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Barbecuing on Labor Day

 Barbecuing on Labor Day
By Kaliyath Achutha Kumar

Labor Day is a much awaited occasion in United States which is greeted by all sections of society with true and un-parallel enthusiasm and is declared as a federal holiday. A holiday is a holy day’ and of course it should be celebrated! As a part of the celebrations ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’ has become much popular. The day which was originally meant for commemorating the rights of the working class is now seen as a customary farewell given to summer season and is observed during the first Monday of September every year. This emblematic farewell has truly become a conventional rejoicing day throughout United States. This year’s exciting occasion comes on the seventh of September and many people add quality and charm to that auspicious day by arranging a ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’.

Barbecuing is really a treat by itself and ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’ will generate much more happiness because of the prevailing holiday mood! The whole atmosphere will be saturated with holiday vibrations and everywhere you will see the richness of excitement. Waves of the festive vibes will be having an upbeat mood creating a lively jubilation all round the place. People will be busy in arranging their own ways of celebrations and this creates a bubbly nature throughout the nation. ‘Barbecuing on Labor Day’ amidst this euphoria will generate tons of pleasure for you!

Summer will be fading away soon and the season’s last moments should be enjoyed in all possible ways! This kind of a ‘mind-set’ adds much glory to ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’! You can prefer outdoor table settings as it is still summer outside! Don’t go after extravagant decorative items but take care to give the area an appearance which suits the prevailing festive mood! If you can use paper plates it will be gainful and at the same time convenient also. You can find colored plates with matching cups, napkins and other accessories at every store. Another novel feature of the modern celebrations is the usage of ‘bogus leaves’ and ‘bogus ice-cubes’ which will be scattered around the table and the surrounding places. This symbolizes the fall of summer and arrival of winter and is an eloquent way of expression by which you can beautify ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’!

While arranging the decorations for the ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’ the whole area should be considered; not just the main area! You will have to give an alluring look to the entire place where you are conducting ‘barbecuing’. For example, if you have got some extra space after doing the table arrangement then you can ornament that part also with some fine decoration thereby making the whole area really polished! As the ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’ is conducted outdoors, decorate your balustrade in case if you have one, with some phony leaves and colorful lightings which certainly will add more charm to the whole setting! By managing these kinds of trifle looking matters in an intelligent way, you can really convert the entire scene of the ‘barbecuing on Labor Day’ into a lively spot! Now grab a special ‘barbecue recipe’ and go in a grand way! The net result will be a thrilling holiday, which will leave sweet remembrances in the hearts and souls of all the participants!

Kaliyath Achutha Kumar is a freelance article writer and has written a good number of articles including hundreds of travel related articles. He has recently started a blog on Kerala holidays:

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August 27, 2009   No Comments

July 4th Recipe: Happy Independence Day!

A Happy 4th of July to all the US readers of the Entertaining Tonight blog. Especially for you I have a July 4th recipe:

Stars and Stripes Muffins


3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
4 teaspoons sugar


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 12 muffin tin cups or use baking cups.  

Place the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Mix a little to combine the ingredients. and make a well in the center of the ingredients. 

In a separate bowl mix the milk, oil and eggs together.  Slowly add the mixture to the dry ingredients by placing the liquid into the well made in the dry ingredients.  Carefully fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened through. 

Divide the batter into two bowls.  Add the blueberries to one and the strawberries to the other.  Mix them in well. 

Fill each muffin or baking cup with batter: six blueberry muffins and six strawberry muffins.  Sprinkle the tops with the 4 teaspoons of sugar. 

Bake for 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  The tops should be light brown.  Remove from the tin immediately and cool on a wire rack. 

Enjoy your day!

July 4, 2008   No Comments

5 Fun Cinco de Mayo Games

5 Fun Cinco de Mayo Games

Celebrations of Cinco de Mayo are all about the number five.  Food comes in fives, fives are incorporated into the decorations, and now here are five fun Cinco de Mayo party games to help make your next celebration a success.

1.  Forget Pin the Tail on the Donkey:  Honor the man who led the Mexicans to the famous victory that sparked the Cinco de Mayo holiday.  Pin the medal on Benito Juarez.  You can add to the fun by making one person at the party the hero, but don’t tell anyone who it is.  Guests can ask each other questions to try and determine who they should pin the medal on in order to win a prize.

2.  Take musical chairs to a whole new level.  Clear a room of furniture and place one chair for each of your guests around the room up against the wall.  Place an equal number of sombreros in the center of the floor and let your guests dance round them to the traditional tune of the Mexican Hat Dance.  When the music stops, everyone must grab a sombrero, put it on their head and find a seat.  After one trial run, start removing a chair and a sombrero on each round.  The last guest standing gets a prize (or his or her choice of sombrero).

