May 27, 2011

Denise at Home with Lisa Quinn

Denise talks easy and elegant buffet table tops for home entertaining.  Her incredibly creative ideas will help you pull off an unforgettable party using what you already have.  Genius!

May 25, 2011

Denise Speaking at IACP Conference in Austin

Denise will be speaking (in her PJs) at the IACP conference in Austin, Texas next week! Will you be there?

Ten Smart Tips to Make Any Food Image Look Appealing 

Thursday – June 2nd

11:00pm – 12:00am  (part of the “Night Owl” sessions)

Meeting Room 408

Click here for more information and to register.

May 16, 2011

Book Review: Carrots 'N' Cake by Tina Haupert

 This was a very pleasurable read and review to post, seeing as Miss Mandy has been following Tina's blog for the past three years.  I know not everyone enjoys personal blogs and wonders why people care what people are eating or if their dog found the peanut butter jar again or whether or not someone's husband got that big promotion...but Mandy does.

She can find a recipe anywhere, but as a self-proclaimed voyeur (of the non-creepy variety-think rabid documentary watcher) and food obsessor, personal food blogs are so in her wheelhouse, she has two of her own!

Tina has taken her own experience with healthy weight loss and weight maintenance, fitness and nutrition that so many have enjoyed reading and created her first book, which is named after her blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.  This is like having your best girlfriend tell you what worked for her to get rid of a few extra pounds, then you go for a jog with her and bake lower sugar muffins.

This is a light read perfect for the summer days ahead.  Mandy found it most interesting how Tina talks about no matter how confessional a blog may be, by putting your thoughts out there for public consumption, you are automatically more accountable for those thoughts.  For example, Tina talks about her previous scale habit, and how she couldn't suggest that her readers get stuck on a number to determine whether or not their bodies were healthy, or if they were "thin enough" without taking her own advice and banish her own scale.  Mandy has seen the positive effects bloggers have had on each other and on a wider audience.  Although it's a strange concept, internet friendships are a very real thing, and Tina is a great "friend" to have!

It's also an inspiring read for those who want their work to be more about who they are, rather than just having a job.  Tina moved from administrative work, to full-time blogger and writer, which is no easy feat.

Here's a recipe from the book that Mandy loves to make on a chilly morning after a morning jog.

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

1 packet Maple Brown Sugar instant oatmeal
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup liquid egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl, and mix well.  Cook in microwave on high for two minutes.  Allow to cool before enjoying.

May 14, 2011

A Thank You Is Never Forgotten


 In an often thankless world, it is so heartening to receive something like this in your inbox:

Dear Ms Vivaldo,

I just wanted to say thanks for your very helpful guides to starting
a food business. I am in my fourth year of start-up (the first three
years I was trying to force myself into a personal chef toque, and
have finally caved into my urge to do strictly events). I have had
a copy of How To...Catering Business for over a decade, but haven't
let myself devour it until now. Even though I have a 1993 edition
which actually has a lot of stamp and envelope talk and a "computer-
optional" stance (that was the early '90s for ya), I am still
enjoying the hell out of reading this, and it is helping me focus
and take the steps to get my company out there and working! Thanks
again, your work is making mine possible!

Hannah Curry
Houston, TX

It's not only the kind words, but the fact that Hannah took time out of her day to let me know that our work is appreciated.  This has inspired me to tell my neighbor I like her hairdo, and to tell the best cashier at the grocery store that I happily wait in her line even when I could get out faster at another check stand, because dammit, she's worth it! 

Now go forth and compliment!  It's good for your complexion.

May 6, 2011

Melissa's Produce

We are so thankful to Melissa's Produce for sending us some of their gorgeous produce to next week's workshop in Singapore.  They also provided the produce for our Master Class in Culver city this Spring, and let me tell you what a difference pretty, fresh produce makes to our pictures!

We are blown away by their generosity and old fashioned customer service.  We recommend them highly for your produce and specialty food needs.

Follow them on Facebook or Twitter!  And here's a scrumptious Melissa's Produce recipe to start your weekend off right.

3         cups  All-Purpose Flour
1         teaspoon  Salt
1         teaspoon  Baking Powder
1         teaspoon  Baking Soda
3         teaspoons  Ground Cinnamon
3         Eggs
1         cup  Canola Oil
2 1/4     cups  Granulated Sugar
3         teaspoons  Pure Vanilla Extract
2         cups  Zucchini (about 1 large one) -- grated
2         Fresh Lemons,  zest only
2 (3 oz.) packages  Melissa's Dried Blueberries

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Spray 2 loaf pans (8 x 4 inch) with non-stick cooking spray. Next, line the pans with parchment paper and spray again with the cooking spray. 

In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, cream together the eggs, canola oil, vanilla extract and sugar. When the mixture is done, it should be smooth and white-ish in color. Next slowly add the sifted ingredients. Mix until smooth and well combined. Remove the whisk and attach a paddle to the mixer. Add the zucchini, lemon zest and blueberries and mix until well combined. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack, in the pans, for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from the baking pans and remove the parchment paper to cool completely on the rack.

Makes 2 loaves of bread.