Themed Meals and Drinks for a Movie or Television Party

New DVD releases, the end of a television series, anticipated movies coming out, awards shows – each occasion is often a great excuse for a party. I myself hosted a fun dinner when the cartoon Family Guy returned to the air – I served up a variety of martinis to honor Brian, the martini-soaked dog.

It’s always more fun to match your food and drinks to the show, and bonus points if you can turn your meals into a groaner of a pun! Here’s a list of recent movies and television events, and themed recipes for each.

Avatar DVD Release Party

With James Cameron’s epic fantasy Avatar now on video, it’s only appropriate to invite your friends over for dinner and watch the movie on your big screen television (The 3-D version of the movie won’t be out until near Christmas – I myself will be waiting for that.) Avatar party supplies are available now too – if you wish to have a themed birthday party.

For your meal and drinks, everything has to be blue, of course! Here’s a dinner and drink suggestion:

Main Course: Blue Cheese Burgers

  • 1 pound lean organic ground beef (why organic? Because Avatar carries an environmental message!)
  • 1 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Gently mix with your hands, divide into 4 sections. Shape each into patties. Cook on your barbecue.

Drink: Na’vi Bi’kini Mar’tini

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces blue curacao
  • a splash of peach schnapps

Serve with a slice of lemon – for extra effect, add a glow stick!

Final Episode of Lost Party

With all the plot twists, mind bends and multiple story arcs in different places, different times and different dimensions, you’ll need your own brainwashing room to clear your head! Nevertheless, the show has been a fantastic series, and I for one will miss it deeply. Will we find out what happens on that island? Or will the Dharma Initiative be lost in time?

Main Course: Mango braised bbq pork ribs

In the first season, John Locke hunted wild boar. That would be a little hard (and dangerous) to do in your neighborhood, so the next best thing is hunting for some ribs at your local grocer. To keep with the tropical island motif, mix a mango sauce for your ribs.

I tried this recipe before, and it’s delicious! I substituted a can of green chillis for the chipotles. You can view and print the recipe here.

Drink: Dharma Initiative beer

Take your favorite beer, and stick on the appropriate beer labels. Due to copyright issues, you can’t find a complete beer label online. But you can find high-quality Dharma logos here. Use the Swan one. If you know somebody with Photoshop skills, they can easily print “BEER” below the logo. Print out on sticker paper and wrap around your beer bottles. Note: Do not use 30-year old beer from a VW van – you do not have to be that authentic!

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

The new movie with Johnny Depp revived interest in tea parties that never really went away, as Alice has been a perennial favorite since it was first written in the 19th century. An Alice in Wonderland theme party is a lot of fun to create – with the wild and wacky decor, terrible puns and elaborate setups of high tea, there’s probably no other theme that’s as fun to do! Heck, with un-birthday parties, you have an occassion to celebrate 364 days of the year (365 if it’s a leap year!)

Pop in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland or prepare for Tim Burton’s 3-D DVD release with these foods as part of your party:

Main Course: Mock Turtle Soup

A famous scene in the book has the queen looking for the mock turtle, which is what mock turtle soup is made from. has a thick, comforting soup that is filling enough to be a main course.

If you’re really creative, you can make bread in the shape of a turtle to dip in the soup. Using your favorite dough recipe, divide into one large ball and five smaller balls – the large one will be the turtle’s body, and the other five will be the legs and head. Use a knife to score lines in the body to make the turtle’s “shell”, and pinch the head in to form the resemblance of the eyes and mouth. Arrange and stick together on a pizza stone and bake.

Drink: Earl Grey Tea Tea, of course. Any English tea will do. Don’t forget to put “Drink Me” labels on each cup. Serve tea at 6:00, with bread and your best butter. Dress in a top hat and have yourself a mad party!

By Chris Molnar, editor of Click here for more movie theme party ideas for your DVD release or special television event (farewell, Lost!)

Review: Sango Ice Cream Bowls Are Just the Right Size for Ice Cream

Sango ice cream bowlsIce cream is the perfect treat on a sweltering July day.

It’s tempting to grab the biggest bowl in the cabinet and load up. A good way to combat that urge is to use a smaller bowl. Cereal and soup bowls are too big for ice cream.

So why not consider purchasing a set of ice cream bowls. A set of ice cream bowls is just the thing as you can use the smaller bowl for portion control.

Sango offers a  line of attractive ice cream bowls at a great price.

Sango ice cream bowls come in sets of 4 with a variety of finishes. I am particularly fond of the earthenware finish. They hold 12 ounces so they’re a perfect size to use as a snack bowl when guests are over.  You can fill them up with chips and use as individual serving bowls or fill one of them up with your favorite dip and serve a variety of vegetables in the other three.

The earthenware design works great in a southwest themed kitchen. They accent the entire motif and draw together the complete room décor. Sango also works well with country designs. They compliment the look of a country home. When you set out the Sango  ice cream bowls they blend and match the table theme perfectly.  

Sango Nova Brown ice cream bowls

Sango Nova Brown

Things We Like:

  • The Sango ice cream bowls are safe for use in the microwave and dishwasher. You don’t have to worry about them melting into a pile of goop when exposed to the high heat of a dishwasher or microwave.
  • The Sango Nova Brown ice cream bowls integrate well with the Sango Splash line. They will match perfectly with other Sango Splash dinnerware.
  • The best thing we like about the Sango ice cream bowls is their low cost. This is a quality made set of bowls at an unbelievable price.