3.  Watch what you say.  As each guest arrives, pin a festive pin on their collar.  The object of the game is NOT to say Cinco or five during the course of the night.  If someone gets caught saying one of those words, they must surrender the pin to the person that catches them.  At the end of the night, the person with the most pins is declared the winner.  You can offer them a prize or just let them keep the spoils of the game.

4.  Piñatas may seem like kids stuff, but it all depends on what you stuff the piñata with.  Get some small and inexpensive prizes to fill your piñata and let your adult guests take turns swinging at it.  You can handicap the men (or everyone if you think it more sensible) by blindfolding them AND tying their writing hand behind their backs.  It’s also fun to have someone controlling the height of the piñata (by moving it up and down with a pulley system).  Be sure there is plenty of room for guests to swing the stick and not hit anyone else or damage any ornaments or furniture – this could get out-of-hand!

5.  Build a better taco.  Pair up your guests and ask one of the pair to stand behind the other.  Blindfold the guest that is behind so that they can’t peak.  Now the person in front needs to put their hands behind their back and the person behind needs to weave his hands through the first guest so that their arms become the arms of the guest in front.  At the word go, the partnership must build and eat one taco.  The winning team gets a great prize.

The key to a great Cinco de Mayo celebration is to offer lots of variety, great food and games, and to have fun yourself.

May 4, 2008   No Comments

Great Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

Great Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

Throwing a party for Cinco de Mayo needs only a few elements to make it great – fun and food.  If you can get these two things then the people will come (and will be glad they did).  With just a little time and energy, and these Cinco de Mayo party ideas you will be able to plan the perfect Cinco de Mayo party for you and your friends.

Most adults are kids at heart; they like good, fun party games as much as the next person.  Take a few of the children’s party games that you enjoyed as children and give them a twist to make them a bit more grown up and more along the Cinco de Mayo theme. 

Hold a treasure hunt with five being the theme.  Create clues that are related to the holiday and its history.  Buy or create a gift basket filled with five different items that will go to the first person who discovers the treasure.

Play the safety pin game: Give a safety pin to your guests as they arrive.  If they hear someone say the words five or Cinco then they can claim that person’s pin (or pins if that person has accumulated more).  The person with the most pins at the end of the party wins a prize (that goes along with the five theme, of course).

Games won’t keep them occupied all the time.  Food is important to the success of any party.  Be sure to include all the favorite traditional American-Mexican foods – tacos, tortillas, avocados and nachos.  It would also be a good idea to include more authentic Mexican food, but try to keep the dishes limited to things that can be eaten easily while people are walking around mingling (unless you are planning a full, sit-down dinner).

A fun and different idea for your Cinco de Mayo party is to have dance lessons.  You could choose Mexican folk dancing (be sure to have some inexpensive skirts and hats for the participants to wear) or try a more modern Latin-American style dance like the cha-cha or merengue (which is actually a fairly easy dance to master).  It would also be entertaining to have the dance instructors put on an exhibition dance for you and the guests.  Be sure that there is plenty of room if you are planning to make dancing an important aspect of the party.

Throwing a great Cinco de Mayo party is just like throwing a great party any other time of the year.  You need to take time to plan the gathering, be sure there is plenty of food, and arrange suitable fun entertainment for the guests.

May 3, 2008   No Comments

Festive Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Festive Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Food is an important part of any celebration and Cinco de Mayo is no exception.  When you are planning your get-together, take some time to plan a great menu filled with delicious Cinco de Mayo recipes to keep your guests happy and satisfied.

These appetizers will get the party started:

Taquitos can be a fun choice.  Tweak them to your own taste (and what is readily available in your cupboards).  Take some small tortillas, meat (already cooked and shredded), a smoked cheese and some salsa.  Stir all the ingredients together and then place a couple of spoonfuls into a tortilla.  Fold-in the top and the bottom of the tortilla before you roll it up.  Dot it with a little olive oil and place on a cooking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (or covered with aluminum foil for an easy post-party clean up).  Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes at about 450ºF. 

Don’t forget the dips.  Go crazy with salsas, cheese dips, and guacamole. Include lots of different items for dipping, from vegetable sticks to corn and pita chips.  Keep it interesting and surprising so that your dip table becomes the most popular table at the party.

