Kelly teaches adult, children and family dining classes. Please view this featured link from the Houston Chronicle newspaper regarding Kelly's expertise.

http://www.chron.com/business/article/Etiquette-classes-offer-tips-for-business-dining-3709019.php#photo-3198801

Welcome to "Celebration Logic"

These weekly highlights focus on creative entertaining, culinary creations and recipes that reinforce life's celebratory moments with entertaining confidence. These blogs of creative entertaining tips and recipes are available in printed book form and in e-book form.

 

Heat Up the Oven & Catch the Romanticism in the Air! (February 9 – February 15)

Oh, for the love of sweets! Clearly, some desserts are better than others and some wave a romantic surrender flag of delightfulness. Austria is famous for its Salzburger Nockerl. This fluffy souffle-style dessert captures the epitome of a classic Valentine dessert. It only has 4 main ingredients and the 2 toppings! First, beat 8 egg whites, until peaks form. Add 3/4 cup of super fine sugar and 1 teaspoon of orange flavor and continue beating. Add 3 egg yolks, little by little and continue beating. By hand, not with a mixer, add 1/8 cup of super fine shifted flour. Dollop into a greased oven-proof dessert dishes and bake at 425⁰F for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden. Dust with powder sugar and serve hot with a raspberry drizzle. For the raspberry drizzle: melt and strain 1 jar of raspberry jelly. Romanticism is in the air when a Salzburger Nockerl is in the oven! © Kelly McBride Loft

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Weather Watching on Groundhog Day? (February 2 – February 8)

Hiding from the unpredictable winter weather on Groundhog’s Day? Let’s find a bright spot, whether it is sunny or cloudy. Create some savory treats. Try phyllo cups filled with colorful bites. Beautifully designed phyllo cups are available frozen. Just bake the cups filled with your favorite filling. My favorite is made from this combination. Mix boiled chicken, minced; finely diced celery; shaved Gruyere cheese; and a touch of mayonnaise and sour cream to bind the ingredients. Fill the cups and bake tiny savory delights! Other fillings can be made from smoked ham and Jarlsberg cheese; roast beef and swiss cheese; or lamb and feta cheese. Combine your protein and cheese choice with equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream for binding. Mix well and bake your golden beauties to warm the hearts of those gathered to chase those shadowy days away. © Kelly McBride Loft

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Change Your Cuisine and Change Your Lifestyle (January 26 – February 1)

It’s time for a good winter quiche! My mom gave me a quiche dish decades ago, which is shallow with a scalloped edge; so, I recommend starting with an authentic quiche dish. Prepare your favorite pie crust dough. Bake the pie crust, first, at 375⁰F for about 7 to 10 minutes, weighed, until lightly brown. Next, enjoy the grand exploration of quiche flavors: goat cheese and sundried tomatoes; chicken and spinach; ricotta and zucchini; eggplant and Jarlsberg cheese; smoked salmon and crème fraiche; ham; mushroom; and exciting fruits for a sweet quiche-style, called tarts, including pear and gorgonzola. For a classic quiche use Gruyere cheese. *Note: your goal is to add 1 cup to 1 ½ cups of your cheese of choice. When using non-shredded cheese, such as small amounts of the goat cheese, Ricotta, crème fraiche, etc. mix these with shredded cheese to make up the ratio. Another tip is to utilize ingredients that are not raw. If using bacon or ham, pre-cook and drain it. Once the crust has been pre-baked. Semi-fill the crust with your creative quiche ingredients. The last step is in a mixing bowl, beat 1¼ cups of half and half milk, ¼ cup of sour cream, 4 eggs and some chopped thyme for flavoring, until smooth. Pour the milk-egg mixture over the ingredients to the top off the quiche and bake at 375⁰F for about 25 minutes until cooked thoroughly. (For sweet quiches called tarts, sugar will need to be added to the milk-egg mixture.) Embrace this famous European legacy, made from the warmth of your own kitchen and this cuisine will change your lifestyle. © Kelly McBride Loft

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Calculating to Celebrate in 2020 – with Cheese and More! (January 19 – January 25)

The famous and celebratory Chinese New Year is January 25 – with the iconic animal this year being the rat. We like to celebrate this fun holiday with a dinner party and our dear friends, but; honestly, I have been most challenged in creating a menu with that iconic animal. Voila! Cheese and other creativity! This year’s menu begins with an exciting selection of cheeses paired with wine shots. As for the dining, again, there was a theme challenge for increasing one’s appetite.  Then, I thought of the interesting and inspirational Chinese abacus! It is perfect as a centerpiece and historically dates back to 1300 BC, as a Chinese invention. Also, planned are mini math quizzes with an abacus to be passed around during dessert (and this will be timed after, chuckle, chuckle, dining wine has been served). OK, I’ll check the humor – with a prize for the winner and some designer chop sticks for all the guests. This is so exciting to create fun conversation and memorable moments amongst dear friends. Never let your creativity be stifled by approaching rats! Even Tchaikovsky knew that about mice in 1892 with the creation of the ballet “The Nutcracker Suite.” Let’s celebrate 2020 as our year! © Kelly McBride Loft

