Spring is Coming!

The first signs of spring are always welcome, no matter where you call home!  
Longer, warmer days, signs of life on trees and the first peek of a crocus, daffodil or tulip. You might be looking out your window, thinking, ”All I see are remnants of snow piles or bare ground, but even if you dont have spring yet outside, you can bring it inside! 
Change out your bowl of pinecones for fresh lemons and limes. I have quite a collection of  faux fruits and vegetables that I rotate around my kitchen as well.  The grocery stores are full of beautiful bright flowers. Treat yourself to a bouquet the next time you are out. You will be surprised how they will instantly bring sunshine into your home. 
Once you have brightened your home with cheery spring flowers, get down to business tearing down those piles that have built up during the long winter months. Some call it “nesting”, but we all know they are stacks of junk squirreled away that you didnt want to deal with over the winter.  Throw out old magazines that you have read or are never going to, take time to cull through stacks of papers on your desk, file important papers you must keep.  Then head to the your pantry. Toss all the outdated foods and spices. Empty your refrigerator, wipe it out and restock with fresh produce and fruits.  Spring inspires us to cook lighter meals, so get started!
You will find you have more time in your day when the clutter is clear and there is room for sunshine!
Enjoy early spring everyone!

Thanksgiving Centerpiece-Nature’s Way

Need a last minute centerpiece for your table…look no further than outside your window. If you live where the leaves change, take advantage of what nature provides. We all know the trees will be bare soon, so why not bring some inside to decorate your Thanksgiving table? We gathered a variety of great leaves and berries while walking the dog the other day. We clipped branches from oak and maple trees. Some of the leaves were bright yellow and orange. Clip some brown oak leaves as well. We love the shapes and textures as well as the colors. We also came across some beautiful orange berries. We gathered it all and when home, began lying them out on the table to create a long, organic centerpiece. We added a few candles because we had them, and voila! Our centerpiece has looked great now for a couple weeks. A couple benefits of using nature as a centerpiece–it doesn’t cost anything and you don’t have to find a place to store it until next year!

Walk outside your door and see what you can discover and create!

If you don’t have a variety of trees where you live, visit your local grocery for a beautiful assortment of cut fall flowers. They will last about a week and you’d be surprised what a bouquet of fresh flowers can do for your table and your mood.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Walking with Scissors

There is something about summer that makes me want to have fresh flowers and colorful fresh produce perpetually on my kitchen counter, island and table.
Heather and I both love having fresh flowers in our homes. Many times I buy flowers at my local grocery or farmer’s market and that is easy and quick. 
But, my favorite way to have fresh flowers is to take a stroll around my backyard, neighborhood or walking trails to see what nature can provide free of charge. This photo is a small arrangement I created just walking around my block. OK, I also visited my parents backyard…
I chose the calla lilies from my mom’s garden, daisies, black eyed Susans and some fragrant rosemary from the community flower beds. The rosemary adds filler as well as a lovely scent and it lasts a long time.  

Food stylists and prop stylists often get their inspiration from nature and the beauty that is local and specific to them. This is a great way for a national product spokesperson to make their segments authentic for the local audience they are targeting.  Regional/seasonal flowers and produce are a great way to prop a set or decorate a tablescape.  It’s amazing how a pop of color from a small bunch of sunflowers can brighten a generic TV set.  

You don’t need to be a food stylist or a prop stylist to make your kitchen look like a TV kitchen. Try unusual groupings of various flowers and herbs, you just never know what beauty you can create from goodies right outside your front door.

“What do you do?”

It’s a question that often comes up and one that can be challenging to answer.

Sometimes a friend will introduce me to someone and say, ”This is the friend I was telling you about. She does stuff with food. It’s really cool. Tell them what you do Donna…”

I could just say that I am a Project Manager, which would be accurate. But it is way more interesting to give examples and help them understand this always different and challenging career. Over the years, I have perfected a short & sweet version that really helps.

Kitchen Consultants works with clients to execute the programs they create—in any market. Whether that is a food segment on local or network TV, an in-store product sampling or demo at a local specialty grocery or delivering a beautifully prepared recipe to a writer or brand influencer. Our main goal is to make our clients–and their products–shine!

We just organized a custom birthday cake (to showcase a clients product) for a top country musician who lives in a remote town—no problem. Or we made thousands and thousands of samples of a clients product and handed them out to customers from multiple booths over the course of a 4-day event—done. We also developed three new recipes to showcase a client’s product, including the nutritional analysis, then food and prop styled a shoot with a photographer for high res images for all sorts of uses—complete. And that was just last week. So, suffice it to say, it is never a dull moment, and I love it.

Usually, after a few examples the person I am talking to says something like, “Oh, I understand, that does sound really cool.” And it is.

Those of us who work at Kitchen Consultants (we feel) have one of the BEST jobs ever!

Kitchen Consultants has amazing talent all over the U.S. and the fact that we execute all these interesting projects every week for clients keeps us going during the crazy moments. So, sometimes the answer to the question “what do you do” is a short and simple one. But I couldn’t be happier that my answer to that simple question takes a little more.


Don’t let summer pass you by…casual entertaining to enjoy the season

When the weather is nice and delicious food is in season, why not gather a few friends together to enjoy all that summer is?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about planning and preparing everything to pull off a party. This alone can keep us from making it happen. But there are lots of easy ways to make a great get-together happen without the stress.

We often plan to make the main dish or main item to grill, then in a group text ask one person bring an app, one a salad and one a dessert.  Everyone is happy to contribute. Another option is to have everyone bring an appetizer and drink to share. Somehow there will always be variety, different presentations and lots to nibble on while spending time together.

For inspiration on what to make or what to purchase & bring, see what’s on special at the market. The first display areas tend to have the seasonal items. If the asparagus looks great, grill it up and serve with shaved Parmesan and lemon. Or blanch it and add it to your veggie platter for something unique. Or select whatever fruit is in season and prep a beautiful bowl to pass and serve with some fresh and simple whipped cream for an easy dessert.

It turns out, people just want to get together to laugh and share stories–and usually, that involves food and drink—even if it isn’t perfectly orchestrated or themed.

Keep the plan to get together simple and make it happen….before the season we’ve all been waiting for passes us by.