Time for the main course:

There is no limit to what you can serve for dinner at your Cinco de Mayo party.  It really all comes down to how you want to eat.  If you don’t mind your guests eating with their hands (and what party isn’t complete without that option?), then you can serve traditional tacos.  Use a bar to serve the taco ingredients so that guests can create their own.

If you want to make dishes your guests will be talking about for weeks to come, there are dozens of websites that offer great Cinco de Mayo recipes with easy-to-follow instructions.  This one came from Allrecipes and got some great reviews:

Chicken with Chipotle

8 chicken leg quarters (with skin)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoon butter
salt (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375 ºF.  Roast the chicken legs until the skin is crispy (around 30 to 40 minutes).  While the chicken is in the oven, mix the milk, sour cream, chipotle peppers and chicken bullion in a blender or food processor and puree until the mixture is smooth.  Melt the margarine in a large pan over a medium heat then pour in the puree.  Bring it to a simmer and then turn the heat to low and reduce.  Add salt to taste for seasoning.  When the chicken is cooked, add it to the reduced puree and let it simmer in the pan for around 10 minutes (or more) to take on the flavor of the sauce.

Serve dinner with refried beans and rice to complete the meal.

May 2, 2008   No Comments

Honey Carrots with Lime

Honey Carrots with Lime

This recipe is a twist on Honey Carrots that will make the perfect vegetable side dish for your dinner parties.


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds baby carrots
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste



In a large pan, boil the carrots just covered with water for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly tender. 

Drain the water and return the carrots to the pan. 

Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer over a low heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots start to brown.

Serve hot.

April 23, 2008   No Comments

History of Mother’s Day

History of Mother’s Day

There are many theories as to the history of Mother’s Day. Some historians believe that it began as a pagan holiday celebrated in Greece, while others believe it started as a way to recognize the Virgin Mary and was celebrated in conjunction with Lent.  While these may have been a kind of Mother’s Day, they are not what we now think of when they consider this occasion.

In fact, most people don’t know the origins of Mother’s Day or how long it has been celebrated in the United States.  Since very few people are left that were living when Mother’s Day began, we just reason that the occasion has always been celebrated. This is untrue, however, so it’s time to set the record straight.

Mother’s Day in the US was first suggested as a holiday in 1872 by the woman who wrote the words for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, Julia Ward Howe.  She was so adamant that there needed to be a holiday to honor mothers that she held annual Mother’s Day meetings in Boston each year.

Anna Jarvis picked up the Mother’s Day baton in 1907 and began trying to get Mother’s Day added as a national holiday.  The most she managed was to talk her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia into celebrating the day on the second Sunday of May.  The following year, the City of Philadelphia, known for Brotherly Love, began recognizing motherly love by celebrating the holiday.

For the next two years, Ms. Jarvis and her supporters tried to convince ministers, businessmen, and politicians that there should be a national holiday to honor the nation’s mothers.  By 1910, because of these efforts, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.  Nearly every state picked up the holiday the following year, and by 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially announced the second Sunday of May as a new national holiday, Mother’s Day.

After spending so much time and effort to get the holiday established, by 1923 Ms. Jarvis filed a lawsuit to stop the holiday.  Like many others since, she felt the holiday had been too commercialized and that businessmen were just trying to make money from it. In fact, at the Mother’s Day festival, Jarvis caused such a commotion that she was arrested for disturbing the peace because they sold white carnations – which was Jarvis’ symbol of motherhood.  She told a reporter she wished she’d never created the holiday.  Eventually she died alone in a mental institution in 1948.

Mother’s Day continues despite Jarvis’ attempts to have the day to honor mothers removed from historical record.  Many other countries also have a Mother’s Day, although they are not all celebrated on the same day or have the same origins.  Denmark, Turkey, Australia, Belgium, Italy, and Finland do celebrate the holiday on the second Sunday of May, just like the United States. But in the UK, the history of Mother’s Day is believed to stretch back as far as the 17th Century and “Mothering Sunday”, a day when children (especially daughters) were given the day off from domestic service to visit their families and “mother” church. Mothering Sunday is traditionally the fourth Sunday of Lent and has become a day to honor all mums.

Most mothers will receive cards and gifts on this day although they probably would prefer just being pampered for the day.  No matter how you celebrate Mother’s Day, make sure you let your mother know how important she is to you, and express to her how much you love her.  Those are probably the greatest gifts a mother could receive from their children.

April 4, 2008   No Comments

French Toast Recipe for Mother’s Day

French Toast Recipe for Mother’s Day

If you are looking for a simple but tasty breakfast to serve your mom this Mother’s Day (or for your kids to make for their mom with your help) then this French Toast recipe is perfect.