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What You Cook Can Keep You Warm (January 12 – January 18)

Nothing warms a person faster than a homemade bowl of soup. The selection is vast and the basic ingredient for many terrific soups is chicken both. Homemade chicken broth is preferred with a hen, spring water, onion in the cavity, celery, and most importantly fresh herbs de Provence! The herbs really do make a grand difference. OK, we’re all busy; so, store-bought chicken broth will work, just add the fresh herbs de Provence. My suggestion for the best wholesome warm-up is to make Sweet Potato Soup! Bake 2 small sweet potatoes, per person. I prefer my sweet potatoes baked Bain-Marie style, with no tin foil. Simply wash the raw potatoes and place them into a heat-proof glass pan, half-covered with water at 400⁰ for about 2 – 3 hours until the water has evaporated. Peel the skin off of the potatoes and the soup base is ready to go. Place the peeled sweet potatoes into a sturdy sauce pan and mince those with an electric hand-mixer. Slowly, while still mixing add the chicken stock infused with herbs de Provence. Only add enough chicken stock to make the soup consistency that you desire. Adjust the seasoning with kosher salt. Serve hot and garnished with fresh herbs! Who could feel any chill with a dish like that! © Kelly McBride Loft

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January is for Rejuvenating (January 5 – January 11)

Treat yourself to a home spa day. The prep includes pedicure and manicure items, new house shoes, your favorite robe, bubble bath or mineral treatment enhancers, a basket of new personal care products, and some magazines or e-magazines. Preselect some calming special music. Also, preselect special beverage hydration from smoothies to pink Champagne. Complete your take-care-of-you day with simple food prep of bite size Mahi Mahi with Mignonette Sauce. Sear the Mahi Mahi and then finish the fish with a dash of Brandy, a quick squeeze of fresh lemon, and hand sprinkle of salt. For the Mignonette Sauce to 1 cup of dry white wine add ¼ cup of white wine vinegar, 1 crush clove of garlic and 2 finely chopped shallots. Black pepper can be added as an option. Serve the Mahi Mahi with chop sticks for a fine finish to an inspiration day devoted to you. © Kelly McBride Loft

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Special Cuisine for a Special Year Ahead (December 29 – January 4)

Everyone wishes for good luck in the New Year, which is why many serve black-eyed peas and also cabbage for wealth on January 1. Another tradition is to serve ham, which takes several hours to prepare. My suggestion is to serve stuffed pork chops. Stuff the butterflied chops with cornbread dressing, with a dash of brandy added. Prop the chops up with a skewer, running through, and set the chops into a deep baking dish. This will keep the chops vertical and not laying flat. Top the chops with apple chutney and top that with fresh herbs. Bake the chops at 375⁰ until thoroughly cooked and let the New Year’s Day feast begin, with black-eyed peas and cabbage, too! © Kelly McBride Loft

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Christmastime Cheer Is Most Memorable (December 22 – December 28)

Christmas dining allows for the thankfulness for our blessings. So, the meal should reflect consideration for this family gathering time. For centuries, a goose, a turkey, or a ham have been the meal of choice, which are all good choices. However, it is always good to be adventuresome. Individual Cornish hens are a noteworthy alternative. They are flavorful, celebratory, and encourage artistic plating. Clean each hen and brine the hens for at least 4 hours. Meanwhile, prepare a couscous stuffing with dried cranberries, pine nuts, and fresh herbs. Remove the hens from the brine, set each, together, onto a large roasting pan. First, insert a slice of peeled orange slice and then stuff the hens with the couscous stuffing. Baste the hens with melted butter, infused with fresh herbs and lemon juice. Baste the hens at least every 20 minutes. Bake the hens until thoroughly cooked at 350⁰, covered. Then, for the last 1 to 2 minutes, broil, uncovered, to bronze the tops of the birds. Adorn with fresh herbs, just prior to serving! Christmastime dining, with twinkling of cheer, makes the event most memorable! © Kelly McBride Loft

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Pack Some Punch with an Unexpected Beverage (December 15 – December 21)

