Secrets to Stress-free Bridal Shower Planning

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(ARA)—When your best friend or sister announces she's engaged and wants you to be her maid of honor, of course you jump up and down with excitement—for her. But inside, you're starting to cringe. Dresses, presents and planning at least one bridal shower—you can feel the pressure building up.

If the thought of the bridal shower creates more stress than satisfaction, there's help. Culinary expert and newlywed, Kendall McFarland, research and development manager at Simply Organic, suggests cutting down on hassles with these five timesaving tips for simple but sensational shower refreshments.

  • Take smart shortcuts. For enticing flavor without fuss, keep a supply of natural dressing and dip mixes on hand for fresh, homemade appetizers and snacks. Add a dip or dressing mix, such as creamy dill, French onion, guacamole, or ranch to equal parts of low-fat cottage cheese and non-fat plain yogurt and mix in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with fresh veggies you can buy already cleaned and cut up at the store.

  • Dress up everyday favorites. Special dishes don't require hours in the kitchen. Make your easy-to-prepare favorites and dress them up with special, wedding seasonings. Try distinctive seasoning blends like red pepper and curry, apple and basil, pineapple and cilantro, or orange and ginger for a gourmet touch. For example, simply add a liberal dose of a spice (like oregano, basil, or cayenne) or seasoning blend along with some garlic and Parmesan cheese to your usual mashed potatoes, and you'll instantly serve something outside everyday fare.

  • Plan and shop wisely. Forget about shopping 'til you drop. Develop your menu, including impromptu snacks, ahead of time. Then pick up everything non-perishable at the same time, eliminating those last-minute treks to the grocery store. To save even more time, order ingredients online. For example, Simply Organic carries culinary items like organic spices, seasoning blends, baking extracts and flavors, gluten-free baking mixes and other cooking ingredients and supplies which they will ship to you within a few days of your order.

  • Accept help. When the bride's mother or other guests ask if they can bring anything, say yes! Ask them to bring something you don't especially enjoy preparing or something you know is that person's specialty which the bride really loves. Or have each guest bring a dessert or appetizer, so you can focus solely on the rest of the party and fun. Offers to help are gifts, so allow other bridesmaids or friends to assist if they offer. Working together can add to the shower fun, and give you stories to share as you continue down the wedding planning road.

  • Make it healthy—the bride, her bridesmaids and the mother of the bride all want to fit into their dresses when the big day finally arrives. The best meal you can offer your guests is a delicious and healthful one. Provide great-tasting, nutritious snacks that go easy on salt, fat, sugar, and other potentially unhealthy ingredients and your guests will fondly remember your hospitality.

Here are two great examples of healthy bridal shower dishes from the Simply Organic recipe Web site that are easy to prepare:

Fruit Chutney

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peeled and diced mixed fruit
  • 1 package Apple Basil Dressing Mix
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mash fruit or use a food processor and blend. Add Apple Basil Dressing Mix and vinegar and mix. Chill and serve as a relish.

Italian Egg Bake

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 package Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced vegetables (tomatoes and mushrooms are good choices)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add milk and Italian Dressing Mix and whisk well. Add cheese and vegetables. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until center is firm. Top with diced tomatoes and shredded Parmesan cheese for an extra special flavor.

For more delicious, healthy and easy recipes, visit www.simplyorganicfoods.com and click on the recipe drop-down menu.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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