs perfectly. 

 

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

It’s Cinco De Mayo again and to me that’s the best excuse for a celebration featuring Mexican food and drinks!  Not that I need a reason to enjoy Mexican food, I’m just crazy about it!  No one ever has to twist my arm into making a pitcher of Margaritas or a tray of tacos and burritos.

 

But Cinco De Mayo is still a great excuse to throw a party!  You don’t have to be Mexican in my opinion to celebrate.  But if you really must know the reason Cinco De Mayo is celebrated it’s a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  Just in case you were thinking it’s the Mexican Independence day, it’s clearly not.  I believe the largest Cinco De Mayo celebration is in Puebla.

History aside Cinco De Mayo has become somewhat a part of American culture simple because it involves great food and drinks I think.  What ever the reason it’s a great time to throw a party or at the very least have a “Mexican” night with the family.

It doesn’t have to be an invite the whole neighborhood block party, you can keep it simple and have a pot luck with friends and family or simpler still enjoy some Mexican dishes with just the family.  Here’s a few fun ideas you can use to make your celebration fun for all!

Set up a Margarita Bar

Guests can help themselves to margaritas, you can serve the classic margarita or add a flavored one or two like mango and strawberry.

If you’ve got kids or for any one wanting something non-alcoholic (like the designated driver) put bottles of Jarrito in a tub of ice, don’t forget the bottle opener!

Or set up a Horchata bar with several flavors of this refreshing Mexican drink.

Put up a Pinata

Pinatas are always fun.  They’re colorful and full of candy, what’s not to like?  You can use your pinata as just decoration or you can actually have the kids break it.

If you consider breaking the pinata with a stick too violent, I’m a bit iffy on it too, you can cut a flap on the bottom of your pinata and attach ribbons or string to it.  The kids just have to tug on it to let the candy and other treats out.  This is a safer option specially when there are toddlers involved!

 

 

Set a colorful table!

Use colorful dinnerware at the table and as serving plates.

They don’t have to be ceramic, you can mix and match colorful paper or plastic plates.

 

Decorate with bright colors and props

Dust off the maracas and sombreros and haul out the serapes.  Use colorful balloons, fabrics, banners, paper lanterns and flowers to spruce up the party area.

Don’t forget colorful baskets they can hold everything from flatware to favors!

 

 

 

Serve lots and lots of Mexican Food!

Tacos, burritos, nachos, chimichangas, enchaladas, you name it!  Serve up lots of your favorites.  If you’re just wanting to keep it simple then focus on an entree like fajitas, and serve up sides of rice and beans.  But don’t forget the salsa and guacamole!

If you don’t  a lot of time to cook then whip up a pot of my Beef Barbacoa, you can use it in tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, or whatever you want.  Best of all it’s made in an Instant Pot and can be made in less than 2 hours.  Your friends and family will think you slaved over a hot stove all day!

Here’s the recipe!

This article contains affiliate links

Beef Barbacoa

Ingredients:

3-4 Lbs. Chuck Roast cut into large chunks

2 Tbs Minced Garlic

3-4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (you can buy a can in the Mexican section of the grocery store) – chopped

1 (4oz) can of diced green chiles

1 Onion finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Bay Leaves

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Oregano

1 Tbs Sea Salt

1 Tbs Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp Ground cloves

3/4 Cup Beef Broth

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Directions:

Turn on pot to Saute and heat olive oil

Sear meat chunks in the oil

Add the remaining ingredients on top of the beef

Cover and make sure valve is set to “Sealing”

Change pot setting to Manual and adjust time to 60 minutes

Once it’s done let it sit in the pot for 15 minutes then carefully turn the valve to “venting” to depressurize the pot

 

Remove cover and shred beef – it shouldn’t take much to shred it by now the meat should be falling apart.

Leave in juices until ready to use

Use to fill tacos and burritos or to top nachos.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

You can store leftovers in its juices in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

 

 


Beef Barabacoa Nachos, Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos, or Barbacoa Quesadillas are just a few dishes you can make using the Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa recipe!

Adult Halloween Cocktails

Adult Halloween Cocktails

Halloween is a time for kids, costumes, candies, and fun.  But who says it’s just for kids?  Halloween is loved by the big kids too!  Adults love to dress up and act silly too!  And we certainly enjoy the treats too!  My favorites are those bite sized chocolate bars, specially Snickers!  But if that spooky caldron  of Halloween Hawaiian Punch doesn’t quite do it for you, or you’re looking for something a bit boozy here are some fun Halloween Cocktails for you!

So get out your shakers and blenders and break out the booze to mix up some of these fiendishly yummy Halloween Cocktails!  They’ll be a spooktacular addition to your Adult Halloween Party.  Or you can whip some up and snuggle up with your partner once the kids are tucked in after a long night of trick or treating!  However you decide to imbibe please do so responsibly and don’t drink and drive!

halloween cocktailsThe Flavor Bender’s Witches Heart Halloween Cocktail looks ghoulishly lovely![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsWalking Dead fans will swoon over this Walker Blood Sangria from Cravings of a Lunatic. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 

halloween cocktailsThe Black Beard Cocktail from Honestly Yum will surely chill your bones.  It looks pretty terrifying but don’t be daunted!  It’s a sweet cocktail made with spiced rum and chocolate stout. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsWhip up Tammilee’s (from Tammilee’s Tips) Candy Corn Cocktail.  It uses whipped cream vodka, yum![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

halloween cocktailsSmarty Had a Party mixes up this creamy concoction called Liquified Ghost. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsThis Witch’s Brew by Self Proclaimed Foodie is bewitchingly simple and tasty. [spacer

height=”20px” id=”2″] halloween cocktailsThe Tipsy Bartender’s Soul Reaper Cocktail is scary delish and packs quite a punch! [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsFor Rent’s Green Potion Halloween Cocktail is simple to mix.

