As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Holiday party planning for the procrastinator

It’s not too late to plan that holiday gathering at your home for your closest friends. Whether your group ranges from three or four couples to 10 or 15, the key is to keep it simple. This fits in perfectly with today’s trends!

Holiday revelers in 2017 are looking for social gatherings that allow for more mingling than sitting, so don’t spend the extra time trying to organize a formal dinner. Your guests will appreciate the freedom to make a plate and cocktail and roam. A buffet of substantial hors d’oeuvres is the perfect addition to your small or medium-sized event.

Since you have already put the planning off a bit longer than you should have, there are a couple of things to consider if you are to make this party possible with the least amount of stress for you, the host.

First, don’t be picky about the date. Sure, we all like to have weekend parties, but that’s the problem. Your guests will already have other obligations on their calendar, including that annual company party that takes a spot on everyone’s December calendar, so choose a date that is less likely to be booked, such as a Monday. If your guest list is small, you may want to take a few minutes to check with them. Believe it or not, Fridays are not as popular for parties as you may think.

Second, hors d’oeuvres may seem simple enough to make yourself, but since time is short, let your favorite caterer do the work. Even gatherings that seem rather large to you are simple for the experts. Your caterer can also recommend selections that fit your casual theme and accommodate any dietary restrictions your guests may have.

Remember to keep that interactive trend in mind as you consider food and drink options for your party. A fondue bar is an excellent centerpiece for your buffet, encouraging guests to gather around and partake. Consider adding something unique to your selections, such as a dish that represents your heritage, or several that reflect the various seasonal celebrations—Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and others. You may also consider serving food and cocktails on carts, allowing refreshments to roam along with your guests. Your caterer can help with creative ways to do this.

If dinner simply must be part of your celebration, a family style, pass-the-plate format is a much better fit for today’s social trends. Another option is to set your buffet alongside your table seating and incorporate a narrow table for eating rather than the standard dining table. By keeping your candles and table décor low profile, a narrow will table allow for easier conversation over dinner.

Third, let social media get the word out quickly, so that your last-minute gathering makes it to your guests’ calendars as quickly as possible. Electronic invitations are today’s simple, cost effective and environmentally friendly way to reach those most important to you, so there is no need to create more work for yourself with those glitter-covered paper invitations.

Finally, consider attire. The latest trends are toward more dressy celebrations, but no one knows your guests better than you do. You will want to take a moment to determine how the most special people in your life will want to celebrate. Whether you lean toward black tie or ugly Christmas sweater, the best party is the one where you, your family, and your friends can be most at ease.

Happy Holidays!

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Taking the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner

Even the most seasoned cook and entertainer can experience stress when preparing a Thanksgiving feast for family and friends. For those who prepare such a dinner only once a year, it can potentially remove all the joy from the holiday.

Thanksgiving does not have to produce dread in the hearts of its hosts and hostesses. Some advance planning and a few helpers can streamline some, if not most, of the process, but, since your goal is to have everything ready to eat at the same time, there will inevitably be some chaos just before dinner is served.

A few helpful tips:

  • Remove the risk that your frozen turkey is not thawed in time by purchasing a fresh turkey. You will be rewarded with a juicier finished product.
  • Shop early to avoid your choices being out stock.
  • Don’t try a new recipe, no matter how tempting.
  • It is easy to overcook your turkey in the chaos of preparing your other dishes. Assign a helper to keep an eye on it.
  • Don’t add the stress of undercooked stuffing. Bake it separately.

There is no shame in asking for help with your Thanksgiving endeavor, especially if you are a first-timer. For example, canned cranberry sauce is quick and easy, but if you have your heart set on homemade, ask a guest to prepare it at home and bring it, freeing you and your kitchen for other dishes. Assign the carving and the mashing to other family members while you prepare the gravy.

If you prefer visiting with your family over cooking and clean-up, consider catering your Thanksgiving dinner. Cleveland caterers specialize in preparing food in volume and can easily prepare a feast for your family that tastes like it just came out of your kitchen. Also, many caterers will offer multiple choices of side dishes, allowing you to satisfy those picky eaters in your family.

A catered meal means a relaxing visit with guests and minimal clean-up afterwards. Worried about the cost? Most local caterers’ rates are quite reasonable, and require only that you arrange a pick-up time 48 hours in advance. Some will even deliver!