4 slices of bread
3 eggs
¼ cup milk
dash of salt
2 tbsp butter or margarine
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
sliced fruit (optional)


Melt the butter in a skillet.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and salt together. Dip the bread into the egg mixture and cook until light brown in color and the egg is cooked. The bread should be slightly fluffy.

Remove from the pan. Add the brown sugar to the pan and stir until melted. Then add the water and stir.

Place the bread back in the pan and turn to coat. Remove from the pan.

Serve with mom’s favorite fruit, sliced, as a garnish or side dish.

April 2, 2008   No Comments

Mother’s Day Ideas

Mother’s Day Ideas

There are a number of Mother’s Day ideas for kids to become involved in. Let’s start with some for younger children.

There are a number of Mother’s Day books which younger kids can read to their moms to celebrate the day. In addition, if your child attends pre-school, the teacher may have each of the kids make hand prints as a gift for their moms. Or the child can be helped making flowers using construction paper.

Children love to make gifts for parents. Here are just a few of the things younger kids can do to show their love on Mother’s Day:

* Dad can make breakfast for mom and the younger child can bring it to mom’s room and surprise her.
* Make Mother’s Day signs and hang them around the home.
* Write a letter to Mom on colorful paper.
* Make a Mother’s Day card.
* Dad can go online and print out a Mother’s Day template for kids to color and present to mom.
* The kids may offer to do certain chores for a week.
* Use construction paper to make a hanging sign spelling out the word love.
* Find an award template which can be printed out and given to mom.

Mother’s day ideas for younger kids, depending upon their age, can encompass a variety of creative and thoughtful presents. Dad, ask your kids what they would like to do, and offer your assistance.

Whether it’s giving a box of candy or a bouquet of flowers, moms everywhere appreciate whatever their kids give them for Mother’s Day. For older children here are some ideas that mom is going to love:

* Take mom out for lunch
* Buy her favorite CD
* Give her a box of her favorite chocolates
* Place one red rose in a vase and present it to her
* Give her breakfast in bed
* Prepare the table for dinner
* Do the laundry
* Take her to the park for a picnic lunch
* Clean the house
* Bake her a cake or favorite cookies
* Take her to a movie
* Buy her favorite bath oil and some candles
* Make a special card using the computer
* Offer to do a specific chore for a week
* Make a huge Happy Mother’s Day Sign
* Give her a picture of you in a specially decorated frame
* Make a jewelry box for her using dried flowers
* Make a bag of potpourri using dried flowers from the garden
* Put together a scrapbook of her favorite recipes

You know, moms are special in so many ways. Unselfish, kind, loving, caring – qualities we sometimes take for granted. Mom probably doesn’t expect anything for Mother’s Day, which is why anything a child does for mom will be appreciated beyond belief. 

While the kids may not have the money to buy some of the items listed above, their ingenuity will see them through. Whatever Mother’s Day ideas your kids decide on to help celebrate her special day, you know they have thought about it and it comes from the heart.

April 1, 2008   No Comments

Memorial Day Party

Memorial Day Party Ideas

Memorial Day is the day we honor all of our men and women who are fighting wars across the world. Remember them as you celebrate the day.  Put out your American flag and hang it at half mast. Then, on to the celebration! If you need some Memorial Day party ideas, here are a few which may make this day a special one.

Have a barbeque and buy special invitations for the event, such as an American flag or a photograph of a soldier. Ask each family member and friends to bring a special dish.

Use the red, white and blue theme throughout the day. Set your table with red, white and blue napkins, cups, tablecloths and utensils to mark the occasion. Place red, white and blue streamers on the backyard fence or patio. Blow up red, white and blue balloons to enhance the festivities. Place red, white and blue candles on the table. Ask everyone to dress in these colors. Play music appropriate to the day, and to top things off, bake a white cake and decorate it with red and blue icing. Don’t forget to put a little flag on top!

If the weather is accommodating, you may also want to gather your party together to attend the Memorial Day parade in your local town or city.  This would be a wonderful way to show support for the troops. Everyone can wear their Memorial Day hats and cheer as the bands and armed forces walk by.

Another great idea is to have a singalong to all of the great songs made famous in Yankee Doodle Dandy. If one of your friends or family members has a portable piano, ask them to bring it along.

While Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, it is a time of reflection as well.

Before you end your Memorial Day party festivities, stop and say a prayer for all of our men and women in uniform. Give thanks for the freedom we enjoy thanks to their courage and patriotism.

March 30, 2008   No Comments