 

 

 

Shop Halloween Party Supplies on Zazzle.com

Adult Halloween Party Ideas

Adult Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween is lots of fun.  I’ve mentioned many times that it’s my second most favorite holiday, second only to Christmas.  I love the décor, the costumes, trick or treaters, treats, and most of all the parties.  I’ve been planning and hosting Halloween parties since my kids were young, now we host them for the grandkids and their buddies.  But Halloween parties aren’t just for kids, adults love them too!

Throwing an adult Halloween party is pretty much like throwing a kids’ Halloween party, but with a bit more.  When throwing kids Halloween parties you to keep decorations less scary, the food simpler, the games and activities geared for the appropriate age groups, and of course the drinks all non-alcoholic.  Adult Halloween parties can be spookier and more sophisticated.  You can go to town with the décor; you can go for gory themes à la Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a subtler vintage theme like the Haunted Mansion, or a more sophisticated theme like maybe channeling trendy designers like Kate Spate and decorate with black and white stripes and polka dots.  Really the possibilities are endless.

Adult Halloween parties also require food that’s a bit heartier and more sophisticated than mummy pizzas.  You can spread out a dinner buffet or for small parties host a spooky sit down dinner.  And of course you can serve booze!

As for party activities you have lots to choose from, including some drinking games!  Or if you prefer you can watch scarier movies that you wouldn’t want the kids to watch.

Here are some ideas to help you plan your Adult Halloween Party this year!

adult halloween partyVintage Halloween décor from Wedding Paper Divas

You can order cool Halloween invites from them too!  Click here! (affiliate link)[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyHere’s a spooky idea from the Krazy Coupon Lady.  Glowing patio stairs!

Click here to learn how!

She’s got lots of ideas for decorating with glow sticks too![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyBubble, bubble toil and trouble!  I love this spooky cauldron from Home and Style![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyI love this classy dessert table by Smash Cake Southern California!

Sophisticated and spooky!

adult halloween partyFloating candles are cool, specially for Harry Potter fans!  Your theme can even be Harry Potter.

Learn how to do this and get more Harry Potter ideas from Eating Bender!  Click here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyChic and sophisticated, I love this spooky stripe setting by Elle Decor!  It brings the trendy look of Kate Spade to mind.

adult halloween partyJello shots, literally”brain” dip!  Learn how from the Stylista!

adult halloween party
[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

adult halloween partyFor drinking games with a Halloween twist check out Celebration’s ideas here!

This is the Halloween version of classic beer pong![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

halloween cocktailsAnd don’t forget the booze.  Click here for some spooktacular cocktail recipes from around the web![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Tiny Prints Halloween Invitations and Cards

Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party Ideas

Photo by Savvy Nana

Halloween is on Friday.  It’s not to late to throw a Halloween party.  When my kids were young we used to throw a pre-trick-or-treat party, it was lots of fun!

Consider inviting friends over for pot luck, it makes it easier to feed excited kids.  And making one dish to share is easier than preparing the whole dinner yourself.

A few games before hitting the streets gets the evening off to a good start.  Then wind things down after trick-or-treating by sharing a good Halloween book or watching a scary movie.

Here are a few ideas to jump start your party.

Dinner Suggestions:

A spooky twist on pigs-in-blankets.  These Mummy Dogs from Raining Hot Coupons are easy to make and will surly be a hit.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Halloween Party Ideas

Courtesy of Delish

Jack-o-Lantern Sandwiches from Delish.com are really just layers of ham and cheese baked in ready made pie crust.  If you prefer you can use slicked turkey or other cold cuts instead of the ham.

Halloween twist on deviled eggs by Delicious as it Looks.

Halloween Party Ideas

Courtesy of Momtastic

This spider web dip is a spooky variation of party favorite 7 Layer Dip from Momtastic.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Party

Courtesy of Just A Taste

Had to throw these adorable Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops from Just a Taste!  They are too cute!

 

 

 

 

 

This Pumpkin Fudge Eclair Cake from Inside Bru Crew Life looks super yummy!

Click here for recipe.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Party Ideas

Savvy Nana

Witches brew is always a hit at our parties.  Any punch will do, it’s the fog that makes this spooky fun.
DIY Dry Ice click here.
How to use dry ice in drinks safely click here.

For more Halloween dinner recipes click here!
For Homemade Halloween treat recipes click here!

 

 

Games:

Halloween Party Ideas

A fall party staple is bobbing for apples, if you don’t want to get wet try tying donuts on strings and let the players chomp away.

Halloween Party Ideas

Instead of pinning the tail on the donkey dis-assemble a jointed skeleton cut out and have the kids re-assembling it blind folded.

Halloween Party Ideas

Instead of a pinata try this Pop Goes the Pumpkin from MarthaStewart.com.  The Pumpkin makes a cute decoration and the kids will love popping the balloons to find their surprise.

Halloween Party Ideas

For some ghoulishly good fun have blind folded kids guess which body part they are touching.

Simply place assorted food in containers and have the blind folded child stick her hand in each container to feel around, she must guess the body part that is in each container.

Use peeled grapes for “eyes”, cold cooked spaghetti for “hair”,  etc.

When the fun and food are over gather your ghosts and goblins to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood.  By the end of the evening you will most likely have a group of over tired kids, wind them down with a quiet activity such as reading a Halloween book or watching a Halloween movie.