Christmastime entertaining encourages delightful beverages. Try a celebratory Christmas Sangria punch during your next gathering. Served chilled, the base ingredients are: 1 bottle of Merlot red wine, 1/2 cup of orange juice,1/4 cup of cranberry juice, 2/3 cup of super fine sugar, 1/4 cup of Cointreau, emulsified basil, and star anise. Mix well and chill overnight. Pour the Sangria into a punch bowl and top with a festive ice ring, which includes slices of oranges and fresh rosemary. Serve this holiday treat and surprise your guests that Sangria is not just for the summertime. © Kelly McBride Loft

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Ring in the Red & Green (December 8 – December 14)

In December, it is a tradition to create entrees which have color tones of red and green. There is a lovely dish featured at the Meissl & Schadn restaurant in Vienna, Austria which is comprised of basil filled ravioli. It is served in a large bowl with cherry tomatoes cut in half with a brown butter sauce and tossed with large basil leaves. This flavorful cuisine is outstanding and I highly recommend this concept for simple, yet impacting, dining to begin the holiday festivities. © Kelly McBride Loft

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‘Tis the Season for Toasting (December 1 – December 7)

“Toast” to the holidays! Yes, Champagne can be the first pick; however, a toast can also be mini marshmallows on small skewer served with a non-scented candle for each mature guest to “toast” their own marshmallows. Serve this on large dessert plate with a slice of Mississippi Mud Pie topped with caramel and cherry drizzle. Hello, Holidays! © Kelly McBride Loft

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Making Thanksgiving Last (November 24 – November 30)

We love our Thanksgiving flavors – sage infused cornbread dressing, turkey with fruity cranberry, and green bean casserole. Make the moment last by planning for leftovers.  This is done by making enough and reserving it back early.  Just after serving up the Thanksgiving Day portions, have a heatproof glassware loaf pan prepared by spraying it with cooking spray and lining the loaf pan with parchment paper. Partially fill it with fresh dressing and press the dressing into and up onto all of the sides and bottom of the loaf pan. Then, continue filling the loaf pan with alternating layers of sliced turkey, cranberry, strained green beans, and chopped pecans. Then repeat the layering again until the terrine is filled. Press the layers down and seal well with plastic wrap. Freeze the Thanksgiving Terrine.  Just heat the terrine when ready.  It is perfect for those fast-paced days ahead or for loved ones who missed the Thanksgiving Day celebrations! Let the Thanksgiving love continue, without the stress. © Kelly McBride Loft

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Keep It Simple – the Holidays Are Coming (November 17 – November 23)

Keeping things simple this time of year is recommended. Soon, very heavy and abundant dining will occur; so, if you are going to indulge, indulge with poached, fresh fish. Select your fish of choice such as salmon, Chilean Seabass or Mahi Mahi. Prepare it by making sure that the scales are removed. Squeeze some lemon juice on the top of each fillet.  Pour on Court-Bouillon and add chopped onion, white wine, celery, carrot, thyme, and parsley to the Court-Bouillon in a pot.  Place the fish fillets onto a steam rack, inside a pot with a lid. Cover and poach for just a few minutes. You don’t want to over-cook your delicate fish fillet. Serve with fresh vegetables for a healthy pre-Thanksgiving feast! © Kelly McBride Loft

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Pair Mahjong with Culinary Creativity (November 10 – November 16)

Does your Mahjong gathering need a culinary inspiration? For arrival, serve cantaloupe bites with goat cheese crumbles topped with bacon. Pair this with oolong tea. For the lunch break, serve steamed crab claws with lemon butter sauce and steamed vegetable dumplings with soy sauce mixed with orange marmalade. Pair this with Darjeeling tea. During the afternoon break, serve a festive blend of black tea mixed with dried fruit. Each of the three tea services offers an opportunity to showcase your favorite porcelain tea sets. If you have not yet acquired a Russian samovar, it is a grand addition to your entertaining repertoire! Just remember that traditionally, Russian tea is served in tall heat resistant glasses with metal base holders. To make your guests feel most special, at the closure, gift each player with an origami crane to make your game day most memorable. © Kelly McBride Loft

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Pen and Brush in Hand, the Holidays are Near (November 3 – November 9)

The holidays are approaching fast; so, it is time to gather your friends for an Art Party to create you personalized annual Christmas letters or cards to send next month. Cover your dining table with newspaper. Fill the center of the table or side table with paint brushes, art pens, watercolor paints, ribbons, scissors, adhesive, etc. Provide paper or ask the guests to bring their own. Serve soup and sandwich combinations. Need a fast and easy grill cheese sandwich? Simply pile-high shredded cheese onto 2 slices of bread, per person, and place into a toaster oven. Melt the cheese and flip one slice onto the other for grill cheese quick melt! Cut diagonally and you are done. No skillet, no mess – just fun with your hungry, creative friends. © Kelly McBride Loft

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