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Halloween parties that cater to adults

Most adults would agree that Halloween should not be reserved for the kids. Theme parties are on the rise, and Halloween provides the perfect backdrop for a full range of creativity. From whimsical to formal, you are limited only by your imagination when it comes to the details of your party.

Theme parties are at their best when guests are immersed in the event. Start by choosing a theme that sets the tone. A formal gathering may be a masquerade event set in old Paris. A more casual event could be set in an ancient New Orleans haunt complete with voodoo dolls. Emphasize gory or emphasize silly, but work with your caterer to carry the theme through every detail of your party. Transform your home and yard so your theme is everywhere your guests will be. Use entryways, patios, lighting, music and landscaping to take your guests to your chosen location, era or fantasy.

Trust your caterer to help you with ideas to build your theme, beginning with a color scheme. Table decorations are key, especially if your party leans toward the formal. Formal dinners can start with on-theme table setting and seat assignments, and continue through service of a carefully constructed meal of “brains” and “eyeballs” in perfect presentation. Casual buffet or hors d’oeuvres service should create the unexpected from the expected. Mini weenies dressed as mummies, bloody fingers, fruit displayed as pumpkins and goblins, punch in bubbling cauldrons, are all possibilities your caterer can help you dream up.

Let the experts do the work. Spend your time building a guest list and deciding on the perfect costume while your caterer creates a meat and cheese tray complete with a skull centerpiece. Snacks can be served from an autopsy table. Serve elegant gore or whimsical marshmallow ghosts, but carry your theme across your dinner table.

Encourage social gathering with a Halloween s’mores table and “campfire,” or a candy apply bar accompanied by a simmering cauldron of caramel.

Your caterer is an expert event planner. For the perfectly themed, stress-free party this Halloween, leave the food and decoration details to the professionals and get ready to immerse yourself in your haunted house, graveyard or zombie ball.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Making a Memorable Holiday Party

Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us.  If you love to have people over and want to do something a little different this year, consider these options for an amazing holiday party.

Have a themed party. Caterers in Cleveland believe that incorporating a theme is a great way to coordinate all of your dishes and decorations.  If you love chocolate, then a dessert themed party might be for you.  If you want to celebrate family, then incorporating family traditions and treats might be the way to go.

holiday-family

Explore your heritage. Discovering a little more about your family’s history is an intriguing way to add a little spice to your party.  For instance, if you have recently discovered that part of your family hails from Great Britain, then making Yorkshire pudding would add a great conversation piece to your party.

Elegant appetizers. Instead of serving an entire dinner, which can be challenging to coordinate, caterers in Akron suggest making a bunch of different types of appetizers for people to share.  The benefit to an appetizer party is that people have a chance to mingle more easily than a sit down dinner, allowing guests who don’t know each other well to get to know more people.

Trim-a-tree party. For families, having a trim-a-tree party is a lovely way to share a Christmas tradition.  Cocoa, hot coffee and sweets are the best way to give your guests something to nibble on while they are hanging lights and ornaments.

After outdoor fun. If you and your family have been skiing or ice skating, then a hot, easy-to-do dinner is the right menu for the day. White chicken chili and homemade cornbread, enchiladas or even a pasta dinner can be a warm, satisfying meal in the cold.

The holidays are filled with opportunities to get together with family and friends for fun.  No matter what type of holiday party you are hosting, these tips will help you to create memories and fun for the people you love.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Engagement Parties Set the Stage for a Beautiful Wedding

Congratulations! You are engaged! Your engagement can set off a series of amazing celebrations of the new life you and your fiance are embarking on. What better way to start off than by having a lovely engagement party in the months before your wedding?

Today’s engagement parties are much different than they were in the past. While more formal “mini-weddings” have been all the rage in the past, the newest trends focus on casual, intimate affairs. This trend allows family and friends to mingle and get to know each other before the more formal wedding itself.

These more casual affairs can include a myriad of different types of parties. If you are hosting a warm weather engagement party, then a backyard barbeque or beach clambake can be a lot of fun. Encourage everyone to get to know each other with a friendly game of volleyball or bocce. Another great option is hosting an engagement brunch. From omelet stations to a variety of muffins and breakfast meats, a brunch can be a relaxing way to sit and enjoy each other’s company. A surprise party is another way to celebrate the engagement of the bride and groom. Plan well ahead and make sure that everyone knows it is a secret! Hosting the party at a local favorite restaurant is a wonderful way to share in the fun.

