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Tips to Select Food & Beverage for an Outdoor Party

March 30th, 2013 4:43 am

Selecting the right table fare can make your next backyard party memorable for your guests and stress free for you. Whether you are entertaining five close friends or 50 guests, follow these simple principles to make the most intelligent food and beverage choices

Food Selection

Select a menu that fits the atmosphere of your outdoor party. For smaller, less formal gatherings keep it simple – snack-sized finger foods such as chips and dip or salsa, nut mixes, fruit kabobs, sliced and dipped fruit, cheese and crackers or cold cuts and cheese work very well. This is particularly important if people may be standing when they eat.

When possible, select dishes that can be served at room temperature – dips, fruits, veggies and insalata caprese all fit the bill – recipes that don’t require an oven or stove will simplify party preparation and keep the kitchen cool on warm summer evenings. In addition, serve foods that can be prepared in advance and then only need the finishing touches just before meal time. If you are planning a full menu for your guests select a single main entre and a few complimentary sides. For example, barbecue is a traditional choice for backyard get-togethers – you can bake the meats well ahead of time and then simply put them on the grill just before meal time to heat through and glaze with your favorite BBQ sauce. Add some veggies, a salad and in-season fruit and you have a meal. Another great option are kabobs- make them ahead of time and grill them just before serving. Finally, avoid steamed vegetables, they tend to get cold or soggy rather quickly, opt instead for grilled.

Beverages

Have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options available for your guests. For alcoholic drinks have a simple selection of red and white wines, a domestic and import beer, and a marquee cocktail such as a martini, Mojitos or Bloody Mary. You can also add an exotic “signature” drink to give your guests a new experience and something to remember – but select something you can prepare ahead and by the pitcher to keep you from bartending when you should be socializing. Cater to your guest list.

For non-alcoholic choices you can never have enough water, particularly on hot summer days. Offer bottled water or keep a couple colorful pitchers filled and ready to go. Also have a couple types of sodas, including a cola and clear soda in both diet and regular. If you will have kids attending, have a bowl of cherries for a Shirley Temple or cherry cola available. Finally keep juice boxes chilled and on standby for parents who don’t want to give their children soda and for the kids who may not be happy with only water.

Depending on the temperature and length of party, you should budget for three drinks per guest, or about one and a half per hour. Keep drinks on ice in beverage tubs stationed around the party area rather than unsightly Styrofoam or plastic coolers. Keep a towel and bottle opener nearby so guests can easily serve themselves.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you and your guests eat, drink and be merry at your next backyard bash.

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse and drug addiction

February 6th, 2013 1:59 am

Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of addiction are similar. See if you recognize yourself in the following signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. If so, consider talking to someone about your drug use.
Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse

You’re neglecting your responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g. flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting your children) because of your drug use.
You’re using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex.
Your drug use is getting you into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit.
Your drug use is causing problems in your relationships, such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.

Common signs and symptoms of drug addiction

You’ve built up a drug tolerance. You need to use more of the drug to experience the same effects you used to attain with smaller amounts.
You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you go too long without drugs, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety.
You’ve lost control over your drug use. You often do drugs or use more than you planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. You may want to stop using, but you feel powerless.
Your life revolves around drug use. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the drug’s effects.
You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of your drug use.
You continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you. It’s causing major problems in your life—blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia—but you use anyway.

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