pumpkin week – catering ideas

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Halfway through pumpkin week and I’m not losing steam! Today I want to share some innovative catering ideas that utilize pumpkin ingredients. These would be great for fall events of any kind – weddings, corporate events, conferences, etc. You might even see something that inspires you to try at home for your next dinner party (I love to try and recreate recipes at home!). Pumpkin is a big enough trend that it now makes frequent appearances on catering menus, especially when the caterer offers seasonal menus. But anyone can do mini pumpkin pies or pumpkin cookies for dessert – I like to see pumpkin used in more interesting ways.

Most of these ideas are from caterers so they don’t link to a recipe – but if something strikes your fancy, ask your caterer if they can offer it at your next fall event.

Spicy pumpkin soup shooters – everyone loves shooters! Recipe from 52 Kitchen Play:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin & prosciutto crostini – photo via The Daily Meal:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin arancini –  Recipe via Bittersweet Blog:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Risotto pumpkin parmesan balls – from Lisa Perkins Catering:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin mousse – from Ridgewells Catering:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin rice pudding – Recipe from Not Without Salt:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin cake pops! (These are pretty simple, but you can obviously make these more theme-y – like these). Recipe by Food Network:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

And finally – the ubiquitous (but still delicious) mini pumpkin cheesecake – recipe via Life Made Simple:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Don’t those just make your mouth water? Talk to your caterer, stat!

Stay tuned for the rest of Pumpkin Week:

Top photo – mini pumpkin pies, recipe from Lauren Conrad

Advertisements

why buffets can be more expensive than plated meals

why buffets can be more expensive than plated meals | amanda jayne events blog

There is this big misconception that buffet meals are cheaper than plated meals, especially for formal catered events. But almost always the opposite is true: plated meals are usually less expensive per person and it’s all because of portion control.

When you put a plate down in front of someone, you control the portions. You give him or her one portion of the main entree, plus a vegetable and a side (or whatever else accompanies) and that’s it.

When you put out a buffet, you have to contend with people taking generous heaping portions and potentially going up for seconds, even thirds (or fourths… not that this girl has ever done that, I swear!).  Plus many buffets feature multiple main courses (beef and chicken) and multiple sides (pasta salad and potato salad), and most people like to try a little bit of everything. Caterers need to be prepared to serve the number of guests, which requires some guesswork on their end to figure out how much food to prepare (usually more than your guarantee so you don’t run out of food). On the flip side, for a caterer to prepare a plated meal for your guests, if you have 50 guests, they need 50 entrees (plus any overage they build in if it’s a larger banquet).

I think this misconception stems from people’s perception of buffets versus plated. Plated meals are viewed as more formal while buffets can be reminiscent of a cafeteria. From the guest’s perspective, however, a buffet gives the guest more control over their meal.

I would caution that occasionally a buffet will be cheaper than plated, but I’ve often found that this is because of the items being featured.

My recommendation is to always choose the meal that works better for your program. A plated meal can be served quicker than a buffet. A buffet also takes up more space in a room. Choose whichever makes more sense for the meal.

What are your thoughts?

Photo via Bridal Guide

are cake pops here to stay?

daisy cake pops | amanda jayne events blog

Cake pops are one of those trends that just kind of snuck up on me. Before I knew it, they were everywhere. Caterers are featuring them instead of mini-cupcakes. Hostesses are finding ways to include them in their menus. Moms are making them with their children as edible crafts.

For people like me who don’t like cake (I know, I know… it’s just not my favorite!), cake pops are nice because it’s a little taste of cake without having to commit to an entire piece. My biggest complaint about cake is that it tends to be dry, and that is rarely (although not never) the case with cakepops. And let’s be real – sometimes people just like to eat things on a stick. Although there’s always the – what do I do now with this stick problem.

Here are some ideas that show just how creative you can be with cake pops – although while I love to bake, I would leave the execution on these to a pro.

anchor cake pop | amanda jayne events blog

I love the nautical theme, could be used for any number of events. Photo via Raleigh Cake Pops.

pirate cake pop | amanda jayne events blog

These little pirate cake pops are fun for a pirate-themed birthday party, or for when you host a watch party for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Photo via Spaceships and Laserbeams.

BBQ cake pops | amanda jayne events blog

This is what I like to call: someone has way to much time on her hands… I mean, adorable! Photo via Party Frosting.

christmas ornament cake pop | amanda jayne events blog

These Christmas ornament cake pops are amazing without being over the top. Photo via And Everything Sweet.

spa cake pops | amanda jayne events blog

Spa cake pops, obviously! Perfect for bridal showers, girls night out, bachelorette parties, your weekly mani/pedi… Photo via Cake Central.

Cake Pop Wedding Cake | amanda jayne events blog

Would you have cake pops in lieu of a wedding cake? Is this the new version of the cupcake tower that became so popular a few years ago? Kind of cute, but I would say this should be in addition rather than in place of a traditional cake (just for the sake of your guests’ expectations). Photo via Colin Cowie Weddings.

What are your thoughts? Are cake pops here to stay? And is anyone else hungry after looking at all these cake pop photos?

Top photo via Catch My Party

i love outdoor events… but i hate bugs!

228417012322570368_ye5DkNYX_c

In honor of the 4th of July this week and all the requisite barbeques to be hosted, instead of posting just another blog on “fun red, white and blue ____ for your BBQ!” I decided to tackle an important topic that no one wants to talk about: bugs.

Because guess what? They are the uninvited guests that show up at just about every outdoor fete and almost always eat me alive. But this isn’t just about me, it’s about making your party more enjoyable by preventing your guests from being feasted upon by mosquitoes or whatever else is stopping by.

Here are some easy ways to keep the pests away from your pot-luck (or any other event):

Get rid of any standing water

This sounds obvious, but if it has recently rained you might not realize that the tiny puddle in the corner of your yard is responsible for bringing in the bugs. Also check any items that stay outside, like flower pots, crevices of furniture, etc.

Bring out a fan

A small fan by the buffet can help keep flying bugs away AND creates a pleasant breeze for your guests!

Light the tiki torches

I really like tiki torches because of the fun vibe they create at outdoor parties, but the citronella variety help keep bugs away. Post them around the perimeter of your event space. Just be careful with the whole open flame thing.

003620_r1_015$!400x

This is not what our yard looks like, but it’s what I imagine it looks like when we light tiki torches. Photo via Style Me Pretty.

Light other candles

Smoke repels mosquitoes and flies, so if you don’t love the scent of citronella a regular candle can help.

Trim your lawn (before the event of course)

Bugs are more likely to hang out in tall grass and weeds, so give your lawn a trim before the event.

Buy a (food) tent

Cover up your food with a decorative (or plain) mesh food tent – available in plenty of sizes.

064562

This adorable mesh food tent is from Seventh Avenue.

 

Provide bug spray

Stick some bottles or cans of OFF or another version of bug spray in a cute pail for guests to use throughout the event. Even better, provide insect repellent towelettes instead – less messy!

Grow your own bug spray

Certain plants, such as marigolds and lemongrass, are a natural insect repellent.

Those are some of my tips on keeping the bugs at bay. What are your suggestions?

And while you’re at it – don’t forget about a rain plan!

 

Top photo via Peak Events.