CLICK HERE to buy a set of 4 Sango ice cream bowls  also available in shades of  Eggplant (blue) and Avocado (green)

Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Fortieth – 40th – Anniversary Edition) (Hardcover)

Mastering the Art of French CookingOne name comes to mind when American’s think about French cooking, Julia Child. So it’s nice to see a reissue of her masterpiece, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One . For many cooks this was the jump off volume for planning a meal. 

Mastering The Art of French Cooking is a full-blown cookbook with everything from appetizers to desserts in it. It’s divided up into segments based on meat type as well. It has a great index so you can find exactly the recipe you’re looking for or even the ingredients.

 This isn’t a pretentious cookbook; sure French cooking sounds hard but this book gives you really detailed instructions complete with illustrations. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty complex recipes in it though, only now you’ll have all the knowledge you need to whip up that complex dish  with confidence.

 What We Like: 

The attention to detail in this book is amazing. Not only do you get to see what Julia is saying through the illustrations, she goes so far as to tell you the quantities you’ll need to swap between, frozen, canned and fresh ingredients. Not too many other cookbooks have that nice additional touch. 

We love that this isn’t just a theme cookbook throwing out the same “gourmet” recipes. This is real French food. Sure you can find the fancy recipes but there’s great provincial farm food in it as well. It’s about cooking French dishes from all regions and social strata. This isn’t just about cream sauces and crepes. 

The size of Mastering The Art of French Cooking is impressive. This is a huge cookbook, over 750 pages long. When you consider how many recipes you get the price is down right cheap. We’ve seen plenty of smaller cookbooks that sell for the same price.

And why not treat yourself to a copy of the movie about Julia Childs, staring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Julie & Julia on Blu Ray

ManPans Holiday Cookware Set – Eco Green Cookware

ManPans holiday_set_2The environmentally conscious cook should take a look at the ManPan. This is a company that manufactures their cookware right here in the US and they pride themselves on the fact that their manufacturing methods reduce their carbon footprint.

You can read about their carbon reducing manufacturing methods here.

But not only is this company doing something about carbon emissions their cookware is pretty damn good.  The company sent us a ManPan Stir Fry Wok and you can read our full review here.

Well here it is, the holiday season is upon us and  ManPans have put together a collection of their favourite ManPans for you in one practical package.  The Holiday Cookware Set includes all those practical pieces of cookware that make cooking a pleasure.

Just look at the great range of cookware you are going to get in the box:

  •  4 Quart Sauce Pan - just the right size  for cooking up your favorite pasta dishes, one pot dishes and sauces. This pan also has included a glass lid that has a steam vent.
  • Steamer Insert - fits the 4 qt pan.  ManPan recently steamed Bratwurst with beer, onions and spices in the pan. Now doesn’t that sound delicious!
  •  2 Quart Sauce Pan -  just the right size for cooking up smaller quantities and this pan also comes with an 8″ glass lid complete with steam vent. Its ideal for letting you see into the pan while  your food is cooking. And you don’t lose that precious heat and steam because you don’t have to lift the lid unneccesarily.
  • 10″ Fry Pan - every home needs this sized fry pan. It is just the right size for cooking anything from omelets to onions to burgers.
  • 12″ Saute Pan - just what you need for anything from searing steaks to braising chicken or  finishing off a complex dish.  Ideal for when you are cooking for a crowd and this pan also has the glass lid with steam vent which allows you to watch how things are progressing.

And this whole set of excellent performing, eco green cookware is available for a low $299.00. That’s a lot of cookware for a great price. So all in all, this is a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say. 

Why not put the Holiday Cookware Set on your list for Santa.

How to Choose a Steamer – Cook Healthy Food Without Fat

Steaming your food is one of the healthiest ways to cook. You don’t have to worry about food drying out when you steam. Another benefit to steaming is you don’t need to use oil when you cook, cutting calories.

With steaming, vegetables keep their nutritional value, they don’t get boiled away. So whether you’re looking to just make up a pot of rice or steam some vegetables there are a few things you need to think about with how to choose a steamer.

The first thing to consider with how to choose a steamer is if you want a stove top steamer that you can just use with another pot of water like a double boiler or do you want a stand alone plug in unit. There are benefits to both types.

  • Double Boiler: You don’t lose storage space with another kitchen gadget.  You can control how fast an item steams simply by using the range controls.
  • Countertop Steamer: Dedicated unit specifically designed for steaming. It cooks faster than a double boiler. You don’t need to wait for the entire pan of water to start boiling.

Once you’ve figured out whether you want a range steamer or a countertop steamer you’ll need to figure out how large the dishes are you plan on preparing. If you’re only cooking for yourself then you can choose a much smaller steamer. If instead you’re cooking for a large family look for stackable steamers. These let you add one or two layers on top of the steam unit doubling or tripling the amount you can cook.

Whether you want a range steamer or countertop steamer you’ll be thrilled with the results you get from steaming your food. Just pick a unit sized right for your family and you’ll be enjoying great tasting rice, vegetables, and delicate fish dishes in no time.