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Smoked Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole & Red Chili Salsa

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4 lbs ripe tomatoes
olive oil
2 onions chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 6oz. can tomato paste
5 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper as needed
1/2 cup sherry or port
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 t. crushed garlic

Prepare 3 handfuls of wood chips, hickory might be best, by soaking them for 1/2 hour to an hour. Spray the 4 lbs of ripe tomatoes with olive oil and place in a grill basket, preferably one that can be turned. Add 1/2 of the  wood chips over the fire and wait for them to begin to smoke. Roast the tomatoes checking to see when the bottoms begin to blacken.When they have remove the basket and add the rest of the wood chips and roast the other side of the tomatoes until done. This process should take approx. 10 – 20 minutes. The secret is to make sure they get smoke without burning up. They can be covered and used 1 or 2 days later.

Saute 2 chopped onions in olive oil. Add the tomatoes, cut in half, with the tomato juice that has accumulated, 3 bay leaves and 2 t. crushed garlic. Cook together about 10 min. over moderate heat. Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, 1 t. crushed red pepper, 1 1/2 t. cinnamon and 1 6oz can tomato paste. Cook a few minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of sherry or port and 5 cups chicken broth. Adjust the soup with salt & pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and then puree in batches. Reheat when ready to serve.

Goat Cheese Guacamole
1/2 cup Goat Cheese
1 Avocado (peeled & pitted)
1 lime juiced
salt & pepper
In a bowl break avocado into small pieces, add goat cheese, lime, salt and pepper. Mix until folded in but still a little lumpy.

Red Chili Salsa
2 tomatoes (deseed and chopped)
1/2 shallot finely chopped
1 serrano chili or red chili chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped
Mix all ingredients together

Place Guacamole on bottom of bowl, then a large table spoon of salsa, pour hot soup over and enjoy!!!

Antioxidants are present in foods as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among others. Antioxidants have anti-aging effects because they are scavengers of free radicals which are linked with human diseases. Tomatoes are fast becoming one of our favorite modern foods, and for good reason–they can ward off certain kinds of cancer, prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, and help maintain mental function as we age. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a relatively rare member of the carotenoid family, also found in pink grapefruit and twice as powerful as betacarotene. Other studies suggest lycopene can help prevent lung, colon and breast cancers. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant glutathione, which helps boost immune function.



Robbie Burns Supper Celebration

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Robbie Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in Ayreshire, Scotland.  Best known as the national Poet and lyricist of Scotland and  famously synonymous with “Auld Lang Syne” that can be heard on the last day of the year, every year since its inception.

Famous for his political views and his love for the lassies, Burns poems were also inspired by the beauty of Scotland. Although Burns only lived to the age of 37, he enjoyed a eventful life and produced an astonishing amount of great literary work during his career.

More than 200 years have passed since his death and Burns still remains one of the most celebrated figures in Scottish history and culture, demonstrated by the annual Burns Night Celebrations held on or near his birthday of January 25th.

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry by Robert Burns.  Suppers may be formal or informal and a standard format is usually as follows;

1. Host Welcoming Speech
2. Parade of the Haggis
3. Supper
4. Immortal Memory
5. Appreciation
6. Toast to the lassies
7. Reply toast to the toast to the lassies
8. Other toasts and speeches
9. Works by Burns
10. Closing

The closing is where everyone is asked to stand and join hands to sing Auld Lang Syne bringing the evening to an end.

A Robbie Burns Supper Celebration is an evening of more then just Kilts, Haggis and Scotch, it’s a celebration of one’s life!

 



Are Meeting Delegates Expectations Changing?

  

Are meeting delegates expectations changing? This is a common question we hear from both meeting planners and meeting delegates.

Every meeting is different. Every market is different. Every client has unique expectations. A meeting planner has to juggle many balls at once, including managing budgets that may or may not be realistic.

Some key points to consider and to help understand the relevance of changing expectations are as follows;

The age of the audience and how you connect with them will dictate the delivery method of the content you want to convey. This can change quite dramatically depending on the age group attending.

Technology has and will continue to play an increasingly important role. This is not new news, as it is an ever changing technical environment. However, focusing on personable interaction during meetings will allow the meeting planner to “Communicate” the message with a more “human” element.

The line between personal and business is ever more blury. Timing of meetings; downtime during meetings; networking in meetings are all important points to consider when deciding what the ultimate goal is.