If family is a central theme to a wedding, then a family dinner can be the perfect way to spend with the couple. A lush dinner, served family style, of the favorite family dishes, but also of personalities. For a busy crowd, consider a casual dessert party. Tables filled with cakes, pie and flavored whipped cream, an ice cream sundae bar and a selection of homemade cookies can make for a fun evening. Consider a coffee bar to balance the sweetness of all of the desserts.

As you can see, there are so many trends in engagement parties. The only guideline is to make sure that it is fun and gives everyone a chance to get to know each other. For more information on engagement parties and innovative menus, contact Special Moments Catering today!

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Holiday Parties that Sparkle

The holiday season will be upon us before you know it! If you are planning a holiday celebration, then there are some things to think about as you begin to think about how to create a memorable Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s party. Consider these questions as you plan for your date:

What is your budget? Knowing your budget is one of the most critical things to know before you begin planning. Your budget is the item that will determine how many people you can invite, what kind of decorations you can purchase and the extent of the food service and selections. summer-wedding-cater.
wedding-table

How many people do you want to invite? Planning a party for twenty or thirty people is a much different exercise than planning a party for one hundred or more. Make a list of the people you simply must have at your party and then create another list of the people you’d like to invite. For holiday parties, it is safe to assume that 80% of the people you invite will be able to attend.

Where are you having the party? If you are planning on having a large group or a mix of people that include both work and family, then you may want to consider a location outside of your home. Consider art galleries, zoos, and community centers as possible locations for your holiday party. A location outside of your home may mean that you do need to decorate as well.

Will you need help? If you are having a large party, then consider hiring help. Everything from professional bartender to teenagers who can help serve and wash dishes can make your holiday party a success and a much less stressful event for you.

What kind of food would you like to serve? There are so many options for holiday party food. Some parties are well-suited for a sit-down dinner, while others prefer a cocktail hour. Make sure to take into consideration any guest with a significant food allergy, vegetarians and children so that each of your guests leave happy and full.

Planning a holiday party that makes memories is not a difficult process. By asking yourself these questions you can develop a plan that will not only help you plan, but make the evening fun for you too.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Is it Your First Thanksgiving?

If you are a newly married couple, then you may desperately want to treat your family to a marvelous Thanksgiving meal. Knowing that Thanksiving can be a challenging dinner to host, here are some tips to help you ease the burden and enjoy your first Thanksgiving together.

Thanksgiving can be challenging with so many courses. From mashed potatoes to fried turkey, every family has their traditions. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of food for one dinner, you are not alone.

Have everyone bring something. One solution to trying to manage all of the food necesary for Thanksgiving is to ask for help. A potluck Thanksgiving is a great way to share in the work. When you ask someone to bring food, be specific about what you need, otherwise you may end up with two sets of mashed potatoes and no sweet potatoes.

Choose a theme. Another way to organize your menu is around a theme. Every theme, whether southern, ethnic, or traditional, will help you to make food choices that everyone will enjoy.

Have a caterer prepare some dishes ahead that can be heated. If you are feeling really stressed by hosting your Thanksgiving meal, your Cleveland or Akron caterer can prepare either several dishes or the entire dinner for you. If you don’t want to have the caterer on-site serving the meal, you can ask them to make the dishes for you that can be warmed up at your home.

Have a pro handle the pies. Unless there is someone in your family who is well-versed in baking pies, have a bakery handle the pie preperation. Baking is a detail oriented job with tricky food chemistry. In order to avoid a disappointment, either practice your recipes ahead of time, or just pick up the phone to a local bakery or caterer for help.

Hosting your first Thanksgiving can be a really special time for family and friends. Take some of the stress off by asking people to bring specific items to contribute to the dinner and enlist the help of your local caterer or bakery. Enjoy this time together!

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Creative Clambakes

clambake Cleveland caterers often say that clambakes are one of the most entertaining ways to host an outdoor summer or fall party. With plenty of food and a casual atmosphere, your guests will feel right at home. How can you have a creative clambake? Here are just a few ideas:

No fuss table settings. Caterers recommend setting up tables with disposable red check plastic tablecloths that are covered in newspaper. In fact, many restaurants put food right on the table, eliminating the need for plates. This is traditional for New England style clambakes and can be lots of fun for guests.