Now, more then ever,  there are increasing special menu requests for allergies and preferences. We are also asked quite frequently if the food & beverage is “Locally” produced? This seems to be an upward trend.

Of course the location and style of venue remains very important. You need to question how the setting; versatility and ambiance will play a role?

In conclusion, the venues who are more flexible and have a better understanding that change is a constant, will inevitably be more effective partners to the meeting planning industry.



Christmas Decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you the everything has to be perfectly in sync with colour and shape, synonymous with the rest of your year round décor or are you the type that can never part with the sparkly popsicle picture frames and the ornament from 1969?

Every year I drag out the many boxes filled with décor dating back to my child’s first Christmas. My decorations are a real mixed bag of sentimental things I had growing up, new items I seem to pick up every year, and handmade ornaments from my little one who’s not so little now.

Out comes the painted Santa’s, the candle holders encrusted with sparkle dust that’s seems to get in every nook and cranny~ the stuffed reindeer and the all time favorite snowman dressed in a cross country ski outfit  complete with a set of skis…he stands beside the fireplace every year.

While I admire and sometimes desire the perfect tree with every cylindrical ornament sparkling away and matching the colour scheme of the year, I find myself reaching for the same ornaments and décor year after year, unable to part with them yet once again.

Christmas Décor is what ever brings you happiness, what ever fills your heart with Joy and makes your home feel festive for the holidays.

It’s a once a year thing where you get to show your sentimental side. So put that garland up the rail of the stairs and of course every decoration your children ever made must go on the tree or mantle or somewhere in the house. I think it’s not about following principals of design but more about giving in to the sentimental side of the season.

The Flower shop at The Old MIll has great festive seasonal decor and classic ornaments and with every gift ware purchase over $30 you will receive a mini Holiday arrangement or an ornament.

Happy decorating everyone!



Who Started the Tradition of Afternoon Tea

Sometimes all it takes is one contrarian action to change the course of the world. Such was the case with Anna Maria Stanhope, better known as the Duchess of Bedford and one of Queen Victoria’s Ladies-In-Waiting. Anna Maria is recognized in history for starting the delightful tradition of taking “afternoon tea” with all its accompaniments.

Back in the 17th century, dinner (the main meal of the day) was served between 11 am and 12 noon. It was a rich, heavy, alcoholic meal that could last up to 4 hours. During the 18th century, dinner was served gradually at a later and later time. In the early to mid 1800′s, the Industrial Revolution with its long working hours, pushed the dinner hour back to a very late time. Dinner was usually served between 7 to 9 p.m. and sometimes as late as 10 p.m. To fill the midday gap, an extra meal called luncheon was created. This new meal, however, was very light, and the long afternoon with no food or drink left people very hungry as they waited for their late dinner.

One afternoon, in 1840, the Duchess of Bedford experienced a sinking feeling in the middle of the afternoon so she asked her maid to bring her tea, bread and butter, cakes and biscuits with jam. This was considered a very strange request at the time so it was done in secret for fear of ridicule. The Duchess felt so revived after drinking tea and having an afternoon snack that she bucked tradition and bravely started inviting her friends to join her for afternoon tea. Her friends enjoyed this new “snack time” and the Duchess started making it into a social event. Her idea was a hit. Soon high society and the growing middle classes started imitating royalty and holding their own afternoon teas, or “Little Teas” as they were called (because of the small amount of food served).

Today, afternoon tea is not only a tradition, but is making a comeback in popularity. The Old Mill holds daily afternoon teas and special evening “Twilight Tea” events.



Resources for New Meeting Planners

 

Are you a new meeting planner? Has someone handed you a project that you  need help on?

Welcome to the world of Hospitality. This is a Great business with Great  people and Great mentors.

Industry memberships provide a solid base of general information while building your network and promoting a learning environment.  Memberships from organizations such as: MPI, CSAE, PCMA, CAEM, CansPep, etc are geared towards your specific type of industry whether your a trade show manager, corporate event manager, association planner or 3rd party  meeting planner. These organizations are also very cross-sectional, as you can use the  lessons learned in one membership and apply it to another project.

Remember that the venue(s) you are looking at can also provide you with  enormous help on producing an event. The sales and catering teams plus operations staff members provide their expertise every day and are able to  act as consultants on what may work and what may not.

Our profession has many suppliers, from many industries, that can also provide you with invaluable information on how to plan that next meeting, whether it be a Board Meeting for 10, a Sales Meeting for 100 or a Cocktail Reception for 1000.

Ask the questions, you will be surprised at how many answers you will get!