Offer a wide variety. Instead of just offering the normal clams, chicken and corn clambake, explore other options. Having lobster, crab legs or shrimp are other lovely options for a clambake. Adding a few side dishes, such as corn on the cob, coleslaw, pasta salad and potato salad can round out the meal. If these sound more complex to cook, most caterers will be happy to assist.

Make clean up easy. Since there are shells and corn husks to deal with, use a colorful metal or plastic bucket as the centerpiece for trash. It will go with the rustic theme and can be useful as well.

Have the right tools. Make sure to have lobster crackers, small forks and hammers available so your guests can get the smallest pieces of seafood out of the shells. If you are using a catering service, ask them to bring plenty of these handy tools.

Quench thirsts with custom drinks. While it is nice to offer a variety of soda, adding in homemade lemonade and a selection of artisanal beers gives people a way to quench their thirst that is just as special as the meal.

Clambakes can be a fun tradition that you can host every summer. If you are looking for a great clambake menu, contact Special Moments Catering today. We’ll be happy to work with you to create a memorable event your friends and family will never stop talking about.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Man-Friendly Wedding Food

steak-dinner In general, weddings are a bit frillier than most men would like. Lots of flowers and cloth napkins can take men out of their comfort zone. If you want to introduce a masculine character to your wedding celebration, then consider these ways to incorporate man-friendly wedding food from caterers in Cleveland.

Artisanal beers. Beer is a real man food. Don’t just offer the standard beers at your wedding. Instead, offer an artisanal beer bar. With a variety of beers to choose from, your friends will have a great time sampling many different styles and tastes.

Custom cocktail. A custom cocktail doesn’t have to be a neon color and taste something like cotton candy. Akron caterers can develop a cocktail that reflects a more masculine sensibility with earthy tones that will set the mood for the party.

Offer meats. Whether you choose a pig roast, steaks, or handmade sausages, having a focus on meat will fill your guest’s bellies and send them home happy. Having the meat grilled outdoors to order is a memorable way to celebrate your day.

Food truck. What’s better than gourmet food truck cuisine? If you have a favorite food truck provider, ask about their catering policy. If they aren’t able to fulfill your request, your catering service may be able to replicate some of the dishes you would like to eat.

Wood grilled pizza. Pizza is another man-friendly food. Make it wedding appropriate by offering a variety of gourmet wood-grilled pizzas. Topped with handmade mozzarella, prosciutto or even seafood, your friends will love it.

Wedding food doesn’t have to be fussy. If you are looking for a way to man-up your wedding food, try some of these ideas. At Special Moments Catering, we specialize in making your food one of the best parts of your special day. Call us for more suggestions and to reserve a date.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Father’s Day is a No-Fuss Holiday

fathers-day-mealOne of the best parts of Father’s Day is that Dad’s don’t always want fancy foods. This is one holiday where you can skimp on the preparation and still have a happy family. If this describes the men in your life, then check out these menu ideas from caterers in Cleveland for a no-fuss Father’s Day.

Pasta salad. A big bowl of pasta salad can satisfy the hungriest men. Choose from a creamy base with spring peas, hardboiled eggs and celery or an oil and vinegar dressed variety complete with baby tomatoes and salami.

T-Bone Steaks. What man doesn’t love a big steak? Buy thick cut steaks and prepare a hot grill. Season them simply with salt and coarse pepper and sear them until they develop a crust. If they are not cooking fast enough internally, then you can finish them in an oven to control the temperature more easily.

Thick cut pork chops. Like a good steak, a thick cut pork chop is a good, manly meal. Akron caterers say to ask your butcher for those with the bone still attached. Marinate these in garlic, olive oil, chopped parsley and fresh oregano. Cook on the grill and serve with grilled corn.

Handmade sausages and sauerkraut. If your men love their ethnic heritage, consider offering handmade sausages and sauerkraut. Served on crusty sandwich rolls with kettle chips and pickles, your men will hum with delight!

Chocolate cake. No Father’s Day dinner can be finished without a good chunk of cake. Offer a dark chocolate cake with a smooth ganache to finish off the meal.

There are so many ways to celebrate the effect that the men in your life have. Luckily, men love simple food. Try these suggestions from our catering service and make your man happy. And, if you need more ideas, simply give us a call! We’ll be happy to help.